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The Many Shades of Modesty

Written by Gracie Lawrence

I see you’re wearing pants today. Good for you. I chose to jazz things up with a shirt and a headscarf to boot. Too much you say?

Modesty means many things

Let’s be honest here, a whopping majority of us (Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, or otherwise) do believe in some form of modesty–of course there are those outliers who believe in nothing at all–but I think most of us would agree that those conditions are not always very sanitary.

You don't quilt in the nude? YOU'RE THE PRUDE!
You don’t quilt in the nude?
YOU’RE THE PRUDE!

We women are especially notorious for scrutinizing one another and making harsh judgments, while men generally get a pass from our scrutiny.

Is that dress too low cut for her age? Does she have the body to pull off that outfit?  How can she wear that at a funeral/wedding? … 

Usually, to men, the more naked a woman-the better. Few from this gender do protest from seeing too much. And to those that are on the opposite side of the isle exclaiming that our covering isn’t enough–it isn’t like you will ever stop looking at us regardless of what we wear–lower your gaze, brother. There is no need to call the Haram Police.

While the judgments made between women can be harsh, it is in these critical comments where we decide where we want to draw our own personal modesty line–which helps us decide what amount of coverage makes us feel comfortable ourselves and in the company we keep.

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What Makes Being a Muslim Woman Hard in the West?

Written by Gracie Lawrence

There are tons of scholarly articles that explain the Islamic stance of women- so I am not going to go into that in depth. However, as the internet is also filled with information intent on making Islam look crazy, thanks to some very dedicated groups, here are some more reliable sources for those who are interested in the woman’s role in Islam.

being-muslim-woman-in-the-west-is-hard

 

But in a nutshell, for those who do not know or have the time to research into the above links, here’s a clue:

And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (Quran 2:228)

Yes, there is a lot in Islam that is about rights between family members (husband/wife/kids), neighbors, business partners, and even between me and you, dear reader. But those “rules” are not what makes being a Muslim woman hard, it is what restores the balance to a system that can be overrun with those who sometime take too much or sacrifice more than they should.

But having a relationship can be difficult, especially when one party is thought of as just a stereotype. And the predominate stereotype that I see about me and other fellow converts- is that we are backwards.

And how do I know that there are many with this belief? Because campaigns like this have to be launched: Not ‘Brainwashed’

For those who absolutely insist that I am backwards because I chose Islam for my life – I doubt I will do much to change your mind if your identity and confidence is built on the misconception that 1. I am oppressed. 2. I am an idiot 3. This poor oppressed idiot of a woman needs saving.

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Top 5 Regrets of Our Youth

Top 5 Regrets of Our Youth

Written by Gracie Lawrence

big foot

Here I am in my early 30s and a few times a week at least I hear heart wrenching stories about our youth. I understand that this newer generation of Muslims live in a more connected world and have difficulties that were unknown to me in my time. However, it seems for the most part they are falling into some of the same traps over and over. Maybe you are the first generation born in the West, maybe you are a convert whose parents have been here for generations, or maybe you just recently moved here from overseas.

I think that one more list on how to not mess up your life can only help, and this list is for you. You might not have problems with all these issues, but if we can spare you just one, we will celebrate.

So here we go, world. What follows is from the experiences and tales of many a young person, now old, all collected and combined to help you, if you will only listen.

The Top 5  Regrets of Our Youth

#5 Falling for Mainstream Media

I'm sorry, but if you are that easy to imitate, excuse me if I question your $300 price tag.
I’m sorry, but if you are that easy to imitate, excuse me if I question your $300 price tag.

It is all about making you into a good little consumer. Yes, maybe that is good for business and the economy, but in all honesty- most of what you see in TV dramas and commercials do not matter –ask any mature adult.  Things that you need do not need advertising.

No one needs to convince me to buy bread. That is something I would do on my own without a reminder, diamonds however need constant advertising because no one really needs that. Use your brain, don’t fall for it and don’t fall for people who do- they will make you miserable.

Young people, we understand that you are in the stage of building an identity and the fact that you are young probably means you really haven’t done much to make you feel like you have one.

Dressing in name brand clothes, just makes you a walking billboard, and looking towards movie or tv created characters to give you some guidance is just as unoriginal. Instead, try focusing your identity building energies into doing some really creative or helpful activities.

