Monday, 27 October 2014

Multi Faith Infiltration

Looking for material that might be useful for our high school’s Remembrance Day event, I happened to chance upon materials published by the Church of Scotland’s Mission and Discipleship Council, designed originally for events remembering the start of World War One in August 1914. 

It makes interesting reading.  What resources does the national church believe would be useful in a Christian service?  There are the usual Bible readings, poems, prayers and sermon outlines. However, in addition there is an eclectic collection of inter-faith materials which the Council believe ministers may wish to read during the vigil.

They contain such beauties as:
“Viswa Kalyaana mantra (A mantra for the good of the entire universe)
Asato maa sad gamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrutyor maa amrutam gamaya
Om shantih shantih shantihi

May we go from the unreal to the Real; from darkness (of ignorance) to the Light (of knowledge); from Death (the sense of limitation) to Immortality (limitlessness, liberation). Om
Peace, Peace, Peace!”

Not to be outdone, in addition to the four pantheistic mantras, Sikhism  is also represented by a speech for the 11th November containing these words of affirmation:

“The Sikh faith is a distinct religion revealed through the teachings of the ten Gurus, the first of whom was Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was born in 1469 CE in the Punjab, India. Guru in the Sikh faith means a Prophet a special messenger sent by God to help humanity. One who takes mortals from darkness to the Divine light.

The Gurus were the Divine Light who conveyed Gurbani (Word of God) and were all spiritually one. The tenth and the last human Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, in 1708 vested spiritual authority in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Holy Sikh Scriptures) and temporal authority in the Khalsa Panth (the community of baptised Sikhs)”

Good to know that the Guru can take us from Darkness to Divine Light and that the Word of God has been so effectively conveyed through the ten Sikh Gurus – I mistakenly thought that it was the Lord Jesus Christ who was the Light of the World, the only Mediator between God and man and the Word incarnate.

But we mustn’t forget our Muslim friends, for the following prayer is provided for use in the service:

‘O Allah, to You belongs all praise
You are the Light of the heavens and Earth and all that is within them.
To You belongs all praise,
You are the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and Earth and all that is within them.
To You belongs all praise.
You are Lord of the heavens and the Earth and all that is within them.
To You belongs all praise
You are The Truth, Your promise is true, your Word is true, and the Day on which we will encounter You is true,
The Messenger and the believers with him, believe in what has been bestowed upon him from on high by his Sustainer…”

The “Messenger” of course is a reference to Mohammed and what has been bestowed upon him is a reference to the Quran (Koran).

Indeed, things become even more curious when a Nepalese mantra is included in Devanagari script with transliteration but no translation!

However, just to protect their backs the document ends with the disclaimer, “The views expressed in these materials are those of the individual writer and not necessarily the official view of the Church of Scotland, which can be laid down only by the General Assembly.”

I must have missed the chorus of complaints from the in-it-to-win-it evangelicals remaining within the denomination.  I know of no official protest from any Church of Scotland minister, Kirk Session, or Presbytery that their church is producing such multi-faith materials or that evangelical givings are being used to subsidise sub-evangelical propaganda. Perhaps their philosophy is that to “win it” it is best to keep silent when biblical truth regarding the exclusivity of Christ and salvation in him alone is undermined.