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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Why Aren't You A Muslim?
LutheranChik
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Real Ale: Good point.

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Simul iustus et peccator
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Posts: 6462 | From: rural Michigan, USA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
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quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink:
quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
I'm not a muslim for many reasons.

1) Mohammad's nine-year-old wife, I would rather model and look up to Jesus who loved outcasts
2) scriptures confusing (koran, surahs)
3) I like Jesus better than Allah
4) I don't like getting up early to pray
5) don't like rituals (praying 5 x times a day, getting up early to go the Mosque)
6) don't like the whole Male is Superior thingy and segregation @ the mosque
7) my sins aren't forgiven

But I do have buddhist leanings and the four nobel truths are awesome.

*1) See your point, but it was culturally normative at the time - do you go for life-long celibacy after Jesus' fashion also ?
Yeah, but then Christians were thrown to the lions weren't they? And I can understand celibacy for that reason - after all your life-long celibacy wasn't too bad because your life ended pretty soon after you became a Christian anyways.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink: *2) If the bible is so clear how come the church is in so many pieces ?
The Koran and the surahs are confusing for me. And its pretty boring. I do like some arabic poetry. But not the Koran. I happen to really like the bible. I don't always understand everything under the sun. Why should I expect others to either?

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink: *3) Allah is the arabic for God, specified as the same God as the God of the OT, and Jesus is recognised as one of his prophets
If you look at the character of Allah and you look at the character of Jesus - it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that they are different. What I was saying is that I like Jesus better. Allah gets two thumbs down.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink: *4) How Islam is actually practised varies just as much as how Christianity is practised - I don't do matins myself
True. Islam varies. I was picking on one facet that I didn't like.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink: *6) See various varieties of Christianity - liberal muslims don't really buy this either
Sure, but as I am a woman, I'd rather live in the post-Christian Europe than in any Islamic country.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink: *7) I think (not sure about this) they are if you atone, for example extra fasting.

Nope. I asked. There is no atonement for sins, you are at Allah's mercy and discretion.

quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink: *Also, as Jesus is accepted as a prophet his teaching may some relevance.
Yes, but didn't you know that his teachings were corrupted by the Christians? [Biased]

Fair enough, but I still dispute your comparison between Jesus and Allah. That is like saying I prefer Jesus to God [English names] or I prefer Eesa to Allah [Arabic translation of names]. In the same way that the arabic for 'water' is 'moi' (soundalike). A christian preferring the teachings of Jesus to those of Mohammed, on the other hand, does make logical sense - presumably you would believe Mohammed to be a false prophet.

I think it is often true we don't make informed choices about faiths because we don't know much about them. People agonise over moving between protestant and catholic, never mind reading up on the main varieties of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Budhism etc. Even if people look to other faiths they will always look at ones they've heard more about - any particular reason why you haven't considered worshipping Loki, Horus or Jurojin ?

I'm with the person who said it's down to place - will go on lurk on that thread [Smile]

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Dafyd
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I am not a Muslim:
1) because I wasn't born one.
2) because God called me to be a Christian and I responded without knowing what I was getting myself into.
3) because I think Christianity on the whole makes better intellectual sense. For example, I think it makes sense that God, come into the world, would die a criminal's death, while Muslims find that pretty hard to understand on their model of God. But that's because I have a Christian background, which takes us back to 1).

Dafyd

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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PaulTH*
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Originally posted by Dafyd:

quote:
because I think Christianity on the whole makes better intellectual sense. For example, I think it makes sense that God, come into the world, would die a criminal's death
I can't say that this concept makes any intellectual sense to me. Its not so much whether Christianity wins out over Islam. I have already said that in terms of historical wickedness there is little to choose between them. But between thei founders there is a great deal of difference. Christianity was founded on the humility of a man whose love for his friends led him to lay down his life for them, in this context his friends were everyman. Islam was founded by a bloodthirsty warlord whose personal morality was questionable to say the least.

When the church has committed atrocities, it has done so against the teachings and the whole life of Jesus. When Islam has done the same, many of them have been in keeping with the fouder of the faith. I can't help but feel that Mohammed would have been proud of Osama bin Laden.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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jedijudy

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quote:
Originally posted by strathclydezero:
<snip>This is a fascinating question, mostly because of what I have read about the possibilities of Jesus having been educated (after he and his parents fled) as a Buddhist. All speculation of course, but it would explain quite a lot ...

So, have you read The Gospel According to Biff?

Nice job professorkirke. [Biased]

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Jasmine, little cat with a big heart.

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Autenrieth Road

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In answer to #2, I would say, true, you can't help where you were born. But if you get to the point of questioning your religion, and exploring some others, then the question of "why did you pick the one you're in now" does sensibly arise.

I am an Episcopalian now because it was the religion I was raised in. But not by any simple path! My three turning points have been

A time of great pain in my life, ceased going to church or believing.

A second time of great pain in my life, became a Quaker.

A third time of great pain in my life, somewhat entwined with stopping going to Quaker meeting, and I wanted a place that used familiar stories to attempt to make sense of whatever-it-is that we call God (hence Christian, since that's how I grew up), and also where I was rock-solid sure that I knew how to behave in services and wouldn't offend anyone by misunderstanding how one should behave -- hence Episcopal, since that's how I grew up.

