Jihad against the Jihad

I’m starting to feel like the town crier. I mean, I don’t know how many times I have personally expressed it in my blog or have read it on other blogs, but there are many Muslims just like myself, who without a shadow of a doubt believe that our religion has been for lack of a better word “hijacked”. We know without a shadow of a doubt, that what Islam actually teaches versus what some Muslims are doing, tends to be two different things. This of course, is more prevalent when analyzing Muslims who use the word jihad frequently to express or even attempt at explaining their actions.

It’s quite obvious to most Muslims, these basic truths, but the problem isn’t with those of us who know, it’s with those of us who do not. What can we possibly do as Muslims to “take back” Islam from those who we know have misused our religion as a cover for their evil intentions? How do we in essence fight a Jihad against the Jihad?

Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’m talking about some easy task. In fact, I intend to criticize the idea a little, in order to attempt at creating a discourse to promote ideas pertaining to the subject.

What irritates me most is this idea that somehow us “moderates” or “good” Muslims aren’t doing “enough”. I mean, what is it that we can do? What is it that we aren’t already doing? I know it to be true, that through a myriad of medium we are doing something, hell this blog and others are a form of it. I know that there are countless Fatwa’s issued, Imams speaking out, organizations, and individuals etc. that are in fact speaking out. But is this even enough? What is enough?

Non-Muslims oft criticize that we don’t stand up and speak out, well I have said on many occasion, that I feel that is a false accusation. However, the reality is, they perceive it that way. We should all know by now that the media is barely going to show our interfaith marches, unity walks, conferences, or show footage from a “moderate” Imam or cleric that condemns these “radicals” so who should be the blame? Oftentimes, I like many others believe it should be the media, and that is correct on so many levels, but at the same time, if there were nothing “sensational” to report, then what would we have to blame?

Granted, I’m not saying we should be just as “radical” as the “radicals” but in a way, we have to do radical things, I’m afraid. Why don’t we have a Million Muslim March or something? I mean think about it: Farrakhan was able to get a Million some say more, black men and women, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. to come together not once, but twice to address problems in the black community, I was as the last one btw. So why can’t we do the same? I mean obviously, we would be scared of getting dogs set loose on us, or God only knows what other fearful tactic would arise to undermine the event, but heh its worth a try.

Like the actual Million Man March, while all of its ideas were not realized by everyone, at least at the bare minimum the public would know where we stand as a community and what we hope to achieve. Furthermore, we can stop coming on TV arguing about 24, Gitmo, the Pope, or Cartoons. Yes, these things are hurtful, disrespectful, etc. But our interviews do us more harm than good. The media sets us up. Something happens, and they find some Muslim that oftentimes doesn’t speak English well, and they talk too fast, never gives the guy a chance, and in the end, try to skew the interview to verify their propaganda. The almost always pick a foreign born Muslim too, so as to promote the idea the Islam is a foreign religion incompatible with America. Maybe it would be in our best interest to stop accepting their invites, and when we have issues about what others say or do to or about the SYMBOLS of our faith, let’s talk about it at home or in the Mosque.

Now, the Marine in me does believe to a degree that maybe we should raise Muslim Armies to fight “radicals” I mean, let’s get all the non-Muslim Militaries out of our lands, and send in Muslim Armies to restore order and true Islam. I know, Muslim versus Muslim, is never a good or even Halal thing, however, what other options are there?

Would it make more sense to allow a suicide bomber to kill innocent Muslim men, women, and children by the thousands, or just kill the suicide bomber and those like him? I hate the lesser of two evils argument just like the next guy, but we have to be real about what’s at stake.

Right now, on almost every continent you have a Muslim presence. Most Muslims live in non-Muslim lands, and are law abiding citizens who mind their business. There are also Muslims in Muslim lands trying to do the same, however all of us are under the constant threat of death by “radical” Muslims. There are those in Muslim lands like Iraq, who can’t even go to work, school, or to buy food without the very real threat of dying, and there are those in the West who are constantly harassed because they are Muslim because of what is perceived of us, because of the actions in the East. Granted the two aren’t equal, but it could be. What would happen in America if like in “24” a nuke went off in America? Even if in the end it was the Russians, it would be too late, because there could be riots and death everywhere because of “perception”.

