how do you know what to believe?

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

  1. The Undecided

    The Undecided Well-Known Member

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    I've been told by my Muslim friends that the Torah and the Bible are both corrupted versions of Gods message, and that the Qur'an is the only uncorrupt version, which was given to us to clarify things once and for all. In the Qur'an it also mentions that Jesus, Moses, all the way back to Abraham were all profits, but their massage has been missunderstood. Personally I believe that it is wrong to catagorise religions as right and wrong. The Dalai Lama has been reported to have said that religion is not divided vertically into all the different faiths, instead religion is divided horizontally into those who follow a faith and those who don't. This is because those who follow a faith are basically the same, as are those who don't. I also like the Unitarian Christian ideas, that there is only one God, Jesus was an exampler model for how we should live our lives, and no one religion can claim an absolute monopoly on theological truth. The point I'm trying to make is that the root of most religions is the teachings of a profit, from which the scriptures have been written. In my experience most of the time these profits teachings are very similar. So it doesn't really matter which religion we follow. If we follow the teachings of Jesus, Mohamed (can't remember the right spelling, sorry) and even the Buddha we will live a good life, and that is often the best we can do. Hope this helps.
     
  2. The Undecided

    The Undecided Well-Known Member

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    I agree, and think that sometimes doctrine can get in the way of faith. Religion is not religion when it divides people, and many doctrines do just that. We are one people, and one earth. What we do effects all living beings and the earth too. All is connected. We live in a state of total interdependence, we need each other, so we should be nothing but good to each other, animals and insects included.
     
  3. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Reema, and welcome to the Forum.

    I agree with you. According to my belief system, all devout Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc., are making progress towards the same goal.
     
  4. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    You know, Jesus once said, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it..."

    You weren't very clear on the reasons for being afraid to take the step. It almost sounds like the loss of the threat of hell has diminished your desire to do what's good and right.

    As one who has recently become a universalist (see here), I feel quite liberated from the pressure to try and 'save' myself or anyone else. I still believe in hell, only I don't see it being necessarily permanent, but remedial in scope. I believe in a God of love, but also a God of justice. If hell is to have any value, it would be part of a process in bringing us toward a right relationship with God rather than a callous throwing away of life in a never-ending pit of torture. But I also believe that for process to work, any punishment would be fair and just, "till he should pay all that was due unto him", as a certain parable teaches.

    I believe God would have us concentrate more on loving others, putting others before us, losing ourselves for the benefit of other's wellbeing.
     
  5. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    So... If someone went by this logic and view... And I took full advantage of that, wearing them to the ground for my benefit.... Would it be wrong? Or would I simply be helping this person?
     
  6. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    I'm, not sure I follow you, Alex. What do you mean by 'wearing them to the ground'? There ought not to be benefit to ourselves, but that 'agape' ('Love is...not self seeking..." - I Cor. 13:5) that expects nothing in return, which isn't always easy to do. It is simply helping the person.

    Think of the Good Samaritan.
     
  7. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

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    Justice is a wonderful principal. \
    As you have pointed out, a God of Love would not make eternal beings to just discard them after one kick at the can, while suffering from amnesia and subjected to propaganda and ignorance.
    That would not be Just at all.
     
  8. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

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    Maybe we dont know what to believe with so many different contradictory things to believe its hard to make the choice rationally, so maybe its down to the Grace of God, so put your trust in God.

    And after we have chosen to believe then Faith comes.
     
  9. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

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    Dondi: I mean, You said that: "concentrate more on loving others, putting others before us, losing ourselves for the benefit of other's wellbeing."

    So say you dedicated yourself to going completley out of your way to put others first and help others, say someone abused this frame of mind... You know not bothering to clean the dishes.... Walk the dogs, feed the fish, hoover the floors. Whatever lol just becoming lazy and taking advantage, knowing you'll pick up the pieces. Are they helping you?

    -edit-
    Meh nevermind... :/
     
  10. Dondi

    Dondi Well-Known Member

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    Ah, I see what you mean. In response, may I provide a bit of scripture:

    "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2

    Well, this seems a typical exhortation found in the bible. But look at what it says just three short verses later:

    "For every man shall bear his own burden." - Galatians 6:5

    And one might ponder how such an apparent contradiction could occur in the same chapter. But then we need look at the whole passage in context:

    "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

    Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:1-2

    This has to do with helping someone out of a predicament they may find themselves in. Totally legit, doncha think? But it also gives warning not to fall into the same way. Jesus often ate and drank with sinners, but didn't conform to their ways.

    So then after they've been helped up:

    "For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

    But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

    For every man shall bear his own burden." - Galatians 6:3-5

    Once the person who has been helped he ought to learn and prove his own work, begin bearing his own burden.

    We don't help others to become lazy, but to direct them to lead productive lives.
     