Organize or be a part of community volunteer activities, or try mastering something- it could be a new language, website building, sewing or an art…something …anything. Throwing on a pair of expensive sunglasses is just LAZY. W

hen you get older it will not make you interesting. Cool guys and gals looking to marry will be more impressed with a bit of French, that you are a chess master, or created your own comic book line rather than the fact that you own a bunch of expensive shoes. 

Need more guidance than that and emulating is your thing- I have the perfect solution for that! Look at the prophet (peace be upon him) to help build a healthy Muslim identity. There is more to him than what your parents have told you. You might be surprised. Go read something.

#4 Dabbling in Drugs/Alcohol


Just because it isn't sold on the street corner doesn't make it safeAbusing and mixing prescr iption drugs is just as stupid.
Just because it isn’t sold on the street corner doesn’t make it safe. Abusing and mixing prescription drugs is just as stupid.

Not everyone is into this, but it needs to be mentioned because this is actually a problem that exists in our communities. Interestingly enough, it is not just consuming these things, but selling them, because there is a whole lot of money in it.

Guys like money, because it makes them feel strong with all that spending power and they notice the girls watching them. Girls, help out by not being so obsessed by what a brother can buy you, and brothers- please- you know it isn’t right, even if you plan on repenting later (if you get a “later”)…what kind of plan is that??

For those that experiment and consume these substances, I don’t need to tell you it is haram. Just remember you are taking a huge risk of becoming an addict. Some people automatically become addicts, and for others it takes time- which one will you be?

Who knows, just don’t do it. I’ve never met anyone that regretted not dabbling in some drugs or getting drunk. Spend your money on something else; entertain yourself with more worthwhile people (see #5 above). Memories (or lack of) an activity you fell into while under the influence is most likely not going to have a happy ending.

#3 Not Focused on Future Employment

money_tree_new

People say “go to university so you can get a job”, not so true in the West anymore- not everyone wants to or can go to University anyway.

I am just saying:

#1 figure out what kind of employment you are going to be chasing (we all need to pay bills and eat in the real world)

#2 figure out what it is going to take to get there (is it a degree, an apprenticeship, work experience?)

#3 hustle, young blood

20s aren’t the new 30s- you need direction and good plan. If you realize that you don’t really have one- it is okay to ask for help (you’re actually smarter for it). Poor and confused at 30 is no fun. Before you know it, you are going to be partnering up and maybe even having a baby or 5.

Knock this stuff out NOW. If motherhood is a career path you choose, having something to fall back on in case disaster strikes doesn’t hurt. It is nice to be in the position to help others and not having to ask for sadaqa (charity) from others.

#2 Being Asinine About Your Parents

She wiped your butt for years. Whose butt have you wiped? Give her a call.
She wiped your butt for years.
Whose butt have you wiped?
Give her a call.

I know, they seem boring and aggravating now. It is strange to think that someone who has lived much, much, much longer than you can actually know more than you. Maybe you look at their life and think “why should I listen to them, look at their own life,”- as if people do not learn from their mistakes and then have valuable guidance to give you.

Maybe they have not even been super nice to you. Young people, as a general life rule -unless you have gone through what someone else has gone through – you really have no right to judge. That means, until you have kids that you have raised from baby to teens you really need to keep your “critical analyze” to yourself.

There is a reason being good to your parents is so important in Islam. You owe EVERYTHING you are and have first to Allah, and then to them. Go ahead and disagree with me now- we’ll talk again in 10+ years (extreme cases exempt from this- seek professional help). Another thing, parents die, and when they do -it is horrible. Even if you are so emotionally harden that their passing means nothing to you, just realize that at the most basic level, that means you have just moves up in the ol’ mortality line.

For those of you that have a heart, you’re going to feel like a selfish bucket of ^$&* every time you think of the time you were too busy to spend time with them or just make them a cup of coffee.

#1 Pre-marital Sex

regret pencile

There was a huge sermon about this at the masjid I go to. Turns out parents are sending young men and women to university or into the world expecting them to suppress their natural biological desires until the best possible marriage possibility comes along. That means for some guys- into their 30s. Good grief, even the religious amongst us are falling into zina, because it goes against nature for goodness sakes.

Parents- you are being unrealistic. If you are lucky and your kid isn’t out there fornicating, there is a possibility your kid might just bring home a wife/husband you don’t like, hook them up (to be clear- help, not force) before this happens if a nice daughter/son-in-law matters to you.

