Thanks CJ . I always wondered.
Yipes! That rolleyes was directed at me, not you, NooneSpecial, for getting my languages confused. :Sigh: I’m going to have a nice cup of tea and some breakfast now!
Well, by that logic, Hinduism would suit your purposes quite well too. Hindu Gods have not only lived and died on earth as human, but they’ve led thoroughly exciting lives as well.
Lord Krishna, for instance, was a scamp as a kid, stealing butter from milkmaids and carrying out all sorts of pranks. As an adult, he was almost a philanderer. He participated in the rise and fall of dynasties and was able to perform miracles. He suffered all the pangs that being human brings, yet managed to be divine (refer, for example, to Gitopadesha).
When you say “claims of Christ,” do you mean claims made by the historical Jesus or claims made about him?
If you mean the former, please provide an example of something claimed by Jesus which has been supported by historical evidence. You will also have to prove that Jesus actually said it. The words attributed to him in the gospels are not per se evidence that he really said them.
If you meant that the claims made about him are historically supportable, please provide cites. I would especially be interested in any shred of genuine evidence for miracles, the resurrection or the divinity of Jesus.
Because I’ve read the koran. The character of ‘allah’ has no resemblence to the Christian God.
I mean, I could discuss Jesus as being an English teacher, but it doesn’t make it so. That’s what mohammed did. He threw his own twisted viewpoint of the world and created an ‘allah’.
In fact, allah was the name of a pagan moon god of mecca, one of the 365 of the Kalba. Old mo simply picked him as his favorite.
It’s all so laughably stupid, that I couldn’t believe it no matter what.
That Allah/moon god thing is a total canard, monty2.
Have you read the Old testament, btw? There’s a pretty sick God in that book in places.
Is there anything, either historically, or in the religions themselves, that would indicate that the Muslim Allah is the same god that Christians worship? Yes, I know that “Allah” means “God”, but just because two religions are unoriginal enough to call their deity “God” doesn’t mean that they’re talking about the same deity.
So, is this a case of “There’s only one God, and Muslims worship only one god, so they must be worshiping the same god as us”? Or is there an actual basis for thinking that Allah is the same deity as the Christian God?
Islam was partially founded on older Jewish and Christian traditions and Mohammed specifically identified Allah as being identical with the God of Abraham and Moses. He believed that Jesus was a prophet of God but not God himself. Arabic Muslims identify themselves as being the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham and brother of Isaac.
So yes, there is a solid basis for identfying Allah with the Judeo-Christian God.
As I said, mohammed CLAIMED they were the same God, but clearly the entire personality/character is different. Someone can write about a person or historical figure as being the same, but then describe them totally differently. It doesn’t matter, they are not referring to the same thing, even if the author insists it.
Also… Canard? I suppose that means it’s wrong. Prove it.
My lord. I don’t think I’ve ever seen some one cite Jack Chick with a straight face before…
I hadn’t even seen that cartoon, it was not my cite.
Go study up on it, learn about all the moon stuff. The moon rock of the kalba and so on.
I’ve often wanted to ask this question.
I was raised without religion. I never went to church. I never “said my prayers”. My immediate family never professed any religous beliefs. So I am essentially a blank slate.
And it just doesn’t make any sense for me to pick a religion at random. I have no basis. I have absolutely no reason to believe that anyone’s holy books are true. And I really don’t see how anyone can fault me for this.
I’ve never had a “feeling in my heart” about any given religion. Of course, people will say that isn’t true and I’ve had a feeling in my heart and I turned away from it. This may sway some people (especially when it it is coupled with dire warnings about Hell) simply because of course you are going to think something when these subjects come up and it’s pretty hard to say for sure that whatever curiousity/guilt/confusion/fear that your feeling isn’t a “feeling in your heart”. And then you might start thinking there really is something to this religion and that further confirms that all these “feelings in your heart” are the proof they said it’d be. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, not spiritual proof. In any case, I have no particular feelings that would justify me picking a religion to believe in.
Of course most holy books have some historical accuracy. But it’s a big leap from “there was a guy named Jesus” to “he died and was reborn and if you believe this you go to heaven because his death somehow abolished your sins.” I’m not all that surprised to see history in holy books. For a truly religious person, the line between “religion” and “everyday life” is pretty thin. It only makes sense for a group to record their social history and religious beliefs in the same place.
Once you start getting into spiritual stuff (the nature and existance of God, the mechanics of the after life, the unconfirmable miraculous events that are said to have happened) I just stop being able to buy it. Half this stuff is really freaking bizarre. Look at stuff like the fundamental Christian belief that Jesus’s death cleansed us of our sin. That is an objectively strange thing to believe. To someone not raised Christian, that is as strange as believing that Krishna slayed demons or that Mohammed hung out with angels. Theres just nothing obvious about it.
Why would I believe any one book over any other book? I have equal reason to believe that the Earth was created in seven days as I do to believe that the Earth rests on the back of a giant turtle. Which is, to say, none at all. And every religion (except those that encourage a metaphorical and philosophical approuch as opposed to those that claim to be the literal truth) falls apart when you just plain don’t believe their holy books.
It’s not even that I need scientific proof. I would just need some sort of basis to make the choice not a random one. I would have trouble believing a religion if I knew that I had picked it at random.
