My Religious Experience - Christianity and Islam.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by NikkiNeversleep, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. NikkiNeversleep

    NikkiNeversleep New Member

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    [​IMG]
    "My Religious Experience"
    by Nikki "Neversleep"

    This is going to be a long one folks just as a heads up....

    I was raised in a Christian home by two very amazing people. My father nondenominational Black-Bahamian, my mother a Catholic Puerto Rican.

    I began to doubt at early ages, 13 or 15, that what they believed was true. I started to wonder how one could know for sure there was a God, and what exactly he wanted for us if there was one.

    I prayed quite a bit in those days, as a young girl. I asked lots of questions, and I never got answers from pastors/priests nor God himself. I was quickly becoming disheartened. I read more and more of the Bible and all it did was cause more confusion. No answers seem to come from anywhere.

    Later in my teens I drifted from the church, and eventually came out as an agnostic atheist to my father, who I was very close to, he took it pretty well all things considered and assured me he believed I would come to find the "truth" I don't know if he meant "his truth" or the actual Truth, but I prefer to think it was the latter. My mother took it a little harder, but she remained a loving and comforting mother always. Though it often to this day comes in conversation between the two of us.

    Just before turning 19 I gave birth to my daughter, in labor I was told that it was very likely I would die due to the stress it was putting on me. My smaller body had a few..... issues that prevented it from being capable of birthing a child with ease. I tried to put that in a way to keep as much graphic personal details out as possible, sorry if it came out weird sounding. The options I had were, my life for my daughter's or hers for mine. I chose to give my life for her. The doctors weren't wrong, the stress was too much for my body to take, and I "died" (flatlined) for 12 mins. Thankfully they were able to resuscitate me, though I experienced some side effects my vision dulled and grayed and my hearing was lost for a long period of time, I have it back now though neither my sight nor my hearing are where they were before. Likewise my daughter was born with hearing problems. A small price to pay for her life, and I'd gladly do it again.

    During the time leading up to her birth, her grandfather (my father) had become quite ill. He had a tumor in his brain, and it was killing him. Every day he seemed to be worse, but some days he was actually able to hold himself together in spite of it. There were times we would speak to him and he would not know who we were (his own children and wife) and other times he would not know who or where he was. When he was there, in his own mind, he would speak to us as my father of old. He would talk about God and Jesus, and he would tell us how proud he was of all of us and how thankful he was for each of us, which was no different from how he was before getting sick.

    At times I would hear him in his room.... praying, or just talking to God. He would cite Psalm 27:1 over and over again... "The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" Sometimes he would cite other verses, which in my younger days had brought me comfort. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all thing through Him who strengthens me." Joshua 1:9 "The Lord your God is with you wherever you may go." Isaiah 40:31 "But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Mark 10:27 "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." and many others.

    I prayed to God, wrote a letter to him even (I am introvert and spoken word does not come as easily to me as written word does.... I'm aware it is strange to write a letter to a divine being who knows your thoughts but it came more naturally for me) in which I asked him to have mercy on my father, to heal him when I could not, to save him where I had failed him. I was a nurse and I saw it and still see it, as my personal responsibility to aid in the care of every suffering person I encounter and to bring them back to good health. When I fail at this, it deeply affects me, more so in this case as I failed my own father.

    In his last days I could hear him in his room, reciting Pslam 27:1 and often saying "God will deliver me." My father died a Bible believing, charitable, honest, good, Christian man.

    Following his death, a close friend of the family and my father, a Muslim teacher approached me to comfort me in my time of loss. I had made very good friends with his daughter and we were next to inseparable as children, though as this time she had accompanied her mother to London to be with more of their family. He had known from talks with my father that I struggled with faith, and in an act of what I consider kindness despite my feelings now about the faith, he invited to become a Muslim. Which because I was searching for God, in time I did.... for a short period.

    I learned Quran, I even began my study of Arabic (as I had already studied other languages such as Hebrew) which I continue to study to this day. I even spoke Shahada which is the FIRST Pillar of Islam, and for many the most important. I prayed in Mosques, sometimes in foreign countries when I could visit. They were lovely and the people there (in Syria, Palestine, and others) were always very kind to me. But... something always felt wrong with it. I was hidden, in Hijab. I did not like that part of the practice. I often found myself removing it when I "should not" have.

