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#1 of 84 Old 01-04-2009, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not sure how to ask this .. . I don't want to offend anyone ... so please be patient or PM if I'm not clear and you do want to help me.

I am interested in learning about religions. I am seeking my own spiritual path. I am not baptized and I was raised in secular Canadian culture by non-practising Protestants. I'm really enjoying educating myself about Islam and using some of the book suggestions MDC Muslims have recommended.

So I currently attend a somewhat liberal off-shoot of a Christian Reformed church. I like the music and the community. I thought they were pretty liberal minded. But today - they were discussing how people might improve how they act as Christians.

And I heard the pastor talk about Christianity being the one True religion. My stomach started to churn as I can't stand that sort of talk. My truth in my soul is not necessarily anyone else's truth.

Several other people (most of the people at this church are cradle Christians) were nodding and talking about how it was important to share the gospel but not offend people - even if "we" all know it is the only salvation. The only truth - to Heaven and to God - is through Jesus.

That viewpoint bothers me. Does Islam teach that Islam is the only True Religion?

I ask because then the pastor started talking a bit about Islam. I listened intently because I've been doing so much reading about Islam. He said a few derogatory comments which I took to understand that he was either only knowledgable about terrorists who say they are Muslim or he was completely ignorant of Islam.

I didn't have nerve to stand up and say something. I have decided to quietly watch and wait to see how the church members reveal themselves.

I just wondered - does Mohammed teach that the only way to God is through him?

I'm not sure what I'm saying or asking and I'm certainly not a religious or philosophy scholar - so I'm vulnerable here.

I guess I was kind of disgusted because I don't agree that Christianity is
the only way to God. And as I'm educating myself about the Islamic religion and culture, I'm quite fascinated by what I am discovering.

I live in Canada in southern Ontario and do find, a lot of people who are not Muslim or have that heritage - they do not seem to have a clear picture of Islamic thought and culture.

If you can decipher what I am asking, I thank you for your patience. Please educate me if you can! Thanks.
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#2 of 84 Old 01-04-2009, 11:24 PM
 
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I know this isn't your question, but I have to say that, as a non-Christian, I have been offended by each and every single conversion attempt lobbed my way. I really don't think there's a way to "share the gospel" without offending people, largely because of that mentality. I'd love to discuss comparative religion with people, but with no ulterior motive. I have yet to find a Christian without that ulterior motive.

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#3 of 84 Old 01-05-2009, 08:36 AM
 
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I know this isn't your question, but I have to say that, as a non-Christian, I have been offended by each and every single conversion attempt lobbed my way. I really don't think there's a way to "share the gospel" without offending people, largely because of that mentality. I'd love to discuss comparative religion with people, but with no ulterior motive. I have yet to find a Christian without that ulterior motive.
: Except I actually have met Christians with out ulterior motives
(that I know of anyway, though I doubt these people would be in to converting others anyway).
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#4 of 84 Old 01-05-2009, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sunflwrmoonbeam View Post
I know this isn't your question, but I have to say that, as a non-Christian, I have been offended by each and every single conversion attempt lobbed my way. I really don't think there's a way to "share the gospel" without offending people, largely because of that mentality. I'd love to discuss comparative religion with people, but with no ulterior motive. I have yet to find a Christian without that ulterior motive.


Thanks for both of your replies. As you can tell with my OP, I'm not really sure of what I"m asking. I guess I had a negative emotional response to certain ignorant comments the pastor made and also the statement about Christianity being the only true religion. I can understand that a Christian will say they believe Jesus is their only salvation but I've never understood how a person can imply that someone who is Non-Christian is following the wrong path.

But I'm unsure - does the Islamic religion teach that it's path is the "only religion"? Or is it more accepting of other religious paths. I thought it was the latter.

Thanks for your patience.
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#5 of 84 Old 01-05-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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Hi Tuesday, I'm a Christian myself, but I have some background in comparative religion, so I thought I might be able to offer some help.

The answer is that yes, in general, Muslims think that their religion is true in the same way that Christians do. There is a bit of variety in what both groups mean when they say that, and also some pretty extreme views on both sides.

You probably know that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are closely related, "the people of the Book." As well, both Christianity and Islam are universal, in that they believe God intends to invite all people to be members. Buddhism is also concidered to be a religion with a universal approach, and that is why those three together have traditionally been missionary religions.

