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Author Topic: What would you say to them?  (Read 997 times) Average Rating: 0
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Arnaud
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« on: May 24, 2013, 08:33:54 PM »

Hi everybody.

In an effort to make my Rastafarian friends understand that the late emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, is not a second incarnation of Christ, eventually I was willing to build a case from some words the Emperor said.

Having not expected his son to die so soon (around the age of 34-36 in a car crash) he said:

"It was Our preoccupation that Our son, Prince Makonnen, after he had reached his maturity, would have lived to dedicate his life to the service of Our people. But since God’s reasoning differs from that of man, he died prematurely."

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I
Nov. 8, 1961
Dedication of Prince Makonnen hospital
Selected Speeches pg 546

That durable life to the service of the Ethiopian people that the Emperor wanted for his son was cut short. God's will was otherwise than his as a man, hence his son died prematurately.

If you were to contrast the words and implication of the words of the Emperor above, to the Person of Jesus Christ, What would you say to a Rasta to try to convince him that Emperor Haile Selassie I is not like Jesus Christ?

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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 08:43:32 PM »

Christ Is Risen!

I don't think that this tactic will work. When faced with a quote that seems to contradict H.I.M. Haile Selassie I's oneness with Jesus Christ, a Rastafari can argue that he was simply being modest, hiding his divinity to those who would mock it.

I have never met a Rastafari, but I assume that they are human beings like the rest of us, and have sincere convictions. Quotes will do nothing to change their opinions. They need a conversion of the heart, and that's something that only Almighty Jah can do. I know it sounds trite, but I would just continue praying for your friends and sharing your faith when appropriate. I think that any sort of direct confrontation will just cause them (like every other human being) to defend their beliefs even harder. We don't want to lose them because of our own stubbornness!

Lord have mercy on us all.
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Arnaud
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 12:35:34 PM »

Christ Is Risen!

I don't think that this tactic will work. When faced with a quote that seems to contradict H.I.M. Haile Selassie I's oneness with Jesus Christ, a Rastafari can argue that he was simply being modest, hiding his divinity to those who would mock it.

I have never met a Rastafari, but I assume that they are human beings like the rest of us, and have sincere convictions. Quotes will do nothing to change their opinions. They need a conversion of the heart, and that's something that only Almighty Jah can do. I know it sounds trite, but I would just continue praying for your friends and sharing your faith when appropriate. I think that any sort of direct confrontation will just cause them (like every other human being) to defend their beliefs even harder. We don't want to lose them because of our own stubbornness!

Lord have mercy on us all.

Hi brother. Yes Rastas are not easily convinced. They are attached to their belief that Emperor Haile Selassie I is "Christ in His kingly character." Thanks to a twisted understanding of some biblical psgs, forcing their belief into the Scriptures, trying to make the words say what they do not say. And their strong appreciation of Reggae music plays an important role in keeping them attached to that. But it's more than that. They have developped a "Rasta identity" in themselves and they feel good in their Rasta world. It's a combination of things which maintain them confused.

I know some of them are so hardened that there is almost no chance of convincing them. However, contrary to you, I think the words of the Emperor I quoted, if you give them some argumentation and contrast them with Jesus Christ, can at least bring some of them to reflexion..





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« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 01:29:35 PM »

To be fair to the Rastas, Selassie did you no favors since he didn't really put them straight when he had the chance.

Maybe it was a genius part of long term evangelization, but nevertheless, he didn't tell the adoring throngs, you are wrong, I am not God, knock it off.

Best of luck.

Gebre, might be able to give you better Selassie quotes to help you since he knows a lot about both Selassie and "Rastafarianism".
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 01:29:54 PM by orthonorm » Logged

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Posts: 104


God is VERY GREAT and I am very small


« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 07:45:36 PM »

To be fair to the Rastas, Selassie did you no favors since he didn't really put them straight when he had the chance.

Maybe it was a genius part of long term evangelization, but nevertheless, he didn't tell the adoring throngs, you are wrong, I am not God, knock it off.

Best of luck.

Gebre, might be able to give you better Selassie quotes to help you since he knows a lot about both Selassie and "Rastafarianism".

Actually, in a audio interview with CBC journalist Bill McNeil, in 1967 in Canada aboard the royal train, answering to the affirmation/question "There are millions of Christians throughout the world, Your Imperial Majesty, who regard you as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ," he said: "I have heard of that idea. I also met certain Rastafarians. I told them clearly that I am a man, that I am mortal, and that I will be replaced by the oncoming generation, and that they should never make a mistake in assuming or pretending that a human being is emanated from a deity."

Who were these Rastafarians? And at which moment did he say this to them? It's a mystery.

