What are the Differences between the Abrahamic Faiths?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Quahom1, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    wa aleykum salaam InLove

    Hope you are well today.

    I think you explained it beautifully in the one sentence above, this I can understand.



    Thank you, what lovely verses. I haven't ignored a big chunk of your post but I thought I would deal with it in my answer to your post below.


    Take care.

    Salaam
     
  2. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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  3. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    I used to go to Friday prayers with my friend from work. I saw everybody looking right and left and asked my friend later why.

    As he frequently did, my friend said "Don't ask so many questions". So I never found out. (I found out later that he wasn't very religious and may not have known himself:D)
     
  4. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    No-one told me it is a secret :eek: :D

    Over our right shoulder is the angel that records our good deeds, over our left the angel that records our bad deeds. We say to each of them: Assalamu 'Alalikum Wa Rahmatullah which means May the Peace and Mercy of Allah be upon you.

    Oops look the secret is out. :p
     
  5. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    Cool. Thanks.

    Powerful thing, all praying together...
     
  6. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Yep and if we could get the whole world to pray together, in their many tongues and manerisms, maybe G-d would finally forgive us and take us home to Him.

    Salaam
     
  7. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I didn't really say what I meant by him being "Actor." I didn't want to go into too much detail.

    A lot of people have a different concept of Jesus. One reads the Four Gospels and wonders what his true purpose had been. To some he is just like any other philosopher (or perhaps even a guru) -- Confucism, Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, etc. Others think of him as a campaigner for justice, a social justice activist. He went around healing the sick and helping the poor. He was advocate for the oppressed, and had a strong link with a lot of people in the community. He got to know people and connected with them. This may seem like the kind of view a secular person/atheist might have, but a view that many Christians have as well.

    There is a common belief that Jesus might have been sent to resolve certain misconceptions about God.

    There was a prevailing view at the time that God was someone who made rules for people, and that God wouldn't accept people who couldn't follow the rules. If God was to send a message to us, it would either be a complaint that we weren't following the rules, or a new set of rules!!! I believe that a lot of us at some stage in our lives thought of God as a Judge somewhere in heaven at the Head of some Divine Legal System, one bigger, fatter and more powerful than any humanly-designed and man-made legal system ever set up. As the man-made legal systems followed rules, so did the Divine equivalent.

    That was the misconception of God, that he was up there making rules, checking us all against some rule book. The heavenly legal system was just a heavenly copy of earthly, man-made legal systems. As earthly legal-systems followed rules, so did the heavenly one.

    The religious leaders would then have been teaching people that you had to follow their rules because that was how it worked in heaven!!! Just like we teach you to follow rules, God and His angels in heaven follow rules, so you had better listen to us because we speak for God!!!

    The theory goes that Jesus came to somehow resolve that misconception. Religious leaders had taught an incorrect concept of God, so God sent Jesus to clear up that misconception.

    The critical element here is hierarchy. Legal systems are founded on a hierarchy. Legal systems have structure. If someone breaks the rules, the whole structure collapses. This was the idea of how Justice worked, an idea that continues to have influence in today's world. Obviously if this is one's idea of Justice, one must also think that God's Justice would be like that.

    The theory goes that God sent Jesus to prove these religious leaders wrong. He came not to deceive but to enlighten. God sent Jesus as an Actor, to play out His own role and purpose. People believed that God needed a hierarchy to establish His authority over people. God didn't use one, and His agent, Jesus, didn't use one either. People believed that God's Justice was about following rules. The idea of Justice that Jesus conveyed was not one of following rules, but one of being practical and realistic about people. Rules don't always represent the true attitudes of people, so Jesus didn't judge people by rules.

    The purpose of doing this was to demonstrate to human beings the right way of conceptualising God -- not as a Divine Legalist, not as one who gave people what they deserved (as required by the rules), but one understood their weakness and accepted them for who they were as people.

    How a human being could act "like God" might seem profound. But Jesus would have had a personal understanding of God and unlike us, came from heaven. Jesus, having lived in heaven, knew how God treated human beings because he was one himself. He was then able to demonstrate to other humans, on earth, how God would treat human beings.

    I don't have that much of a problem with the idea that Jesus was "just a human being." Whether one thinks of him as God, Son of God or a creation of God, I believe there is something more important that. The thing to me that is most important is what purpose or role he served. If Christianity is pursuit of a relationship with God, and if Jesus helped us to conceptualise God, that to me is just the same as thing. It is Logos, God expressing Himself and making Himself understood.
     
