how do you know what to believe?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by reema, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. reema

    reema Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    hi there,

    I am new to this forum so let me first briefly introduce myself.
    My name is Ilse, 28 years old from Holland. I converted to Islam 2 years ago. I mainly did this after reading a lot of books and the Qur'aan and finding a lot of rules in it that make a lot of sense to me. After some time, I married a muslim man. I started praying and wearing hijab and reading and reading and reading. But after a while, I started to doubt.

    The main reason is NOT that I don't believe in God / Allah. It is also NOT that I am too proud to kneel down for Allah or that I find myself such a good person that I don't need God or anything. I feel thankful for what I have been given in life everyday, and try to behave as good and peaceful being to all people and be patient in my behaviour. I also see in the world that all humans are in danger of doing wrong things that hurt themselves and others, and not in accordance to what they were put here on the earth for (sinning). In Islam, the concept of original sin is not there, but still man as an adult responsible for his actions has both inclinations, to doing good (follow Allah) or doing bad (follow Shaitaan).

    The main reason is that I found out Islam basically states that everybody who hears about Islam in correct way and doesnt follow it or at least believe it and have intention to follow it best way he or she can, shall be doomed. So when I ventured out on Islamic forums and asked experts about it, they all tell me yes of course but as humans we have a choice, you either stand with God or you stand without Him, you have free will in your actions. Sure, so I would do anything to be a good person and follow God! Who wouldn't. So the intention to make myself a better person and become closer to God is there. But then I started also to read about Christianity. And found out that they are saying exactly the same thing in their argumentation to for example an atheist! All nice and well if one has a simple yes or no option, but what if a person has to choose between the two?

    I know that all muslims on the forum will now come and tell me about the logic and magic of the Qur'aan and how the Bible was corrupted. And all Christians will try to explain the logic and magic of the Bible and explain that anyone opposing Jesus as savior would be a false prophet. But my point is... if God wants us to follow Him, why not 1 simple message? How can a mortal human being, with such a short life to live, ever make such complicated decisions and then being punished eternally for not making the right decision? How can I know, I was not there to witness, I cannot check who is right, I just have to trust my intuition but then both parties claim that the intuition of the other religion is based on misguidance by Satan? Honestly, first when I entered Islam it was a way to channel my love and believe in an omnipotent power, but now I have become so confused and am at the brink of just leaving both Islam and Christianity and just becoming a good person believing in myself and a universal, loving God! I want to be able to just trust my intuition in this, and this is that all humans are loved by the same God no matter what religion they are in. But at the same time I am terrified of hell, since the visions of it in both religions are so horrifying... I just want to fall on my knees and do the best for all of the world but I don't know how to!
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  2. earl

    earl ?

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,623
    Likes Received:
    18
    Welcome Ilse. Why not 1 simple message? There is a "simple" message always found within the heart. It's just the message gets filtered through countless human minds, many of which are confounded by fear and fearful interpretations of less than divine inspiration. Guess you could ask yourself, "what path would I follow if I had nothing to fear, what would I do if the hell of my or others' imagination does not really exist?" Blessings, earl
     
  3. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    3
    Very well said, earl.

    And welcome to IO Ilse.
     
  4. reema

    reema Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    well earl, like I said.. I remember being a teacher a while ago to immigrants to the Netherlands. I am the person who loves everyone and talks to anyone no matter what kind of person he is or whatever kind of belief. When I went through some hard times somehow I was 'born again' so to say, something in me said there is some greater power that can help and who you can pray to. I got introduced to Islam through sufism and I guess this is the more mystical side of Islam, leading more to universalism. For this it is hated by orthodox muslims.

    Now I feel like somehow I lost this universal loving feeling, don't know how to explain it. I am sure that once the belief in hell is gone, or would'nt exist, I would just become my old self again, and worship God in every action I do from cleaning the kitchen to not throwing away any food to smiling to other people to charity and to praying. But somehow I am too afraid to take the step. Strange isn't it.
     
  5. earl

    earl ?

