Jul 8, 2010

The Faith Club - Chapters 3

I'm back -- been too busy enjoying the warm weather.  But it's too hot for enjoying today, so I blog instead...

Chapter Three talks about The Abrahamic Family "Feud"  ← Yeah, I put those quotation marks there.  I don't think that there's a feud here in any sense, but whatever...it's not my book!

 What really got me in this chapter is when the Jewish woman went to her Rabbi...then he said "I never liked that word 'tolerance'. It's too passive.  Think about it. To tolerate someone? That doesn't sound very positive.  It's not a call to engage and understand someone else.  I like the phrase 'mutual appreciation.' That can lead to an understanding that no one faith has a monopoly on the truth."

May I just say AMEN? 

Then Ranya tells the story of our Prophet's miraculous night journey to heaven.  Let's just say that Ranya's tale has a few elements that are left out or added, which disturbs me.  It makes the story seem so....weird.  I'm not going to get into a lesson on it, but the story that I know and love is a little different, more detailed and makes sense.  It is essentially a story of Mohammed being brought up to heaven by the angel Gabriel.  They stopped to pray in Jerusalem then began ascending to heaven.  A rock that they'd been near started to rise to join them, and the prophet told it that it must stay (to this day, the miraculous floating boulder can be seen in the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem).  Anyhow, the two went to heaven where they met all the previous prophets and Mohammed eventually got our 5 daily prayers prescribed to his followers.  **I have certainly edited the story, but it doesn't seem so strange without all the pearls and gold and other fanciful things that Ranya felt she needed to put into her story.

When I tell non-Muslims this story, they usually pause and say "...oh...interesting"  It's kinda unbelievable.  Yet people have no qualms about believing the story of Moses splitting the sea or Jesus raising people from the dead....they are all signs from God.  Believe, or don't believe.


I also have a few problems with some other parts of Ranya's part here.  She states that "...Muslims believe Muhammed to be the last of a series of twenty-five messengers and prophets"  - well, yes and no.  We believe he was the last in the series of prophets, however, there are more than 25.  25 of them are mentioned in the Quran, but there are others that we don't know about (and it even states this in the Quran).

People are often surprised in the prophets and messengers that we believe in -- because we believe in all the same ones that are in the New and Old Testament.  We believe in Moses, Ishmael, Abraham, Adam, Jonah, Solomon....and more.

Anyhow -- that's it for now.  I have more issues with the next chapter, but the kids just woke up from their nap, it will have to wait!


8 comments:

Keahn said...

"Amen." I totally agree with Priscilla's Rabbi, that Tolerance is NOT the correct choice of word to use in reference to the OTHER. Do we really just want to "put up with" or "endure" another person, which is what tolerance actually means. Somehow I don't believe that is what we're trying to do; hence, my one issue with the named "Tolerance Museum." I go there to understand, accept, and embrace others and what they have gone through -- because, ultimately, it WILL affect me. Ok, ok, now to focus on C3.

I didn't find it difficult at all to believe the story of Muhammad (Ranya's or your condensed version). That's what FAITH is all about, after all. But it goes beyond just faith in our religious convictions, it also includes faith in each other. :)

I'm glad that Suzanne brought up the New Testament and it's message of "peace, love, and resurrection." SO many, many times Christians bring up the books of the Old Testament when they are particularly against something or someone -- totally forgetting that Christ came to "correct" the practices engaged in by those of the Old Testament, because they often used God's Word to cover their own biases and "intolerance" of others. The message we are supposed to HEAR and take SERIOUSLY is "above ALL else -- LOVE."

It's so arrogant of any religion to believe that it is the ONLY, true religion. Maybe I'm naive, but I'd like to think Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, and all the others are shaking their heads and wondering, "What lesson plan did THEY miss?"

C3 wasn't very long or involved. I'm almost finished with C5 and ready to move on.

Guess I'm tangent-prone today. Sorry.

