Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Matter of Faith

This is an email I sent an old friend, who is now a youth pastor. He knew me at a time in my life when I was fervently Christian, and I am sure he'd be shocked at my current state. This is the main question that bangs around in my little head lately, and I'd love to hear your thoughts, too.

It occured to me today that you might be just the person to answer some of my questions.

The thing is, I am not exactly who I was when you knew me. I mean, none of us could say we're the same as high school, but I confess to having a crisis of faith. A big one.

I may or may not have mentioned to you that I married a Muslim man. I'd never seen another faith intimately before, and what I have seen has surprised me. All those years as a hardcore Christian, it had never occured to me, that, um, people of other religions are just as devoted to their religion as we are/were to ours. And I was a little bit horrified, and a little bit scared, and a little bit disillusioned.

Now my faith is such a touchy matter, and I would really like to return to church in some form because I know that I need to; I know I'm not right with God; I know I need the support of fellow Christians. But here's my problem and I'm wondering about your take on it. My mom says I'm too softhearted but I like to think I'm being logical when I ask you this:

How can God send someone who loves Him, in whatever form they believe in, to hell? Think of it this way. Think of your devotion to God, to Christ. Think of your devotion to discipleship and your love of the church. Now think if some Muslim girl came along and preached the Koran to you, urgently telling you that if you didn't believe in it you would go to hell. You wouldn't believe it, still, because you love God, and you feel his work in your life, and you know in your heart that you believe the right thing.
Now reverse it. You're a devout Muslim. You say your prayers, you do your fasts, you give to charity. Then some Christian guy comes along and starts talking about Jesus and repenting, but you don't believe it, because you love Allah and you feel his work in your life and you know in your heart that you believe the right thing.

So now I ask you--how can God be sending one of these people to hell? They both love Him and long to serve Him, they both think they're doing the right thing.

I'm not expecting you to solve my crisis of faith, I just wonder about your thoughts on this. I've gotten to a point where I would love to go back to church, I would love to sing in the choir, I would love to study my Bible, but I can't, because this is eating me up.

I appreciate your input.

God bless,


zeldafitz said...

That is fascinating--and I can so relate. I am "Catholic" and my husband is Muslim. My frist shock at the hell problem came during a Catholic funeral when the priest said that if someone wasn't Catholic they would go to hell. I thought, HUH? And I cannot rectify that with myself. Thank God that you found a way, through your own life and love and expereince to know that religion should be accepting and not polarizing.

(I almost named our daughter Layla!)

littlemissme said...

Gotta love those names that straddle the Arabic/American line, like Leila, Mariam, etc!

I am reading a fabulous book now, called "A Generous Orthodoxy" which takes a lot of time with the hell question, and is a balm to my troubled little soul. Will be posting bits as I get around to it. Thanks for commenting!