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Messages:
    1,623
    Likes Received:
    18
    Ilse, I am always saddened whenever I hear of someone paralyzed with fear of any sort. Often, the more out of control and unsafe we feel, the more we think that, if we find just the right formulas, no further suffering will ensue and we try to avoid any missteps that may create further suffering. We lose ultimate trust in ourselves to live as freely as we are intended. I'll just say remember the times when you're at peace and feel a joyous uplifting of spirit. In that space you are most you and "God" is most God.:) earl
     
  6. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    943
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Reema,

    I converted to Islam and then Christianity.

    I posted this on another forum a few days ago but I think it relevant here now.

    Jesus said something along the Lines of "Love God and Love People", if you can do that then all the doctrine does not matter much really.
     
  7. friendofbill

    friendofbill Established Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Earl.

    After 72 years of beng a "seeker," which included 4 years of intensive theological seminary training, and many years and hours of study of Scriptures -- not just the bible, by any means, but also the Vedas, the Sutras, the Koran, and writings of pagan fellowships such as Wicca ... I have come to the conclusion that they all say exactly the same thing. And that "same thing" is echoed by the current sources of "truth" including quantum mechanics and astrophysics.

    The so-called "differences" which are touted by each religion and/or denomination do not originate in the One God, but in the egos and agendas of those who interpret the Scriptures according to their own mentality and way of seeing it.

    There is, and can be, only one God, and that One God predates not only Islam and Christianity, but humanity itself. Therefore, He cannot be contained in the pages of a book -- any book -- or in the clutches of any church, religion or denomination. Churches of any sort as such are "religion clubs" that have little to do with God and much to do with the individuals who participate. And too often, they use religion simply to justify doing what they really want to do, which is to denounce and condemn others, destroy those who disagree with them, and generally create an atmosphere of hatred and distrust across the planet.

    Or so it seems to me.

    Jai Ram
    Art
     
  8. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the christian bible it says....perfect love casts out all fear.

    I converted to christianity decades ago and then, over time came to realize that any religion which promotes a message which instills fear into the minds of the people is a questionable religion, and is far from its roots.

    I found peace of mind, not in the messages of religion, but in my self, knowing that we are all connected to the Source of all Life, regardless of our beliefs.
    The real rebirth, for me, is becoming aware of the Source of Life and one's connection to that.

    We have a unity that cannot be taken away from us, even if we are confused about it. That reality is still there regardless.
    If one's understanding of such things is clouded, then think of the example of the weather....it is not always bad weather, there will be sunny days and then, if you are looking, things will be clear.
     
  9. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,130
    Likes Received:
    2
    My philosophy on this is that if you want something from God and believe God will give it to you, you should either get what you want, or you should get something that sooner or later will actually satisfy you.

    I really don't think God wants to make things hard for anyone, at least not any harder than it is to make friends with a fellow human being. I think the real obstacle is not caring enough about God and caring more about what's important for your life in this world rather than what's important for God.

    If you want to go to heaven and you're sincere about it, my theory is you should get that if you give heaven and God whatever respect they deserve.

    Ok, sorry. I realise that last statement was rather vague and doesn't give much information. But what I really mean is don't allow the "Islam" and "Christianity" you see today to confuse you. Islam and Christianity have sure confused people, but that leads me to think that maybe Islam and Christianity were introduced to help eliminate confusion among a certain group of people who were confused about how they would get to heaven in a particular culture and time.

    Christianity was clear as a blue sky in the first century but by the seventh century, it was a mess. Islam too, was probably as clear as a blue sky in the seventh century, but as you can see, it too, has degenerated into a mess.

    reema, I believe it's as simple as this. If you want to go to heaven and are prepared to give the proper respect to heaven and God, you should get want you want. I don't believe there is any logic behind it. It's what's in your heart that matters.

    If Islam and Christianity are confusing you, then Islam and Christianity are barriers between you and God rather than ladders into heaven. Christianity was a story about how God bypassed the traditional channels of communication into heaven. If God doesn't have a problem with bypassing traditional religious hierarchies, He won't have a problem with you trying to access Him directly.

    If you don't want the burden of trying to figure out this confusing puzzle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, I suggest you simply ask for God. I don't believe God requires people to climb ladders to get to him. It's just that most of us like our ladders because it helps us connect with people with common interests. That was how Judaism, Christianity and Islam evolved.