So, for me I'm not a Muslim partly because my exploration of other ways to worship or pray stopped before I knew enough about Islam to try it out. And now I've somewhat deliberately chosen Christianity in its Episcopalian practice, but not because I think it's the only revealed truth.

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Truth

Posts: 9559 | From: starlight | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
the Pookah
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Okay, I'll give my 2cents for Christianity. First of all if you just barely compare Jesus to Muhammad as a prophet, Jesus comes off better:
in a polygamous time, celibate respected women
in a legal time, did extra-legal things to be compassionate (bleeding women)
Sermon on the Mount

Now as for history, I too thought little to choose between but a good friend of mine who is a keen Medievalist had me churning through "Jews of Germany" in German and guess what? apart from the odd slaughter, woman had it much better in Medieval Europe than Islam, we could get married and divorced at will, husbands could not beat their wives, woman had & made their own wealth, could sign legal agreements and bequeath their wealth. Ran publishing houses, fabric making, money-lending What a surprise to me!
I will be happy to give anyone here the reference.
Now as for Sufis, the reason everyone likes them is that they were heavily influenced by Greek Platonic Philosophy, so was veery early Islam. The 5 pillars thing is later PR. Do read Moojan Momen's "Shi'ite Islam" it will blow your mind. Early Islam had a very heavy dose of Christian thought.

Read any of the fine books on the Ismailis by the Ismaili Institute, eg: by Farhad Daftary,"The Ismailis" they are progressive intellectual Muslims.

Now as to Buddhism, I am one as I really do believe in reincarnation and worry about my next birth...most religious Buddhists do, Western Buddhists seem to me to be lapsed Christians.

I always am surprised that Christians are ready to fall apart over Jesus's historicity. Science changes in a minute, one day it's the Big Bang and next that's disproved. So I wouldn't have my entire spiritual life depend on archeology. I worship Kwan-Yin, and received many benefits and there isn't one historical scrap of evidence.....

So though I'm not a Christian, did not choose to become one, I would far prefer as a Jew and Buddhist to live in Christian societies. I prefer and like & admire Jesus as a prophet and incarnation of God far more than Muhammad. And yes I've read scholarly biographies of him....

I hope this post cheers Christians up, Jesus is wonderful, admirable, said fabulous things and & to be the center of your spiritual life.

the Pookah
PS. don't listen to Ingo, his Buddhist scholarship is not up to date, recent works have found no proof of the Bodhisattva tie with Eastern Christians (not that it makes a diff to me)

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Ronist
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I can hardly claim to have considered the claims of Mohammad and found them wanting. I simply haven't considered them.

Their faith doesn't seem to be helping them at all. They are very violent and the more religious they are the more violent.I can't imagine the appeal of such a faith.

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Julian4
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I guess there must be some element of chance (or maybe predestination?) in that I grew up in a Christian country rather than a Muslim one, so it was a more obvious choice to be a Christian. It's not as if I've ever been in a neutral position of believing in neither and considering the claims of both on an equal footing.
However, the simple answer to why I am not a Muslim is that I don't believe that Muhammad received the Qur'an from God, and that it therefore supersedes the Gospel, etc. My impression is that he fabricated it in order to gain earthly power.

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tfbundy
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Dafyd echoes my view pretty well. Maybe if I were born in a Muslim country I would be one, however, a sense of history and timelessness is important to me, I feel I am connecting with the life and prayers of the Jews who are our forefathers in God by being Christian, and my personal expression of Christianity being Orthodoxy, I connect in a direct line as close as possible to the longest possible stretch back in time. New, comparatively modern religions such as Islam holds no appeal because it is a late arrival on the world stage of religion. Why see Hamlet by arriving at the interval halfway through, when it is possible to see Hamlet from the beginning?
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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Believing something to be so unfortunately does not make it so.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that, Father. I always thought that in terms of religion, that's exactly what it does.

Well, so far as we'll ever be aware of in this life, anyway...

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Teufelchen
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quote:
Originally posted by tfbundy:
New, comparatively modern religions such as Islam holds no appeal because it is a late arrival on the world stage of religion. Why see Hamlet by arriving at the interval halfway through, when it is possible to see Hamlet from the beginning?

So why not be a Jew instead of a Christian? Judaism is older than Christianity by a far greater margin than Christianity is older than Islam. Hinduism and Buddhism are both considerably pre-Christian too. And Islam is not all that modern, really - certainly not compared to Sikhism or Bahai.

T.

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Little devil

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PaulTH*
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Like the Pookah I love Jesus as a prophet and incarnation of God rather than as the only Incarnation. But the words of Peter remain true, "Lord to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life"(John 6.68). There are certain areas of Islamic thought such as the Sufi tradition which are worthy of study, but Sufism predates Islam and was later incorporated into it. Of all the world's major religions, Islam is the one with which I feel least comfortable.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Papio

Ship's baboon
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Father Gregory:
Believing something to be so unfortunately does not make it so.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that, Father. I always thought that in terms of religion, that's exactly what it does.

Well, so far as we'll ever be aware of in this life, anyway...

Marvin, I believe that God told me that you are going to give me £100 by the end of next week. [Biased]

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
Marvin, I believe that God told me that you are going to give me £100 by the end of next week. [Biased]

See, if you truly believed that then it would be the truth to you - you would make plans and budgets based around the £100 you had coming at the end of next week.