Young, people, maybe you just plan on being friends with that cute guy/girl. Nothing is going to happen, because you are both in the MSA, right? WRONG!!!!!! I have heard so many stories of this happening, both parties being so tempted that they find themselves going down a trail of ridiculous justifications and excuses, until bam zina has been committed. 

Zina has regret stamped all over it, not like a bad dream you can just forget. This should not be happening in our communities. Our country is stable, not chaotic, and relatively wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Just get married people! If he/she is delaying it- you are being played…sorry…truth hurts…find another guy/girl- there are so many. 

As for the guys thinking they are just going to mess around and not marry the girl they are playing: realize that many guys end up marrying girls they never ever, ever, EVER thought they would because of this. Also many a baby and STD have been made/spread by failed contraceptives and with 110 million STDs among men and women in the USA- good luck figuring out who is who.

Being young is not easy. I estimate about half of you will fight me on every topic here (because you know better; and this won’t happen to you-sure, good luck with that).  The other 49% will agree with me, but will not follow the advice here (you are a special snowflakes, which means the average pattern of life doesn’t apply to you *massive eye roll*).

But to the 1% who does … you guys are awesome and will have plenty of room in your closets- instead of the bunch of skeletons your cocky peers will acquire through the next 10 years.

Go forth and prosper!!

Skeleton free!
Skeleton free!

Salam, Gracie

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Polygamy Explained, Part I: A Societal Need?

Written by Gracie Lawrence

Since the days that exotic tales of everyday wealthy Ottoman life began to waft onto European shores, wondering Western romantic minds have been painting up portraits of what Eastern harrams (pronounced hair-ums in some southern cities) must have looked like. Ladies lavishly washing, beautifying themselves and their long manes, and perhaps even making exquisitely succulent turkey dinners … together … just for you.

Polygamy Part 1

Equally ridiculous is how having 4 sets of in-laws, the various responsibilities of those women and resulting amount of children, and how alllll that would affect Sunday night football never quite occurs to many men.

I thought it would be interesting to talk about why anyone might want to be in a polygamous marriage in the first place (PART 1) and no, not from a male point of view … boring! Secondly, what responsibilities that would entail for a man (PART 2).

Wait, whaatt? Muslim men have duties to their wife/wives?  YUP!

Polygamy (or more specifically, Polygyny- in which a man has more than one wife) can be a difficult thing for the Western mind to imagine as anything other than an oppressive venture.

However, the disturbing–to-some fact remains that a large part of the world does practice polygamy and has practiced it for thousands of whyyourarelyseeafemalypolygamist[1]years (conjuring up stories of King Solomon here).

According to the Ethnographic Atlas, of 1,231 societies noted, only 186 were monogamous; 453 had occasional polygyny; 588 had more frequent polygyny; and 4 had polyandry (in which a woman has more than one husband- Part 3, maybe?).

However, even in countries where polygyny is practiced only 16-30% of people actually utilize it. Therefore, clearly even in polygyny friendly societies, this form of marriage is not dominant.

Moreover, there are various kinds, female choice polygyny systems seen among South American natives (see this one about a Bolivian tribe) are going to be different than a male coercion model.

There are many reasons why marriages may become polygamous. But I think it first appropriate to bring forth the appropriate backdrop.

Lifting the Western goggles

Picture it … the Earth, the date- today.

Even in this century, the majority of the world does not have the economic system or wealth of modern post- industrialized nations. 

Taking into consideration that most of human civilization has been overrun with serious poverty, men and women dying from preventable diseases, and women dying due to childbirth related complications, (Maternal Deaths Sub-Saharan Africa) life and social taboos in many places were and still are vastly different from the Western context.

Now that we have taken our Western goggles off

Let’s have a look around and think of just some examples where polygyny might occur and work … without being oppressive to women.

1. Poverty

You’re a poor girl whose father and only bread winner of the family just passed away. Unfortunately for you women don’t have the option of earning wages. And you really don’t like being poor. While there are plenty of single, young goat-herding men around- they are also poor and therefore not very interesting to you.

There is, however, an older, charming a la’ Sean Connery merchant who is actually very well off.  He already has two wives, but have you seen their homes? And you would be the youngest and favorite wife, right?

2. War

You’re a poor girl who lives in a village that has just been annihilated by a fairly rich country. Most of the men have been slaughtered, including your father the protector and only bread winner of the family.

