I am currently reading a book by a Muslim lady called ‘the trouble with Islam’ and I have read 2 chapters thus far and I am loving it. What’s extremely refreshing about the book is the honesty.
I find a lot of her critiques ‘spot on’ and a result of some great ‘question asking’ as a result of being a ‘religious person’ (in this case a Muslim). She raises two questions for herself to ‘come to terms with and find an answer’. And these were some tough critiques she raised about her own faith – I couldn’t help but feel a certain admiration for her stand.
She was not afraid to ask questions concerning the Muslim holy book and certain ‘contradictions’ within the faith – which I find inspiring. She also raised questions about the current state of ‘fatwa’s’ and the way her faith has become ‘unintellectual’. I have only read 2 chapters so far but I really like this woman’s honesty.
It got me thinking – asking questions about the results of what we believe isn’t neccesarily a ‘bad thing’…actually it seems to be quite the opposite. Take any belief – like the idea of salvation. Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves every possible question about what we believe and why? Just what is the extent of this salvation – and is it a here and now idea? I don’t think this will destroy our faith but only make it better – and I am very glad that we can discuss this stuff about our faith quite freely…some don’t seem to be so lucky. I think if we follow rabbinical thought – then we just might be discussing issues of belief from a variety of levels and the depths of what we believe – which makes for a well-rounded belief.
I guess I find less and less a reason for things that don’t impact the ‘here and now present world’. For example, Christ died for our sins (past event), prophetic revelations from John (future or past), and we look towards heaven (future event) – ideas which strongly shape our theology (and they should) – but ever ask ‘how does this relate to my world now – and what is my role in this?’
So faith is always evolving – changing – shifting focus and view – and I think this has always happened and has to happen for our faith to stay relevant. I am not saying ‘take Christ out of the equation or anything radical like that’ but I think we need to re-evaluate some of the things we inherited from Calvin, Luther, Simpson, and Knox (although they were great for their day – maybe they missed the theological mark at times). I read the bible un-aided by their theological motifs and I see things in a very different light – maybe the churches founded on their dogma (from many moons ago) need their faith to be criticized – for growth reasons. Not saying all beliefs need to be challenged – but we need to ask our questions to those beliefs – if not for our own personal well-being – then for responsiblity purpose. What beliefs from the past have you asking the big questions you don’t dare ask other Christians?