Now, most teachers in these groups would not say that other religions are completely wrong. They would claim that those groups had some real insights into the nature of the human con condition, God, and so on. But they would also claim that their understanding is not complete.

In Islam, they believe God's revelation to Mohommed was a real revelation. If that is in fact the case, presumably God said what he really means and so non-Muslims are missing that information.

Similarly, Christians believe God not only gave a revelation to a prophet, but himself came and took on a human body as part of himself, in order to save all people from sin and death. So, Christians believe that this was an actual act of God for all people, even for non-believers, but that those people are missing an important part of God's truth.

So, Islam and Christianity are fairly similar in many ways. As for what happens to non-believers after death, both Islam and Christianity have groups within them that would claim that non-believers all go go hell. However, most mainstream Christians and I think also Muslims would say that it is impossible to say how God will deal with non-believers, only that they are possibly missing some aids that believers have access to.

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#6 of 84 Old 01-05-2009, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Bluegoat. Your response was very thoughtful and helpful. Thank you. I appreciate the time you took to think through and post your post.
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#7 of 84 Old 01-05-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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Muslim views on the subject are about as diverse as Christian. MDC mamas are (I think) maybe a little disproportionately inclined towards a pretty purely pluralist view; other resources I've encountered are disproportionately the opposite.

What can be fairly said is that:

- There is no likeness between faith in Jesus in Christianity and faith in Muhammad in Islam -- there is no salvation through belief in Muhammad's prophetic status. Judgement is said to rest primarily upon deeds, period. One can believe completely, choose to act wrongly, and be harshly judged; one can believe wrongly, act rightly, and be judged more gently.

- Judgement belongs to god, & belongs in the category of things that can not be known to mankind. A lot of very mainstream Muslims are very sensitive to the matter of avoiding indicating any knowledge of final judgement upon anyone ... saying "so-and-so WILL be condemned" isn't all that common ... categories of people, as we are able to quote from the Quran or sometimes hadith, sure, but not "that guy over there," kwim?

- Islam is inherently a little more pluralistic, I think. While our religion is very comfortable saying certain beliefs are completely wrong -- polytheism, trinitarianism -- there are few beliefs that are said to be so wrong as to condemn one eternally. Pretty much just intentionally assigning partners to God. The trinitarianism example is an interesting one to me, for example, because the Quran repeatedly says both that it is wrong, it is an offense before god, and that Christians broadly are more or less right with god and will be so rewarded for their faith. *** There are clear ways out of favor with god, and clear ways in to favor with god, but those two points don't eliminate the existence of grey areas in between.

- Because our view is that the Quran is both literally from god and preserved in its original form, we do believe that ours is the safest route, so to speak, but because it is also a part of our theology that all communities throughout all time have had access to reasonably, if not purely, uncorrupted revelation from god through -- in practical terms -- countless prophets, it is really impossible to say that ours is the only and ever was. Most correct available here and now, but not only.

(ETA: *** The harsher view -- that Christians, Jews, believers in one god -- do not have any rightful status before god if they do not convert -- comes mostly from the of the Quran's progressive revelation over a period of about twenty-three years. There is a belief that some later verses nullify some earlier ones. A few people deny this idea entirely, most take it to various moderate degrees, and some take it to an extreme such that any later verse nullifies any earlier verse of a similar subject matter -- this issue accounts for a tremendous amount of the controversies of belief within Islam. In general earlier verses tended to support a more pluralist view better than later ones.)
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#8 of 84 Old 01-05-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kapatasana View Post
: Except I actually have met Christians with out ulterior motives
(that I know of anyway, though I doubt these people would be in to converting others anyway).
Ah, I mis-spoke. I've met Christians without ulterior motives, but not one that was trying to teach me about their religion without ulterior motives. Many of my friends are Christian, and we get along great, but none of my friends have ever said "So, let me tell you about Jesus" or "Have you been saved?" or some other such nonsense.

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#9 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 09:58 AM
 
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Liquesce put it all very succinctly and very well. Keep in mind, also, that there is not one monolithic Islam. Muslims are as diverse as the different sects of Christianity. We have Sunni, Shi'a, Sufi, Ahmadiya, Ismaili, etc. The Five Pillars of Islam are what unite us as one faith:
1. Shahadah: proclamation of belief in one, true God and that Mohammed was his messenger.
2. Salah/salat: five daily prayers
3. Zakat: charitable tax based on accumulated wealth
4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
5. Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca

Sounds like your pastor could use The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam, as well as Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think.
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#10 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Turkish Kate - I agree with your thoughts - all of them.

