Other languages use different words for things. The word for 'chair' in French is 'chaise' and, in French, 'chair' means 'flesh'. The word for 'poison' in German is 'Gift' - a fact that caused first great consternation and then some hilarity many years ago when my mother told her German cousin that she wanted to buy his family 'a Gift'.
Other languages use different words. You think that this would be obvious. But when it comes to the word 'God', apparently not. While we're happy to let the French use the word 'Dieu' and the Germans use the word 'Gott', apparently we English-speaking Christians need to panic and object most strongly when Malay-speaking Christians want to use the Malay word for God, which is 'Allah'.
In what seems to be becoming a fashion of being misinformedly-informed, today I heard yet another person praying for the salvation of Christians in Malaysia who want to use the Malay word for 'God' to speak of 'God'.
Apparently, many English-speaking Christians seem to think that 'Allah' is the name of a god - like Zeus or Thor - rather than the Malay word for God. And, of course, it's also the Arabic word for 'God'; the Malay word has Arabic roots.
I wish this idea that Malaysian Christians are not truly Christian because they want to use their word for 'God' would go away. Today's pray-er actually prayed that Christians do not worship Allah, but we worship Jehovah. Well, actually, 'Jehovah' is a highly debatable pronunciation of the tetragrammaton which should not be pronounced in the first place. But how many English-speaking Christians studiously avoid saying 'God' in order to say 'Jehovah'? Not many that I know.
So before we start praying for the conversion of the heathen, let's make sure we know what we are talking about in the first place.
I'm putting on my tin hat now, because I reckon I'm probably going to get quite a bit a flack on this.