July 27, 2009

How many of us have realised the holy books are always male-centric?

Reading Genesis 2 & 3 now.

I'm surprised, again, that the bible isn't all about frightening you with rules & regulations. This bit here is actually quite sweet:
Genesis 2:24
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

I recall a Muslim friend telling me the Q'uran explicitly spells out that man & woman are equal.

How is it then, that half of the Muslim & Christian world hold the view that a man has the right to lord it over his wife? Just because god "made a woman from the rib taken out of the man" ? Or is it because of this one culprit sentence:
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.
-Genesis 3:16
And because of this, women have suffered. And suffered, and suffered. Throughout the ages.

Why? Because everyone believed these words came from GOD.

A more plausible explanation would be some mysoginist scribe who didn't quite like his mother or sister, decided to add that bit in. Just to spite women. Forever & ever Amen!!

But if you really must believe these are god's words because of your unshakeable 'faith', then why condemn the woman? By right, we should all damn the serpent. No one thought of that? Why?

image © Julie Bell

Because it's more convenient for a man to blame all of life's failures on a woman.

Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life
-Genesis 3:17
So much for men working the earth to feed the family. In places like Indonesia & the (very catholic) Philippines, it's common that the women do all the work (toiling in the fields, factories etc) & take care of the entire family. The men don't do much, other than procreating & then abandoning wife & children. Often the women work in neighbouring (more developed) countries as domestic helpers. The children are looked after usually by their grandmothers.

The point of this is, men have often been the ones to (mis)interpret words of the holy books to their convenience.

There's a reason why women have been denied education for centuries. The moment women learn how to read & write, they start to realise what a farce the 'holy books' have been. They start to question - is this truly what god would have said/wanted?

If god is love and god is fair, why is it the 'rules' in the holy books usually favour/ benefit the men?

Think about it.

An Open Letter to a Muslim Journalist “Spy”

(What is the present Malaysian government going to do with these 2 spies?)

An Open Letter to a Muslim Journalist “Spy”


I just read that recently you and a friend visited one of the churches that I belong to. I was surprised that you had to do it in disguise.. You should have told the Catholic community there that you were coming and we would have given you a grand welcome.

Such was the experience of the MP for Shah Alam, Khalid Abdul Samad from Pas, who was even given a standing ovation when he visited and had a dialogue with the parishioners of the Church of the Divine Mercy in Shah Alam last year.

Some time back I was attending a Mass (Catholic worship) in a Catholic church in Petaling Jaya and was very moved by the presence of a group of Muslim students together with their Muslim professor who had taken them there as part of their “exposure programme”. None of them were converted.

You see we are not an underground church nor do we function in a clandestine manner. Our hearts are on the holy and not on the hideous. We even pray for Najib the PM, though I feel we do not pray enough for the Opposition. We also pray for people like you who do more harm than good to the name of your religion of peace, tolerance and compassion.

Further, what takes place in Catholic churches is highlighted in our in-house newspaper which was quite unknown to the whole population and whose readers formed an insignificant number – until the Government decided to prevent it from using the word “Allah”. Alas, the Herald should thank the Government for making it so well-known today.

Religious Misfits

It is a pity that you have gone through so much trouble to “investigate” under guise what is going on in Catholic Churches or that “Muslim teenagers were being converted to Christianity in Kuala Lumpur 's churches every Sunday”. You should have gone directly to the Special Branch, which sends it officers to visit our churches occasionally. Surely they will be able to tell you that you would be only wasting your time!

As for the information that Muslims are being driven in droves into Catholicism (which you have concluded to be “false” in your article) it has been a fallacious and stale rumour for quite some time, spread by those who have an obsession and paranoia or by the increasing number of lower echelon zealots or “Little Mullah Napoleons” running riot with their brand of religion.

In Feb. 2006, the Mufti of Perak, Haji Harussani Haji Zakaria, claimed that 250,000 Muslims (of which 100,000 were Malays) had apostatized themselves, while 100,000 more had submitted applications to do so. Of course he was unable to substantiate his claim because it was false.

In Nov. 2006, about 500 Muslims protested in front of the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Ipoh following a SMS wherein the same Mufti had disclosed that about 600 Muslim students of the Ungku Omar Polytechnic were to be baptized by national mariner Azhar Mansor!

The church was not converting Muslims but instead was holding the First Holy Communion Mass (one of the rites of initiation to the faith) for 98 Catholic children, many of whom were traumatised by the sight of a threatening mob. Imagine the very unfortunate impression the young Catholics would have got of Islam and of Muslims.

The mufti who had proven to be more of a misfit, was not man enough to own up. He blamed it on an SMS sent out by a woman! Why no action was taken against the mufti, and why the authorities remained mute (on both occasions) over his “mischief” remains but a mystery. You must have been motivated by the mufti.

