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*****Calgary French Rendez-Vous.

From: Kichiji
Sent on: Friday, August 28, 2009 1:57 AM
Hello, everyone.

Please read at least as far as the fifth line. Thank you.

In this message:
-Meeting dates and venues.
-Topic of conversation.
-Karaoke night is coming!!!!!!!

There are four meetings in the near future. The first will take place on
Tuesday, September 1st, at 7:30pm, at Nanta Karaoke and Bar, 512 6th St SW. The second will take place on
Tuesday, September 8th, at 6:30pm, at Caffe Beano,[masked]th St SW. The third will take place on
Tuesday, September 15th, at 7:30pm, at The Purple Perk,[masked] St SW. The fourth will take place on
Tuesday, October 6th, 7:00pm, at Higher Ground Cafe, 1126 Kensington Rd NW.

These are 4, 11, 18, and 39 days from now.

Please go now and RSVP.

I must be losing my mind. Some of the more observant of us may have noticed that in my last message I wrote "...I will start us off with a few paragraphs" followed by "Note that I may or may not entirely believe everything I've written above". What's wrong with this? ...No paragraphs! I didn't write any paragraphs about religion between those lines. I must have been in too much of a hurry to announce the karaoke event.

To recap, In the past, I have suggested a topic of conversation for the month. The purpose of this was to give us, especially the beginners, a chance to prepare vocabulary. However, almost without exception, we have completely ignored me and talked about whatever the heck we want, which is not a bad thing.

It is the exceptions that are amusing. In the summer, we often do talk about my suggested topics. That is because for the last few years we have had the new tradition of talking about sex, politics and religion.

In contrast to other topics, we enthusiastically participate in these topics, resulting in much laughter and occasional near misses at fisticuffs.

We've done some politics. So, our topic now will be religion. I usually just leave it at that, but I will start us off with a few paragraphs.

One of my pet peeves is the way many of us use the word "Allah"

We translate,
"Laa ilaaha illa 'llaah, Muhammada rasuulo 'llaah"
...as...
"There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God"
...or...
"There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet"

It is reasonable to translate "(a)l-laah" as Allah, as long as we realise that it is the same as capitalising "God", that is to say recognising that it is a name of the one god, and that it is a definite noun.

However, we often hear us using "Allah" to imply that Muslims worship a different god than Jews or Christians, or to imply that Jews and Christians worship a false god.

On the contrary, the Qur'an refers to Allah as the god of Abraham, and Islam explicitly recognises Jesus and Moses as messengers sent by Allah.

Therefore, the God referred to by Jews, Christians and Muslims is clearly the same God.

Forgive me for over-simplifying, but the difference therefore, is not which god we worship, but who we recognise as the most recent prophet.

Two more:

Trinitarians like to declare the trinitarian controversy as resolved but this ignores the existence of non-Trinitarian faths. Also if it were truly resolved in the 3rd cenutry, why
would they raise the subject again in subsequent councils? Many non-trinitarians including
the Monotheists objected to Trinitarianism as committing the sin of polytheism. Some
faiths, such as Unitarianism, objected to Trinitarianism as allowing dogma to trump reason and free will.

The word "godless" is often used as a pergorative word, but many religions do not have what we might call a god at their head. Is it not reasonable to have a self-consistent system of belief that doesn't have a god at all?

Note that I may or may not entirely believe everything I've written above. I may be trying to set you off. Nothing would please me better than for you to get worked up and give me a piece of your mind. Come to meetings and do so, IN SPANISH.

Speaking of karaoke, please pay special attention to the meeting this coming Tuesday, September 1st.

Learning French songs is a great way to learn French vocabulary and culture. I have uploaded twelve MP3 files to the meetup.com site, and one Microsoft Word document. The MP3 files
are French language songs, and the Word document is all of the lyrics. The music for all
of these songs is available at Nanta.

To see and download these files, log in to Meetup.com, go to the French page and click on "files" on the left of the page.

Even if you have no intention of singing, listening to these MP3s and looking at the lyrics will increase your appreciation of the event.

Please go now and RSVP "YES"!

--Kichiji.

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