4 October, 2022

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Would Jesus Have Supported The Aragalaya?

By Leonard Jayawardena –

Leonard Jayawardena

In two comments I posted under a recent article in the Colombo Telegraph on the subject of the Government’s use of the PTA against the Aragalaya protesters, I pointed out, without commenting on specific cases of arrest under the Act, that, contrary to the author’s position, the Aragalaya comes within the scope of the Act as per the wording of its Preamble and that his attempt to portray the Aragalaya as an innocent, purely non-violent protest movement was based on ignorance of facts on the ground or disengenuity.

Responding to my comments in his characteristically diatribe style, a regular commenter on CT articles asserted, among many other things, that the moral lens through which I viewed the Aragalaya was shaped by my “Christian upbringing and faith.” This assertion, which is false, in fact bears no relevance either to my comments or the views expressed in my articles. I grounded my opposition to the Aragalaya in my earlier articles in certain premises (e.g., that the Aragalaya is based largely on falsehoods and that it has subverted the rule of law) and if they are correct, then all it takes is common decency and morality for one to accept my position on the Aragalaya. At no point in my publicly expressed views have I drawn upon biblical Christian morality in support of my opposition to this protest movement though that higher morality can provide additional reasons for such opposition.

The commenter then went on to argue that some use of force in the cause of the Aragalaya is not incompatible with the example of Jesus, pointing to the Gospel passages that record Jesus casting out traders from the temple in Jerusalem.

I saw his comments too late to reply within the five-day period allowed for comments but I think that is all for the good because an article provides more scope to better answer the question of whether the Gospel pericope of Jesus driving out the traders in the temple provides biblical justification to Christians for the use of force in the Aragalaya. It also affords an opportunity to answer the following interesting hypothetical question, which forms the main burden of this article: Would Jesus have supported the Aragalaya? The latter also has considerable topical significance in that a number of local professing Christian churches came out in support of the Aragalaya and even issued official statements to that effect. A certain long-haired and bearded Christian cleric (trying to emulate Christ in his own way?) was even a kingpin of the protest movement. Was Jesus on their side? (Spoiler alert: No!)

A good place to start the discussion is to briefly look at the political situation in Israel in Jesus’ day.

The political situation in Israel in the time of Jesus

The Romans under the general Pompey conquered Israel in 63 B.C. after ending a civil war between two rival factions of the Hasmoneans, a ruling Jewish dynasty. It was a part of the Roman empire in Jesus’ day (1st century AD). Rome was the fourth world power to rule that land (after Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece). Rome controlled its territories either through client (or “puppet”) kings or by governors supported by the army. At the time of Jesus’ birth (c. 4 B.C.), the whole of Jewish Palestine was ruled by Herod the Great (reigned 37–4 B.C.), an Idumaean raised as a Jew. He set up a brutally repressive regime to maintain strict control of the people, both in Jerusalem, the religious centre of Judaism, and the countryside. Like other dependent native rulers, Herod was expected, among other duties, to collect taxes for the empire. The Romans did not hesitate to use military violence to enforce payment of tribute. The huge expenses for Herod’s grandiose building projects, those of his court, etc., too, had to be borne by his subjects in the form of high and rigourously collected taxes. The dissatisfaction of the people erupted in periodic insurrections and unrest at a relatively smaller scale. However, at Herod’s death in 4 B.C. the distress and discontent that built up under his repressive rule burst out in revolt in every major district of his realm, leading to a brutal reconquest by the Romans under the general Varus.

After Herod’s death (4 B.C.) his kingdom was divided between his three sons (Archelaus, Herod Antipas and Philip). Archelaus, who received Judea, Samaria and Idumea, tried to imitate his fathers style of rule and was deposed by the Roman emperor Augustus in A.D. 6 because of persistent protests from Judeans and Samaritans, and the territories he ruled were transformed into an imperial province with a governor to govern it. During Jesus’ public career, the Roman governor (also called “prefect”) was Pontius Pilate (ruled AD 26-36). The Roman governors inflamed the people by theft on a grand scale and by insults to their religious traditions and insensitivity to their needs. It was into such a dissatisfied society that Jesus was born and to which he addressed his message of reform and renewal.

