Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Yer Blues

I got a little carried away with my last post, so I removed it. I couldn't help getting caught up in the blogging moment :) My apologies. I'm retaining bits of it in this one.

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?


Anonymous said...

I'm not as avid a reader as u (I blame college). If i were I too would've started reading books on other religions a long time ago. kudos to you. You make me want to be a better reader, one day I'll start using semicolons as you do =)

the only reading i see in my future is GRE prep when i go to CT for Spring break next week.

~u kno me

sojourness said...

You got me for a minute... I was trying to figure out who you were. I got it now ;)

GRE prep... don't remind me. At least you don't have to take the Lit Subject test *Screams* (Yes, Lit, I think I'm going to change back.)

What's in CT? E-mail me.

A. Estella Sassypants said...

Even though I haven't been commenting much, I just love this blog. You raise a lot of the questions I've dealt with or am still in the process of dealing with. I'm also a big believer in reading all you can about different perspectives. It always irks me when I run into people who think I'm a heathen for reading about other if it's an affront to my Christianity. I just want to be educated and well-rounded! I believe the more I know about other religions the stronger I will be in my own Christian faith.

Keep up the great blog! Brilliant as always, dahlin'!

sojourness said...

Thanks Andi :) I don't understand what people are afraid of. If what they believe is the truth, then what's the harm of looking around?

A. Estella Sassypants said...

Amen sista!

Kieran said...

Islam is wild... check out the mystics. *grins*

I don't think you're a fake seeker for what its worth. There are many ways of seeking, but room for fellowship along the road that makes the journey richer.

Can sorta relate to some of this, in my own way. I've always been pretty hard-core about questioning and seeking fearlessly, but I get lonely sometimes. Its important to have a home, and people to fellowship with along the way. For some that might be within a religion, others find it in other ways, but there's nothing wrong about grounding yourself in something. I believe each soul knows what it needs, and you seem to be seeking beauty and truth both within and outside the tradition you feel closest too. That's great. I stopped calling myself a Christian (or anything) for the longest time, but I've been going to church more again because in many ways it does still feel most like home for me, on a variety of levels. Ultimately God knows what I "am," so I'm not really worrying.

Speaking of labels, I need to get around to finding a handle around here. :)


sojourness said...

I plan on checking out the mystics as soon as my schedule frees up :)

I think the seeker's road is ultimately a lonely one. Even if you have friends that are doing the same thing, your journeys will be different.