    Really? All Muslims and all Christians? I'm Christian and I don't consider Muslims and Jews to be infidels or heretics. They simply follow a different tradition.

    I don't consider the Bible logical. There's a lot in it that I don't consider logical or to be logic at all. As for a "saviour," the word "saviour" is only meaningful if you've been rescued in some way. Do you feel rescued? Do you feel safer than before? If not, you don't have a saviour. It's a deeply personal thing.

    I also don't consider Christianity to be all about "being saved." There were a lot of other things Jesus said and did that didn't involve people being "saved." Sometimes it was about helping people. Other times it was about what it meant to "really live." It was about what it meant to "have life." Do you feel alive reema? I mean, really alive? Have you ever lived as if your life was really important? Are you fully "living" your humanity?

    None (or few) of these things I've mentioned in the last paragraph are incompatible to Judaism or Islam, and perhaps you'd find that the other two have their own way of answering these questions.

    Is there supposed to be one simple message? Why would we want that? Do we all live for the same purpose?

    I can accept only half of Islam's response to this. The other half, I can't really accept. If God has attempted communication with us, as far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to be one simple or single message. It seems like a hundred or so many different messages, scattered over space and time. If there was ever supposed to be one simple message, it seems to have become fragmented.

    Perhaps what I can't accept is that Islam solves the problem. Islam was supposed to resolve the disagreements between Jews and Christians. It didn't.:) I think Islam simply added to the confusion.

    Perhaps what I like most among the more popular/prominent approaches taken by the three major Abrahamic faiths on messages from God is the Jewish one: simply accept that there are going to be multiple traditions.

    I hope a hundred people can figure that out faster than just one! I hope our ideas, views and opinions can help you.:)

    That'll probably be the best you can do for now.

    I think it's ok to just think for yourself. If I was going to be Christian or Muslim now I would only do it to be a part of a community of people who want a relationship with God. It doesn't matter if you don't think the same as other people. You don't have to have all the answers right now. Life is to be lived moment by moment. Take it one step at a time. God will give you your daily bread.

    I don't think I can actually agree that they all say exactly the same thing. Not all of them say there is a God, or even if there is one. Not all of them assert the existence of heaven. We don't all have the same relationship with God or heaven in all of them. They also put emphasis on different aspects of life and different ways of thinking. They don't all put the same emphasis on the importance of community, or on the relationship between the individual and collective. Some have reincarnation, some do not. Wiccans may cast spells to summon supernatural agents, but this is something Christians are not supposed to do. Christians are supposed to pray. Not all of them have a hell. Some put more emphasis on your actions than your thoughts. Others deny the existence of good and evil, or de-emphasise them.

    When I take all this into consideration, they don't seem to all say the same thing, and some of these are actually important distinctions that aren't trivial.

    Are your thoughts more important than your actions? Is there good or evil? Is the individual more important than the collective? Is your religion driven by legalism, rules and conformity or by heart and intuition? Do you follow your emotions or logic?

    Who runs your religion? Do you have a leader or does everyone do what they want? Where is the source of authority? Is there an establishment or is it decentralised, individualistic and anarchistic? Is it a democracy or autocracy? Who is judge when people have conflicts and disputes? What is the distribution of property? What do people eat? Do animals have rights? Am I allowed to squash a fly or is that a sin? Can you have sex before marriage, or do I have to be a virgin or celibate?

    Is it really that simple?:)

    I don't believe "religion clubs" are always a problem. It is often a way of bringing people together for a common goal when they would otherwise not gather. I believe this is increasingly important as society becomes more individualistic. These religion clubs haven't always been good for helping the poor and needy, but it is one of the things they would be good for, if only people thought of using them that way. I believe one day we should trick them into doing it (though I am sure many already do it).

    In that sense, I would disagree that it would have nothing to do with God. God might be involved in getting them together.

    I don't consider fear to necessarily be a bad thing. Fear is about valuing one's life. Fear is entrenched in our own humanity. It is what makes us human.