Jesus eschewed politics

A recurrent theme running through the Old Testament, the scriptures of the Jews, is the promise of a saviour who would deliver Israel from the oppression of their enemies and this saviour is modeled on the personage of King David, the second king of Israel (1000-961 [or 965] B.C.). Soon after the death of Solomon, David’s son and successor, the united kingdom of Israel divided into a northern and a southern kingdom. The former was subjugated and exiled to Assyria in 721 B.C. and the latter to Babylon in 587 B.C. The prophets looked forward to the day when Yahweh (personal name of the God of the Old Testament) would intervene to deliver his people from captivity in Assyria and and Babylon and return them to their homeland to be ruled by a king of the line of David. Yet, historically, only the southern kingdom (the Jews) returned to their homeland under the Persian king Cyrus beginning in 538 B.C., and they remained a vassal state of Persia. Many Old Testament were literally unfulfilled and can never ever be literally fulfilled now.

The Jews of Jesus’ day expected a political messiah who would deliver the people from Roman occupation. That this was the view even of Jesus’ own disciples right to the end of his public ministry is evident in the disappointment two of them expressed to the resurrected but incognito Jesus on the road to Emmaus: “[W]e had hoped that he [Jesus] was the one to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21).

But the redemption Jesus came to bring was spiritual in nature. He said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not from this world. If [it were], then my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews” (John 18:36). In so saying, he implies that fighting has a place in the affairs of this world. He preached a message of deliverance from not political bondage but bondage to sin. When he proclaimed, “The kingdom [=reign] of God is at hand,” he was talking about a spiritual victory of the kingdom of God over the kingdom of this world and a spiritual redemption of his people. Once when he performed a miracle (multiplication of fish and bread), the people tried to take him by force and make him king but he rejected worldly kingship (John 6:15). At this time the popular masses were apt to see in every wonder worker and preacher a prospective ruler and saviour, a king and messiah.

The historical Jesus is not the Jesus of liberation theology, a Roman Catholic movement which arose in the late 20th century in Latin America and seeks to apply religious faith by aiding the poor and oppressed through involvement in political and civic affairs. This theology probably influenced the clergy taking part in the Aragalaya protest movement. While Jesus taught and practised helping the needy and the poor, his idea of liberation was exclusively liberation from personal sins and both the rich and the poor needed it. When he announced in the synagogue in Nazareth “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives” (Luke 4:18), he meant the poor in spirit (cf. Luke 6:20; cf. Matthew 5:3) and the captives of sin.

His disciples shared Jesus’ view of his kingdom. They understood physical Israel to typify the New Testament Church and applied the Old Testament prophecies relating to the deliverance of Israel from enemy nations to the Church in a spiritual sense. Imperial Rome became the new Babylon (1 Peter 5:13; Revelation 17). Indeed the very word used in the Greek New Testament for the Christian Gospel, euangelion, is derived from certain Old Testament passages via the Septuagint, the old Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, in which exiles in Babylon are promised deliverance from their captivity (Isaiah 52:7; 61:1). Christians are said to have been rescued from the power of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13). They are citizens of another kingdom (Philippians 3:20).

Though not belonging to this world, Christians are exhorted to be subject to the governing authorities and to obey the laws of the land (except when they conflict with the higher laws of God [Acts 4:19]), including the payment of taxes (Romans 13:1-7). When Christ’s enemies tried to trap him with a trick question regarding payment of taxes, he said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mattthew 22:21).

The Jesus of the Gospels and his first century followers would not have taken part in any political struggle to oust rulers and governments even if there were just cause for it by worldly standards. Then how much less would they have done so when the premises on which such a political struggle were based were false as is the case with the Aragalaya, as explained in my two earlier articles!

The Aragalaya incompatible with Jesus’ teachings of non-violence

Jesus taught both non-violence and pacifism in the Sermon on the Mount. He set aside the old axiom “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Deuteronomy 19:21) with the words “Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also…” (Matthew 5:38-39). “Turning the other cheek” is not to be taken literally, for Jesus himself did not do that when he was struck on the face when he was standing before Annas, a former high priest (John 18:22-23). Jesus forbade Peter to use his sword at a moment in human history when its use was most justified (John 18:10 and para.). The Bible, the source of the Christian faith, does recognize, however, that governments have divinely sanctioned authority to punish evildoers (Romans 13:1-4; cf. Genesis 9:6); it is just that the true disciples of Jesus, who follow the higher laws of Jesus, have no part in that. In the book of Revelation (written during the reign of the Roman emperor Vespassian [reigned A.D. 69-79]) Christians are warned that they will come under divine judgement if they resort to violence to resist the persecution they were to suffer under the emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96, Revelation 13:10).

Jesus’s teachings also include pacifism. When he said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…,” he meant in context national enemies, who in Jesus’ day were the Romans.