Much like religious folk make plans based on what they believe is coming at the end of their life.

Thing is, Fr. G. seemed to me to be saying that the reason he's not a Muslim relates to truth: namely that even if he believed it it would be false.

But unlike your financial beliefs, no religion can ever be proved true or false. It's all about what you believe to be true. So his appeal to truth in this context seemed strange to me...

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Jon G
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According to William Darymple in his book "From the Holy Mountain". When the early Muslims arrived at the edge of the Byzantium Empire, it was thought they were some kind of Christian sect.

Perhaps the level of antagonism that exists between Christians and Muslims today is evidence of the fact that we're not as different as we make out...!

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Are Judaism and Islam "western" religions?

On a world scale they certainly are. The big division is between them and religions from India and points east.

quote:

Is any religion purely western? Christianity was originally an eastern religion, and the Orthodox churches in the east aren't western.

Eastern from a local European POV, yes certainly. But Eastern and Western Christianity are far more like each other than they are like Islam or Mormonism. And Islam and Christianity are far more like each other than either is like Buddhism or Hinduism.

quote:

I think it's the monotheistic religions that are exclusive, and it's in their nature -- if you're insisting that there is one God, you can't very well also practice a religion that says there are many gods or no god at all.

That sounds right. If there is one God, and God tells me to do something anyone else who tells me to do anything else must have got it wrong.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Kwesi
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I should like to take-up Ruth's comment: 'Place of birth is certainly the greatest causal factor in my being a Christian,' for while it may well be true in her case, and perhaps of most Christians in the Western World, it cannot explain the outcome of Christian expansion in the last century that has fundamentally changed its nature.

Few would have believed a hundred years ago that the centre of the Christian World would have shifted to Africa, where there are now more than 300 million Christians and South America, and that South Korea would be providing the greatest number of Christian Missionaries per head of population. At the same time, of course, there has been a radical secularisation of society in Europe, as people have rejected the faith of their forefathers.

Clearly 'place of birth' in the sense of cultural determinism and embededness cannot explain these seismic developments, otherwise churches in Europe would be full and primal religions would still hold sway in sub-saharan Africa.

So great has been the shift of Christianity's geographical centre that places have radically changed: Ruth should really be saying that despite being born in Europe she is a Christian, and Africans south of the Sahara now find themselves growing in a Christian-friendly culture. If you have visited places like Ghana you will know what it is to live in a Christian country.

To ask 'Why aren't you a Muslim?' in Britain, is not nearly so interesting a question as to ask an African 'Why are you a Christian when your grandfather visited the fetish priest?' It would also be instructive to ask 'Why are you a Christian and not a Muslim (or, indeed, vice versa)?'

Mass conversion and mass apostasy should form part of the wider debate raised in the discussion being conducted here.

I hope these comments, focussing on the global aspect of the question, will stimulate comment.

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Campbellite

Ut unum sint
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Welcome aboard, Kwesi!

Thank you for your insightful comments. Indeed, those of us in the West tend to forget that the rest of the world exists sometimes. We need you to keep us grounded in the reality of what God is doing in the developing world.

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I upped mine. Up yours.
Suffering for Jesus since 1966.
WTFWED?

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Doublethink.
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# 1984

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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Christianity was founded on the humility of a man whose love for his friends led him to lay down his life for them, in this context his friends were everyman. Islam was founded by a bloodthirsty warlord whose personal morality was questionable to say the least.

When the church has committed atrocities, it has done so against the teachings and the whole life of Jesus. When Islam has done the same, many of them have been in keeping with the fouder of the faith. I can't help but feel that Mohammed would have been proud of Osama bin Laden.

Would you be this offensive about the founder of a faith you thought that one of your shipmates might share ? I have spent a large part of my life living in the middle east and I find the ignorance and bigotry expressed about Islam here, and our society generally, painful and depressing. For what it's worth, Mohammed actually taught that 'people of the book' (i.e. Christians & Jews) should be left alone as they sincerely believed in the same God.

I can't really get into the other points you've made without taking this to hell - and suspect that would be futile.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Dafyd
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I can't claim to be much of an expert but I believe Islam shows as much variety as Christianity does in terms of devotion, violence, love of God, etc.
For a non-Muslim to claim that Rumi, for instance, wasn't authentically Muslim but that Bin Laden is seems to me a bit presumptuous.

However...
My rough impression, and I can't claim much authority for it, is that on the whole Islam is more comfortable than Christianity and behaves better when it's in a position of power and Christianity is more comfortable and behaves better when it isn't in power. I expect this partly given their respective founders and early disciples. So modern Islamic violence doesn't really reveal the essence of the religion. A leader like Saladin, widely acclaimed by the Christians of the time and after as a paragon, is arguably typical of Islam in the role in which it is most at home.

Having said that, I think that it is more consistent with the suffering in the world to think that God limits God's own power and empties himself, which is at least compatible with thinking that God reveals God in the form of a servant and humbles himself even to death on a cross. And I think that in general it is not good for any group, however virtuous, to wield power over another group when that power is not reciprocated, so a religion that does that well is in the end lacking.

But as I say, I'm not a scholar, I haven't engaged extensively in dialogue with Muslims, and so all my speculations should be treated as such.

