Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Religious commentary, feel free to ignore. *grin*

Now I'm going to go off on a tangent, and those of you who are Catholic, please don't feel this is a personal attack. I loves you all very much. Especially you, Amber, you sweetie. *hugs* This is just my lil' ol' opinion, and you all know that I don't shut up when I get on a roll. ; P Please feel free to correct me if I've misinterpreted something. Goodness knows, I'm wrong on a fairly regular basis.

Re: Catholicism. The whole confession thing and the role of priests as intercessors have always been a big part of my beef with Catholicism. I don't believe that there is any man on Earth who has the right to say whether or not my sins are forgiven. That is between me and God, and He is truly generous and merciful. He is EAGER to forgive me. All I have to do is ask Him.

Another beef is the saints and praying to Mary. Okay, if it isn't worship, it's waaay too close to idolatry for comfort for me, as Mary was merely a woman - a very, very good one, to be sure, since God picked her to be the mother of Jesus - but she was only human. The dead can't intercede for the living, so why say "Hail Marys" and pray Rosaries to her? Jesus, however, is not dead, and He can and will intercede with God on our behalf.

Another topic: I don't believe that good works alone will get you to Heaven, and good deeds are a major point in Islam. For Muslims, you have to do more good works than bad in order to go to Heaven (or "Paradise"). Also, what I have read is that Muslims believe everyone's fate is determined while they are in the womb. So people can do bad things most of their lives, but start doing good things towards the end, and they still go to Heaven. Likewise, people can do good things most of their lives, but start doing bad things towards the end, so they still go to Hell, even if the "predetermined for Heaven" guy did way more bad stuff. That's a precipice of uncertainty that I really don't want to play on.

Good works as proof and part of your faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior is what I've always believed to be the way to Heaven. Jesus said "Love the Lord Your God, love thy neighbor, etc". Doing all of the things that Jesus taught means you didn't just say "I believe in Jesus as the Son of God" and leave your Christianity at that; i.e., a "passive Christian". It means you truly tried to live your life according to what He taught. Didn't He say something about "faith without good works" and "good works without faith"?


  1. Being that I use to be Catholic but now Muslim, I thought I would talk about some of your post...

    Praying to Saints or Mary. First of all I NEVER prayed to the saints or to Mary. Think of it like asking your friend to pray for you or with you.

    "Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with you. Blessd are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy Womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death amen."

    Pray for us... we are not praying to her, we are asking her to pray for us. This is the biggest misconseption of non Catholics.

    Lets break it down... Hail mary... HELLO MARY. The lord is with you... blessed are you among women... this really just means that we recognize that she is holy and in Gods graces.

    So to say the rosary you say 10 hail marys and 1 our father. you reapeat 5 times.

    This is not the reason I left the Church and I will not realy get into that... I just wanted to help you understand that Catholics DO NOT worship or pray to Mary... Period!

    As for the confession thing, I don't get that either. But again, thats not what made me leave the church. Maybe one day I will post about it on my blog... but its an emotional journey I am not sure I am ready to talk about.

    Inshallah, you find the answers that you are looking for, and I hope your journey is easier then mine was. May Allah grant you wisdom and peace and great discoveries!

  2. *cries into her coffee* Oh, wait, I don't drink coffee. Never mind then. :)

    Confession is...hmm...this is just my understanding, of course, but to me, confession isn't about whether or not the priest forgives you, but you acknowledging your sins and the *need* for forgiveness. I don't believe that God will forgive your sins if you can't acknowledge that they *were* sins in the first place, see? God will forgive, but you have to ask for it first. And confession can feel like you've eased a burden on yourself. Really, it can. My first confession, I wasn't impressed at all. I've had to go back once or twice since, and it felt good to get my wrongdoings off my chest. Even though, yes, God already knew, it felt good to acknowledge it, and hear the words that I was forgiven. Like many things, it's something God gave us for us, because we're human and we tend to need physical signs of invisible changes.

    As Honey said, we don't pray to Mary or the Saints. I think the (main) difference is in the understanding of whether they're dead or not. To the Catholic/Orthodox, they're dead only in the flesh, and alive, in their spirit, their soul, in Heaven. So they can, just like a friend here on earth, pray for us. And that's what we ask.

    As for works/faith, you can't truly have one without the other. It's a package deal. :)

    If you truly have faith, and live it out, good works will follow.

  3. Heather, Those are three good reasons I am a Protestant - even a Quaker in all but the name... Works are the result of salvation, not its cause. They are the result of something God has already done for us. Our deeds are invariably the result of what we *really* believe.

  4. Good post.

    Yeah I have the same issues with Catholicism as you do ( I am technically Catholic). But I never felt the "Hail Mary" was actually praying to Mary, more asking for her to pray for us...which still seems a bit odd. Never prayed to the Saints myself.

