It made me think how much of a religion do you have to adhere to and practice to consider yourself of that faith? It made me wonder how much of what I believe in resonates with Islam but most of all it made me question whether my interpretation of religion is the one I want to teach my child.
So I believe in one God, I believe he picked a dude to tell everyone else what he wanted to tell the world, that the person God picked was a real person, he didn't do magical things and feats, he just kinda backpacked with his homies and spread the word. Sometimes things got real, other times it was chill. I believe that God has angels that he delegates to because there are way too many things to be doing. I totally believe in souls and an afterlife because I just feel like there are connections and coincidences that we feel as humans that we just can't explain, I think ghosts are real but they are souls that couldn't let go for reasons only known to them. I don't really believe in an apocalypse just because that would take forever, unless there was a kiosk system. I mean by the time you are sentenced to eternal damnation you've been in line for a few millennia. I totally recognise science as an extension of religion but I think we take it too literally (as we do religion) and expect it to be unchanging - the world has been around for too long for us to think we have anything sussed and down. Where religion seems fantastical, I feel like science can explain it and vice versa - not entirely but sometimes. I don't pray 5 times a day, and I'll tell you why - because I remember God more than times than that a day. Also I feel like if you're doing just to please God and get into heaven, you aren't doing it for the right reasons, I've seen a few grown men that ought to know better, come out of Friday prayer and go into the Asian shop near by and gossip about his next door neighbours daughter or worse go out on the lash. I don't ever ask God to get me out of a situation or help me or whatever. When I want to 'pray' or 'be with God' or what ever you want to call it, I take some time out and sit quietly and think about what is bothering me - I mean he isn't going to answer and if he is; honey, I'm sorry to break it to you but you need to see a doctor. The reason I do this is because I feel like if God made me then there must be a bit of God somewhere in me. I feel like having a bit of time and clarity for a second is being with God -for me when you die you are said to 'be at peace' or 'in heaven with God' so being at peace is being with God, for me anyway. For instance when you pray you're meant to say all of these things in Arabic, that hold ancient meaning and context which is wonderful for those who wish to use them but I personally don't connect with it and I feel like that devalues it for me. I feel like I'm mocking it by just saying it - to me it should be felt and honest. I'm sure I was fluent in Arabic I would feel differently. I do not do anything to help me get into heaven because then I would be leading a fake life. I live my life the way I see fit and I am fully prepared to take all the consequences when I die, just as I would in life. I did the crime so I deserve the eternity burning in the fiery depths of hell, whilst the damned souls of other wrongdoers scream into the pain of their sins and the devil cackles in glee, doing the time. I do not believe that God has written anything other than your birth and death because everything in the middle seems to change. People marry and remarry, individuals come in and out of your life, you change over the years. Your choices are yours. That's why when people say "where is your god now?" I do not understand. God didn't do this, a person did. God has no control over people. I mean who wants that kind of responsibility. I mean I know God is almighty and whatnot but it just seems like a lot.
Some people need direction and I think religion can be that for them, if used appropriately and not taken to literally. I definitely think that religion was meant to use be a way of bettering yourself however I do think that people have distorted it as a way of life, regardless of what religion, all scholars from all seem to agree that religion is for the better of individuals you are meant to grow in a good way, you are meant to learn in a constructive manner and become the person you are, using these tools however people have decided to use these as reasons for war, retribution, discrimination and hatred. One book can be read by so many different people and will be interpreted in so many different ways and I feel that this is what has happened to religion.
If everyone became more concerned with the way they conduct themselves, rather the way others conduct themselves there would be less wars and more harmony between humans. I do not think you should judge a person on their religion, sexuality or gender but their merit as a human- if they are a bad person; then they are a bad person. It may be that they are hiding behind religion or society or personal issues but it boils down to that person, being a bad person. From which ever angle you look at it with, which ever reasons you sugar coat it with, with which ever way you try to justify it you are a bad person. I don't care why you did it, you still did it.
I desperately try not to judge people I try to be as open, accepting and understanding as I can be.
As a person with regards to how I conduct myself (now) I think there are a few things that I hold very highly in life:
1) Being a good person - whether that means being kind and helpful as possible to anyone without judgment or discrimination or it is not taking drugs and doing anyone in the vicinity. If I feel likes it's wrong then I'm not gunna do it and unless I'm responsible for you in some way I'm not gunna tell you how to live your life. I regularly give to charity and I know my husband does too. I really try not to hurt people with my actions but sometimes it happens.