Dafyd

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink: Fair enough, but I still dispute your comparison between Jesus and Allah. That is like saying I prefer Jesus to God [English names] or I prefer Eesa to Allah [Arabic translation of names]. In the same way that the arabic for 'water' is 'moi' (soundalike). A christian preferring the teachings of Jesus to those of Mohammed, on the other hand, does make logical sense - presumably you would believe Mohammed to be a false prophet.
Allah, a being of worship, as characterized and described by the Koranic scriptures per Mohammad is not the same description as the person Jesus bar Joseph, a being of worship, as described in the ingeel. Both are beings of worship and they possess different attributes. Hence my prefered being of worship is Jesus per ingeel over Allah per Koran. I know that Allah means "God" when translated into English but I'm trying to explicitly refer to the deity described by the Koran. Perhaps for clarity's sake instead of saying "Allah" - I should say I don't like the God as described by the Koran?

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[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

Posts: 2298 | From: Purgatory | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Ann

Curious
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I guess I'm not a Muslim because I didn't knowingly meet anyone who was until after I'd committed best I can to being a Christian.

And I think I'm only a Christian because my parents (neither of whom are churchgoers) thought that Church schools provided the best education in the area. Even then I dropped away with no feelings of guilt until I had children and felt I ought to take them to Sunday school and sort of drifted back in.

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Ann

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the Pookah
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Joyful soul just say you don't like "Al-Lah" that is the Muslim name for their god.
What I do not like about Islam is that you cannot find a biography or even go about the Muslim world and discuss Al-Uzza, Al-Lat, Al-Manah which are the triad of goddesses that occupied the Ka'aba in Mecca. An historical reality.
You cannot discuss this or buy books as we can about Jesus & Judaism, like Borg, or Smith's works.
Yes there is an Allat (fem.) just like there is an Allah (male) it is just Arabic grammar & people swallow blindly what the papers regurgitate about Islam
Martin Lings omits this entirely in his famous biography "Muhammad"

Jon, the Byzantines indeed saw Islam as a form of Arianism, for good reason. If you read the section on "Ghulat" in Momen's book "An Introduction to Shi'i Islam" you will understand the influences.
The same with neo-Platonic philosophy and Sufism, I thoroughly recommed Annemarie Schimmel's "Mystical Dimensions of Islam"

I really do think many here fall into easy cultural relativism. As a woman, if born into a Muslim country I assuredly would not want to be Muslim, subject to my husband and shariah law. As a male if you decided you wanted to become a Christian, well in many places it is illegal.

As for a Buddhist, forget it. And I can tell you about the misery of my Baha'i and Zoroastrian friends in Iran and Pakistan. Islam is not very tolerant.

Ismailis are tolerant, and progresive as they follow the Aga Khan whom they see as an incarnation of an emanation from God and who is their walking Qu'ran, meaning he updates their religion. I can talk about this as my Ismaili friends and the publishing houses are now in the West and they are free to voice what they once had to hide to survive.

I've put these books here so you can see this is not my opinion or feeling, please look up and verify all this. About Arabic goddesses you'd need to read about religion in the Early Middle East where it's all clearly explained. Nabatea would help you to get started.

Posts: 926 | From: the Northern colonies | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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quote:
Originally posted by the Pookah:
What I do not like about Islam is that you cannot find a biography or even go about the Muslim world and discuss Al-Uzza, Al-Lat, Al-Manah which are the triad of goddesses that occupied the Ka'aba in Mecca. An historical reality.
You cannot discuss this or buy books as we can about Jesus & Judaism, like Borg, or Smith's works. As a woman, if born into a Muslim country I assuredly would not want to be Muslim, subject to my husband and shariah law. As a male if you decided you wanted to become a Christian, well in many places it is illegal.

I find what you say about various aspects of Islam and the female tradition really interesting. Also, people might be interested to know that the Yemenis are very proud of the their Queens, e.g. Bilquis - the Queen of Sheba.

However, I think that - re quote above - it would be more accurate to say, I wouldn't want to live in a religious dictatorship / theocracy. Bad government is not an argument against adhering to a particular faith. Not all muslims are fundementalists - like Christianity, it does come down to how people interpret their faith, religious texts and religious experiences.

I understand that there are Christian fundementalist women who feel that men should head the household. Mormons hold that is the highest duty of a woman to be a wife and mother, and she should aim for about 10 children - doesn't seem to stop there being female Mormons. I wouldn't want to live in a country governed by Jehovah's witnesses or puritans either, respect their beliefs but I don't share them. In the UK there were many women who didn't fight for the vote and thought those who did were scandalous. It is probably naive to assume that the majority women brought up in a Muslim culture necessarily disagree with the way it is interpreted in their society.

Also think about how Christianity was interpreted for its first 1500 years. Then look at how long Islam has been going. It is like when people complain about the corruption in new democracies, firstly don't forget our own political dirt, and secondly how long have we been trying to get right versus, what 40 years for some African states.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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the Pookah
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Hi Doublethink;
I do agree with you. I don't want to live in a Mormon fundamentalist state any more than I want to live in Israel as I would fall under Jewish religious law. (yikes).

