Learning about other religions has caused me to question my own religiosity. It reminds me of when I was a lot younger, when I would make an appraisal of myself based on my observations of other people. I used to gauge myself by what I saw in others. Today, reading about Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and other religions has affected me the same way. To be frank, I was caught rather off guard by their experiences.
It’s ironic that we need to read about other religions and how their followers practice their faith, in order for us to stop awhile and take a closer look at how we practice our own religion. The knowledge about other religious practices prompted me to compare them with the practices of my own religion. One of the five pillars of Islam, for instance, the daily prayers, which requires Muslims to make time to pray five times a day wherever they are, (Fisher. 2005. Islam) has made me realize how seldom I pray in a day.
I was brought up by my parents to pray every night before going to bed, and that’s it. Now I wonder if I’m not doing enough praying, or whether my own religion is merely less demanding. Another is the hajj, a pilgrimage to their holy sanctuary, the Ka’bah, which was supposed to have been built by Abraham with the help of his son, Ishmael. (Fisher. 2005. Islam) I bet that going to such a pilgrimage even once in one’s lifetime costs a lot of money – but the fact that Muslims are doing all they can to save for it speaks a lot about their piousness.
In the case of Judaism, reading about the holocaust which killed around six million Jews during World War II simply overwhelmed me. (Fisher. 2005. Judaism) I can’t seem to get over the fact that a simple church membership got that many people killed. And yet the Jews remained steadfast in their faith. Confronted with such naked cruelty, I could not help asking myself the inevitable question: What would have I done if my parents were killed in that holocaust?
Would I have remained a Jew in spite of it? Faith, I know, would still matter in the end. The foregoing observations about other religions have not diminished my faith in my own. If at all, it strengthened me. I have come to realize that faith in God conquers all. References Fisher, M. P. (2006). Islam. Living Religions, Sixth Edition (pp. 362-416). Prentice-Hall. Fisher, M. P. (2006). Judaism. Living Religions, Sixth Edition (pp. 226-283). Prentice-Hall.
Courtney from Study Moose