Why should we let it come to that? Why should our brothers in sisters in the East have to suffer under the death and oppression of “radicals” who blow themselves up and hostile and oppressive governments? Should we not consider the very real possibility that this reality could spread to the West?

What are we prepared to do about it? Granted, we can say “Salaam but the US did this, the West did that, the Media does this…etc” and yes, you would be right, however, I think it’s safe to say that most of the oppression and death to Muslims is not caused by the US, West, Media, or Israel, but fellow Muslims. US troops aren’t killing Sunni and Shia by the hundreds; the West isn’t enslaving and raping Muslimahs in Sudan, not to mention the honor killings, abuse of women, injustice, and lack of freedom in the “Muslim” world.

Allah (swt), commands us to fight with those who fight with us, for persecution and oppression is worse than slaughter, we are to fight them until fighting is no more and religion is for God Alone, right? Well brothers and sisters, can we at least agree that by an overwhelmingly large margin that those who oppress, persecute, and destroy our religion are not outsiders, but more so insiders? Can we not see that it’s time we fight back with those who fight with us, to end oppression and restore justice in the house of Islam? The Prophet (saw) taught us to hate those things that Allah (swat) hates, and to ACTIVELYdo something about it, even at the bare minimum, hate it in your heart. But even then, what’s in the heart should manifest itself in words and deeds.

As Salaam Alaikum

Israeli Cabinet Approves First Muslim Minister

According to this article on Yahoo, Israel has appointed its first Muslim cabinet minister. Of course, this appointment isnt without controversy, however I wanted to share this article, primarily to promote optimism.

I can already imagine what other “Muslim” bloggers are saying, however I just wanted to state for the record that I pray that this works out, and it isnt the last appointment. I pray that it is a step in the right direction.

From the article:

“Israel’s parliament has always had Arab lawmakers — today, they number 13 members out of 120. But the country has had only one Arab Cabinet minister before: Salah Tarif, a Druse, who was appointed in 2001 and forced to resign nine months later under a cloud of corruption allegations.

This appointment was more contentious because Muslim and Christian Arabs, unlike the Druse, don’t serve in the army and have a weaker identification with Israel.

Arabs lag behind Israel’s Jewish population in income, education and standard of living, and have long lacked representation in government commensurate with their numbers.”

Well, it could be window dressing, but I don’t want to feed into the negative conspiracy theories. Either way we will see.

Time to hold our Senators accountable


Sen. Kennedy wants “no strings attached” to the bill.

The Minimum Wage Bill hit a “snag” in the Senate on January 25, 2007. It was rejected with a vote of 54 – 43. The Senators in favor of the Bill would have needed 60 votes to pass the bill. For those that don’t know what the Bill entailed, the bill would increase the wage to $7.25 from the current $5.15 in three steps, but without tax breaks. The argument from the opposed would was that small businesses would need to get a break. My question is, what exactly is a small business? How do you define it. But more importantly, why is it that Congress doesnt seem to have a problem raising their income no less that 9 times in the last decade, but can’t seem to do the same for the American people? I mean who needs the raise more? A bunch of millionares or the working class?

We the People of this United States, need to learn how to take our government back and make it not only accountable to us, but also representative to us. Although I don’t often agree with Senator Kennedy, I believe he said it best

“Our colleagues in the House came together — Democrats and Republicans — and they passed a minimum wage bill with no strings attached,” he said.

Low-wage workers “deserved the same respect from the Senate,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We should have passed this bill today and put it before the president for his signature this afternoon. We will not rest until we do right by working families.”

“Why can’t we do just one thing for minimum-wage workers, no strings attached, no giveaways for the powerful?”

I will say this, Im proud of my 2 Senators from Virginia: Senators Warner (R) and Webb (D), because they had the integrity to vote for what is right, regardless of party. I highly recommend you find out who and how your Senator voted, and contact them and express your concerns on this issue, for or against, but make your Senators represent you. Here is breakdown on the votes for this bill:

Vote Summary

Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on H.R.2 )

Vote Number: 23 Vote Date: January 24, 2007, 12:01 PM

Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Cloture Motion Rejected

Measure Number: H.R. 2

Measure Title: A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.