But Islam so far hasn't developed a civil discourse where you can safely talk about Al-Uzza or that some of the Arabic in the Qur'an might be a corruption of Aramaic (viz; the virgins -grapes ) or that many hadiths are fabricated. If it did I'd be fine with Islam.

If you look at Islamic history, there are wonderful periods of culture and civiliations: the Fatimid Empire in Egypt which was very sophisticated and culturally beautiful, Akbar's India, he was a very great Muslim ruler to my mind, or even the poets, mathematicians and astronomers of the Persian Muslim empire.

Theocracies are bad no matter what religion you are, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish.....
the Pookah

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ChastMastr
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I wasn't raised as a Christian or as a member of any religion. When I started becoming a Christian, I considered it a personal duty to look at it as rationally as possible to make sure I wasn't fooling myself. I suppose if I had been raised to be a Christian, I would have to go through everything I believed that way, rather than go through many things I was only coming to believe. I don't know what my options would have been had I been raised in a society in which Christianity wasn't known; if I had not become a Christian I might have wound up a modern Pagan of some sort. I certainly don't believe everyone's faith is culturally determined, as that lets out free will.

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

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Oscar the Grouch

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quote:
Originally posted by IconiumBound:
Islam posits the five pillars of faith as being required for entry into paradise. For this reason I could not be a Muslim or any other religion than Christianity which is the only religion that promises God's unearned, unmerited grace,

I think you'll find that Islam is pretty damn hot on the notion of "God's unearned, unmerited grace,". It is a very common Western misconception that Islam is a "religion of works" compared to Christianity as the "religion of grace". Certainly, most Muslims I have talked with have stressed the importance of God's grace in their faith.

Be that as it may....

I think we need to be clear whether we are talking about Islam the "pure" religion, or Islam as the religion and culture mixed together.

If you could take Islam away from its culture, there is some attraction. It is essentially a simple monotheistic faith that doesn't get tripped up by the complications and mysteries of such things as the Trinity and the Incarnation. There is one true God; we come to him and throw ourselves on his mercy and, in response to receiving that mercy, we seek to live the whole of our lives in submission to God and in God's service.

The problem, though, is that there are some awkward aspects that would cause me to stumble. To begin with, there is the belief that the Qu'ran is the inspired word of Allah, which has to be taken literally and completely. I much prefer the "normal" Christian understanding of the Bible as a series of writings inspired by God, but where the human nature of the writers is not done away with. I don't think I could ever sign up to the necessary belief in the absolute authority of the Qu'ran. This then causes some of the other problems - because the beliefs about the Qu'ran make it hard for Islam to adjust to a changing world. Part of the genius of Christianity is that it has continued to adapt itself as our understanding of the world and humanity has developed.

But it is pointless to try to take "Islam-the-faith" in isolation from its culture. Converting to Islam means converting to all that comes with it - and I could never do that. The awful oppression of women (those lesser, unclean beings) is just one aspect of Islam that I could never condone or accept.

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Faradiu, dundeibáwa weyu lárigi weyu

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Edward Green
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:

So, how about it people? Why not a Muslim (or a Buddhist for that matter?)

The question breaks down into two parts:

1. Eastern religions coexist with some degree of ease. It would not be strange for someone from Japan to be Buddhist AND Shinto while maybe even borrowing from Hinduism. Why are Western religions dependent on exclusive truth?

Something like Western Christianity is already a combination of different religious ideas quite enough for me. I think of the relationship between Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism and see just as much complexity in the religious systems of the West. I am not sure Western religion is dependent on exclusive truth. I imagine it has been assumed, but most people in the West don't seem to think so now.

quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:

2. If you try to pin down religious preference to its single greatest causal factor, you would have to say it would be "place of birth." Does that limit the importance of "choosing the right religion," since you will most likely stick within the religious traditions of your culture and you cannot possibly help where you were born?

Yes of course I would have to say place of birth. I would have to be slightly unhinged to sugest otherwise. If I lived in China and I was a Christian it might be different, but I imagine that if I lived in China I would be trying to do the equivalent of what I am called to do in Western Christian Culture. Which would mean that I might be 'a religious' in another religion.

That for me is Chosing the right religion. Chosing the one that works in the context I am in.


quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:

Okay, now prove me wrong (and an idiot). [Biased]
-Digory

Well you are an idiot only in that you ask very strange questions with answers I see as perfectly obvious. [Big Grin]

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Evo1
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quote:
Originally posted by Edward::Green:
Something like Western Christianity is already a combination of different religious ideas quite enough for me.

Sorry, this just reminded me of that fabulous Beckham quote when their baby was born, "we are going to have him christened, we're just not sure which religion yet" [Killing me]

Prefer to answer the question of Why I'm a Christian: Because Jesus died for my sins. No other religion offers me what He does.

Love,

Evo1

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Just think how horrid I would be if I didn't have a Personal Relationship with Jesus

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Evo1:
Prefer to answer the question of Why I'm a Christian: Because Jesus died for my sins. No other religion offers me what He does.

Honest question:

Is it possible to decide what to believe based on the claims/promises made by each religion? A bit like selecting a washing powder based on how many stains it says it'll shift? Or do we just believe what we believe because, well, we believe it?

A lot of the posts on this thread (and not just Evo1's by a long shot, I just quoted it as an example) seem like justifications after the fact to me.

