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Advice please, looking for answers :)

  • 21-09-2015 3:29pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ GardeningGirl


    Hi all,

    Been looking for what life's about for a few years.

    Fell into Islam due to Muslim friends but it didn't end well for me at all.
    It made sense, cause if God's a man... what?!
    But, then i decided to read the Bible due to my mum's begging (OT... scary stuff) but Jesus really touched my heart with his parables in the NT - but still don't feel i can say he is divine, either God/Son...

    Basically put, it seems to come down to Jesus vs. Mohammed.
    (It is clear who would be a nicer play mate!!!)

    Please can someone help me?

    I'm young, mid twenties, and try talking to people about it but it's like no one is interested in God or what we should be doing with our lives, all people seem to want to do is play with their phones or watch TV - Even older people?!

    I can't let this go - i need to know where i'm going after i die!
    If anyone can advise me on how to proceed i'd be really happy and grateful.

    Thank you for reading :)


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,931 ✭✭✭ hinault


    Hi all,

    Been looking for what life's about for a few years.

    Fell into Islam due to Muslim friends but it didn't end well for me at all.
    It made sense, cause if God's a man... what?!
    But, then i decided to read the Bible due to my mum's begging (OT... scary stuff) but Jesus really touched my heart with his parables in the NT - but still don't feel i can say he is divine, either God/Son...

    Basically put, it seems to come down to Jesus vs. Mohammed.
    (It is clear who would be a nicer play mate!!!)

    Please can someone help me?

    I'm young, mid twenties, and try talking to people about it but it's like no one is interested in God or what we should be doing with our lives, all people seem to want to do is play with their phones or watch TV - Even older people?!

    I can't let this go - i need to know where i'm going after i die!
    If anyone can advise me on how to proceed i'd be really happy and grateful.

    Thank you for reading :)

    Why is it a choice between Jesus and Mohammed (especially as you say earlier that you fell in to Islam but that it didn't end well)?

    You ask a very difficult question because you appear to want others here to convince you as to what you should (or should not) believe in.

    Faith should be the conviction of one's head and one's heart. One should be intellectually convinced of what one chooses to believe and one's heart should desire to believe in what one chooses to believe in.

    Whatever about the intellectual argument for believing or not believing, it is next to impossible for someone else to tell you that your heart should believe in this or that.

    It's a clumsy analogy but I can't tell you what religious faith will persuade your heart, just like I can't tell you what perfume brand smells nicest for you.

    Faith is a journey.
    For me, my parents are Catholic and I was brought up in that faith. But I had to discover for myself as to why Catholicism convicts my faith. Through reading, through talking with clergy, through seeing the pastoral and missionary work of other Catholics, all helped to inform my reasons for believing.
    Of course that same faith gets tested as well!

    My suggestion is that if you are serious about your spiritual life, you need to think and to read and to talk to people of that faith that interests you.

    Consider as much information as you can. But you also need to listen to your heart. Something which intellectually convinces you, should also convince your heart too.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,277 ✭✭✭✭ Kenna Unimportant Plasterboard


    Were are you based OP.
    I'd suggest finding someone who has made the journey to faith in God and who believe the Bible.
    There are a lot of us out there.

    A good start for you is to ask God to show Him self to you. He says that if we seek Him, He'll be found.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,709 ✭✭✭ keano_afc


    http://answering-islam.org/Testimonies/

    I attached some testimonies of people from an Islamic background who found God.

    Tatranska makes a good suggestion there. Where are you based? They may be an Alpha course or similar introduction to Christianity courses in your area.


  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ GardeningGirl


    Hi Hinault,

    Thanks, i definitely understand what you mean, it's about that concept of being born again/becoming a new creature, that we need to make the choice.

    I do read, think, watch, listen to a lot of things but as a result of the things i learnt during my Islamic courses i am bothered by the possibility of being self-deceived.
    Basically, Christian salvation seems to stem on Jesus being Divine, Islam salvation stems from the absolute unquestioning refusal of Jesus as Divine.
    Hence, Jesus vs. Muhammad - one of them is right - eternity hangs in the balance.

