Not fair...

Not fair – Part 2

“Aren’t you afraid?”, I asked my husband. “I know you are sick of me with all this, but I need to hear from you. What do you think? Don’t you care about going to hell?”


Sweetheart, you are looking for something that you will NOT find. You are looking for proof that what you believe is true. You won’t find that. The only thing you will find is information that will enable you to make a decision – a sensible choice. I made a choice a long time ago to follow Jesus. I read and I chose. Can I prove it? No, but I still choose to believe it. That’s faith. Go running, it will help you clear your mind…


He is right, you know. I don’t know how it happened but I have committed so much of my time to find information about Islam and Christianity for the last six months. It probably started after the Bible-corruption talk I had with my Muslims. They are my Muslims and they will always be. But my husband is right. I will never be certain of anything. These things are not very likely to be settled scientifically. All I can do then is to make an informed decision. If I end up going to hell, I cannot blame anybody but me, I guess.


A Muslim is a person who submits to God. Any human can be a Muslim if he believes in one and only one God AND he leads a good life by submitting to that one God.

A non-Muslim, by definition, is a person who does not recognize God as a Sovereign Law giver Who rewards the good and punishes the bad.

OnIslam.net


The duty of Muslims is to do more good deeds and minimize evil deeds. That’s how they hope to attain salvation. Again, bear in mind, only in general terms. So on the Day of Judgment, Allah will judge them and ask them about each single deed that they did in this world. If the scale of good deeds exceeds the bad deeds, by Allah’s mercy they will enter Paradise.


Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones. He who has intended a good deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed

– Prophet Muhammad

Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim


In Islam actions are judged on the basis of intentions. Bad actions are not necessarily bad. Actually, good intentions in themselves have become good because they are based on the right philosophy or the right belief. Personally, I don’t think that would fly with the Jesus of the Bible. They might fly with the Muslim Jesus in the Quran, but not with my Jewish Husband. I have been so angry with my children that I have felt like throwing them out of the window. That is murder according to the Jewish Jesus.

When Jesus walked on this earth, He elevated the standard of morality to a higher level than The Law of Moses. In Matthew 5:22, Jesus says that you shall be subjected to penalty (bound, guilty) if you get the kind of anger (irritation) that focuses on punishing your offender rather than punishing the moral content of the offense (that’s me with my children). Not only that, if in contempt you call someone a moron, a fool, a stupid idiot – anything that puts into question his “brains” – you are risking going to gehenna (hell). Keep in mind that Jesus is talking to his twelve closest men, and to a whole crowd of people.

I am telling you people, following Jesus is creeping me out. This is a Jesus I had never seen in these eight years. This man is NOT a pushover. But then He forgives, and says that there is no greater love but to give your life for your friends, and He dies willingly. So Jesus calls you out when you sin, but then He dies for it. I think trying to explain how He embodied grace AND truth is impossible for me as a human being.

According to Islam, though, even if I felt like killing and thought about it many times, it doesn’t count as a bad deed. It actually counts as a good one because I didn’t follow through with the murder. Of course I was confused, so I asked my friends. They told me to read the Quran first, and to stop messing with the hadiths. Haven’t they realized they got me into this to start with?

 So to make things clearer: Muslims follow the Quran, the Sunnah and the hadiths.

  1. The Quran is their Holy Book.
  2. The Sunnah are the religious practices that were established by the Prophet among his companions, and have passed to them by the consensus of generations.
  3. The hadiths are narrations that are attributed to the companions of the Prophet who narrate a statement or a story about Muhammad or related to him.

According to some Muslims, the Quran and the Sunnah remain as their primary sources to understand Islam. But there are other Muslims who only follow the Quran and disregard the Sunnah, so you see them arguing on the web about this. These arguments do not even include the hadiths. There is a whole process for determining if the hadith is authentic or not. But a good rule of thumb is to go with Sahih al-Bukhari since it is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the Muslim world to be the most authentic collection of sayings of Prophet Muhammad. After that, Sahih Muslim is the second best collection. So for now, I’m sticking to those.