If indeed the Catholic Church has the conversion of Muslims as its hidden agenda, it would surely have started converting hundreds or even thousands of impressionable young Muslims through its Catholic Mission schools which have existed for as long as 100 years, But no such thing has ever happened.

The Muslim classmates and friends that I had in St Michael’s Ipoh are still good and respected Muslims today, and such was their appreciation and respect for the La Salle Brothers that they made sure that their children in turn would attend a La Salle school or a Convent!


Sadly, your disrespect knew no bounds. You chose to abandon all human and religious decency with impunity as a journalist and a Muslim. Under pretense of being a Catholic you participated in the church service and even partook of the Holy Communion (a white and sacred wafer) strictly meant only for Catholics.

You consumed the white wafer which Catholics hold as very sacred and treat with utmost reverence, and both of you spat out the remnants, photographed it and published the picture in an article entitled "Tinjaun Al Islam Dalam Gereja:Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Murtad" which was published in the May 2009 issue of the Al Islam magazine.


I shudder to think of what could happen if the reverse took place -- if for instance two reporters from the Herald were to enter a mosque disguised as Muslims, partake of the rituals and desecrate something which the congregation considers very sacred.

I can imagine Khairy Jamaluddin leading a group of Umno Youth thugs and burning the effigy of the Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur and even threatening to set fire to a few churches, and Zulkifli Nordin rousing up a mob and invading the Herald’s office and demanding that it be shut down for good; or certain Muslim NGOs insisting that the two journalists be jailed under the ISA!

It makes me wonder how does a “creature” like you exist in this country? Are you the product of the educational, social or even religious system or process created by Bolehland’s leaders (also read as “Umno”) over the past 30 years?

How is it possible that you could blatantly trespass into a place of worship, violate its sanctity, insult its adherents, even publish your transgression and completely ignore the implications and consequences (will there be any)? What gives you such audacity?

It all points to the reality of you being a cog in Umno’s machine – a political party that has politicised religion for its survival by creating unfounded insecurities amongst Muslims and a distrust of other religions. Meanwhile it dominates, dictates, decides and even defines what non-Muslims can and cannot discuss, deliberate on, and display in print.

Najib’s 1Malaysia is really Malaysia in one big mess!

As I join my Catholic brothers and sisters in forgiving you (a Catholic duty we are reminded of!), I also pray that you will feel the full weight of God’s wrath upon you.

I feel sad for the many good Muslims in this country who have a respect for peoples of other faiths, for not only have you insulted Catholics but you have insulted them too. Islam would do well without religious misfits like you!

Martin Jalleh

(15 July 2009)


July 23, 2009

What Did Adam and Eve Look Like?

Re. Genesis 2:14 - Out of the four rivers, two are familiar: Tigris & Euphrates. I remember learning about them in school.

Isn't it interesting now, that they flow through Iraq?

Both the christians & muslims prophesise that the Euphrates will dry up - the muslims go one step further and predict that the dry-up will 'reveal unknown treasures that will be the cause of strife and war.'

It's already happening. It's oil. The treasure is oil. What do you think the never-ending Iraq War is about?

Back to the Tigris-Euphrates rivers. So, my question is, have these rivers been around for 4 billion years? It's highly likely, yes. But did god itself name them so?

I think they were given names (or were already named) at the time the bible was penned.

I don't think god named Adam & Eve either. Remember god is a force of energy. Animal, human and plant Life forms came out of that force of energy (over billions of years okay? Stay focused.)

I think man - quite likely the first storyteller, the first scribe, named them Adam & Eve. If the story that has been passed down tells you that the first male human came from dust, you will name him Dust. Dusty. Dustin. And that's literally what Adam means.

So what did Adam & Eve really look like?
We're clasically conditioned to believe they were anatomically-perfect light-skinned blonde-haired things.

Although thankfully, for diversity's sake, there are some depictions of Adam & Eve looking like Uyghurs.

And some may think A&E were the original hippies.

But stay focused!

The first human beings on this earth looked like apes.
Therefore, Adam & Eve were apes.

The Beginning - Genesis 2

Before we get on to Adam & Eve, i have two things to say about Genesis 2:2
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work...
1. Why is God almost always referred to as a "he" ? Who started this? How do we know if god is male or female?

If it's for simplicity's sake/ ease of reference, why don't we use the word "it"? Same number of letters as 'he', but this isn't Twitter so who's counting.

Or perhaps, just keep repeating the word God instead of using some sexist pronoun...
e.g. "By the seventh day God had finished the work God had been doing; so on the seventh day God rested from all God's work..."

Sounds better much, no?

2. The Creation is conveniently condensed into seven days.

Yes, I know it wasn't exactly done in seven days literally - 1 day could've meant 10 million years.

