Saturday, October 11, 2008

My easily swayed opinion

I've come to the conclusion that my opinion is very easily swayed. After reading The Prophet & the Messiah : An Arab Christian's Perspective on Islam & Christianity, I've reverted from my previous Muslim-leaning to a Christian-leaning. Of course, that may also be because I really prefer to remain Christian so when I hear a convincing argument, I'm very willing to accept it.

The book actually was very good; it was nice to hear the perspective of a Christian Arab. Since Arabic is his native language, he grew up in a primarily Muslim country, and he studied Islam, he is able to offer a different perspective from the other Christian authors of American or European origin who only have academic experience with Islam. There were many instances where he offered translations of Quranic verses that were contrary to mainstream Muslim belief but he still manages to argue his stance quite well. I really wish I had taken note of them before returning the book to the library. One that I remember was his proposal that Mohammad's description of unlettered, which typically is interpreted to mean illiterate, could just as easily be interpreted as uneducated when it comes to Christianity and Judaism. He argues that the same Arabic word is used numerous times throughout the Quran but only in reference to him is it interpreted by mainstream Islam as meaning illiterate.

However, his arguments were not all simply semantic. He also did much historical analysis. In addition to his attempts to disprove Islam, he also had many arguments to attempt to prove the validity of Christianity. Overall, it was a very insightful book and, again, I really wish I had taken better note of his arguments (I tend to have a horrible memory).

Meanwhile, I continue to read my Bible at night. I've also started downloading and listening to two podcasts, one of Muslim khutbahs and one of generic Christian discussion. I haven't yet made a judgement of the Christian one but I think the Muslim one is good just to hear the Muslim perspective on things.

The man giving the khutbah of the most recent one I listened to made a very good point. The khutbah was about women in Islam. He argued that rather than constantly attempting to argue that the Muslim viewpoint is valid for whatever reasons and applies to modern society, one should simply say that God decreed it that way so that's how it is. Rather than waste your time arguing about trivial things like dress code, argue the big things like basic theology and the fundamentals of Islam. Anyway, I just wanted to add that.

1 comment:

Azooz said...

I do not know of any book on Earth that can sway opinion as much as the Quran in Arabic - it packs a punch that really drives it's points.

There really are no translations of Quran into any language, and those in the mainstream are done by language experts and poets rather than theologians, scholars of the Quran have to be poets and poetry criteques - your best refernce for understanding the Quran is a good dictionery, there are many dictioneries of the Quran's words - it's not that hard in English to figure it out but best trust the langauge of it rather than the theological interpretations of anyone. I recomend you google (Tafseer, Tafisr, Tafser) for some good interpretations of the Quran's verses and make sure yourself of them.

The word used in the Quran is "Illiterate" is "Omiy", and it has the same root as the word Ummah meaning "the nation" - "Omiy" also means "my Mother" - it is an important word but needs more language knowledge than I have, I'll try to look it up if I get more time - just do not take it as lightly as it was tried to be passed off.

"Sisters in Islam" was the name of my ex-wife's web site, she no longer has it online but while it was up it had the opinions of many Muslim women from around the world about Islam and male Muslims, there are many Muslim women sites around still that you can get information first hand - my ex was a Brooklyn Italian and most of her members were converts or interested in the role of women in Islam. I do not know about this subject myself, what male does? ;)

The only book I recomnd for you is the Quran, you can read it for decades and even memorize it but still find each reading fresh - I know this sounds a bit too much but it is one of the facts that make it impsible to translate.

>>"God decreed it that way"
How many Angles can dance on the head of a pin? Any number God decrees - this answer saves a lot of time and could have prevented the division of the Roman and Byzantian Church. My favorite example would be why Muslims must not eat pork, if it caused a certain medical problem that can now be cured simply, would it be ok to eat it? People tend to look for excuses to do things they should not do, justifications that modern life brings - those are to be avoided to please God. The Quran mentions that drinking alcahole does some good, but that it's harm is worst than that good - so if modern medicen can remove all that harm it would still be forbiden.