    Personally, i felt very convinced by the Islamic concept of God, head struggles with the tri-person idea... although Asma Al-Husna (99 names of Allah could be questioned too in that regard).
    However, the way heaven sounds in Islam doesn't seem very heavenly to me... Jesus sounds much more Godly/divinely-inspired than Muhammad, although he also made some exceptionally beautiful, profound statements.

    I'm not really looking to be convinced by others but just find that discussion with others helps me to think.
    My parents are one, strongly atheist and the other, raised Catholic, but not practicing/church goer.

    Thank you for taking the time to write. I will keep thinking. Best wishes


  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ GardeningGirl


    Hi Tatranska, i am based in the Connemara area, county Galway. I have contacted my parish priest about bible classes etc, but he said there aren't any and when i mentioned my thoughts/concerns he didn't elaborate or make any suggestions so i feel uncomfortable in pestering him. Perhaps that's my own awkwardness!

    To be honest, when i was first looking at Islam i was praying and praying and i literally had myself crying, forcing myself into it, and then it suddenly became easy and i was flying along, learning so fast etc. I thought it was just God testing me, checking my sincerity. People say i should ask Jesus to appear to me, but i still have islamic hang-up about doing that, in case it is a demon tricking me or something. Sorry, probably sounds crazy but i'm not that free of it at this time :(

    Please God someone who is scripturally aware will come to me, i would love to be able to talk with someone who can give me possible answers to my questions that arise during my reading!

    Cheers for your advice :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ GardeningGirl


    Hey Keano,
    I'm near Clifden in Galway. Yep, i've been on that website thank you, although i've also been on answering-christianity which can be quite convincing too!?
    I'm torn in two at times.

    Does anyone know why OT and NT are so different?
    I.e, some pretty full on stuff happens in OT but NT is much calmer and more peaceful.
    Am i being too literal? I'm quite a black and white perspective person which might be interfering with my reading of scripture.

    Many thanks :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,931 ✭✭✭ hinault


    Hi Hinault,

    Thanks, i definitely understand what you mean, it's about that concept of being born again/becoming a new creature, that we need to make the choice.

    I do read, think, watch, listen to a lot of things but as a result of the things i learnt during my Islamic courses i am bothered by the possibility of being self-deceived.
    Basically, Christian salvation seems to stem on Jesus being Divine, Islam salvation stems from the absolute unquestioning refusal of Jesus as Divine.
    Hence, Jesus vs. Muhammad - one of them is right - eternity hangs in the balance.

    Personally, i felt very convinced by the Islamic concept of God, head struggles with the tri-person idea... although Asma Al-Husna (99 names of Allah could be questioned too in that regard).
    However, the way heaven sounds in Islam doesn't seem very heavenly to me... Jesus sounds much more Godly/divinely-inspired than Muhammad, although he also made some exceptionally beautiful, profound statements.

    I'm not really looking to be convinced by others but just find that discussion with others helps me to think.
    My parents are one, strongly atheist and the other, raised Catholic, but not practicing/church goer.

    Thank you for taking the time to write. I will keep thinking. Best wishes

    No problem.

    I think if one reads about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, it is apparent that one has to decide to either accept or reject the concept that Jesus Christ is God incarnate.
    There are no half measures on this question. One is either 100% convinced or they're not. If one is only 99% convinced that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, then they don't really accept that Jesus Christ is God incarnate because there is that nagging 1% doubt in that instance.

    I wish you well in your journey:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,709 ✭✭✭ keano_afc


    Hey Keano,
    I'm near Clifden in Galway. Yep, i've been on that website thank you, although i've also been on answering-christianity which can be quite convincing too!?
    I'm torn in two at times.