    What I don't agree with is making people afraid of something that has little to do with their own personal life experience or their experience of their own "humanity." I don't believe in feeling guilty about something that a fellow human being wouldn't criticise, abhor or condemn. If I am to feel guilty, I must have done something horrible in this world to feel that way. In that case, the world has a reason to be angry with me about it. But it wouldn't be a reason for God to be angry.

    If there's a reason for me to have fear, it is that I have somehow done damage to my own humanity by doing something that the world and its people would condemn. If God should be worried, it is that I would either hurt myself in this way, or to be so lacking in self-respect as to allow myself to be damaged in this way.

    It tells me that I somehow didn't love myself enough to do what is right for me. Somehow I am not fully respecting my own humanity. That is the cause of my fear. I am either abusing others, or allowing others to abuse me.

    One of the things Christianity is about is living. The question is, am I living my life to the full? Do I respect myself as a human being? Do I respect others?
     
  10. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    0
    Perhaps we need to define our terms better.
    There is a big difference between the fear I am talking about and that which you are referring to.
    Fear is a paralyzing faculty or experience which induces either a fight or flight response, but sometimes also just paralyzes both mind and body and stops any further exploration and progress.
    How is that good?
    There is good sense, which is your conscience which advises one when something is good or bad or something to be careful with as there is danger.
    This is the animal faculties we are all born with.
    That is what I gather you are talking about.
    so in that sense, there are differences in kinds of fear.
    Like the "fear" of the Lord which is really accurately translated as being AWE and reverence and not fear per se.

    I am referring to the use of our "fear" of the unknown, like: after death experience....what happens to "us"....the individual who wants....wants to be rewarded....wants to survive......wants to succeed....wants so very many things.

    This is exploited in so many ways, and this is the thing which should make any thinking being be cautious as ..... here is danger.

    Consent can be manufactured and understanding can be manipulated.
    Those who rule know this lesson very well.
    It serves a useful function in managing empires.
     
  11. reema

    reema Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Shawn, yes, I believe all that too. But then why am I a muslim and you a christian? This is exactly the point I try to make. If you want to be a christian, how can you be one without also believing that everybody who is not, is doomed? This is to me what is described in the Book of Revelations. Anyone who did not accept Jesus as Lamb of God and savior, is doomed.
    I just now was seeing on the internet some children who preached like full fledged imams. There were all kind of positive reactions to them, but I think it is really almost 'sick' to see 4 or 5 year old children like that because you know 100 % sure they cannot decide all that for themselves and they have been taught to say it. So in this way some children will be taught christianity and others islam.
     
  12. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,330
    Likes Received:
    40
    Many paths lead to the same light. Christianity and Islam are two of those paths. To believe in Jesus is to believe and embrace the Spirit behind the man, which I believe to be love. To accept Him as Savior is to accept and live through His Spirit (Love). Love quickens us and gives us life. Those who are doomed are those who reject love. Those who reject love simply cannot know the comfort, and peace, and security, and joy, and freedom that wells up in those who live through it. It is my understanding that Islam teaches love, no? In the end, it isn't our beliefs that matter, but rather our condition of heart and the lives we lead.

    Even Atheist can know love and live through the Spirit of. ... "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3) Jesus and the Father were one. God is love, therefore His Son must be love also. It is written that God is Spirit, and also that Christ became a life giving Spirit. The Spirit is love; love is not a respecter of persons. Love is available to all men, regardless of religious belief or lack thereof.

    Two cents worth,

    GK
     
  13. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    943
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is one of the biggest issues that I have with mainstream Christianity, Personaly I dont think its true and I find the notion that only fundamentalist Christians are saved and that everyone else will burn in hell offensive and extremely bigoted.

    Jesus says something along the lines of

    "I am the way the life and the truth no one comes to the father accept by me"

    When he says this I dont believe he is saying that everyone has to be Christian Fundamentalists, he is saying " I AM " as in the Great "I AM" that Moses met at the burning bush, Jesus is also referred to as the Word of God . So I think this means the only way to get to God is via the Word of God which created the universe and everything in and the includes us, does not really matter what you call it just as long as you connect, thats my opinion anyway, now the difficulty is most Churches would probably consider me a heretic for saying at.
     