2) Knowledge - I feel like there is so much in the world to know about and it is mine to know (unless I'm like wtf about it the it can stay unknown to me). Information is all around us and so readily available. God made this earth for us, so it's stands to reason that the things on it are ours - the good and the bad. I love to read and love to learn. Being able to use my brain to the capacity I can is a privilege and I appreciate it every day; especially when I go into a room and forget why I've gone in. We are human, we are flawed.
3) Cleanliness - It is not just because of my OCD that I believe in the cleanliness as a way of life it is that being clean makes me feel happy and peaceful. I love it I love to look at my son and see him nice and clean. I love looking at my husband and seen clean clothes on him. After a shower I feel human I feel better about myself cleanliness is just one of those things are use as a coping method.
Those are the things I believe in. They are my little things in life I do not like to veer away from.
It's interesting the things I get slated for, things that are actually really no one else's business. For instantance I don't wear a headscarf or make any attempt to cover my hair, I did used to; at one point in my life I did cover my hair but the I realised it made no difference to my "modesty". You can wear a scarf but it's not going to hide your personality, the second I open my goddamn mouth that headscarf may as well be a caterpillar. I used to get so many people saying "you should cover your hair", you should mind your own business, love; someone said that they like me less than other people because I don't wear it, I'm pretty sure I said "that's fine with me". I don't wear lose clothing that doesn't show my body shape or burkas or whatever. But I also don't own any skirts or low cut tops (that I would wear out, in the house I wear whatever). You can cover everything and there will still be a creep that checks you out, I've seen it a million time. He can't even see anything but he's still thinking about dat ass. I wear clothes that cover my skin, at most I have the skin of my forearms, neckline and maybe my feet uncovered. I don't feel the need to. I've known girls that never leave the house and are covered even in front of their dads and brothers that are filthy minded little ladies. I already covered why I don't pray. I don't agree with the notion that homosexuality is sin - it was probably said back then as a way to make sure people were procreating, because people died young and fear was very easy to monger and thinking was exceedingly differing. I mean back then women unable to bear children were shunned. I don't drink not because it's against religion but because I don't want to, the (really vague, entirely paraphrased version) story behind drinking being a sin is that a guy got smashed, missed prayer and then it was like "no drinking or anything intoxicating that guy missed prayer and other people might". From what I can tell it doesn't taste nice, smells bad, being drunk looks like no fun, hangovers don't sound great and I don't want that. Just because it is written down somewhere that you can't drink doesn't mean you aren't going to, you still have to make the choice to listen and not do it. It's still a choice. Like any thing, you have the choice. The law says don't kill and rape, people are still coming murder and raping. You still have to make the choice not to.
In general I'm just not very religious according to other Muslims. And "that's fine with me".
I've come to the conclusion that a lot of what I hold highly does resonate with the core beliefs, that I am a religious person but in a complete different way to what I'm expected to be by others, that I do want to teach my son what I believe but I also want him to find his own beliefs. I will always offer tools to him in all aspects of his life including religion until he is an adult, then it's his choice.
You cannot force anyone to see what you see, everyone has their own view. You can't make some feel exactly what you feel. And you sure can't compel anyone to believe in religion if it's not in their heart.
I think most of us have phases of religion and belief. Times where we throughly believe in the existence of God and others where it seems so hopeless that you genuinely feel like anyone who is allowing this to happen to you can't be real. I feel like we are expected to believe every single little detail and adhere to every rule that we are presented with that is associated with whichever religion we follow and that just isn't possible. It's just ludicrous to demand this.
I remember at a really tough time in my life, at a point where both the person saying it and I, were not really in the right state of mind, them turning to me saying that the reason why I was in such a situation was because I didn't believe in God and it was my own fault. I remember at the time wishing I could just die, I was so hurt and angry but now I think back on it I think in a warped way they were right.
I needed to be shown darkness and pain to really appreciate the life I now lead.
Back then I would have never have been able to even dream my life now. I felt so worthless and non-existent, I didn't think I deserved to be happy and that from the time I was born I was just a burden. I hated my dark skin, I hated my scars. I hated everything about me. But now I see that I'm nothing like that.
I'm the reason each morning a person is willing to get up and go to work to provide for me. I am the reason a child is healthy and happy. I am a reason. I am worthy, but I have worked hard to make myself so.
What I'm trying to say is that religion is like a diet. You have to use it in a way that is beneficial to you and helps you. The second it becomes negative, you aren't doing it right.
As always, love,