Prophet human

Prophet human

Or… God Uppercase

Removing the Middleman Vol 1I just started reading Rashed Hasan’s new treatise, Removing the Middleman: Deciphering Faith Without Ritual. The book is intended to be an examination of accepting faith without being bound to ritual. Just in the foreword, he makes an assertion which I think is worth contemplating and with which I think many Muslims fail to engage:

It is important to note that some Muslims who lack knowledge or proper understanding of the essence of God or prophethood tend to elevate Prophet Muhammad to some level of divinity while vehemently opposing any notion of divinity to Prophet Jesus, who is showered with divine attributes by his followers.

I could not agree more. I was once told by an unkel that Prophet Muhammad could not make mistakes. When I asked him how this was not making equals with Allah, he replied that that the Prophet was an exception. A friend once told me that he saw no reason to even recognize the birth of Prophet Isa (Jesus) because, “we have our own Prophet”. This despite the fact that the Qur’an even recognizes the significance of the Virgin Birth, though our story of Prophet Isa’s life is vastly different. Read more about Prophet human

The Moral Therapeutic Deism of ISIS

The Moral Therapeutic Deism of ISIS

Rod Dreher, in a characteristically brilliant post entitled When ISIS Ran the American South, reminds us that no society is too far removed, historically-speaking, from the brutality inflicted by the likes of ISIS.  There is a time within recorded memory, not ancient history, when Americans did unspeakable things to each other and made a religion out of their actions. Lest we forget, lest we start to navel gaze too much.

ISIS filmed that poor Jordanian pilot burning to death as an act of revenge and terror. We call those Islamist fanatics animals. But white people did this often, and sometimes even made a public spectacle of it. “The white men, women, and children present watched the horrific murders while enjoying deviled eggs, lemonade, and whiskey in a picnic-like atmosphere.”

By Fred Gildersleeve (1881-1958) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The whole post and the comments section are well worthy of your time. Of particular import is this comment:

I had to understand how all of this happened. How could Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians in the South NOT have put a stop to this when they had the social and cultural power to do so? Why did Southern Evangelicals become chaplains to the racist South? So, I investigated it and wrote a book about it. I had to get answers. What I ultimately found is that their main concern, initially, was that they protect their own way of life and their own prosperity. Racism was a way to do that for Southern whites and religion became useful when it was seen as was a way to give their impulse sanction. But, we still do this today. We still remake God in our own image and see Him as a means to an end – our own end of blessing our life. That is what Southern Christians (and non-Christians did – but you know like I do that everyone thought they were a Christian, or claimed to be. Almost everyone, anyway). They were the original Moralistic Therapeutic Deists. They devised a religion that worked for them and supported them in the construction of the society that they wanted. It was a mess. [emphasis mine]

It occurs to me that this is the very thing which ISIS is doing. Not simply that they are using my religion, but that they are constructing their very own religion. Years ago, while traveling through Morocco, I watched a BBC Asia interview of a Malaysian Islamic terrorist who was serving a long prison sentence. The interviewer held up a Qur’an and asked the man to point out what passage he used to justify his violent views. The terrorist declared that his justification lay not in the Qur’an. But that he and his ilk were following the teachings and orders of Osama Bin Laden and other ‘leaders’ who had called for violent jihad. It’s worth repeating the comment from above:

They devised a religion that worked for them and supported them in the construction of the society that they wanted. It was a mess.

Read more about The Moral Therapeutic Deism of ISIS

Karma’s Not a Bitch, Your Dogmas Are…

Karma’s Not a Bitch, Your Dogmas Are…

Every once in a while, I like to put on Chris Rock’s comedy special Bigger & Blacker. If you haven’t seen it, do so. Rock talks about the breakdown of the family, the battle of the sexes, political scandals, gays, racism, healthcare, insurance, school violence, gun control, sex, etc. It’s a comedy special so you take it with a grain of salt but even though some of the references are old, the overall themes are still relevant.

The special was on Comedy Central last night and here’s a great quote from it:

It don’t make no sense to be a racist, sexist, or nothing, but…. it don’t. It doesn’t. It don’t make no sense ’cause whoever you hate will end up in your family.

That’s right, you don’t like gays, you’re gonna have a gay son.

You don’t like Puerto Ricans? Your daughter’s gonna come home with ”Livin’ la vida loca!”

karma1

The more dogmatic the person, the bigger the fall. No where does it come more into focus than in family life. In addition to the examples cited, I’d add religion or ethnicity to the mix.

Read more about Karma’s Not a Bitch, Your Dogmas Are…

Adding Deeper Darkness to a Night Already Devoid of Stars

Adding Deeper Darkness to a Night Already Devoid of Stars

Human beings are violent. As a group. As a species. We are violent. There has never been a period where there is not some type of war being waged on this planet. Some people say that the ‘Muslim world’ needs a reformation, similar to the one experienced by European Christianity. That such reform will bringRead more about Adding Deeper Darkness to a Night Already Devoid of Stars[…]

Religious insecurities and the jokes they necessitate

Religious insecurities and the jokes they necessitate

“If you are threatened or offended by people disagreeing with, challenging or even ridiculing your faith, then your faith can’t be that strong.” And so, via Noah Millman: ———— A rabbi and a priest, the two principal clergymen in a town, come, over the years, to be good friends, finding mutual comfort in sharing theRead more about Religious insecurities and the jokes they necessitate[…]