    I began to discover that Islam, much like Christianity, lacked what I wanted. Answers. Truth. Some knowledge of God. I came to the decision that I would leave Islam as well..... which this at the time crushed my teacher. He was upset with me, but not angry. We still talk to this day and he's still a very good friend of the family.

    I would not be defeated so easily however.... so I delved into EVERY religion I could get my hands on. I made friends with Pagans; Kemets, Wiccans, Neo-Religio Romana Followers, all sorts. I befriended a Hindu with more than 4 decades in study of his faith. I met and learned from 2 practicing religious Buddhists. Of course I always had Christian and Muslim friends as well, despite some of them disowning me in both cases. I dated a Semitic Jewish Doctor for a short while, he and I are still very much so friends, our relationship began from my wanting to learn more of his culture, faith, traditions, language, etc.

    I simply could not learn enough. I have always enjoyed my books, I was a strange child. I have loved reading and learning all my life. I continue this practice to this day. It's a key motivator in my learning of more than 20 languages (counting primary and secondary tongues) many of which I can actually speak fluently. Religion guided me to a love of cultures I had never even thought to care about, an even deeper love of language than I had before, and overall it invigorated my thirst to KNOW not just believe.

    I think I have done more than my father could have possibly predicted.... but then again perhaps I'm just underestimating the old man again.

    In all my time learning in and of other religions, what I have found out about God is....... Nothing. This is why I remain an agnostic atheist. I'm not opposed to learning about him should he wish to teach, but at this time I'm done being the one making the calls, he doesn't seem to be getting my messages.

    Thanks for reading.
     
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  2. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Hello and welcome. I enjoyed your story here. Perhaps it's time to put aside religious doctrine and other words of man and look for God within?
     
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  3. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful story of a powerful journey. Having exhausted so much in the theistic side of religions, have you ever considered the deistic side. God is not a separate being with a separate consciousness from the rest of us. God is us. Everyone one of us is a part of the whole. Not just people, and not just living things, but all of this reality is part of the whole.

    One analogy is that everything that exists is similar to brain cells, and they all fire on and off together to allow the brain to function. God is the brain. The sum of all things vibrating in the dance of the cosmos.
     
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  4. StevePame

    StevePame Administrator Admin

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    Welcome to the forum, Nikki!
     
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  5. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nikki,

    I would like to respond to your post. I am a Buddhist and a Theosophist, and so I will be responding from a Buddhist and Theosophical perspective.

    Buddhism has many traditions, and they are very different from each other. I do not think you can get a good idea about Buddhism by only talking to two Buddhists. You may want to look at other kinds of Buddhism.

    You said,

    “I started to wonder how one could know for sure there was a God, and what exactly he wanted for us if there was one.”

    --> Buddhism is a religion where the question of whether there is a God is not an important question.

    “I read more and more of the Bible and all it did was cause more confusion.”

    --> I stopped reading the Bible a long time ago. I find that I get much better answers from my Theosophical books.

    “I was hidden, in Hijab. I did not like that part of the practice. I often found myself removing it when I "should not" have.”


    --> I am glad you chose not to wear a Hijab. It makes women into slaves.

    “I began to discover that Islam, much like Christianity, lacked what I wanted. Answers. Truth… …I delved into EVERY religion I could get my hands on. I made friends with Pagans; Kemets, Wiccans, Neo-Religio Romana Followers, all sorts. I befriended a Hindu with more than 4 decades in study of his faith. I met and learned from 2 practicing religious Buddhists. Of course I always had Christian and Muslim friends as well, despite some of them disowning me in both cases. I dated a Semitic Jewish Doctor for a short while, he and I are still very much so friends, our relationship began from my wanting to learn more of his culture, faith, traditions, language, etc.”

    --> I want to encourage you to keep searching for the best religion for you. Do not quit until you find it. You must not compromise on this. I searched for several decades. Then, one day, BOOM, I found exactly what I was looking for (Theosophy). I am glad I did not ‘settle for’ a ‘lesser religion’, because I would never have found exactly what fits me. You must not ‘settle for’ something less, either. And if ‘the perfect religion for you’ is atheism, then you should stick with it.

    Good luck on your journey. Enjoy the ride.

    By the way, which 20 languages do you study?
     