  14. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,130
    Likes Received:
    2
    I suppose then we could think in terms of motivational/constructive vs. paralyzing fear. Yet, I recognise that the same fear could be seen as both motivational/constructive and paralyzing at the same time depending on the point of view.

    I am aware of what this is likely to be referring to, and from experience, it is about the common spiel/way of telling the story that Jesus died to pay for people's sins and avert punishment from God. It is fear of possible suffering in the afterlife.

    I have often thought of this as a rather empty statement, but I cannot speak for those who genuinely feel this way as it is not how I think. The idea of having one's sins forgiven and being "set free" may make many people think that Christianity is a "do nothing" religion that has nothing better to offer than a release from prison or canceled debt that is more of a fiction/fantasy than a true reflection of one's present life situation.

    For this reason I choose to think in social, political and economic terms. I can believe in divine and supernatural beings but the motivation for these beliefs must start with something in the physical and material world. This is what I mean by seeing things in social, political and economic terms.

    My fears will therefore be about my state of mind, humanity, sense of pride and dignity, finances, friendships, relationships, career, political beliefs, etc.

    I do not believe it is right to think that there are demons and angels in one's life, or to think of one's afterlife without first appreciating or understanding one's present life situation, one's "earthly" life. If you can't appreciate the earthly, how can you appreciate the heavenly? If you can't even see your own hand, how could you ever see the hand of God (so to speak)? If you don't value your own life, how can you value the life of others (or vice versa)?

    I think of the afterlife as a continuation of my present life. It doesn't mean I won't die here. It means that "staying alive" in the here and now will result in me "staying alive" in the afterlife. It is about making the most of my humanity. But that I do not mean wealth and financial success or a successful career. That is not humanity. That is money and work and isn't about people.

    I think it depends on what you mean by "path" and this seems to be what confuses people.

    If you think of both religions as describing "ways of getting there" and "ways to disqualify oneself" from getting to Paradise/Heaven, the word "path" is really just a literary construct that encapsulates everything a Christian or Muslim must do to get to Paradise/Heaven. The various things said by both seem to suggest that this "path" is not atomic and indivisible, but is composed of many qualifiers/qualifications. Violations disqualify you from staying on the path.

    Let's say that the "One Path" includes everything that will get you to heaven. Never mind which "religion" it is. All that matters is that there is One Path and no other. Anything not on the path is wasteland. The idea that there are "many paths," each with their own qualifications and violations of what can and can't stay on it, would then contradict the idea that there is "One Path." If the destination was Rome, and all roads led to Rome, the road system as a whole would be the "One Path." Only the entire road system can be regarded as a "path." No subset of the road system could be regarded as a path. The One Path is the totality, entirely and universal set of all channels and passages to heaven and there can be no subsets.

    Let's say that Christianity and Islam assert that there is only one so-called Path. You say that love is what gets you there. Well, if love (it could have been something else, but never mind) is the one and only "path," and therefore the "One Path," Christianity and Islam must therefore properly represent the love of this "One Path."

    There can only be "One Path," not two.

    Now . . . this is where you can go wrong (at least I think so anyway:)). Nobody ever said it was essential and mandatory for Christianity and Islam to be regarded as "two paths." It doesn't have to be a question of one path being the "One True Path."

    Christianity and Islam may not be "paths" at all. Has anyone heard of the word "tradition" before? Nobody was ever forced to think of Christianity and Islam as "paths." If you think of them as two distinct traditions, rather than two paths then you can say that they are two traditions on the One Path. A tradition is a literary construct that includes all ideas and concepts used by a particular group of people to pursue a particular goal. It is passed down from one generation to the next. Nobody said you couldn't have more than one tradition. Where is the One Tradition rule?

    Traditions are not exclusive because they are literary constructs and literary constructs project perspectives. Christianity and Islam are therefore perspectives on how to get to heaven.

    One path, many traditions
     
  15. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,330
    Likes Received:
    40
    One path, many traditions

    Well said ....

    Change paths to traditions, and viola! I certainly concur with your correction. Tradition would be a more appropriate term. The rest of my post shall remain the same, however.

