Posted by: Winslie Gomez | 20/02/2008

Religion: Strictly Personal

Or is it or societal, communal, even global?

No doubt this controversy or “storm in a chalice” will echo and reverberate for quite some time, as the divide or unification of spiritual and secular only escalates.

Perhaps I should state at the outset that I am part of the Christian tradition. However, I do not accept literalism.

There are a variety of noises in both the international media and blogosphere, where the concept of religion and society weaves a basket of turmoil.

One such example: Recently had a response to my comment and I quote ”

In contrast, Jesus, the eternal Son of God is risen from the dead, and seated at God’s right hand. His Father has given Him all authority, and thus He rightly lays claim to all nations. And this is wonderful news, for His rule is just, and peaceful, and kind, and liberating, for He is a perfect King who serves His people.

And so it’s madness to want any other god, any other rule, any other law.

I should add that, I did like his title as it was reminiscent of a catchy tune “how do you solve a problem like sharia?

This assuredly is a reference to our good Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams’ Lecture – Civil and Religious Law in England: a Religious Perspective. Please read the whole transcript here.

The Archbishop – the most senior cleric within the Church of England and the head of the international Anglican Communion – discussed the issue of Sharia at a lecture for about 1,000 top lawyers.

The opening sentence of Dr. Williams speech makes it clear, the burden, that the Archbishop feels about the current situation in UK.

The title of this series of lectures signals the existence of what is very widely felt to be a growing challenge in our society – that is, the presence of communities which, while no less ‘law-abiding’ than the rest of the population, relate to something other than the British legal system alone.

“when King Alfred the Great established his Law Code, he recognized that God’s law revealed in Scripture should govern the laws of the Anglo-Saxons.” ( borrowed quote from article by Mathew and quoting another).

“British law has Judaeo-Christian foundations and has been enacted and shaped by Parliament and the courts. The basis of a stable modern democracy is the rule of law – for all – and I believe we have to honour and protect that common standard. Other discussions about reasonable accommodation for religious conscience (including Christian religious conscience) would have to take place very carefully and cautiously, and only if public opinion could engage with it without alarm.”

Where do you stand on the issue of God’s rule on earth?

” Institutional religion is identified with “church,” so that “when we hear the word ‘religion’ nowadays, we think inevitably of some ‘church’ or other; and to some persons the word ‘church’ suggests . . . hypocrisy and tyranny and meanness and tenacity of superstition.”

Is it possible to define the Law of God?

“You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. This is a great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Jesus Christ; Mat. 22:37-40).

Does it depend on your perspective, influenced by birth/education/culture/religious persuasion?



  1. Winslie – as a Malay born in Malaysia, I am a Muslim by default. I went through and completed the religious and Quran reading classes. However, there was a phase in my life when I was in a “doubtful” moments but then I decided that I was and still am a Muslim because I chose to. To me, religion is personal and you have to believe in whatever path you have chosen. I have taken a more practical approach to the religion and not succumb to fanatical intepretations of some overzealous group of people who has nothing else to do.

  2. Hanie
    Thank you for you honest perspective of your own spiritual way of life.

    It saddens me greatly that as a global community we are in danger of destroying the one decent thing we can hold together communally; To learn to appreciate each other, whatever our faith.

  3. Thanks for your comments on my blog.

    It is a storm in a tea cup in the sense that what the Archbishop said will not be carried out, on “British Law and Islam”.

    The use of such settlements will remain voluntary and non binding on parties with no force of law.

    What is of concern, having read his lecture, is that he believes British law should reflect sensibilities of religion to issues that are about human rights for a secular state.

    He did not seem to appreciate the impact of his talk on public debate. But it is a concern when anyone believes they have a trump card over law or public debate about human rights.

  4. Wow

    People who try to use religious scripture to dictate laws in any pluralistic society pose a serious problem.

    I just don’t get it though.

    I have never met any Muslim or Christian or anyone of any faith that told me they seriously believed that human beings were totally unable to tell right from wrong prior to receiving revelation.

    If they were able to tell right from wrong before revelation then revelation is just a help, not really necessary. We can draft laws in a secular fashion and still be righteous, good people.

  5. I believe religion is personal to and I don’t support liberalism either. America needs to wake up and get God in their schools and houses before the Rapture comes.

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