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Şubat 07, 2009, 09:04:00 öö
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The Gospel of Barnabas
Accurate account of Jesus' life, or a medieval forgery?

About Barnabas:
Barnabas was a major leader in the early Pauline Christian movement:

 Acts 4:36 identifies Barnabas as an early Pauline Christian leader who was Jewish,  a Levite from Cyprus. 
 Acts 9:26-27 describes Paul's initial trip to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles. However, they were afraid of him because they did not believe that he had his persecution of Christians and had converted to Christianity. Barnabas personally brought Paul to the apostles and supported Paul's claim to have seen Jesus in a vision and to have accepted Christianity.
 Acts 11:22 describes how the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to check the status of missionary work there.
 Acts 11:25 describes how Barnabas met with Paul in Tarsus and brought him to Antioch where they both performed missionary activity.
 Acts 13 lists the teachers and prophets at Antioch, including Barnabas. It describes how Barnabas and Paul later went to Seleucia, Cyprus and Salamis.
 Acts 14 describes Paul and Barabas' evangelizing activities in Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga and Attalia, including serious persecution that they experienced in Iconium.
 Acts 15 covers Barnabas and Paul's trip to Jerusalem to settle a conflict over whether male Gentiles had to be circumcised if they wished to become Christians. They described to the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem "the miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles" during their missionary trips. Barnabas and Paul later returned to Antioch with Silas and Judas.
 Acts 15:35 - 41 describes a dispute between Paul and Barnabas over whether they should take John Mark with them on a multi-city tour. They resolved the conflict by splitting their missionary group in two: Barnabas and Mark sailed to Cyprus; Paul and Silas went to Syria and Cilicia.
 Barnabas is also mentioned in Galatians 2:9 and 2:13.



Confusion of the Gospel and the Epistle of Barnabas:
The Gospel of Barnabas is often confused with the Epistle of Barnabas.

 The Gospel of Barnabas is a description of alleged activities and teachings by Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ). In contrast with the canonical gospels, it repeatedly portrays Jesus as fully human, as a prophet, and not as the Son of God. Many of the events described in the synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) appear in the Gospel of Baranabas. Also unlike the canonical gospels, it records long and involved conversations between Jesus with his disciples. However, it also mentions that Muhammad would later emerge as a prophet of greater stature than Jesus. This is a strange teaching for a gospel allegedly written in the first century CE, about a half a millennia before Muhammad's birth.

Opinions differ greatly concerning the authenticity of the gospel: whether it was actually authored by Barnabas, an early church leader during the first century CE, or whether it is a medieval forgery perhaps dating from the fourteenth century.
 The Epistle of Barnabas is an anti-Judaic letter whose existence was mentioned by Clement of Alexandria circa 190 CE which may or may not have been written by the Barnabas mentioned in the book of Acts.

Barnabas 16:3 refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Barnabas 16:4 expresses the anticipated reconstruction of the temple. Those hopes were dashed when Hadrian built a Pagan temple on the site circa 135 CE. Thus the epistle was apparently written between these two dates. Most commentators suggest it was dated between 80 and 120 CE -- that is, in roughly the same time frame as the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John. 1



Text of the Gospel of Barnabas:
The Gospel begins with a scene which is parallel to the Gospel of Matthew: Mary and Joseph were engaged. Mary was both pregnant and a virgin. Joseph was considering quietly severing the relationship. An angel appeared to Joseph telling him that Mary will give birth to Jesus who is specifically defined as a "prophet of God" -- i.e. a normal human being who was not divine, but who had a major religious and spiritual role in their future. 2

After Jesus is born, shepherds appear in the Gospel of Barnabas as in Luke; magi appear as in Matthew. The family flees to Egypt, as in Matthew, and later return to the Galilee. While on a Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve, his parents lost track of him, and later found him discussing the Torah with the priests.

There is no indication that he visited or joined with John the Baptizer. Instead, at the age of 30, he had a vision in which the angel Gabriel presented a book to him which "descended into the heart of Jesus." He became instantly knowledgeable about the actions and wishes of God, apparently including the future arrival of Muhammad -- the final prophet who would be even greater than Jesus.

Jesus then left his mother to start his ministry. He is described as performing miracle healings and teaching the public. After a 40 day fast without food or drink, he returned to Jerusalem and selected twelve followers, whom he called apostles. Jesus mentioned that God had sent 144,000 prophets to Earth. In an apparent reference to Muhammad, Jesus said that the "Splendor of all the prophets and holy ones" will arrive in the future; he will be referred to as the messenger of God.

Jesus and his disciples met ten lepers whom Jesus healed. They acknowledged that Jesus was a "man like us, but yet an holy one of God and a prophet of the Lord." They ask Jesus to pray to God so that God will heal them. Jesus appears to be portrayed as a person without any miraculous powers. He can only pray that God will perform miracles.

The incident in Matthew 15:22-28 between Jesus and a Canaanite woman -- which is also found in Mark 7:25-30 where the woman is described as a Greek/Syrophenician -- is described differently from Mark and Matthew. Jesus is said to have verbally attacked uncircumcised Christians and Pagans. He is quoted as saying: "Verily I say unto you that a dog is better than an uncircumcised man." (A dog was a despised animal in Judea during the first Century CE and remains so to the present time in much of the Middle East.

The Gospel of Barnabas includes material similar to the passages in Luke 10 in which Jesus tells the lawyer what he must do to inherit eternal life, and the subsequent parable of the Good Samaritan. Many other passages from the synoptic gospels are also included, such as the healing of the Centurion's "boy," the Lord's Prayer, the Transfiguration, the parable of the vineyard, Jesus preaching on a boat near the shore of the sea of Galilee, etc. The Gospel of Barnabas agrees with the Gospel of John as having Jesus' ministry lasting three years. This is in conflict with the synoptic gospels who imply that it was of one year duration.

