Sunday, January 15, 2006

Converts to Islam need rules.

Culture: Wonderful, just want Islam needs to be known as, the religion for those that need to be told what to do at all times. My grandmother would be irritated.

"Converts say that in Islam they have found clearer answers to questions of spirituality than in Christianity, a stronger sense of community and rules to live by. "There are guidelines for everything. It shows you how to do the right thing, to be nice to people," said Mr Cremer, a former Catholic. "The Bible does this as well, but it has been translated too much, it has been tampered with too much. "And one major difference with Islam is there is no hierarchy above me, no priests, no bishops, no Vatican. "Imams (holy men) lead you in prayer. But beyond that it's just you and Allah. You're talking directly to God, that simplifies things." Mr Cremer was also attracted to rules such as Muslims donating a percentage of their annual income to the poor. The fact that Islam was a lifestyle rather than a weekend event was appealing too, because it advocated morality in all areas, including politics and work, where he believed morality was sorely needed. The southern suburbs father of four, who migrated to Australia from Germany 22 years ago, said his Indonesian wife triggered his "reversion" in Jakarta seven years ago. Muslims believe people revert, not convert, because they say everyone is born Muslim
This woman is ridiculous.
"Mother-of-two Nicole Banks, 36, said non-Muslim women were not compelled by the religion to switch to Islam if they married a Muslim and were allowed to keep their maiden names. But the former Church of England follower chose to convert in 1999, two years after marrying her now-estranged Egyptian husband. She had admired aspects of the religion, such as its focus on family and respect for elders, which she saw while travelling in the Middle East in 1996. "For instance, you wouldn't send your parents off to a nursing home. They're looked after in the home by their kids," she said. "(In Muslim homes) wives are doing the chores, while grandmothers are looking after the younger children. Whereas here, you might not see your family from one week to the next. "If someone's sick within the community, the other girls will bring food to the house. If somebody has a baby, people will bring food and help clean the house. "That feeling of closeness is very much missing in Australian society." The former optician/retail manager said the religion taught her not to be so materialistic and to be thankful for God's blessings, such as good health. "Before, I was a workaholic, six days a week, 10 hours a day," she said. "I drank alcohol . . . smoked cigarettes, about a pack-plus a day, partied very hard. Now my days are spent looking after my kids, helping the community, still taking Arabic, Koran and religion classes twice a week."
I don't remember the verse in the bible that says all people are thrown into nursing home at a certain age via God's order. Confusing culture with religion doesn't help your case.
Perth banker Maariyah, 62, converted from Catholicism last February after reading books presenting evidence against the claim that Jesus was the son of God. She preferred Islam's belief that Jesus was a prophet. "And I like the feeling of one big family. We call each other brother and sister and we mean it," she said. "I also like the idea of kneeling five times a day and talking to God rather than once a week or once a year – we see praying as a privilege, not a duty." Her husband was not a Muslim and neither he nor other family members understood her move to Islam. Carlisle trainee English teacher Jeremy Meredith, 33, became a Muslim in Jakarta in 2003 because he also liked the sense of community and the guidelines. "People say they want freedom, they want liberty," he said. "But the bottom line is people want to know what they can and can't do. They want rules, they want guidelines, something to believe in, something to follow. "In Islam, there's a rule for absolutely everything – how I eat my food, how I go to the toilet, how I get married, how I lend money."
So what this article gives us are people looking for some sort of structure in their lives and saying converting to Islam solved their problems. They all seem to lack basic common sense and many of their reasons to justify conversion doesn't pass the smell test.
But Father Brian O'Loughlin, Vicar-General for Perth's Catholic Archdiocese, said he did not accept that Islam offered a "simpler" way to God. There were imams and ayatollahs (religious leaders), and in most Islamic countries it was a state religion with a structure that went much further than Christianity. He said tolerance was lacking in Islam because it wanted to be the one and only religion. For instance, Saudi Arabia had built mosques worldwide, including in Rome, but would not allow churches in its boundaries. He said many of the admired aspects of community in Islam were also present in southern European culture. But he conceded that such values might have been eroded in Western culture. Regarding charity, he said Christians had been outstanding for living the commandment of love that Jesus had taught, to include not just Christians. "And let's go back to the Boxing Day tsunami. Wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia had to be embarrassed into contributing some substantial amount," he said. Father O'Loughlin said a worrying aspect was Islam's concept of education, which in many cases was breeding fanaticism. Peter Rosengren, editor of Catholic newspaper The Record, said it was not surprising that ordinary Australians were attracted to Islam. A major phenomena of the past 40 years in developed areas such as the US, Australia and Europe had been an intensifying secularisation. "But human beings are fundamentally religious. When you reject belief in God as a society . . . people still search for the meaning of their lives. Where do I come from? Where am I going? What is my life all about?" he said. While he was a convinced Christian, he admired the fact that converts to Islam were going against the general trend and trying to put God first and he felt the same about Christians who were doing the same.
The Father shoots down many of the reasonings but Rosengren gets to the problem. If you believe in nothing or confused, but still feel you need "answers" and a place to belong, you will go to the system that does everything for you. The push for secularism is working to push people back to religion.

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