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Old 07-27-2008, 02:19 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,809 times
Reputation: 12

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I am a Shia Muslim living in California
To give you background on my question
I'm going to give a few facts about my life
i was born in Afghanistan and have live in America
for 10 years and currently i am 16 years old

Being a muslim living in a mainly Christian society
i have learned to respect Christians very much
but i still am strongly attached to Islam

I am not one to easily accept any beliefs
though I see myself as a muslim, i am not
quite sure of what i believe in yet

So far the only facts i have been able
to mentally "grasp" are a few simple ones
they recur in several religions

1.Allah (God) is kind, fair, and benevolent

2.Each person is set up with a moral compass
that instantly informs a person if they commited a
sin that they meant to do. (this one is kinda confusing)
ex. if you steal you know that you did wrong instantly
its not like you commit the crime and later "figure out"
it was wrong.)

Now logically each person is born to parents
who may be religious or may not be.
God chooses who we are born to.
Now lets say that hypothetically Christians
are the "correct" religion and that the Bible is
the "true" book.

What happens to all the people like me that
were born to parents of a different religion.
(ex. muslim, jewish,mormon) We would obviously
take up the religions that our respective parents
followed and believed in.

If God is so benevolent why would He set me and millions
of others around the world up to this inevitable curse?
Why was it that I was given Islam as a child so that I
would be so steeped in it that I would bear it so boldly
in this world without a second thought as to whether or
not another religion is more logical or better.

Inversely the same could happen to Christians.
They are people that love God just as much as Muslims or Jews
but what if they were wrong.
Do they deserve to be punished for simply following their parents
as children.
Obviously when you are a child you are most impressionable.

So in the end does it really have to be a matter of who is right and wrong?
Why is it that I CONTINUALLY hear of how FAIR God is and yet when
I look at the way things are set up I always see unfairness.
Religion has proven to be the driving force of so many bloody
conflicts in history such as the Crusades, the European religious wars,
and even more recently 9/11.

Why is it that God is always said to be kind and loving when it is
belief in him that constantly puts us people at war?
Some people told me that it is all a test about who is worthy
to enter heaven, but even in a test we all have equal chances to
succeed and equal chances to fail. In this world it seems to be up
to luck about whether or not you were born into the "correct" religion.

To me, it has become very simple. So far I just try to go with
what is right. As I said before all I have is a belief in God and
a moral compass and also a belief that one day we will all
be judged somehow and that we will be placed in heaven or hell
according to how well we followed our compasses.

This is a very serious topic for me. If anyone has anything to say please
be respectful and understand that this means a lot to me as you can
tell by the tone of my thread. Any thoughts or arguements are welcome.
No one I know understands what kind of position I am in.
I really need some help and i don't care if its from Christians, Jews, Muslims or any follower of any religion.
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Old 07-27-2008, 04:14 AM
 
Location: South Africa
5,563 posts, read 6,320,949 times
Reputation: 1786
Hi SSD

As I know little of your faith the one thing that stands out in your post is an openness to what is truth. Granted I was brought up in the Christian faith and you in the Muslim faith.

I like a few others here do NOT believe that God consigns 95% of the world to damnation as that goes against the whole concept of a loving God in the first place. I do believe ultimately that the goal is the Father (Allah in your case) and in Christianity Jesus said "I am the way..." but so to do many other faiths.

Who am I to judge? No one.

We believe as we have been taught and primarily to what we were exposed to as children. I personally rejected Christianity as the concept of hell never sat well with me. 19 years ago I became what is termed "born again" but the hell issue never was resolved theologically and by what I was reading in the KJV version.

I actually asked the Lord "what about the others who never heard, what about other faiths, what about hell" and He replied "You let me worry about that, you just study" Well I did see in the margins the hell words were in fact Gehenna (A rubbish dump outside Jerusalem aka the valley of Hinnom) Hades, Sheol aka the grave - realm of the dead and Tartarus mentioned once - a place for the "fallen" angels (not celestial) and these were all hell.