    Does anyone know why OT and NT are so different?
    I.e, some pretty full on stuff happens in OT but NT is much calmer and more peaceful.
    Am i being too literal? I'm quite a black and white perspective person which might be interfering with my reading of scripture.

    Many thanks :)


    You're asking great questions! And it's good to know you're seeking. I know some Christian churches in Galway city, but realise that might be a bit out of your way. There's an Alpha course in Leitrim at the end of September, but that probably too far away from you?


  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ GardeningGirl


    Yes, i think you are right. Hopefully i will reach 100% conviction one day.
    I'm on my way!

    If you could recommend any additional reading/literature i would be very thankful.

    Kind regards to you, Hinault :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ GardeningGirl


    Hi again Keano,

    Actually, i am hoping to move to Leitrim next February but it will be too late then i guess, unless the programme repeats?

    So many questions i tell you, my parents want to divorce me haha, no peace and quiet for them ;)

    Yes, unfortunately Galway would be a little far, i'm not driving at the moment.
    In fact i try not to leave the peninsula too often (modern world - *shudder* lol)!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,931 ✭✭✭ hinault


    Yes, i think you are right. Hopefully i will reach 100% conviction one day.
    I'm on my way!

    If you could recommend any additional reading/literature i would be very thankful.

    Kind regards to you, Hinault :)

    First, I'd read the Bible and read the NT in particular, using the Catholic Bible and concentrating on the 4 gospels first.

    The 4 gospels describe the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
    These texts form the core of Christianity.

    The remainder of the NT texts concerns epistles and letters sent by the apostles to the Churches.

    In reading all of these texts note the passages of those texts which require explanation and then cross reference to the text to biblical commentaries.

    Biblical commentaries can be found in bookshops such as Veritas.

    There are many reputable on line Catholic bible resources
    I'd recommend Father Haydock's commentary http://haydock1859.tripod.com/

    Another excellent online bible commentary is
    https://thedivinelamp.wordpress.com/

    Of course, Lapide's Bible commentary is a must
    https://archive.org/details/thegreatcomment01lapiuoft


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,351 ✭✭✭ katydid


    .

    Personally, i felt very convinced by the Islamic concept of God, head struggles with the tri-person idea
    If you think of the Trinity not as three PERSONS but three elements of one entity, it makes more sense. You have the creative element (the Father), the active, redeeming and teaching element (Jesus) and the intelligence that allows us to question and understand the other two (the Holy Spirit)

    Regarding Islam, why would you, as a woman, even consider it? Not even the most liberal version gives women full equality.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 18,277 ✭✭✭✭ Kenna Unimportant Plasterboard


    A book I would recommend to you is " I dared cal! Him father " by Bilquis Sheikh.
    It's the journey of a Muslim woman to Christ and available on Amazon. Co.uk
    It's an a amazing story and worth a read.
    I've a few contacts in the galway / Sligo area but none in clifden. Alpha is worth doing.

    You could contact the Irish Bible Institute in Dublin to see if they know of anything or anyone in your area. Ibi.ie. I studied there years ago and they are a helpful bunch!.
    You should also probably concentrate your reading in the new testament whose focus is on Jesus


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 392 ✭✭ Mavis Pitiful Plastic


    Hi all,

    Been looking for what life's about for a few years.

    Fell into Islam due to Muslim friends but it didn't end well for me at all.
    It made sense, cause if God's a man... what?!
    But, then i decided to read the Bible due to my mum's begging (OT... scary stuff) but Jesus really touched my heart with his parables in the NT - but still don't feel i can say he is divine, either God/Son...

    Basically put, it seems to come down to Jesus vs. Mohammed.
    (It is clear who would be a nicer play mate!!!)

    Please can someone help me?

    I'm young, mid twenties, and try talking to people about it but it's like no one is interested in God or what we should be doing with our lives, all people seem to want to do is play with their phones or watch TV - Even older people?!

