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Everything posted by odyssean

  1. All, I don't know people's stances on either illustrated depictions in general or comic books/graphic novels specifically, but I thought it might be nice to share news about an anthology I co-edited which is coming out in a few months: Originally, it was going to be printed as part of a Kickstarter(contact admin if its a beneficial link) campaign, but the Harvard office with which I was working saw that there was enough interest to sponsor it wholly themselves. So, I present: Muqtatafaht, a collection of Middle East comics creators' works, now available to comic shops for ordering for Free Comic Book Day 2012. Edited by myself and the folks at Harvard University CMES Outreach Center. you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetfreecomicbookday(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Home/1/1/2...temID=STK460619 I'd welcome your comments and thoughts! (Of course, though, I know "Middle Eastern" is NOT perfectly equivalent to "Muslim." Nevertheless, I still thought there could be some overlap/interest in this here at IF, potentially.)
  2. What Did My Fellow Western Muslims Do

    Ha, there's no "versus" -- they go great together! No, I did the same with my family as I did growing up in a Jewish family. In fact, it can be kind of nice, the feeling of having the movie theaters to ourselves and the excuse to chow on Chinese food. All in all, though, we still get to experience the feeling of peace and happiness, even if it isn't connected to some religious experience for us. (But, yes, television program is awful on Christmas Day.)
  3. I don't know if this is a message better suited to one of the other forums, so please forgive me if I'm mis-posting this (since I have not yet converted). Essentially, I laid out my dilemma in my introductory post, namely: Have others on this forum addressed similar situations? If so, what process did they work through that might be helpful to me? Much thanks in advance for your troubles!
  4. What Did My Fellow Western Muslims Do

    We did what my Jewish family did growing up: Go out for Chinese food!
  5. Conversion Dilemma

    Should this topic, which is totally legitimate but a tad advanced for me, be broken into another, separate thread?
  6. Discovery Of New Planets

    By those three definitions, yes, I think there could be intelligent life out there in the rest of the universe. But, also by those definitions, a dog should be considered intelligent. So long as we're prepared to have first contact with alien life that has the cognitive capacity of an animal (or a truly "alien" approach to thought), then, yes, I feel there is "intelligent" life elsewhere.
  7. Conversion Dilemma

    Ok, but, rather than feeling it's a homework assignment, could you give me some context as to why this feels like an important thing for me to read? That is, what is it such that it could aid me? I want to keep up with this discussion, but you folks have kind of lost me. Could you explain the relevance of all this to me?
  8. Discovery Of New Planets

    Yes, I believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial life. And I also believe it could be intelligent -- but that word, intelligent covers an awful lot of ground. I am less certain that what we consider intelligence would apply to them, and vice versa. As such, I am skeptical about them having "religion" in any manner that we would recognize as such.
  9. Discovery Of New Planets

    Perhaps I'm wrong, but I took Lost In Paradise's comment to refer to the two Earth-like planets discovered outside our solar system. I believe we now have 8 planets in our own solar system (since Pluto got downgraded).
  10. Conversion Dilemma

    I'm not making light of this when I say that this reminds me of Yoda from Star Wars: "Do or do not. There is no try." Since I was practically raised on those movies, that's what rings in my subconscious when I read SaracenSoldier's comment -- and, frankly, that always struck me as the most difficult part of being a Jedi. I am always willing to try things, but I am often wary of committing to something definitively. I have to wonder, though, whether most people who identify with any particular religion feel this way, sad clown. That is, I suspect that many Jews, Christians, and even Muslims aren't devoted "in their hearts" to their faith. Frankly, I'm not devoted to Judaism anymore...but I don't know whether or not I can be devoted to Islam, as attracted as I am to it...
  11. Conversion Dilemma