You are stuck with the few males who were too old to be considered a threat to invaders. They all have at least one wife already. But you really want some babies, a few meals a day, and some protection in your now lawless area. Polygyny is a better than your only other option- prostitution (which sky-rockets in conflict zones).

3. You’re tired

You are a married woman with a few kids, and you have been married to your husband for a while now. He’s a nice guy- you love him- you would never think of leaving him or separating him from the kids. But the man has the sexual appetite that can be compared to a pack of starved wildebeests … every … single … night.

You on the other hand are a once a week kind of girl. You tell him he either needs a new hobby or a new wife- not that he can’t just overcome his urge, but you’re pretty practical at this point in your life–why not?

I could go on and on with these circumstances and the driving factors for women to want polygyny (your parents don’t even have to die in these scenarios and the last one isn’t even poverty dependent). 

 

Even Tim Harford at Slate recognizes the benefits of such a system in his article hilariously entitled I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do: The Economic Case for Polygamy

This probably all sounds very foreign to you, and of course it is! (Except for the marrying for money part because we all know of some gold digger who did that.) It is not part of our culture to have a lot of these problems, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been an issue or are still occurring in many parts of the world RIGHT NOW.

What Islam does is regulate these unions so that as few people get hurt as possible (no abusing women, using men purely as sperm donors, the rights of children, etc.).

And in a species such as ours where almost every characteristic (including sexual appetite) can be spread over such a vast spectrum of varying degrees of intensity- I believe such flexibility in law (religious or otherwise) actually strengthens societies.

 

Part Two here

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Memories from the Dorm: A Conversion Story

What follows is my old roommate’s response to I Bear Witness: How I Came to Islam Parts 1 and 2.

Written by Gracie Lawrence (the roommate)

You know it has been at least 16 years since we had those talks, and reading about it reminded me how I am still trying to “figure it all out”.

I remember it was a time of a lot of questioning, we were free from both conservative Christians AND Muslims – where we could just THINK and we had the time to do it.

Dorm Room conversations

I don’t recall thinking that it was strange to think those things- but I use to have the bad habit of thinking everyone must be the way I am (got screwed over a lot for it, lol).

I remember during that time your mother had passed away. That impacted me a lot. I think I remember that more than the details of our talks exactly (I was a bit of a chatterbox, I think you once referred to me as a puppy and you were the cat. And a lot of times you just needed some peace and to be left alone- and I didn’t understand that).

I know one thing I struggled with as I became Muslim was wondering if I could make that cultural leap/ sacrifice and I would take a few steps forwards, and then a few steps back- then I just dove in and became extreme- then balanced out, made more mistakes, etc.

Ultimately, I became Muslims to become a better Christian- I think you remember us speaking about that. I think even from a cultural viewpoint we both saw something lacking, even lonely in our modern North American existence and I saw Islam as the natural progression to fill that gap.

Nowadays, I see Christians and Jews as very close to me. Christians and Jews are easy to understand us, as we have the same background- are just like siblings that bicker.

Anyway, one things that is great about Islam, even if people are reluctant to believe in anything divine, is that it makes for a great play-book on earth i.e. you are much less likely to F-up your life than if left to your own whims or faulty logic. You are more likely to win the game if you are given the instructions of how to play. Ya know? I think that for something like this to exist- is, by itself, pretty awesome.

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I Bear Witness: How I came to Islam, Part 2

Written by Theresa Corbin

Part 1 here

Where did I leave off? Oh yes … So there I was, dying from vampire Lestat’s bite only to be reborn as eternal evil. Oh wait, that’s a different story.

Eh hem, so there I was, feeling like I had been lied to my whole life, trying to cling desperately to my culture and simultaneously trying to figure out what the truth really was. I was confused, embittered, and lost.

hotmess

I believed in God, I just didn’t know what was the correct path to Him. I alternated between ignoring the question, flipping the question off, and seeking answers.

Now that I think about it, I had turned my culture into my new religion. To be the best worshiper at the altar of culture, I never wanted to miss a party, but wished I could just yell at all those kids and tell them to turn their racket down. I looked for answers in the holy books of Vogue and InStyle, but really wished I wouldn’t be considered a freak if I read and talked about Anna Karenina.

I was a hot mess, as the saying goes.

My culture was making me miserable. And my roommate was suffering most of its brunt. She spent much of her time studying other religions and talking to people of different faiths, allowing me to tag along from time to time. After much thought and deliberation, she converted to Islam.