I think I'm going to ask a few people I know at that church (I just started attending this past June) their thoughts on what the pastor said, what people think about other religions outside of theirs. I am reading "No God but god" (I might have those capital letters reversed!) and am learning so much and it bothers me to see people making judgements of what they clearly know little.

I think I'm going to even suggest those titles to the pastor, Turkish Kate.

THANKS.
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#11 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 04:26 PM
 
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I can understand that a Christian will say they believe Jesus is their only salvation but I've never understood how a person can imply that someone who is Non-Christian is following the wrong path.
You don't understand the concept of a universal truth? That's odd.

Christianity contains exclusive truth-claims. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth and the life; no-one comes to the Father [in context, salvation] but by me". The Bible does not claim to be true for a certain subset of people, but for everyone.

It's the same as any other exclusive truth-claim. Religious and non-religious people alike agree that 1+1=2. It is not considered arrogant or rude to believe this, nor to point out that someone who believes 1+1=3 is wrong, nor to say 1+1=2 without adding the polite suffix "for me". Christianity believes religious truth to be epistemically the same as any other truth. To look at Christianity through a pluralistic (non-Christian) lens and be offended when it does not conform to your views on epistemology is to do exactly what pluralists accuse Christians of doing. It is to say "Your worldview disagrees with mine, therefore you're wrong".

There is no logically coherent worldview in which all religions are right, and everything is fuzzy-wuzzy and happy. Sorry. Different worldviews make opposing exclusive truth-claims; that's just how it is. Making the exclusive truth-claim that "religious truth is subjective" is just another way of saying worldviews other than your own are wrong. You cannot rationally tell me that Christianity is true for me, but not true for you - that would make my worldview "Christianity is universally true, but only for me", which is nonsensical. You can accept my worldview, reject it or pretend for the sake of politeness it doesn't exist and talk only of bean dip; but you can't be offended by its exclusive truth-claims because of your exclusive truth-claims, because that's hypocrisy. And the same applies to Islam.

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#12 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Very well said, Smokering! This is a misunderstanding that comes up again and again.
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#13 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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The one big thing that I think is missing from Liquesce's excellent post, is the concept of Grace/Mercy in Islam.

It is huge.

It cannot be under-emphasized.

It's not all about deeds and such.

There's a reason Muslims say "Bismillah ar Rahman ar Rahim" probably 100 times per day.. (In the name of God, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful)...

There's a hadith (story/tradition) about a prostitute who was forgiven all of her sins and granted access to heaven, simply for giving a thirsty dog a drink.

The ahadith Qudsi talk at length about God's mercy and forgiveness.

two of them on forgivenesss...


Quote:
Hadith Qudsi 33.
A servant [of Allah's] committed a sin and said: O Allah, forgive me my sin. And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them. Then he sinned again and said: O Lord, forgive me my sin. And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them. Then he sinned again and said: O Lord, forgive me my sin. And He (glorified and exalted be He) said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for sins. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.
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Hadith Qudsi 34.
O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it.

As regarding the exclusivity of Islam, the Qur'an says differently...in two different places! (Guess it's a really important point!) 5:69, 2:62

Quote:
Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

You might want to buy your Pastor the book, "The Shack". It's #1 on Christian fiction lists these days.

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#14 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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Sort of ot...but I have to ask:

Umsami, those quotes are beautiful. I read some beautiful things about Islam here and in a recent book I just read, and now I am working my way through the Qur'an (slowly). It is beautiful.

However, my translation is sort of "King James"-like in its language. Lots of "thees" and "thous" and not reading like the quotes you posted above. Can you point me toward a good translation?

Thanks.

Back to the discussion.

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#15 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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You don't understand the concept of a universal truth? That's odd.
While I don't see anything much to disagree with in your post exactly, it does seem very much to be taking "I don't understand" in a very literal sense where it pretty plainly means "I do not myself find sense in believing as such, and disagree."