Like you - I never came away from my bible studies with a POV that God was this vindictive person but One of compassion and Oozing Love. In fact the whole hype of hell I could not fathom out as it got so little mention in the New Testament. Just like you I saw there was this moral compass and ess. dealt with putting others first before yourself.

Much later in life I discovered that hell was a wrong translation and was in fact introduced by the RCC and was done to keep folk in check with fear of the afterlife.

As for judgement there will be but on works not based on our sins in this life. The wages of sin is death for all mankind NOT eternal separation or eternal torment - that is a mixing in of Greco/Roman pagan beliefs.

While I can respect Mohamed was a prophet of sorts I do believe Jesus was/is the Messiah. In fact the supposed origins of the Arabic nation stemming from Abraham in the form of Ishmael the son of the slave woman Hagar.

What many forget is this:

Gen 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall father twelve chiefs, and I will make him a great nation.

Very parallel to the seed line of Isaac Abraham's second son.

Now we essentially have Christianity and Muslims both with their roots in Judaism so I do not think one can dismiss the other in all fairness. Many will say Muslims are radical but every town has their village idiot (read: radicals) so neither IMO has the right to dismiss the other.

Many here will say you HAVE TO ACCEPT Jesus - I cannot make that statement as I do not know what the Q'ran teaches. Even the bible has many things that can allude to justification of bloodshed and I am sure the bits I have seen quoted from the Q'ran has similar references.

At the end of the day, no one chose to be born, or IOW no one chose death in Adam so too we do not choose life in Christ - He chooses us.

At the end of the day, it is a relationship between you and the Father and if your current faith does it for you - who am I to say otherwise. If you feel you are not happy, then study the bible, read the gospel accounts preferably not the KJV version, I like the MKJV or the NKJV and both you can find online. If you need links to download e-sword - DM me and I will let you have them.

That probably did not give you a pat answer but I am afraid, I do not have pat answers for your questions.

Blessings
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:08 PM
 
Location: No Sleep Til Brooklyn
1,413 posts, read 4,777,045 times
Reputation: 596
ssdking99, I remember having the same questions at your age and at 35, I sometimes still wrestle with these issues.

I can not speak for other Christians, I can only speak for myself. I was raised in the Catholic Church (on my mom's weekends, Baptist on my father's weekends), went to Catholic school, but was taught that God has many faces and is called by many names. Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed were born from the same traditions and I respect them all. However, I also respect the Buddha and the eco-consciousness of Pagans.

I am a Christian because I believe in trying to live my life in the way Jesus prescribed, not because I believe that it is the one true religion.

Keep asking questions and making your own answers. I think many wars have been fought because people have followed foolish leaders blindly. I don't see any reason why my neighbor can't worship in his or her own way or not at all.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:28 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,053,898 times
Reputation: 2141
I had the same conflicts, questions, and aversions when I was your age too (actually my whole life). The conclusion I came to was that the specifics of a religious belief are not very important and serve the leaders of those religions who wish to exert secular power over other people more than they serve individuals. The conclusion I came to was how I chose to behave was far more important than what I believed.

You must find your own way and your own interpretation. It is my belief that the rigid insistence of some of the religious leaders in Islam do a great disservice when they put a fatwa on Muslims who present questions or differ in their beliefs from what those leaders think. This to me is a great evil and it isn't limited to Islam. Islam is just the most vocal and violent in the world today. I do believe the statement that Islam also presents a religion of love.

It is a dichotomy of all these religions that they both promote love, compassion, fairness and also justify murder, torture, thought control, brainwashing, fear, and obedience to authorities who deserve no such obedience. Perhaps the writings of Rushdie would be of interest to you as he grew up in the Muslim traditions but doesn't follow the dictates of the Muslim dictators.

All I can suggest is to read much from many sources and ponder what you learn. Be more concerned about your own life path, your ethics, and your behavior than about what any religion dictates. How you formulate your own character is what you have control over - not the dictates of various religions. Fanaticism is never a moral choice. It blinds one to obviously evil behavior and justifies the most horrendous acts.

