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Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. #414021 12/13/15 05:28 AM
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SeekerPhilip Offline OP
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Greetings in faith.

I joined this forum to ask questions about Eastern Catholicism. I'm 55, closing on 56. I was raised Roman Catholic in what was an Italian National parish before Vatican II, though the parish came under the archbishop after the council. The Mass changes led my father to leave the church, but my mother stayed a Catholic until she passed away, may God bless her. I never attended the traditional Latin Mass with understanding because I was 4 years old when the Mass became English, though I remember that when the Missal of Pope Pius VI came into use, because I didn't like the changes to the Confiteor, and instead of the long Eucharistic Canon, our priest went to one of the short Eucharist prayers that didn't mention the list of saints and popes. When I was about 13, I quite attending Mass because I didn't want to go to Mass early with my mother, who walked about an hour every Sunday morning to get to the former Italian parish because she never got her drivers license. In retrospect, I am ashamed of myself for not going with her so she wouldn't walk alone!

Later, I ended up going to a fundamentalist Baptist church with neighbors for about a year (don't ask me why I stayed that long hehe), and at age 25, I began attending a Pentecostal Holiness church, where I stayed for 8 years, getting a diploma from their 3 year bible school. Then, I joined a new holiness church, where I was made an Elder, and stayed in the position or 2 years, when it couldn't compete with a another new church which built a new building and had a satellite dish and a gym. We were renting a space in a public school.

Alas, my personal studies were leading me toward looking into Eastern Orthodoxy. I took a class at a local OCA parish, but did not become Orthodox. Instead, I began to go my childhood parish with my mother and returned to the Catholic Church. For me, the Divine Liturgy at the OCA parish was much more inspiring for me, but I already knew the Western Rite. I visited what was in the mid to late 1990s called the Indult Latin Mass, which I liked better than the new Mass despite the Latin, and I visited the Byzantine Ruthenian and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Churches and felt at home in both those parishes, even though I can't understand Ukrainian. I preferred then and even now the Eastern Spirituality. However, talking to traditionalist Latin Rite Catholics on the one hand and my Orthodox friends on the other, I wrongly assumed that the Eastern Catholic Churches were not quite "up to par". Shame on me again. Then, I visited the local ROCOR parish, which was made up of mostly Russians, and even though the liturgy was in Old Church Slavonic, I was very moved and the Deacon gave me personal instruction.

Once again, I stopped short of becoming Orthodox. I loved and love the liturgy, spirituality, and the congregations. However, as my wife says, I read too many books. I had read the Quran just before returning to the Catholic Church. During the time in the Church, I also read about Sufism and the history of the Muslim Caliphate. I concluded that the Caliphate failed when it turned dynastic. As much as I liked my Sunni friends and the Quran and the Sufism, I could not be a Muslim ... until I started reading about Islam from a 12er Shia Muslim perspective.

Becoming a 12er Shia Muslim, however, did not end my live for Eastern Spirituality. I kept my books on Orthodoxy, and bought more books besides, as well as books from Byzantine Catholic and Melkite Catholic publishing houses. I don't pray through it, but I ordered Byzantine Daily Worship from Alleluia Press and read it. I have many books by the late Archbishop Joseph Raya, and books on faith formation from God with Us Publications. I also have the Publicans Prayer Book, which I carry with me along with the Orthodox Study Bible and my Quran and Shia prayer books. My wife is a Filipina Catholic who practices in the Western rite, but she only reads her Cebuana bible. I wish I could get her to come visit an Eastern Rite parish which I do once in a while, or even the traditional Latin Mass.

Anyway, the reason I joined this forum is because I want to talk positively about Eastern Catholic topics. I am involved in the Muslim-Christian dialogue center at the local Catholic seminary, and even gave a talk on the Pope's papal encyclical on climate change. I do visit Extraordinary Western Rite parishes and with my wife her Ordinary Rite parish, as well as Eastern Rite parishes, but I don't announce myself as a Muslim, just attending the liturgy and leaving. Some of my traditional Latin Mass friends remember me and so they know me, and I'll socialize with them. I haven't visited an Orthodox parish in over a decade, however.