  8. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Yes, indeed. Make it something personal.:D



    How many bags full?:)

    Sometimes they think they know what we need but they don't.:confused: Sometimes I even wish there were no pastors, priests and presbyters. The idea that there is a profession that can explain the purpose and meaning of a religion and guide people in the right direction is unrealistic. A professional practitioner can provide knowledge but cannot know for certain what we need. As human beings will still have to process the information given, but whether that info was useful depends on what we needed to hear. Why don't we all become laypeople and parishioners???:D Dismantle the hierarchy. Break down the structure. Let's all be equal. The priests and presbyters are not closer to God than us. God is equally accessible to all if we all seek Him.

    Religion isn't medicine. It can't be prescribed as a doctor does.
    Total individualism is not what I pursue. The "go it alone" idea is not what I am after. Seeking God is the most important thing. Being part of a group is not what I see as the fundamental problem. There is nothing inherently wrong in being part of a group, or doing things together as group. It is submission of one's individual identity to the identity of a group mentality, an entity that is not God, that I see as a fundamental problem. A Christian can align himself toward God, or instead align himself toward a group mentality, an organisation, establishment, cultural fad or institution. Participation in the activities of a group or organisation are not always alignment to that entity. Alignment to that entity is the belief that the power of and the experience of God can only came from that entity.

    I can be part of a group and work for an organisation without aligning myself to it. Alignment is when I believe that God's power comes from that group or organisation.

    We could all seek God individually. The idea is not to seek an experience of God through a group, organisation, establishment, teaching or religious leader, but seek God directly. Then we could all connect with God individually and become "part of the group" that way. Two people that have connected with God can share their spiritual journey.

    The idea is to seek God individually first, then either help others find Him too or share that relationship with others who have found Him too.
     
  9. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Now I understand you. Of course he came to fulfil a role set for him by G-d, as did all the Prophets (pbut).

    Not at all, these are the teachings of G-d, we are made in his image. We can discount our physical appearance as we all look different, so it must mean the image of G-d's attributes. We all have the capacity for mercy, justice, etc, etc and these were far more pronounced in Jesus (pbuh). He came to show us the way to behave, how to use those attributes.

    Erm, please explain. :confused:
     
  10. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Exactly what Islam teaches - just a shame the scholars stopped teaching and became 'leaders'. :(

    Agree completely and the day I start saying baah, have me shot and eat me with mint sauce. Or perhaps a nice stew (well I am getting on a bit).

    I agree with you, my faith is a personal matter and I will not be told by anyone how to believe in G-d and I certainly don't need anyone looking over my shoulder saying I'm doing it wrong.

    However, if you believe a scripture to be the word of G-d and that scriptures includes requirements for believers you will inevitably get a group. For me that is 5 daily prayers, dress, not drinking alcohol, not eating pork, etc, this is not to say I do it in order to belong to a group, I do it because it is required by G-d. The other people that dress the same, eat the same, etc may have a completely different vision of G-d, heaven, hell, etc.

    Salaam
     
  11. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Several passages in the Four Gospels hint at Jesus having existed before his earthly birth/life/existence. Examples include the passage at the beginning of the Gospel of John and John 8:58. Jesus made hints in several places that he had come from "somewhere else." One example is John 8:14 where he says, "I know where I came from and where I am going." Then again in John 8:23 he proclaims, "I am not of this world." In simple terms, he was a man from heaven, and simply entered this world through a woman's womb.

    You may or may not recall that from your earlier affiliation with Christianity.:)

    I am not saying belonging to a group is bad. It's the idea that it's the most important thing in our spiritual journey that might be . . . a bit dangerous. Seeking God is the primary goal, belonging to a group is secondary. If I proclaim a Christian identity, I may indeed attach my identity to a group, but it doesn't have to be the most important thing in my spiritual journey. I don't consider that the primary goal.

    The way I see it is, if a bunch of people seek and connect to God, they are ultimately putting themselves into a "group" because they are all seeking for the same thing and all belong to the same thing -- God. Once again, I should probably appeal to the "Christian Dream" concept. What I was disagreeing with is where we form the group first and then seek God. If people do it that way, they would be forming a group identity first, which would be an obstacle between them and God. If we seek God first, and then connect with the rest of the group, there wouldn't be any "group identity" to come between us and God because the identity of that group is God Himself.
     
  12. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hi Saltmeister

    Sorry I don't remember it at all, too long reading the Quran now perhaps. I feel I know where I came from and hope to return - G-d, because He created even me but I don't believe I had a former life in heaven. So I don't see this as referring to an existence in heaven before being born. As for I am not of this world, I think that could have various interpretations. I am afraid I am a little cynical of the gospels, as there were over 30 of them and the church decided to only include the 4 that all agreed, I feel I would need to read the other 26+ to get the real story.