    I can't let this go - i need to know where i'm going after i die!
    If anyone can advise me on how to proceed i'd be really happy and grateful.

    Thank you for reading :)

    Hi GardeningGirl

    Great to see another person who is searching for answers. You have already made a very important step by deciding you want to know the truth!-"and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32)

    I think the first and most important thing you should realise is that God is love and infinite mercy. We are His children and we are so precious in His sight. He knows our weakness and folly, yet He will never abandon us. Look at some of the love and gentleness found towards His children in the Scripture passages:

    "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" Psalm 139:13,14

    "Behold, I have graven thee in My hands: thy walls are always before My eyes." Isaiah 49:16

    There is nothing God will not forgive if we approach Him with a contrite heart. He is always with us.:)

    You might not realise it yet, but a wonderful thing has taken place. The Holy Spirit has stirred your soul to God. If you choose to follow, then you are in for a beautiful journey.

    From observing myself, I feel I have been brought closer to God by studying the Bible in a particular way. I will start with a short prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help me percieve what the Lord is telling me in the passage I am about to read. I will then make myself aware of God's presence, His love and the fact that He wants to tell me something concrete and definite today. I will then read a short passage, meditate upon it as I work my way through and jot down any thoughts/observations (especially anything pertaining to my life) in a notebook. It is a beautiful method a priest once showed me and it really allows God to heal and transform a person's soul through His Word.

    The Youcat is also quite helpful as it is just a book full of questions and answers (and beautiful quotes on the margin). It is based on the Cathechism of the Catholic Church. Last time I checked it was around 13 euro.
    Does anyone know why OT and NT are so different?
    I.e, some pretty full on stuff happens in OT but NT is much calmer and more peaceful.

    I am not a Bible expert but I think the the context had an important role to play in it. The Old Testament described God, in a way, micromanaging a last remnant of faithful people in a sea of pagans and occultist. We see God intervening in battles through the Ark of the Covenant. Some of the laws may also seem quite harsh by todays standards but again, the situation perhaps warranted strict discipline. However, that should not deterr you from the OT as it is a Book of much beauty and wisdom.

    Keep firing the questions:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭ Michael OBrien


    Hi all,

    Been looking for what life's about for a few years.

    Fell into Islam due to Muslim friends but it didn't end well for me at all.
    It made sense, cause if God's a man... what?!
    But, then i decided to read the Bible due to my mum's begging (OT... scary stuff) but Jesus really touched my heart with his parables in the NT - but still don't feel i can say he is divine, either God/Son...

    Basically put, it seems to come down to Jesus vs. Mohammed.
    (It is clear who would be a nicer play mate!!!)

    Please can someone help me?

    I'm young, mid twenties, and try talking to people about it but it's like no one is interested in God or what we should be doing with our lives, all people seem to want to do is play with their phones or watch TV - Even older people?!

    I can't let this go - i need to know where i'm going after i die!
    If anyone can advise me on how to proceed i'd be really happy and grateful.

    Thank you for reading :)

    Why is it down to one or the other? You say one of your parents are atheist (strongly). Have you discussed it with them? Atheists have views on these topics too. Not all atheists are apathetic to religious discussion, you can find answers to life's questions from our point of view. A.C. Grayling has some good books on the topic. Secular Humanism is worth researching.

    Did you post in the Islamic forum as well as here? If not, is that not a sign that you really don't want Islam to be the faith you follow?

    There are many other religions in the world, have you ever read any of their holy texts? How about Hinduism or move towards a philosophy like Buddhism.

    There are many forms of christianity too. Your other parent is a catholic, would they know another catholic that is better informed in their faith if they are not too committed to it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,796 ✭✭✭ MrPudding


    Hi all,

    Been looking for what life's about for a few years.

    Fell into Islam due to Muslim friends but it didn't end well for me at all.
    It made sense, cause if God's a man... what?!
    But, then i decided to read the Bible due to my mum's begging (OT... scary stuff) but Jesus really touched my heart with his parables in the NT - but still don't feel i can say he is divine, either God/Son...