Lastly, I know a few Catholics and Orthodox who also identify with 12er Shia Muslims but remain Catholic, too. I personally have to consider myself one or the other as much as it might be nice to be both. However, I love Catholics and Orthodox (and most of my family is Catholic) so I am here as a good friend of Catholics who at least shares some of the same spirituality. I won't talk about 12er Shia Muslim belief or practices unless asked a question, and I don't ever say anything against Catholic or Orthodox Christians, but if for some reason I wanted to become Catholic, I would join an Eastern Rite parish, certainly.

Please forgive the length of my introduction.

Philip

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: SeekerPhilip] #414029 12/13/15 06:44 PM
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Dear Philip,

How do you reconcile one God of Islam with the triune God of Christianity?

Do you believe that Jesus is the son of God, and not just a prophet?

Do you believe that Jesus 'was crucified and buried and on the third day He rose, according to the scriptures. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. His Kingdom shall have no end'?

Do you believe the prophet Mohammed was indeed a prophet visited by an angel of God?

Just wondering,
Alice

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Alice] #414030 12/13/15 07:41 PM
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Dear Philip
You are not a child, you need to make a decision you can not be both,although you can respect the good that the other has to offer
Prayers

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: SeekerPhilip] #414048 12/15/15 07:09 PM
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Hi Philip,

Welcome to The Byzantine Forum.

Your spiritual journey is certainly an interesting one! I look forward to whatever you have to discuss.

You didn't ask for a comment back. Might I offer one? I'd say I agree with your wife and she is a wise women. Reading too many books can indeed keep someone from knowing Christ. I'd suggest that you take a very long break from such reading. My recommendation is my standard one to everyone: 1) Pray 10 psalms a day, every day (and no more) and 2) Read the four Gospels, one chapter a day (and no more), starting with Matthew. Do both for a year. I can testify from personal experience that your life will be incredibly different.

John

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: SeekerPhilip] #414058 12/16/15 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by SeekerPhilip
Lastly, I know a few Catholics and Orthodox who also identify with 12er Shia Muslims but remain Catholic, too. I personally have to consider myself one or the other as much as it might be nice to be both.


I am a bit confused by your post. Do you identify as a Catholic......or a Twelver?

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Recluse] #414109 12/20/15 02:43 AM
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SeekerPhilip Offline OP
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I identify as a 12er Shia Muslim. That sentence was not constructed as well as it should have been. I apologize for that.

I love both Catholicism, especially in its Eastern Form (Byzantine, Melkite, etc.), and I love the 12er Shia Muslim faith, so I couldn't follow my heart. I went by my reasoning, although that same reasoning would have put me in the Eastern Catholic camp if all I knew was Christianity.

What I'm trying to say is that I am harmless and friendly. Some important doctrines may be different, but I do believe the spirituality is the same.

And, as far as Syrian refugees are concerned, I have absolutely no problem with Syrian Christians coming to America, but as a 12er Shia Muslim, I hope the vetting of the Muslim refugees is tough because my place of worship would be a target of any ISIS or Al-Qaeda sympathizers. But, that's another story for another time.

By the way, since this is a Byzantine Catholic forum, I don't even mind if someone makes a friendly challenge in regards to 12er Shia Islam. While I might try to clear up any misconceptions, I certainly would not react in kind. I really do have a high regard for Eastern Catholic spirituality and find Eastern Catholics good company (Western Catholics and Orthodox, too.)

If I don't post before then, have a Merry Christmas.

Philip

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Alice] #414110 12/20/15 03:22 AM
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SeekerPhilip Offline OP
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I apologize that I wasn't clear enough in my first post. I used to believe the Apostles Creed and the original Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed and the Tome of Leo and the Ecumenical Councils. After my own studies in Comparative Religion, which also included books by Zen Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh and a look at Shin Buddhism, 12er Shia Islam made the most sense to me. But, because I was happy with Orthodoxy at the time, and had decided to convert to Orthodoxy, it took me months to actually give Shahada, and for a month or so afterwards I was "loopy", i.e. wondering if I had made the right decision.