Though continually marketed as a “peaceful” movement, the Aragalaya—the real thing, not the one viewed through rose-tinted glasses—undeniably had within it some elements of violence as evidenced by physical attacks against Government politicians, street lynchings and burning of houses, unlawful, forcible entry of state buildings, etc., which runs counter to Jesus’ teachings of non-violence. The protesters who did not directly partake of these crimes failed to condemn them, thus indicating they were with these criminals in spirit.

The story of Jesus cleansing the temple

The Synoptic Gospels, i.e., Matthew, Mark and Luke, report Jesus driving out traders and buyers from the temple in Jerusalem in the last week of his earthly life (called the “passion week”). According to Matthew 21:12-13,

Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!”

What were sold and bought were animals, incense, oil, wine, and other requisites for sacrifice in the temple. Money changers were needed because Roman coins and other forms of currency were not acceptable to buy the above and to pay the annual temple tax, which had to be in the Hebrew coin. They received a commission for this exchange of currency. All this commerce took place in an area of the temple called the Court of the Gentiles, for the use of which the priests probably charged a rent of some kind from the traders.

This story is remarkable for the reason that it presents Jesus acting in a manner at least seemingly uncharacteristic of his life and own teachings. What sort of force was used in casting out the traders and the buyers?

The fourth Gospel (traditionally ascribed to John) also has a similar account but placed early in Jesus’ public ministry (John 2:13-16). It is unlikely that Jesus carried out two cleansings of the temple at two different times (though some believe this to be the case) and it is best to take Synoptics and the fourth Gospel as relating the same story but in a different chronological order (a phenomenon not unknown in the Gospels). According to the fourth Gospel, Jesus uses a whip to drive out the sheep and the oxen, with the probable result of their owners following them out of the temple. He orders the sellers of doves, who are still around, to take their birds out. This is because the birds were kept in cages and Jesus could not directly put them out. He overturns the tables of the moneychangers, which sends them scampering for their money and then out of the temple.

Some Bible translations of John 2:15 have Jesus using the whip on both the traders and the animals. But the Greek grammar involved, the flow of the narrative and logic are in favour of Jesus using the whip only on the animals. For an in-depth treatment of this verse, which includes a discussion of the Greek, the readers are recommended to read my article “John 2:15: He drove out all, both the sheep and the oxen.” [Link in Note below.]

The merchants were performing a legitimate, necessary and useful service to worshippers at the temple. Then why did Jesus put them out? The temple was divided into a number of sections. The innermost section was called the Most Holy Place, into which only the High Priest could enter and that too only once a year. The merchants had set up shop in the outermost section called the Court of the Gentiles, beyond which non-Jews, who would have included many proselytes, could not go on pain of death. Originally, the commerce had taken place outside the temple walls but with time the merchants had been allowed to set up their stalls inside the Court of the Gentiles. Jesus words “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace [Greek, “house of emporium”]” show that he thought that these traders had no right to be there. The traders crowding out the Gentiles who had travelled from afar to be present in the temple, the stir and bustle inseparable from such traffic and the wrangling and the crude language that would have accompanied it would have rendered the sacred place unsuitable for its purpose.

In Matthew 21:13, cited above, Jesus combines two divine utterances ascribed to Yahweh in Isaiah 56:7 (“my house shall be called a house of prayer”) and Jeremiah 7:11 (“Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?”), by which he intimates to the traders that their presence displeased Him for whom the temple existed and that divine will was on his side. In contrast, the Aragalya protesters ousted a democratically-elected president through coercion in subversion of the rule of law.

No violence against the persons of the traders was used by Jesus in putting them out of the temple. The orders issued by him to the traders with a look of authority in his face, the fact that he had both God and the crowd that had gathered in the temple on his side, and the consciousness of wrongdoing on the part of the traders basically sufficed to effect their exit from the temple, where they had no right to be. It was different with the Aragalaya. Coercion, intimidation and actual or threatened harm to persons and property, illegal entry and occupation of state buildings were part of the means employed at times in the protest movement to achieve its ends.

Conclusion

The answer to the question that forms the subject of this article should now be clear. At a time when expectation of a political messiah among his fellow Jews was widespread against the backdrop of a Roman occupation, Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom and rejected worldly kingship. Even his disciples, who initially shared this view, had to be disabused of this expectation eventually. The Aragalaya is a political struggle that seeks to effect political change and that, too, extra-constitutionally, and the Jesus of the New Testament most certainly would have taken no part in it. Further, as has been shown above, the Gospel story of Jesus driving out traders from the Jerusalem temple provides no justification to Christians to use force or violence in the cause of the protest movement called the Aragalaya (which they should not be involved in in the first place if biblical doctrines and precepts are strictly adhered to!).

