Jul 9, 2010

The Faith Club - Chapter 4

yesterday, I was going to combine my thoughts on Chapters 3 & 4 (which is why yesterday's title is "chapters") but I changed my mind (and not my spelling).

So -- on to chapter 4.  This chapter deals with the issues surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus.  I couldn't help but thinking "Suck it up!" with Priscilla's whining about this.  Maybe it's me, maybe I'm naive and never felt that Jews were "blamed" for Jesus' death....maybe I just don't care.  But the whining, my God, the whining!!  I have no tolerance for it, especially from a grown woman.

Then, if Priscilla's whining wasn't bad enough, Suzanne starts whining about Priscilla's whining.  Good God...I wanted to stick a fork in my eyes to stop the suffering.  It was bad.

But, what got me most was the fact that Ranya didn't put in her thoughts on the whole Jesus issue.  Maybe she couldn't get a word in with the other two -- but you'd think that since this is a book that she'd be able to write the Muslim point of view.  Is she embarrassed by it??  I wonder.

So, since she didn't do it, I will.  Muslims believe that Jesus is still alive.  Not in the sense that Christians do however.  This is the way that our story goes:
Jesus was born to Maryam; a miraculous virgin birth.  He spoke from the cradle to guard her honor (prove that she was not a liar, and that he was a miraculous gift from God).  He did wondrous things such as healing the sick and even the dead (sound familiar?)  Then there came the Crucifixion. Jesus was tried and given his punishment, but God made his (Jesus) image on another man (widely thought to be the apostle who betrayed Jesus -- name has left me momentarily, but this person was not mentioned in the Quran) and that man was crucified instead.  Jesus, meanwhile, was raised up to heaven (alive) and awaits there for the day of Judgement when he will come back and set the law (so to speak) and fight the Anti-Christ.

That's a roundabout version of it that's skinned right down to its bare bones, but it is what it is.

Anyhow -- they went on and on about the disagreement between the Jewish and Christian woman.  And I wanted to burn my book.  Whine, whine, whine.

Then, at the end of the chapter, Priscilla said this
"We're outnumbered!...That's the point I've been trying to make all this time!  It's very hard to be a minority!...I envy you the luxury of knowing that millions and millions of people, the majority of the world you live in, agree with you on the very fundamental beliefs that govern most of your decisions."

I get that.  I do.  I have the unique experience of living as a Christian before, and now as a Muslim...an obvious Muslim.  I envy the ease with which I was able to live my previous life...and it gets old constantly defending my new life.  Whether it's my hijab (head scarf) that people think is forced on me (it's not) or my religion which people think is a terrorist one (it's not) or even that I'm instantly assumed to be an immigrant who cannot speak/understand English (I'm not).

It's hard to be an outsider.



NanLT said...

People forget something very basic when they start blaming the Jews for Jesus' death. Well, beyond the fact that it happened 2000 years ago and most of the Jews today weren't even born yet.

Jesus was *supposed* to die. He knew that. Without his death, everything that came after, wouldn't have come after. So instead of saying "You killed him", seems to me Christians should be saying thank you. Without his sacrifice on the cross, Christianity would not have been born.

Hadn't heard the Muslim version of events before though I knew he was a Muslim prophet born to Maryam.

Jesus hanging on the cross is also very much reminiscent of Odin hanging from Yggdrasil in His search for knowledge found in Norse and Heathen traditions.

"I know that I hung on a windy tree
nine long nights,
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run"

Some parallels have been drawn between this and the sacrifice of Jesus, but the story of Odin predates Christianity.

I identify with the statement "I envy you the luxury of knowing that millions and millions of people, the majority of the world you live in, agree with you on the very fundamental beliefs that govern most of your decisions." As a Pagan and a witch I run the risk of being outcast from any group before they even know me.

Because witchcraft has a TV following, a la Sabrina and Charmed, people have many misconceptions about who I am and what I do from the very beginning. The Pagan religions attract a lot of young people looking for a way to protest against authority. Most never get beyond thinking of it what way. Some actually decide to stick around and start learning something - for those people it becomes more than just an excuse to wear lots of rocks and pentagrams.

A lot of my writings that I do on the Pagan religion and on spellcasting are geared towards removing these misconceptions that people have.

And of course there are the biblical references to witchcraft which even today give people reason to believe they have a duty to persecute and/ or convert every Pagan they see. I don't even bother telling people that no, paganism is not the same as satanism any more. I figure if they are still hung up on that lie, they won't want to listen to anything I have to say that disagrees.

Hethr said...

There are many pagan rituals that were incorporated into Christianity. I don't mean to offend anyone but it's interesting when you start researching into it.

Another interesting thing -- this whole conversation (or series of posts perhaps) has brought a link to scientology.org

Erin said...

Argh! I had an entire thing typed out, and it got munched! Here's round 2.

I've often wondered how my MIL would feel if I ever brought up the Pagan/Christian parallels....not good, I'm sure.

The whining, coming from 2 grown, supposedly open minded women...I can't stand whining.

I am fascinated by people who have complete Faith, and wonder what that would be like....

It's late, I've lost my train of thought....more chapters tomorrow.

Erin said...

Also, at this point, I have to say I am hoping for more....well, "meat" in the next chapters. I thought it would have a little more substance.

NanLT said...

I suspect if someone has complete faith, they have no families or other obligations to the secular world - family, jobs, interactions with the general public, all those distractions in life.

Erin said...

To me, "complete Faith" does not mean to the exclusion of all else. To me someone with complete Faith has chosen a path, and worships honestly. Someone who has traditions and rituals that are a part of their daily life, not something that they "have" to do.

Keahn said...

I thought Priscilla was using the whole blaming Jews for the crucifixion of Christ episode because, quite frankly, she didn't have anything constructive to add to the conversation. This happens when people enter groups and don't take the time to research or read about the subject(s)/topic(s) that the group is about. Had I been in such a group, the first thing I would have done after joining would be to read up on the religions / faiths of the other women involved. Not just what they practice, but controversies surrounding their faiths as well -- to have a broader, more balanced, view of what everyone would be coming to the table with.

Suzanne's ignorance of the reference though didn't surprise me. I actually know a few Christian women who are "out of touch" like that -- I find it scary.

As for Ranya, I beleive she wanted to stay true to what occurred at the meetings -- which is why she did not expand on, or add, the Muslim POV of the crucifixion to this chapter. She was pretty much ignored on this one -- interesting how the other two women shut her out. So much for a "group" discussion at that point. :/

NanLT ~ I would venture to say that if someone has complete faith, they are not threatened in any way by the faiths that others practice. They have confidence to know that the world is big enough for every faith and that everyone, Pagan or otherwise, is hoping to wind up in a "good place" when life, as they know it, ends on earth. :)

NanLT said...

Absolutely Keahn.

When you are fully confident on your own beliefs, the beliefs of others cannot waiver you.

Perhaps I need to figure out more what I mean by "complete faith"

Over the years I have been threatened with eternal damnation for not holding the correct religious beliefs. I have been told that if I just "went to the right church" I would change my beliefs.

I've caused confusion when I explain that I believe that Jesus existed, I just choose not to worship him as a God.

Over time, I came to realise that those people who became most adamant about converting me were those who held the least confidence in their own beliefs.

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