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hamayoun  
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bullet Topic: Conversion from Christianity to Islam: wh
    Posted: 14 April 2008 at 5:51pm
Salam

Bayleaf claims:

95% of the people who convert (period) from one religion to another begin their conversion on a spiritual and emotional level.  The quality of the religious experience is initially valued more than the intellectual facticity of the religion itself.  "What I know" about x fares very little in comparison "when I feel" a certain way due to y.  If y causes me to have faith in God, the supernatural, and the beyond, while x offers me very little in the way of spiritual exultation, then it is pure idiocy to remain subjugated to that which "feels" untruthful.

How true is this?  To answer this question, I am going to post a few replies from another forum I frequent where the question was asked of ex-Christians:

what does being muslim offer that christianity doesn't?

Look at the answers for yourselves, and ask if they imply spirtuality/emotion as opposed to what bayleaf calls "intellectual facticity".


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What Islam offers:

Oneness of God (swt)
Jesus (pbuh) as a prophet
Correction and clarity of God’s word
Higher level of spirituality and closeness to God (swt)
Modesty of dress
More focus on modesty of action
More focus on closeness to God (swt)
Less concern for the “things” of this world


There are actually many more things. Some of these things I guess could be found in Christianity. However, as a revert, I do not think Christianity has the level of understanding and commitment that you find in Islam. To fully understand the difference, you would have to go through it yourself. In Islam, I have found a higher level of spirituality that I do not think I could ever have achieved in Christianity.

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Reason and logic.
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In trying to do christianity better I became muslim. Islam cleared up the confusion in christianity and is complete. There was too many holes in christianity and too many questions...Islam answered them all...Islam offers completeness

Christianity, true and untainted is Islam
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Yes I once heard a teacher say the best christians are the Muslims. Islam offers the truth without confusion or doubt and to me that is the first and foremost thing that brings most of us to Islam is finding that clarity at last.
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closeness of the believers without even knowing eachother (example we give eachother salams in the street when we see our brother or sister)

Our Quran has never been manipulated which is not the case for the bible

What other faith prays in congregation the way we do?

There are rules for keeping your chasity and saving yourself for marriage (whereas anything goes in the christian faith)

We have a holy occassion once a year when MILLIONS of Muslims come together to worship Allah together in the same place.

We Muslims are submitters to Allah just as were all the prophets of bible.

The "zakat" we pay is used to benefit the whole Ummah- charity used in christianity usually ends up in the pastors pocket for new houses or bigger cars.

Islam in general offers peace of mind and heart. There's just so much more the list goes on and on...
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When I was a Christian, for many years I went to Sunday School, even Bible Study after school on Tuesdays at my neighbor's house, and Vacation Bible School in the summer at the church around the corner. All I remember about Sunday school in Darby at the Presbyterian Church (less than 5 years old) was Jesus and Mary and Joseph, and one time when we were walking there some bird poop landed on my head. The only thing I remember from Bible Study is that we only liked to go because Mrs Herd always gave us pretzels and juice. And from vacation bible school, I only remember doing arts and crafts and learning the lord's prayer.

So anyway, I say all of this to say that I didn't know much about my religion growing up as a Christian. My mom was an ex-catholic that converted to Lutheranism to marry my dad, who is as godless as they come as far as I could tell.... When I was about 16, maybe 17 I saw this movie called the Prince of Egypt, when the movie came on, there were words on the screen talking about the Hebrews and my mom said, this is a true story, the story of Moses, it's in the Bible.

And when I watched the movie, I learned something that I had never known, and was embarassed that I didn't know that. So basically, after that I started reading the Bible because I wanted to know my religion, wanted to be more spiritual..... and when I read the Bible things were not adding up to me, they weren't making sense, they were contradictory. Namely, the whole Jesus being God's son, Jesus being God thing, as well as why do we pray to Jesus, and where did this "holy spirit" come from? Reading the Bible did not clear these things up for me. Islam did.

None of that stuff in the Bible, the Christian views of Jesus made sense to me, but in the Quran I saw logic. It made sense to me. It didn't seem like lies, and there were logical explanations... so that's what I mean by reason and logic. Especially where Isa (pbuh) is concerned, who he was, what happened to him, etc.