Before "punting" and returning to the Catholic Church, I had studied the New England/New School theology of Charles Grandison Finney and others who were influenced by the scholarship the student of Jacob Arminius, Hugo Grotius, who had studied the theologians of the early Church and had reached conclusions much different than the Calvinists, and even some that were different than Arminius himself. Thus, as one of the Remonstrants, Grotius was imprisoned by the Dutch Government as a result of the Council of Dordt, though he was able to escape with his books from prison. I suppose this is why I gravitated to Eastern Spirituality after returning to the Catholic Church. I suppose this is why I became a 12er Shia Muslim rather than a Sunni Muslim, though I have to say some of the Sunnis who were Sufis say some of the same things 12er Shia Muslim leaders say.

I do not want to talk about why I became a 12er Shia Muslim because that isn't why I'm here and it would not be right. True believing Christians have nothing to fear as far our reading of the Quran is concerned anyway, so I don't even see a need to convert you if I were chatting with you off this forum.

Lets say I believe that Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship the same one God (though I have doubts about the modern fundamentalist Jihadists) even if Christians believe one God is a Trinity of three co-eternal Persons while Jews and Christians do not. Except for the 4th Caliph, our first Imam, I believe the Muslim Caliphate was not what Muhammad intended right away, and failed after the 4th Caliph was murdered, though until the last years of the Turkish Caliphate it was still better than ISIS, which isn't saying much.

Still, this is a Byzantine Catholic Forum, so I am fair game is you want to give me a friendly challenge. smile

Philip

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Michele] #414111 12/20/15 03:29 AM
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SeekerPhilip Offline OP
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Hello Michelle,

I apologize for not being clear in my first post. I believe as the 12er Shia Muslims do, but in my heart I love both faiths. I was trying to say that I have met a few people who want to be both, but I can only fully believe one, though I can love both. When my wife goes to Mass, I go with her, though I visit the Eastern Churches on my own. Someday she says she will visit the Byzantine Parish, which will make me happy. But, as a Filipina, all she knows is the Western Rite.

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Administrator] #414112 12/20/15 04:05 AM
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Hello John,

I do read several Psalms everyday, as well as the Magnificat. Since I own A Psalter of Prayer published by Holy Trinity Monastery and The Orthodox Psalter published by Holy Apostles Convent and Dormition Skete (which I believe is one monk and one nun and I think they are under the jurisdiction of the True Orthodox Church of Greece), I have thought about reading one Kathisma a day, plus 8 of the 9 odes. That's about 9 Psalms most days.

Of course, I also pray the 5 Salat prayers according to our school way of praying them, and I read 50 verses of the Quran a day, and more during Ramadhan and Muharram. I also read a little bit from our Imams every day if there is time, or pray their prayers.

I do go through the Bible, especially the New Testament, sometimes with an Orthodox commentary alongside. I read books by the late Archbishop Joseph Raya and books on faith formation from God with Us Publications. I may be a graduate of a Bible School, but they did not give me an Eastern Catholic understanding of the Bible. Of course, my Publican's Prayer Book is never too far away.

I can't stop making Salat and reading a bit of Quran everyday, but I could read 10 Psalms and a chapter of the Gospels every day. I used to read three to five chapters of the Bible a day before I came back to the Catholic Church in the mid 1990s, but then I switched to some Psalms, some Canticles, and two chapters of the New Testament. Of course, my "prayer rule" changed again when I became a 12er Shia Muslim.

I forgot to say this in some of my former responses to this post, but John and everyone, have a Merry Christmas. I plan to read a little bit of Archbishop Raya's book "Christmas" to my family on the Eve and the Day.