    Basically put, it seems to come down to Jesus vs. Mohammed.
    (It is clear who would be a nicer play mate!!!)

    Please can someone help me?

    I'm young, mid twenties, and try talking to people about it but it's like no one is interested in God or what we should be doing with our lives, all people seem to want to do is play with their phones or watch TV - Even older people?!

    I can't let this go - i need to know where i'm going after i die!
    If anyone can advise me on how to proceed i'd be really happy and grateful.

    Thank you for reading :)

    Would you have a problem if where you go when you die is either a question you can't answer, or the answer is not a heaven of some description?

    I have to admit to being not particularly interested in gods, as I am an atheist, but I am interested in religion and how it effects society.

    I am also extremely interested in what we should be doing with our lives and what life's about, though I do also play on my phone and watch TV. Believe me, a belief in gods is not a requirement of being interested in in what we should be doing with our lives.

    You seem to be having a bit of a crisis of faith, you aren't the first, and you certainly won't be the last, but please don't think that because of this you have to double down. If you can find the faith that is best for you and gives you the answers you want or need, then great, but as Michael says, give the third way a chance.

    You have an opportunity here, you are a young person, you should have plenty of time. Slow down, take stock and look at all your options. Michael suggested trying AC Grayling, and I would agree 100%, a fantastic author and one of the nicest people I have ever met. Specifically I would recommend you try "The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism." I think this would be a particularly good book for you, given the questions you have.

    If you are interested in looking at options outside faith head over to the A&A forum. We are very welcoming and there are some extremely knowledgeable people there that will be happy to answer questions and recommend reading for you.

    If that isn't what you fancy, then that's good too. There are plenty of people here, some of whom have already posted, that can offer their views on your questions.

    Good luck with your search!

    MrP


  • Registered Users Posts: 84 ✭✭✭ GardeningGirl


    Hi everyone,

    I'm really touched by you all taking the time to write back with your thoughts and suggestions - makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! ;)

    Hinault:
    Cheers for those recommendations, will check out the reading you mentioned.

    Katydid:
    Hi, read some of your posts before, you have some really interesting opinions :)
    I've been looking up about the Trinity, unitarians, tritarians, etc... It is going to take a lot more time lol!
    Thanks a lot for your explanation though, it helps.
    Regards, Islam for women... Maybe i tricked myself, maybe i'm gullible, maybe i'm wrong? But after a while it seemed to make sense, at first i had to really fight myself to accept it, but i began to feel i could see sense it all. Also, you have to accept things you don't understand if God has decreed such. Human logic holds no sway! (Worrying, now i think about that).
    If you have any specifics that pique your interest then i am happy to discuss particular areas - might be good for me in fact to face it again! :)

    Tatranska:
    Great, will check out that book and Alpha programme.
    Just googling IBI.ie now!

    Carlow Bruiser:
    Ah, John's writing touches my heart :)
    Thanks for your insight into good methods for reflecting - will definitely give it a go!!

    Michael O'Brien:
    Because, i believe one of them was telling the 'actual truth', so if one is wrong then the other is right. I'm trying to discern whom. It is still an option for me that Muhammad genuinely believed he was getting divine inspiration and isn't 'evil' per se, though that doesn't sanctify what he did by any means in my opinion and on reflection, untempered by so much fear and paranoia!?
    Parents aren't interested, they will discuss now and then briefly, but it's just not high on their list of priorities :(
    Cool, will check out that reading list, cheers!
    Nope, sorry, didn't post there - i know it's cowardly but i don't want to read the responses :/ maybe i will eventually. To be honest, it isn't that i want to find a faith i WANT to follow, but i want to find if/which faith is THE faith, if you get me? I understand from an atheist perspective that that's not your bag :)
    Read parts of the Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu - really great. Certainly has things to consider in it's sayings.
    I like the Middle Way, i'm a veggie, Buddhism could influence me surely, but i believe there is an everlasting being and i don't think Buddhism addresses it, as far as i know.
    I say she's a 'Catholic' but i suppose just by birth and not choice, but she wouldn't really know anyone, except her parents and they're not up for talking with me about it too much.