In a similar vein, if one truly believed that Islam was correct, one wouldn't have a problem with (say) the lack of women's rights - because you would believe that that is how God wants things to be! So using "women's rights" as a reason not to believe in Islam seems a bit disingenuous to me - you'd have to not believe in Islam before you would even think they mattered!

[ 14. October 2005, 11:46: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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Hail Gallaxhar

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snowgoose

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quote:
Originally posted by Edward::Green:

That for me is Chosing the right religion. Chosing the one that works in the context I am in.

Precisely. Islam as practiced is culturally alien to me. And it's no good saying that you have to take a religion for what it says rather than what its practitioners really believe and live out in their day-to-day lives. Religion isn't just a set of writings (or even a set of traditions): culture is bound up in it to a considerable extent.

I am also quite uncomfortable with the exclusivism of Islam (and of Christianity, if the truth be told). Dismissing the beliefs of huge chunks of humanity because they live in societies that tend to see the Divine in ways I do not would be, in my opinion, arrogant in the extreme.

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Lord, what can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the Reaper Man? --Terry Pratchett

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Jazzuk777
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Well to use a passage from CS Lewis, Christ does not allow me the option to be a muslim.

Looking at His claims about himself, either He was a fraud, mad or who He said he was. If He was who He said He was, then Islam lies about him....He clearly was not just a prophet according to his claims.

If He was not who He said He was, then He is a liar or a madman (I believe CS Lewis actually said "on a par with someone who thinks he is a fried egg), and therefore Islam still does not tell the truth about Him - He simply does not allow the option of Islam being right about Him.

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You spit out mannah/ God sends quails - the 77s

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tclune
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quote:
Originally posted by Jazzuk777:
If He was not who He said He was, then He is a liar or a madman (I believe CS Lewis actually said "on a par with someone who thinks he is a fried egg), and therefore Islam still does not tell the truth about Him - He simply does not allow the option of Islam being right about Him.

Can you honestly imagine any Moslem finding any of that remotely compelling? It sure sounds like "I'm a Christian, and Mohammed isn't. Therefore, I'm not a Moslem." Doesn't that seem a little strained to you?

--Tom Clune

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This space left blank intentionally.

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Evo1:
Prefer to answer the question of Why I'm a Christian: Because Jesus died for my sins. No other religion offers me what He does.

Honest question:

Is it possible to decide what to believe based on the claims/promises made by each religion? A bit like selecting a washing powder based on how many stains it says it'll shift? Or do we just believe what we believe because, well, we believe it?

A lot of the posts on this thread (and not just Evo1's by a long shot, I just quoted it as an example) seem like justifications after the fact to me.

In a similar vein, if one truly believed that Islam was correct, one wouldn't have a problem with (say) the lack of women's rights - because you would believe that that is how God wants things to be! So using "women's rights" as a reason not to believe in Islam seems a bit disingenuous to me - you'd have to not believe in Islam before you would even think they mattered!

...and even before that...you probably have to believe that God exists before you figure what type of God s/he is.

...I don't know how to exactly explain it, but women's rights etc. is something I understand intuitively. No has to explain to me that each person should be treated with dignity and equality.

I was absolutely astounded to see this understanding mirrored in the Hebrew scriptures in Genesis that both man and woman were made in the image of God.

Women growing up around the world in diverse cultures, various ethnicities, historical traditions, and from different religious backgrounds have championed that we ought to be treated with the dignity and respect as men.

So, with this intuitive understanding, when I read in the koranic scriptures that a woman is not considered equal but rather a cause of sin (because she makes the man impure) and that beating her is okay as long as you don't kill her etc...it strikes at that thing inside me that says "this is not right."

And then to follow a religion who's founder married a nine-year-old girl...who had a history of violence and even questioned himself as to whether he was demon-possessed...it doesn't add up for me.

The thing I label as "God" is something I understand as "right" - I don't know how to explain it. All I know is that God is good.

Jesus best reflects what I feel about this thing called God.

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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Jazzuk777
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quote:
Originally posted by tclune:
quote:
Originally posted by Jazzuk777:
If He was not who He said He was, then He is a liar or a madman (I believe CS Lewis actually said "on a par with someone who thinks he is a fried egg), and therefore Islam still does not tell the truth about Him - He simply does not allow the option of Islam being right about Him.

Can you honestly imagine any Moslem finding any of that remotely compelling? It sure sounds like "I'm a Christian, and Mohammed isn't. Therefore, I'm not a Moslem." Doesn't that seem a little strained to you?

--Tom Clune

I understand what you are saying...what I'm saying is that I happen to feel there is ample evidence to accept Christ's claim (which is why I do), and therefore an investigation into Islam for me is superfluous. Despite the claims of many muslims about Christ being an honoured prophet in their religion, it is logically incompatible that you accept both Christ's claims for Himself AND the Islamic "line" on Him....therefore either Christ is wrong or Islam is, but they can't both be right, and moreover nor can Islam's claims about Christ logically be valid.

i.e. how can someone who claims to be God, be an honoured prophet?

Surely it is obvious that either they are right (which in this case completely invalidates Mohammed's claims by logical extension), or they are a fraud or a madman....and surely neither of these is worthy of the the title of honoured prophet in any case!