I cannot say how she came to this decision. By this point, my mother had passed away, and I was busy with my grief and self-pity.

I had become a capital A-hole, challenging my newly Muslim roommate’s every move. I had all the cultural perceptions of Islam that can be expected. I don’t even know from where I picked them up. I knew nothing of the religion besides it being something that was “backwards” and tried to take women’s rights away from them. And I knew I was not down with that.

Our dorm room discussion became episode after episode of When Corbins (that’s me) Attack.

rejecting islam makes you angryI accosted her when she decided to wear the headscarf. “Why do you wear that?” I asked as snide as I could be.

And she answered calmly and simply. “So, that I can be recognized as a believing woman. So that I can say who sees what of my body and am not a victim of the male gaze.”

I not only heard what she said, I saw it in action. I didn’t feel more liberate with less clothing. I felt picked apart and judged, and more often than not I felt like prey.

I longed for the respect that I saw my newly Muslim friend and other Muslim women receive from men as they wore their long and loose clothing. The thought of being in control over who would see me was very appealing.

“Yeah, but women are like second class citizens in your faith,” I spat on another occasion, trying to distance myself from my growing affection for Islam.

She explained that during a time when the Western world treated women like property, Islam taught that men and women were equal in the eyes of God. Islam brought more honor to the mother than the father. It made the woman’s consent to marriage mandatory, a practice that would have been laughed at in the Western world at the time.

Islam gave women the right to own property and businesses. And if a woman were to marry, she would not have to share her wealth with her husband. Islam gave women the right to inherit, unheard of in its day. She listed right after right that women in Islam held nearly 1250 years before women’s lib became a thing.

And these were just a fraction of the conversations we shared about Islam as a way of life. I continued to search. At some point, I thought about Judaism. It was the original monotheism. Since I wanted to get back to the original religion, this seemed logical to me.

When I voiced my Jewish aspirations to my roommate, we talked at length about the prophets of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. She explained to me the Islamic belief in all the prophets of Judaism, Christianity, and then the last prophet who came with the same message as all the rest–Muhammad (PBUH).

Prophet after prophet came until the last prophet Muhammad (PBUT) came with the same message to guide mankind back to the truth one last time. “And to this day his sayings can be verified in chains of narration and the Quran has not been changed by man.” She said.

When I heard, I believed. I had asked God when I was a seven year old in Catholic school and learning about prophet Noah (PBUH) if He should send any more prophets that He would guide me to believe in them. I believe that God granted me this mercy, because it was not until this conversation that it all clicked.

I became less angry about my friend’s new religion and began to listen about all the things she was learning as a Muslim. My next question was “What does it mean to be a Muslim?” I met other Muslim women and questioned them about their faith and read for myself.

What I found out was that in belief I was already a Muslim. I believed in the oneness of God. I believed in the prophets up to and including Muhammad. I believed in the angels, and Divine will, the day of judgement, the holy books, and all that jazz.

But—and this is a big but—I was scared to abandon my culture (turns out I didn’t have to abandon the good things from my culture). I was afraid of receiving the same ridicule I had dished out to my friend.

Islam made sense and even spoke to my nature. But I rebelled and the more I refused Islam and chose my culture over it the more miserable I became. I would find myself weeping for no other reason than the increasing emptiness I felt as I continued to reject Islam and replace it with culture. My health began to fail. I lost my scholarship at school. My personal safety was compromised. I even became homeless.

I defied until I couldn’t go on. I finally admitted, like the most homophobic person who finally comes out of the closet, that I was a Muslim. I finally said the words “I bear witness that there is no God worthy of worship but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger” on the first day of Ramadan 2001.

And what I have learned since has taught me that I never had to give up my American culture entirely. I learned that fearing ridicule from people will only make you a joke. And I learned that their is an amazing peace that comes with being obedient to no one but the One God, the One who created you and designed you to do just that.

 

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I Bear Witness: How I Came to Islam, Part 1

I Bear Witness: How I Came to Islam, Part 1

Written by Theresa Corbin

Of all the choices in life, why would a young woman living in one of the most affluent countries in the world chose Islam? Is she crazy?

Well, it is complicated.

me-1

And, yes, I am little crazy.

But Islam was not the cause or a symptom, but the therapy. Besides, we are all crazy. I find that those who don’t own their crazy are indeed the craziest.