There are several other things that Islam offers besides the truth, but I only mention this as it was the Bible and these things that led me to Islam.
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The five pillars are not present in Christianity, not in the same form.

Shahadah--For Muslims, faith is community, it's not just a private thing (although part of it is private.) The testimony of faith is done in front of witnesses so the community can acknowledge a person as a Muslim, so the community knows them as one. The creed is that there is nothing else worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad was his Messenger--this affirms faith in all prophets prior to Him, and that the Qur'an is the word of God. There's nothing unclear about it. Being a Muslim implies belief in those things.

Salaat--The idea of ritual worship, particularly prayer, is not in Christianity. The point of having a ritual is not so much to force it, but to help the person remember God throughout the day, like a kind of break from the world to concentrate on God. Prayer is also personal, but this particular form of worship joins the entire community together since it's encouraged to pray with other Muslims, and it also ties the community because it's also encouraged to pray it at the mosque. And this is every day, so the reminder is constant. This prayer is a form of worship, and as such there is no equivalent in Christianity.

Zakat--Charity is part of every religion but Islam even mandates where the charity goes, to ensure it pays for the poor. It doesn't go into the pockets of clergymen, for example.

Ramadan--a whole month of fasting during the day is something special in Islam. the concept of fasting is not unique to Islam but in this form, from dawn to sunset, for a month out of the year, is the difference. 30 days is a real commitment, and is also very rewarding.

Hajj--the mandatory pilgrimage (for anyone who can afford it) is also special, because this keeps Muslims all over the world bound to one single thing, and they gather in Mecca, Muslims of every size and color, for the sole purpose of worshiping God. That is very special.

So all in all, these pillars I think are special in Islam. Not because the concepts are new, but the way they are practiced, and Muslims all over the world do them all exactly the same way! That's the miracle of it.

Also, I think the prayer that Muslims have is something very special... here it is:

In the name of Allah, the Merciful the Compassionate
All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds
The Merciful, the Compassionate
Master of the Day of Judgment
You do we worship and your help we seek
Show us the straight path
The path of those on whom you have bestowed your grace,
not whose portion is wrath, nor those who went astray.

The constant request for guidance shows that Muslims don't assume they have all the answers and are invariably correct all the time in their understanding. They ask God for guidance continuously, in all matters.

This form of worship, I think, does not exist in equivalent form in Islam, and it's what ties Muslims together around the world.
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Islam has offered a complete way of life, which guides us through everything from our purpose here in life to the way we dress and interact with others. Islam is not a faith that only emerges once a week, or on holidays, but from the time one wakes up for their first prayer (Fajr) and all throughout the day. We are in constant reminder of Allah (swt) and what our duty is towards Him (swt). In Islam our faith is always there and our minds are always on Allah (swt) which helps keeps us from straying into wrong behavior, from focusing on the material world, and we never forget there are consequences for our actions.

Islam offers a sense of peace because we are never alone and we know Allah (swt) is always there watching over us, and even when we slip up He (swt) is most forgiving. When one embraces Islam they also gain a huge family of brothers and sisters who are also on the same journey,and its our obligation to help one another along the way.

Islam is beautiful in its simplicity, that there is one God (swt) and Muhammed (pbuh) is his messenger, the beautiful Qur'an (unaltered since it was first revealed) guides us and answers our questions.



I just never had this peace with Christianity, and could not take the religion seriously. It confused me and I could not accept that God (swt) had a son. Now I know Jesus (pbuh) was a great prophet, and that there is only one God (swt) pure and simple
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May Allah give me patience, Ameen.

My blog: http://regularbaba.blogspot.com/
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hamayoun  
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 5:53pm
Salam

More replies.

Islam cleared up confusions at a time in my life when I was completely confused about religion. I could not accept what I was being taught in church, not the Pentacostal ones my mom was attending, not the Baptist ones I had seen as a child. I would go to bookstores and libraries and read about other religions, but my heart was with Islam. I was fortunate enough to work with a knowledgable, down to earth Muslim man who would debate with my mom often, and everything he said would just confirm what my heart was telling me.