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  6. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    Salaam Allahikim nikki,

    I see you have "tried" Islam, and seeing as how you didn't find it to be truth and still have friends with some who follow, and I assume whatever doubts you had you have discussed in great detail. I'm sure this was a semi thought out intro however, and some things I'm sure if you stick around, I will be asking you why on. It sounds as if you played the part but never quite believed. A trait I find often with people taking stints into Islam. I will not pester you with too many questions (for now :D)

    If I might ask 1 though. you state none of these religions offered answers or truth. So I ask, What is the question(s) you are looking for answers to? And to that matter, what truth? If you have found falsehood (I guess my question would be mainly directed at the Abrahamics) maybe you can state them for discussion sometime.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Almost like entering a car.dealership in here...
     
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  8. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Active Member

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    Maybe but which .dealership is selling the 1958 Ford Edsel? ;)
     
  9. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Right next to the one selling the Corvair and the Pinto!:D
     
  10. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hey NJ, you forgot the Nash Rambler!
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    All that being said.... Yes welcome and my wish for you is that you continue on your path of discovery and watch out for salesman working on commission...
     
  12. aspiringsoul

    aspiringsoul New Member

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    Asalaam alaikum, i'm a muslim.......new here
    yeh, salesmen on commission. That's all true. Personally i've never pushed my beliefs and tried converting anyone and nor do I wish to. I prefer to give people a chance to grown and learn themselves because there's no substitute for your own life experiences.

    However, i do have my fair share of interest in the metaphysical and so sufi islam, vedanta in particular have been of great value to me. There are some fairly obvious life lessons/wisdom wherever you look and not limited to any religion. In that sense i'm more drawn by the person than a religion.


    My fav is probably sufi inayat khan since I read his teachings every night ie Bowl of Saki....and he's one of the very few who gets it ie a combination of sufi, vedanta and christianity.

    ie todays message

    There is no source of happiness other than that in the heart of man.

    Bowl of Saki, September 5, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
    Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan

    Man seeks happiness in pleasure, in joy, but these are only shadows of happiness. The real happiness is in the heart of man. But man does not look for it. In order to find happiness, he seeks pleasure. Anything that is passing and anything that results in unhappiness is not happiness.


    In reality very few in this world know what happiness means. Pleasure is the shadow of happiness, for pleasure depends upon things outside ourselves; happiness comes from within ourselves. Happiness belongs to the heart quality; pleasure to the outer world. The distance between pleasure and happiness is as vast as that between earth and heaven. As long as the heart is not tuned to its proper pitch one will not be happy. That inner smile which shows itself in a man's expression, in his atmosphere, that belongs to happiness. If position were taken away and wealth were lost in the outer life, that inner happiness would not be taken away. And the smiling of the heart depends upon the tuning of the heart, the heart must be tuned to that pitch where it is living.


    There are a thousand excuses for unhappiness that the reasoning mind will make. But is even one of these excuses ever entirely correct? Do you think that if these people gained their desires they would be happy? If they possessed all, would that suffice? No, they would still find some excuse for unhappiness; all these excuses are only like covers over a man's eyes, for deep within is the yearning for the true happiness which none of these things can give. He who is really happy is happy everywhere, in a palace or in a cottage, in riches or in poverty, for he has discovered the fountain of happiness which is situated in his own heart. As long as a person has not found that fountain, nothing will give him real happiness.


    If there is any source from where one can get the direction on how to act in life, it is to be found in one's heart. The exercises of the Sufi help to get to the source where one can get the direction, the right direction, where there is a spark of the Spirit of Guidance. Those who care to be guided by the spirit, they are always guided, but those who know not whether such a spirit exists or does not exist, they wander through life as a wild horse in the woods, not knowing where it goes, why it runs, why it stands. It is a great pity to be thirsty and remain thirsty when the spring of fresh water is within one's reach. There can be no loss so great in life as having the spark glittering in one's heart and yet groping in the darkness through life.



    In point of fact, whatever one makes of oneself, one becomes that. The source of happiness or unhappiness is all in man himself. When he is unaware of this, he is not able to arrange his life, but as he becomes more acquainted with this secret, he gains mastery, and the process by which this mastery is attained is the only fulfillment of the purpose of this life.
     
  13. NikkiNeversleep

    NikkiNeversleep New Member

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    Thank you all for the welcomes.