Questioning and thinking are good things. Caring about what is right and good is a good thing.
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:51 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,809 times
Reputation: 12
Default thanks for the replies

i want to thank everyone for their replies. I know that I presented questions
that no one could answer in such a way that my mind would be at ease
automatically. For many people life is easy and they simply live with a single
doctrine and are always confined to it so they are happy. On the other hand,
I find myself binded by religion. I feel as though even if no one taught me
anything about any religion I would still have the beliefs of one God and
everything else i put into the thread. This changing world in my opinion has
put so many doubts into religion. Back when these religions were formed
life was simple. There was no internet, drugs, or many of the other corrupting
agents of the modern era. There is no reference to the future in any of the scriptures and as timeless as these religions are supposed to be, the modern age still raises questions about whether or not they were accurate. As life goes on I will always have these questions haunting me and I know it. Unless God Himself spoke to me I would never be at ease. I guess I'm on my own as are so many other lost people in the world.
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:16 PM
 
8,180 posts, read 11,290,067 times
Reputation: 2880
If Islam brings you peace, embrace it. There is much more to being a good person and living a godly life then membership to a specific religion or church.
Some religions recognize this, others do not. Who is to say what is the truth until we die? Better to live a good life and treat others with respect and kindness rather than intolerance and hate, imho.
You are on the right the track....questioning is never a bad thing, and neither is learning about other people and their beliefs.
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:37 PM
 
Location: on the coast of somewhere beautiful
198 posts, read 591,061 times
Reputation: 153
I believe that kind of reaction is perfectly normal and kudos to you for the questions and for seeking answers- something that was an interesting read to me- and may answer some questions- read the first 1/3 of "life of pi" by yann martel- a fascinating book, but the main character, pi, spends the first 1/3 of the book analyzing islam, as well as the christian and muslim faiths- I promise you will like the tale - when confronted, his words were "I just want to believe in God"
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:08 AM
 
Location: Egypt
125 posts, read 263,418 times
Reputation: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssdking99 View Post
I am a Shia Muslim living in California
To give you background on my question
I'm going to give a few facts about my life
i was born in Afghanistan and have live in America
for 10 years and currently i am 16 years old

Being a muslim living in a mainly Christian society
i have learned to respect Christians very much
but i still am strongly attached to Islam

I am not one to easily accept any beliefs
though I see myself as a muslim, i am not
quite sure of what i believe in yet

So far the only facts i have been able
to mentally "grasp" are a few simple ones
they recur in several religions

1.Allah (God) is kind, fair, and benevolent

2.Each person is set up with a moral compass
that instantly informs a person if they commited a
sin that they meant to do. (this one is kinda confusing)
ex. if you steal you know that you did wrong instantly
its not like you commit the crime and later "figure out"
it was wrong.)

Now logically each person is born to parents
who may be religious or may not be.
God chooses who we are born to.
Now lets say that hypothetically Christians
are the "correct" religion and that the Bible is
the "true" book.

What happens to all the people like me that
were born to parents of a different religion.
(ex. muslim, jewish,mormon) We would obviously
take up the religions that our respective parents
followed and believed in.

If God is so benevolent why would He set me and millions
of others around the world up to this inevitable curse?
Why was it that I was given Islam as a child so that I
would be so steeped in it that I would bear it so boldly
in this world without a second thought as to whether or
not another religion is more logical or better.

Inversely the same could happen to Christians.
They are people that love God just as much as Muslims or Jews
but what if they were wrong.
Do they deserve to be punished for simply following their parents
as children.
Obviously when you are a child you are most impressionable.

So in the end does it really have to be a matter of who is right and wrong?
Why is it that I CONTINUALLY hear of how FAIR God is and yet when
I look at the way things are set up I always see unfairness.
Religion has proven to be the driving force of so many bloody
conflicts in history such as the Crusades, the European religious wars,
and even more recently 9/11.