Vote Counts: YEAs 54
NAYs 43
Not Voting 3

Grouped By Vote Position
YEAs —54
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Casey (D-PA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Warner (R-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

NAYs —43
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)

Not Voting – 3
Brownback (R-KS)
Carper (D-DE)
Johnson (D-SD)

Grouped by Home State

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Nay Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Nay McCain (R-AZ), Nay
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Yea
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Nay Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Not Voting
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Nay Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Nay Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Obama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Not Voting Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Yea Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Lott (R-MS), Nay
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Tester (D-MT), Yea
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Nay Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Nay Sununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Domenici (R-NM), Nay
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Dole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Yea Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Nay
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Not Voting Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Virginia: Warner (R-VA), Yea Webb (D-VA), Yea
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Enzi (R-WY), Nay Thomas (R-WY), Nay

Source:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=1&vote=00023

Hyphenated Islam

What is it with this new politically correct characterization of Islam? I mean, we can’t just be Muslims anymore; we are now grouped in nice, little categories, to make others feel comfortable about whom or what we are.

We are not just Muslims; we are “moderate”, “liberal”, “fascist”, “radical”, “extremist”, “terrorist”, “progressive” etc. Who decides what box do any particular individual Muslim belongs in? Are we even grouped as individuals in the first place?

Personally, I don’t believe in such labels. I believe you are either Muslim or not. You either believe in Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw) or you do not. Once that is defined, you either submit to Allah (swt) or follow the Sunnah, or not.

Think about this for a minute: What exactly is a moderate, liberal, progressive, radical, or extremist Muslim? If you’re “moderate” does that mean that you are neither conservative nor liberal? What is conservative or liberal Islam? What’s a fundamentalist? Aren’t all Muslims supposed to be practicing the fundamentals of Islam? Does liberal imply that you casually practice Islam? If you’re “progressive” what does that make other Muslims? Does that mean we are “regressive”? What does that imply?

We have to be very careful in this day and age to not be so quick to fall into the traps of definitions. We have to ensure that there is no atmosphere to allow others to define us according to their comfort levels.

What is this whole “radical” or “extremist” title? Is it not a subjective accusation? I mean one who opposes someone else, might believe they are a liberator or a revolutionary, a patriot; the other party may call them a radical, extremist, or terrorist. So when this accusation is levied, we should examine not only the accuser, but also the subject from whence they reason…or not, their position.

Case in point: In America’s fight for Independence from Britain, who was who? How did the Colonists (Revolutionaries) view themselves, as opposed to how Britain or the King of England viewed them?

Now I’m not going to be a hypocrite and act as if I’m not guilty of using these titles as well in my discourses, nor am I stating that sometimes, they “may” serve a purpose. However, if we analyze these titles, we can find many an error. My overall point is we should be very careful in our choosing of these titles and or associations.

This doesn’t just apply to the PC groupings but also the divisive ones we impose on ourselves. Where in the Quran did Allah (swt) say that we are to be Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc.? I thought we are to be Muslims, nothing more or less.

What I’m calling for is a rethinking, some may say itjihad, either way, we have to take control of ourselves and our religion. We have to speak as one Ummah with one voice, otherwise, we allow those among us and those outside of us, to define who we are and should be.

5:3 Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah. that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالْدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلاَّ مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُواْ بِالأَزْلاَمِ ذَلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلاَ تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Muslims and 24


What is it with Muslims and 24? I mean, I’m a Muslim, but maybe I just don’t get “it”. I concede. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m a convert, maybe it’s because I’m an indigenous Muslim to America. Maybe it’s because I’m black. I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I’m getting a little tired of us going on the airwaves of America giving whom we call our accusers more ammunition to fire right back at us. We say we don’t like the way we are portrayed, but don’t want to admit that well, most stereotypes, whether we like it or not, have at times at least a grain of truth in them.

We cannot deny that when every American turns on the news these days and for the last 5 years we have been bombarded with images of Muslims shouting Allahu Akbar right before the blow themselves up or others indiscriminately. We cannot deny that in the last 5 years every time someone has “disrespected” the Prophet (saw), Muslims, or Islam in general, there is always a group of Muslims willing and able to put on a show for the Western media by shouting death threats, slurs, and often killing innocent people and destroying their own neighborhoods.

Which brings me full circle to 24.

Here we are once again raising the banner of protest for what we see as media bias. Normally, I let it slide, because I obviously understand the anger, I even agree that the media has bias, but I also understand that we have to be people of reason.

