Sorry people, I'd been counting down the days until vacation, and spent much of my time preparing rather than reading *gasp* -- now that things are mostly done (we're not going anywhere, just staying home and not working for a week) -- I think I can get back to reading. I really hope to, because we're only half way through this horrible book, I still hate it, and I still hate the characters.
Chapter 12 talked about Mortality. And once again, Ranya's lack of knowledge about her faith astounds me. On page 181, she says, "Is there a soul? I want to hang onto the idea that there is one so badly." Perhaps if Ranya did a little more than HOLD her Quran (like, perhaps reading the thing) -- she'd know that God talks a LOT about the soul. I'm assuming if God, who created us and all that we see (and all that we don't) has said that there is a soul, then there is a soul. I certainly believe that we have souls...a body is just a body...the soul is what (I believe) makes us who we essentially are.
I was shocked to know that Jews have no afterlife. I had no idea! So what is to prevent one from doing bad things (I mean, weren't the 10 commandments sent to the Jews??) -- what's to stop one from breaking a commandment if there is no reward/punishment?? Do I have Jewish followers? Can someone explain this one to me??
Oh...and as an aside -- I really find their little "conversations" that they have interspersed through the chapters corny. Who talks like that??
All in all, chapter 12 talks about mortality. I think it's foolish to say that one isn't afraid of death...it's such a big unknown...however, I think that we can be prepared for our eventual death...in my case by doing good deeds, following (what I believe) to be the wishes of God, and staying away from evil. Death still scares me, yes...and I certainly would like to stay as far away from it as I can, but in the end (no pun intended) it's the one thing that you can't escape!
Chapter 13 -- I was glad to see that Suzanne finally had some doubt (that sounds horrible, but I'll explain). All this time, she has been like that girl in school, Perfect, Pretty, Smart, and well liked...and then one day that girl walks into school with a giant zit on her face and you just think "Yes! She's human!!" That was me reaction when I read about Suzanne's doubt.
I think that faith is sometimes strengthened with doubt...after all, faith is a belief in something that is "unprovable." For someone who's scientifically minded, like me, it's a giant step to believe in something that you cannot find solid proof of.
There were just a few notes that I made in this chapter...on page 204, Suzanne was talking about an author (Pagels) who "called into question the divinity of Jesus, saying that only John calls Jesus the Son of God. The other gospel authors simply use the term 'Messiah,' which means 'of God,' and could refer to a prophet." This is something that I didn't know, and I find very interesting!
Another interesting thing (on the same page) was when Suzanne wrote, "I had found myself wanting to discard beliefs that wouldn't please Ranya and Priscilla." All I can say to this is WHY? Why do you need to discard your beliefs to please others? How is it an interfaith dialogue if you don't talk about things that may make others uncomfortable??
Then Ranya, not surprisingly, whines some more. Whines about Ramadan and not being able to fast in it because she was lonely. Oh...boo hoo... Life is what you make of it sweetheart. Stop being a victim and suck it up. Deal with it! Find a way! Try fasting with your kids (they certainly don't have to fast all day, but they can for a couple of hours) -- I just have no tolerance for her outlook on her poor American Muslim life. Nothing more than excuses, in my opinion!
She only stops whining when she finds an Imam who allows her to carry out beliefs and rituals that have nothing to do with Islam (and are strictly forbidden, I must say -- for example, Easter baskets, Christmas trees?? Your teaching your kids to believe in something (the divinity of God) that is stressed as an absolute wrongness in that Quran she carries around in her purse. It's kinda like my thoughts on the McDonald's thing -- sure, you're not teaching that to the kids, but that's what they are getting out of it.
I think that I have a more unique outlook on this...you see, as a convert, my family is NOT Muslim...so my kids get baggies of chocolates and junk from my mom at Easter; but my mom just tells them "Oh, I got you some chocolate." Her other grandchildren get Easter baskets, my kids (who visit at a separate time) get little goody bags. The same thing happens at Christmas. This is a sore spot for me, but it's really the only time that all of my family gets together. So, we gather, the kids get gifts and we eat dinner....we don't sing Christmas songs, and we don't have a visit from Santa. My house is not decorated in Christmas stuff -- and there is always a discussion about how Grandma is a Christian and this is her holiday but we are Muslims and we celebrate Eid. I have had people tell me it's wrong, but I won't cut out my family to please others.
Anyhoo -- back to the book. One page 212, her new Imam says, "Those parts [of the Quran] you don't understand should not inhibit you from embracing others." I love this. I have read my Quran time and time again, and every time I read it, it can have a different meaning to me...depending on where I am in my life and feelings at that moment. He also says, "to engage in the five pillars [prayer, charity, fasting, hajj, and belief in the oneness of God] without faith is nothing." Again, I agree...without faith, these are merely actions and not pure intentional deeds.
Okay, that's all I have for this part...what are your thoughts??
13 hours ago