Some of the more remarkable chapters include:

 #39 in which Adam sees writing in the sky "There is only one God, and Mohammed is the messenger of God."
 #41 in which Adam sees the same phrase over the gate to the Garden of Eden as he and Eve are ejected.
 #42 in which Jesus specifically states that he is not the Messiah, or a reincarnation of Elijah or Jeremiah. Instead he is a "...voice that crieth through all Judea, and crieth: 'Prepare ye the way for the messenger of the Lord'." The messenger referred to is Muhammad who was expected to appear in Jesus' future. Muhammad "...shall bring the words of truth....so that his faith shall have no end." This appears to be a reference to Islam.
 #43 in which God tells Abraham "Behold, in thy seed I will bless all the tribes of the earth..." However, this passage refers to the descendents of Abraham through Ishmael, not Isaac. That is, God gave the promise to Arabs, not Jews.
 #53 in which Jesus curses "...every one who shall insert into my sayings that I am the son of God."
 #70: After Peter identified Jesus as "Christ, son of God," Jesus responded: "Begone and depart from me, because thou art the devil." To the remaining eleven disciples, he said: "Woe to you if ye believe this, for I have won from God a great curse against those who believe this." Jesus is apparently described as willing to use black magic against those who believe that he is the son of God.
 214 to 218: Judas offers to betray Jesus to the priests for thirty pieces of gold. But when Judas approached Jesus with the soldiers, God "...commanded Gabriel, Michael, Rafael, and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world" up to the third heaven. God then altered Judas' speech and appearance so that he appeared to be Jesus. The soldiers mistook Judas for Jesus. "...they led him to Mount Calvary, where they used to hang malefactors, and there they crucified him naked, for the greater ignominy. Judas truly did nothing else but cry out: 'God, why hast thou forsaken me, seeing the malefactor hath escaped and I die unjustly?'." The disciples later stole the body of Judas from the tomb where it was placed, and propagated the lie that Jesus had been resurrected.

By this point, it is quite obvious to even the casual reader that the Gospel of Barnabas heavily favors Islam over Judaism and Christianity, and Muhammad over Jesus.



Is the Gospel of Barnabas legitimate?
Islam teaches that the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) have become extensively corrupted since the time that they were first written down. Some Muslims believe that the Gospel of Barnabas is an accurate description of Jesus' teachings and life events, whereas the canonical gospels are seriously distorted.

The Sabr Foundation is one Muslim source that supports the legitimacy of this gospel. It is widely quoted elsewhere on the Internet. They comment:

"The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 C.E. In 325 C.E., the Nicene Council was held, where it was ordered that all original Gospels in Hebrew script should be destroyed. An Edict was issued that any one in possession of these Gospels will be put to death." 10

Unfortunately, they do not offer proof that the Alexandrian churches did accept the Gospel of Barnabas. Their statement about the Nicene edicts appears to be in error. No such edicts were ever issued. 11

The Sabr Foundation also states that:

"Iranaeus (130-200) .... had quoted extensively from the Gospel of Barnabas in support of his views. This shows that the Gospel of Barnabas was in circulation in the first and second centuries of Christianity." 12

Iranaeus does refer to the Epistle of Barnabas in his writings. However, we have been unable to locate any reference by Iranaeus to the Gospel of Barnabas. Although there are many references to Barnabas in early Christian writings, Christian theologians and writers have been unable to find any mention of the Gospel of Barnabas prior to medieval times.



Is the Gospel of Barnabas a forgery?
Cyril Glassé a Muslim scholar states:

"...there is no question that it is a medieval forgery. A complete Italian manuscript exists which appears to be a translation from a Spanish original (which exists in part), written to curry favor with Muslims of the time. It contains anachronisms which can date only from the Middle Ages and not before, and shows a garbled comprehension of Islamic doctrines, calling the Prophet 'the Messiah', which Islam does not claim for him. Besides its farcical notion of sacred history, stylistically it is a mediocre parody of the Gospels..." 3
Rafique notes a number of conflicts between the gospel and science. The gospel states that:

 The Earth is larger than the sun.
 One's navel resulted from Satan spitting on the clay from which God created Adam.
 Adam tried to stop himself from swallowing the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and thereby caused his larynx to form. This he passed on to succeeding generations.
 Nazareth is described as a costal city on the Sea of Galilee. Actually, it is 9 miles (15 km) inland from the sea. 6
 Capernaum is described as being some distance away from the lake. Actually, it was a city on the lake shore.

To which one might add the improbability of a human surviving 40 days without food or drink.

There are also internal problems with the text of the gospel:

 At the beginning of the gospel, Jesus is referred to as "Jesus Christ." Later in the text, Jesus claims to not be the Messiah, as in Chapter 42: "I am not the Messiah." The author of the gospel appears to be unaware that "Christ" and "Messiah" are synonyms. Yet Barnabas was a Jew who grew up in Cyprus, a Greek-speaking area. If he were the author of the gospel, he would not have make such an obvious error. 4
 Chapter 3 mentioned that Herod and Pilate ruled Judea at the same time. But Herod died in 4 BCE and Herod did not become governor until 26 CE -- a gap of three decades. Again, if the actual author had been Barnabas, he would have know that. 4
 Chapter 113 refers to pine-cones. There were no pine-cones in the area. 8
 Chapter 127 describes Jesus preaching from the pinnacle of the Jerusalem temple. This was about 200 meters above the ground, so his audience would not have been able to hear him. 7
 Chapter 169: Jesus comments on the beauty of Judea in summertime. Actually, the rains fall there during the winter; the fields are parched during the summer. 9
 Chapter 193 discusses the incident when Jesus brought his dead friend Lazarus back to life. At the time, Jesus predicted his own death and subsequent resurrection. The gospel  "Mine hour is not yet come; but when it shall come I shall sleep in like manner, and shall be speedily awakened." Yet chapters 214 to 218 describe how God had Jesus removed from the earth and had Judas executed in his place. 5
 Chapter 214 states that Herod Antipas controlled Jerusalem and the rest of Judea. Actually, the historical record shows that he had authority only in the Galilee. 7

There is some evidence that the Gospel was written during the 14th century CE:

 Chapter 54 refers to golden coins ("denarius divided into sixty minuti."} These were actually Spanish coins not circulated for centuries after the life of Jesus. 8
 Chapter 82 refers to Jubilee years as once every century. But in ancient Israel, it was celebrated every 50 years. "In the year 1300 A.D. Pope Boniface VIII falsely proclaimed that the Jubilee should be celebrated by Christians every 100 years instead of 50 years." The author of the gospel apparently picked up this error and incorporated it into his text. 4
 Chapter 178 refers to nine Heavens and to Paradise above the highest heaven. This is exactly the same as described by Dante in his 14th century work The Divine Comedy. 4

Author Samuel Green concludes:

"The Gospel of Barnabas is not an authentic Gospel of Jesus. The author does not understand the language, history or geography of the 1st century A.D., and there is no ancient evidence for the book. The internal evidence of the book suggests it was written in the 14th century and there are Muslim scholars who agree with this dating. The book is a rewrite of the Biblical Gospel most likely by a Muslim who wanted to show that Jesus taught Islam and predicted the coming of Muhammad. This type of rewriting has been done elsewhere by Muslims in the Gospel According to Islam." 4



References used:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

"The Epistle of Barnabas," Early Christian Writings, at: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/
Lonsdale & Laura Ragg, "The Gospel of Barnabas," at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/
Cyril Glassé, "The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam," Harper & Row, 1989, Page 64. Cited in: "What do we know about the 'Gospel of Barnabas'?," Answering Islam, at: http://answering-islam.org.uk/
Samuel Green, "The Gospel of Barnabas," Answering Islam, 2004, at: http://answering-islam.org.uk/
"Contradictions in the 'Gospel of Barnabas'," Answering Islam, at: http://answering-islam.org.uk/
Rafique, "The Gospel of Barnabas," Good News for You!, at: http://www.injil.org/
"The Gospel of Barnabas," Into The Light, at: http://islam.itl.org.uk/
"The forgery of the Gospel of Barnabas," Muslim Hope, 2004-DEC, at: http://www.muslimhope.com/
John Gilchrist, "The Gospel of Barnabas: The Spurious Gospel in Islamic Apologetics," http://answering-islam.org.uk/
"Gospel of Barnabas"  The Sabr Foundation, 2001-NOV-22, at:  http://www.barnabas.net/
"First Council of Nicea - 325 AD," at: http://www.piar.hu/
"How the Gospel of Barnabas Survived," The Sabr Foundation, http://www.barnabas.net/. This essay was taken from an unnamed book published by The Quran Council of Pakistan, in Karachi, Pakistan.


Şubat 07, 2009, 09:05:58 öö
Yanıtla #1
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JUDAS: HIS ROLE AND GOSPEL
THE "GOSPEL OF JUDAS"
Overview:
Many people assume that the Gospel of Judas states that it was written by Judas, one of Jesus' disciples. In fact, it makes no such claim. It was apparently written by a follower of Gnostic Christianity sometime during the second century CE. 7

A copy of the gospel which was recently found in Egypt is in the Coptic language and dates from the third or early fourth century CE. It was based on an earlier work, probably in Greek, written before 180 CE. It deals with the relationship between Jesus and Judas.

The gospel teaches that Judas was not a traitor. He did not betray Jesus as described in the four gospels Mark, Matthew, Luke and John which were accepted into the official canon of the Bible. Rather, according to this Gospel, Judas was the most enlightened and knowledgeable of Jesus' disciples. Both Judas and Jesus realized that for Jesus to attain his purpose in life, his soul had to be liberated through the death of his body. Both worked out a plan by which Judas would hand over Jesus to the Jewish authorities in the expectation that he would be subsequently executed.

The Gospel has raised some interesting debates about the role of Judas, the diversity of belief in early Christianity, and the relationship between passages in the Christian Scriptures (a.k.a. New Testament) and anti-semitism. 1



Very early Christianity:
By the middle of the second century CE, more than a century after Jesus' execution, there were three main movements within early Christianity: 

 Jewish Christianity They rejected the virgin birth, and taught that Jesus was a man -- i.e. a prophet, not a God or a son of God. This was the original Christian group and was centered in Jerusalem and led by James, a brother of Jesus. Some members may have moved to Pella about 70 CE; others were wiped out by the Roman Army's attack on Jerusalem in 70 CE. The movement never recovered and eventually disappeared from history. 
 Pauline Christianity, which was founded by Paul and later became what has been referred to as "proto-Christianity, " It eventually morphed into the Catholic Church. They taught that Jesus was a man-god. 
 Gnostic Christianity, which was, and remains today, a diverse movement. Some Gnostic groups promoted Docetism, the belief that Christ was pure spirit and only had a phantom body. Jesus merely appeared to be human to his followers. Some Gnostic groups teach that Jesus had both male and female disciples. Gnostics were heavily oppressed by other Christians and were almost wiped out. A small group remains in the Middle East. Gnostics in the West are experiencing rapid growth.



The Gospel of Judas:
The Cainites, the ancient Gnostic group which produced the Gospel of Judas, taught that Judas was not a betrayer or traitor. Rather, he was a hero who was the only disciple who really understood Jesus. He and Jesus jointly conceived a plan that resulted in Jesus being arrested and subsequently executed by the Roman Army. The Gospel of Judas was written in the mid-second century, at about the same time as the canonical books James, 2 Peter and Jude, according to liberal Christian theologians -- or a few generations after these three canonical books were written, according to conservative Protestants.

This gospel was attacked by St. Irenaeus circa 180 CE as a heretical book. He wrote:

"[The Gnostics] declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion....They produce a fictitious history of this kind...[from] which they style the Gospel of Judas." 2

It is important to realize that heresy was, and remains, a relative term: A heretical belief to Irenaeus' is an orthodox belief in Gnosticism; What Iranaeus considered orthodoxy is a Gnostic heresy.

A translation of the gospel in the Coptic language, was discovered during the 1970s in a cave near El Minya, Egypt. It was in a codex -- a book similar to modern-day format -- which also included "...a text called James [a.k.a. the First Apocalypse of James], the Letter of Peter to Philip and a fragmentary document dubbed the Book of Allogenes." 6 Called the Codex Tchacos, it was passed among a series of antiquities traders. Unfortunately, the gospel was not properly cared for. Portions of the papyrus on which it was hand-written disintegrated. Some sections have been forever lost. The remains were finally obtained by  National Geographic. It was restored, translated and published in book form in early 2006-APR. It will eventually be returned Cairo, Egypt where it will be housed in the Coptic Museum.