    I think your last point is the most applicable here (and very much appreciated). It's not that I'm considering Islam so as to change; I'm considering it because I suspect I already think and intuit in a manner that I see reflected in Islam. But, heh, my clubbing days are long over -- and none of my peers drink very much (or else they get sleepy and have to go to bed early). I already live amongst the humdrum! No, my concern would be with maintaining their trust in my judgment skills. I know this is an unfair comparison, but think I if one of your friends announced he wanted a sex change. (However, he'd still date women; he just identifies more with the "thinking and intuiting" of lesbians as he perceives them.) You might be supportive and kind, but it could leave you wondering what else in his (now her) life is so alterable and changeable. I don't want my friends to think they no longer know me. I think I'll do that right now! I have access to a digital Qur'an, and there's a print one in my household already, but none of them feel like "mine."
  12. Getting To Know Me...

    I generally don't mind talking about myself, since I'm both something of an extrovert as well as a frequent participant in a number of online forums. But, well, this is odd and something of a first for me. See, I'm a 30-something Caucasian male born and raised in New England. I was raised Jewish but have come to see that as more a culture/tradition than an active religious identity for myself. Instead, I'm fascinated by Islam. This fascination comes from some very obvious sources: my spouse, my academic studies, the post-9/11 environment, etc. But, for a very long time now, I've thought about converting. That's mostly why I'm here -- I'm trying to sort out my motives for considering conversion, where it leaves me with Judaism, and what sort of Muslim I can/will be. I live a fairly secular life and don't foresee a radical change in lifestyle; rather, I'm trying to work through how I see myself and how I identify myself. So, wow, there's the whole big thing. Have I come to the right place to chat this through?
  13. Getting To Know Me...

    No problem. I've already started a thread in the Conversion forum, so I'd welcome further discussion there if that seems appropriate.
  14. Conversion Dilemma

    It does make sense, though I am unsure of its applicability to me personally. I do have a supportive family and have rarely ever been out of their good graces. So I suppose I'm less worried about my family than I am about my social circles. My friends and coworkers all act very open-minded, but I can't predict what the actual responses might be to my conversion. (Also, I can picture quite a few eyebrows raised to my using the term "reversion" rather than "conversion." It may sound to them like I feel they are in the wrong and practicing an illegitimate faith.) I live just outside of the Boston area, Amna.
  15. Conversion Dilemma

    Was learning Arabic part of that process for you?
  16. Purgatory

    Haha! :sl: It's just a fancy way of saying, "white person."
  17. Conversion Dilemma

    Hm! I don't know if this is a lost reference to you, but that sounds positively Augustinian to me -- he was looking for guidance, his Bible flipped open to a random page, and the passage there spoke to him in a way that he never doubted his Christianity again. :sl:
  18. Conversion Dilemma

    I have read a majority of it in English, yes. I cannot honestly say I've read it cover-to-cover, but I would safely say I've read 80% of it at least. Does its wholeness communicate something, you feel, that my near-complete impression of it might not?
  19. Conversion Dilemma

    I would definitely like to hear more, Amna. On one hand, 19 feels young to me as someone in my 30s; my views as a 19 y.o. are not necessarily my views now. On the other hand, perhaps I was less cluttered back then, more able to look within myself clearly than with all the attachments of being a husband, father, co-worker, etc. pulling on me. To some degree, the feeling of certainty after shahaddah sounds little bit like the psychology of cognitive dissonance -- that is, one convinces himself or herself that the choice made was the right one. That's not to say the choice wasn't the right one, but the mind may artificially amplify that evaluation. I'd like to avoid that, if possible. Could you tell me more about the opinion of people who surrounded you? I don't want to be swayed by others, of course, but I also want to be realistic in terms of how others might see this sort of decision.
  20. Loving Kindness For All

    Perhaps the problem is the translation into English (or the act of any translation from the original Arabic), but doesn't the Qur'an say that God hates aggressors? Is the verb translated as "hate" in my English edition not equivalent to the Arabic?
  21. Getting To Know Me...