He who obeys the Messenger [Mohammad] has obeyed Allah

– Quran 4:80


Were am I going with all this? Well, it has actually crossed my mind the idea that if Islam is the true religion, I have to dump Jesus as my Savior, acknowledge Him only as a prophet, and embrace the Seal of the Prophets: Muhammad. If I am going to be a Muslimah, I’m gonna have to give it my best shot because No Savior means it all depends on me. My salvation rests on my shoulders, and of course, Allah’s mercy.

As I’ve seen, though, there is no consistency in how Allah punishes sin. Sometimes He wipes it all away, sometimes He does keep track of your wrong doings. This, of course, has me all confused because Allah in the Quran does not display the same character that Allah in the Bible displays (which has given me headaches for the last 6+ months). Seriously, it is hard to keep track of my children on an everyday basis, how am I supposed to keep track of my deeds with God?


Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.

Sahih al-Bukhari

Whoever says, ‘La ilaha illal-lah wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahu-l-mulk wa lahul- hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in qadir,’ one hundred times will get the same reward as given for manumitting ten slaves; and one hundred good deeds will be written in his accounts, and one hundred sins will be deducted from his accounts

Sahih al-Bukhari


Allah can do whatever He wants because He is God. God is God. The One and Only True God that Muslims, Christians and Jews worship according to Quran 29:46. So I think I owe it to myself to learn from Prophet Muhammad. It only makes sense that if he is a beautiful pattern of conduct (Quran 33:21) then I have to evaluate whether or not I want to sign up for Islam.

I am questioning things. I have to dissect the Jewish Jesus, the Muslim Jesus, Christianity, Islam, Muhammad, even Judaism and reincarnation. Anything goes in my search for truth, and I am telling you, it is NOT fair.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Not fair...

Not fair – Part 1

Now that my life is spinning around the internet researching for stuff, I have stumbled over the subject of Jesus as the ONLY way to heaven. Most people think it is unfair. Let’s say it is. I agree. It is unfair. It is very narrow. What I would like to know is exactly what fairness is. I cannot speak for everybody because I cannot know the heart of every single person in the world, so I will just speak for myself.

The very fist time I heard about a guy named Jesus had died for my sins, and that He loved me so much He wanted to help me with my life was when I was 12. I vaguely remember a friend of mine inviting me to this Protestant church in Mexico. Mostly I was hanging out with him, and then his parents took us with them to church. I don’t know how I ended up there, but I did. After the message, a gentleman asked us if we wanted to know more about Jesus. I raised my hand, but when someone came to talk to me, they saw that my parents were not there. They said they could not talk to me about Jesus because I was not with a responsible adult. Apparently, I needed my parent’s permission to hear the gospel [sarcasm].

Then, at age 20, a friend from high school invited me to church again. He told me about a guy named Jesus being amazing. My friend told me how he was a new person, and how this Jesus had rescued him from his sins and whatnot. Keep in mind I was Catholic, alright? I had been baptized as a baby. I was Christian. Is that what being a Christian means? Anyway… my friend stopped inviting me after I said no many times. It was wonderful that he had seen the light, I was just not interested.

My point is this. Of all the people who say Christianity is too narrow, that it is unfair that a loving God would only choose a person – Jesus – as the ONLY way to come to Him… Of all the people who refuse to come because the gate is too narrow… How many of those people really want to enter?  I ask because the narrow door was just an excuse in my case. The truth is I did not want to enter. I was very comfortable sleeping around. I might have known deep down inside me that God knew better and that having sex like I had candy was not good for me.  But who the heck cared? I liked it!

If you told me back then that the gate was too narrow and that the ONLY way to come to the Father was through Jesus, I would have objected. Of course. I would have made plenty of excuses. I’m happy Jesus works for you, but it’s not for me. I don’t think it’s a sin to have sex with my boyfriend, you know. After all, if we love each other, then it’s okay. It is not a sin if it’s done with love. I need to clean up my act before coming to God. Besides, it is unfair to other people. The way to the Father is too narrow. Why ONLY Jesus? 

