Please consider sharing your experiences with religion and belief. :)

Hi, my name is Mike. I’m working on an interfaith project to learn about people’s experiences with religion and belief. In particular, I’m interested in learning about the things that people really value.

I was wondering if any religious people, whether Catholic or not, would be interested in sharing their experiences. Both positive and negative experiences are welcome.

Currently, I’m trying to display a collection of stories at: www.sharingreligion.com

Please take a look and consider sharing! Thank you for your time. :slight_smile:

I consider myself a lone wolf muslim-- I’m a muslim that [genrally] doesn’t fit in with other muslims. A lot of what calls itself Orthodox Islam is focused on the outward part of the Shariah, like prayer, zakat, marriage and being up-to-date on political issues. Those are great-- I’m not knocking that. However, in my experience, the ones who identify as ‘Ahlul Sunnah’, or ‘sunni’, often overlook the internal aspects of Shariah (intention, humility, compassion, patience, relishing in ecstasy, etc).

I also don’t like the fact that many muslims make dua, a form of prayer/supplication, because of circumstance, but not out of conviction. In other words, making dua when there’s something you need in the temporary world, but hardly ever making dua for spiritual things. Every Friday that I’ve been to a masjid, the Imam goes to the front of the congregation and says something to the effect of “Brothers and sisters, please make dua for so-and-so who’s injured in the hospital, please make dua for this person as well, who is about to undergo surgery…”…and on and on.

I’ve got nothing against praying for someone who’s sick or poor or whatnot, but, with all due respect to the Imam, what about praying for our community to see the sweetness of faith in the one true God? when’s the last time we prayed for more opportunities to share our message with the world? why treat the glorious gift of dua as if it’s a check list?

So, while many of my muslim brethren are arguing about their favorite scholars as if they’re sports fans arguing over which sports star is the best, I’m sitting in the corner, weeping over the Mercy of Allah azza wa jal. I’m too conservative for the non-religious, but I seem to be too liberal for many of my dear muslim brothers and sisters (they haven’t said that to me, but those are the vibes I’m picking up).

Within the four walls of a church building, I always hope that I will find something mystical, spiritual, something miles away from the mundane. Empty churches often have this quality for me (the older they are, the more I feel it) - but until I joined the Catholic Church this year I never found it during church services.

Acts of worship in the Anglican community were to me very much a “going through the motions” kind of thing. Even at a church I’d attended for many years, I always felt that I was the outsider, looking in - but maybe looking in at something that didn’t really mean much to me. It was kind of “oh yes, that’s what we do and say at church. And now we go home and get on with our lives”.

Catholic Masses are different. There are lots of “cradle Catholics” for whom the Mass is not something they just attend once a week, it’s something they have always had in their lives. It’s part of their make-up - they are Catholics with a capital “C”. For myself as a middle-aged convert, I can feel the connection with fellow-Catholics all over the world, whether I’m attending my home church or one in another country, which I do very often. I feel a sense of belonging and that sense of mysticism is now there for me, in the miracle of the Mass, as our priest always describes it.

Thank you very much (both of you) for sharing! :slight_smile:

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