Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

January 1st is The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

Blessed Virgin, please pray for the children
Religion is on my mind all of the time.  I consider myself a very religious and spiritual person on a journey toward...what?  Where will I end up?  I don't know.  I think sometime soon I'm going to reconsider where I stand religiously to see if it has changed any or if I can add or subtract anything from my previous list.

January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.  I am seriously considering going to Mass Sunday, January 1st.  Perhaps it will start the year off right, whether I stay (re-become?) Catholic or not.  I've thought about next week making an appointment with the Father here at St. Pat's and ask him questions that can perhaps help me sort through all of the information and feelings overloading my brain.  I have had good experiences in the Catholic Church, but I also have bad ones, mostly internal.  How could I ever be Catholic again when I am pro-choice, pro-birth control, pro-sex education, pro-gay rights, and pro-sex between consenting adults?  I am against the death penalty though, which goes along with Catholic beliefs.  Other than that my morality system is based on Catholicism.

I do think that if I dig down deep, being molested by my music teacher during Church camp between first and second grade has a lot to do with my strange hangups with Catholicism.  I think it has to do with the extra guilt I feel (where is my therapist when I need her?) because it happened at Church.  A lot of my religious problems I can't put into words, but I can remember Mr. D's face even though I rarely remember anyone's face.  I hate child molesters.  They fuck up people's lives.  You know what else I hate?  I hate that they would do it at a Church!  I hate that a predator would use that sacred space to violate a child in the worst way possible.  Now I feel so dirty.  I want to take a shower.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Islam - Things I Respect

I think the two things I respect most about Islam are the steadfast faith of Muslims and the muslimah's who wear hijab, which from my understanding is both the modest dress of a Muslim woman and the head covering she wears.  I have been reading a lot about hijab and am a regular reader of many Muslim blogs.  I feel that I was too harsh about Islam in the blog before last so in this entry I want to write about what I respect about Islam.  While I must admit I do not understand why men and women are to be separated I really like the idea of a head covering and modest dress.  According to Wikipedia hijabi's cover for modesty, morality, and privacy.  Wearing hijab also identifies one as a Muslim and protects a woman from unwanted attention.  Being identified as a Muslim means that a hijabi must act morally at all times, for she is the face of Islam.  I always thought, as so many Westerners do, that women who covered their head were forced to against their will.  It never occurred to me that many women choose to cover for Allah's sake.  That returns back to my first point, I am amazed at the steadfast faith of so many Muslims.

I want to list some of my favorite Muslim blogs:

Alabaster Muslim

American Woman's Journey into Polygyny

White Girl...Arab World

Muslim Wife Secrets

Muslim Revert and Proud

Diary of a Muslim Feminist

This is an awesome video.

The Catholic in Me

As much as I try to deny the Catholic left in me, it still remains.  I think it always will.  Do I believe in Jesus?  I don't know.  I really just don't know.  Do I believe in the Immaculate Conception?  Yes, of course I do.  Do I have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints?  Yes, of course I do.  Do I still pray to them and ask for their intercession?  Yes, I do.  Does this make any sense?  I'm not sure how, but somehow it does in my mind.  For instance, you can pick on Facebook the people you admire most.  These are the people I admire most:
Four of the ten people who inspire me are Catholic figureheads: the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pope John Paul II, Saint Joan of Arc, and Saint Dymphna.  St. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of soldiers and France.  I have prayed for St. Joan of Arc's intercession since I was nine.  She is a soldier, a fighter, and helps give me the strength to keep fighting my struggles in life.  St. Dymphna is the patron saint of those suffering nervous and mental afflictions.  I have epilepsy, bipolar, and Complex-PTSD, so St. Dymphna means a lot to me.  I believe that Pope John Paul II is one of the greatest man who has lived in centuries.  I cried and cried the day I found out that he passed on.  My devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary runs deep.  I cannot remember a time when I didn't love her.  I remember being two years old and carrying around a picture of the Holy Family.  By three years old I played I was Mary about to give birth to Jesus.  By four years old I regularly recited the Hail Mary.

So how much of a Catholic am I still?  I don't know.  I think I'm a Catholic Agnostic mixture with a yearning to learn more, to have a faith in something, to know.  That is what I yearn for.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Classes on Judaism and 'Why Islam is Not for Me' Part I

I have exciting news since last time.  I have been taking informal lessons in Judaism.  I'm really excited about this.    I have not really studied much about Judaism.  My first lesson was about Kosher.  I took notes during the lesson given by one of my best friends...who happens to teach about Judaism at her Temple!  I think that me asking her if she could help and then finding out she teaches is more than a coincidence.  Either way I am very excited to learn.

Most of this post will be delegated to Islam.  When I first started reading the Qur'an I thought that it was a beautiful Book.  I was amazed at the ease of understanding and intrigued by this Book.  Beyond that, the more I read the Book, the more I realized Islam is absolutely not the religion for me.  The more I read about Allah, the more I am convinced that he is an angry and vengeful God.  Instead of a book of prayer, devotion, and religious instruction, the Qur'an reads like a warning of what Hell will be like.  Shouldn't someone want to live a good, moral life because they want to, not because they are afraid not to?  For example,
Indeed, those who disbelieve in Our verses - We will drive them into a Fire. Every time their skins are roasted through We will replace them with other skins so they may taste the punishment. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted in Might and Wise. 4:56
But those who disbelieved and denied Our signs - they are the companions of Hellfire. 5:86
They impatiently urge you to bring about evil before good, while there has already occurred before them similar punishments [to what they demand]. And indeed, your Lord is full of forgiveness for the people despite their wrongdoing, and indeed, your Lord is severe in penalty. 13:6
And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only delays them for a Day when eyes will stare [in horror]. 14:42 
Before him is Hell, and he will be given a drink of purulent water. He will gulp it but will hardly [be able to] swallow it.  And death will come to him from everywhere, but he is not to die. And before him is a massive punishment. 14:16-17
And say, "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." Indeed, We have prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the resting place.  18:29 
Now tell me, does this sound like a god full of love or a god who sits around all day dreaming up ways to punish and new tortures for the Chastisement?  I feel that Allah does not exist, or if he does that he is a mean and spiteful deity, more like the Christian devil than a "good" deity.  I have more Qur'an quotes I've been writing down for future posts, hence this being a Part I.  The more I learn about Islam the less nice things I have to say about it.  Before I knew anything about it I respected the religion.  After learning about it I cannot understand why someone would willingly become Muslim.
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