This manuscript appears to have been written sometime between 220 and 340 CE according to radiocarbon dating and other tests. It is believed to be a translation from an earlier version probably written in Greek circa 130 to 170 CE. 5



Positive responses to the Gospel of Judas:
 Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of the National Geographic Society, said that religious historians consider the gospel to be the most significant ancient, non-biblical manuscript to be found in the past 60 years. It has been given a battery of tests to prove its authenticity, including radiocarbon dating, analysis of the ink used, multi-spectral imaging, and analysis of the script and linguistic style. Garcia said: "The codex has been authenticated as a genuine work of ancient Christian apocryphal literature."
 Elaine Pagels, a professor at Princeton University and well known author of a number of books on Gnostic Christianity, wrote in a statement: 

"These discoveries are exploding the myth of a monolithic religion, and demonstrating how diverse — and fascinating — the early Christian movement really was."

 Karen L. King, a professor at Harvard Divinity School and author of other books on Gnostic Christianity said: 

"You can see how early Christians could say, if Jesus's death was all part of God's plan, then Judas's betrayal was part of God's plan. So what does that make Judas? Is he the betrayer, or the facilitator of salvation, the guy who makes the crucifixion possible?"

 The Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery, gave a grant of over one million dollars to the National Geographic Society to restore, preserve, and make the manuscript available to the public. Ted Waitt, said:
" I didn't know a whole lot until I got into this about the early days of Christianity. It was just extremely fascinating to me....You can potentially question the translation and the interpretation, he said, but you can't fake something like this. It would be impossible." 



Negative responses to the Gospel of Judas:
 In his April 13th e-letter to readers, Brian St. Paul, editor of Crisis Magazine, wrote that the Gospel of Judas "sheds no light on historical Christianity," other than to fill in "the heavenly pantheon of second-century Gnosticism."  He wrote that the Gospel of Judas and the other Gnostic gospels "offer no reliable historical insight into the actual events of the first century" and that the Gospel is "hardly a theological earthquake." 4
 The Catholic News Agency engaged in an ad hominem attack against religious historians who took part in a National Geographic Special about the Gospel of Judas which was initially broadcast on 2006-APR-12 -- Palm Sunday. The agency's main concern does not seem to be the Gospel itself. They appear to be more concerned about whether there have been centuries of anti-Judaic and anti-semitic oppression on the part of Christians, and -- if so -- whether that was partly based on the Bible's portrayal of Judas.

The agency criticized:  Elaine Pagals, author of "The Origin of Satan" and "Adam, Eve and the Serpent" -- writings which the agency regards as "against the Catholic Church." She has written that the biblical description of Judas as a betrayer of Jesus subsequently led to anti-semitism among Christians. They also cited her support of an artist who produced a piece of artwork that some consider blasphemous.
 Bart Ehrman because in his book criticizing The Da Vinci Code, he wrote that certain statements in the novel are accurate. He also attributes the responsibility for Jesus' death to the Roman Army.
 Marvin Meyer because he has written a series of books on early Gnostic writings and because there was a lack of agreement on the program about his estimates of the age of the Gospel of Judas manuscript.
 Craig Evans who believes that Jesus was not baptized by John the Baptizer, was not bodily resurrected; and did not perform miracles. The Catholic News Agency writes that In Evans' books on early Gnostic Christianity, "he refers to the supposed anti-Semitism of Christians."
 Francois Gaudard who said in the program: "This text not only seriously challenges one of the most firmly rooted beliefs in Christian tradition, but also reduces one of the favorite themes of anti-Semitism to nothing." 3
 
 Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison, a retired Episcopal Bishop comments:
"The esoteric (intended for or understood by only a small group) nature of Gnosticism appeals to our human pride and condescension to others. The great loss that results from Gnostic gospels like Judas' is that it leads us to believe that we need no redemption for our sinful wills, only freedom from our material bodies."

"What is lost in the Gnostic 'gospels' is the trust in and knowledge of God, whom we call 'Father;' that the material world and our bodies are good; that we sinners have been shown mercy, not just given secret knowledge; that the suffering of Christ gives hope and fellowship in our suffering; and that as Christ was raised from the dead, so our deaths are not the last word."

"Unfortunately, the media too often turn to the 'experts,' many of whom do not call themselves Christians, to explain the significance of something like the newly found Gnostic 'Gospel of Judas'." 11
 
 Philip Jenkins is a Professor at Pennsylvania State University and the author of several books including "Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way." He suggests The Gospel of Judas tells us nothing about either Jesus or Judas. He writes:

"The reason that many scholars and members of the press have characterized this ho-hum Gnostic document as a momentous leap in our understanding is that it fits in with their model of early Christian history as a battle between competing understandings of who Jesus was. The Christians who called themselves 'orthodox' had the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that appear in today's New Testament. Other Christians, including the Gnostics, had their own gospels, but neither the orthodox nor the Gnostics had truer insights into Jesus. The orthodox just happened to win the battle....

In short, the 'Gospel of Judas' tells us nothing about the historical Jesus or Judas; it adds next to nothing to our knowledge of early Gnosticism or of sectarian Christianity; and it actually adds very little indeed that was not already known from texts published a century or more ago. And this is 'one of the greatest historical discoveries of the twentieth century'?" 10

 Ben Witherington III, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary and one of the most respected evangelical scholars in the world, writes in his blog:

"This document reflects the same sort of dualism that we find in many other Gnostic documents -- matter or flesh is evil or tainted, spirit is good....This of course is miles from early Jewish theology about the goodness of creation and the flesh, much less the belief that God intends to redeem the flesh by means of resurrection. Much of what Jesus is depicted as saying in the Gospel of Judas the historical, thoroughly Jewish, resurrection believing Jesus could never have said. In other words it is revisionist history being done by a splinter group of Gnostics. This group was at variance with the theology and praxis of the church whose beliefs could in fact be traced back to Jesus and his earliest disciples. 12