God bless,

Philip

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: SeekerPhilip] #414118 12/20/15 01:16 PM
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Dear Seeker Philip,
Do you wish to convert the people here to Islam?
I once read a book entitled " Transformation of the Heart " , I thought it was a book on the Jesus prayer but it was actually a book about Islamic spirituality so I can see the subtle similarities but Catholicism and Islam are not the same .
May God guide you on your journey to the truth and may the New Year bring you to a New Life in Christ Jesus.
Peace


P.S.- many moons ago I did read the Koran and was surprised to find the Virgin Mary there

Last edited by Michele; 12/20/15 01:31 PM. Reason: Additional thought
Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Michele] #414126 12/20/15 11:42 PM
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SeekerPhilip Offline OP
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Hello Michele,

In my first post I wrote:

"Anyway, the reason I joined this forum is because I want to talk positively about Eastern Catholic topics. I am involved in the Muslim-Christian dialogue center at the local Catholic seminary, and even gave a talk on the Pope's papal encyclical on climate change. I do visit Extraordinary Western Rite parishes and with my wife her Ordinary Rite parish, as well as Eastern Rite parishes, but I don't announce myself as a Muslim, just attending the liturgy and leaving. Some of my traditional Latin Mass friends remember me and so they know me, and I'll socialize with them. I haven't visited an Orthodox parish in over a decade, however.

Lastly, I know a few Catholics and Orthodox who also identify with 12er Shia Muslims but remain Catholic, too. I personally have to consider myself one or the other as much as it might be nice to be both. However, I love Catholics and Orthodox (and most of my family is Catholic) so I am here as a good friend of Catholics who at least shares some of the same spirituality. I won't talk about 12er Shia Muslim belief or practices unless asked a question, and I don't ever say anything against Catholic or Orthodox Christians, but if for some reason I wanted to become Catholic, I would join an Eastern Rite parish, certainly."

So, no, I certainly don't want to try and convert anyone on this forum to 12er Shia Islam.

Most translations of the Quran found in stores are either Sunni translations, or Wahabist (fundamentalist) Translations. One would find differences in the translations and in the notes when comparing different Sunni translations, let alone 12er Shia to Sunni to Wahabist translations of the Quran. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary "full of grace" or "highly favored", I would agree with Catholics and say "yes". Protestant translations say "highly favored". Similar differences appear in Quran translations.

At a Muslim-Christian dialogue center event at the local Catholic seminary, a Sunni Muslim scholar who used to teach at the seminary compared Sunnis to Protestants and Shias to Catholics. A good friend of mine from Jordan who though raised Sunni but converted to 12er Shia in college, who is a Shaykh and also an adjunct professor at that seminary completely agreed. I suppose Wahabists like the Saudis would be fundamentalist Evangelicals, but I don't know who to compare Wahabi Jihadists within Christianity.

Some Sunnis who are Sufis ask Sufi saints to pray for them, as all but one Sufi band trace their lineage through the Prophet through the 4th Sunni Caliph who is the first Shia Imam, Ali Ibn Talib. Since 12er Shi'ism is said to be 10% Sufism, we ask those we believe are in heaven to pray for us. I ask my mother, a lifelong Roman Catholic who died in 2003 to pray for me because she certainly was a good Catholic and for me a good and dear mother. 12er Shia Muslims believe that Saint Peter and Saint James the Just (the "brother" or actually "cousin" of Jesus" were the first two of the 12 Imams of Jesus Christ, so I can ask them to prayer for me, also. Our Shia traditions only name two of the 12. I suppose this is one of the reasons I love both Catholicism/Orthodoxy and 12er Shia Islam.

Also, while Sunni Muslims describe Islam as 5 Pillars and 5 Articles of Faith, while Wahabis add the sixth pillar, Jihad, described by Wahabis as Holy War, 12er Shia Muslims describe Islam as 5 Roots of Religion and Ten Branches, while other Shia sects have their own unique descriptions of Islam. For 12er Shia Muslims, who make up 10% of all Muslims and 2/3rds of all Shias. For 12er Shia Muslims, the major Jihad is being a good Muslim, a good neighbor, a good spouse, a good parent, a good citizen, and etc. That is, as Paul the Apostle wrote, fighting the good fight of faith. The "little Jihad" is the just defensive war. Many Sunni Muslims would agree this, too, though they wouldn't call the major Jihad by the name of Jihad. Of course, most of the old Caliphs described what was really imperialism for profit as defensive Jihad, which is why I believe as 12er and Ismaili Shias do that only the 4th Caliph could be called a good caliph, and after his murder, the Caliphate was a dynastic empire.

