Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Criticize Your Own Faith

Recently, I read Irshad Manji’s writing, Trouble with Islam Today. I was very shock when finished her writing. Not only had she written about her faith so outspokenly, she spoke many facts about politics in Middle East, US, Europe, and many countries in the world. I amazed to her brave to facing the death by publish this writing. Eventually, her writing beat me with all my faith.

After that, I start to thinking a lot about my belief. Irsyad wrote that if the interpretation to the holy book of any religion without understanding its context; it will drive the rising of religion fundamentalism. And at the end, it will force the follower of this interpretation live back closing to ancient period when this holy book had wrote. Her thinking challenges me to recheck many things which I believed.

One of this is the believing of holy book inerrancy. Irsyad risk her life when she said that her holy book—many people believe that this book was came upon heaven—had many fault. She gave some evidence about the contradictive facts in this book. Perhaps she was correct (maybe she was wrong too). Therefore, how about the Holy Bible? Does it have any fault? Then, what Jesus mean when he said, “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished”? Does it mean Jesus believe that the Bible doesn’t have any fault?

One topic which popular in a Christian community blog,, is an article about the contradiction of Jesus Christ’s lineage. I don’t know what the author’s motivations; sincerely try to find righteousness or just a method to weakening Christian faith. However, many Christians gave comment to this writing and make it most popular article in that blog because of the enthusiasm of Christians to keep Christianity from humiliated. There are some good comments, but—unfortunately—most of them were hit-or-miss, take easy, or merely copy-paste comments. When they copy from apologetic articles, they never try to understand it; therefore they gave wrong comment to respond. I think their responds will turn out to be object of ridicule.

The article about the contradiction of Jesus’ lineage challenges me to think a lot too. Many questions flashed through my mind. Let’s say if the genealogy truly faults, what is the consequence for me? Is Bible not holy anymore? Did my faith plunge into the deep because of Jesus’ lineage’s imperfect? Did I choose wrong religion because there was corrupt in the Bible? Did I have to embrace to the article’s author’s faith? However it is possible that his holy book have any fault too.

Instead, I am encouraged by Ioanes Rakhmat which his writing in Kompas has upset many Christians in Indonesia. He said that although people can prove that Jesus didn’t risen from the dead or his disciple eventually believe that Christ’s resurrection is just a figurative, it shouldn’t shake Christian believing. Maybe my opinion about Rakhmat’s writing isn’t very correct, but it is the spirit I can caught from the writing (the understanding of the Rakhmat’s writing is came from my best friend—actually, often I read the bible by a fundamentalist eyes). Somebody’s faith hasn’t depended on material things, but on the deepest of one’s heart.

The spirit of Rakhmat’s is similar to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s when they have to face to the furnace of fire. They said, “If our God, whose servants we are, is able to keep us safe from the burning and flaming fire, and from your hands, O King, he will keep us safe. But if not, be certain, O King, that we will not be the servants of your gods, or give worship to the image of gold which you have put up.” How wonderful faith that came from critical attitude—they have many possibility about their faith.

People like Irsyad Manji, Salman Rushdie, Ioanes Rakhmat, John Dominic Crossan, Karen Armstrong, Robert Funk and the writer of Jesus’ lineage in Sabda Space may be make us angry. There is a big temptation to curse them; wish they do not live in this world.

However, they are enlightening people for me. They help us to refuse easing to believe the one’s interpretation or doctrine. This people force us to have own opinion about our self and our faith. God gave us brain to think. Have a critical attitude is a gift dan growing out our self. This attitude makes us not easy to toss to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. Therefore, if Bible isn’t proved inerrant, our faith isn’t shock for this fact. Or, there are people could give evidence that Jesus isn’t the only one way to God, we aren’t shame, but we still have considered about our faith because we conditioned to have a critical attitude.