Note

A detailed discussion of John 2:15 can be found in my article “John 2:15: He drove out all, both the sheep and the oxen” in Original Christianity.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    LJ, other than glancing did not read complete. Your thoughts on Aragalaya was biased and to a degree politically motivated. I am not an expert to comment on any religion. But definitely no religion condone “victimizing the victims”. You said corruption was never an issue with Rajapaksas in getting IMF loans. But IMF staff level report spells out “CORRUPTION” in their very first paragraph. UN and UNHR recommendations for Lanka is to consider taking action against corruption, as in other serious crimes. Aragalaya has nothing to do with religion. I sincerely advise you to keep Aragalaya away from any religion. If you are so desperate leave Aragalaya out ( you are incapable of writing without bias) and continue with your thoughts on your own religion. Hope you are not exploiting religion, now that you have failed convincing readers in your previous attempts.

    • 7
      6

      “I grounded my opposition to the Aragalaya in my earlier articles in certain premises (e.g., that the Aragalaya is based largely on falsehoods and that it has subverted the rule of law”
      I am not a great fan of the current Aragalaya (which one? Lahiru W’s / Damitha’s / Danish Ali’s / Pathum Kerner’s, or even Dr. DJ’s Aragalaya?). But to say that the Aragalaya is based on falsehoods is, to put it mildly, ridiculous. I am not one of those who believe that the crowd at Galle Face came there in pursuit of high moral principles. They came there because they were running out of food, fuel and electricity . They were sick of spending days in queues, in some cases dying in them. They were sick and tired of the obvious incompetency of the Gota regime and its disastrous fertilizer policy. There WERE real causes behind the Aragalaya.
      To its credit, the present regime, because it isn’t idiot-driven, has figured this out and produced (even temporary) solutions to keep everyone except the die-hards off the streets.

      • 10
        0

        OC, I agree. As you say there is two ways to view Ranil, either criticize, instead saying “situation today would have been unimaginable, if Rajapaksas were still around hanging to power “( misery, suffering, violence, anarchy …..)

      • 7
        3

        I don’t know why articles are written and why some people comment. I fear that it’s become a habit, almost, with me. Has it become entertainment? I got here because we can hardly live in Lanka any more; our society is in dire straits. Corruption and the illegitimacy of the government are so “obvious”!
        .
        My background is Christian, and I know too much about it. All these religions are man-made and should serve us. I’m sure that Leonard will strongly repudiate what I have stated!
        .
        For about three weeks I focussed on what was happening in the UK, although I have never been outside Asia. Their system elected a horrible Prime Minister, but the Conservatives will definitely be replaced at an election about 18 months from now – that is the way the thinking of the people goes. The Queen died a day after she met Prime Ministers, outgoing and incoming. The monarchy plays no part whatever in politics.

      • 5
        3

        Old Codger:

        “But to say that the Aragalaya is based on falsehoods is, to put it mildly, ridiculous… They came there because they were running out of food, fuel and electricity…They were sick and tired of the obvious incompetency of the Gota regime and its disastrous fertilizer policy. There WERE real causes behind the Aragalaya.”

        That the people took to the streets in their thousands because they were “hit on the stomach” (badata waduna), as a camping disabled soldier I spoke to at Gotagogama put it, is clear. In fact most people would not bother to protest as long as they were well fed and leading at least a reasonably comfortable existence. While economic mismanagement leading to a grave economic crisis might lead to calls for resignation of incumbent rulers, more than that is required to account for the way the Aragalaya turned out and the strength of public feeling against the Government and the Rajapaksas in particular. To any one who had his eyes open it was clear that the masses attributed the economic woes mainly to a corrupt President and Government. I have elaborated on this point in my earlier articles and I am surprised that you should take exception to it only now.

        • 3
          5

          L.J,
          It is you that said that the Aragalaya is based largely on falsehoods. That is what I take exception to. The shortages and mismanagement, as I pointed out, were real enough.
          I wouldn’t trash the original Aragalaya as some sort of conspiracy, but I think the current “Aragalaya ” is something altogether different.

          • 2
            3

            Old Codger:

            I stand by my statement “the Aragalaya is based largely on falsehoods,” which were detailed in my earlier articles. To repeat, these falsehoods are (a) the current economic crisis is due to a corrupt President and Government (both now replaced); (b) the false assumption behind the name Nodealgama, the protest site in front of the Temple Trees; and (c) the Aragalaya is non-partisan.

