Does God support Islamic bonds?
By Michael Breen Available at: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2011/03/137_82862.html
When two religions clash, which side is God on?
Take, for example, the recent controversy over Islamic bonds called sukuk. The government wants to introduce them so the country can diversify its sources of funding.
But some Protestant ministers have loudly objected, claiming these instruments benefit terrorists and will lead to the promotion of the devil in Korea. Like a sensitive chap facing a yelling spouse, the government’s strategy in the face of this logic was silence. The handbrake was quietly pulled on the legislation.
When religious views clash like this, you have to ask, what does God think? Is he in favor of the bonds or against them? Or does he prefer a third way, some kind of mutual respect and common sense solution?
Fortunately, beloved readers, your columnist has a personal connection and can pass on the answer to this question.
But, first, an explanation. God is widely believed to be all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving. Thus it is assumed he knows all about bonds, could enforce his will and do so with love.
But, this is not the case. God could in theory be any two of these, but the evidence is clear that he cannot be all three.
He could be all-loving and all-knowing. To achieve this, he would need to operate from the inside, of everyone, acting as each person’s conscience or “higher self,” as it were. But then he would be limited – he’d have no body and only be able to intervene to the extent that the conscience could dominate over ignorance, distractions and temptations. That would make him relatively powerless. That’s an explanation for evil.
Or, he could be all-knowing and all-powerful, but not all-loving. That would explain why he let Gadhafi rule for even a day. Worse than not caring, he might even get a laugh from putting weird words in the leader’s mouth and then watching the result on TV.
Thirdly, he could be all-loving and all-powerful, but just not really know what’s going on. That’s another explanation for the evil in the world. God’s back is turned all the time.
Anyway, the fact is that God doesn’t often take positions on human issues and certainly doesn’t intervene just to have his own way. Human affairs are up to us.
On the sukuk matter in Korea, he certainly has no position. Two reasons: First, like most readers, he doesn’t know what a sukuk is. He could find out without even looking in the dictionary, because he is God. But he can’t be arsed, just as we, his children who are made in his image, can’t be bothered to look up words.
He would take notice if the president were to explain publicly what a sukuk is and how it would benefit the Korean economy, instead of dropping to his knees and changing the subject. Short of this, God will assume there is no passion and commitment and thereby pay little attention.
On that theme, God can see the ministers are passionate. But, and here is the second reason for his indifference, he doesn’t know what they’re actually saying because they’re saying it in Korean, and God, as the Bible pretty clearly says, doesn’t understand Korean.
Let me say here, as this is a newspaper written in God’s language but read by many native Korean speakers, that I appreciate this may be a revelation. It’s not something you’ve heard before in a Sunday sermon.
But it’s there in the good book. God made the world in six days and looked around and said “it is good” and then he rested. That’s as straightforward as can be. He said, “It is good.” These are English words. He didn’t say, “Aigoo, jollyeoyo.” (Korean for “Blimey, I’m sleepy”). It doesn’t say that on the seventh day he went for brunch in Itaewon. The peninsula was empty then.
Later, as we know, God learned the tongues of Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. (He is studying Chinese now). But instead of learning Korean, he decided to send tongue missionaries from Canada here.
That all said, the main reason he has not taken a position is that nobody has consulted him. These ministers are too busy telling us what God thinks for that.
Michael Breen is an author, former foreign correspondent and the chairman of Insight Communications, a public relations consulting company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.