You name my excuse, I would have given it to you. I knew there were things that might have been wrong with my life, but it was okay. I was happy. I never felt broken. Not all the time anyway. Sometimes I did feel lonely, but then I would just sleep around some more, and my loneliness went away. But my burden, my load, began feeling really heavy. I don’t know how it became heavy or when, I just felt really tired.

Being a disciple, a follower of Jesus, requires sacrifice. I wish I could tell you I am a disciple. For the most part, I am  trying to follow Him. But now that I am reading all this, and even doing a little bit of Greek here and there to understand the New Testament in its original language, I am scared of Jesus. I had always been like Jesus, Jesus, lovely Jesus, softy Jesus, but you don’t mess with Jesus. He said that if you wanted to be his disciple (to go after Him) you would have to deny (to disown, to repudiate, to ignore) yourself, to take up your cross, and follow Him. He doesn’t sound like a pushover. If the guy really died out of love for you, it is only fair He would demand obedience from His followers. The gift of salvation is free for anybody who wants to take it. But free doesn’t mean cheap. 

So I rejected the offer many times, mainly because I had no idea what the offer was. Tell you what, tough, unconditional love… you don’t walk away from that. I just couldn’t. So one day, I decided to walk through the narrow gate. I wish I could tell you I had objection for the door being too narrow, but I didn’t have excuses anymore. I had tried many things, but nothing seemed to change. So why not? I gave Jesus a shot. In faith, I asked God to help me change my ways, and my heart. I was ready for Him to do whatever He needed to do, I was done trying to figure out life on my own. And He kept His word. He helped.

But last night I couldn’t sleep at all. I was afraid. I was afraid I am going to hell for believing in Jesus as my Savior. I have been reading my Quran too much, you see, trying to make sense of all this. My Muslim friends told me to read it if I wanted to understand their religion. All this time, though, my husband has probably gotten the worst part. I talk constantly about all these things, about all I am finding out, about all the debates I’ve watched, and the latest news on Jewish and Islamic websites.

I know my husband loves me, but this definitely is not something he enjoys talking about – at least not for hours, like me. Hence, the blog. This morning I asked him, crying, if he was not afraid of going to hell for having confessed Jesus as His Lord and Savior eight years ago.


Seriously? We are going on vacation tomorrow. I am taking you to the beach for the first time in eight years. WE HAVE NEVER GONE TO THE BEACH. Do we have to talk about hell right now? Can you just disconnect your brain from all this until we come back?

– Dear Husband


Yep… that’s my husband right there. All our closest friends know this is him. He kept on talking.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Christians – Part 1

I heard the series CHRISTIAN from Andy Stanley two years ago, and it changed my view of Christianity. It was radical for me. It left me with two options: either to embrace Christianity as it stands now, or to think outside the box I was in. Was I a Christian? Yes, I was. Was it comfortable to be one? Yes, it was. Very comfortable. Did Jesus want me to be a Christian? No, He did not. 

The word Christian or Christianity is not defined in the Bible. It was never used by Jesus himself. Actually, the word Christian [from the Greek Χριστιανός Christianos] appears only three times in the New Testament, and it was used by outsiders as a derogatory term. This whole movement Jesus started was named after His title: the Christ [Messiah in Hebrew].

But now a Christian can be anything you want it to be. You can be a Christian and do or believe just about anything. Think about it this way. In just about any political argument, any war, any lawsuit, any issue… there are always Christians on both sides. People have killed other people in the name of Christianity. There are so many cults, so many denominations, and for the most part, it seems we cannot agree with each other.

This sadly happens everywhere. It also happens in Islam. Sunni Muslims think that Shia Muslims are not real Muslims. I don’t get why. They believe in Allah and the final messenger, Muhammad. But apparently, the reasons are not something that can be explained in a line, a paragraph, a page, or even an article. I will do my research and will let you know. Reading this kind of stuff, and drinking coffee in the morning while my children watch T.V. is my thing nowadays. I tell you, when it comes to religion, Christianity and Islam are not that different. 

