Changing Names of Christian God
The hottest topic of discussion today is none other than the High Court decision allowing the use of the term ALLAH, by Christians, to refer to their God. Since Christians’ God is in the form of TRINITY, I believe the term ALLAH would be used to replace ‘God the father’.
Although Christianity started in Bethlehem, Jesus’s birth place, spread of Christianity in its birthplace was very limited. Surprisingly, the four ‘canonised’ versions of the Gospel do not shed much light on the activities of Jesus’s 12 Jewish DISCIPLES, those present during the LAST SUPPER.
And more surprisingly, after Jesus’s crucifixion, as narrated in the Gospels, early spread of Christianity was attributed more to a character by the name of PAUL, who during the lifetime of Jesus was involved in the PERSECUTION of Christians, but converted to Christianity only after the crucifixion. Paul was a Jew with Roman citizenship, which helped him to spread Christianity to Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire.
Eventually, it was the Romans who adopted Christianity. Paul’s veneration of HUMAN JESUS to the level of ‘Son of God’ was easily accepted by the Romans, whose old religion held similar concepts about God, and ‘Son of God’. It was this Roman links which gave rise to Roman Catholicism. And it was in Rome that the original concept of ONE GOD, as held by the early disciples of Jesus, was transformed to TRINITY CONCEPT, with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Until now, Rome is regarded as the WORLD CAPITAL of Christianity, instead of Bethlehem.
Earlier Bibles did not have the name of Christian God. The name of God was too HOLY even to be pronounced in words. Whenever the word ‘God’ was to appear, it was replaced by a ‘four-letter word’ or’ ‘Tetra-gramatton’. The four words were YHWH. Later Bibles changed this ‘Tetra-grammaton’ to ‘Jehovah’. Thus, Jehovah came to be accepted as the name of Christian God. Infact there is a Christian Sect by the name of Jehovah Witness.
Since Roman Imperial power had spread accross Europe, Christianity followed the same path. European countries were converted to Christianity. With Industrial Revolution in England, and the establishment of the United States, English-version Bibles became an important part of further spread of Christianity. Its interesting to note that, English-version Bibles do not mention either ‘Tetra-grammeton’ or ‘Jehovah’. Instead, word ‘God’ replaced the earlier terms as reference to God.
And, in countries of South-east Asia, where Bahasa Melayu/Indonesia is spoken by about 300 million people, the Christians are seeking to use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to Christian God. They have produced Bibles in Bahasa Indonesia with words Allah, but they find it hard to penetrate Malaysia, where the Federal Constitution, while allowing freedom of religion, prohibits any form of preaching religions other than Islam to the Muslims. They have TEMPORARILY succeeded in overcoming the obstacles, by the decision in the High Court. However, the decision may still be overturned by higher courts.
Anyway, its quite MIND BOGGLING that the Christians do not seem to have FIXED NAME for their God. The name seems to keep on changing….