    GK
     
  16. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,130
    Likes Received:
    2
    Must of Christianity is a literary construct. By that I mean expressing ideas using certain words when other words could be used.

    Christianity was started by a group of Jews at a time when Greek Hellenism was having a big influence on Judaism. Judaism left Hellenism behind but because the New Testament writings were written at a time when Hellenism had a big influence, and because Christianity was motivated by Hellenism, Hellenistic ideas dominate much of the New Testament writings.

    Christians have become so used to Greek Hellenistic elements in the New Testament writings that it is difficult to discuss anything "Christian" without invoking these Greek Hellenistic elements. It takes a lot of thinking to separate what is "Hellenistic" from what is "essentially Christian." By "essentially Christian" I mean discarding what is unlikely to be what God wants out of Christianity.

    I know that that is going to be a matter of opinion: what should be essential. It may seem bizarre to many of you that I believe that Christianity is "buried and immersed in Hellenism."

    But consider the idea of "worshiping Jesus." What does it mean to "worship" him? Of course, in Christianity, people often regard Jesus as "God." But where did this idea of Jesus being God come from? Where did the worship of Jesus come from?

    I believe it came from Hellenistic heroics. It started from people seeing Jesus as a great, larger-than-life hero. Hellenistic heroics was about sensationalising and exaggerating the achievements of people you admired. The lives he touched led to people admiring, loving and missing him. The admiration led to the worship of him as a hero. But it seemed that regarding him as a hero wasn't enough. It seemed as if he had something to say about God. This led to people thinking of him as a projection of God. But even thinking of him as a projection of God wasn't enough, so this led to people saying that he was more than just a projection; he was God.

    What is a "Christian"? What is the Lamb of God? What is a Saviour?

    The words and terms by themselves don't seem to say much, unless you know and understand the context and culture behind it. They reflect a particular attitude or way of thinking that don't necessarily require that these words be used, but people tend to use them because it makes the idea more powerful.

    "Christian" could mean a number of different things. It could mean "little Christ" or a person who attends church. "Lamb of God" implies that Jesus' giving himself up to be crucified was like a lamb sacrifice, a part of a religious ritual. But Jesus was never sacrificed as part of a religious ritual. He was crucified. That was the political context. He had been arrested by religious authorities and condemned by the Roman state authorities. People often like to think of it as symbolic of a religious ritual, but there seems to be no rule set in stone obliging people to do that.

    It sounds fancy to say that Jesus was a "saviour." But who wouldn't say that about someone who has deeply touched the lives of many? Who wouldn't say that about someone they want to worship as a hero. The honourable death is exalted as if it was the most important thing Jesus ever said and did, as if it was the crown of Jesus' achievements, when there were other things he said and did that I could exalt.

    It seems that to exalt and worship something makes it all the more special. But to me the exaltation and worship is just a literary construct where you express how you feel about it. You believe it is really special, valuable, meaningful and memorable.

    My car or computer could be my saviour, and I could exaggerate the magnitude to which they have helped me. I could exalt and worship them as heroes. I could write a story about them. That would be a literary construct. Maybe I could call that story the New Testament.

    I could write about how my car and computer help me meet appointments and deadlines, or how my car loved me so much, it crashed itself into a tree to save me from two thugs who tried to rob me. It saved me but it couldn't save itself. It was a ritual sacrifice to God that helped me in my career. I was giving up my first fruits. For God to help me, I had to pay a steep price. I had to lose my car.:D

    I am not disputing the magnitude of what Jesus did, but I am simply trying to make the point that we must separate praise/exaltation from reality. A lot of what is said in the New Testament is just a way of describing what happened. It is an expression. It is an account of what was important to the first-century Christians. You may notice that often, they don't justify the reasons why the said what they said. They don't explain why they say it that way. It's like they have the audacity to say whatever they like the way they want it.

    If I said that my car crashed into a tree because it loved me, I don't have to explain how my car could possibly love me (because it's just a car), that it has a mind of its own, it has a computer driven by an Artificial Intelligence/AI and is capable of feelings. No, I can do whatever I like with my story and just skip over that. It just is. God said let there be light and there was light.

    But hey, go to any religious site and you will probably find the same.