Can't say exactly what it is.... the whole 'three gods in one' put me off to Christianity. Islam does not offer that confusion. I could not comprehend the idea that a man, flesh and blood just like me, died for my sins, and the sins of everyone in history, the present, the future... Just seemed so unreal to me. But, Islam cleared this up for me.

There is also the way of life. There is not the concept that you can go get drunk and sleep around, then go to get forgiveness or go to confession once a week. Islam keeps your focus on good, on God, and doing the right thing on a daily basis. This helped a lot, after watching a drunk step father going to pray for forgiveness every Sunday.

The treatment of women, esp mothers, helped me a lot. If it weren't for Islam, I would not have given a second thought to my mom. I felt she had failed me in my life, and I didn't want much, if anything to do with her. But Islam told me different. And after learning what Islam teaches about mothers, my heart opened up to my own. We became close, alhamdulillah. I hate to think what may have happened to her when she got sick, had I not been around.

There is just all this that I found in Islam, and much more, that I never seen in Christianity.
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what islam gives me that christianity did not..............1). direction. islam is very very definite about nearly everything you need to know to live a proper life while on earth. when i was a christian, all i knew were the 10 commandments and just tried to be like jesus, pbuh. otherwise it was just, "be a good girl and you will go to heaven." 2). a better understanding of the oneness of God that i never really understood before. i didnt even know that i needed to understand it until i studied islam. 3). a fantastic closeness with the muslim community. oh yes, as a christian, we were always hugging and kissing at church but as soon as the other turned his/her back we were biting it!!! i dont dare do that anymore. and ppl accept you as you are. i dont have to worry about what clothes im wearing to the masjid. and i know if i ever needed anything at all, as a muslim i could turn to another muslim and receive what i needed no matter what it is. 4). self respect. not saying that i didnt as a christian, but i really know the meaning now. whereas i would even go to church sometimes with a bit of cleavage showing, i wouldnt dare even go to the mall or grocery store with anything showing!!! and i certainly dont require the attention of others (men)!!! 5). acceptance of ppl with different cultures. i have always been very accepting of ppls differences but now i am surrounded by muslims from all parts of the world and literally live in the middle of a hodgepodge of cultures and nationalities!! its great. as a christian, the ppl are the same. we're like homogenized milk. we all fit the cookie cutter profile at church. we never dared to be different!!! 6). the Qu'ran - need i say more?
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Islam offers so many things that Christianity does not. Let's see if I can list them all. I doubt it, but I shall try.

1. Complete and total monotheism. There is no Trinity and no worshiping of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as gods. The only god is Allah!

2. Guidance from all of Allah's prophets. Christianity offers the guidance of all prophets except Muhammad. Christians do not believe in his teachings, though there is more proof of his existence than even that of Jesus.

3. The Holy Quran. The Bible was written from many men, even though it claims to be the word of God. But over the years, Christian churches have been at odds about what books will be part of the Bible, etc. Whole books have been left out. But that's not the case with the Quran. It stands just as it did when it was revealed to Muhammad, mashAllah!

4. Modesty among the sexes. Both men and women are required to be modest, both in appearance and in their hearts. Christianity puts the blame on women for everything. That goes all the way back to Eve, blaming her for the beginning of sin in the world. But in Islam, women and men are truly equals and must guard their own modesty and cannot be blamed for the faults of others.

5. Direct communication with Allah. In Christianity, people often prayed through saints or Jesus to get to God. That's not the case here. Muslims pray directly to Allah without having an intermediary.

6. A true brotherhood/sisterhood among all Muslims. Once you become a Muslim, you are part of a very large family of people from across the world who are united in the belief of Islam. Muslims come from all countries and are comprised of men and women from all races and nationalities. A Muslim is a Muslim, no matter what color or gender you are. And we all respect and embrace that as part of our ever growing community of believers, inshAllah!
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May Allah give me patience, Ameen.

My blog: http://regularbaba.blogspot.com/
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 6:51pm
What was the point of this post hamayoun?

No one denies that islam offers different things than christianity and judaism.

This comparison is invalid because christianity offers things that islam does not, things that a christian values that muslims do not.

I strived to be muslim, but it does not offer the Truth to me, anymore so than christianity or judaism or any other faith.

I was asked to enumerate my problems with islam in another thread, and I have done so.