Which is why the specific nature, beliefs, and attributes of any given religion don’t seem like good reasons to pick a religion. I mean, Buddhism migh be peaceful, Christianity might be forgiving and Hinduism might be colorful, but we’re talking about the nature of reality here, not what social clubs we want to belong to. Unless you are willing to acknowledge that religion serves a symbolic or metaphorical purpose in organzing your thoughts and behavoirs and does not neccesarily describe a reality outside of your own head, then I’m not really swayed by arguments about which religions provide a more pleasent way of looking at things. Just because it’s kind of pleasent doesn’t make it the truth.
I’m not trying to be combative. I see plenty of value in religion. I just personally have no reason to become a part of one. While I always enjoy discussion and debate, I wish they would understand why I cannot simply believe whatever religion they want me to.
Here’s how it works on SDMB. If you make an assertion and someone else calls bullshit, then you have the burden to prove your assertion.
you are the one making the assertion about a moon god. Your assertion is bogus but I don’t have to prove it’s bogus, you have to prove that it isn’t.
Come on now let’s have it. Give us your cite for your little slur on Islam. This is commonly propagated on anti-Muslim Christian websites and I suspect that’s where you got it.
BTW, I have studied up on Islam and not on uninformed fundie websites. You are grossly misinformed.
I have no doubt that the word “Allah” was used in pre-Islamic Arabia to refer to various pagan deities, and perhaps even to a specifc moon god. So what? “Allah” is just Arabic for “God”; specifically, ilah is “god”, and al is “the”, so al-ilah or Allah is “the god”, a distinction usually made in English with a capital “G”: God vs. “a god”. In the Bible the Judeo-Christian God is sometimes referred to using the Hebrew word 'el, which is just the Hebrew word for a “god” of any sort (and is also a cognate of “ilah”, as Hebrew and Arabic are linguistic cousins). According to the Encyclopedia Britannica El is “the general term for ‘deity’ in Semitic languages as well as the name of the chief deity of the West Semites. In the ancient texts from Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in Syria, El was described as the titular head of the pantheon, husband of Asherah, and father of all the other gods”. So, the exact same word is used for the God of the Bible as was used for a pagan deity. An even more common word in the Hebrew Bible for God is 'elohiym, which grammatically is the plural of 'el–in English, we capitalize the “G” in “god”; in Arabic, they put a definite article in front of the word for “god”; and in Biblical Hebrew they used a plural form of the word for “god”; all to indicate the God of a monotheistic religion. Of course, since grammatically it’s just the plural of the word “god”, sometimes the form 'eloyhim is used in the Bible to refer to, for example, the gods of Egypt.
Islam is no more, and no less, rooted in pagan polytheism than the other Western monotheistic religions are. For Jews or Christians to accuse Muslims of worshipping a God with pagan roots is a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black.
That is probably the silliest religious argument in the history of this message board.
If having a different personality (and it’s really not, but that’s another issue) is proof it’s a different God, I suppose you will then agree that Southern Baptists worship a completely different God than members of the United Church, right? And you will also agree that the “God” of, say, the book of Genesis is a different God than the one referred to in the Gospel of Luke, right? After all, the personalities are different.
Which arguably makes the accounts of Jesus’ deeds more reliable, rather than less. If a man wrote about his own miraculous deeds, I’d be less likely to ascribe any measure of credibility to them. With Jesus, these accounts are attested by multiple sources, rather than one man’s writings.
Besides, do you truly claim that only a first-person account can be considered historically reliable? Heavens! Better alert the worldwide community of historians, then. They’ve been doing it wrong all these centuries!
even sven, a response for you, though I fear it’s mostly babbling:
Religions are frameworks for evaluating a certain subset of experiences. Not all experiences fit into all religious frameworks. (Also, not all frameworks are religions.) People develop their own frameworks not just from the frameworks they were brought up, but their own experiences.
I find it’s easier to process the question when I look at it in terms of frameworks. Different structures fill different needs, provide different comforts, resonate with different people, answer different experiences of the universe. Someone who needs to see the explicit empowerment of the female in the divine will probably get a lot more out of most mainstream Wiccan paths than I can, because I can’t understand making sex/gender that important. Someone who feels the world to be fatally flawed somewhere may find comfort in the parts of Christianity that declare that flaw paid for. Or, the concept of the incarnation may be the point that has resonance with someone in choosing Christianity, as CJ mentioned above. Someone who has had a number of widely varying experiences that they label as being of the divine may be more comfortable with a polytheistic path. And so on.
They’re all ways of looking at the world; each of them has an associated set of thoughts and peripheral meanings and images. I found, when I hit on a religion that worked for me, that it came with language that helped me articulate things which I had always believed; this was useful to me, not only in being able to express myself more clearly, but in simply not feeling alone in my beliefs.
Some people don’t have any use for frameworks that involve religious beliefs. I hope they find frameworks that they find satisfying and fulfilling to the things they do have use for, is all. The framework I use is the one that works best for me, is in closest accord with my experiences, and gives me the most value for my effort; I would not want anyone to settle for less than that for themselves.
I think finding a religion is a lot like wanting to get married. Some people are entirely happy being single, some people date around a lot and don’t commit, some people get married and divorced and married and divorced, some people settle down happily with their school sweethearts, and no matter what they do, someone will say, “I have no idea what 'e sees in [him/her].”
Both professors of religion classes I’ve taken said that Muhammad didn’t write the Qur’an, but that it was written down by his followers.
Am I wrong?
I never feel qualified enough to participate in debates, but thanks for taking my question seriously.
And I don’t mean to de-rail the discussion (because I’m enjoying it), but I admit my original question could be better framed as ‘Why are you a Christian and not a Muslim or Buddhist?’