Perfect. Thank you very much.
It’s not hard at all, once we realise that wherever God is, He is there in His entirety (He has no parts, and cannot be divided). He is with Rozellelily right now, just as much as He is with, say Eric, or Niblo.
The Beloved loves each of us as though we are the only ones He knows. Each of us is precious in His sight; and His desire (if I may use that word) is to draw us to Himself with ties of love, and to have us remain there, at peace with Him.
The Qur’an says that He could have made humankind all the same, walking the same path; but He chose otherwise, as a test for us. At the end, He will explain to us our differences.
We become deeper in our respective Faiths only when we live that Faith to the best of our ability; at all times putting love of God - whatever we perceive Him to be - above all things. Time spent looking at the behaviour of other folk - in the manner of this thread, for example - is time that would have been better spent looking at Him!
As for why I became a Muslim, may I suggest you read my profile. To repeat it here would be seriously off topic!
May the Beloved continue to guide you, and to bless you. Be the best Catholic you can be. That is what He wants of you.
I think we do. Jews and Christians do not have the same understanding of God, but, we don’t argue that Jews don’t pray to the same God. I think Muslims have the wrong understanding of God, but there’s no other God to pray to.
I don’t know about “good” or “bad” conversions, but it’s clear that everyone has a different motive. Newman converted when he realized that the Donatists were heretics simply because the Pope said they were. There are books about various authors and intellectuals converting to Catholicism.
I’ve spent years watching Youtube videos of converts to Islam. An outstanding example is Myriam Francois-Cerrah, a one-time young actress who converted after she read Oriana Fallaci’s books about Islam in Europe and was so outraged she read the Qur’an and found enlightenment. She is a good example because she is clearly intelligent and self-aware. And the BBC seems unable to talk about Islam without putting her on the panel. But as far as I can see she knew little if anything about her own Catholic religion. I suspect like most people she had a grade school level of knowledge. So when someone came along and said “The Trinity is false. Christ is not God. The Bible has been corrupted. Why do you pray to idols?,” and so on she was defenseless. This seems to be the pattern. This is a failure of Catholic education. I suspect a lot of time is spent talking about “love,” etc. which is all well and good, but I also suspect if you asked a graduate of a Catholic high school why we think Jesus is divine, they would be clueless. The French did a study about Islamic extremists. They found that most of them were converts, and most of those were women.
But historically, when the king converted, everyone converted–Franks, Vikings, etc. And I’m 100% sure they all didn’t know the details of Christianity. Nor did more recent converts in Africa, Asia, etc. So is knowledge necessary to convert? I don’t think so.
Several years ago I went to an RCIA class to investigate the phenomenon of conversion first hand. I would go early and talk to someone in as much depth as I could, and then stay late and talk to someone else. There were about 25 people in the class, so I think it was a reasonable sample.
Reasons for converting:
- emotional. Things like dreams, “signs,” and “personal relationship with God” (i.e., God talks to me)
- influence of friends or spouse.
- search for “authority.” They seemed uncomfortable with their own consciences and wanted some higher authority to tell them definitively what was “right” and what was “wrong.”
Notice that all of these reasons could also apply to conversion to Islam! Also notice the absence of logic and reason.
I think this is a great analogy, and I’ve used it myself, but without Trump! Pick any hypothetical or real example: John Doe. John has a set of friends from high school. They remember him as a slacker, selfish, disconnected from his peers, etc. John also has a set of friends from his current job, 30 years later. They know him as kind, generous, hard working, engaged, etc. And John also has a wife, children, and relatives who know yet another side of him.
The point is that John is still John. But each group sees him completely differently, so differently that if they described him to another group they wouldn’t recognize him. Is the God of the Old Testament who told the Israelites to massacre the Amelikites man, woman, and child the same God who said “Turn the other cheek” in the New Testament? The Muslims have an interesting saying: Whatever attribute you attribute to God, you also have to say the opposite. But all this begs the real question: Is there something you could say about God that clearly sets you apart and allows others to say you are describing a totally different God?
Without wanting to presume God’s will, I would assume so. This whole notion of Jews and Muslims worshiping the same God as us wasn’t the official position of the Church until Vatican II and all the modernization.
As I recall, the whole notion of human slavery being an affront to human dignity and immoral wasn’t the official position of the church until Vatican 2. The church’s views evolving for the better isn’t just possible—it has actually occurred. Stands to reason that something similar happened with the church embracing a more inclusive perspective with respect to other religions.
Were the Baal worshippers praying to God also?
Yes, more inclusive. Truth needs to be inclusive. Now we have a pope saying that God wills a plurality of religions.
“Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” ~G.K. Chesterton
Let’s have an actual citation of what the man said so we can judge it in context.
“Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives.”
At the very least, it’s badly worded and too vague.
That doesn’t change the meaning. He’s suggesting that God wills the plurality or religions on the same level that He willed a diversity in the human person. It suggests that just as God created different ethnicities and races, He indirectly created all the various religions. I know it’s a taboo word, but it’s heresy, plain and simple.
I would not attempt a nutshell answer to the very complicated question asked by the OP. But I will share an observation.