No, there was no “miracle” or near death experience that prompted the decision. There was no man promising me love, riches, and life-long happiness if I would just convert. There wasn’t even a parting of the Gulf of Mexico.

My conversion came about through years of thinking, arguing, denying, defying, and searching. I would be foolish to think that my life experiences and my disposition did not lend themselves to my eventual decision. But for this post, I will leave them out. You are welcome.

It all began by trying to solve the Jesus problem:

Many, many decades ago, I was born to a virgin … just joking, I was born to a highly educated, agnostic, Vietnam vet with a drinking problem and a deeply religious, sarcastic, but patient, Catholic woman.

dearest, sarcastic mom with her groovy hairstyle
my dearest, sarcastic mom with her groovy hairstyle

Oh, the tales I could about being raised in a house with a violent drunk and a tenacious martyr. It was as though heaven and hell waged war nightly in my home which made me very tired. I am still tired. Seriously, I need a nap.

The parents fought over many things. One topic of contention was what type of education their six children would receive. They came to a compromise. For grammar school, we (the childrens) would be afforded a Catholic education so that we may learn the mass and all the sacraments, etc. (mom’s choice). Then, for high school, we (the aforementioned childrens) would learn the ways of the world in public school (dad’s choice).

In Catholic school, I identified with those people who doubted Noah. This scared the crap out of my seven year-old-self. I made a deeply sincere request to The Creator at this point. I asked God that if He should send any more prophets that He would guide me to believe in them. This will be important later on.

In public school, I encountered people from many walks of life. No Muslims that I knew of, however. All this exposure made me question what made my way of life, culture, and religion so correct and proper?

As I was travelling down this line of questioning, I eventually came to the Jesus question.

I distinctly remember when I first wondered about Jesus’ (Peace be upon him) true nature. I was about 15 years old and I was kneeling in a pew after mass. And all of the sudden the thought popped in my mind. What if Jesus is not God? What if it is a lie? What if my life is based on a lie?- doubt, something I would learn to embrace.

The answer came in the form of manipulation i.e. if you don’t believe, you will go to hell for eternity, etc. Just believe: don’t worry your purdy, little head with thinking too much. Hilarious!

This was like telling a wood pecker not to peck at wood or a beaver not to build a damn dam. I am neurotic. All I do is think. No matter how useless the thought, I think/worry, and worry/think, and think/worry some more for good measure. 

College came, and with it more space to question. Having been manipulated into silencing my intellect, it was difficult for me to give up my indoctrination. However, my college roommate and I discussed many existential topics and religion made the roster often.

She being Baptist and I Catholic, it all began with the innocent comparison of the two sects of Christianity. Then, it dangerously evolved into a debate of such things like why had the Bible been changed so many times? Why are there so many versions? Etc.

We’d opened Pandora’s box and all the repressed questions came pouring out: Did innovators in Christianity base their belief in Jesus on the original Bible or a Greek translated, 18th edition? And if it was many editions and translations later, what was editorialized and/or lost in translation? What had been added or taken out? You know, the typical 18 year-old-girl, sleep-over topics of discussion interspersed with pillow fights.

My dear roommate, who also never let me nap–brought to my attention that something like four hundred years after Jesus lived, Christian leaders decided that Jesus Christ was both human and divine.

the roommate agreement

We naturally wondered how could people come to the decision about Jesus four hundred years after his death. From Prophet to God in an evolving religion.

This eventually evolved into the great debate 1999: was Christianity mixed with Greco-Roman beliefs because of the time and place of its advent? Was Jesus (Peace be upon him) being sacrificed for ‘all of our sins’ just an extension of the belief in pagan sacrifice?

Another suspiciously Greco-Roman belief that was on the debate roster for that year: Jesus and God as son and father: Zeus and Hercules, anyone?

My roommate was more advanced in her thinking than I. She would often ask me, as I feared giving up my belief in Jesus despite the facts, “Is the search for knowledge so dangerous? Can it hurt to really search for the truth? Can it hurt to use our own intellect to find out what is fact and what is fiction?”

And my rebellious nature replied, “No, I would rather err on the side of thinking too much.” Why do I have the ability to think, if I shouldn’t use it on such a fundamental aspect of life? All signs led me to believe that Jesus was not God, there was no trinity, and yes, my life had been based on a lie.

This was the beginning of my journey. 

To be continued here 

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