At this stage in the game, we have to work harder to change our image OURSELVES rather than relying on others to do so. How do we really expect non-Muslims to react? Should they believe our message of peace, which is true, even when those of us who haven’t committed any terror, will still go out of our way to protest? Especially over a TV show, which by the way, I have watched all 5 seasons and 6 currently, and don’t see the argument.

In fact, I’m beginning to believe that the majority of the Muslims in protest have never even seen the show, especially this season.

This season while it features Muslim characters, the characters are varied. You have the terrorist leader, the old terrorist leader who now renounces terror as evil and wants peace, you have a CTU agent, and an Islamic organization head who even while falsely imprisoned is now helping the FBI catch terrorists.

But the icing on the cake is that the real villian(s) so far are White Anglo Saxon Americans, as it was last season and many before that. Russians and others have been portrayed as villains before as well, for the record.

My question is why aren’t Russians, Europeans, and White Americans protesting over the show?

Well, certainly we know….

I hate to say it brothers and sisters, but its high time we get some thick skin and instead of protesting against non-Muslims, its time we turn that zeal inward and work toward taking away their ammunition.

We are commanded to fight those who fight with us. Well, I hate to be the pessimist, but right now, those who are fighting against us more than any other person these days, claim the same religion.

If we have the bravery to fight Fox, the Western Media, the Pope, etc. Certainly we have the bravery to fight those wicked Muslims who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam.

Victory in Iraq?

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What is victory in Iraq?

Seriously. I’m not sure anyone can define any such outcome at this stage in the game. I believe it’s fairly safe to say at this point that “victory” is really more of how can we get out as gracefully as possible given the current circumstances.

In my humble opinion, I think it’s high time we give it over to the Iraqi’s. I mean what motivation do they have to work together and fix their country as long as big brother is there doing all the work? What happened to the “coalition of the willing?” How many troops from the UK are even still there?

Then there is the question of sacrifice. How much more are we willing to give? Between lives and money, what price are we willing to pay and for what?

Then again who’s doing the sacrificing? Surely not most of Americans who go on with their daily lives, will military families suffer daily being asked to endure these hardships. I mean if this thing is worth fighting for, why is the majority of the country against it? Why aren’t taxes being raised and initiatives being passed like the draft to have the entire Nation support this effort?

I’m becoming increasingly convinced that this war has nothing to do with the will of the American people, nor the will of the Armed Forces serving this Nation, but more so the will of a handful of people who want to push ahead, with no guarantees in sight, and continue a very unpopular misadventure, against not only the will of the people, but even the will of the Iraqi’s who don’t even want us there.

If the American people and the Iraqi citizens don’t want us there, who does? Why do they want us there? And for what reason(s)? I can only speculate, however I believe it is a grave crime when in a representative government, those elected to represent, no longer take into consideration the will of the people, and do whatever they want, even against the will of the mass electorate.

What you have in those conditions, begins to resemble less and less each day what a Democracy is supposed to be.

What is Truth?

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And please don’t answer me “You can’t handle the Truth!”….

Seriously, what is this thing we call “Truth” especially in the context of religion? The Christians say they have it, the Jews say they have it, the Muslims say we have it, Hindu, Atheist, Pagan, etc. all say they have the definitive answer on the truth when it comes to religion and/or spirituality.

In my honest opinion, and I’m probably going to get slammed for this, I think we are all right! I believe that “truth” lays somewhere in between all of our preconceived notions, yet at the same time is consistent through the myriad of interpretations of such, no matter how many variables there may be.

In short I think we are all caught in our own little oftentimes personal, Matrix.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own perspective, we don’t even take the time or even consider the alternative. To do so in my opinion, neglects the very thing that makes us “better” or more “advanced” than the beasts, and that is to reason.

For my “religious” folk, answer this question, how did you arrive at “truth”?

Some may answer I knew it the moment I read the Tanakh, Bible, Quran, Vedas, etc. Some may just say I just know it and it’s consistent with what I read in the Tanakh, Bible, Quran, Vedas, etc. i.e. pretty much the same response.

I have always found this answer the most interesting of all and in a way have made it my life’s work to analyze people of faith, i.e. Religious Studies.

I would like to know how we arrive at truth, but most importantly how do we “know”? Granted, some might just say “Well Robert, this is a study of Epistemology” and you would be correct. However, it’s interesting nevertheless.