 Brandon Wasoh, a student in classics at California State University wrote in his blog:
"In reality, however, it's just one more of a whole list of Gnostic gospels, which doesn't bring us any closer to understanding the historical Jesus. And when did Judas have the time to write this gospel between the betrayal and suicide?"
This reflects a commonly held misunderstanding. Some assume that since the manuscript is called "The Gospel of Judas," that it must have been written by Judas. Actually, the text does not claim Judas to be its author. 9
 



References used:
Radolphe Kasser, et al., "The Gospel of Judas," National Geographic Soc., (2006) Read reviews or order this book
St. Irenaeus, "Adversus haereses (Against Heresies)," 1:31:1, 180 CE.
"Questions arise about scholars who collaborated in National Geographic’s Gospel of Judas presentation," Catholic News Agency, 2006-APR-24, at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com
"Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic gospel of little value to Christians, says analyst," Catholic News Agency, 2006-APR-16, at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/
"Gospel of Judas," Wikepedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
"Explore the document," National Geographic, at: http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/
A translation of The Gospel of Judas is online at: http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:   
John Wilford & Laurie Goodstein, " 'Gospel of Judas' Surfaces After 1,700 Years," The New York Times, 2006-APR-06, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
Brandon Wasoh, "The Gospel of Judas," Novum Testamentum, at: http://www.novumtestamentum.com/
Philip Jenkins, "All Gospels Are Not Created Equal. The 'Gospel of Judas' tells us nothing about the historical Jesus or Judas. Why the furor?" Beliefnet, 2006-APR, at: http://www.beliefnet.com/
C. FitzSimons Allison, " 'Gospel of Judas' reflects Gnostic denial of Jesus' suffering," The Post and Courier, Charleston SC, 2006-APR-12, at: http://www.charleston.net/
Ben Witherington, "The Gospel of Judas et al.," 2006-APR-07, at: http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/


Şubat 07, 2009, 09:07:23 öö
Yanıtla #2
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THE VIRGIN MARY AS CO-REDEMPTRIX, MEDIATRIX AND ADVOCATE

Current status of Mary:
Although the virgin Mary is rarely mentioned in the Bible, and although Protestant churches consider her to be a relatively minor biblical character, the Roman Catholic Church has long assigned her an elevated status.

The Roman Catholic Church has historically taught two basic dogmas about Mary:

 1. Mary is the Mother of God.
 2. Perpetual Virginity: Mary was a virgin when Yeshua (Jesus) was conceived; this state continued throughout her life.

Two additional dogmas about Mary were infallibly proclaimed by two popes during the 19th and 20th centuries:

 3. Immaculate Conception: Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on 1854-DEC-8. Many Roman Catholics believe that this refers to Jesus' conception circa 5 to 7 BCE. In fact, it means that Mary herself was conceived free of sin before her birth circa 20 BCE.
 4. Assumption of Mary: Pope Pius XII, in his Munificentissimus Deus (1950-NOV-1), defined that Mary, "after the completion of her earthly life was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven." That is, she was "taken up body and soul into heaven," at the time of her death. She is there "exalted as Queen of the Universe." 1

In addition, various popes and church councils have referred to Mary as co-redemptrix, mediatrix, and advocate:

 In ancient times:  St. Antonius (circa 250 - 350): "All graces that have ever been bestowed on men, all came through Mary."
 St. Bernard (1090 - 1153): "[Mary is called] the gate of heaven, because no one can enter that blessed kingdom without passing through her."
 St. Bonaventure (1221 - 1274): "As the moon, which stands between the sun and the earth, transmits to this latter whatever it receives from the former, so does Mary pour out upon us who are in this world the heavenly graces that she receives from the divine sun of justice." 1
 
 1750: Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, canonized as Saint Alphonsus in 1839, wrote a book "The Glories of Mary." It continues to be published today, under various church imprimaturs. Various chapters in the book are titled: "Mary our Help," "Mary our Mediatress," "Mary our Advocate," etc. 1
 1935: Pope Pius XI gave the title co-redemptrix to Mary during a radio broadcast. 1
 1964-NOV-21: The Chapter 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, passed by the Vatican Council II, and "Solemnly promulgated by Holiness Pope Paul VI" states, in part:   "Rightly, therefore, the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely cooperating in the work of man’s salvation through faith and obedience. For as St. Irenaeus says, she being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert with him in their preaching ...'death through Eve, life through Mary.' This union of the mother with the son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death" 2   
 "Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix." 3
 "...the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator."
"For no creature could ever be counted as equal with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer. Just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by the ministers and by the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is really communicated in different ways to His creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source." (Footnotes deleted) 7
 
 
 1985: Pope John Paul II recognized Mary as co-redemptrix" during a speech in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He said, in part, "Having suffered for the Church, Mary deserved to become the Mother of all the disciples of her Son, the Mother of their unity...In fact Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son." 4
 1987-MAR-25: In his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II "referred to Mary as 'Mediatrix' three times, and as 'Advocate' twice." 1
 1997-APR-9: During an audience Pope John-Paul II referred to the role of Mary during the crucifixion of Jesus: "Mary … co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her co-operation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity...In God’s plan, Mary is the ‘woman’ (cf. John 2:4; John 19:26), the New Eve, united to the New Adam in restoring humanity to its original dignity. Her cooperation with her Son continues for all time in the universal motherhood which she enjoys in the order of grace. Trusting in this maternal cooperation, let us turn to Mary, imploring her help in all our needs." 1

Although Mary has been referred to on numerous occasions as co-redemptrix, mediatrix, and advocate, none have the force of an infallible papal declaration.