As I said in another response, the Quran says true Christians have nothing to fear, so that is one reason I wouldn't try to convert anyone hear to Islam. A second reason is that I truly want to positively learn more about Eastern Catholic spirituality, so if I suddenly started trying to convert people, it would defeat that purpose. Thirdly, the moderators would have every right to give me what Evangelical Christians call "the Left Foot of Fellowship", i.e. boot me from this forum.

Of course, if you are a hardcore FOX News watcher, you might not believe anything I post, but that's a chance I have to take.

By the way, I support tightening our borders though I'd like illegal immigrants from Mexico who are otherwise law abiding to be given a path to citizenship. I'm fine with easing the flow of Christian Syrian Refugees into the USA, but I do believe we need a very tough vetting process with Syrian Muslims because of terrorism. Shia centers are one of Al-Qaeda's and ISIS' favorite targets, so my Islamic Center is at risk. Of course, Churches and other public places are very much at risk, also.

I hope my post cleared up doubts about my intentions.

God bless and Merry Christmas

Philip



Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: SeekerPhilip] #414138 12/21/15 12:54 PM
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Dear Seeker,
Thank you for your through explanation although I am sure I have not fully digested it. It was a Saudi who gave me the Quran. I've only ever heard of the Sunnis or Sufis never of the 12ers. I too like to learn more about Eastern Catholicsm, it seems that the more you look the richer and deeper it is
A true Treasure of faith. There are many knowledgeable people on this forum ,I am not one of them. I pray that you find what you are looking for, no harm was intended by my post.
May God shower you with His blessings !
Michele

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: SeekerPhilip] #414139 12/21/15 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SeekerPhilip
... the reason I joined this forum is because I want to talk positively about Eastern Catholic topics ... I won't talk about 12er Shia Muslim belief or practices unless asked a question ...

Philip,

First of all, welcome to the Byzantine Forum. I look forward to engaging in some real, constructive Muslim-Christian dialogue (and no, I don't expect you to try and convert anyone on this forum wink ).

Originally Posted by SeekerPhilip
At a Muslim-Christian dialogue center event at the local Catholic seminary, a Sunni Muslim scholar who used to teach at the seminary compared Sunnis to Protestants and Shias to Catholics. A good friend of mine from Jordan who though raised Sunni but converted to 12er Shia in college, who is a Shaykh and also an adjunct professor at that seminary completely agreed. I suppose Wahabists like the Saudis would be fundamentalist Evangelicals, but I don't know who to compare Wahabi Jihadists within Christianity.

Except for that one Protestant pastor who wanted to burn the Quran publicly (don't remember his name), and perhaps some other isolated groups, I don't know of any Christian groups that could be compared to Wahabi Jihadists. (Going back in history, one might try to make a comparison with the Knights Templar, but I think even that's a stretch.)

Originally Posted by SeekerPhilip
Some Sunnis who are Sufis ask Sufi saints to pray for them, as all but one Sufi band trace their lineage through the Prophet through the 4th Sunni Caliph who is the first Shia Imam, Ali Ibn Talib.

OK, let me see if I've got this straight: Sufis are then a subset of the Sunnis, and all but one of the Sufi "bands" trace their heritage back to 4th Sunni Caliph--who is also the first Shia Imam. So, this Caliph would be the father of both Sufism and Shiism? confused

Originally Posted by SeekerPhilip
Since 12er Shi'ism is said to be 10% Sufism, we ask those we believe are in heaven to pray for us. I ask my mother, a lifelong Roman Catholic who died in 2003 to pray for me because she certainly was a good Catholic and for me a good and dear mother. 12er Shia Muslims believe that Saint Peter and Saint James the Just (the "brother" or actually "cousin" of Jesus" were the first two of the 12 Imams of Jesus Christ, so I can ask them to pray for me, also. Our Shia traditions only name two of the 12. I suppose this is one of the reasons I love both Catholicism/Orthodoxy and 12er Shia Islam.