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The one big thing that I think is missing from Liquesce's excellent post, is the concept of Grace/Mercy in Islam.
While by "deeds" I definitely didn't mean to imply "people of purely (or even mostly) tangibly righteous actions," I'm curious where you see grace/mercy fitting in that is neither about our actions nor about the judgment of mankind being unknowable to mankind? I mean even in stories like that of the prostitute, it's mercy bestowed upon one who shows mercy.

I kind of get where you're going with that I think -- the contents of our hearts, intentions, and all that -- but still that seems very much about us and what we do, not about any kind of random divine kindnesses.

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Sort of ot...but I have to ask:

Umsami, those quotes are beautiful. I read some beautiful things about Islam here and in a recent book I just read, and now I am working my way through the Qur'an (slowly). It is beautiful.

However, my translation is sort of "King James"-like in its language. Lots of "thees" and "thous" and not reading like the quotes you posted above. Can you point me toward a good translation?
Not umsami (obviously), but I always direct people to this one, which is good all around in multiple respects, but in particular if you're finding the old english a little dry. On that front I would also suggest this one, although as mentioned in another thread the utter lack of footnotes kind of put a damper on an otherwise very nice translation, for me.
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#16 of 84 Old 01-06-2009, 11:27 PM
 
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[QUOTE=hopefulfaith;12930841]However, my translation is sort of "King James"-like in its language. Lots of "thees" and "thous" and not reading like the quotes you posted above. Can you point me toward a good translation?
[QUOTE]

I have to agree. Many translations can get rather Medieval!

I like this translation... Oxford World Classics...
http://www.amazon.com/Quran-Oxford-W...rdr_bb_product

I also like Muhammad Asad's translation.

I've read a lot about this translation by an American woman, but haven't picked up a copy yet.

http://www.sublimequran.org/

The good thing is you can often find many of the translations online for free. If you go to http://quran-online.net/ and then in the left-hand nav, click on Multiple Translations... you can choose from a ton!

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#17 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Smokering - I appreciate your reply. I'm not sure I made myself clear in my OP. As I said - I am not a philosophical debator nor am I capable of the sort of debate or reasoning that you obviously can apply to an argument. I understand what you're saying - I think! Some of the words and terms in your reply - I'm not sure I even understood. I'm not trying to make this into a philosophical debate. I do see what you're saying I think. I just - regardless of whether it seems logical or nonsensical to anyone else - do not believe there is one correct religious path. There is no logical reason for that thought - I just believe it in my heart. So when I hear other people speak out against another person's beliefs, I find it offensive - even if that may seem illogical to some.

I just had an earnest question so I"m not trying to turn this into a debate - it is not how I approach my spiritual beliefs. I appreciate your reply but I don't believe things I've felt are "nonsensical" even, if you say, they may seem illogical to you.
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#18 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 12:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Umsami - thanks for the Quran translation link - I've been wondering which one I should read. Thanks!
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#19 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 12:44 AM
 
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Thank you for the Qur'an translation links, umsami & Liquesce. Much appreciated.

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#20 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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There is no logically coherent worldview in which all religions are right, and everything is fuzzy-wuzzy and happy. Sorry. Different worldviews make opposing exclusive truth-claims; that's just how it is. Making the exclusive truth-claim that "religious truth is subjective" is just another way of saying worldviews other than your own are wrong. You cannot rationally tell me that Christianity is true for me, but not true for you - that would make my worldview "Christianity is universally true, but only for me", which is nonsensical. You can accept my worldview, reject it or pretend for the sake of politeness it doesn't exist and talk only of bean dip; but you can't be offended by its exclusive truth-claims because of your exclusive truth-claims, because that's hypocrisy. And the same applies to Islam.

Well, although as a rationalist by nature, I have some real sympathy for your view, I don't agree that it is the whole picture. The problem, to my mind, is that it makes no room for the reality of subjectivity. (The objectivity of subjectivity))

Yes, I think, and most not all) of the major religions would say, that there is an objective reality, all of those would also say that we as individuals have only a partial understanding of it and of God. We see through a glass darkly, so to speak.

Which is why a religion like Hinduism does say that all religions are valid approaches to the divine. Perhaps with different emphases, but all have a handle on truth. That is also, incidentally, why they have some many gods; they are all aspects of the one reality which appeal to different types of individuals under different circumstances.