It’s helpful to keep in mind the past, or roots of various religions when pondering such things. A Catholic might say one can’t “blame” God for differences between the Catholic Church and Lutheran theology, since Lutheranism began in the 1500s. Same for other Protestant sects, that have begun in 1650, 1740, 1890, etc. In other words, they all “broke off” of the Church started by Jesus of Nazareth.
Islam is not an ancient religion with its beginning before recorded history, like Hinduism for instance. Islam is a religion with very clear beginnings around 700 AD, with very clear signs of having taken elements from Judaism and Christianity mixed them with several new doctrines. From one perspective, it ought to be understood as a Christian heresy; great thinkers such as Hilaire Belloc described it this way.
In a way, the only religion that can make a claim of having no recent, identifiable starting point is Hinduism, with origins perhaps thousands of years before Judaism.
what about these verses, how do you reconcile them with what you wrote?
“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guideth not a people unjust.” S. 5:51
Those who say, “Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary,” have certainly fallen into disbelief. The Messiah ˹himself˺ said, “O Children of Israel! Worship Allah—my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever associates others with Allah ˹in worship˺ will surely be forbidden Paradise by Allah. Their home will be the Fire. And the wrongdoers will have no helpers. S. 5:72
Those who say, “Allah is one in a Trinity,” have certainly fallen into disbelief. There is only One God. If they do not stop saying this, those who disbelieve among them will be afflicted with a painful punishment. S. 5:73
I wonder if her (external) beauty also has something to do with it?
This might sound controversial, but I feel often they look for some sort of “beautiful poster child”, to try to change the “image and branding” of the religion. Sort of saying in a way, this religion, and it’s followers don’t have to look/act like what the western public typically associate with it?
Perhaps this is wrong to say, but occasionally I have wondered if there is even an element of narcissism to some of these female conversions.
(I am referring solely to certain individuals who have converted to Islam and not referring to women born into Muslim families).
For example, there is this youtuber in her 20’s here (Australia) who converted to Islam, and she goes around filming with a camera in full niqab to the local Bunnings (huge hardware stores, similar size to USA walmart), to see how people react.
I am not doubting or judging anyone’s sincerity in their beliefs, but at the same time it’s almost like if you convert to Islam as a female, you then get this whole new identity as a “muslim woman”, and your whole life, world view, and everyday focus can be framed around whether you receive (perceived) discrimination, how people think of you and react to you, how people respond to your “visual” modesty, whether you were victimised (regardless of whether truly or from misperception), etc.
It can become like an identity. Whereas, if you are Catholic it’s just “life as usual”, so to speak…perhaps even perceived as a bit boring?
Maybe Islam seems more exciting that Christianity to some degree to some on a subconscious level?
When it comes to religion, is logic and reason good or bad?
Not just with Islam, but with Christianity also. For example a concept like the Holy Trinity, if we try to understand it with reason it probably won’t make sense.
I think a lot of Muslims reject the concept of God as a trinity, because it’s so hard to grasp with the human mind.
This is true, and if was just a case of human perception that would make sense. But because we talking about God, why would He want to lead two “groups” to two different ways?
Someone has to be right when there is a contradiction, (about Christ), but it doesn’t look like Muslims “are in a hurry” to change their beliefs, and likewise for Christians.
God being omnipotent and existing outside of time, knows in advance all this would happen, so…?
The Quran clearly states ‘Those who say, “Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary,” have certainly fallen into disbelief’, while the Bible states the opposite. So even if both worship the same one God but see Him differently (like with Trump), why would God himself allow this -polar opposite beliefs - to happen if God is not a God of confusion?
Also, when people become religious as a “psychological crutch”, is this good or unhealthy?
I am asking not solely in the context of Islam, but also in the context of Christianity.
For example, I have heard in passing some people say that God filled a hole in their heart.
I must admit though that I don’t really understand what that means.
If that is the case, but all others have died out but Islam for some reason flourished.
The reason is simple…Muslims believe it.
By the way, you mention the niqāb (earlier post). As you know, this is the face veil. It is not a requirement of Islam, but is cultural. Worn by puritan women, in the main.
The hijab - head covering - is required. The garment is something of a fashion statement among young Muslim women! You will be familiar with portraits of Mary. She is wearing a form of hijab.
Have a great day.
The requirement of hijab itself is also debatable amongst Muslims. Many many Muslim women from my background do not wear Hijab and dress exactly the same as Catholic and Orthodox women (with hair out).
Also, there are many Turkish Muslim women who don’t wear it. My neighbours are Turkish and they don’t wear a hijab.
Same story for some women in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and elsewhere.
(I am referring to everyday dressing, not how dress when go inside a Mosque).
I have no issue with the hijab, but I am aware that Muslims debate whether they believe “draw their khimār over their bosoms…” refers to just the chest area being covered generally, or refers to something must be covering the hair.
Either way, I leave that discussion to Muslims.
Indeed. My daughter (in-law) wears the hijab when it is required, as does her mum (who, being old) is not required to. My daughter’s aunt (in her 50s, I guess) never wears the hijab. It’s up to the conscience of the individual; and certainly not a matter for me!