    @Nick the Pilot for clarification I know more than 2 Buddhists but I only consider myself close friends with 2 of them. I've studied a multitude I always say 20 because that's the number I'm comfortable with but in truth it's far more than 20 if you count alternate dialects. In some form or another I've studied English (origins, etc.), Spanish (one of my early tongues), French, Haitian Creole, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, What we know of the Egyptian Language, Lots of Afriikan tongues (Mande tongues), Gaelic, German, Russian, so many really. To some degree or another I've studied a lot of languages, some so that I can speak them, and others just to understand something more clearly.

    @BigJoeNobody Wa'Alaikum salaam. You asked: "So I ask, What is the question(s) you are looking for answers to? And to that matter, what truth? If you have found falsehood (I guess my question would be mainly directed at the Abrahamics) maybe you can state them for discussion sometime." I have many, many questions that I believe only God could answer should he/she/it actually exist. Most have to do with specifics of our creation, how certain things work, the purpose, the need, the motivation for him to create. So many things to ask. Did I find "falsehoods?" I found inaccuracies in the interpretations of the Quran (the Recitation). Truth, the truth of our existence. Were we created? By who/what? For what purpose? Answers only the true God would have.
     
  14. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Nikki,

    Just to let you know, I speak Japanese and I am learning Chinese.

    I am also familiar with many of the different traditions within Buddhism.
     
  15. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I too had many questions about some of the translations. It took several translations before I started getting that they were all piecework, because the complications of language transitions. But you specified in the interpretations, which interpretations are you referring to? Schools of thought saying what you are or are not supposed to do. Scientific inaccuracies? A literal deduction of what you stated would highly consist of you basically not agreeing with a concensus of the meaning of Ayas, and I would agree on some counts. I discuss them with friends and 1 in particular find my questions so far out there he asks his Father (one of the well known Sheiks here in Houston from what I've been told) about them. Not once has he come back that what I said was unreasonable, and usually my frind comes back saying it is a valid point. I find that to be a strength in the Quran. If I interpret it this way, and it is not countering anything else, it is a valid view.

    Now as for the rest:
    I'd say you are searching for the how, that is science/physics/engineering. His motivation to create, now that is a question you can only ask Allah. I find the Question a bit unimportant. Much like the question of why a particulat person likes brown hair and another blonde... It is unimportant. I received my confirmation that Allah is real both in experience and literary confirmations. I am more interested now in how I can do as instructed better without being forced to adopt a culture that is not my own (and it is possible Quranically it seems that I may maintain American Culture while following Shariah.)

    Just for Fun:

    yes
    Allah
    To obey, and seek a reward in Jannah. (see above for Allah's motivation version of this question.
    I got these from the Quran, the word Allah gave to us to answer those questions.

    If your account gives your age correctly, I'd say you might be suffering from a common issue of early 20's. You think you know more than you do (please don't take offense, as I will try to explain). I will use a couple examples, Because we have been talking about Islam, Arabic. It is possible for someone to learn many languages, and be able to communicate with them effectively fairly quick if they are skilled in language acquisition. While from the same sense Here in the US we take 12+ years of english and still have issues with getting it right from a fundamental standpoint. Modern Arabic is a difficult transition due to differences in alphabet, grammer, word structure, etc. Now if we take that a bit further and say proper Modern Arabic, we find the issue is much more inflated. Now your must not only be able to communicate, but understand the roots of each word, and not shortcut any phrases, and understand the very basis of how the structure is made both in the word and sentence format. Even moreso, when studying Proper Classical Arabic, then you must cast out the meanings of many words that have modern meanings, for those of their classical meanings, and structure. This process can take native Arabic speakers decades to fully understand. Then there is only 1 way to really make sure you understand it, and that is to discuss word by word, sentence by sentence with someone else who knows the language. Take this concept into a religious basis, such as the Quran, and now not only do you need to know how each word accurately translates, but also why that word/structure was used. Most Sheiks of the language of the Quran who are respected have spent most of their lives ATTEMPTING to understand as many of the why's of language used. And many will find different standpoints based on that.

    Hebrew is similar in its modern language is not what its classical language is, while maintaining similarities. Ancient Egyptian is highly based on a lot of guesswork, but language scientists are making headway. It is still not a fully understood language by modern people (at least that was my understanding from a professor in college with a Dr in Egyptian Studies.