Petition drive to promote an infallible statement:
Professor Mark Miravalle of Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH, initiated a formal petition drive in 1993 during a Marian conference at that university. It asks the Pope to make infallible statement that would officially elevate Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the status of co-redeemer. More than six million signatures from 148 countries have reached the Vatican as of the end of the year 2000, asking that Pope John Paul II infallibly declare a new dogma: "That the Virgin Mary is a co-redeemer with Jesus and co-operates fully with her son in the redemption of humanity." If this were done, "she would be a vastly more powerful figure, something close to the fourth member of the Holy Trinity and the primary female face through which Christians experience the divine." 3 Miravalle's petition has received support from Mother Theresa, 550 bishops, Cardinal John O'Connor and 41 other cardinals (including at least 12 cardinals in Rome). If the dogma is declared infallibly, it would pronounce Mary as "Co-Redemptrix [co-redeemer], Mediatrix [mediator] of All Graces, and Advocate for the People of God." It would require all Roman Catholics to believe that:

 Mary is co-redemptrix with Jesus. She participates in people's redemption.
 Mary is mediatrix and has the power to grant all graces.
 Mary is the advocate for the people of God and has the authority to influence God's judgments.

If the dogma is infallibly declared, many feel that, in the words of Father Rene Laurentin, it would be the equivalent of launching "bombs" at Protestants. Father Laurentin is a French monk and the world's leading Mary scholar. He believes that: "Mary is the model of our faith but she is not divine. There is no mediation or co-redemption except in Christ. He alone is God." Raising the status of Mary would further acerbate the split between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Ecumenical activity would be negatively affected. There is speculation that a schism might develop over the issue within the Roman Catholic church. There may be a renewed debate over the role of the pope's power in the church. 5,6



References:
"Rome says Mary is Co-redeemer, mediator, advocate," Way of Life, at: http://www.whidbey.net/~dcloud/fbns/marycoredeemer.htm 
Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution of the Church," Chapter 8, The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of god in the mystery of Christ and the Church, II, 56, Pages 380 & 381. Online at: http://www.cin.org/v2church.html
Ibid II, 62, Pages  382 & 383.
"Inside the Vatican," 1997-JUL, Page 23; as cited in Reference 3.
J.J. Russell, "Millions petition pontiff to give Mary new status," The Toronto Star, 2000-DEC-23, Page A20.
"The meaning of Mary: A struggle over her role grows within the church," Newsweek cover story, 1997-AUG-25.
Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution of the Church," Chapter 8, "The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of god in the mystery of Christ and the Church," III, 62. See: http://www.cin.org/v2church.html


Şubat 07, 2009, 09:08:47 öö
Yanıtla #3
  • Ziyaretçi

Santa Claus - St. Nicholas
His origin and history
Origin of Santa Claus:
 4th century: There are two main, incompatible belief systems about St. Nicholas: Among Roman Catholics and conservative Protestants, there is a near universal belief that St. Nicholas of Bari once lived in Asia Minor, and died in either 345 or 352 CE. The Catholic Information Network speculates that he was probably born in Patara in the province of Myra in Asia Minor; this is apparently based on the belief that he later became bishop of Myra in Lycia (now Turkey). 8. He is alleged to have attended the first council of Nicea; however, his name does not appear on lists of attending bishops. He is honored as a Patron Saint in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Sicily, and Switzerland. 2 He is also considered the patron saint of children and sailors.

Many legends and miracles are attributed to him:  When he was an infant, his mother only nursed him on Wednesdays and Fridays; he fasted the remaining days.
 He halted a storm at sea in order to save three drowning sailors.
 During his lifetime, he adored children and often threw gifts anonymously into the windows of their homes.
 His father left him a fortune which he used to help poor children.
 He grabbed the sword of an executioner to save the life of a political prisoner.
 He brought back to life several children who had been killed.
 
 Some religious historians and experts in folklore believe that there is no valid evidence to indicate that St. Nicholas ever existed as a human. In fact, there are quite a few indicators that his life story was simply recycled from those of Pagan gods. Many other ancient Pagan gods and goddesses were similarly Christianized in the early centuries of the Church. His legends seems to have been mainly created out of myths attributed to the Greek God Poseidon, the Roman God Neptune, and the Teutonic God Hold Nickar.  "In the popular imagination [of many Russians] he became the heir of Mikoula, the god of harvest, 'who will replace God, when God becomes too old.' " 8

When the church created the persona of St. Nicholas, they adopted Poseidon's title "the Sailor." They seem to have picked up his last name from Nickar. Various temples of Poseidon became shrines of St. Nicholas. 1 "In medieval England... in tiny sea ports we find the typical little chapel built on an eminence and looking out to sea." 8 St. Nicholas also adopted some of the qualities of "The Grandmother" or Befana from Italy. She was said to have filled children's stockings with gifts. Her shrine at Bari was also converted into a shrine to St. Nicholas.

The Christian church created a fictional life history for St. Nicholas. He was given the name  Hagios Nikolaos (a.k.a. St. Nicholas of Myra). 
 
 10th century: The Christian author Metaphrastes collected and wrote many traditional legends about St. Nicholas.
 11th century: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that during the Muslim invasion of Asia Minor, his remains were transferred to Bari in Italy, where he became known as Nicholas of Bari. 
 19th century: St. Nicholas was superseded in much of Europe by Christkindlein, the Christ child, who delivered gifts in secret to the children. He traveled with a dwarf-like helper called Pelznickel (a.k.a. Belsnickle) or with St. Nicholas-like figures. Eventually, all three were combined into the image that we now know as Santa Claus. "Christkindlein" became Kriss Kringle.

Before the communist revolution, large numbers of Russian Orthodox pilgrims came to Bari to visit St Nicholas' tomb. "He and St Andrew the apostle are the patrons of Russia." 8 
 Present day:   Throughout many countries in Europe, St. Nicholas/Santa distributes gifts to the children on DEC-5, the eve of his feast day. In some countries, the gifts come at another time during Advent or on Christmas eve. 
 In Germany, Weinachtsmann (Christmas man) is a helper of the Christkind (Christ Child)
 In France, P�re No�l distributes the gifts.
 In Russia, under the influence of communism, St. Nicolas evolved into the secular Father Frost. He distributes toys to children on New Year's Eve. 3
 In England, Father Christmas delivers the presents. He is shown with holly, ivy or mistletoe.
 In Scandinavian countries, the ancient Pagan Yule goat has transmuted into Joulupukki - similar to the American Santa. 
 In North America, Santa Claus rules, thanks to a certain brand of soda.
 According to Roman Catholic church, his body is said to have not decomposed. In his shrine in Bari, Italy, it is believed by many pilgrims to exude a sweet smelling odor which cures medical disorders and illnesses. 8 
 