            You saw both of my earlier articles and even posted comments under them. You have then no excuse for misunderstanding the statement “the Aragalaya is based largely on falsehoods.”

            • 4
              2

              Leonard,
              “You saw both of my earlier articles and even posted comments under them.”
              Yes, but where have I indicated that the Aragalaya was based on false premises? I did agree with some of your other ideas.
              How can both these statements of yours be true?
              “To any one who had his eyes open it was clear that the masses attributed the economic woes mainly to a corrupt President and Government” and:
              ““the Aragalaya is based largely on falsehoods.”
              Do you mean that Gota was not corrupt? I wouldn’t know, but he certainly was inept.

        • 9
          0

          Didn’t you call Aragalaya immoral ??? Is that based on your personal MORALITY scale / standards or your relegious understanding???

        • 9
          0

          “The masses attributed the economic woes mainly to a corrupt President and Govt” What more you need to account for the way the Aragalaya, turned out and the strength of public feeling against govt and the Rajapaksas in particular. Are you insinuating some kind of conspiracy in the name of religion? The UN, UNHRC, IMF, WB , U.S Senate, many of the member countries , currently in session in Geneva
          one million or so who participated in Aragalaya have no doubts whatsoever, except for few privileged and entitled Lankans, who never missed a single meal, except for religious reasons / lent or lose weight. Those who question , have never experienced or incapable of understanding the suffering of many going without meals, not having adequate food to feed children/family, hunger, poverty, feelings of helplessness/hopelessness/worthlessness, despair – – WB says more than 6 million needs some form of humanitarian assistance and you say that is not good enough for Aragalaya to protest. To my understanding Jesus took the pain and suffering of his followers and here you are questioning ” would Jesus have supported the Aragalaya”. You are neither close to your God nor the people.

    • 7
      2

      Thanks, chiv.
      .
      PART ONE
      .
      I saw your response
      a few days ago, when I hadn’t read the article at all. Now I’ve taken a quick look. I have seen articles by Leonard before. Positives: well written and the author is clearly identified, and so takes responsibility.
      .
      He starts by referring to comments on “a recent article in the Colombo Telegraph”, but doesn’t link us to it. This article next justifies the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act against the Aragalaya. That Act itself should never have been. If you can spend close to two hours, here’s a discussion, in English, that has taken place the day prior to the posting of this article:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK_moVe2YWM
      .
      There you have Dr Jehan Perera, a regular author here. We had been faulting him for writing too tamely about a year ago, but many began to note an “improvement” a few months ago. He says that he himself had participated in the Aragalaya. Then there’s “a girl” named Swasthika Arulingam, a Trade Unionist, who says that she was arrested under PTA, before the Aragalaya, and then suggests an explanation that damns our entire society. Also a young Dr Gehan Gunatillaka, a lawyer, also knowledgeable and outspoken. Moderator, Sharian Benedict, also young, contributes well.

    • 7
      3

      PART THREE
      .
      Oh, dear!
      .
      I find that there’s been a mix up. A new comment by “my friend” old codger, and my PART TWO has ended seeming to be a response to his comment.
      .
      I hadn’t expected that when I began writing.
      .
      But this is the point, dear anonymous old codger. We’re suffering so much that we shouldn’t be using the misery of twenty-two million Lankans to show our cleverness. It is immoral for Ranil to be anything other than a “Temporary President”. And you support him!
      .
      We may agree, oc, that religions are man-made, but don’t you believe that we humans have, by now developed a system of morality? Without that we have no right to lord it over the rest of the life-forms that have evolved on this planet.
      .
      So all our highfalutin claims amount to nothing. I was about to also mention the horrible Ukraine War. It all proves that we are “the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth.”
      .
      I always thought that we should try to be a little better than that.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

    • 7
      2

      My dear sensitive readers, yesterday was another Boxing Day for some of us, however, our self-proclaimed SINHALA_MAN seems to have conquered adolescence. Not 2 or 3 but 20 or more comments rained from him, reacted akin to tsunami waves, keeping him awake, tied to the computer, bombarding the CT comment fields one after the other… I hope the “weird commenter” could finally find his happiness.