    Mr P:
    Thanks for the invite!
    I don't mind where i go provided it's pleasant lol. Some people think we get Eternal Life or die and know nothing - well if i don't know anything i won't know i didn't get it so technically that would be fine!
    Obviously, by choice, i would prefer to go into 'the light' ;)
    Will take a stroll over to A&A soon enough, to say howdy!
    Many thanks for the comments.


    Thanks all, have a good afternoon :)


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 6,351 ✭✭✭ katydid



    Katydid:
    Hi, read some of your posts before, you have some really interesting opinions :)
    I've been looking up about the Trinity, unitarians, tritarians, etc... It is going to take a lot more time lol!
    Thanks a lot for your explanation though, it helps.
    Regards, Islam for women... Maybe i tricked myself, maybe i'm gullible, maybe i'm wrong? But after a while it seemed to make sense, at first i had to really fight myself to accept it, but i began to feel i could see sense it all. Also, you have to accept things you don't understand if God has decreed such. Human logic holds no sway! (Worrying, now i think about that).
    If you have any specifics that pique your interest then i am happy to discuss particular areas - might be good for me in fact to face it again! :)


    I think people make the Trinity more complicated than it is. It just means that God is more complicated than a simple single idea. In fact, one element that is much neglected in our understanding of God is the female element. When you think of most depictions of God, there is a female element somewhere, even if it's a consort. But in the Judeo-Christian world, God is a male figure. But to me, the element of the Trinity that highlights the feminine is the Holy Spirit. Of course, it's always portrayed as gender neutral, as a bird or a flame, but there was a strong tradition in the Old Testament of the idea of "ruach", which is the Hebrew word for spirit, and which, grammatically, is female. As is the word for "wisdom", which is translated into Greek as Sophia. In my understanding, this spirit or wisdom is what gives us the grace and strength to make sense of the other elements of the divine, the creative and the redemptive forces.

    As you might have guessed, I'm kind of big on the idea that women should be respected and included. Which is why I have a big problem with Islam - there certainly are misogynistic elements to the Bible, but primarily in the Old Testament, which is largely superseded by Jesus's kindness towards women and the way he included them in his discipleship.
    On the other hand, Muslim scripture, the one they adhere to strongly, has passages which clearly show that women are not seen as equal, for example the fact that in the Islamic judicial system, the testimony of a woman is only worth half that of a man. Personally, I would want nothing to do with such a faith system, no matter how attracted I might be by other elements.

    But that's me...


  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭ Michael OBrien


    Michael O'Brien:
    Because, i believe one of them was telling the 'actual truth', so if one is wrong then the other is right. I'm trying to discern whom.
    I appreciate the reply. I can understand that it can be frustrating not to be able to talk with your parents about something that deeply affects you due to their lack of interest or perhaps knowledge of the subject.

    Since neither Mo or Jesus wrote down anything, and it is reported by others what they allegedly said, 'truth' can be a lot more complicated than you might realise.
    Why do you believe there is an afterlife, or a soul, or any reason to think either of them are right? What about Jews? They are the start of the abrahamic faith, and they strongly deny both of those people as having any truth in them. Have you read the talmud?
    Their view of an afterlife is not the same as the other religions (it varies).
    Its another perspective.

    You might wish to talk about the roots of your beliefs too, to see why you think EITHER Mo or Jesus is telling the truth.
    There may not be an actual knowable truth, but there is evidence that goes against the idea of an afterlife even being likely.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,623 ✭✭✭ mrsoundie


    Speaking from my own experiences, you need to to understand your question, rather than what appears to be looking searching for an answer, that may be in front of you already.


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