But many Rastafarians would dismiss it thinking that there is a plot behind it. Others would accept it but try to find ways of interpreting it without his supposed Divinity be denied, just for instance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCxZ5NzVcE ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0u6-CSsr0U

Also the Emperor sent Abba Mandefro (Abuna Yesehaq), who didn't think H.I.M. is Christ returned, to Jamaica to establish the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church there, which was an invitation to the Rastafarians to embrace the Orthodox Faith. Some Rastas became (members), and I'm putting (members) in parenthesis, because they got baptized and chrismated and would attend church services but didn't renounce to the idea that the Emperor is "Christ in His kingly character." Other Rastas who joined the Church renounced to it, or initially when they joined didn't believe H.I.M. is Christ in His kingly character per se, but a representative, or something else.

But it is true that H.I.M. during his visit in Jamaica in 1966 didn't take the mike and say "I'm not God" so to speak. And he gave golden medallions with the Lion of Judah engraved on it to some Rastafarian representatives who met him. See at 08:15-08:50 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rZlVkBwgpg Also, in relation with repatriation/back to Africa, after asking how long the Rastafarian movement started in Jamaica, according to Rastafarian elder Philmore Alvaranga who was among the representatives the Emperor would have said that their work is purposeful, that they must continue in their endeavor, and then went on to say the now famous saying in Rastafari, that they must "organize and centralize."

I have turned around the Rastafarian movement for ten years, and I used to refer to myself as a Rastafarian. It's no more the case now.

I would like to re-ask the question I had asked at the beginning:

Having not expected his son to die so soon (around the age of 34-36 in a car crash) he said:

"It was Our preoccupation that Our son, Prince Makonnen, after he had reached his maturity, would have lived to dedicate his life to the service of Our people. But since God’s reasoning differs from that of man, he died prematurely."

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I
Nov. 8, 1961
Dedication of Prince Makonnen hospital
Selected Speeches pg 546

That durable life to the service of the Ethiopian people that the Emperor wanted for his son was cut short. God's will was otherwise than his as a man, hence his son died prematurately.

If you were to contrast the words and implication of the words of the Emperor above, to the Person of Jesus Christ, What would you say to a Rasta to try to convince him that Emperor Haile Selassie I is not like Jesus Christ?

Or, asked otherwise: As far as Orthodox theology goes, Could the 'God-Man' Christ, be ignorant of the future of a relative for instance, and this relative going to marry in two weeks want him to found a family and make children and be happy in it, but the man dies in a accident two days before his marriage? Just to give an exemple. If no, give your reasons why no. And imagine you're explaining the why no to a Rasta.

I'm asking this to everyone who wants to answer. Nobody is forced to.



God bless.
 

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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2013, 12:59:17 AM »

Or, asked otherwise: As far as Orthodox theology goes, Could the 'God-Man' Christ, be ignorant of the future of a relative for instance, and this relative going to marry in two weeks want him to found a family and make children and be happy in it, but the man dies in a accident two days before his marriage? Just to give an exemple. If no, give your reasons why no.

Frankly around here this will likely be a Christological can of worms.

I would say yes. Christ while on earth was ignorant of many things. He emptied Himself. He wept and felt sorrow and was surprised, etc.

In short, I don't think you are going to do a great job of arguing someone into Orthodoxy, the cliche and best answer is too probably to live a good Christian life yourself and the few who are so inclined, invite them to Vespers.

I like to stir with the pot with Gebre on this on, but if you want to be as charitable as possible to Selassie, then that is sorta what he did writ large. Maybe in his own wisdom he let the people get to know him and gradually tried to bring them in the Ethiopian Christian Church's fold.

To your question specifically about the quote, Rasta or not, if I thought someone were God, the text you included would prove nothing to me. Faith can a difficult thing to break.
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2013, 01:37:22 AM »

Thank you Orthonorm for the sincere thoughts on this matter. I tend to agree with your comments.

The difficulty with many Rastas was most clearly expressed when I asked a Nyabinghi Rasta who stayed with us for a couple of weeks how he interpreted Haile Selassie's statement, "I am a man, and man cannot worship a mere man" (paraphrase). He looked at me and said without hesitation, "His Majesty never told me that!" So, how can you argue with something like that? lol!

My personal approach to this issue is to simply not argue with Rastas about Haile Selassie. I will simply tell them that I follow the teachings of His Majesty and the Orthodox Faith of His Majesty. I leave the rest to God. Obviously I will not hesitate to promote the Orthodox Faith and state my Orthodox beliefs, but I do my best to avoid arguments about Haile Selassie. I haven't done a good job of that on this forum, and when I have engaged in debates about Haile Selassie it has never produced anything fruitful or positive.

I disagree a little bit with Orthonorm about H.I.M. not doing more to dispel the idea that he was God. I think he did everything he could. He could have dismissed the Rastas and not bothered to correct them. But as Arnaud said, H.I.M. was so grieved by the fact that he was being worshipped that he sent Abuna Yesehaq to teach the Rastas the true Christian Faith. In his book, Abuna Yesehaq goes into great detail about his efforts to lead Rastas to Orthodoxy.