Personally, I have hated Christianity at times. There ar dozens of people in my own peripheral world that hate Christians, and everything that has the word Christian in it. And here’s why:


Christians are judgmental, homophobic, moralists who think they are the only ones going to heaven and that secretly relish the fact that everyone else is going to hell.

– Andy Stanley


When I was far, far away from God, this was my first objection to God or Jesus or anything Christian. I don’t think the problem is God. People want God in their lives – at least most people. I think the problem is us. And when I say us, I mean all the Christians. Sure, nobody is perfect. But we were never called to be Christians. We were called to be Jesus’ disciples.

I have a friend whom I love with all my heart, and I want to share her story…

She has never believed in anything. But hey, she is in a relationship, and she is in love. The woman that she is dating wants them to go to church for whatever reason. My friend doesn’t know what to do. She hates church, but off she goes to please the girlfriend. She figures something good might come out of it. Therapy is working, but maybe God has His own way of helping her. Once they get to church, she sees wonderful things. But she also gets spotted as a lesbian. She is even asked if she had issues with her mom while growing up. You know, probably these Christians were also therapists trying to shoo her homosexuality away [sarcasm]. Then she’s told God dislikes homosexuals and that as women, we should marry a man, and obey that man. Because when we obey the man, then we are obeying God.

That’s not all. Heck, no… but I’ll stop there. When she told me all this – which I’m glad she did – I felt ashamed. I felt angry. I seriously think that regardless her sexual orientation, the questions these Christians were asking her are none of their business! That is just to start with; second, it is NONE of their business!

My friends are not going to church anymore. At least not in the near future. I wouldn’t want to go to church, either. I pleaded with them for not quitting on God. Quit church, but not God.


Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

– Jesus. First Woe

Matthew 23:13


The Teachers of the Law were very likely Levites. They were given the duty of instructing the people in the Law of Moses. They made sure the people worshipped God and fulfilled their obligations as God had instructed. The Pharisees competed with Jesus and with other groups for the influence of the people. Jewish Oral Tradition describes them as “destroyers of the world” and “Pharisaic plagues”.

In Matthew 23:1-12, Jesus goes hard at them. Jesus tells the people to do as Pharisees say, but not as they do, because they do not practice what they preach. All they want is for people to applaud them and honor them. They want to be noticed for how good they are, and how other people are not. These teachers were supposed to bring the people close to God, but instead they drove them away!

Today I was reminded that I have been these Pharisees. I have been judgmental, I have been moralistic. I have felt better than thou. What makes these Christians believe they had the right to treat my friends like this? What gave us the right? Nothing. Who gave us the right? No one. Not God. Not Jesus. But our own sin of self-righteousness.

God took me as I was eight years ago: multiple sexual partners, an abortion, an addiction, and plenty of psychological issues. I wonder about the Christians who drove my friends away from God. Who were they when they found the love of God? Have they actually found it? I have passed judgment on these Pharisees and Teachers of the Law every time I study my Bible. But I sadly realize that we, Christians, have become the Pharisees of Christianity.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Muslims who changed my life

It was a hot and humid afternoon at the playground when I finally decided to approach her. It had been at least a month since I had seen her everyday taking care of her son. And she was always alone. I was always alone.

As much as I tried, there was something not clicking with the moms at my daughter’s school. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was that I didn’t speak Tamil. They spoke English, but they were not very chatty with me. They were chatty among themselves, but not with me and of course I felt left out. I wanted to hang out with people. I had recently moved from Houston to Chennai, and I was eager to experience the world of preschool with my daughter. But so far, it wasn’t looking very good.

However, I was not the only unsuccessful mom at the playground. And, please, do not read between the lines. I know success as a mom doesn’t come from having random conversations with other moms at the playground. I only mean that I actually wanted to make friends, but it seemed more difficult than I thought it would be. So I finally took the courage to approach this other woman.

She was always wearing sunglasses. Who is she anyway? A Bollywood star? I don’t really remember what was the very first thing I said. But I do remember she took her sunglasses off, and for the very first time, I saw those darn big black circles under her eyes.