Now, Christians, Muslims and Jews do not have this perspective to the same extent, as they believe that God has entered history and made special revelations. (This is also related to the fact that unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, they believe that the material world is real and good. ) But still all three make it very clear that God is something much bigger than we can comprehend, that we do not have the whole, objective truth.

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#21 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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Now, Christians, Muslims and Jews do not have this perspective to the same extent, as they believe that God has entered history and made special revelations. (This is also related to the fact that unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, they believe that the material world is real and good. ) But still all three make it very clear that God is something much bigger than we can comprehend, that we do not have the whole, objective truth.
Of course, God is something greater than we can comprehend; but it is still possible to say that some statements about God are true, or could be true; while others are false, or could not possibly be true, because they directly contradict what we know of God from his past revelations to us. "We do not completely understand God" is quite different from "Anything I might say about God is just as true as anything else."
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#22 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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Yes, muslims believe Islam is the TRUE religion. No, muslims don't have the same/similar "middle-man" idea of Mohamed (pbuh) as Christians have of Jesus. No muslim prays directly TO Mohamed- only God (Allah). Mohamed (pbuh) is never referenced as a father or holy spirit of any sort- he was a messenger of God who gave us the Koran. Muslims also love many of the same prophets of Christians- including Noah, Abraham, Jesus...the religions are really VERY similar, except muslims don't follow the bible as a religious document because it has been "changed by man"- Koran has never been altered since it's creation (never even translated, since it can't be).

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#23 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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I think one really important thing to point out is that, despite the fact that, yes, Islam does believe it is the only "true" religion, it views itself as a "progression" of Judaism and then Christianity.

We believe that the SAME God reveled the Torah, Bible, and then Qu'ran. Although we believe the Torah and Bible have been changed by man throughout the times, it is acknowledged that, at one point, they too were the guidance from God.

I, myself, am a convert to Islam. My father was Jewish (non orthodox) and my mom a devout Catholic. As I was searching for direction and clarification in religion, it seemed natural to me that a God who loved his creation would guide them to what was best for them and not give up when they rejected His direction. It made sense to me that He guided His creation with the SAME message throughout time through the prophets and through the books.

IM me if you have any q's

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#24 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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I, myself, am a convert to Islam.
I am too.

I was born to two Christian parents, although some call them Easter-Sunday Christians. I asked for guidance from God all my life and what to believe (like most) and found myself when I found my husband; he is a Muslim, though never once asked me to convert or pressured me. I watched his actions, and the more I learned about the religion, I felt drawn to it. Despite the bad rep a small group of people(s) have given Islam, at the essence of Islam, it is a beautiful, peaceful religion and holds many practical solutions to common problems.

GL in your journey.

Momma to DD (12/04) hearts.gif and DS (11/09) hbac.gif.
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!

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#25 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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Which is why a religion like Hinduism does say that all religions are valid approaches to the divine. Perhaps with different emphases, but all have a handle on truth. That is also, incidentally, why they have some many gods; they are all aspects of the one reality which appeal to different types of individuals under different circumstances.
The 'stripes of a rainbow' idea, you mean? But that doesn't address the fact that religions have ideas of God which are not simply partial but contradictory. God cannot be unary and a trinity, alone and many (as in polytheism), immanent and non-immanent, fundamentally incorporeal and incarnated, etc. So it's not a very useful theory to hold, because how - without some yet larger, overreaching religion, which would then be the truth - would you determine which bits of which religions were correct? If you could say 'Hinduism is right about reincarnation, Christianity is right about ethics, Islam is right about the importance of works and Wicca is right about nature' you would have formed a HinChriIsWic religion which itself claimed objective truth, thus destroying your initial assertion that no religion has the handle on objective truth. Which is fine, I suppose; but you would then have to prove that your new religion had objective truth, which would necessitate an objective source of revelation, which would initiate a whole host of epistemic problems that I won't go into unless asked because I'm probably boring your pants off at this juncture.

Christianity does agree that we do not know everything there is to know about God. But it's also clear that we know enough - sufficient for salvation and for a workable metaphysic, at the very least - and that we're not missing any salvifically or metaphysically significant pieces of the puzzle. So while Christians are happy to enjoy quotes or theories from other religions as springboards to reflect on the Christian God, we tend to be wary of extrabiblical doctrines or major extra revelations (especially those who consider the canon closed, which most Christians do).