What I'm curious about is - the 7-day week is somewhat modern, no? (modern as in 586 BCE, compared to the actual 4.54 billion yr old age of the earth.) OK the Jews had a 7-day week... but that is waaaaaaay after The Creation. Whoever decided to pen down history at the time made a momentous decision to follow their own local calendar at that point in time.

If the scribe had been living in a country/era that had a 9-day week, Genesis 2:2 would say the world was created in Nine Days.

We haven't always worked around 7-day weeks throughout history, and even till this day, there are the culturally traditional who may clock by on weeks ranging from four days to twenty days.

What do you think? Do you accept the 7-day creation because it is familiar and convenient?

The Beginning - Genesis 1

So far so good. Sounds about right in accordance with scientific theories of the big bang.

Yes, i do know that it wasn't exactly done in six days. 1 day could've meant 10 million years.

How old is our earth again? ... OK, Wikipedia says it's 4.54 billion years old.

And so god created everything and god saw that everything was Good. I generally prefer to use the more neutral-sounding 'The Creator' or 'The Great Computer in the Sky' than the word 'God'. Somehow the English word "God" is very much associated with christianity. Do you feel the same? For simplicity's sake, i shall set my preferences aside & continue using the word "God" - as we are questioning the christian bible after all.

OK, this is something i've been thinking about for a very long time -

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

So, by pure mathematical deduction - - -

Y'all know the first humans look like this, right?

Therefore - God must look like this.

As humans were made in god's image.

The bible tells us so.

So remember: Everytime u go to church or say your prayers at night -
this is the face
of The Almighty Creator of Heaven & Earth, the one that you pray to for guidance and strength.

Toss out the window all that childhood imagery we were brought up with - somehow or other god was always pictured as a sagely, white-bearded, Caucasian grandfatherly (read: male) figure in flowing white robes.

The other question is -- well, obviously we've evolved since Lucy here. If god had the form of a human being, Do you think that throughout the ages, 'God' would've evolved along with us too?

I know the bible & the q'uran share the same roots. But, i wonder if the Q'uran has the same verse about us being created in the image of God?

Because from what i've gathered, Muslims believe god has no form - god is simply a being. And this, i must say, is in line with my personal belief that The Creator is a purely neutral being -- it is but a formless, raceless, genderless, supreme force of energy.


I was born & bred in a moderate Muslim country, baptised in a catholic church only at the age of two, raised by an atheist father, catholic mother and Taoist grandmother. My grandmother prayed to the gods of the earth, sky, the Guan Yin (whom i wholly believe is one & the same as Mother Mary), and if i'm not mistaken there was also a Kitchen Deity. So what does that make me? Answer: A very accepting person.

It doesn't matter what religion u choose to follow - my family of mixed blessings taught me all religions teach you to do good. All faiths provide you much needed guiding principles on how to be a decent, civilised human being on this earth. I don't think there is any one religion that is superior to any other - although many spend a lot of time & energy (and sometimes shed blood & lose lives?) trying to disprove that.

Every religion has its own 'manual' or holy book. Sometimes people take it too literally & live by every word. My argument is the same for all holy books - how do you know for sure how true it is? Is it really the word of god, handed down by word of mouth and then transcribed into what we now think is the truth & nothing but the truth?

Back to our journey. Let's flip open the bible.

I see the words 'Old Testament'. I'm a little surprised -- i presume this is a Christian (meaning Protestant, i.e. not Catholic) bible, and i'd always been told that Protestants don't believe in the old testament.. That their bible & beliefs only begin with the birth of jesus christ! So Protestants do learn the old testament after all. And rightly so, u can't possibly believe in animals if you didn't learn about the dinosaurs.

By the way, i get the feeling Protestants hate being called Protestants. Did the name come from a group 'protesting' against the catholic church? I was also told the first Protestants came to be because some King of England wanted to marry a second wife and the catholic church at the time wouldn't allow it. So he formed his own church, one that might condone his polygamy perhaps, and thus the first non-catholic Christians i.e. Protestants were born. Is this true?

While I await your discussion on how Protestants came about, I shall begin reading Genesis.

In The Beginning

I only have one bible with me and i'm not going to compare & contrast with different versions. But you can share your version if you think it's supposedly more 'authentic', 'superior' and/or 'accurate'.

Our questioning journey will be based on this 'New International Version' which I have next to me. You'd be pleased to know it was Printed In China and that a portion of the purchase price (I thought all bibles are free?) has been "provided to International Bible Society to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!"

Yes it came with that exclamation mark at the end.

Having said all of that, I admit I sometimes (okay, often) have a tone of sarcasm, but that's just me - let's not forget the ultimate goal here is to question & hopefully 'enlighten' ourselves together. I am no expert in the subject matter.

And also, as a good friend of mine once said, he'd rather people spend time & energy splitting hairs on what the bible says/didn't say etc than trade child pornography on the internet. I couldn't agree more.

So let us begin.