We began chit chatting, and she told me she was from Pakistan. During the conversation I came to tell her that I was Mexican, and that my husband’s work was what had brought us to India. I found out she had lived in Dubai before. And then, I opened my mouth too much…


Dubai? I’ve been in Dubai. Well, only at the airport. Man, I was impressed with those women… They are so beautiful, and their eyes are so dark, so deep. That’s the only thing I saw. They were all covered with a robe-like dress. They are Muslims. I like your necklace. What does it say?


The necklace said Allah… 

Over the next couple of weeks we continued having random conversations – probably about the weather. Somehow I invited her to my apartment to have tea or something, but she never came. She would always give me an excuse. Her husband went to the office later in the afternoon since he owned his own business, and she mentioned they had breakfast together every morning. So I understood that maybe she just wanted to hang out with her husband.

But one day she actually decided to meet me at Tryst Café and she brought her husband along. No offense to all the Muslims who are reading this (if there are any), but this man looked really Muslim. No topi, no beard like your prophet… just his face. It was like looking at Islam right in the eye.

She introduced us, and for the most part, we were having a really nice breakfast. My son was being such a good boy. No crying, no drama. No interruptions. She mentioned to her husband that I was very interested in different religions. That I had been reading a lot about Hinduism and even Islam. A little. We probably talked about school a little bit more, and the conversation changed little by little to friendship. They were interested in the fact that I was not really hanging out with the expatriates in India. It wasn’t that I didn’t know any, I just felt like I wanted to mingle with the locals. I wanted to experience India and the people. I didn’t want to be isolated in my own world, where everything was like I knew it, and with people who looked like me. He said I was a different kind of Westerner. I took that as a compliment.

We also talked about their diet. It finally made sense what Kosher and Halal meant. They were very easy to talk to. The husband intimidated me a little bit, but I guess it was because I had just met him. Both of them spoiled my son so much that day, that was very sweet. She asked me if all Westerners dated many people before getting married. She had always intrigued by that.

Oh, boy, where to begin?, I said.  She was laughing so hard.

He asked me many questions about America. They have heard so many things in the media. We cleared up many misconceptions they had about them. It is natural to assume that most Americans are awful after you watch the news. I am not American, but I feel like one. Except for the last year, I have lived there for the past eight years – my whole married life. My children were born there, and most of my best friends are Americans.

The conversation was relaxed and he was very calm. To make a point about the media, I asked him if he was carrying a bomb under his shirt.


If you are carrying one, I would really appreciate if you waited until I finish my croissant before blowing the whole place up… He got my point, and he smiled. You see? Not all Americans are awful. I guess not all Muslims are terrorists.


To be very frank, I don’t know if it was him or if it was me, but somehow the conversation turned to religion. They asked me about my faith. I told them I was a Christian, but that I was kind of not wanting telling people I was one. I didn’t want to call myself that anymore. I told them it was a long story, and that eventually I would explain it to them. But yes, technically, I was a Christian. I was a follower of Jesus. He was my Lord and Savior.

Then he said something that would change the course of my life forever. But not only my life. Also their lives. Their whole family life, and my whole family life. As a very good Muslim (I should have known), this man looked at me right in the eye, and told me something I had never, EVER, heard before in my entire life.

You know your Bible has been corrupted, right? 

I had no idea what the heck he was talking about. The Bible – corrupted? What nonsense was this? This man told me something that in the Muslim wold is accepted as a universal truth. My Bible has to be corrupted because if it is not, then Islam and everything is built upon is false. This was a very bold approach on his part, but I’m thankful that he did that. Without knowing, he introduced me to the world of Christian Apologetics.

This conversation was a little bit over six months ago. And since then, my life changed. I spent almost all my free time with them, and they became my best friends in Chennai. Our families have spent so much time together over dinner, over tea, over boat rides and water slides. They are great people.

In this part of the world, nobody dislikes Jesus. They dislike the Christians. I think a lot of people feel that way…  I should start by dissecting Christianity.