I feel that since I'm being completely honest here, I might as well articulate my goals a little better. I admit that I am not interested in converting to another religion. Christianity means too much to me, and it has made sense to me for years. My aim is primarily to dispel all dissatisfaction I have with Christianity so that I can embrace it again. I realize that this new and improved faith will probably be quite different than what I am used to, but that's the exciting part :) Hopefully the foundation will be the same.
I understand that I am exposing myself as a somewhat phony seeker. I'm sure that courage (well, the lack thereof) plays a role. Prior to my father's accident a few months ago, I was a lot more open to other things. The other day I was in the lounge on campus and I had a conversation with Faithful and Agnostic. Faithful was telling us that his father began going to church regularly after a tragedy occurred. Agnostic said that his mother has gotten religious on him lately in response to a tragedy as well. This is what has happened in my life. I find this somewhat sad. It makes me feel like I'm using God as an over-the-counter antidepressant or something. Lewis addresses this as well (sorry to keep referencing him, but I'm reading him right now!). He says that the reason God allows pain in our lives is because we are going about our lives, disregarding Him, wrapped up in other things, and when pain strikes we cling to Him. Painful things happen more than once (and sometimes often) because as soon as the pain is relieved, we drop God and run to the nearest substitute. Lewis gave an analogy he got from a friend: God is like an emergency parachute that you hope you'll never have to use.
That being said, the reason that I'm looking at other religions is because I believe that there are elements of truth in all of them, and I'd like to accumulate as much truth as I can. Perhaps I can incorporate it into what I believe. Why not? Spirituality doesn't have to be the rigid, categorical system people make it out to be. "You're either a Christian or you're not, and if you are, you have no business reading the Qur'an." I don't agree with that.
Speaking of which, I have been reading a book called Towards Understanding Islam by Abul A'la Mawdudi. Some guys were giving out free copies the other day, so I got one. It has been interesting. So far, I haven't come across anything radically different than what I've been raised believing. If anything, it is just more intense.
"Islam is an Arabic word meaning submission, surrender, and obedience. As a religion, Islam stands for complete submission and obedience to God [...]" (1-2).Mawdudi raises the point that everyone and everything is already obeying God's law. The sun obeys it when it rises and sets. We obey it when we sleep and eat and perform typical human functions. But there is another level at which we have free will, and we can choose Islam or disbelief. Sound familiar?