OK, but how do you reconcile the fact that Catholics and Orthodox consider it dogmatic truth that Jesus is the Son of God (in fact, virtually *all* Christians teach some version of this doctrine), while--at least to my knowledge--all Muslims consider this proposition to be blasphemous in and of itself?

Originally Posted by SeekerPhilip
Of course, most of the old Caliphs described what was really imperialism for profit as defensive Jihad, which is why I believe as 12er and Ismaili Shias do that only the 4th Caliph could be called a good caliph, and after his murder, the Caliphate was a dynastic empire.

Indeed, most wars of agression are fought by soldiers who have been told they're "defending" their country. Hermann Goering once said: "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."


Peace,
Deacon Richard

Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Epiphanius] #414148 12/21/15 06:23 PM
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SeekerPhilip Offline OP
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Greetings Deacon Richard,

Thanks for responding to my post.

You wrote:
"Except for that one Protestant pastor who wanted to burn the Quran publicly (don't remember his name), and perhaps some other isolated groups, I don't know of any Christian groups that could be compared to Wahabi Jihadists. (Going back in history, one might try to make a comparison with the Knights Templar, but I think even that's a stretch.)"

I wouldn't even call the pastor from Florida a Protestant, hehe. An ultra-fundamentalist Pentecostal. He went to Dearborn Michigan to cause trouble with the 12er Shia Muslims there, and when some Catholics came to support these Muslims, his people started bad-mouthing the Catholics, too. I was very appreciative that those Catholics gave their support.

You wrote:
"OK, let me see if I've got this straight: Sufis are then a subset of the Sunnis, and all but one of the Sufi "bands" trace their heritage back to 4th Sunni Caliph--who is also the first Shia Imam. So, this Caliph would be the father of both Sufism and Shiism?"

I apologize, as I was too general in my description. There are 12 Shias who are Sufis, also. Traditional Sunnis usually consider the first four Caliphs to be Rightly Guided, and will still consider the Caliphs that followed to be legitimate, but not necessarily wise rulers. Sunnis are not monolithic as a movement. Sunnism might be said to have fully come together after the Ummayyad Caliphs were replaced by the Abbassid Caliphate. This is when the Sunni schools of Jurisprudence began to appear. Since the first two Ummayyad Caliphs came to power by challenging the 4th Caliph Ali and murdering his sons, which include the 2nd Imam Hassan, and the 3rd Imam Hussein, as well as another son, Abbas, at the Tragedy of Karbala, The first two Ummayyad Caliphs began having Ali and his descendants cursed from the Friday Pulpit, even though Ali was the cousin of Muhammad, and the three sons of Ali I mentioned were his sons by Muhammad's daughter Fatima, who was Ali's wife.

The Abbassids put an end to that cursing of the family of Ali, at least. The architects of the first two Sunni schools of Jurisprudence both had our Sixth Imam as one of their teachers. They had to reconcile traditional practices they saw being practiced in the time of the Ummayyads with what they knew came down through the Imams of the Shia lines. Even so, the 4 Sunni schools that still exist today are still 75% to 80% in agreement with the 12er Shia school of Jurisprudence. It is the influence of later fundamentalists coming of the 4th Sunni school that produced Salafism and Wahabism, including terrorist groups that use the methods of those schools. Shia Muslims and traditional Sunni Muslims would say there would be no orthodox Islam today if the 3rd Imam Hussein Ibn Ali Ibn Muhammad had not been martyred at Karbala. But Sunnis accept the first Caliphs as Rightly Guided, whereas the Shias only believe the 4th Imam was Rightly Guided. Salafi and Wahabis schools seem to buy into the ideas of the Ummayads and based on Ibn Kathir's history, even believe Imam Hussein deserved to be murdered. Most Sunnis I know personally reject this idea the idea that Imam Hussein deserved his death.

But, yes, I would say that the influence of Imam Ali and his family impacted both Shi'ism and traditional pious Sunnis.

You said:
"OK, but how do you reconcile the fact that Catholics and Orthodox consider it dogmatic truth that Jesus is the Son of God (in fact, virtually *all* Christians teach some version of this doctrine), while--at least to my knowledge--all Muslims consider this proposition to be blasphemous in and of itself?"