      As humans, we can always correct ourselves, if we can see it again, where we went wrong. Unfortunately, our nation is filled with millions of “clones of Sinhala_Man and JVP Nalin Godhewa or such” people who don’t think twice. He never forgave anyone, and behaved like a “stupid but fearless honey badger.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c36UNSoJenI

      I thank Mr SJ for his unbiased comment. I have never agreed with him, but his constructive comments made this CT a fruitful platform. Next to OC, Manel and a handful of others, I am afraid I did not find this platform a place that would be an eye opener to many. That was the reason me to be away from CT ….


      tbc

      • 7
        2

        Continuing,–
        Now let’s turn to LJ’s article. First of all thanks for your current piece.
        If the “struggle” had been in its original state, Jesus would certainly have supported it. I have no doubt about it. But unfortunately the so-called “artists” were hijacked by “media thugs (Sepal Amarasinghe, Suda Thilakasiri, Apple Kade Nuvan, Konara and others) to dilute its message with “vulnerable dogs”. All this was funded by the wealthy citizens of Colombo. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ඌරන් කුකුණ පඳුරට පහර දෙන විට, වල්ලික්කුලෝ ගස් මුදුනේ සතුටින් සිහින දකිමින් සිටින බව My grandmother said. However, when they were broken, the fish would come out of those hidden thickets to be easily caught by the greedy birds, so in retrospect the result of the struggle was no different from what was said before.

      • 3
        2

        Dear “leelagemalli”,
        .
        Please note these facts. You’ve told me about “Nalin Godhewa” on 15th, some time. Fine leave it to be judged by the public. I remain a firm supporter of the NPP, but I can’t vouch for all supporters.
        .
        Then, on the 16th, at 01.48 I got this link. Other readers: This is probably not worth listening to.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeGRVwEeeHY
        .
        I got an email at 02:19, saying:
        .
        “I am sorry, He should be someone called NALIN HEWAGE
        .
        It also tells me that “Amrit must be using you. You are naive and fall for every easy trick”. That doesn’t bother me.
        .
        You continue: “OC was repeatedly bullied by you.” You could put it that way. “He is not biased. He is anti Rajapaksa like me and HT”. Panini Edirisinhe of Bandrawela has now begun to identify deft and subtle strokes aimed at misleading; and include me also in the “anti-Rajapaksa club.”
        .
        The video on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_badger was fascinating. Another:
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvlalDNxccw
        .
        Thanks. What’s the Sinhalese name? However, I don’t want to be compared to one. And 14 emails in two days is too many.
        .
        But you’re still a dear, dear friend!

  • 1
    3

    Jews expected political messiah and rejected Jesus, using the house of prayer for buying and selling animals and doing corrupt profiteering that we see even now. He allowed non agenda children to offer praise to him. He brought heaven’s spiritual parliament called kingdom rule of God into the earth, to revive, replace, restore sinful earthly parliament. Those who accepted him, had their sins forgiven, bodies healed, and demonic presence cast out as his death paid the price and divine exchange of his resurrection was gifted. No human can get rid of his own sins by his own will. Need to accept the creator’s plan and purpose for eternal life in his presence, away from the burning in hell of the devil. Pray “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

  • 6
    0

    Would Jesus Have Supported The Aragalaya?

    The sayings happened

    1. Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!

    2. Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

  • 3
    0

    Does it matter?
    The Rajapaksas didnt support it…who is Jesus they might ask
    Ranil_W supported it then he did a U turn when he became President
    Maha Sangha didn’t support it – They say Buddha would not have supported it

  • 1
    4

    Correction of word omission:

    The last sentence under the subheading “Jesus eschewed politics” should be amended by inserting the word “prophecies” after the words “Many Old Testament” to read as follows:

    “Many Old Testament prophecies were literally unfulfilled and can never ever be literally fulfilled now.”

  • 8
    1

    Dear Mr. LEONARD JAYAWARDENA,
    Thank you for your presentation of the background and the teachings of Jesus .I hope many will take time to read it.
    I was very encouraged by it.
    I am a 75+ old man.
    The video below describes me best:
    https://youtu.be/C_lV6kXpABY?list=PL3e3K-Et7YMKdj4wNHX9K95HcN4sMqPkt

    Vijaya Lekamge

    • 7
      2

      Dear Vijaya,

      It’s great of you to comment; but see what’s happened to me!
      .
      When I decided to say something, there were only three comments. And now, when I have finished submitting a three-part comment (in the wrong order!), I find that the number has swelled to seven, and that my own comments (now becoming four comments) will not be seen by anybody until evening, at earliest.
      .
      I’d better get back to reading Thomas Hardy:
      .
      https://literariness.org/2019/04/08/analysis-of-thomas-hardys-novels/
      .
      But that, too, would be meaningless, especially considering where I live!
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