Why is it that God is always said to be kind and loving when it is
belief in him that constantly puts us people at war?
Some people told me that it is all a test about who is worthy
to enter heaven, but even in a test we all have equal chances to
succeed and equal chances to fail. In this world it seems to be up
to luck about whether or not you were born into the "correct" religion.

To me, it has become very simple. So far I just try to go with
what is right. As I said before all I have is a belief in God and
a moral compass and also a belief that one day we will all
be judged somehow and that we will be placed in heaven or hell
according to how well we followed our compasses.

This is a very serious topic for me. If anyone has anything to say please
be respectful and understand that this means a lot to me as you can
tell by the tone of my thread. Any thoughts or arguements are welcome.
No one I know understands what kind of position I am in.
I really need some help and i don't care if its from Christians, Jews, Muslims or any follower of any religion.
If you have time you can read the first two posts here, it's related to your questions:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/relig...hell-free.html

I can add a summarization and additional info here,
Note that this is my personal understanding after reading and thinking, hope you find what you seek.

How the person is created is decided by God after looking in this person's reality in the non existence, and so God creates him in best circumstances to reveal the person's true self.

Any suffering to the person cleans out his heart, reminds him that he needs God, and makes him nearer to God so as to have a good rank in the hereafter.

Any person with one atom of good in his heart will not be eternal in hell, he will eventually enter paradise in the rank he deserves. (Note that one atom of good always refer to one atom of belief in God the one the only one, cause this is a human nature).

Hell and paradise are places for ranking, there are many degrees in hell and paradise.

For many persons being non moslim is better than being moslim. Let me clarify this more, Why satan was condemned by God and deserved hell, Did he not believe in God, No, he do believe in God, But he defied Him openly when God ordered him to prostrate to Adam. So for many persons if he is a moslim he will defy God with major sins and his heart will harden more and be further away from God, so being a non moslim and has no knowledge of Islam gives him a good excuse in the hereafter.

As for humans who have no single atom of good in their heart, i personally do not think that their torture will be for eternity, i understand that after punishment for their sins, they'll stay in hell in a low rank of living, they can do crimes to each other there, but they will not be close to God, they chose, it's their choice not to have a single atom of good in their hearts.

As for why in all communities and religions some make crimes in the name of religion, cause criminals tend to stupidly justify their crimes with stupid interpretations and making lies over their religion, it's a criminal nature that is in some persons in all communities, religions, including atheism, you can compare crimes rates in all countries especially in the west to know clearly that religion is innocent from criminal's acts.


Peace
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:55 PM
 
7 posts, read 17,026 times
Reputation: 13
Default in reply, my heartfelt prayers for you that you may find your way