That is a good point. However, a cradle Shia Muslim or traditional Sunni Muslim would look at what the Quran actually says about Christians, and how Muhammad personally treated Christians from Najran who came to visit him in Medina. Muhammad allowed the Christians to use his mosque to celebrate the Divine Liturgy and they signed a treaty. The Quran says that good Christians have nothing to fear. The Quran also says that the Christians are the closest to the Muslim.

There is a passage in the Quran that Sunnis and Shias translate differently. "Take not Jews and Christians for your
'waliyah'". Because Sunnis believed Abu Bakr was supposed to be the 1st Caliph, they translated "waliyah" as "friends", and that is how they translate it to this day. Yet, true Sunnis and Sunnis who are Sufis will give you many reasons why Christians can be taken as friends. Salafis and Wahabis seem not to understand that the Christians in the time of Muhammad are the same as today, for most of them will say "these are not the original Christians" For Shia Muslims, "wali" means "guardian" as in one who takes care of us or rules over us. Thus, a country that has a Muslim majority and uses Islamic Jurisprudence would have to have a Muslim head, though that doesn't mean Christians and Jews can't be in the government as well.

The second Caliph, Omar Ibn Khattab, banished all the Christians from the Arabian Penninsula. This was an imperialistic move, and 12er Shia Muslims consider this unjust. I take it as a violation of the treaty made by Muhammad.

As for my personal beliefs, I was Christian who turned back to God at age 25 because of problems I have with Anxiety a Depression as did my mother, and because I believed I was not living as God wanted me to live. Unfortunately, ignorant me chose a Pentecostal Holiness Church. The music was to a degree inspirational, but the preaching was so hard that I eventually had what one might call a "nervous breakdown". I took a long while to get passed the point of just going through the motions. I was lucky/blessed to have guard job that didn't require a lot of thinking on my part, or I might have been jobless. Finally, that church realized it was preaching too hard, but I eventually left to join a Holiness church that accepted Pentecostals (or in my case by that time, barely Pentecostal) but wasn't Pentecostal as such. After a few years, that Church plant failed because it couldn't keep up with the megachurch in its area. But, I was heading in a Catholic/Orthodox direction anyway, so the change didn't go badly.

I much preferred worship at the Catholic churches, even if the Ordinary Mass didn't do as much for me as the Traditional Latin Mass and the Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy. Because I was just visiting Eastern Catholic churches though my friends by then were Western Catholics and Orthodox Christians, I decided to convert to Orthodoxy!

I was Catechized, but I didn't go through with it because my personal studies were leading me to doubt the Trinity and Full Deity and Humanity of Jesus Christ. I'm not even going to discuss what brought that about, because that was my problem, hehe. I loved the spirituality and the parish life, which was much more relaxed than what I experienced at the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and I love the mostly Russian Choir with the booming baritones. And, the setting used for chanting the Divine Liturgy was very beautiful. It was almost like being in Heaven for a few minutes, hearing the prayers, 2 psalms, and the beatitudes.

Actually, I wanted both the Eastern Spirituality and the 12er Shia Muslim Spirituality, which has many similarities, but I knew I could only have one because of the profound doctrinal differences, and I made my choice for better or for worse. However, much of the Eastern Church is still in my heart, and once I came to read more about Eastern Catholics versus Eastern Orthodox, I came to prefer Eastern Catholicism even more than Orthodoxy, because what I really wanted back in my thirties was to be Eastern but still Catholic.

This post has gotten awfully long, so I'll end here.

God Bless,

Philip


So, you might say Muslim-Christian Dialogue is happening inside me as well as outside me.






Re: Finally getting up the nerve to post on this Forum. [Re: Michele] #414149 12/21/15 06:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 13
SeekerPhilip Offline OP
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 13
Hello Michele,

I never thought you meant me any harm, so please don't worry about that. The Eastern Church is very rich. I can read an consider a short paragraph from the Church Fathers in my Publican's prayer book and blessed for the rest of the day. Same with reading the Psalms. God is so good!

God bless,

Philip

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