    The question of whether Islam and Christianity are really opposed to each other depends on whether, after you strip away the literary constructs, the praise and exaltations, the heroics, you finally get to understanding how the tradition describes the "human journey" to heaven. What I mean by the "human journey" are all the things you, as an individual, personally have to do to get there. -- without the praise, exaltations, exaggeration, sensationalism and heroics.

    You get to the "real heart" of Christianity rather than the fence built around it. You get to the "naked body" without the clothes.
     
  17. Dream

    Dream Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3,677
    Likes Received:
    1
    Reema,
    I hear good things about Finland, and I've also met someone from there. Probably you hear good things from the USA occasionally as well. Of course we have the same questions here about faith.

    Revelation is full of symbolism and purposefully so. Many Christians see hell as a symbol as well, and many ancient Christians did, too. I realize that Islam teaches the NT was corrupted, however even as a Muslim you may still find a lesson in the NT. It takes a lot of corruption to completely obscure a bright light, doesn't it?

    The lesson which is in the NT appears also in Islam: that people cannot perfectly reproduce truth. I understand that in Islam you may not even consider translations of the Koran to be real Korans but only the original itself! This sounds unusual to me, but I still see the same principle making itself known -- that human beings cannot reproduce truth perfectly. It is surprising that we get along at all. Even if you and I speak the same language, we are not always going to understand each other. This tells us some things about ourselves. We are a mixture of truth and falsehood. Fortunately, both sets of scriptures say God breathed into Adam. You know that language is imperfect, yet you often understand. This means the spirit within you works to make truth out of the pudding. Without this inspiration you could understand nothing of scripture nor any spiritual idea at all, therefore you must possess some inspiration.

    It tells you, that you have no choice but to rely upon the spirit inside when understanding what you hear. You also cannot perfectly trust what others say, and they cannot perfectly trust what you say. Anyone who claims to be perfectly trustworthy is completely dishonest, since no one is. Fortunately, you have inspiration to assist you.
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,721
    Likes Received:
    2,459
    How do you know what to believe?

    For me it is what resonates and what works. As others have said, what you feel, hear from within. For me I combine that with what I can test and accept.

    That being said I do believe there are many paths to the top of the mountain and many mountains that all reach to that connection we are looking for. And devotion to any of those paths often means ignoring others that are on the same path...we don't all get it the same way, and just because there are those in this group or that that distort the message doesn't mean there isn't a valuable message that others can use to ride the wave to the beach.... All ya gotta do is read to know there are incredible thinkers, compassionate folks in every religion.

    So while some might like the struggle, for me it is what resonates.
     
  19. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am no longer a Christian.
    I believe that no one is doomed, that we are all eternal.
    We live on and return into the "world without end" many times...The body is a shell.
    When this one passes, then another one will be there to fill.
    Our only problem is our ignorance.
    Our lack of awareness of our real condition...and we fill this void with all the religious ideas which our fertile imaginations can weave.
    Those who seek power turn our ignorance against us and whip us into line with our fears, and they manufacture our consent with the aid of these fear inspired comforts which the religions provide and so they achieve their goals.
    This is a very old game.
    We are babes.....over and over again, born with no recollection, with no remembrance and so we are easy to manipulate.
    Just read through sites like these to see how the manipulators use the individual to perpetuate their deceits and use them to divide us and pit us one against another by playing on our prejudices.
    We now do it to ourselves without any need for them to goad us on.
     
  20. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,525
    Likes Received:
    0
    hi reema and welcome; as you have sussed out any religion has a particular worldview and theology; ok there are lots of variations within each tradition but there are core doctrines hence the indoctrination that happens even when a child. Sometimes these doctrines or beliefs are so differentiated so as to negate others hence your tension. It must be to do with being in a relationship with a muslim man as well as your own inner questioning and confusion. As you have sussed out there are many commonalities too. does life have to be so dogmatic? don't we know how to treat someone kindly? doesn't common sense tell us what is intrinsically wrong or right? OK life comes at us as we come to it, we are it, in the moment; and we do our best to be true to ourselves and authentic to others and most of the time it is our intelligent intuition that tells us if we are in tune or not so l say never forget that:)
     

Share This Page