It’s Tough To Talk Religion

Yes it is, yes it is.

I’ve posted about religious topics once or twice on my blog before. Mostly because I feel a lot of people misunderstand it, both Muslims and Non-Muslims. I’m not hoping to change the world, but the least I can do as a duty for my own religion is talk about things from a perspective I feel is the right one, or at least reflects the truest form. How much that is true is left up to the reader.

The problem with religion is not only misunderstanding, it’s also communication. Many people are not used to any one who communicates the message of Islam well; or at least attempts to. If it’s not all terrorist like and unapologetic then something is wrong with it. I have discussed Christianity many times with many Christians and never have I assumed that all of them are clones of Pat Robertson.

Some bloggers avoid the subject all together. It’s just too controversial.

I do like to address it every now and then. I do feel many things are misunderstood about my religion, and in part that is the fault of three groups of people: those who do not want to understand the message, those who misrepresent the message and those who communicate it poorly. I can go into detail about each group but thatâ??s another topic all together. I don’t like to ignore things and hope it just passes; pray that no one notices I’m Muslim and therefore no complaints.

I also like to discuss religion; it is a favorite topic of mine. I enjoy opening a forum where there is constructive dialogue; especially if it is dialogue between the Western and Eastern worlds. I think we need to recognize that this world is made up of many people and we need to each do a part in bringing about a greater understanding. This means that everyone should extend their arm and reach the other half way.

But is it too much to ask for respect? Why do people leave a comment that says “open your eyes to the truth!”? When was I blind, I ask myself?

Why is the only road to discourse paved with insults these days? Is it too much to ask of people to be civil? To be tolerant? If you really hate the religion then why are you commenting in the first place? I say leave that world of hate behind and meet me here in the middle. Is there anything wrong with that message? Why is the only way to survive is for me to abandon my ways and join your hate? Your condemnations of my existence and the existence of 1.5 billion people on this planet?

Is it too much to ask that people approach the subject with an open heart instead of one that is wrapped in malice? What’s the point? You insult my religion and expect me to insult yours and then what? What is supposed to happen next? Will God tear open the heavens of the blogosphere and tell us which one of us is right?

If you disagree with me that’s fine. But disagreement should come hand in hand with a perspective on the topic that seeks to fulfill a greater understanding, at least in my opinion. What is the point of me arguing over something I do not wish to understand in the first place? The sarcasm and the insults are just overwhelming at times I can’t help but wonder to myself if I should even bother opening up the topic in the first place, and these days I take it more and more into consideration. I hate writing disclaimers but now I feel the need to.

There are some who do want to discuss these things. They might not agree with me in the end but at least they approach it with the desire to learn the other point of view, and to accept it as a point of view. Not disregard it. Not cast it away as insignificant and not worthy of existing.

If I am blind and you are deaf, how will we ever find our way through this darkness?

This bridge we are all supposed to be trying to build between the West and the East; this bridge of understanding. What good is this bridge if while it’s being built people are throwing gasoline on it and lighting it up?

Dialogue is an exchange of ideas. I am in search of constructive dialogue; where some good emerges. That is the kind of dialogue I want to create here. If you find you don’t quite understand something about my religion ask in a polite manner. Do not post lengthy verses and chapters from the Quran just to make “a point”. Is this too much to ask at the end of the day? We grow up in schools where they tell you to raise your hand when you want to speak and not to insult others and to respect opinions, because that’s how it’s done in the adult’s world; the real world. Why is it that the more I grow older the more I’m convinced that 8 year olds would have a better time discussing religion than 20 or 30 or 40 something year olds?

Yeah, it’s tough to talk religion; tough to defend your own sometimes too. But at the end of the day if you don’t stand up for something you can’t stand up for anything. All I ask is for respect, tolerance, and civil constructive dialogue.

Maybe in this world of ours it is too much to ask for.