i am a christian, have been for my 39 yrs. my BIG question was which religion? i grew up as the g-daughter of a first christian preacher. i have looked into just about all denominations. now, i classify myself as christian and that's it. i hate the word religion. Jesus was not religious. He spurnned the pharisees and saducees more than anyone else calling them snakes and a brood of vipers. you will have to do what every human on this earth has to do at one point in their life...that is decide what they believe and why. first decide who Jesus was and is. ur religion says He was a prophet and He is in ur Quran, your holy book. but do prophets lie? Jesus called Himself the Son of God, yet the quran says He is not. Jesus said not to put your trust in men but God alone. our 2 religions differ on just who God is. i say is not our place....our measly little human minds cannot comprehend what all God is ("for My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, My ways saith the Lord Isiah 55:8) but i do know God is love and what is love, if not relationship? does love exist all by itself, alone with no one or nothing to love? also, Jesus said to judge a tree by it's fruit. Jesus said, people honor Him with their lips and deny Him by their lifestyle. (so- called christians do that alot.) that they worship Him in vain, their teachings were just rules set forth by men. a real christ-like person is humble, gentle, kind, forgiving, peace making, patient, loving, faithful, full of joy and goodness and has self- control ; not forceful, carnal, pleasure seeking, self- seeking, impatient, callous, argumentative, warring, anxious that he/she will never measure up and the list can go on. look at the trees, child. not the denominations or religions or whatever word you want to put there. "enter through the narrow gate. wide and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many may enter through it. but small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few will find it" ("my people are destroyed by lack of knowledge") i think alot of people will be surprised to see the so and so's in heaven. what is your view of Heaven? is it a playboy palace heaven or is it a spiritual place of never-ending joy, where men and women are as angels? physical or spiritual? which do you think God is? Jesus spoke highly of celibacy and said to those who could not go by that word, it would be better for them to marry. and last but not least, how do you want to live the rest of your life...with uncertainty that you will ever be good enough to make it into heaven unless you kill an infidel or become a martyr....or with the certainty that God loves you just like you are. you don't get good to get God, you get God and He makes you good. prayer is a 2 way street. try listening for a change. He is not in the wind, nor the fire, nor the earthquake but in a still small voice. (read elijah's story in 1 Kings chp. 19) and what of your salvation and redemption? is works gonna get you into heaven? don't you want forgiveness here on earth? God can give you both, just ask. don't go out and kill somebody to make sure you will be forgiven and go to heaven. salvation and forgiveness aren't earned, their given through the grace of our God. grace is what's given to someone who doesn't deserve it. kinda like judges who give leinancy to people for crimes they committed. while we are on sin, do you think that the sins you do, affect someone else? what about the smoker who puffs in public? does not his smoke pollute the same air that a non-smoker breathes? does the non-smoker then deserve cancer because of the smoker? no, but that is the way it is. what if the smoker is pregnant? does that smoke (sin) have an effect on her unborn child? yes. original sin is something else to think about. You get to decide, it's your life and soul, not your parents. you will be judged because of what you did and said and what was in your heart. saying my mom or my dad made me...won't cut it. it's tough to take up your cross and follow Christ. He never said it would be easy; as a matter of fact, He said it would be tougher just because you were His. you will have to deal with your family, friends, religous people, and yes our own government. you will be threatened, possibly physically harmed, ridiculed and rejected by loved ones so is it worth it? yes!,yes! a thousand times yes!! our lives here on earth are like a mist of a vapor....so very short compared to eternity. i for one, want to hear, well done my good and faithful servant welcome home! after all the thought you put into your post, i had to put equal amt. in mine. i did my homework. yours is the questions of all questions....after you've read all this be comforted by these words.... "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers,they will not sweep over you. when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. for I am the Lord, your God..."
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Log home in the Appalachians
10,513 posts, read 10,333,168 times
Reputation: 6870
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssdking99 View Post
i want to thank everyone for their replies. I know that I presented questions
that no one could answer in such a way that my mind would be at ease
automatically. For many people life is easy and they simply live with a single
doctrine and are always confined to it so they are happy. On the other hand,
I find myself binded by religion. I feel as though even if no one taught me
anything about any religion I would still have the beliefs of one God and
everything else i put into the thread. This changing world in my opinion has
put so many doubts into religion. Back when these religions were formed
life was simple. There was no internet, drugs, or many of the other corrupting
agents of the modern era. There is no reference to the future in any of the scriptures and as timeless as these religions are supposed to be, the modern age still raises questions about whether or not they were accurate. As life goes on I will always have these questions haunting me and I know it. Unless God Himself spoke to me I would never be at ease. I guess I'm on my own as are so many other lost people in the world.
ssdking, I do not belong to any of the organized religions, my culture is nature-based, I believe in a Creator, I believe as my ancestors did, I am a Native American and my culture is among the oldest. You are young and have many questions and they are good questions, for this is how you learn, by asking the questions, as time goes on you will learn more, keep an open mind about this and you will learn much, some good some not so good, but you will learn to be able to distinguish between the two, you have a good moral compass of which you speak of, followed that, one's belief in whatever religion or culture that you believe in is personal and should be, it should come to you from the heart and you should feel comfortable with it, no one can tell you how to feel about your belief, only you know that.

Last edited by ptsum; 08-19-2008 at 05:30 PM..
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