    I agree completely, our individual desire to find the true path to G-d must be paramount. The group first mentality, I feel, comes from human frailty and fear that this life is it and a need to find a sort of extention of this existance, rather than a true desire to find the true path to G-d as a true believing servant. However, if this group mentality leads in the long run to true belief and understanding then it is a gift from G-d. We must all tread the path that G-d sets before us and if that path is through desire to belong to a group then so be it, as long as it leads in the right direction. Remember some people are stronger than others, so some can stand as individuals, even with a belief that opposses everyone else but some need the 'club' in order to feel they are on the right path, through the comfort of having the group to confirm their belief.

    Of course if what is paramount to a person is belonging to the group then they are surely on the wrong path.

    Salaam
     
  13. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    As salaam aleykum, MW (Am I doing this greeting correctly?? And have you seen the thread on "How We Greet One Another"? I think it has been recently bumped to the front page again--I really need to go and review it. Love to have your input there!)

    That’s actually a very good question. Had to think about it for a while.

    In fact, I often do meditate on the oneness of all aspects of G-d. But I think because the Christ aspect is “The Way” in which I was invited into G-d’s mercy, it is important for me to continue in this path. I could not turn away from it; I would be lost. There is too much Love involved. And to my understanding and experience, the aspect of The Holy Spirit is limitless. I would never be able to count the ways in which He/She works.

    I think it might also help if I told you that even though I usually employ anthropomorphic and gender terms when speaking about G-d on certain forums, I also see in the abstract or philosophical way as well. In other words, I see G-d as The Absolute, but I relate to this Absolute in many ways. For me, the one most important anthropomorphic aspect is the man Jesus, for obvious reasons. But I also can see that spark of divinity in my fellow human being, so that’s anthropomorphic, too! But it is the Spirit that is the most important, for Scripture tells me:

    He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:30-32, NIV)

    That said, I think that a person would maybe have to work really hard to actually commit true blasphemy against the Spirit. I believe it is harder to do than we sometimes imagine. I think it takes active concentration and a will to propogate evil and hatred and oppression, while attributing it all with full knowledge, deceptively and purposely, to the Spirit of the Holy G-d, who is Love. It is the unlimited scope of this Spirit (whether spoken in Christian terms or not) that witnesses in the hearts of men and women, and can show us the boundless fruits of brotherhood for those who believe in this Love, no matter how we say “His” Name.:)

    InPeace,
    InLove

    P.S. Oh, yeah, since you mentioned it—I’ve been meaning to tell you that my husband is a great guy. He posts here sometimes. His screen name is “Jack Halyard”. (Sometimes he tells jokes that are rather raunchy, so I apologize ahead of time. He is a real sweetheart, though, and an awesome musician and singer.):)
     
  14. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    wa aleykum salaam InLove

    Yes, the greeting is right, thank you. I shall try to find the how we greet one another thread, I could do with a few lessons.

    I am sure you already know your greeting means "Peace be upon you" and my reply simply means "And upon you Peace". Personally I think it is a lovely way to greet someone. :) I never did know an appropriate Christian greeting, maybe I can find one on the thread you mention. :confused:



    Please don't ever think my questions are designed to make you question your faith or the path you are taking to G-d. As you know by now I believe we all have our own path to follow and I am simply trying to understand different paths people take to G-d.

    Ok a question, not intended to be rude and I am sorry but I can only think of a silly analogy. When you go to a restaraunt, a waiter will show you to your table, he will take your order, explain the specials, inform you if a meal contains nuts, bring your food, etc, etc. If you enjoyed the food you would ask the waiter to thank the chef and express your enjoyment. Of course we would thank (and maybe tip) the waiter but it was not the service of the waiter we came for. I am so sorry, I am not trying to compare Jesus (pbuh) to a waiter, it was the only way I could think of to explain myself. So is there not a time at which you say thank you to the waiter but accept the chef is the 'being' that deserves the praise?

    Do you know, as I am typing this I am starting to think to myself that yes I would recommend the food but I may also suggest to my friend to ask for Bob the waiter as he is so helpful!!!! :confused: I will have to rethink this one for a while. Perhaps it comes down to the degree of praise you attribute to the waiter and chef?

    This is the bit that troubles me InLove. Are you saying that for you the man Jesus (pbuh) is the most important aspect of G-d?