  11. NightPhoenix

    NightPhoenix Member

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    Hi Reema, I don't know if you're still around on these boards (as I'm new here myself) but I found your question to be the exact question i've beeing pondering myself.


    As a Christian who was baptized Catholic, spent most of my Christian life as an Evangelical Protestant and who is now Eastern Orthodox I can guarantee you that not all Christian Churches teach the same thing in regards to non Christians. Most Evangelical Protestants would say unless you're a Christian (and they define what it means to be Christian) then you're doomed to hell. But Anglicans don't believe that. Many Lutherans don't believe that. Even the Roman Catholic Church no longer teaches that. Speaking as an Eastern Christian, I can tell you that even in the ancient "strict" periods of the Church, many Church fathers basically left the question of non Christians (or people who had never heard the Gospel) in the hands of God. We know where the Church is, but we don't know where it is not is a saying common in my Church.


    That's a modern interpretation of Revelation, popularized by Christians really in love with "end times" theology. And of course a strait reading for most modern day people, might interprete it in that way. Often times skeptics and atheists with zero knowledge of the ancient world will read Revelation just as literally as a Pat Robertson or John Hagee would, but of course they'd say "how can you believe in 7 headed dragons, you're stupid!"

    the truth is Revelation is not unique in the literary world. between 150 BCE and 100CE that style of Religious, Jewish writing, known as Apocalyptic literature was quite popular. the point of Revelation in particular was not to talk about what happens to non believers, but to talk about what happens to believers who remain faithful. It's not about fear and dread, but rather it was meant to give a future hope to the Christians at the time who were being severely persecuted. it was a way of saying, "yes things are bad now, and things are going to get much, much worse, but you have a future hope in the Resurrection that will make all the present suffering be forgotten. (God will wipe away every tear etc)

    That's the point of the book of Revelation. it has nothing to do with those on the "outside" of the Community (except perhaps those doing the wicked things like burning Christians alive), but it was really about the hope to come.

    now it is true that pretty much in all Churches, at one time or another the consensus of the church, or at least a large number of people taught/believed that "only we will be saved"...my Church is no less guilty of that than any other. However there also have always been Christians, from the earliest days of the Church who believed non Christians not only "could" be saved, but eventually "would" be saved. oF course these people were often (but not always) seen as heretics, but they none the less they believed such things. So just because a particular Christian Church preaches one thing doesn't make it so, nor does it even mean they are following a faithful opinion of earlier generations.

    With that said, it probably still doesn't answer your question, how do we know which religion is true? And i've asked myself that same question. while Christianity, Judaism and Islam do indeed teach similar things, there are also teachings that are simply contradictory, so they cannot all be equally true. (from a Christian POV) However I know that in Judaism there is a belief that God allows other religions as a way of preparing the Gentile world for the Messianic era. That Christianity and Islam brought monotheism to the majority of the planet, and they are thus preperatory in nature for the gentiles. That kind of makes sense to me, but of course still doesn't answer "how do I know this?"


    That sounds like a critique Richard Dawkins has with religion. that indoctrinating children into a faith they have no way of "choosing" is in a way "child abuse". I don't know that I'd go that far for most cases, but it certainly is weird to see 5 year olds on American TV talk about how "I'm a Republican/Democrat"....why are we not as disturbed to hear a 5 year say "I'm a Christian"....doesn't it take just as much of a choice? I don't know.

    anyways, I do get your dillema, and I don't have an answer for you. I am asking it of myself, and sad to say the question has lead me into serious doubt about the existence of God. However many people come to the opposite conclusion and it strengthens their faith. Hopefully you'll find the best path for you.
     
  12. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Salaam Sister Reema :), and welcome to the forum! :)

    My dear Sister, i understand perfectly what you mean and if you dont mind then as a brother I'd basically like to share with you some of my thoughts of where i think the problem lies and the solution is inshALlah

    MashAllah it is a great thing to know the power of intuition sister, but intuition can only clarify for us overwhelming truths such as God being one and some of the basic right and wrongs, but in order to judge between religious arguments sister we need our intellect as well, i.e we have to objectively study, reason, use logic, etc, etc, and come to a conclusion and i'm sure you know that imploring God for help will inshALlah illuminate our way; intuition is important here too, as the truth of our logic and objective judgements will be manifested within ourselves and our innate nature plays a big part in this

    So sister, my two cents to you will be to judge between the evidences and arguments of the different religions with your intellect, while asking ALlah for guidance ofcourse, and inshALlah if you are sincere in your investigation [whcih i'm sure inshALlah you will be :)] then Allah will guide you to the truth

    It will be better to judge the religions on their teachings sister and not on christians or muslims saying things like 'their religion is from satan and ours is from God' etc, etc,; in the latter way there is no way you can know the truth sister unless you look into the teachings yourself and compare and judge between the teachings

