Archive for Saturday, May 26, 2007

Faith Forum: Must I believe all aspects of my religion?

May 26, 2007


Muslims must follow Quran to the letter

Najabat Abbasi, director, Islamic Society of Lawrence, 1917 Naismith Drive:

Islam means peace, obedience and submission to the will of Allah. A Muslim is a member of the religion of Islam who follows God's commands, does not disobey him in word and action, and adopts Islam as a way of life. Islamic life is based on two solid foundations: belief and action. The belief and action must go together.

A Muslim looks toward God as the only source of guidance and knowledge for acquiring concepts, values and standards, legislature and laws, ethics and morals, institutions, etc. The Muslims must believe in everything mentioned in the Quran, the divine book that was revealed to Prophet Mohammed through the angel Gabriel, which retains the references from previous scriptures and testaments.

According to Quran, there are six articles of faith, which constitute the belief part. These six articles are to believe in Allah (God in Arabic, that he is one, unique, all-powerful, ruler and master of all; in malaikah (angels); in rusul (prophets and messengers in God); in kutub (books sent by God); akira (hereafter); and in fate or predestination.

Any Muslim who does not believe in any of the above basic beliefs will not be a Muslim at all.

Once a Muslim has consciously accepted the six basic beliefs, he is expected to follow them with action to complete his faith.

Allah has given the Muslims the five pillars of Islam to act on in order to be a true Muslim: shahada or tawheed (the declaration of faith); salah (prayers); saum (fasting); zakat (alms); and hajj (pilgrimage).

Any Muslim who believes some part of the Quran or some of the six articles of faith and disbelieves or is suspect of some other part(s) will not be considered a Muslim and will be punished by Allah by being disgraced in this life and given the most severe punishment on the Day of Judgment.

- Send e-mail to Najabat Abbasi at

Actions more crucial than specific beliefs

Judy Roitman, guiding teacher, Kansas Zen Center, 1423 N.Y.:

This is an interesting question that would seldom come up in the religions I practice. That's because these religions are less concerned with belief than with action - mitzvot (commandments, good deeds) in Judaism; practice, both spiritual and ethical, in Buddhism.

The most striking differences among Jewish sects are in the mitzvot practiced - for example, do you adhere to the dietary laws? The core list of beliefs is short; many Jews only believe some of them, and nobody checks who believes what. But there are 613 mitzvot, and while few of my relatives practiced even close to all of them, the Judaism in which I was raised certainly emphasized what you did over what you believed.

Buddhist practices vary even more widely, as does the emphasis on belief. Some forms of Buddhism are rooted in specific beliefs. But Zen Buddhism encourages practice focused on our deepest nature, deeper than language can touch. In this context, ideas and beliefs are only a tool. If they help you wake up, fine; if they don't, discard them.

Every religion emphasizes compassion, ethics, love, selflessness. Belief may help us live compassionate, ethical, loving, selfless lives, but religions with wildly incompatible beliefs support the same moral actions.

And finally, no two people have the same eyes, the same ears, the same mind. So no two people have the same exact belief. No one person at different times in her life has exactly the same belief. Even in religions that emphasize belief, there is a wide range of meanings people put to the same words. So if, without giving up your intellectual integrity, you are comfortable in a religion, and nobody's kicking you out, there's no need to leave it because you don't share all the beliefs of all your religious brethren.

- Send e-mail to Judy Roitman at


DaveR 11 years ago

Continued -

So far as Catholics using a priest, and Protestants doing-it-themselves, that's an easy one to disentangle. If the two parties cannot work out the problem between themselves (sinner & sinned against), then a mediator is required, in this case, a priest. It is not enough to merely wish things away in one's own fancy. Not good enough in law. Not good enough in religion.

This, of course, entirely omits egotistical blunders. The actions you take because you were in the right & that other guy over there was clearly in the wrong & so deserved what he got. Those are the unrealized sins. They are the unconfessed sins. Those are the ones that will come back to bite you. (I might add they come back in subsequent lives with a vengeance, but I would be treading beyond accepted bounds in doing so.)

So what of the Church's incessant demand that we confess each & every time we disobeyed mommy, or each & every time we missed Sunday Mass, or each & every time we had a lustful thought? That, clearly, is merely the Church imposing a power game on its unsuspecting victims. The Church is shot through with that sort of self-serving stuff. In this case, it serves to negate whatever value there might be in confession itself. It is up to us, the parishoners, to carefully separate essential from non-essential when we enter the confessional.

Communion is the most wonderful thing ever seen on this planet, but the people in charge of administering it are almost completely the opposite. We need to keep this contradiction in mind whenever we are dealing with the Church.

hanni213 11 years ago

God created us in his image. The problem is that people keep trying to create God in their image, by confining him or her to some narrow doctrine. I believe there is truth in all religions. It is the people who have used religion as an excuse to commit unspeakable crimes agains their fellow human beings throughout history. I don't believe that is was the intent of any of the prophets/founders of these religions that their teachings would be used to harm others.

Nick Yoho 11 years ago

Put me in the category of the nut cases then,because the world is full of conspiracies.The ones who don't question the "true story"are fools.

I can't believe you couldn't see I was baiting you.Are your eyes brown cause your full of it!.

If Kennedy was shot by a lone gunman,then that bullet moved around like no other in history.

There is a LOT of evidence of of "spacepeople",UFOs are reported everyday,around the world.

Keep drinking the kool-aid,none2 ,your priceless.

John Kyle 11 years ago

Thank you Judy for reminding me why I like Buddhism so much.

And thank you Najabat for reminding me how hatefule the 'Abrahamic' religions are: "Any Muslim who believes some part of the Quran or some of the six articles of faith and disbelieves or is suspect of some other part(s) will not be considered a Muslim and will be punished by Allah by being disgraced in this life and given the most severe punishment on the Day of Judgment."

DaveR 11 years ago

A note for None2, who wrote:

For instance on the Catholic side, I have never been able to relate to confession. The Protestant side of me believes that I don't need a mediator between myself and God.

This was a tough one & I only looked at it recently. Clearly, confession is an attempt to alter karma. You tell the nice priest that you beat your wife, and the karma for beating her magically disappears. Really???!!!

If things were only so easy!

And then the next time you're enraged, you beat her again. And you go to the priest and he "takes away your sin". No. That simply does not happen. We don't bend metaphysics into a pretzel merely to salve someone's ego.

No. As best I can work out, you can only confess those actions that have gnawed away at you, at your very soul, year after year after year. Things you thought were a ghastly mistake. Those, and only those, you can confess. Will the priest "take them away", will he "give you God's grace"? You can only hope. You will never know for certain. If it continued to gnaw at you, then I would guess that the sin had not been forgiven, that it in fact remained. One would then, logically, confess again. If this is the case, then forgiveness = forgetfulness. I "confess" that I am on weak ground here. My last confession was nearly 40 years ago, long before I had worked out these details. A proper investigation would note the effects of the priest's blessing upon leaving the Confessional, and then upon taking the Host the next day. This I have not had the opportunity to do.

continued -

50YearResident 11 years ago

It's Allah's way or the highway! This was an eye opener about the Muslim Religion!

peppermint 11 years ago

Americans like their religion cafeteria style. That way, when they simply cannot accept one doctrine, they don't have to struggle with rejecting the entire thing. It's easier on them. A cop-out, but easier.

Christian Hinton 11 years ago

It is wonderfully convenient to have religions which don't demand that you actually believe them.

It seems to me that religion isn't a pick-and-choose kind of thing, but then again, if a person's actions are the same, does it really matter?

paladin 11 years ago

I b'lieve ya'll kin b'lieve anathin a the parts a raligin ya want ta. This is Amereeca, fer cryin out loud. Ya kin b'lieve anathin ya want. Them Muslims kin jest go jump in the lake. Might be that's the onlyest way they gonna git baptised, er a bath, now that I think on it.

paladin 11 years ago

What in tarnation you talkin about? Sounds like a load a horse manure ta me. Lord have mercy!

Tom McCune 11 years ago

The question asked was: Must I believe all aspects of my religion?

Some religions demand zombie-like adherence to their dogma. Other don't. One of the largest dilemmas is that if you dig down deep MANY religions say, "Our believers and only our believers go to Heaven and everybody else goes to Hell. Period. No exceptions." Even within a major religion, that is true from sect to sect. Don't know if this is still true or not, but the official policy of some Lutheran synods used to be that only their synod went to Heaven and all other Lutherans went to Hell. Used to also be the same for some Baptists and some Presbyterians.

Does this really make any sense at all under any understanding of God? Maybe God really exists but ALL organized religions are man-made creations engineered mostly to secure the power and egos of their priestly classes.

denak 11 years ago

I think it is important for someone to question their faith. To not take it at face value. I am more inclined to trust someone and to believe someone who has questioned his or her faith much more than one who hasn't. I do not believe that there is any true religious leader who would object to his or her followers questioning "why". St Augustine, when he was a young man, rejected religion after religion because there was not one that could answer all of his questions. He said that he would accept the one that could answer all of his questions. Eventually, he ran into a priest that could answer all of his questions. I think if we look at all of history's great religious leaders, they would all start out the same. Questioning the religion they grew up with, possibly rejecting it, or eventually coming back to it with a new understanding. There is a saying that one can not reason a person out of what they have never been reasoned into. And that goes with faith even if that sounds contradictory. Faith, in order to be strong, has to be reasoned into. If you trust it blindly, it will fail you because there is no substance to it.

With that said, I think if one has a religion, one should make a good faith effort to believe in and follow the dictates of one's religion. It isn't always easy but it is worthwhile and I don't think anyone can say what is in a person's heart. Only "God" knows what is in a person's heart so even if that person doesn't believe everything. I don't think God writes him or her off and marks them down as a bad Muslim or a bad Christian or a bad whatever. I think God knows that it is hard for humans to understand and to accept everything.

paladin 11 years ago

My momma told me that God knows everthin that ya do. Even ifin ya got the bathroom door locked. Don't know bout you, but that there scares the Dickens out a me.

chungasrevenge 11 years ago

"Islam means peace, obedience and submission to the will of Allah"

Complete submission and unwavering obedience are required to attain peace in any Abrahamic religion.

DaveR 11 years ago

Najabat Abbasi opinions seem extreme to me, but are they any different from any other fundamentalist, of any religion?

I remember well Vatican II, I remember how I hated the changes & how I felt it cheapened the very fundamentals of the Church itself. I was perhaps 14 at the time, but I set myself the challenge of finding out WHY. I was young, I was cheeky, I was stupid. Eyeball to eyeball with God himself. I didn't give him much chance.

So I left the church the first opportunity I had & spent years wandering. I was convinced throughout that this puzzle could be solved, that there were answers that would make clear, rational sense.

After 30 years of work I finally found them. I think the results are universal, in that I can apply them to any religion & in any circumstance, but I am, of course, only speaking for myself.

"Believe my religion or else" is not fit even for children. It is nothing but the old fearmongering power game. We are adults. We ask questions. We seek answers, we take chances, we dare, we fight to find our own unique truth.

Sean Livingstone 11 years ago

Wonder why Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa have so much more respect from other religions than let's say any Muslim Clerics or the Pope?

paladin 11 years ago

I bettcha what yer a gettin at is the diffrence tween selfless and selfish. Thar ya go.

Nick Yoho 11 years ago

Oh ok so which government do they want to use? Ours?'Cause we prolly wont allow that...

(although seems like we gots some o them fundiementalist tryin' t'do that right here in the Ol' US of A ta me.Them pat robertson types,ya know?would ya call them fascist too?I just wanna git it rite,would it be Christofascist?)hmmm plz help.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years ago

none2 wrote "...a 'T' didn't come to church...."

Great. You had to bring up public transportation and now everyone is going to jump on whether or not they approve. Well, there goes THIS thread.

jonas 11 years ago

If your only concerned with a god and what he thinks of you, then undoubtedly not. If you're worried about the human priests/clerics/shaifs etc. and what THEY think of you, then probably, to please at least some of them.

Nick Yoho 11 years ago

NO! You don't have to believe in myths,its your choice. Next?

Nick Yoho 11 years ago

Dang it,I'm trying to be nice and a good boy...

Can you tell me please,what the hell is an "islamofacist"? I know it's a right wing talking point word,but sheesh,it doesn't even make sense!Even if it was spelled right. They don't have a state(their own country),and they aren't corporations,so your name for our enemy is wrong.It is propaganda designed to instill patriotism,and hatred by confusing this enemy with a past one.

There are also a lot of non-Muslims,who do not believe that 911 was perpetrated by Arab Muslims.This is not the place to comment on that.The Official report on 9/11 leaves a lot of unanswered questions,to sat the least.

Tom McCune 11 years ago

If God appeared to me in person and said he wanted me to surrender completely to his will, I would do it immediately and unquestioningly. However, that hasn't happened yet. What I see in most organized religions is a bunch of greedy, egotistical, and/or perverted old men trying to tell me I have to do what they say because only their priestly class has been anointed to speak for God and interpret the REAL meanings of scripture. This problem is worse in some religions than in others.

Tom McCune 11 years ago

A theo-fascist is anyone who seeks to use the power of government to compel or coerce everyone to follow a particular religion. There are christian, islamic, and many other types of theo-fascists. They don't have to be part of a government. They only must WANT to use government in that way.

paladin 11 years ago

Bad Faith-In the philosophy of Sartre, an effort to avoid anxiety by denying the full extent of one's own freedom. Bad faith, on this view, is an especially harmful variety of self-deception, since it forestalls authentic appropriation of responsibility for ourselves.

paladin 11 years ago

Intentionality - In Husserl: 1. The character of anything as "intending" or pointing beyond itself, self-transcendence. 2. The character of consciousness as pointing; beyond itself, as consciousness of something, and as having its horizon of co-intendings: noetic intentionality. 3. The character of an object other than consciousness itself as pointing beyond itself, e.g., to its objective background or to something that it represents or indicates: objective intentionality. 4. The character of a modality as pointing back to the original of which it is intrinsically a modification.

Tom McCune 11 years ago

Personally, I prefer Wittgenstein to Sartre, since the former showed that all philosophy is inherently nonsense. "My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless."

All philosophy is based on the flawed notion that it is actually possible for us to understand the universe.

Nick Yoho 11 years ago

I am much more concerned about the religious lunatics in our own country than I am about those thousands of miles away. Our Constitution is being used as litter box lining by these delusional incompetents. The Theocracy of the United States is not too far off. The military is rapidly falling into the cesspool of religious zealotry. Once this is completed we're toast. Remember, freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.

paladin 11 years ago

Sartre thoroughly expounded his notion of the self-negation of freedom in l'Ãtre et le neant (Being and Nothingness) (1943). Since the central feature of human existence is the capacity to choose in full awareness of one's own non-being, it follows that the basic question is always whether or not I will be true to myself. Self-deception invariably involves an attempt to evade responsibility for myself. If, for example, I attribute undesirable thoughts and actions to the influence upon me of the subconscious or unconscious, I have made part of myself into an "other" that I then suppose to control the real me. Thus, using psychological theory to distinguish between a "good I" and a "bad me" only serves to perpetuate my evasion of responsibility and its concomitants. Sartre offered practical examples of mauvaise foi (bad faith) in action. People who pretend to keep all options open while on a date by deliberately ignoring the sexual implications of their partners' behavior, for example, illustrate the perpetual tension between facticity and transcendence. Focussing exclusively on what-we-might-become is a handy (though self-deceptive) way of overlooking the truth about what-we-are. Similarly, servers who extravagantly "play at" performing their roles illustrate the tendency to embrace an externally-determined essence, an artificial expectation about what we ought-to-be. But once again, of course, the cost is losing what we uniquely are in fact. The ability to accept ourselves for what we are-without exaggeration-is the key, since the chief value of human life is fidelity to our selves, sincerity in the most profound sense. In our relationships with other human beings, what we truly are is all that counts, yet it is precisely here that we most often betray ourselves by trying to be whatever the other person expects us to be. This is invidious, in Sartre's view, since it exhibits a total lack of faith in ourselves: to the extent that I have faith in anyone else, I reveal my lack of the courage to be myself. There are, in the end, only two choices-sincerity or self-deception, to be or not to be.

peaceful 11 years ago

If it's your religion, shouldn't you by definition believe all of it? Otherwise it's not really your religion is it? And instead one should be perhaps looking for a different religion? Most religions (including Islam; see Quran 2:256) do believe in freedom of belief. And with the number of religions out there... surely there's something one can find where one believes all of.

  No Compulsion in Religion

[Quran 2:256] There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.

craigers 11 years ago

If you are a Christian then you should accept the tenets of Christian faith, the bible. I accept the bible, not what others tell me my dos and don'ts are. the doctrine we should follow is in the bible, not a priest's teaching.

I will say that the Islam cleric who wrote for this article definitely put it all out there. This I admire. He is all in for his beliefs.

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

Hey Abassi, to which version of the Quran are you referring when you say "The Muslims must believe in everything mentioned in the Quran". Just like the bible, there were and are many different versions that have been compiled, edited and retransalted by very real human beings over the ages.

craigers, which bible do you mean when you say "the doctrine we should follow is in the bible". The current english version, the aramaic version, the ancient greek version, the version before the purging of gospels done by a very human pontiff in the 500s or 600s.

This sort of absolutist statement of "I believe everything in this book" is ridiculous.

craigers and abassi do illustrate the commonalities of religious stupidity, and show that they are indeed "brothers in faith". "brothers in ignorance and stupidity" is more like it..

paladin 11 years ago

Its Allah lot a garbage. When it comes right down to it, its all about fear of death and wanting to be loved. And, here in the good ole US of A, its every man for himself. Or, girl for herself, as the case may be, if it matters.

Nick Yoho 11 years ago

I must say,Paladin, the 12:11 post is a good one.

Speakout 11 years ago

You can take any verse, saying, utterance or thought from any book, revelation or text and twist it to suit your ideas and beliefs. This has become apparent with every religion since time began. Islam for it purity at the time of the Prophet to now has changed very much and it is those changes that are in question today. The most brilliant of things has been disregarded and made to look sinister and corrupt. What I mean is that those who set out to kill as many as they could on 9/11 were no more Muslim than the man whose ideas and actions killed millions during World War II was Christian. In both faiths there are words against the killing of people and both believe in the 10 Commandments where it clearly states: Thou shalt not kill!

That includes killing of ones self. The Quran clearly states that in several places.

These extremist ideas are destroying the purity of faith; they are destroying the very concepts that the religion was founded upon and in no way reflects the belief and practice of millions of real Muslims throughout the world. They are as condemned by Muslims as they are non-Muslims.

It doesn't matter your faith, these tenets are universal.

craigers 11 years ago

Hey ywn, get over yourself. There are various translations yes, but they all have a pretty straight forward theme. You don't want to listen, so I won't expound on it. I believe the bible period. You call it dumb or ridiculous but I'm not a part of your belief system. I am a part of God's (Jesus').

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

craigers, the devil is in the details, isn't it. You previously posted that you "accept the bible". Does this mean only the "pretty straight-forward" themes or the entire book? If the former, what are these themes, and what can be ignored?

My guess is you eat pork and wear cotton/poly fabric. If the latter, why? These are clearly prohibited in the bible.

So, which bible do you believe, do you believe it lock, stock, and barrel, and, if not, what are these "pretty straight-forward themes" that you believe?

Sean Livingstone 11 years ago

I'd care less what others say, the best preachers are those who use action and not words. Mother Teresa impressed everyone with her actions, while preachers, like many pastors and muslim clerics who keep on using words and words to prove that they are right on the holy book, I rarely see Mother Teresa used the bible to determine whether things were done in God's way or not. I rarely see Dalai Lama criticized others. You rarely see that in many religious leaders nowadays. My advices to many preachers, don't use that book to preach and insist you're right and others are wrong. Your actions speak!