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#26 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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umsami,

your quotes were lovely, but I've seen a tremendous amount of quotes directly from the Koran that contradict these things totally. Mohammed committed many murders himself, and yet the book says to live like Mohammed. I have a hard time rationalizing it or understanding how this can be construed as a "religion of peace."

You can find very ugly things in the Bible too, but its all Old Testament stuff. The New Testament set all of that straight and was much more compassionate/non judgemental.

To my understanding, Islam has no New Testament equivalent, and those who consider themselves "by the book" and take things fundamentally are said to be "radical" or misunderstanding in some way. Yet from the way I read it, its quite clear that Mohammed wanted to destroy the infidels etc. Rational, educated muslims seem to temper this with compassion and sort of pick and choose if you will. But those who "follow the book" seem to be more in line with the fundamentalist Islam stereotypes people in this country struggle with.

I'm no expert, but I've done a quite a bit of reading the actual Koran and I just cannot get past the fact that in many ways things Mohammed did were not the most admirable IMO. To live as he lived is very much confusing to me as a peace loving person.

Also, want to add that I realize this post may offend some and I REALLY don't intend to do that. One of my best friends is Palestinian and came to this country at age 17. His family is certainly very much Islamic and they are wonderful loving compassionate people. But they always explain it to me that the ones who promote jihad are uneducated and "have it wrong" but from the text I've read, they seem to be following the advice of the book...which makes me sad.

Its rare for me to even go in a thread on Religion because these debates/discussions rarely go anywhere, but this is something I struggle with. FWIW, I'm a Buddhist but have studied religion a fair amount in particular what the Koran says given the situation with Islam in the world today (as the fastest growing religion).

Further I have concerns about countries in which there is no freedom of religion and people are forced to either accept Islam or be killed. Again, this is not a peaceful situation.

To reiterate, I feel very strongly/badly for muslims dealing with prejudices in this country (and others for that matter) who do nothing to harm others. I know there are many. I just can't understand how these portions of the Koran are overlooked...and I fully accept I could be missing something here. Don't claim to be an expert.

XOXO
B

mama to Milena Anjali (4/26/06) and Vincent Asher (4/13/09) ~ married to the love of my life since 2002.
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#27 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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It's getting OT (again ... sorry Tuesday) ... but on the translations issue, just wanted to add one more note to the effect that it should be remembered that in Arabic the Qur'an is poetic, often in a very literal way ... while more true of the shorter chapters than the longer ones, a great deal of the Quran is loosely metered and rhymes. Anyone who has ever read poetry in both its original language and in translation knows already that poetry just doesn't translate well -- you can either sacrifice meaning for the purposes of forcing the poetic form, or you can sacrifice form for the sake of meaning, but you just can't often have both.

Take, for an easy example, the first chapter. In the aforementioned M.A.S. Abdel Haleem translation it goes: In the name of god, the lord of mercy, the giver of mercy. Praise belongs to god, lord of the worlds, the lord of mercy, the giver of mercy, master of the day of judgement. It is you we worship, it is you we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path: the path of those you have blessed, those who incur no anger and who have not gone astray. A perfectly nice little prayer. And then listen. I think if you are unfamiliar with the language you can still hear what I'm getting at ... no matter how good the translation, there is no substituting for where form and meaning are united. A translated can be good, but it is necessarily somewhat amputated.

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Originally Posted by ShwarmaQueen
Yes, muslims believe Islam is the TRUE religion
... and also that there have been religious laws in existence -- Jewish, specifically -- that were valid but are not a part of Islamic guidelines, and that believers genuinely following the Torah and the Gospel as available to them in the present tense should not fear. So while Islam argues that the crux of its message is THE one, it would be an error to say that it also asserts that the minutiae of it is or has been as well.

Sorry to be taking over here , but I really feel it is an important distinction to be made -- that it is definitely not an open-ended pluralism on its own, but it is also not at all "one/true/only" in the same sense as a great many people take the idea of salvation through faith in Christ.
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#28 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 07:04 PM
 
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Beth:

Umm... Mohammed did not commit many murders, I'm not sure where you're getting this from. I think you might benefit from reading about Muhammad and Islam. There's a book called "No god but God" written by Reza Aslan which covers a lot...and is really really well written. (Honestly, a lot of the books on Islam in English are not well written... so yes, this does matter!) It will cover the tribal wars and such that are part of the history of Arabia...and the rise of Islam as well. It also covers the events which were going on when the various surahs were revealed. They were revealed in context... so certain verses only apply to a certain situation that Muhammad was facing.