    Apart from the obvious truths such as mentioned previously, the 'intuition' can be misleading sister, as many a people are disregarding their intellect and sticking to 'blind faith' as they just 'feel/guess it is right' etc, so a critical judgement is crucial in such important matters

    hope this helps sister

    Salaam

    ps: if you have any questions, dont hesitate to ask :)
     
  13. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    There is a passage in the book of Genesis, where Jacob is wrestling with an unidentified figure who some believe to be God himself. Jacob asks the figure who he is, but the figure does not give him a name. The figure tells Jacob to let go, but Jacob refuses to stop wrestling with him until he tells Jacob his name. This episode happens during the night, and the figure disappears before sunrise. It is after this episode that Jacob is given the name Israel, and becomes the father of God's chosen nation (according the the Bible, at least).

    Perhaps it is not the answer that is important, Reema; perhaps it is the attempt to find the answer that pleases God the most.

    Beware of anyone who wants to limit your ability to find that answer by trying to scare or guilt you into line.
     
  14. Abdullah

    Abdullah Well-Known Member

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    Sister, Here is a post from my archives that I prepared for other sisters who were having 'doubts' too; i'll post it up here and inshALlah hope that will be of some help

    [This answer includes responding to specific queries and 'problems' of the original 'subject'; i'll include some of them too sis as the 'remedy' of any one suffering from doubts are inshALlah to be found in the overall article]

    I think it may help if you start on an investigation of Islam to see if you can believe without a shred of doubt, for otherwise, those questions may haunt you and you may continue to fluctuate between belief and desbelief, thus why not consider looking into Islam thoroughly untill you can iether be sure of it's absolute truth or [God forbid] something esle?, BUT I am confident inshALlah it will be more of the former than the latter given you allready have a fear of ALlah and can feel the miraculous peace when you believe

    This way sister the frightening feeling may stop too when you read the Quran etc, for you can think to yourself that you are investigating, and if you do it with sincerity, then ALlah will show you the truth

    I'd reccomend starting off by reading a translation of the Quran; many people realise the divine and absolute sublime nature of the Quran once they read the translation for it is like everything God will reveal and embedded with divine signs

    secondly you can listen to the beutifull recitation of the Quran; that too has divine signs in it in that it is so beutifull and sounds like something that is impossible for humans to compose themselves

    you can also read a biography of the prophet [saw]; one can just sense that he is a true Prophet of God once they read his life story...

    and you can also look up all the scientific miracles of the Quran; there's plenty of sites and youtube videos about this

    Once all of that study makes you absolutely sure about the truth of Islam sister, then you can stop doubting and if any doubt should try and occur after that then you can just reject it [reject the doubts and not islam [​IMG]] as a deception from the satan, and soon you wont be troubled by doubts again inshALlah

    And did you know that the more one practices islam, like say ther prayers etc, the more confident they get in their beliefs and the more peacefull and tranquill they get, so your next step after certainty should be to just keep on practicing Islam and soon you'll get to a more composed and peacefull and confident state about your beliefs inshALlah

    ...

    I once answered a sister having doubts due to her coming across some information about an illness that induces hyper religiousity and outbursts of spontaneous spiritual poetry, and thought that Muhammd [saw] may have been affected by the same illness; this answer includes some reasons why Islam has to be from Allah and also of how to move towards having true faith bestowed on one from the grace of ALlah; so i'll post that up too in the hope that it will be of some help to you:

    The Quran is consistent from start to finish; it has no contradiction in it, it is every bit like what God would reveal; it's message is consistent to the extent where it even points out the errors of the past heavenly revealed religions [and not just agrees with them] and corrects the doctrine of the Prophet Jesus [pbuh]. It has many scientific miracles in it, It has a complete code of a way of life that cannot be refuted and which is in total accordance with justice and all the attribute of God mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. The Prophecie/s of the Quran have come true and some may be pending.

    The above are just some signs indicating that the Quran cannot be the halucinations or the 'inspirations' of person suffering from mental illnesses.

    There is further proof indicating the objective truth of Islam in the Sunnah; all the Prophecies of the Prophet Muhammad [saw] have come true so far; the interpretation of the Quran, that is the Sunnah, fits the verses of the Quran without any contradiction whatsoever and it harmonises intellecutally any seemingly contradcitions in the Quran. Basically, the Quran and the Sunnah is a hundred percent according to logic; the 'supernatural' stuff in the Quran and Sunnah is in accordance with Gods powers and attributes. The Sunnah contains some 'medical miracles' too.

    All of the above is, in my opinion, enough to know that the Quran [or the Sunnah] cannot be the result of TLE; surely TLE dont inspire people to automatically come out with scienctific facts that havn't been 'discovered' yet?, and surely it cannot inspire or instinctively induce such a perfect, comprehensive, vollumous, miraculous, and an ocean of knowledge that the Quran is?

