Reason for being…

“If there were no God, it would have been necessary to invent him.”
-Voltaire

On English Sabla there is an on-going discussion about Stephen Hawking’s comment that Heaven does not exist. And it is interesting to learn about the Muslim point of view.

I can understand in part why Mr. Hawking believes this. We are sentient beings and we need to have a sense of purpose as to why we are here…that this existence isn’t all there is when we pass.

Then I look at the various religions and feel every culture has its own interpretation of what Heaven/God must be like because this viewpoint meshes with the way we all are raised and gives meaning to our lives.

I wonder about the Big Bang and what caused it to happen…was it merely a systemic chemical reaction of matter or was there something miraculously greater than any of us…God…who decided His existence was also a lonely one and began to create a universe to stave off an eternity of solitude?

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Mirror mirror on the wall…

Is beauty really a curse on the world?

Do you think it keeps us from seeing who the real monsters are? e.g. A girl might give a guy more chances than he deserves just because he is pretty and turns out to be complete a**hat and dumps her (classic scenario)… “The Carver” in the TV show Nip/Tuck apparently believes that physical beauty is evil and feels compelled to destroy it. He has referred to beauty as a type of prison or cage that people are trapped in and believes it necessary to free such a craftman’s pride in his/her work. Do you think beautiful (physically attractive) people get it better? Are liked more? Given more chances and opportunities in life?

On a slightly unrelated note: I am a firm believer of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, so what’s your definition of physical beauty, ya’ll?

This  thread on English Sabla poses the question. There are people who remain in toxic relationships because they remain with a person simply because of looks.

Crosses all age groups, every socio-economic class, if your self-esteem is suffering it’s no wonder you remain with someone thinking well, being with this person means I am a good person or a good catch…just look at him/her!

The Trinity

I have several Muslim friends who grapple with Christian ideology of the Holy Trinity.  Neena brought up an interesting point when it comes to John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Will be interesting to read the responses. This one was mine:

That verse means God loved the people (humanity) so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. (Meaning to understand sin and ask for forgiveness)…………….Jesus became the savior of the world from itself.

Christianity sees God as a Triune which basically means God exists as 3 persons,which is the Trinity. However, this does not mean or imply that God is of 3 individuals with each individual being self-actualized with the point of each having their own conscious activity because each portion of the Trinity is of God and God is infinite and has the ability to be all things.

As far as the concept of begotten….Jesus simply had become the human face and personae of the immaterial God.

A good visual is the Scutum Fidei showing that God is all things the Holy Spirit, Jesus and God…it all ties together:

You can read more here


Us vs. Them

Since 9/11 there has been this type of mentality from Muslims to Christians, Middle Easterners and “The West”.  We are seeing it in the depictions of Mohammad in drawings, Draw Mohammad Day” along with the usual bombing attempts, priests in the news, the Vatican you name it…..  The Forum I belong to, English Sabla is currently having a heated debate regarding one Western member, Jack, who has been banned for a month due to numerous infractions for crossing the line regarding Islam.  I decided to post a thread in regards to this because it’s more than simply an issue of banning Jack, it’s about this mentality of taking sides (one’s own) and bashing the other (you can check out this thread here):

I think it’s more than just about Jack here and this is why we are getting so many postings and views on this thread. It isn’t JUST about Jack as to why I decided to post this thread. It’s about the attitudes in general here as to how religion is attacked and unlike Jeff I DO take offense at my religion being attacked saying priests go around chasing little boys because not all are like that same as not all Muslims go around bombing everything different than themselves. He just became the “martyr” if you will for what is going on in this forum of the Us against Them Mentality, West against Middle East, Christian against Muslim and as TTT stated if foreigners are not welcomed or to be respected here then let it be an all Muslim forum and if we are accepted into this online family then try to understand us. I joined because I want to understand Islam and I want to understand Middle Easterners.

The future of religion

El Rey posted an interesting thread regarding the fate of the three monotheistic religions along with those one might consider more like ideologies (Buddhism, Hinduism…) but then it depends on what type of religious stance you take and wanted to share some responses.

Original post:

Many religions come then disappear And leave us with their history. New come along with different ideologies. I don’t think the people of the ancient era thought that their beloved religion will disappear but will last for ever since they invested all of their beliefs in them. Just like now. Judaism and we rarely see jews now. Christianity and most christians turn into seculars or convert into another religion and lastly Islam which its embraces don’t seem to be the same when it first appeared.