History of Santa in America:
Santa Claus can be traced back for four centuries in the U.S.:

 1600's: The Puritans made it illegal to mention St. Nicolas' name. People were not allowed to exchange gifts, light a candle, or sing Christmas carols.
 17th century: Dutch immigrants brought with them the legend of Sinter Klaas.
 1773: Santa first appeared in the media as St. A Claus.
 1804: The New York Historical Society was founded with St. Nicolas as its patron saint. Its members engaged in the Dutch practice of gift-giving at Christmas. 
 1809: Washington Irving, writing under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, included Saint Nicolas in his book "A History of New York." Nicolas is described as riding into town on a horse.
 1812: Irving, revised his book to include Nicolas riding over the trees in a wagon.
 1821: William Gilley printed a poem about "Santeclaus" who was dressed in fur and drove a sleigh drawn by a single reindeer.
 1822: Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) was a professor of Oriental and Greek literature at Columbia College (now Columbia University). He compiled a two volume Hebrew dictionary, and is believed by many to have written a poem "An Account of a Visit from Saint Nicolas," which became better known as "The Night before Christmas." Santa is portrayed as an elf with a miniature sleigh equipped with eight reindeer which are named in the poem as Blitzem, Comet, Cupid, Dancer, Dasher, Donder, Prancer, and Vixen. Others attribute the poem to a contemporary, Henry Livingston, Jr. Two reindeer have since been renamed Donner and Blitzen.
 1841: J.W. Parkinson, a Philadelphia merchant, hired a man to dress up in a "Criscringle" outfit and climb the chimney of his store.
 1863: Illustrator Thomas Nast created images of Santa for the Christmas editions of Harper's Magazine. These continued through the 1890's.
 1860s: President Abraham Lincoln asked Nast to create a drawing of Santa with some Union soldiers. This image of Santa supporting the enemy had a demoralizing influence on the Confederate army -- an early example of psychological warfare.
 1897: Francis P Church, Editor of the New York Sun, wrote an editorial in response to a letter  from an eight year-old girl, Virginia O'Hanlon. She had written the paper asking whether there really was a Santa Claus. It has become known as the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" letter. 4
 1920's: The image of Santa had been standardized to portray a bearded, over-weight, jolly man dressed in a red suit with white trim. 5
 1931: Haddon Sundblom, illustrator for The Coca-Cola � company drew a series of Santa images in their Christmas advertisements until 1964. The company holds the trademark for the Coca-Cola Santa design. Christmas ads including Santa continue to the present day.
 1939 Copywriter Robert L. May of the Montgomery Ward Company created a poem about Rudolph, the ninth reindeer. May had been "often taunted as a child for being shy, small and slight." He created an ostracized reindeer with a shiny red nose who became a hero one foggy Christmas eve. Santa was part-way through deliveries when the visibility started to degenerate. Santa added Rudolph to his team of reindeer to help illuminate the path. A copy of the poem was given free to Montgomery Ward customers. 6
 1949: Johnny Marks wrote the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Rudolph was relocated to the North Pole where he was initially rejected by the other reindeer who wouldn't let him play in their reindeer games because of his strange looking nose. The song was recorded by Gene Autry and became his all-time best seller. Next to "White Christmas" it is the most popular song of all time. 
 1993: An urban folk tale began to circulate about a Japanese department store displaying a life-sized Santa Claus being crucified on a cross. It never happened.
 1997: Artist Robert Cenedella drew a painting of a crucified Santa Claus. It was displayed in the window of the New York's Art Students League and received intense criticism from some religious groups. His drawing was a protest. He attempted to show how Santa Claus had replaced Jesus Christ as the most important personality at Christmas time. 7



References:
Barbara G. Walker, "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." Harper & Row, (1983) Pages 725 to 726.
"St. Nicholas of Myra," The Catholic Encyclopedia, at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11063b.htm 
"Father Frost," at: http://www.bobandbabs.com/ 
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," at: http://www.stormfax.com/virginia.htm 
"The Claus that Refreshes," at: http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/santa.htm 
"Rudolph," at: http://www.snopes.com/holidays/xmas/
"R Cendella Gallery - Theme: Commentary," at http://www.rcenedellagallery.com
"St. Nicholas of Bari (Fourth Century)," Catholic Information Network, at: http://www.cin.org/nichbari.html


Şubat 07, 2009, 09:10:51 öö
Yanıtla #4
  • Ziyaretçi

ST. VALENTINE AND VALENTINE'S DAY AND RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS

To many people, Valentine's Day is one of those nice warm fuzzy times of the year -- a totally innocuous celebration which honors love and romance. However, the day does celebrate love, and love can be related to erotic and sexual behavior. Some faith groups are quite concerned that sexual activity be strictly limited to within heterosexual marriages. They worry that the sex drive may get out of control, particularly among youth, who they wish to remain celibate until marriage.

Some groups around the world have observed this day in non-traditional, sometimes violent or argumentative ways. Some recent (and one not so recent) conflicts over Valentine's Day are listed below. All but one seem to contain a component of religious conflict:

 1929-FEB-14: St. Valentine's Day Massacre: Perhaps the least traditional celebration of Valentine's Day happened in Chicago. Five men, dressed in police uniforms, lined up seven gang members in a garage and killed them in a hail of bullets. Al Capone was blamed for the Massacre, even though he was in Florida at the time. The crime has never been solved. However, the execution format of this crime shocked the American public. Some blamed Prohibition as the cause of the violence, and began to favor its repeal.
 