    I am starting to wonder if different cultures+Islam render different results on fate for I have heard what you say to an extent. What I learned about Fate and Islam is that we are responsible for what happens to us in life. That its not planned, we have to take responsibility for our actions and our actions are what bring us to paradise. That is what my books and my muslim friends have taught me. Although I know a lot of Christians who believe your fate is decided at birth and it won't matter what you do. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the subject.

    If you want a really good book on fate read "When Bad Things Happen To Good People" by Harold Kushner. It really takes a hard look at the concept of "things happen for a reason".

  5. Most of my family is Catholic (though I am not) and I guess growing up with going to mass every now and then since I was little, I just didn't notice it. I was too busy trying to understand the priest (mass and my church service were very different) and admiring the stained glass. I guess I thought that Hail Mary/Our Father was kind of like a mantra to help you focus. But I dunno...I'm not Catholic and didn't pay tons of attention when I was younger. The thing that confused me the most was the concept of the Trinity.

    My first time as a niqabi went rather well actually. :) I'd like to try it again, though it would be nice if there was someone to go with, y'know? I might use the Borders (waaaay on the other side of town from Barnes&Noble o.O; ) as another test area...we'll see. ^.^ Hopefully they have that book as well as "Return to Modesty," which seems interesting.

  6. As I am a "Catholic"/non-muslim hijabi, I hope I can offer some help?

    the praying to mary or the saints has been somewhat addressed. In the rosary, the repetitions are meant so that you are pondering and meditating on the mysteries while praising god, mary and jesus

    I won't touch on confession or good deeds vs faith as i have differing views that i don't feel like putting out there.

    If you'd like to find out more about the quirks of catholic traditions, there is a book called "Why do catholics do that?" It's a bit biased from the catholic point but aimed at non catholic readers and an easy and enjoyable read. I have a copy if you'd like it.

    Assalamu Aleikum

  7. Sophia: Too bad all us niqabis/hijabis here can't get together and go out. It would be a blast! ^_^

  8. Caraboska: That is what I was trying to say on that point, in a nutshell. Sometimes I'm better at "long and drawn-out" than "short and to the point". : P

  9. Usually I am too - you may have noticed ;) It borders on the miraculous that I said anything in so few words...

  10. Ha ha! Yeah...

    I'm wordy again today. I just went on a total rant about censorship and conformists and not being able to wear my hijab to a job interview if I want to get a job. And some other observations.

  11. I think the reason belief in God and an afterlife is always stressed in most religions, is that it influences the way you live - your "works" - and the kind of person you become. I feel that we eventually reap the consequences of the kind of person we become.

    As for the predestination thing, I think it's simply that God knows in advance all that we will do; not that we don't have free will about it. I think that's the case in most religions too.

  12. Hi, so I stumbled upon your blog as I distract myself from an essay that is due very very shortly. Anyways, yes, doing good deeds IS a major part in Islaam. However, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that no one will enter Heaven except through the Mercy of God. A companion asked, "Even you, Oh Messenger of God?" And he replied "Even me."

    Also, good deeds do not necessarily have to outweigh bad deeds in order to get into Paradise. If a Muslim commits actions that would take him out of the folds of Islaam, then he will not get into Paradise.

    Now, as for those who are truly Muslims, if they repented for their sins sincerely and regretfully, they are forgiven. Keep in mind, in the first place, that doing one good deed gives 10 "marks" of reward and doing 1 bad deed gives 1 "mark" of bad deeds (and thinking of sincerely doing a good deed that is optional but not actually doing it gives the person 1 'mark' good deed & if u think of doing a bad deed, but don't do it, then you also get 1 'mark' good deed. this is from the mercy of God and how easy He makes it for us to attain good deeds).

    Ok, now if they don't repent, then on the Day of Judgement it is God's decision if He forgives a person who didn't repent or not. If a Muslim is not forgiven and his good deeds do not cancel the bad ones out, then YES, he WILL have to go to Hell for a period of time. HOWEVER, he will eventually get to Paradise (so long as he even has an atom's amount of faith in his heart).

  13. And for the fate being decided in the womb, would you not say that God is All-Wise and All-Knowing? So to say that He doesn't know what actions we'll do would be to say that He is NOT All-Knowing. As Muslims, we believe that EVERYTHINGGGG is written in the preserved tablet which is with God. The angels dont know what is in it, we don't know what is in it, none of us knows what it contains. So you'd ask, what is our purpose then? If our fates are already sealed? It's because a.) we don't know what our fates are, therefore we work and do the best. God is the Most-Just. IF we are sincere and strive to find the Truth, He won't divert us away from it so long as we remain sincere. b.) God is fair. He would not just send us to Hell without us doing anything bad. He allows us to live this life so that we won't have any excuse on the Day of Judgement.