  • 6
    0

    It now transpires that I’m the godless guy that Leonard was talking about, because he says is that it was comments made by me that caused him to write his article:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sri-lankas-pta-the-anti-terrorism-law-that-promotes-terrorism/
    .
    Have no fear! It has become clear that few readers would go beyond the crudest utilitarianism – as outlined in the first minute of this four minute video:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL7Pt-NHraU
    .
    See the general lack of principle displayed here; comments up to yesterday:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/is-unelected-president-ranil-a-vicious-hypocrite/

    Here are some thoughts for readers to ponder tomorrow:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiHu4ZVQ9Jw
    .
    Go on! I hope that you will be brought up short by the Aragalaya: 3 minute video
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiHu4ZVQ9Jw
    .
    Immanurel Kant:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=284PIEhQ-Xg – 4 minutes
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=284PIEhQ-Xg – 10 minutes – another cartoon
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bIys6JoEDw
    .
    Applications of the Categorical Imperative: 25 minutes:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-j1uKrN-aU
    .

    How valid are these to you? 2 minutes
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBprcN6zYgY
    .
    All the videos by that man in chronological order:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/user/zontulfilmsltd/videos

  • 5
    0

    Dear Panini,
    Nice to meet again on CT,where we first met.
    From the beginning , you took a stand for the oppressed, the Tamil speaking people of this country
    who suffered, purely due to a language.The PTA was used against them and I think, most Sinhalese thought that it was o.k., or did not realize that in the hands of people like ” me “,who are described in the Hebrew Scriptures, about 2700 years ago,”The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”could be disastrous.Now it’s used against “me”and I am objecting.The poor are in a mess and the situation is getting worse for them.
    The rich are getting petrol, gas and they think the aragalaya should stop.They can go back to their normal life and the aragalay is disturbing this.
    I honestly cannot see a solution and I will stop commenting.
    Love
    Vijaya Lekamge

    • 4
      0

      Dear Vijaya,
      .
      How easy it is to communicate with you! I don’t have to think carefully about shades of meaning, and nuances; I can just write as I think, now knowing that I can sent you a correction via many different types of electronic communication.
      .
      I exerted myself so much on my comments here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/is-unelected-president-ranil-a-vicious-hypocrite/
      .
      that during the daylight hours “yesterday” (Friday) I don’t think that I managed to post anything.
      .
      There were some articles where I have altogether missed commenting on; the writers are known to me. Some I have met; others i have spoken to. And when one uses something like WhatsApp, and can see one another, then it is almost as good as meeting.
      .
      However, what is really necessary is to meet and get to know people. As you say, we cannot afford to cut ourselves off from the poorest. They do so many things, without which we wouldn’t be able to attend to the so-called intellectual things.
      .
      I’ll be back, “insha Allah”.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

      • 1
        0

        Leonard,
        .
        a word here about “insha Allah“.
        .
        I’ve not globe-trottedmuch. Worked in two Islamic countries. Oman, and the Maldives:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-maldivian-parliamentary-elections-2019-where-a-happy-result-can-be-predicted/
        .
        As you see, I still know the politics of that country very well; however, I couldn’t have predicted so accurately without the help of a Maldivian friend who has turned up in Lanka just yesterday. That’s digression, here’s another! I also have a Belgian Jew as neighbour. So I know the Abrahamic faiths quite well.
        .
        When a Muslim says “insha Allah“, that means it’s unlikely! I’m also entranced by the two possible intonations of “Hamdulla!”. Resignation, or Joyous Thanks! But their usual dogmatism is taxing.
        .
        A thought: the three religions are monotheistic. So they all worship the same God by different names.
        .
        I, too see Christianity as essentially Pacifist. I discovered Tolstoy’s thoughts as a schoolboy. Pretty extreme! That appealed. “An enemy sets fire to my house”: don’t douse the flames. I’d be resisting evil!”
        .
        There’s greater realism among the Quakers:
        .
        https://quaker.org/legacy/minnfm/peace/
        .
        Many links from there. Most of them work, a few don’t.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe

  • 7
    0

    LJ,

    Very interesting article on the times of Jesus. Well rationalized too.

    Yet I would say that it is the IMF that can be compared to the Romans. They built roads and other essential services, and created a global monetary and trading system system to enhance livelihoods. The people were better off and modernized through its taxation.

    It was the Jewish tax to uphold overblown cultural dictates that the people were mostly agitating against – comparable to the present cum former Lankan government.