You could also say I suppose, it is impossible to be a christian AND a muslim (no really?!?!?), but what I am saying in addition, is that it is logically impossible for Islam's claims about Christ to be correct.

I believe these claims come from Mohammed? I can't say I know the Qu'ran well enough to know if these claims are text-based, or just Islamic tradition? However the Islamic street stands I have seen, IIRC, suggest that it is part of the Islamic Scripture.

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You spit out mannah/ God sends quails - the 77s

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Autenrieth Road

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quote:
Originally posted by Jazzuk777:
i.e. how can someone who claims to be God, be an honoured prophet?

If one believed that these words developed later in the tradition, and did not originate all the way back to Jesus, and that Jesus did not believe them about himself -- then, voila, honored prophet is not contradictory.

Not claiming that this is how Islam views the Bible, just pointing out that the honoured prophet view is not necessarily illogical.

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Truth

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Marvin the Martian

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It's simpler than that. If the Islamic view is correct then the Bible is false, so whatever Jesus claims about Himself in it is irrelevant. QED.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Autenrieth Road

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I was going to ask how, in that case, Islam determines anything at all about Jesus to decide he's an honoured prophet? (Figuring the answer must surely be that Islam reads some parts of the Bible at least as being informative.)

Did some hunting on Wikipedia to shore up my thought, and discovered actually that Jesus (Isa) is in the Koran. So in fact the Bible doesn't have to figure in at all. Just goes to show how little I know of Islam.

(Autenrieth, you'd have to be from Mars to know that little!

No, apparently from even farther!)

[Edited to fix link.]

[ 14. October 2005, 21:15: Message edited by: Autenrieth Road ]

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Truth

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Doublethink.
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Mohammed is said to have met some travelling Christian monks in his life time, which may partially explain the more positive attitude to 'people of the book'.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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ozowen
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I looked at Hinduism and couldn´t cope with the weird combination of varying overarching and quite noble theories abouyt the nature of godhead and reality laid across the often barbaric rituals and straight out animist practises and beliefs about particular deities. I found particular cults within Hinduism close to offensive at a values level.
Buddhism held more appeal (as it often does to westerners- it is far closer to our belief system- at the face level- I think there is something in the theories about Christianity and Buddhism meeting one another in the early days). But Buddhism failed to satisfy the hunger within. It came close, but it lacked the personal. Instead of making the existential experience soemthing substantial, it sought to remove it all together. This smacked of avoidance to me.
Islam was waaayyy to restrictive! The very feel of the religeon is a feeling of boundaries at every point.
It was only in Christ that the relative, the corporeal and the self found fulfilment.

Thus, I chose, very carefully, not to become a Muslim.

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Without stupid people we would have no one to laugh at, so take time to thank a creationist for their contribution.

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MSHB
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Is any religion purely western? Christianity was originally an eastern religion, and the Orthodox churches in the east aren't western.

Worship of Woden, Thor, etc? Druidism? Roman polytheism? Although the latter got pretty syncretistic during the course of the Empire, beginning with all those Easterners (Greeks) flocking to Rome as philosophy teachers. But Woden, etc seem to have been exclusively Germanic (restricted to Scandinavia, Germania, Britannia, which I'd call "Western"). I wonder how the Basques in northern Spain worshipped before they were converted to Christianity?

Unless you want to claim that the Germanic Wodenites and Celtic Druids ultimately stem from Hittite Anatolia? But that was thousands of years ago, when "Eastern" and "Western" in the modern sense had no meaning.

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MSHB
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
So, how about it people? Why not a Muslim (or a Buddhist for that matter?)

First, I am not a Muslim because the medieval Muslim armies were stopped at the gates of Vienna, and much earlier in southern France, thereby leaving Germany and Britain (the lands of my ancestors) as free Christian nations. Whether you see this as an act of God, or a mere accident of history is another question altogether.

Second, I am not a Muslim because - when I rejected my childish Christian faith around the age of 12 - I actually rejected theism, not just Christianity. I then read a book of the religions of the world, and rejected immediately all the theistic ones (I had already decided that question) - this ruled out Christianity, Judaism ... and Islam, the three great theistic religions. It also ruled out some smaller faiths, like Sikhism. I also ruled out polytheistic religions (they are theistic, only more so: if believing in one God is wrong, as I thought, surely believing in many gods is wronger). This ruled out the ancient polytheistic religions, as well as Hinduism, Shintoism, etc (as I understood them at the age of 14 or 15). I eventually got it down to Buddhism or Taoism (Confucianism, it seemed to me back then, wasn't so much a religion or spirituality as a morality). But Buddhism still had one major piece of dogmatic baggage - reincarnation. Like theism, that struck me as yet another unproveable metaphysical doctrine (although I quite happily believed that the spiritual world existed, distinct from the physical: I certainly couldn't think of myself as just an electro-chemical robot made out of carbon). I chose Taoism, after a long process of elimination: the perfect agnostic spirituality for me. I bought the Penguin translation of the Tao Te Ching, and enjoyed reading all the mysterious bits.