    If you have mastered these languages enough to claim you understand them or "studied" them in detail enough to know something, That's great. But 9/10 people who I have talked to who claimed to "know" more than 3 languages fail on the "proper" level. (to be fair my 9/10 is based on the 10 people I know who claimed it.
     
  16. NikkiNeversleep

    NikkiNeversleep New Member

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    A very well thought out response, @BigJoeNobody

    I'll address a few keypoints I found noteworthy.

    "But you specified in the interpretations, which interpretations are you referring to?"
    Specifically the Recitations as recorded by Imam Warsh and Haf. As well as several more "widely accepted" MSA versions of the Quran.

    "His motivation to create, now that is a question you can only ask Allah. I find the Question a bit unimportant."
    Its one of the most important things from my view.

    "If your account gives your age correctly, I'd say you might be suffering from a common issue of early 20's."
    I am 24 years old, so you would be correct. Except in the next point that you mentioned about this "issue."

    "You think you know more than you do"
    No. I know what I know, and I think what I think. I am quite aware that I don't know everything, that was well covered in my opening post.

    "If you have mastered these languages enough to claim you understand them or "studied" them in detail enough to know something, That's great. But 9/10 people who I have talked to who claimed to "know" more than 3 languages fail on the "proper" level. "
    At no point did I claim I have "mastered" these languages, I have studied them both for personal gain and academic gain. The ones I speak I have tested and speak well enough that someone who speaks the language can understand me perfectly and we can carry a conversation for several hours. It was rare to hear myself and my teacher (the Islamic one) speak anything but Arabic in private conversation once I had picked the language up. The Quran was a major tool in the advancement of my linguistic knowledge, for that reason I appreciate having encountered the text.

    On a sidenote, my daughter speaks 2 languages proficiently (she is 5 years old) Spanish and English. She's working on a third spoken language, and due to her hearing issues she is quite skilled at Sign Language, a skill that I picked up so that she and I would always be able to communicate.
     
  17. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    feel free to elaborate. A recitation is not an explanation, there is nothing to interpret. If you are referring to Tafsiirs by those reciters, then I understand where you are directing from, but still have no clue where you might find inaccuracy. I know people certified in multiple recitations (even multiple Hafs Recitations) and have no issues with inaccuracies, all the letters remain same, words did not change, number of Aya/Surah is same etc. So I guess my main question revolves around an example of your inaccuracy that you claim. If it seems reasonable, I will look into it for myself. As of right now I have never heard of an inaccuracy, or deviation. Also, "versions"? There is 1 version. If you are referring to the different translations, feel free. I actually have my own access to those without seeking help.

    To me the most important is IF HE CREATED... Why is a byproduct of curiosity. Of course this is my opinion and should only be taken as so. IMO if anyone claimed to know why Allah did almost anything, they would be selling him short. Allah is of a mind superior to all our combined minds.

    No offense intended, merely an evaluation based on my experiences. Instead of quoting each thing I will attempt to address the rest as a whole. I'm not going to accuse you of not knowing any language, it is merely a general observation of populace. You might very well be the best learning linguist I've never met :D. But I stand by my statement that it is still a possibility that you have prematurely judged error in that which is not in error. Merely because you haven't had the time to learn to a mastery of the language. As I stated I make a clear distinction with knowing how to speak fluently and "knowing proper linguistics of a language". The prior can be learned by most in as little as 3 months. The latter can take even Native speakers decades to master. Without this mastery any claim of "inaccuracy" or "error" is null in any argument based on the linguistics. If you think you have found an error/inaccuracy in any accepted recitation, please do give examples (preferably in the Islamic Section). Maybe you are right, maybe I can give a satisfactory answer so that you can cease spreading an idea that there is an error. Inshallah, we may both learn more.

    My son isn't picking up languages as well, he knows English, and is currently learning Spanish, Turkish, and Arabic (which he is doing better at than the others). He is also 5 :D. I doubt he will be "fluent" in any anytime soon. Mainly due to his interest in science being much stronger.
     
  18. farhan

    farhan Active Member

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    How many versions of quran you have seen? And what were the differences? Did you ask any arabs about these differences?
     
  19. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I'd expect an Imam or Sheik would be a better reference than just an "Arab."
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    I've been told repeatedly by folks...read any interpretation you'd like....but until you learn Arabic...you won't know the Quran... (Jews believe similar)
     

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