Muhammad was ranked the most influential man in history by Michael Hart in his book. You can read an excerpt of it here http://www.jamaat.net/hart/thetop100.html

Quote:
My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.

Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world's great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive.
I also think that it might be useful to know what was written on the sword of the Prophet Muhammad

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'Forgive him who wrongs you; join him who cuts you off; do good to him who does evil to you, and speak the truth although it be against yourself.'
I think your view of Islam is clouded by the events of 9-11... yet probably, like most Westerners, know very little about the history of Islam or Muslims. (Which most do not... I'm not trying to insult you or anything ) Historically, the past 20 years are a little blip in the history of a religion which is over 1400 years old.

Islam is a religion of peace... just look to Muslim Spain where Muslims ruled for over 700 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Golden_Age

The Taliban not withstanding... Islam is a religion of science. Respect for God's creation...and in turn, figuring out the science behind it lead to many many great accomplishments.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_medicine

I agree that, in general, the New Testament is much more about grace, and less about judgment. Definitely. But you do know that Jesus had nothing to do with the writing of the New Testament, right? That it was written by people who never even lived during the time of Jesus. That it was codified 300 years after Jesus's death? (This comes from my time in a reformed theological seminary (Presbyterian)... as well as from various study Bibles.)

The NT is not without its faults or disturbing bits, though. 1 Cor 14:34-35 comes to mind, for one. Also, in Islam, divorce is allowed... there is no concept that divorce=adultery. (Mark 10:11-12)
Quote:
Further I have concerns about countries in which there is no freedom of religion and people are forced to either accept Islam or be killed. Again, this is not a peaceful situation.
I have concerns about this too...and it is against Islam and against the Qur'an, to be honest. The Qur'an clearly states that there is to be no compulsion in Islam. There was no convert or die nonsense during the 700 years of the Golden Age of Islam.

The justification of the death penalty for those that leave Islam is based on two ahadith... not the Qur'an. The validity of these ahadith...well, any ahadith IMHO... is questionable at best... as like the NT, they were written down long after the death of Muhammad. The specific hadith often cited, was only transmitted by one person... which would make it suspect at best. Definitely classified a weak hadith. There is no reference to the death penalty for apostasy in the Qur'an. Period. Really. And ahadith are not supposed to contradict the Qur'an.

There's also the logic thing. Umm... if you tell me convert or die... it's not like my faith is going to be authentic. I can say "sure, I believe" but God knows the truth. So...what's the point of that?

Islam is no different than any religion. There are good Muslims, there are bad Muslims. There are religious leaders who manipulate the texts to serve their needs... there are those that don't. But really, if you look at most historians views of Prophet Muhammad, it is quite favorable. He was not only viewed as an honest and just secular leader.. .but a good, tolerant religious leader as well. Not so shabby. Really.

Gandhi said, "I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind.... I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life."

George Bernard Shaw said, "I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity."

And there are many others. Try Googling non-muslims or historians opinions of Muhammad. It's not just these guys.

The people who pervert Islam... who have taken it from a tolerant religion which promoted peace, understanding, science, and art.... and turned it into a religion of violence and ignorance bother me much more than you. Trust me.

Peace,
umsami

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#29 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BethSLP View Post
To my understanding, Islam has no New Testament equivalent, and those who consider themselves "by the book" and take things fundamentally are said to be "radical" or misunderstanding in some way. Yet from the way I read it, its quite clear that Mohammed wanted to destroy the infidels etc. Rational, educated muslims seem to temper this with compassion and sort of pick and choose if you will. But those who "follow the book" seem to be more in line with the fundamentalist Islam stereotypes people in this country struggle with.
The contents of the new testament aside ... although a worthwhile thread all its own ... I'm curious what makes it "quite clear that Mohammed wanted to destroy the infidels"? I'd just like specifics, not to jump all over you or anything but just because there are verses in the Quran that have been interpreted as such, but that it is not a question of rational/educated muslims cherry-picking or tempering this in any way to say it is not a sweeping commandment. It is a highly orthodox, classical position to say that certain verses are context-specific ... there are, for example, in the body of recorded words of Muhammad times in which he himself explained even to the very first believers the context of verses that confused them. Certain verses having to do with slaying infidels, etc, are very well known, and historically known, among muslims to be among those that are context-relevant. And I think, if you could give examples of what is disturbing you, you are likely to find people very happy to explain what was going on at the time and what those words are known to have meant to the people in that time. And what other recorded words and dealings with non-believers are what would cause many of us to say that taking the harsher view as sweeping commandments is itself an act of selective reading.
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#30 of 84 Old 01-07-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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I agree that many Muslims and non-Muslims do not fully acknowledge or understand what seems to many to be a contradiction between the fact that Islam does teach peace and the life of Muhammad/ certain verses in Qu'ran. The only way to reconcile this is to have a better understanding and backround of the religion, the verses in Qu'ran and especially the life of our prophet Muhammad.