    Jewish hierarchy, the Scribes and Pharasees, had rigid control over local law, industry, and social status that did not sit well with the Jewish Masses (exactly like the Rajapaksas and Ranil government).

    Jesus did well to chase and whip out of the temple, the commercial system they had created and were operating by, and making gross profits over.

    • 3
      4

      Ramona,
      “Romans…….built roads and other essential services, and created a global monetary and trading system system to enhance livelihoods. “
      Really? Global? I am totally ignorant about what they did in China or Jamaica for example. Please enlighten.

      • 4
        0

        Old codger,

        Isn’t it obvious that the word global means, for its time…..the known world at the time according to historical records? Hmm, I wanted to write it out that way, but it was too wordy, and I was too lazy to write it too clearly, feeling that anyone reading it would have filled in the context…..anyway great that you couldn’t figure it out so I can explain.

        • 1
          3

          Ramona,
          “wanted to write it out that way, but it was too wordy,”
          Never leave loopholes . You never know who might get in.

  • 3
    2

    One who participates in the Comments section of CT has to brace himself against the possibility of being driven insane by the sort of comments that he has to interact with there. I regret to say that I usually perform that unhappy task being mindful of Proverbs 26:4-5.

    Old Codger, you are one of the more intelligent commenters on CT but yet you disappoint me this time.
    My statement “To any one who had his eyes open it was clear that the masses attributed the economic woes mainly to a corrupt President and Government” in its context means “…the masses FALSELY attributed the economic woes to….”

    Your original statement that triggered my reply was: “But to say that the Aragalaya is based on falsehoods is, to put it mildly, ridiculous… They came there because they were running out of food, fuel and electricity.” The falsehood lies not in the people coming out for nothing, but in their falsely ATTRIBUTING their economic woes to a corrupt President and Government. Do you still not understand?

    • 2
      2

      Also, I wanted to add that some–perhaps most?–who post comments under articles in CT have not bothered to read the article properly and some even unashamedly admit it and yet expect a reply from the author!

      • 3
        0

        LJ, I am not expecting you to reply and there is nothing to be ashamed in admitting, I read the essence leaving your religious discourse. First of all I’m against people who exploit religion when they fail to convince their political views/ bias/ spin. I also mentioned “I’m no expert in any religion, including my own”. There is nothing new or different from what you already wrote. You just keep parroting ” Aragalaya is because of empty stomachs but Rajapaksas are not responsible”. ( to be exact their corruption, family kleptocracy among many other sins). I had heard enough from your comments in C.T even before your attempt to author. I have clear understanding about your trait and what you are up to.

    • 4
      2

      Leonard,
      “The falsehood lies not in the people coming out for nothing, but in their falsely ATTRIBUTING their economic woes to a corrupt President and Government. Do you still not understand?”
      So then, are you saying that:
      1 The President and government were NOT corrupt, OR
      2 There was some other reason for the Aragalaya
      (1) obviously is not true
      If (2) is true, then there was a real cause, and the people didn’t come out for nothing.
      You must note that I am in no way a supporter of the current Aragalaya. I agree with you on that. What I am arguing is that the ORIGINAL Aragalaya ( up to June) was based on real grievances.

      • 4
        3

        OC:
        I give up 😪

        All I can do at this stage is to ask you to go back to my earlier two articles and reread them carefully.

        Perhaps this example might help you: “Trump supporters stormed the Capital Hill on Jan 6, 2021 based on a falsehood.”

        Their “grievance,” to use your word, was that Biden was soon going to be declared the winner but the falsehood consisted of them falsely thinking that Trump was going to be robbed of a rightful win by election fraud. Do you get it now?

        • 1
          0

          Dear Leonard,
          .
          I understand your exasperation!
          .
          I began commenting on CT only after it became available to us (without proxy servers – such things I find frustrating; I wonder what I’ll do if CT gets blocked again?) after the Yahapalanaya triumphed in January 2015.
          .
          I’ve checked some of the “early” articles that I had commented on, to see what old codger was then saying. He had not been so prolific then. He has a comment here, in January 2017:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/world-bank-distances-itself-from-arjuna-mahendrans-central-bond-scam/
          .
          Many more here in April 2017:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-case-for-curbing-the-israeli-embassy/comment-page-1/#comments
          .
          During the past five years he became my favourite commenter. However, during the past three months or so, I felt a need to be careful when interacting with him. He now seems to have an agendum: to whitewash Ranil Wickremasinghe’s deeds. He positively badgers you here; trying to get you to say that Ranil’s crackdown on the Aragalaya is justified. Thanks for not giving in.

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