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 Can't deny the truth

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yusuf

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Numarul mesajelor : 78
Data de inscriere : 2009-10-01
Varsta : 47
Localizare : Bucuresti

PostSubject: Can't deny the truth   Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:22 pm

Salam alaikum brothers and sisters


My path to Islam was not dramatic or difficult, but was a logical decision based on reasoning. Here, I shall recall the critical events of my life which influenced my spiritual development.

My mother is Catholic, and she raised us the same. My siblings and I went to Catholic school, and to Mass every Sunday. Like most children, I didn't really think much about the meaning, it was just something my parents made me do. (My stepfather is non-Catholic, but supported my mother's decision to require us to attend Mass and Catholic school.) When I was in the fourth grade, we got a new teacher who specialized in religious study - Catechism. She was my favorite, a kind, patient, and loving woman. That was where I first developed an interest in learning the nature of God. I used to ask this teacher questions, and she would take me aside from the rest of the class as they did their lessons, and she and I would have conversations. I was bothered by the fact that Catholics are never encouraged to read the Bible, but instead are told by their leaders what to think and what to believe. This favorite teacher assured me that if I wanted to study the Bible, it was certainly allowed. Slowly, (I was only 9 years old - you can't expect perfect self-motivation!) I began my study.

I was confirmed as an adult in the Catholic church when I was 17 years old. This was a very late age, most people are confirmed around 14 or 15, but the bishop had retired and it had taken some time for the diocese to get a new one to teach the required pre-confirmation sacrament classes. By this time, I honestly felt that there were some serious flaws in the Catholic teachings, I doubted the authority of the Pope, though I still held him in high regard, of course, I didn't think, as Catholics are instructed to believe, that he was infallible in religious teachings. I also had begun to have doubts about the trinity, because it didn't make sense. I went through the Confirmation sacrament, not out of personal dedication, but to please my mother, and to avoid punishment and conflict.

I left my parents' home when I was 17 years old, to study engineering. At university, I was exposed to all different backgrounds and religions, and would have had the opportunity to learn so much, but I was distracted by life. I was studying and working two jobs. I found myself fascinated by different religious beliefs, but drifting away from Christianity. I always believed in one supremely powerful and intimately involved Creator, but for several years I did not follow any particular guidance.

In late 1995, early 1996, a bout with depression caused by a medication I was taking led me to question my way of life. I spent some time in prayer and meditation, and concluded that I was unable to guide myself alone, and needed to study and follow a religion, even if, as I thought at the time, there is no perfect religion. I asked my mother to buy me a Bible. She was delighted.

I started to read the Old Testament for the first time, and was actually disappointed and angry to find that the Bible reported stories of the sins of the Prophets, horrible dishonesty and lecherous behavior. How could people follow such as these for thousands of years? Disgusted, I was unable to read any further, and decided at that time, that I most definitely was not Christian.

But as time passed, again I realized that I was unable to spiritually guide myself. I worked with a few good Christians, and they had a light and peace which appealed to me, and I wanted that quality. At a friend's house one day, I picked up a Bible and began to read again, this time the gospel of Matthew. I started attending a church, with the intention of studying and increasing my knowledge. I found the people welcoming, and I was lonely, so that appealed to me, so in 1998, I again declared myself a Christian, though I still was not content with my understanding. I thought it would come with time and study.

I met and married a Christian man a few months later, in November 1999. When we met, he had presented himself to me as a responsible and devout man. It was fake. In October 2003, he left me and our two children, and that departure was the kindest thing he ever did for us. 6 months later I filed for divorce, but I was terribly conflicted because the Bible explicitly condemns divorce. It says something like any man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultrey. That was the only reason I had stayed married so long - I was unwilling to violate my religion, and instead would endure suffering. But finally, after he left, I realized that being alone for the rest of my life would be preferable to the chaos of the past 4 years.