At NO time in Islamic history did the Muslims EVER go around just killing "the infedels" wherever they found them. Muhammad himself did not do this nor did his companions. So obviously, this is NOT how the verse was understood by them and it should not be interpreted this way by us. No single Muslim in the entire world understands it this way and no single Muslim (and I am including the "terrorists" in this) will ever tell you that all non-Muslims must be irraticated from the face of this earth. So, if Muhammad did not understand it this way, his companions did not understand it this way, and Muslims throughout history do not understand it this way, then how is it to be understood? (I am going to post several links to answer these questions)

Also, what about 9-11, Osama bin Laden and the other groups that the Western media has told us is trying to kill all non- Muslims?? I would argue that they are not fighting against the non-Muslims because they are NON-Muslims, but rather against western foreign policy. Throughout the Muslim and non Muslim world, America has a reputation for protecting their own intrests many times at the expense of others. I DISAGREE with the way that Osama bin Laden and his group decided to fight this, and do not in any way condone his actions against innocent people. In fact, it is against "rules of engagement" in Islam to kill women, children, innocent people, etc. I am just making the point that the media might be misportraying what is really happening here. People around the world are angry. We need to ask ourselves why. Osama bin laden took up arms against America because they put an American military base IN Saudi Arabia. According to Islam, non-Muslim military should not be allowed on the Arabian penninsula. This is to protect our holy cities. Again, Islam does NOT condone the killing of innocents.

On a similar note, the west have told us about Somali "pirates" who are attacking trade ships, etc. Many laws have been made and military ships have been placed to "protect" against these "pirates". The TRUTH is that the British were dumping nuclear waste onto Somali shores and the "pirates" came about to protect their waters from this dump. Lets be careful about what we are told!

Islam does believe in peace, it also believes in justice and human rights. We ARE told to fight against injustice and those who would deprive others of the rights God gave them. At the time Islam came, the "infedels" , people who abused women and treated them as commodities, mistreated slaves, and had all sorts of inhumane, socially destructive practices, would torture and kill the Muslims because Islam, being a religion of justice (and peace) was a threat to their way of life!

It is a wonder that many African Americans and women find themselves embracing Islam after decades of abuse. One Jewish man wrote that the Jews, if they knew their own history, would have a sense of gratitude towards the Muslims because the only time in history when the Jews lived as a minority did they enjoy freedom to practice their religion without persecution under MUSLIM rule in Andalusia.

It would be a Muslims duty to fight, by any means, against injustices done to others.

As far as "Muslim" countries go, it would be iggnorant to use them as an example of some sort of Muslim utopia. Any Muslim will tell you that the Muslim countries do not adhere to the correct practice of Islamic law or governance. So to say that Muslims in Muslim countries must embrace Islam or be killed does not point to the religion (because Islam teaches there is no compulsion in religion) but rather to the iggnorance and misuse of power by those heading the governments of these countries.

There is a FABULOUS movie called "the Message" with Anthony Quinn that I encourage everyone trying to understand Islam to watch.

Also, here are some sites that answer some of the questions many people ask about Islam:
http://www.islamnewsroom.com/content/view/76/52/ (you can browse this but I copied the link to the page that discusses "jihad" and the Islamic view towards non-Muslims)

this one is a Qu'ran showcase that has many verses and commentary on Qu'ran:
http://www.islamtoday.com/showme2.cf...sub_cat_id=647

Please feel free to PM me with any questions or clarification.

peace!!
Faiza

Faiza married and with , mama to DS (09.23.08) and with #2 (due in June 2010).
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