    To me, in this verse, Jesus (pbuh) himself is saying that G-d is who he serves, that blasphemy against him can be forgiven but not against G-d. This does not suggest to me that Jesus (pbuh) is claiming to 'be part of G-d' and he is telling us that G-d is a seperate entity and to be treated with far more respect than Jesus (pbuh). How do you interpret this verse?

    :D Glad to hear it, you are a lovely woman and deserve a nice husband, I hope you have a long and happy life together with many blessings from G-d. Hee hee I used to be in the army so think I can handle a raunchy joke or two. Please ask him to say Hi to me when he comes online, it would be nice to 'meet' him.

    Take care & be happy
    Salaam
    MW
     
  15. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    wa aleykum salaam, Muslimwoman!

    I am not aware of any formal Christian greetings in general application. But just because I am not aware of them doesn’t mean there aren’t any out there.:eek: And I agree—greeting others in the spirit of peace is the first step in perhaps connecting to the peace in which we wish to share. Oh, and here is that link if you’d like to visit:

    HowWeGreetOneAnother


    I realize that, and thank you. We have this in common, even as we follow our individual paths. I know we walk in areas where concerns do arise, and we try to be so careful. I’m convinced it is worth it. We don’t have to agree on every single thing. But just the sincere desire to speak earnestly and respectfully and peacefully with each other is no small commonality. If we were sitting on a patio together, mulling these things over and sharing a cup of tea, then we might speak even more freely. But even though both of us are a tad non-conformist, ;):) I think we both understand that we still love and care about our more fundamentalist brothers and sisters, and therefore we do our best to respect whatever we can of their views, especially when we are in a public forum.


    LOL, dear MW! Yes, that analogy might get you in trouble with some folks, but I know what you mean.:) I wouldn’t say it comes down to a differing degree of praise. Keep in mind that, for me, the "waiter and the chef" are simply different aspects of the same praiseworthy Entity.


    No. In fact, I’m saying that the Spirit of God is the most important, as I believe that is what the Scripture points to. When I say that Jesus is the most important “antropomorphic” aspect of God, I am referring to the concept that this Spirit of God was present in the flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the “Christ” aspect of God in recognizable human form.

    Hopefully, I touched on some of this in my comments above. The way I see it is that Jesus was phrasing things in a way in which His listeners could understand at the time. To explain it in Christian terminology, these words were recorded from a time in history before His death and resurrection. More could be understood as time went on. Thus, I believe, the reason He added “either in this age or the age to come”.

    I don’t know if that is the best I can do with my explanation, so feel free to ask about anything you want in regard to what I’ve said, and I will try to address these ideas further.

    Salaam, my peaceful sister!

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  16. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    I'd go along with this analogy. Only in this case, it was the waiter that paid for the meal. ;)
     
  17. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi Dondi!

    I thought about that, too. :)

    I even thought about how Jesus might reprimand me for worrying about referring to him in the sense of a waiter. ;)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  18. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Did He not refer himself most often as the Son of Man?
     
  19. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Yes, and He washed the feet of His disciples, as well....

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  20. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hello my dear sister InLove

    What a great thread for an interfaith forum. It saddens me sometimes that so many threads are used for arguing and finger pointing. I really admire your attempts to bring the 'interfaith' discussion to the fore.



    We can only go where our hearts lead InLove and I believe our hearts desire peace and understanding, rather than a demand for agreement. Truly, if you ever wish to come to Egypt, sit on my tiny balcony and sip mint tea, while we discuss these issues and watch the sun go down (a sight for sore eyes), then you and your family are always welcome in our home. You would be made to feel a part of our family (and there is a Christian church just around the corner :D ).



    I am so sorry and thank you for not taking offence, I really tried to think of a non offensive analogy and it was the best I could come up with :eek: Really I m so blonde sometimes .... maybe I should have been a cheerleader :eek:



    It is not making sense to me yet but I am at least beginning to see how Christians see the issue of 'Son of G-d'. So effectively your praise goes to the overall restaurant? (I can't believe I am speaking about G-d in this way but I am sure He will understand it is in order to understand Him better - or is that wishful thinking on my part?).

    I think I get it, so Jesus (pbuh) is the most important 'tangible' aspect of G-d? If this is a correct understanding then why do you feel the need to have something tangible of G-d?

    One of my difficulties comes from the fact that G-d Himself tells us that we (humans) cannot even begin to mentally conceive of Him, so for me to believe G-d came to earth in human form would be to 'conceive' of G-d.

    Salaam my sister
     

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