So for the next two years, I was attending college full time, to finish the degree I had started in 1991. I was also working full time or more, and was a single parent to two toddlers, one of whom is disabled. I found support in my Church, and in spite of all my time constraints, still managed to attend weekly worship services, mid-week Bible study, and as many of the extra lectures and guest speakers I could manage. There was a well-known man who came to speak to the church. He was a missionary who worked in Africa, and he was the first Christian I had ever met who spoke with hatred toward Muslims. I was disturbed, but dismissed his opinion, since he was only a guest speaker.

A few weeks later, during a worship service, seemingly completely out of context, our own pastor stated that "all Muslims are Satan worshippers". I was shocked, but more shocked that nobody besides me reacted to his statement. Everybody went about the routine, shook his hand at the end of the service, and hurried over to the fellowship hall to share a meal. I tried to address him at this time, but it was too crowded. I went home.

Over the next 6 weeks, I tried on several occasions to contact the pastor and set up an appointment with him. He was a very learned man, surely I must have misunderstood what he said, but what could I possibly have misunderstood? I obtained a digital copy of the Quran, and began to read, because I wanted to be sure for myself that what he said had no basis in truth. I also was interested in knowing the differences between Islam and Christianity, because as far as I had seen from Muslims I had known in my life, the differences were very small. I was unable to make an appointment to talk with that pastor, so I wrote him a letter:

November 7, 2004

Dr. EDITED NAME
EDITED ADDRESS
Radford, Virginia


Dear Dr. EDITED NAME,

Several weeks ago during a worship service you made the statement that all Muslims were Satan worshipers. This statement bothers me deeply, and I feel that I can’t just let it stand, but must question the source of your information.

First, your statement is false. Muslims, Christians, and Jews all worship the God of Abraham. There is an interesting article in the December 2001 issue of National Geographic Magazine that you might like to read, about Abraham and the monotheistic faiths he was the father of. I have a digital copy of a translation of the Quran (the Muslim holy book). If you would like to read it, I can e-mail it to you, or send you a copy on floppy disk or CD. I know that you are a very knowledgeable man; therefore I have a very hard time assuming that your statement was made in ignorance. On the other hand, I have a hard time believing that it was made in hatred, and I can’t think of any other reason to say such things about people who were created by God.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” If a person who had been raised a Muslim, but was considering Christianity, had been in the service that day, he would have left offended, and turned away from the Church.

Jesus spoke against judging others. That is for God to do, not us.

Additionally, I feel that your statement serves no purpose within the Church, and should not come from the mouth of a teacher and spiritual leader. Statements of this type, whether true or not, have no purpose except to instill hatred. Even if you claim that you do not hate Muslims, you must assume that not everyone in the congregation is as capable of grace as you are, and will naturally assume that they should hate enemies of God.

James wrote that teachers would be held accountable for all that they teach. He admonishes teachers to “consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” He goes on to remind us that “With our tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?”

If I have, in some way, misunderstood your words, I would appreciate if you would call me, so we could clear this matter up in my mind. Meanwhile, I can neither support nor implicitly condone this teaching by my continued attendance at this church. It makes me very sad to have to write this letter, and I hope I have misunderstood your words. If you would like to meet to discuss this matter at your convenience, I can be reached at home at PHONE NUMBER, my cell phone at PHONE NUMBER
, or by e-mail at E-MAIL ADDRESS.

Sincerely,

MY NAME EDITED TOO

I never did receive a response to my letter, but I continued to study the Quran, as I found the reading of it very compelling. I was greatly disturbed to find that I could not disagree with any thing that I read. It was a very difficult thing, to relinquish Christianity, which I had been studying and enjoying for some years, and to embrace a path which is not socially acceptable and may even be more difficult, but I could not deny the truth, no matter how hard I tried. On December 31, 2004, I said the shehada in the local Islamic center.

I found loneliness and peace. May Allah guide me and my sons, for the glorification of Islam.


Natalie.
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