Being told that benign religious practices are wacky is not what I needed for breakfast fare. The qibla (and the Jewish equivalent - mizrah https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizrah) - are not “wacky”. And the Jewish dietary laws are clearly laid out in Hebrew Scriptures. Eat domestic cud-chewing animals with split hooves and fish with fins and scales. This is not wacky.
Sacred underwear is wacky. Letting people die because you won’t take them to a doctor is wacky. Murdering your children with blunt-force trauma to force them to confess their “sins” is wacky.
The Kaaba is real. The remnants of the Temple in Jerusalem are real. Praying while facing them is a form of alignment. But Aquinas’s angels dancing on the head of a pin is speculation on things that cannot be known - which makes them somewhat wacky, methinks.
OK, I can see how refusing medical aid could be called wacky. But how is wearing “sacred underwear” (I assume that you’re referring to the temple garb worn by LDS) any wackier than any other benign religious practice?
OK, so that part is laid out pretty clearly. Now tell me where it’s clearly laid out not to put cheese on a chicken sandwich.
Seems to me that all religious practices could be described as wacky. In all other contexts we’d term such things superstitions (don’t walk under ladders, touch wood for luck, etc). But attach the name of religion to something and suddenly it’s supposed to be different, ‘sacred’. In reality religion and superstition are both cut from the same cloth, the imagination of human beings.
In the end though where I see wackiness others see the work of a god. And never the twain shall meet.
Since this seems to be the qibla article thread (having put to bed OP’s “their beliefs are silly but mine are perfectly valid”), let me ask.
How does the qibla work from orbit? If an observant Muslim gets a mission assignment on ISS, or (in the more distant future) at Moonbase 1, or an interstellar mission, how would that work?
Thinking about it, it seems that the qibla for the longer-range assignments is more or less “point at the Earth”. But in orbit? The qibla would change in real time. If prayers lasted more than a few seconds, you’d have to constantly shift your prayer mat. (Assuming you’re obligated to keep pointing at Mecca, rather than having satisfied the requirement by starting your prayers pointed at Mecca.)
The rituals of religion are difficult to reconcile with the changing understanding and relationship with the universe.
There have been one or two Muslim astronauts, and the answer is that you make the best-faith effort you can, and God understands. This probably consists of pointing yourself in the roughly correct direction at the start, and vaguely downwards.
I’ve heard the story (probably apocryphal) that an air force crew member, wanting to know the Qibla programmed it in to the nav computer to get a bearing. Unfortunately it was fed to the autopilot and the plane banked over and started heading for Mecca. I guess that made prayer easier. Probably for many others in the airspace too.
I’m not a religious person, but it would seem to me that in most things it should be more about ones thoughts and beliefs about what one is doing than what is physically done to show one’s faith. If you honestly believe that you’re facing Mecca, and haven’t just arbitrarily picked a direction, that should be enough for any reasonable deity.
In reality, very few people are actually facing Mecca. They are facing in a direction that when continued over Earth’s surface will be in the vicinity of Mecca, but the actual direction generally just goes out into space. Only those within a few hundred miles might actually be facing the Kabaa unless they’re looking somewhat towards the ground.
I came across a student praying in a lounge on day here on the East Coast in the US. I waited until he was finished and asked if he was Muslim and praying towards Mecca as I didn’t wish to upset him but he was facing west.
He showed me a app on his smart phone that clearly pointed which direction he should face. I’m not sure what the program was but it was clearly wrong due west couldn’t not be correct. He said the same thing that others have mentioned. It was the intention that counted.
I used to think that religious requirements for various head coverings was whacky. I still do, but now I understand.
Generations of parents in the desert had finally had it up to here (here being somewhere around hat level) trying to get their kids to wear hats on sunny days to avoid heatstroke and sunburn. So the religious types in charge got involved and made it a law.
“So there, kids, now you HAVE to wear a hat, or your soul will burn forever. If it were up to me, you could go out and get heatstroke every day. Now put on your hat.”