In the end my conclusion is that islam is the made up faith of a well intentioned man called mohammed.



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hamayoun  
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 6:54pm
The point of the thread is to show, contrary to bayleaf's claim, that when people leave Christianity for Islam, the #1 reason is because the concept of God in Islam is much more logical and far less confusing than that in Christianity.
May Allah give me patience, Ameen.

My blog: http://regularbaba.blogspot.com/
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 7:06pm
Originally posted by hamayoun

The point of the thread is to show, contrary to bayleaf's claim, that when people leave Christianity for Islam, the #1 reason is because the concept of God in Islam is much more logical and far less confusing than that in Christianity.


I think muslims like to believe this.

However the "concept" of G_D is in and of itself an illogical concept.

It is based on a belief - a belief and a desire to have control over the world we live in.

We believe in G_D because we cannot explain our world completely.

As our understanding of the world increases, we will have more control over it, as our control over our environment increases we will have less need for our belief in G_D.

As I explained to you, wealthy educated muslims from your own homeland are, for the most part, only nominally muslim.
I posit the reason for this is because they were in more control of their environment than their compatriots.

As to whether christianity or islam is more logical I would argue that since the concept is illogical to start with both definitions of G_D are illogical.

It hardly matters if our intellect can grasp one notion more clearly than then other.

In fact I would have to say that neither notion is logical - the simplest example of this is

How can Allah be contained by his own construct - Jannah.
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 7:07pm
Alhamdulilah!  Thank you for posting these.

Some of these stories sound so much like what I was going through.   Growing up Religion played a big part in my life... I think it was what kept me behaving for so long.  I went to Church most every sunday, was an 'alter girl' (not enough boys, Episcopal Church).  I went to confirmation class, learned things about the bible and went on spiritual retreats as a teenager.

I prayed every night... had a fear of God, but started to go astray when I went away to college, got a little crazy, did stupid things etc... anyway... once I got married (in that same episcopal church) we started our lives together and tried to go to church but never really made it.  

Fast forward about 5 years and my husbands mom died suddenly at 50 years old.  I was 7 months pregnant at the time.  Death is a strange thing, it either brings you closer to your faith or pushes you away.  We tried very hard to find a church to go to, somewhere that would help him with his grief, but it was not as easy as you might think.  They didn't seem to have time for us.  In any case we found a church and got our son baptized.  It was a nice place with a nice pastor, BUT we ended up moving back to CT to be closer to his family. 

Again, another 5 years go by and I really want to get back to religion.  I start to read the bible, look at stuff online, call churches to see which one would be good to go to.  Do you know that not ONE of the 1/2 dozen churches I called ever called back??!?!  I guess that was some guidance right there!  Both my husband and I started to read the bible... it was interesting to say the least.. right  around this time I met someone in a chat room for weight loss (I was trying to sell supplements, lol) he was from Morocco and we started to talk about Islam.  He was very good, never pushy or anything, just told me the basics and asked me questions about my faith.  After a few chat sessions I went out and found a quran and started to read it.  It was truly amazing what was contained in that book.  It made so much sense.  At the time I didn't understand anything about how it was revealed or who Muhammad even was...

So, I went on with studying Islam.  Read books, read the Quran, read hadith, talked to  A LOT of people about it and it just became more and more clear.  My Moroccan friend told me to find a quiet place, cover my hair and ask God to guide me.  I did that, and felt an amazing peace and calm.  At that point there was nothing holding me back.  It was the truth.  Alhamdullilah I was guided to the straight path.
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 7:09pm
Originally posted by algebra

Originally posted by hamayoun

The point of the thread is to show, contrary to bayleaf's claim, that when people leave Christianity for Islam, the #1 reason is because the concept of God in Islam is much more logical and far less confusing than that in Christianity.


I think muslims like to believe this.

However the "concept" of G_D is in and of itself an illogical concept.

It is based on a belief - a belief and a desire to have control over the world we live in.

We believe in G_D because we cannot explain our world completely.

As our understanding of the world increases, we will have more control over it, as our control over our environment increases we will have less need for our belief in G_D.