Most of this may or may not make sense at this point, but give me time; I plan on have multiple parts to this discussion….

I guess this expose’ came about or frequents my mind most when I ask the question “What made you become a….insert religion/dogma/or non-religion…?” The answers are fascinating, well at least to me. In my studies, I have learned the best answers or those I perceive as best:) tend to come from converts to a religion or believe it or not atheists.

Now let me explain:

In Psychological nativism or the “nature vs. nurture” theory states that we are predisposed to certain “skills” or “abilities” that are hard-wired into our brain at birth, I don’t completely agree with that theory per se, but more so another within that field or study of psychology coined by Annette Karmiloff-Smith known as the representational redescription or RR model of development which argues against such strict nativism and which proposes that the brain may become modular through experience within certain domains (such as social interaction or visual perception) rather than modules being genetically pre-specified.

What that means is I believe that we are predisposed to our perception or belief in what is or isn’t truth. I believe that the very method at how we arrive at such conclusions derives from this predisposition. For instance, most Christians that I know, I was once one of them btw, say they know the Bible is the truth, because when they were looking for the truth, they opened the Bible, read it, and through prayer and meditation, etc. they knew it to be true. Sounds pretty clear cut to most. But my question has always been, well what are they leaving out?

Most Christians that I know are black. I’m not pointing this out for a racial discussion, but more so to clarify my point through my personal experience. Being black in America comes with “certain” predispositions, and in religion, the biggest one is Christianity. Without the long history lesson, our forefathers arrived at these shores in bondage primarily having animists’ beliefs and many were also Muslim. Our slave masters eventually “converted” us to Christianity. So even to this day most black Americans are Christian. That is the facts.

Now my point: Because the majority of us are Christian, it is in my opinion that when we go looking for truth in religion, the majority of us will pick up a Bible and most the King James Version to be specific. I’m not saying there’s a problem with this btw; however think about this for a minute. If the last several generations of your family are Christian, if your parents are Christian, if you were taken to Church as a child even if only for Christmas and Easter, and you live in a 70 plus percent Christian country, should we really be surprised that when as an adult, teen, etc. you decided to go look for the truth, that your first and oft times last step, is a Bible?

The same goes for the Muslim born in majority Muslim countries, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.

I guess my question is how can we truly say that we have the “truth” if we lost all objectivity in the process of searching, by only considering one source, which we already were predisposed to believe contained the truth anyway?

For instance, if you come from a Christian background, when you looked for the truth, why didn’t you pick up a Quran? Why not a book by an Atheist?

Even if you did go to the Bible first, did you read the Quran and Atheist book as well? Why or Why not?

What I have found like I mentioned earlier, is that those who are converts and atheists in my humble opinion give the “best” answers to these questions.

My reason is that they have weighed the options even in the context of their predispositions, and have made an objective, reasoned, and sometimes controversial or dangerous decision to be something different than what their parents were. Unless of course you’re an atheist and your parents were also atheists, you only count if you became a Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. at least in the context of this discussion. 🙂

Where am I going with this?

In the Bible as well as the Quran, we are taught about Abraham (saw) the patriarch of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths. We are taught many things about him and his children, but I want to focus on one and the most important thing about him in the context of this post.

Abraham was born into a family that was polytheistic, and then he was called by God to leave his family, home, and country serve this One God and go to a land that He would show him. Of course for the biblical scholars, he was called Abram at that time. 🙂 Anyway, the detail most Rabbi’s, Ministers, and Imams I have witnessed miss and don’t focus that much on, is how much of a burden Abraham must have felt to give up all that he loved and all that he KNEW to go out and do something completely different. It takes are certain type of person to do such things, and that of course in exegesis, is why Abraham is the patriarch and the father of many and whom Jews, Christians, and Muslims trace their lineage.

I believe we should all have a similar mindset. I’m not saying give up what you believe in, however we should objectively know why we believe what we believe. I have always been a fan of the statement that its one thing to have faith and or believe and it’s an entirely different thing to know.

If we were raised in a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheistic, etc. environment and are replicas of that environment, I believe we are victims of our own little Matrix. The difference of course boils down to CHOICE.

So would you rather take the red pill or the blue pill? Either way, know that each has its consequences, but in the end at least know why you took it.

Of course, we should all know by now, there is no spoon.

To be continued….