NanLT said...

That does it! I'm buying this book so I can more fully join in the discussions!

Done! I should have it tomorrow provided Amazon follows through.

I have had several thoughts run through my mind as I read your comments about this book.

I would love to hear the story of the Prophet being taken to Heaven by the Angel Gabriel. To me, these stories mark the essential mysteries of any belief. In this case, a mystery is defined as something that must be experienced to be understood.

I can talk about holding my newborn baby in my arms the first time, but however much you may try until you have done the same you cannot truly understand. That is the mystery.

You can talk about that moment when you felt God/Allah/Herne/or another God moving within you. But until the person actually experiences it for themselves, it cannot truly be understood.

I too have had those "yeah, uh huh" looks when describing the time during ritual when the God, Herne, chose to enter my body. Those who were with me that night will tell you my manner of speaking changed - my voice became deeper and my mannerisms became more masculine for a time while he was there. My High Priestess can tell you that the moment she touched my hand, she knew who He was.

Those who weren't there, just look at me like I'm nuts.

I like what the Rabbi said about the difference between "tolerance" and "understanding".

I think the greatest thing one can gain through discussions like this is the understanding that these religions, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or even Pagan teach us.

Love your neighbour like yourself is the greatest thing Jesus taught, I believe. Perhaps the problem is that so few people actually love themselves? With this "commandment" you don't need any others.

For Wiccans, the basis all they believe is summed up in the Rede: Do as you will, but harm none.

It's not a commandment, and is open to a lot of interpretation, but notice the similarities between this and the previous.

Ooops, sorry. I'm rambling. I think I see a blog post at my Pagan Witchcraft blog developing.

NanLT said...

I had more thoughts after Google told me it had eaten my post and I thought I had lost the above. What comes to mind is that when Rayna is talking about the story of the Prophet being taken to Heaven, and when you tell it as well, she is describing a mystery. Her story is dressed up with lots of bells and whistles and yours is getting down to the bare bones, but it's the same story underneath.

I am thinking that when you are truly part of this story, you find yourself making that journey with the Prophet. You are with him when he tells the rock to stay. You are within the rock itself, feeling its disappointment at knowing it must remain behind at this time.

Someone who has not experienced this, cannot truly understand it. They can merely try, based upon their own experiences. I can know what it feels like to have Spirit move through one's body based upon my own experiences as a Pagan Priestess and within the ritual of Drawing Down the Moon. - During ritual, the Priestess opens herself up and allows the Goddess to enter her body.

All of these are mysteries.

A mystery is something that must be experienced to be understood. Of course the story of the Prophet going to heaven is just a story! Of course the story of Jesus dying on a cross and rising from the dead is just a story! Of course my stories of being benevolently "possessed" by deity are just stories!

That's because they are being heard as stories, they aren't being experienced as an essential part of one's being. And until they are experienced they will always be just stories.

Hethr said...

"That's because they are being heard as stories, they aren't being experienced as an essential part of one's being. And until they are experienced they will always be just stories. "

I like this.

Erin said...

I don't have anything nearly a deep to comment on about this chapter.
I find each story that the women tell to be interesting in their own merits, and find it fascinating to read their reactions about the common threads of their stories. It makes me wonder if they looked further back into even more ancient religions, where similar stories are told.
NanLT, I like your words that heather quoted as well. I find them to be true in my own life. :)
As for the term "Tolerance"....I've always felt that it was a negative word. A person tolerates the things they do not like. For some, perhaps for many, it is the word they would choose. I much prefer " Mutual appreciation" .

NanLT said...

Have you ever read of Mithras? This is an ancient religion that had its origins in Persia then became very popular throughout the Roman Empire around 300 - 400BC.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/mithraism.html#Mithraism

Hethr said...

@ Nan -- yay...something else to do while I should be researching my future school career!

NanLT said...

just doing my bit to help with your procrastination efforts :D

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