As I explained to you, wealthy educated muslims from your own homeland were, for the most part, only nominally muslim.
I posit the reason for this is because they were in more control of their environment than their compatriots.



are you ever a happy guy?  And honestly I'm sad for you that you can't find the truth in anything.
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 7:49pm
Thank you, Hamayoun, for posting material from your Even Angels Ask forum - a site dedicated, for the uninitiated who may not know of what I refer, where reverts can come and feel a sense of belonging.  It's sort of like Cheers, except without tasty cold ones or Woody Harrellson.
 
Now, it's obvious, Hamayoun, that you've forgotten you're own conversion when you were the young, autoerotic adolescent that you were, crushing on your dear beloved cousin.  But take a closer look at the replies which your cronies have posted.  Take a look even at jamilah's latest response!  The very first quote which you copy and paste mentions twice the greater level of spirituality experienced within Islam as opposed to Christianity.  The second and third quotes state that Islam cleared up "the confusion" or offered "clarity" (which hardly hints at the 'reason' or 'logic' which you arbitrarily categorize these statements as).  And I'm absolutely befuddled how you could categorize the next statement as suggesting this individual converted due to reason and logic.
 
Is it so unspeakable if a person chooses to convert based on faith, rooted in heartfelt spirituality and emotion, rather than the intellectual facticity which you seem to be so gung-ho about?  Do you even know what the word "convert" means?  Or are you still so busy chomping at the bit creating WhyIslam's own Hezbollah that you've forgotten the basics of true conversion?
 
I remember during the days when I was Muslim that you used to proclaim to the Christians on this forum, "bayleaf [is home] is a Religious Studies major, and he knows a thing or to about religion."  Funny, now that I'm on the other side you've seemed to have forgotten your own advice.
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 8:16pm
Bay

EAA is not like cheers at all, so please spare us the non witty comments. 


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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 8:30pm

I cannot say it was exactly one or the other.. heart or mind. .it was both..

You know you can argue that "wealthy" Muslims are more secular cause theyhave more control of their environment.. or it can be said they have been corrupted.. for greed and arrogance are diseases of the heart.  All the money in the world does not stop one from dying.. What they may have done, for you are juding a whole gorpu of people. But they haves sold themselves to this life.

We are mosre secular because we want to beleive material possessions matter.. and really they matter little..  Al lthe junk won't matter when this part of your journey is over.

And if they were more pious they would realize their challenge is to NOT be greedy, to give charity. We all have different tests..  If they were less secular they would have to think about that their thoughts, actions and deeds are being watched.

 

 

 

 

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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 8:48pm
Originally posted by hamayoun

Our Quran has never been manipulated which is not the case for the bible

 

Ham, this statement is debatable.



Originally posted by hamayoun

What other faith prays in congregation the way we do?

There are rules for keeping your chasity and saving yourself for marriage (whereas anything goes in the christian faith)

 

My husband and I were the first to know each other. Saying anything goes in the Christian faith is a very broad generalization and extremely unfair because it assumes rampant fornication among Christians and absolutely none among Muslims. How do you know this? Are chastity belts still in use in Islam?


Originally posted by hamayoun



We have a holy occassion once a year when MILLIONS of Muslims come together to worship Allah together in the same place.

 

And this proves what?


Originally posted by hamayoun


We Muslims are submitters to Allah just as were all the prophets of bible.

 

In truth, the prophets of the Bible submitted to Yahweh.


Originally posted by hamayoun


The "zakat" we pay is used to benefit the whole Ummah- charity used in christianity usually ends up in the pastors pocket for new houses or bigger cars.

 

Could I dispel this complaint if I submitted a breakdown of the distribution of funds to various missionaries, a photo of our pastor’s 1991 Buick Regal, purchased used, and subject to frequent repairs normally done by the pastor?


Originally posted by hamayoun


Islam in general offers peace of mind and heart. There's just so much more the list goes on and on...

 

This peace of mind and heart seems to be insufficient for some Muslims. Or is there something else inherent in the beliefs that cause riots over cartoons?
 

Originally posted by hamayoun


 Ramadan--a whole month of fasting during the day is something special in Islam. the concept of fasting is not unique to Islam but in this form, from dawn to sunset, for a month out of the year, is the difference. 30 days is a real commitment, and is also very rewarding.

 

30 days of giving up food during daylight hours, ostensibly. Try a real say four day fast sometime if you’re interested in learning about the spiritual side of fasting.


