Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Renewing the search

Hi, all! I'm doing well. How are all of you? I just got a lil' Toshiba netbook computer, so I can get online more often now! : D I'm very excited about it.

But now I have a problem. A big, unsatisfying, frustrating problem. One I thought was resolved. Namely: I'm back in the intellectual and emotional debate between Islam and Christianity. I started reading the Bible - from the beginning - and have also been reading the S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali translation of the Koran. Found a couple of interesting books about the Bible, too - "Jesus, Interrupted" and "Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 Years".

Now, I am not one of those folks who believes the Bible is perfect and has never been changed by so much as a word. People have been involved with the Bible from the get-go, and we all know that people tend to screw things up (intentionally or not). After all, we aren't perfect. We make mistakes. So... I'm cool with people talking about the Bible having been changed. The two books mentioned previously are all about the influence of humans on Christianity and it's source and teachings.

But it's leading me to another spiritual crisis. I'm reading both the Koran and the Bible, and I'm realizing... as much as the uninformed person claims that Islam is a religion of violence, Christianity also has a violent history, full of mysogyny and war and all those other horrid things. The Spanish Inquisition, anyone? The way I look at it, in terms of violence, the actions of extremists in the Middle East are on par with those of the Catholic Church centuries ago and, later - to an extent, with prejudice, etc - the Protestant church. Hmmm, I didn't say that quite right, so please don't take offense. I'm trying to organize my thoughts on this topic, but I'm a bit out of practice on religious intellectual discussion.

To my way of thinking, the issues right now are what the Christian world was going through 2 or 3 or 4 centuries back. So are we really that different, after all? All I see is a difference in time, and maybe not even so much that, considering the 600 years between the foundation of Christianity and that of Islam - Christianity was suffering many of the same problems at the age that Islam is now.

I'm so confused... But I'll keep reading and praying and, with God's help, may finally rest 100% certain in the validity and rightness of my faith. Whatever that might end up being.

I wonder how my deployment will affect my questioning soul.

Biggest fear: Picking a religion, but then finding out after I die that it was the wrong one and that I'll go to hell for it.


  1. Glad to see you back! I can totally understand that huge fear. I'm sure many people can relate!

    I think one thing to keep in mind is not looking at the history necessarily. People often do many bad things and justify it by saying God told them to do it or that they were doing it for Christ's sake. But then you see where Jesus told us to not only love our neighbors, but also love our enemies and you see that those who fought each other (and still today) were not following Jesus. It's easy to SAY something, but much more difficult to live it. That's how I settle some of the violent historical part anyway.

    There is more, but I don't want to get too long here.

    Hope all is well!

  2. Although I'm a Muslim, I'm finding that I can relate to a lot of your posts.

    Prayer, studying and a lot of reflection is the absolute best way to decide on matters like these. I think many people, whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian or otherwise, struggle with the question of whether or not Jesus (peace be upon him) was a prophet or something more. There are a lot of people out there who will try to tell you what to believe, but this is something that we much each determine on our own, with guidance from God.

  3. Also, I can completely relate to how difficult it is to rectify our faith with the evil committed in the name of religion, but it's important to remember that all of the violence and hatred associated with religion come from man. It's human nature to fear that which we don't understand, and fear can often breed violence and hatred. God is not the source of any of this evil), nor is religion inherently violent. It all comes down to interpretation and each person's individual character. Those who are loving and peaceful will interpret things in a manner conductive to love and peace. Those with hatred and violence in their hearts will see the Bible or Qur'an (or any holy book) in a hateful light, taking from it a message of violence, war and oppression. Evil men will find a way to corrupt even the most beautiful of things, as history has shown all too well.

  4. Susanne: Thanks for reminding me! I forgot to add that what bothers me, other than the obvious bad history, is all the violence and destruction done by God's command - especially in the Old Testament, but that's the part I'm reading at the moment. I find it as violent as Islam is often portrayed to be, because there were stonings and cities destroyed and all that in Jewish/Christian history, as well.

    In fact, the God of the OT seems like a pretty angry one who regreted having created people in the first place.

    : /

  5. M: Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad that you find my ramblings interesting. Hope you stick around a while!