I mean, considering all the other geo-political issues that His Majesty had to deal with, I think his time and efforts in Jamaica shows how deeply concerned he was that people were confusing him for God. This small group of people on a little island in the Caribbean would not have been worth most other world leaders' time and concern. But Haile Selassie made their salvation a priority, and that is just one of the many great things about the Emperor.

Just love the Rastas and follow the advice of the Emperor who always said that we should "emphasize all areas of agreement." I think if we treat Rastas like our brothers, then we will have much more influence upon them than if we treat them as pagans and attempt to argue them into the kingdom. Rastas have a deep mistrust for Christianity because of the historical atrocities that were too often committed under the banner of the Christian flag. So Rastas will not respond favorably if they feel that somebody is trying to convert them. Love them, reason with them, agree with them whenever possible, and learn from them also. I read a quote today from Bill Nye ("the science guy") - somebody with whom I have profound disagreement with on certain issues, but this quote was spot on: "Everybody you meet knows something that you don't." So if we approach Rastas with humility, then we will learn and they will be more receptive to what we say as well. As the Rasta adage goes: "Each one teach one."

OK, that's just my two cents. Keep up the good work brother Arnaud!


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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2013, 06:01:44 AM »

Quote
Christ while on earth was ignorant of many things. He emptied Himself. He wept and felt sorrow and was surprised, etc.

No He wasn't. He was still omniscient. The feast of the Raising of Lazarus has much to say about this.
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2013, 11:16:09 AM »

Arnaud,

 Have another look at lovesupreme's and Gebre's advice again for I think they've given some great advice. 

1 Peter 3:15
New International Version (NIV)

"15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,..."
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 05:14:03 PM »

Two posts dealing with Christ's omniscience were moved to another thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28594.msg929018.html#msg929018

To keep this thread on topic, I would like the discussion of that topic to be over there.
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Arnaud
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Posts: 104


God is VERY GREAT and I am very small


« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2013, 05:39:11 PM »

Or, asked otherwise: As far as Orthodox theology goes, Could the 'God-Man' Christ, be ignorant of the future of a relative for instance, and this relative going to marry in two weeks want him to found a family and make children and be happy in it, but the man dies in a accident two days before his marriage? Just to give an exemple. If no, give your reasons why no.

In short, I don't think you are going to do a great job of arguing someone into Orthodoxy, the cliche and best answer is too probably to live a good Christian life yourself and the few who are so inclined, invite them to Vespers.

I like to stir with the pot with Gebre on this on, but if you want to be as charitable as possible to Selassie, then that is sorta what he did writ large. Maybe in his own wisdom he let the people get to know him and gradually tried to bring them in the Ethiopian Christian Church's fold.

My personal approach to this issue is to simply not argue with Rastas about Haile Selassie. I will simply tell them that I follow the teachings of His Majesty and the Orthodox Faith of His Majesty. I leave the rest to God. Obviously I will not hesitate to promote the Orthodox Faith and state my Orthodox beliefs, but I do my best to avoid arguments about Haile Selassie. ... Just love the Rastas and follow the advice of the Emperor who always said that we should "emphasize all areas of agreement." I think if we treat Rastas like our brothers, then we will have much more influence upon them than if we treat them as pagans and attempt to argue them into the kingdom.

Many are awaiting unknowingly to be saved from their theological errors. "Arguing" with them may not be good, as it creates tensions and can develop resentment, although good things can come forth from fiery debates, and there are plenty of exemples of that in Church history, but I disagree that we should not sometimes try to correct them when they say their foolishness. But there is a way to answer (and I must admit I have not always been temperate in the way I have answered to my Rasta interlocutors).

To your question specifically about the quote, Rasta or not, if I thought someone were God, the text you included would prove nothing to me.

I think you're right.

Faith can a difficult thing to break.

Yes indeed.



« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 05:40:10 PM by Arnaud » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2013, 11:21:56 PM »

Many are awaiting unknowingly to be saved from their theological errors. "Arguing" with them may not be good, as it creates tensions and can develop resentment, although good things can come forth from fiery debates, and there are plenty of exemples of that in Church history, but I disagree that we should not sometimes try to correct them when they say their foolishness. But there is a way to answer (and I must admit I have not always been temperate in the way I have answered to my Rasta interlocutors).

Focus on building relationships with people first. Not for the sake of being able to argue with them, but out of genuine love for them and an appreciation of their gifts. As true friends, you can discuss these issues in a non-threatening way because each person has earned the right to be heard by the other. But be careful, don't approach this mechanically; a genuine connection between two people can take years to foster, and it's never forced or brought about by ulterior motives.

So, again, pray for your friends, love them, know them, and only then consider talking to them about these things.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 11:22:29 PM by lovesupreme » Logged

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