Originally posted by hamayoun


Hajj--the mandatory pilgrimage (for anyone who can afford it) is also special, because this keeps Muslims all over the world bound to one single thing, and they gather in Mecca, Muslims of every size and color, for the sole purpose of worshiping God. That is very special.

So all in all, these pillars I think are special in Islam. Not because the concepts are new, but the way they are practiced, and Muslims all over the world do them all exactly the same way! That's the miracle of it.

 

Read a book called Thought Contagion sometime.



Originally posted by hamayoun


The constant request for guidance shows that Muslims don't assume they have all the answers and are invariably correct all the time in their understanding. They ask God for guidance continuously, in all matters.

 

Am I to assume you are making assumptions about Christians thinking they have God all figured out? Speaking for myself, that is not the case. I can’t hold a discussion with any teacher about some student without needing guidance from God.

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Originally posted by hamayoun

Islam has offered a complete way of life, which guides us through everything from our purpose here in life to the way we dress and interact with others. Islam is not a faith that only emerges once a week, or on holidays, but from the time one wakes up for their first prayer (Fajr) and all throughout the day. We are in constant reminder of Allah (swt) and what our duty is towards Him (swt). In Islam our faith is always there and our minds are always on Allah (swt) which helps keeps us from straying into wrong behavior, from focusing on the material world, and we never forget there are consequences for our actions.

 

Here again you are generalizing unfairly, thinking that my faith is only important to me on Sunday.


Originally posted by hamayoun

Islam is beautiful in its simplicity, that there is one God (swt) and Muhammed (pbuh) is his messenger, the beautiful Qur'an (unaltered since it was first revealed) guides us and answers our questions.

 

Again, the unaltered nature of the Qur’an is debatable



Originally posted by hamayoun

I just never had this peace with Christianity, and could not take the religion seriously. It confused me and I could not accept that God (swt) had a son. Now I know Jesus (pbuh) was a great prophet, and that there is only one God (swt) pure and simple


Can't say exactly what it is.... the whole 'three gods in one' put me off to Christianity. Islam does not offer that confusion. I could not comprehend the idea that a man, flesh and blood just like me, died for my sins, and the sins of everyone in history, the present, the future... Just seemed so unreal to me. But, Islam cleared this up for me.
 

 

When you think in three dimensions, this confusion is understandable. Give God credit for not being bound by time and space as you and I are. “Flesh and blood”, yes, but  “just like you”? Not hardly. Islam cleared it up for you how; by saying it’s not true therefore making life easier in that you don’t have to consider the possibility? That sounds intellectually dishonest to me. I don’t want to have to deal with it, so I’ll ignore it. Mohammed said I could.

Originally posted by hamayoun

There is also the way of life. There is not the concept that you can go get drunk and sleep around, then go to get forgiveness or go to confession once a week. Islam keeps your focus on good, on God, and doing the right thing on a daily basis. This helped a lot, after watching a drunk step father going to pray for forgiveness every Sunday.

 

No Christian who really understands their faith will look at sin in this way. The price paid to rectify the problem of sin was too great to not view sin as an extremely serious matter, not something that can be confessed and forgiven lightly.



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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 9:32pm
all of the things in Hamayouns post are what reverts have said about why they reverted.  Its not a challenge to anyone to dispute them but our reasons why we did what we did. 

And I really find your dissing Ramadan to be a bit rude, but whatever.  When you talk of 'real' fasting are you saying you wont eat or drink anything for 4 days? 
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Squeegie  
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 10:24pm
I will drink water, sometimes flavored with a little lemon. For three days prior to a fast, there is a decrease in caloric intake, then it is just water for four days. But it did take me a number of months to work up to a four day fast.

Fasting without food or water is very tricky business and should not be engaged in without very clear guidance from God.

The intent was not to be disrespectful. When I hear about a fast that lasts from sunup to sundown, it strikes me as something less than the sort of fast I'm talking about, that's all.
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jamilahz  
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bullet Posted: 14 April 2008 at 10:35pm
Try to not eat or drink anything for 15 hours everyday for 30 days... its not easy...

We fast during Ramadan because it was commanded by Allah to do so.
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