 1995-JUN-10: Religion in the public schools: Attorney Craig Parshall delivered testimony before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives. 1 He main area of expertise is civil liberties litigation, and particularly religious liberty cases. He works for the Rutherford Institute, a Fundamentalist Christian legal group. He discussed the case of Jennifer Bachhus, a 3rd grade student in a public school in Wisconsin. "A few days before Valentine's Day she hand-made her valentine in art class along with other students. The assignment was to express what love meant to each of them. Jennifer was a Christian, and she put this message on her card: 'Jesus is what love is all about.' She was told by her teacher that the religious message would have to be taken off, and that this kind of message was illegal in the public schools." This incident clearly violated Jennifer's civil rights under the "free exercise" clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution. The clause involves religion; it states: "Congress shall make no law... prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."  The matter was cleared up quickly after Parshall sent a legal opinion letter to the school principal and the school board. "Jennifer [was] allowed to display her valentine with those of her class- mates." 1 This type of conflict over religious free speech occurs each year in the U.S. -- often at Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas. Many school officials still believe that public schools should be religion-free zones because of the principle of separation of church and state. They don't seem to be aware that the free exercise clause applies to persons of all ages. Students don't lose their civil rights when they enter a public school campus. Fortunately, these conflicts are easy to resolve. A letter of phone call from a lawyer will usually fix the problem.
 
 1998-FEB-12: Same-sex marriage: Gays, lesbians and their supporters celebrated the first "National Freedom to Marry Day." The organizers called for an end to discrimination in civil marriage. The day was "held in support of the struggle to allow same-sex couples access to civil marriage. Gatherings in large and small communities, with symbolic weddings, city hall ceremonies, and other events" were held. 2

Evan Wolfson, marriage project director for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said: "Valentine's Day and Lincoln's Birthday provide the perfect themes for this day -- love and equality. The choice of whom to marry belongs to couples in love, not to politicians or pressure groups." 2

The observance has been repeated annually just before St. Valentine's day, since 1998. There is a religious conflict over "National Freedom to Marry Day."  Organized opposition to equal rights for lesbians and gays in North America -- including same-sex marriage -- comes mainly from conservative Christians.
 
 1998-FEB-4: Valentine's day banned in Hillsborough NJ schools: The public schools in Hillsborough banned the distribution of valentines. They reasoned that Valentine's Day is named after St. Valentine and is therefore too religious. Ted Forstmann of the Becket Fund said: "if you are a nine-year-old boy in Hillsborough, you can still have a crush on a nine-year-old girl. You just can't give her a valentine. Instead, you have to give her something called a 'special person card,' because in Hillsborough, February 14 is now 'Special Person Day'." Things may have since returned to normal. The school board seems to be softening a bit on their anti-Valentine stance. Their Auten Road school includes Valentine's Day in its calendar, and the Sunnymead Elementary School actually holds Valentine's Day parties. Perhaps there is hope. 3
 
 2000-FEB-14: Coalition asks that emergency contraception be sold over the counter: On Valentine's Day, a coalition of 76 organizations petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to permit morning-after pills to be sold over the counter in pharmacies and other stores. Emergency contraception, inaccurately called morning-after pills, either delay ovulation, or prevent conception or inhibit implantation of the fertilized ovum. They prevent pregnancy, if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. If pregnancy has all ready begun, they have no effect.

Also on Valentine's Day, the OB-GYN professional society issued its own statement supporting such access. Bonnie Scott Jones, spokesperson for the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, said: "Because emergency contraception poses no known health risks, has minor side effects, and can be taken in two simple, identical doses without medical supervision, it meets all the criteria necessary for over-the-counter status." 4 The religious connection in this case is due to the opposition of conservative religious groups to abortion and sometimes to contraception. Many define pregnancy as starting at conception. Thus they believe that emergency contraception can be an abortifacient. They generally oppose making morning-after pills more accessible to women.
 
 2001-FEB-12: Right-wing Indian political group ordered to disrupt Valentine's Day: Bal Thackeray, who heads the hard line Shiv Sena political party, ordered activists in his party to disrupt Valentine Day celebrations in Bombay. He considers the celebration to be a conspiracy by foreign companies to sell their products in India. Writing in his party paper, Samna, he stated: "This shameless festival has been celebrated by our young people for the last 10 years, but it is totally contrary to Indian culture. We should focus on good work, good thoughts, love and harmony in our society, and not let such Western culture spoil us." 5
 
 2001-FEB-14: Riots in India: Some Fundamentalist Hindus rioted on Valentine's Day. "Hard-line Hindus, bent on stopping love-struck couples from celebrating Valentine's Day, went on a rampage...in many parts of the country, invading gift shops, burning cards and disrupting festivities." They denounced the holiday as a desecration of the country's traditional culture. 6 "Members of the Shiv Sena party raged through restaurants and stores, smashing plants, tossing chairs, and threatening couples. 'Down with Valentine's Day!' shouted activists. 'We will not allow our culture to be polluted. Long live Hindu culture!' " 7
 
 2001-FEB-16: Police raids in Malaysia: Religious police from the Mawar Merah (a faith-based police enforcement group controlled by the government's Islamic Affairs Department) carried out raids throughout the country on Valentine's Day. 208 couples were arrested. Most of the charges were laid under Malaysia's 1995 Crime Enactment Code. It prohibits "khalwat" -- a situation in which persons other than spouses or blood relations in "any secluded place which may give rise to the suspicion that they are engaged in an immoral act." Sixty couples who were found kissing or cuddling were ordered to go for counseling. Their offenses were not judged to be as severe as those of the remaining couples. 8



References:
"Committee on the Judiciary: Testimony of Attorney Craig L. Parshall. Subcommittee on the Constitution. U.S. House of Representatives, 1995-JUN-10." at: http://www.house.gov/judiciary/266.htm
"Non-Gay and Gay Groups Across Country Observe First National Freedom to Marry Day: 'From Anchorage to Atlanta,' lesbians, gay men, & allies celebrate growing support for equal civil marriage rights on February 12," Lambda Defense and Education Fund, at: http://www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/documents/record?record=183
"Becket Fund Events," at: http://www.becketfund.org/other/events.html
Dave Gilden, "The Fight to Make Morning-After Pills Available Over the Counter; No Rx Required," The Village Voice, at: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0114/gilden.php
"Militant Hindu Valentine threat," BBC News, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/
Article in the Toronto Star, a newspaper in Toronto ON Canada, 2001-FEB-15.
"Weblog: Militant Hindus Rampage Against Valentine's Day," Christianity Today, at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/




 

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