  • Talking about religion is a bit an unspecific term. The mistake that many people do is either totally avoid mentioning it as an essential part of the lives of people even if it wasn’t part of their life, or talk about it in the wrong perspective.

    I believe that what people should emhpasize upon is to respect others’ beliefs and accpet them as they are. When I talk about religion I’m not trying to convince people that Jesus was crucified for our sins but I tell them not to think I’m lunatic if I have this faith. Same applies to other beliefs.

    Many people avoid talking about religion to avoid trouble but in our world avoiding talking about religion can cause trouble.

  • Will God tear open the heavens of the blogosphere and tell us which one of us is right?

    Actually, South Park has already figured out what is the One True Religion:

  • A friend once told me that racisim will never end in Jordan. As much as I would want to deny that, it would be useless. Racisim is there, and we can’t possibly do anything about it.

    An interesting idea that I remember from the movie “Thirteen” is :”If every person married another from a different race, then prejudice would end in one generation”.

    Sounds like a good idea to me.

  • Nasâ?¦am I allowed to ramble incoherently on your blog ? here I go …

    My problem with discussing religion with Muslims is that many of them take the position of “my religion is the truth, we are right and everyone else is wrong”. Now Iâ??m Christian so technically Iâ??m the one who is supposed to take that position against Islam because my “Book” doesn’t recognize what came after it. But it is Muslims who take that position even though their “Book” recognizes mine, to them my religion is divine but Christians have it wrong and the Islamic version of my own bible is the right one.
    A defense usually used by Muslims regardless of what is being discussed is youâ??re a â??kaferâ? and your religion is wrong and you are too blind to see the light of Islam and some nice people would throw in a prayer so â??Allah yehdeenyâ? even though Allah had already picked my religion for me when he sent me to a Christian couple. Why did he give me a wrong religion, will I realize after I go to hell that I got punked?? Or is it more like a multiplayer game of â??Deal or no Dealâ? you are handed a suitcase at birth and you can either take that Deal or convert, get another Deal and so on then see which suitcase you die with and see how good the religion youâ??re holding on to really is!!

    Another problem with I have with religious people in general is that they have this unquestionable indubitable faith in religion and less faith in God himself, people have no faith in God’s wisdom.
    People hate me when I say this but here it goes, God sent us his words and then people made up the religions and interpretations and rituals. It has been 2000 years and Christians have yet to agree on how Trinity really works!! Isnâ??t it laughable how many sects there are in each religion?
    The more institutionalized religions got the more people got involved and started making up stuff like how u should kneel at a 90 degree angel or a nun will give you the death stare as she does her rounds. God gave my digestive system the ability to produce gas, why am I too dirty to pray to him if I donâ??t wash up after I fart??

    Interpretations of divine words should always lean towards maximizing good, if you interpret a verse into hate, discrimination and death then you got it wrong or out of context or “maybe it7arafat by the time it got to you :rolleyes:”. Is God really about hate, discrimination, punishment and death?? i don’t think so but we do have enough religious examples to answer yes, and if the answer is YES then we shouldn’t worship God or follow any of his religions.

  • samra, I’ve heard those same arguements from the opposite: Jesus will save my soul and Mohammad worshiped a mountain or something. The point being that every group on this planet has it’s equal share of stupidity.

    “Interpretations of divine words should always lean towards maximizing good” I do believe this to be true of religion, or at least let me say Islam because it is what I know best.

    suffice to say many of these people you are talking about are who I am refering to, and they belong to both sides.

  • Yeah, religion is a difficult subject to talk about. Agreed.

    One point of difficulty in discussing religion is that the term ‘religion’ can mean two separate things to people. It can represent an ‘ideal’, that is, the way people are supposed to behave and believe and it can represent an ‘instutition’, religion as it is actually (and fallibly) practiced by people.

    If you are an adherent of a religion, you tend to see your religion in terms of its ideal and you may interpret criticism of your religion as an attack on the ideal itself. If you are a critic of a religion you tend to see the religion you are criticizing in terms of its status as an institution and may lose sight of the fact that this institution may not represent the ideal of an adherent. I think we, in the West, are more comfortable switching between discussing religion as practised and as it should be practiced without having to clarify that point.