    You frame my quandary marvelously, Younes, and I greatly appreciate your input. I have, I think, three central "doubts," as you put it. First, whether I am converting for myself or I am converting for my household. (That is, my wife is Muslim, and, though she has never proselytized nor harassed me, I know that it would delight her and make the matter of religion easier for our young daughter if I converted.) Second, it's the degree of my devotion that worries me; I am bad at watching my cholesterol, keeping up correspondences, getting on time to meetings, etc. Even the things that I do genuinely believe in, I am lax about. In general, I am comfortable with this, and I like being an easy-going, accepting person. But, in terms of religious devotion, I can't help but see my relaxedness differently. Lastly, there's the issue of lifestyle. I want to be a good person...but I have no aims at being a perfect person. I swear, I sometimes drink, etc. To what degree do these actions undercut my responses to the questions you (nicely) posed. If I say, "yes" to the three questions above, then shouldn't the raw Truth of Islam deter me from these things? Conversely, if I am not deterred, aren't I saying that my answers of "yes" are hollow...?
  22. Purgatory

    I will add, Ahmad, that is in my admittedly limited understanding of Islam, the time physically spent in the grave (after death but before the Day of Judgment) is itself "purgatorial" if not the place called by Christians Purgatory. That is, if one does have an abundance of wrong-doing or immoral views, then the time in the grave is one of torment -- but it's a torment that may help one to be judged more favorably on DoJ. This is the purpose of Christian Purgatory (again, as I understand it) by means of a different scenario or mechanism. (Buddhists also have the Bardos for a similar goal.) That said, there must be people who have done too much wrong for this Barzakh time to have much influence on their ultimate judgment. And, similarly, there are those who need no torment, thus making their time in the grave a peaceful one. All I might add, though, is that "immoral views" could sometimes be taken as "incorrect theological views." That is, I don't know where the line is drawn from an Islamic perspective between the experience had by an honorable and peaceful Christian who does not accept Mohammed's revelations and a devout Muslim who, say, was unkind to others all his life... I welcome, though, further discussion on this and others' understanding of this Islamic concept!
  23. Getting To Know Me...

    Those are some excellent questions, Ahmad, and I appreciate your posing them to me. In all, I think I have a good life. That is, I'm not turning to Islam out of desperation or to right some terrible imbalance in my life. So far, I was fortunate enough to be born into a loving family and a very comfortable lifestyle. I got a rather good education, and I have enjoyed the highs and lows of life with friends and close ones. I have a fine job, and I get to engage in a number of additional activities that delight me. Additionally, I am relatively healthy with a caring wife and a beautiful daughter. It feels strange to ask for anything more, honestly. Perhaps all I want is to be able to maintain this level of existence -- or, maybe, to have my daughter experience the same life, if not better. I have the nagging feeling, though, that to do that, I need to reorient myself to some degree. That is, I need a system that better frames my thoughts and (relative) insights as I move into the next decades of my life. I think that "system" (if you'll forgive the term) is Islam, but I have doubts as to my devotion and, therefore, the appropriateness of my converting to something I could not absolutely pledge myself to. What I've read of the Qur'an speaks so much of certainty and total commitment. Should I even consider this faith -- which strikes me as beautiful and quite humane -- if I could not keep up "my side of the bargain?"
  24. Conversion Dilemma

    As I look through many of these accounts, I find I'm running into the same problem that I've previously experienced: Namely, most of these people speak with such certainty, a trait that I seem to be lacking. I have not had any theophany, any personal and sudden enlightenment to Islam. Nor am I looking for a radically new way to conduct my life. Rather, I find the questions raised by Islam to be the same questions I have. And, I have a number of loved ones in my life who I respect and admire who are themselves Muslim. So, until I find an account along these lines, I continue to ask: How do I know when I am or when I should be Muslim? Again, I doubt that I would be an exemplar (of any religion), but I would like to align myself more genuinely...
  25. Getting To Know Me...

    May I now post in other forums? I want to ask others about any experiences they have with conversion, but each time I try to do so, I get the error message that my post is "too long."