While a self-described 16-year-old agnostic Taoist, I became convinced that Christ had risen from the dead and therefore that God did exist after all (well, Somebody Special had to raise him from the dead - it isn't an everyday event). In a sense, I felt the divine tap on the shoulder - the "Turn around and look at me". It wasn't simply my decision: I was being addressed, by Someone who knew me inside and out. So I put away Taoism, became a Sydney Anglican (for about a year and a half), then took to Pentecostalism and dabbling in Anglo-Catholicism, and finally to an ecumenical fellowship that seemed to combine the best of my evangelical, charismatic and catholic leanings. I am still there, decades later, although the fellowship has drifted somewhat into a plain vanilla evangelical Protestantism. I try to top up with other influences, including the Ship, the Catholic Daily Office, reading from the Carmelites and the Desert saints, etc, etc.

I find that Christianity keeps getting profounder and profounder the longer I look. I thought it was a deep well, and then an ocean, and now deeper than space itself. And, personally, I find the Christian spiritual tradition to be quite adequate for my mystical needs - the Desert saints (of both genders) and the Carmelites especially.

So my path has never led to or through Islam. And I find myself deeply grateful for, and wedded to, the (non-Islamic) path I am on. History did not choose Islam for me; I did not choose Islam for me when I had the chance; and now I wouldn't choose anything other than Christ, as understood in the Nicene creed, until He returns to straighten out all our misconceptions.

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MSHB: Member of the Shire Hobbit Brigade

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Streetwise
Apprentice
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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
..because I think that A) Muslims and Christians worship the same God anyway; so we might as well use "our own" traditions. B) I don't find Islam very convincing, from the little I know of it. I know considerably more about Christianity, but I don't find that very convincing either, at the moment.

[Two face]

Actually, not quite true. Christians worship Yahweh, the God of the Bible who sent His son to die for the Jews (and gentiles). Muslims on the other hand, worship their God Allah, who seeks to destroy Jews and Christians (infadels) as outlined in the Koran (Koran 5:18 and 9:29). So no. They are not the same God contrary to what Robert Schuller is preaching.

Hope this helps clarify things.

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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Streetwise:
Christians worship Yahweh, the God of the Bible who sent His son to die for the Jews (and gentiles). Muslims on the other hand, worship their God Allah, who seeks to destroy Jews and Christians (infadels) as outlined in the Koran (Koran 5:18 and 9:29). So no. They are not the same God contrary to what Robert Schuller is preaching.

Hope this helps clarify things.

Not really. I've never called God "Yahweh" in my life, but plenty of Arab Christians call God "Allah." I hate to agree with Robert Schuller, but if there really is only one God, then the three great monotheistic religions are all worshipping the same god.
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Jazzuk777
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quote:
Originally posted by Autenrieth Road:
quote:
Originally posted by Jazzuk777:
i.e. how can someone who claims to be God, be an honoured prophet?

If one believed that these words developed later in the tradition, and did not originate all the way back to Jesus, and that Jesus did not believe them about himself -- then, voila, honored prophet is not contradictory.

Not claiming that this is how Islam views the Bible, just pointing out that the honoured prophet view is not necessarily illogical.

Assuming Jesus said the words He is claimed to have said (and if I didn't then I agree my argument would fall down, but then the question would actually first be "...so why are you a a Christian?") then my point is that Jesus precluded Islam's description of Him.

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You spit out mannah/ God sends quails - the 77s

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Joan_of_Quark

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# 9887

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I have met quite a few women who are intelligent, questioning, independent AND Muslim, all having been born in communities where that's the default religion. Some said they occasionally had trouble reconciling their religion with their own sense of worth as human beings, maybe, but usually claimed that Islam was ahead of its time when it first arrived in terms of giving women any worth at all, and also that the original message had been distorted by sexist clerics in the intervening centuries.

I think at the moment the way in which their scripture is seen as inspired is more 'hardline' than the average Christian. So a lot of my erstwhile* friends' dialogues were about 'going back to what it really meant' rather than 'reinterpreting it for a new era'. Maybe that will gradually morph over the next few decades/centuries - just as some people have pointed out that the viciously anti-science, anti-laypeople's knowledge, crusading Christianity is not the only version now.

*because we moved, not because I tried to feed them ham sandwiches! [Devil]

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"I want to be an artist when I grow up." "Well you can't do both!"
further quarkiness

Posts: 1025 | From: The Book Depository | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
daronmedway
Shipmate
# 3012

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What with all this talk about environmental and circumstantial reasons for one's faith, I'd like to add an unpopular suggestion: I'm not a muslim because in love God predestined me to be adopted as his son through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Basically, I am a Christain because God decided that I would be. I was chosen in Christ, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works our everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.

Where does that leave people born into Islamic countries through no fault of their own? It leaves them in need of an evangelist or a miracle...

See! Said you wouldn't like it... [Snigger]

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markporter
Shipmate
# 4276

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OK, well very few people on this thread seem to have been willing to say this, so I'll say it for me. I'm not a Muslim because I believe Christianity is true and has better-substantiated truth-claims, it's as simple as that - sure Mohammed may have had some kind of revelations from somewhere, but I'll take Jesus' resurrection over those any day.
Posts: 1309 | From: Oxford | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Jazzuk777:
Assuming Jesus said the words He is claimed to have said (and if I didn't then I agree my argument would fall down, but then the question would actually first be "...so why are you a a Christian?") then my point is that Jesus precluded Islam's description of Him.

The point is, it's all about belief. The whole premise of this thread is flawed, because that premise is that one can choose what to believe...

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Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 30100 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged



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