Friday, September 13, 2013

"Why can't we be friends?"

Seeking to understand

     As long as I can remember I have been advised to avoid the following two topics in casual conversation: Religion and politics. However, it seems that those conversations are always the most spicy! I learn so much about somebody by discussing social or spiritual views with them, and not only that, but I end up learning about myself by articulating my beliefs.

    Upon arrival, I met a nice young man named John. He's about my age, a philosophy major, likes to sing n' play guitar, and he practices Christianity. John eventually introduced me to a kind and courteous gentleman named Mahmoud, a Ph.D. student from Gaza studying linguistics who happens to practice Islam. The three of us shared many evenings drinking tea and going for walks. It wasn't long before curiosity about each other's spiritual and religious beliefs began to dominate our regular subject matter.

    As you may or may not know Christianity and Islam share many similarities as well as glaring differences, and the debate over which one is the most pure religion is an age old quarrel. Despite my efforts to neutralize this endless debate, these two crazy kids would carry on citing scriptures, sharing videos and having lengthy discussions. I began to have a genuine interest in the flow of their dialogue.

   When asked to share my views, I found that I was smack-dab in between the two. I believe that everyone, whether religious, secular, sacred or profane, has something to teach. I believe that God/Supreme consciousness/ Source energy /Allah/ the Universe has chosen to manifest itself in many forms such as people like you and me, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Rumi and Mohammad etc. as well as nature itself; the starts, planets and all of the cosmos. Some refer to this as Pantheism (seeing Everything as God). Although, this often does not always satisfy those who inquire because I have effectively avoided selecting one box with which to place my spiritual understanding, instead I identify with the path of modern Shamanism.

        The dialogue continues with myself acting as somewhat of a mediator between the two, until one day a challenge is posed. Mahmoud asks John to present written evidence that the Bible is the "true word of God". Upon hearing this I couldn't help but roll my eyes, "When will it end?!" I asked. However, after reading John's statement and Mahmoud's response, I am actual quite glad that I have been caught up in the middle of this friendly dispute.

       Some would say that in the U.S Muslims are often perceived to be a dangerous people, filled with evil intentions and such. Since my arrival in India, I have met many Muslims, and each one has been very polite, humble and peaceful; not at all terrifying. The unnecessary Islamaphobia portrayed by the media has actual stirred up quite a bit of interest and curiosity among Western minds. For those of you who are interested to read the written exchange between John and Mahmoud, I have attached their documents.

       PLEASE feel free to comment and share your opinions either on this blog, in a facebook post, or personally with me in an email. I am also quite certain that either of these gentlemen would be happy to elaborate on their views and share more information. WE are ALL brothers and sisters, and the more we see each other as such, the closer we get to realizing world peace. Believe in Peace.

Nathan King

Bible Proof - John

In response to John - Mahmoud


  1. Well young nephew, you knew I was going to weigh in on this one didn't you? I too find these taboo subjects make for fun and lively debates. The following is just my opinion.

    If the argument is about the purity of the texts then the Quran is obviously the winner. The New Testament has been translated and re-translated countless times after being passed on orally for generations in the case of some gospels. None of the New Testament gospels, except for perhaps Mark, were written by anyone who actually witnessed the events.

    When it comes to a contest of violence both the Quran and the bible (especially the Old Testament) have plenty. Both books would have us stoning people to death for crimes of the heart and even thought crimes. This is one of the main reasons I consider all the Abrahamic religious texts to be immoral. The Quran is probably the worst and it would take only a little research to see why I say that.

    As for evidence of either text being the true word of god; there is no evidence. There are just texts and text is not evidence. If it was I have, in my sons room, a stack of evidence that Spider-Man is real.

    In your fourth paragraph (why is it always the fourth paragraph?) you suggest that there is certainly some spiritual manifestation and that the debate is in how we perceive it- i.e. god/ Allah/ source energy/ the great joojoo of the mountain/etc. although you have made an attempt to leave me and my staunch atheism out of the equation I am going to insert my opinion into your always controversial fourth paragraph. I assert that our vast universe with trillions of galaxies each containing billions of stars and cosmic entities that we can not even hope to comprehend is wondrous enough. Why cheapen it with the suggestion that it is all controlled by some deity that demands our worship in return for his love? Poppycock. Why would such a deity create something so vast and full of infinite possibilities and then focus all his attention on one species of primate inhabiting a tiny blue dot? Again, poppycock.

    In conclusion I must agree that we are indeed all brothers and sisters. Our love for each other and cooperation with each other is what makes our species so successful (along with our giant brains). We should live this one life in peace and harmony with our primate brothers and sisters and not let ancient religious dogma distort our ability to love and and be tolerant of our fellow man.

  2. OOooo preach it Uncle! I am most certainly behind you on this one.
    With one exception ; )

    I too refuse to reduce the vast awesomeness of all that is into one "deity" or being, and I certainly refrain from using words like "him" or "Father" to describe such a force. However, as a pantheist, I see ALL as God. Those who worship, sacrifice, dance and sing praises are sending love to this force in their own way. Similarly, when we love one another we are sending love to this Source Energy/ God consciousness.

    I am mainly challenging this concept of "holiness" or "sacredness". This implies some sort of separation or division of what is and is not the source of all life. In my opinion this is also poppycock. (fun word).

    By the way, Spiderman IS real!!

    As always, thanks for stirring the pot with a spicy comment.

  3. You may want to refrain from using the word "God" as well. I believe you might not see it this way but the "God" by definition is a being or object.
    ...if you feel this god is intervening in the lives of humans then god is the right word but I'm not sure how that reconciles with Pantheism. Gotta look into that one.

    Maybe you are an Atheist that is in awe of our universe and the power of love. If that's the case, you and I aren't that different.

    We are all connected.
    We are stardust.

    Unka' Dave

  4. I agree with everything Unka Dave has presented. To present the debate over which text is purest is absolute nonsense. The Bible is presented through third party anecdotal evidence; whereas the Quran is straight from the messenger, if you catch my drift. Take for example the story of the man who caught a fish "this big". The story is being diluted every time the man tells it. Similarly, the Bible has this property. All of the disciples say, "Jesus did this," and, "Jesus did that." But we never hear Jesus's story. As for the Quran, God's message was revealed directly to Muhammad, and Muhammad himself was the one to transpose. So purity of text holds no debate!

    As for proving which is the "true word," that my friend is impossible. You know I am heavily science-minded, but all the theories in the world can't prove gravity exists. They can dance around the point and present why gravity CAN'T NOT exist, but the force has never been identified through direct means. Likewise for faith. Your God/Deity/Allah/Messiah/Mother Earth exists because you think it does. And now I stop here because this is the point where a debate of religion evolves into a debate of consciousness.