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 11 years ago

When my daughter was young she asked what was the difference between a minister and a preacher. I told her a minister ministers to the people's needs, whether or not they belong to his/her church. A preacher is just full of words. Actions speak louder than words.

fliesinyoureyes 11 years ago

Asking "must I believe in all aspects of my religion?" is no different than asking "must I wiggle my toes right now or should I wait until 3:30?"

It's simply the scale of the question that confounds.

minko224 11 years ago

My religion is based upon the Archie comic books. We believe that Veronica and Betty are angels sent to us from the big Jugghead in the sky.

minko224 11 years ago

We have the Old testament which are basically the black and white Archie comics, then the New Testament which is in color.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago'd better research your religion better...Archie was never in black and white...

OMG...a false religion!!!

minko224 11 years ago

Some people believe that and don't acknowlege the existance of the Archie Digest, but that's the other group the Josie and the Pussycatters

minko224 11 years ago

Another non believer in the Black and White words of Archie. It can also be argued that even in the "New Testament" or the "Colored Archie" the words remained black and white, with the words of Jugghead printed in green.

Speakout 11 years ago

At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, there were tribes in Mecca and other areas that tried to kill the Prophet and his followers for bringing a religion that preached the Oneness of God. The pagan Arabs of those days believed in hundreds of gods and prayed to them for whatever reason. Muhammad's duty was to bring Islam into the world and as he received revelations, his followers began to listen to him and believed that there was one God.

As the unrest began to build against Muhammad and his followers, several plots to kill him along with the followers were real and several of them were killed and some quite ruthlessly. God Instructed Muhammand to defend his faith but never to raise a sword against innocents - women and children or others who were non-combatants. This was strictly prohibited. This was my comment: Islam does not teach the killing of anyone, but in self defense. One cannot go on a "jihad" to kill Christians or other non-Muslims. This is not permitted in any sense of the word. Those who received divine revelation (Christians/Jews/Zorastrians) are considered "people of the book" and are protected by Islam.

My point was to point out that as Muhammad defended his believers and his followers, he never attacked or killed innocents or non-combatants. There are hundreds of stories related by his followers of his anger at anyone who killed in offense or against the teachings of Islam.

The terrorists are not following the precepts of Islam if they kill indiscriminantly or kill non-combatants. They are only permitted to defend themselves against aggression by those who wish harm upon them and attack them for that purpose. Terrorism is not part of Islam in any way, what so ever. It is widely held by Muslims all over the world, that terrorists are not Muslims at all.

minko224 11 years ago

I resent your implication when you state "no true scotsman fallacy."

A number of the books of Archie have revealed his family, the Andrews family's origins in Scotland, with "Andy Andrews" immigrating to the United States and befriending Moose Mason's Russian ancestor, who was immigrating at the same time. Archie has been depicted wearing the traditional kilt of his ancestors and playing bagpipes (but not very well).

Let's leave the Archie believers out of this.

Wilbur_Nether 11 years ago

none2 very observantly pointed out "Wilbur, you are a genius!"

Would none2 be willing to explain this to the former Mrs. Nethers? I couldn't get them to see it....

roger_o_thornhill 11 years ago

How can imperfect beings follow anything perfectly??

George_Braziller 11 years ago

"50YearResident (Anonymous) says:

It's Allah's way or the highway! This was an eye opener about the Muslim Religion"

Uhhh . . . that's was/is also the opinion of the Christian church. Send out missionaries to "save" the "heathens" and if they don't go along with the storyline then just kill them.

Sean Livingstone 11 years ago

Whatever happened during those time, it's 2007 dude! Many of you reminded me of Osama Bin Laden, who bans his people from drinking coke but fight the world with modern guns and anti-aircraft missiles.... Many religious leaders are just like that... shame on those who use the name of God to start a war, shame on those who teach others to go to die for their own cause, shame on those who preach one thing but do another, shame on those who'd like to twist the bible for their own benefits.

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