    One possible explanation for this TLE illness, is that, the satan [an evil jinn] possess a person and whispers these 'proses' into peoples minds/hearts, knowing fully well that it can be used by the man-devils to try and throw doubt on the divine nature of the Quran and the authenticity of the Messenger of God, Muhammad [saw].

    The satan said that he will leave no stones unturned in trying to make people go astray, so if the TLE isn't just a cunning plan of the satan, then the fact that anti-Islam websites use this illness to try and discredit Islam with, certainly is.

    Islam is not all about the intellect sis, and there has to be a point where one has to try and see/hear from the eyes/ears of the heart [the spiritual heart] and if a person dont reject or dont deny what his heart and soul tells him to be true, then that is when Allah instills faith in his heart...; Shaykh Hamza Yusuf said that the arabic/Islamic word 'aql' [intellect] differs in it's definition from the western definition; the word 'aql' is litterally a light that Allah puts in the heart, via which a person can see the true nature of things; that is why for those who are firm in their belief of Islam, it is not just a matter of intellect and they can see the truth from the eyes of their heart; try to let all the Islamic logic, and signs of Allah seep in your heart and see if you can look at the Quran and Sunnah via the same light; beg Allah for guidance at the same time.

    The most 'lenient' interpretation of kufr that I have heard, was from Shaykh Hamza too, and he said that there will allways be critical voices regarding Islam [or any undisputed fact about Islam], and when a person chooses the critical voices over the overwhelming evidence, that is kufr; now dont get alarmed sis, I'm not making takfir here, but am just saying that what this definition of kufr indicates is that, once a person is faced with overwhelming evidence, then that is enough for his soul to consciously or subconciously know that that is true, but yet, although the persons common sense [and fitrah] will tell him that the overwhelming evidence is true, if he wants to be too 'intellectual' about it at this stage and dont let go of the idea of the '1 in a million chance' of the 'critical voices' being true, then 'aql' wont enter his heart.

    So my two cents to you sis will be, dont work your intellect too hard, and just give in to the eyes and ears of your heart when it is appropriate, rather than stick to the critical voices. and above all. beg and cry to Allah for guidance, for if He dont save you, nothing can or will.

    This is a statement from Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali:

    Whoever assumes that faith is realised through speculative theology, abstract proofs or academic divisions is an innovator. To the contrary, faith is a light that Allah [swt] casts in the hearts of his servants with bounty and grace from His presence. Sometimes faith is evidenced internally and it is impossible to express; sometimes, through a vision while asleep, other times, by witnessing the state of a pious man and recieving the emanation of his light as a result of his companionship and presence; and there are times when faith comes by the concurrence of circumstances. Indeed a beduin came to the Prophet [saw] denying and rejecting him, But when his eyes fell upon his radiant aspect - May Allah increase it's dignity and nobility - he saw in it the light of Prophethood and exclaimed, "By Allah!, This is not the face of a lier!" He then beseeched the Prophet [saw] to tell him about Islam and immediately embraced it.

    [ref: The Creed of Imam Tahawi, translated by Hamza Yusuf]

    Hope this Hleps

    Salam :)

    ps: check out surah Takwir from Shaykh Alfasy and then try saying that is not from ALlah [swt]: :cool::):

    YouTube - Mishary Al Afasy- Surah Takwir
     
  15. Courage

    Courage Well-Known Member

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    Punishment comes from sinning. There's Law which is used to restrict sinning. If you sinned, you shall thus be judged by Law. Since it is estimated that you can't stand such a trial, God provides an alternative which is Jesus Christ. His sacrifice atoned for our sin thus allow us to abide by the new covenant to avoid being juded by Law.

    All other religions besides Christianity are almost exclusively conveying the message of how to surpress sin, which may not be that practical as time advances itself to our modern society. Nowadays people can hardly abide by any rules defined in any religions' origional dogma.

    Accept Jesus Christ to be your savior is thus the only way to go (no offense to other religions).
     
  16. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

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    Wow, a lot of opinion based on speculation being bantered about.

    [youtube]3QfEiDO9opg[/youtube]

    But, just like the blue glove metaphor illustrates all these legalistic/judgemental philosophies will seek to smash things down and point the accusing finger of condemnation for failure to live up to their code of ethics.

    1 simple message????

    :) All You Need Is LOVE :)

    *Love covers the multitude of sins.
     
  17. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    it's funny how saying "no offence" is much easier than not actually giving offence, ain't it?

    i think, courage, you need to read the code of conduct. such points of view are not conducive to interfaith dialogue. if you start evangelising to people you're going to be out so fast the door won't even have time to hit you on the arse.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     

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