How do you see the future of the current religions and ideologies? Do you think in a 1000s or more period time of years these religions and ideologies will disappear and be replaced with new ideologies and religions? Do you see Islam the same as now, in 10000s years ahead? How about christianity, judasim et al?

What’s your prediction about the future of the current religions? And why?

Pecadora

How do you know that those religions are fading away? On what basis are you giving a point here?
I think it defers from where you see it and from where I or someone else sees it. Because what you are looking at is where everyone is changing or not believing in religions/ or changing to another religion. But where I see it from right now is;
1. There are people who change their religions or have no religion any more.
2. There are also people who still have faith in their god/religion and are very religious people.

So I don’t think a religion -or at least Islam- would fade away just because a number of people have stopped being religion, because the other part of them proof them wrong.

Jeff:

Well, I just want to correct one impression.

The number of Christians in the world is growing and in many places in the world, it’s growing by leaps and bounds: Africa, China, Vietnam, Korea….

The number of Catholics is growing faster than the world’s total population is growing.

Muslims in more secularized, European countries which are traditionally Muslim are also secularized…see pictures of Albanian or Bosnian streets… and a substantial number convert to Christianity.

There are other figures too which show a much more complicated picture than the one you’ve presented.

I think Islam and Christianity both have a LOT of life in them.

Judaism, remember, is not a missionary religion. Jews don’t seek converts and they accept them only reluctantly. They believe that as long as you keep basic moral law and worship only One God, you are fine. So Jews think being a Muslim is fine with God.

But the religious group that breeds fastest in Europe and America is not Muslims or Christians, but Orthodox Jews, especially Hasidim (the ones with the side curls and the funny hats).

But still it’s a great question. I think the world is going to look amazingly different in a hundred years time in ways that we can’t imagine. And the religious picture will be similarly unpredictable.

I won’t be here, though! I hope I’ll be in the Place of Joy, El Rey, and that you will be there with me, my friend. Inshallah!

My Response:

I would hope religion would remain..it’s what makes us humane but people can pervert religion also and with all that is going on now Mankind might pervert it further to the point that God might be lost…or at least His message.

You can read more about this topic here

The Religion of Kindness

An avid reader of blogs I came across one from Ghada and wanted to share my viewpoints regarding a brief excerpt with Susie of Arabia regarding beliefs and presented it for discussion on English Sabla:

Sometimes I struggle with religion…sometimes I feel “men” which I mean here as humankind has put far too much of their own cultural biases/prejudices into their Holy Books and teachings where the religion simply isn’t recognized anymore and I see this being across the board and not just with one religion.

As Susie of Arabia stated in Ghada’s World:

Quote:
I think that religions have good intentions, but that somewhere along the way, many men in religious power have lost sight of their real purpose and have complicated things and overstepped their bounds.

So, what about a religion of kindness?

I have heard of individuals who practice something called Diesm:

Deists typically reject most supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and tend to assert that God (or “The Supreme Architect”) has a plan for the universe that is not altered either by God intervening in the affairs of human life or by suspending the natural laws of the universe. What organized religions see as divine revelation and holy books, most deists see as interpretations made by other humans, rather than as authoritative sources.

source

Do any of you feel that “man” has perverted religion somehow to fit the views of mankind and not the views of God?

Has religion become more about self-promotion instead of self-proclamation to a supreme being?

__________________

Has technology taken away from our social interactions?

I posted a new thread on English Sabla regarding the relationship dynamics of our comfortable newfound intimacy with our laptop/PC…I think all of us who spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer….lacking in social skills…or at least…needin to improve on the existing ones:           circuit_future_plasma_223141_l

I was reading Dubai Guy about how this past Eid he did not spend as much time or have as many people to visit this time around. He pondered on whether or not all the technology we have these days has created self-centered people who are forgetting their social “graces”

Quote:

It was a very slow Eid. Every Eid, the number of people you personally go to greet or receive them is going down. Apart from the close family relatives, the number of people I met on the Eid day can be easily counted on fingers of my hand. This was not the case only a few years ago. Maybe its technology, which although has diminished the distances over the air waves, but has also increased the distances between people.

The way things are going, I believe face to face interactions would totally disappear soon. We are becoming self-centered people. You will find most muslims boasting about how they have preserved their family values, perhaps it was true before, but I think the landscape has considerably changed, at least in the “developed” muslim countries.

I have seen online dating sites, forums, you name it…causing people to instead have a personal one on one intimate relationship with their computer/keyboard than with someone face to face.

Thoughts?