What would RTH do?

That is the question.

If I were in a highschool yearbook, they would vote me most likely to die of a lynch mob. That does not prevent me from opening my mouth and serving a warm hearty cup of STFU to people who deserve it. My dark scathing humor will leave no matter of existence untouched. My innocence will touch your soul.

Welcome to a warped world turned inside out and upside down. All sorts of discretion advised.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why I'll be reading the Quran

A few months ago I made the commitment to read the Holy Quran this year. My commitment had to be delayed for a couple of months due to academic readings and responsibilities. Now that I have plowed through my academic readings and responsibilities, I am ready to take my plunge. I just finished downloading the Holy Quran onto my Nook this afternoon. I anticipate beginning to read it this week.

Many may wonder - Why the heck will I be reading the Quran. It is not everyday that you come across Hindus who want to read the Quran. It definitely is not the type of book I'd pickup and curl up with for a good evening's read. Nope, not my idea of a good read at all. I'm not a student of Islamic studies, so it definitely is not for school. Most importantly it is quite and odd choice for a self proclaimed and proud heathen of the worst sort.

The driving factor for this choice was an argument I got into with some online Muslims. I'll spare the details, because I've vented about it in past posts. But one of the most common comments in the argument was that one had to read the Quran to understand Islam and that those who had not read the Quran had not standing to engage in debates on Islam.

I'll admit to being stubborn and childish, but I'm not that stubborn and childish to read books on a silly whim, especially religious books. The truth is that I'm a major dork for social studies. History, philosophy and theology really intrigue me. I'm genuinely fascinated by the philosophical and historical evolution of religious views and how they are shaped dynamically by culture and society. I love exploring the stark differences in western doctrine and eastern spiritualism, but the common thread of humanity and compassion within the teachings. Even though I am a business major, I tried to take as many theological or historic courses as possible. I've studies East West World Views, the history of ancient Israel, the history of the Ancient Church and the Holy Roman Empires. On my own outside of academia, I've explored the history and development of ancient pagan religions as well as modern day practice of Paganism, Wiccan and Shamanism. I've read the Tao Te Ching and the Analects of Confucius. As a Hindu, I've spent a lot of time reading the Mahabharata and interpreting it and trying to understand ancient Vedic philosophies. I've actually read the Jerusalem and the New American versions of the Bible as well.

The study of theology gives me an understanding of what shapes religious beliefs. It gives me a better understanding of where religious people come from and what is driving them. It helps be better understand why they say or do certain things. Theological studies also help draw the line between the spirit of the doctrine and the misinterpretation and misrepresentation in practice. Understanding of theology also helps in addressing religiously fueled debates like that of freedom of religion, separation of church and state, abortion, gay marriage and similar issues.

Islam however, is one religion that I never really studied as much. Actually, I never thought I needed to delve into Islam as much. Most of my friends growing up were Muslim, so I had a good understanding of Ramadan, Eid, Muharram and other Islamic celebrations. We also learned basic Islam in school and I knew the five pillars. The problem with that is that I had a very narrow cultural understanding of Islam. My Muslim friends and acquaintances were modern Indian Muslims. They were very liberal in their interpretation of Islam.

In the United States and the world in general, the practice of Islam is very different. Most Muslims are conservatives or moderates. The loose and liberal interpretation followed by modern day Muslims in urban India is uncommon globally. Adding to that Islamic relations and understanding in United States are strained. Post 09/11 the American general public has been fearful, xenophobic and harshly judgmental to the Islamic community. On the other hand American occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, coupled with their pro-Israeli stance in Middle Eastern affairs has created a hostile anti-American attitude in the Islamic world.

As an American in the post 09/11 era, reading the Quran will give hopefully give some grounds and understanding in the complex world we live in. If not at least the satisfaction of pursuing further in my personal theological studies. At the most the next time an argument ensues, I'll have solid grounds of having read the Quran just like I do when I debate with Bible thumpers. Hey, I try to be good and noble, but didn't I admit to being a diabolical heathen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are lucky to be a heathen. :(