    We can speak of Catholicsm, for instance, in terms of its ideals – like humility, mercy, charity, forgiveness, etc. and we can speak of Catholicism in terms of its sometimes flawed practice: the Inqusition, child molestation scandals, etc. We don’t need to carefully distinguish the two things because we understand implicitly the difference. I think Muslims, for one, may be more sensitive about this distinction . . .

    Speaking of religion: Nas, I sent you an email a few days ago asking about those books that would explain Islam as you tend to see it, from our discussion on the apostasy thread.
    I haven’t gotten a response yet. Did you ever get it? Would you like me to send it again? Are you still making up your mind as to which books to recommend? Let me know.

    “Although my post was about religion, racism is alive and well in every country in the world.”

    Maybe, Nas. Unfortunately, in America, scurrilous accusations of racism are doing even better than racism itself, I fear. 😉

  • I’d like to recommend a blog to anyone interested in interfaith discussions (which is odd, considering I’m an agnostic tending towards athiest, but anyways) – Velveteen Rabbi:

    The blogger is a female rabbinical student. She enjoys learning about Islam and often posts on Islamic topics and the Qu’ran. She has been recommended by Muslim bloggers in the past and she has plenty of links to other blogs. With such animosity between Muslims and Jews at times, some of you just might find a friend here.

  • the universe and stupidity are infinite …you know the group that i argue with …3alga

    speaking of emails did u get the “what is love” link i sent you ?

  • samra, lol einstein knew what he was talking about, and you need to detatch yourself from that group, it did wonders for my sanity 😀

    no i didnt get it! lol you’re the second person i’m not recieving emails from! 😀

  • There is something strange going on, then, Nas. Since I don’t use this email address often and can get rid of it if need be, I’m simply going to publish it here then – troublemakers and spammers be damned:

  • Pat Robertson is a monothietic nutcase. I live in what’s called “the Bible Belt,” here in America — and I don’t know anyone who thinks he’s any more than a joke.

    Muslims, Christians, and Jews — it’s supposed to be the same God, isn’t it? I’m no Bibilical scholar, but I seem to remember reading in the Old Testament that God promised to care for both of Abraham’s sons.
    (Of course, God never promised Christians land or progeny, but what the heck! We get to go to heaven if we believe in Jesus is the Son of God, accept that He died for our sins, and don’t screw up too badly during our lives.)

    Humans twist God’s words, though.

  • i think i’ll be taking your advice soon …save what little is left of my sanity

    i’m not gonna bother with another email …it was only this link …and it reminded me of you
    it must’ve been something you once said 😀
    feel free to delete this off topic comment

  • Caren, it is supposed to be one God, I think everyone just differs on His nature. And yes, that is what humans are inclined to do.

  • Abu SInan:

    There are some people who are going to hate any group of people regardless of what they say or do as you say.

    The reality is, though, that the reason a far greater number people in the West dislike Islam (versus, say, Buddhism or Hinduism or Judaism) is because of those actions that Muslim terrorists and demagogues commit in the name of Islam.

    If Islam, terrorism, and repression didn’t appear to go hand-in-hand so often, most people who have developed negative opinions of Islam in the West would not possess any strong views on the religion or its followers. Most of these people would simply ignore Islam altogether as they ignore most other things they are not very familiar with. What opinions they might possess would be shaped by their own, probably few, encounters with Muslims and by nothing else.

    I’m not claiming that all of this is the fault of the religion itself, but the fact remains that there are people who say they are Muslims and who, in fact, usually claim they are the most authentic Muslims, who commit so many disturbing acts around the globe and who, themselves, chalk those acts up to living a life as a proper Muslim.

    That is a far larger problem than the unchangeable Islam-haters you are referring to.

Your Two Piasters: