Christians are Tri-theists

Well, we Christians can insist up and down that we believe in one God, but that doesn't matter. Muslims know what we believe better than we do. Here in fact is the proof that you (if you're a Christian) do believe in three gods, even though you don't know it.

How do you respond to the critique? And can you outline how he has misrepresented the doctrine of the Trinity?

From Answering Christianity:

Trinitarians often like to claim that they have a monotheistic belief, and that the Trinity is not the worship of 3 Gods rather it is the worship of One God. Basically they say the Trinity doctrine is as follow:

1- God is made up of 3 persons

2- The three persons are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

3- All three persons are distinct from each other, The Father is not the Son, nor is the Son the Father etc.

4- Each person in the Trinity has a role of their own

5- Jesus is the Son in the Trinity

So basically that is the dogma of the Trinity.

Now let us show exactly why Christians do in fact worship three God's. As I said, the Trinity is made up of THREE people, these three people are all different than one another, it is basically exactly like having 3 people in an office, Tom Dick and Harry.

Now Christians say that Jesus is God, the Father is God, and so is the Holy Spirit. So therefore if you have three people, and each one of them is God then what are you left with? You are left with THREE Gods! This is logic!

If Tom Dick and Harry are each managers, how many managers do you have? You have three! Remember Trinity has THREE different persons, and each person is God, therefore you have three Gods and not one, there is no way around this mess.

Comments

Fletcher said…
Before articulating the doctrine of the Trinity, I would first demonstrate the source of the doctrine of Trinitarian Theology, the Bible itself. There are numerous scriptures that make it very clear that Jesus is co-eternal and co-equal with God the Father. There are some (not as many) that also make it clear that the Holy Spirit is God as well.

Then, after what I would imagine would be a lengthy Bible study demonstrating such... I would then explain the doctrine of the Trinity.

Three persons, one being or essence... all like in purpose and power.

You can use metaphors, etc. but they don't do the justice that the scriptures themselves do. Studying the Bible is the most effective way to demonstrate this doctrine.
Azooz said…
No Muslims would dare say that Christians are Tri-theists, even when Christians admit that are, I have to base it on the mercy of the Quran to consider them as worshiping the one true God same as Muslims do.

The Quran says that the trinity places God as the third of three, the THIRD of three - "Thalith Thalatha", try to give God first mention or top billing in the trinity and you make it worst for He has no equals or partners.

The trinity is not a simple matter to Muslims, but it is one we must accept that Christians were fooled into. There is onlyone God, he is one - all His human messengers taught that - do not worship the messengers, just look at the message they delivered to worship Him - The One and Only, Alone.

Peace
Fletcher said…
Hello Azooz:
Nice to hear from you. First, I wouldn't state a position and be sure that all Muslims adhere to it. After all, there are a billion Muslims, with many differing views to be sure.
Second, I don't know any Christians that "admit" they are Tri-theists. Christians believe in but one God, revealed or shall we say manifested in three persons. Difficult to comprehend, yes, but such is in the nature of God. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity existed long before Muhammad was ever born.
The Bible teaches clearly that there is only ONE God in many places (Deut 6:4 "The Lord our God, the Lord is one", and many others). However, the Bible also teaches that Jesus is in fact God in many instances. What can we do with that information? I would be happy to supply you numerous scriptural proof texts that demonstrate Jesus as God if you would be interested in reading them. Let me know.
Also, while I wish your sentiments that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, I must disagree. The nature of the God of the Bible vs. the Allah of the Qu'ran are vastly different.
Some differences are as follows:
The Muslim view of God (Allah from now on) is that he can bring about both good and evil. There are some 20 passages in the Qu'ran that show Allah leading men astray. Whatever happens, good or bad, is preordained by Allah.
Conversely, the God of the Bible (God from now on) does not bring about evil, but rather evil is a result of man's freewill and/or the work of the devil.
This view can bring about a very strong sense of fatalism in Islam. Muslims will often say "im shallah" - if God wills it. This strong sense of fatalism can bring about irresponsible actions.
Another difference is the purity of love that God has, verses the conditional love of Allah. While God loves all of mankind unconditionally (Agape love), Allah loves only those who love him and serve him, a conditional love. Sura 2:135 says "Allah loveth the beneficient", and elsewhere in Sura 3:31 we read “If ye do love God, Follow me: God will love you and forgive your sins." The idea seems to be "love me in order to be loved back." Surah 3:140 makes it clear "Allah loveth not those who do wrong." I guess that would mean all of us wouldn't it? We all do wrong. Conversely, Romans 5:8 says "While we were still sinners Christ died for us." (meaning, we do wrong, we all do, and God loves us nonetheless).
Contrary to Allah, the Bible tells us that God is a highly personable being with whom we can have a personal relationship with. A person thinks, feels, has purposes, and acts on these purposes. We can know God personally, as he wants us to. Our highest aim in life is to know God personally. God adopts us into his eternal family through faith in Jesus. We are saved once and for all through God's grace, and this is not earned... nor can it or should it be. Allah, however... is unknowable and unapproachable. Does this sound like the same God?

God is also an eternal (not created) spirit as well. (See John 4:24, Isaiah 31:3). He is invisible and cannot be seen (1 Tim. 1:17, Col. 1:15, John 1:18).
The Biblical God reveals HIMSELF, not just his laws. He has revealed himself through revelation, through the Bible, and through Jesus. Islam teaches that while Allah's will is manifested through the Qu'ran, Allah HIMSELF is never manifested.
It makes sense that God would reveal himself to us, being our heavenly father. No loving parent would ever intentionally hide themselves from their children would they? How cruel would that be?

Peace be with you as well
Azooz said…
Peace

On this matter I can talk for all Muslims for it is stated very clearly in the Quran that Christians worship God, and that is enough. It is a forbiden word to use in reference to Christians.

Free will and destiny, my English is not up to it I am sorry to say, I'll give it a try but with little knoweldge:

===
There are some 20 passages in the Qu'ran that show Allah leading men astray.
=====
No, they lead themselves astry, the first page of the Quran explains it in full. The method used by Satan (God protect us) is to place strings thru or noses (temptations) to pull humans this way and that. That is how Satan described it in his own words - we are to resist the pulls and only blame ourselves if we get "pulled" into sin. A man who has gone too far will not want to go back, this means his heart is "stamped" as bad. Once he sins the hesitation is less the next time he sins and so on.

free will is a heavy burden, and a responcibility also.

I have the words of Jesus (pbuh) himself in the Quran stateing in very expresive words that he did not teach his people to worship him as a God. It translates to "Moshrikeen", not a word to see refed to Christians only to those that worship many gods instead.

I most wanted to avoide the word tri-thesits in reference to Christians because they worshiped the one true God while the people of Mecca worshiped many gods before Islam.

The love of God in the Quran is much easier to see in the Original Arabic, the 2 words alRahman alRaheem are both based on the three letter root: R-H-M, meaning womb. A Muslims says those two names before starting anything and before prayers or reading the Quran - or before eating etc. It ties love and mercy very nicely and repeatedly. alRahman alRaheem are two of the 99 names of God.I belive that God loves eveybody He created, and hope He loves me as much as the least one of them - regardelss of relgion.

Arab Christians and Jews knew Allah long before Muslims did, we knew gods, and that is why we call the "those who discovered faith in Allah before us". It is only if you do not know Arabic that this needs explanation, it is more language than theology.

I can not talk of God, the being in English, I would make too many mistakes and asumptions. Even in Arabic it requires more Arabic than I have, pride is a bad issue here and one to avoide. He is how He desribes Himself in the Quran, and the 99 names are worth your time to look at I hope. The description I love most is "Light upon Light" Nour ala Nour.

>This view can bring about a very >strong sense of fatalism in Islam.
I prefer to call it a strong sence of fear of God, when we die we are Judged by God, no way to avoide that - so I would agree in part about the fatalisim, so I try to be as nice a person as I can force myself to be, or else :)

>>being our heavenly father

The relationship is in the word Abid, another word used by Christians before Muslims. AbdAllah means two things:
1) Slave of God
2) Worshiper of God
God is not a father in either case. All are slave to God, and worshipers (or not) are decided by God based on how well they worship Him. This goes further into faith, a much bigger topic as I am sure you know. In short Muslims always avoide refering to God as father.

>He has revealed himself through >revelation, through the Bible,
I have no doubt that no one will ever write a single page like the Quran, it is becuase only He could write this with such a high expresive langauge - it leaves no doubt of who wrote it, this revelation is langauge based but you can check that no one has written anythng like it, no one can really.

Glad to chat with you Mr. Fletcher, I'll be tardy this week but will try to respond as best I can. The point I wanted to make was for Muslims never to call Christians "tri-theistis", it made me overlt upset when I first saw the title. I am not an Imam but talked of what I heard on Islamic Radio and TV shows.

Peace
SocietyVs said…
The trinity - now that is a can of worms - even on the Christian side of it. I can't say I have made any distinct stand on it - all I know is - God is the Father, Jesus is the Christ, and the Holy Spirit comes from God. I think there is logic - that in purpose - they are 'one' - but in actual 'being' - I am not sure. Again I am not totally sure about it - and I have looked at this issue for quite a while - since I also see the idea of 3 persons = 1 a little weird. Fact is, Jesus and the Holy Spirit seem to have as a sole purpose - to 'point us towards God'. I have very little problem with that - and it would also seem Jesus (the Christ) is attributed the highest place amongst people in that sphere.

Again no solid answer here - but it's irrelevant - God ain't gonna send you to hell for not believing in the Trinity.
Abu Daoud said…
The thing to remember is that the Father and the Son and the Spirit all share one "essence", they are of "one being." This means that metaphysically speaking there is one God. The essence is that which gives a thing identity.

In the early church some argued for saying the Father and Son were "of like essence." But that was rejected. That's not a complete answer, but it is the main thing the guy at Answering Christianity is missing.
Mahsheed said…
"How do you respond to the critique? And can you outline how he has misrepresented the doctrine of the Trinity?"

I refer anyone interested to read Frank Sheed "Theology and Sanity"

He has misrepresented the doctrine of the Trinity by confusing person with people. "As I said, the Trinity is made up of THREE people"
Person is a specialized term in theology that means an agent that can love and know. Only God, angels, demons, and people are persons.

A person acts through his nature. A human person acts through his human nature. An angel acts through his spirit nature.

Now a person is a Who, and his What is his nature. In our experience person and nature corresponds to a 1:1 ratio, i.e., 1 person acting through 1 nature. But the exceptions are: God (three persons acting through 1 nature), and Jesus (the Son) who is one person acting through two natures.

So we can say the fallacy in the article is not a logical fallacy but an understandable inability to apply the imagination and imagine something different than a 1:1 correspondence between person and nature. There is no illogic in this concept.

But in talking to Muslims, and I'm an ex-Muslim, it is really quite simple: Muslims believe the Towheed (Unitarian doctrine) not because it is logical, but because God has said it. God said it and that settles it. What human mind can comprehend God? Muslims don't presume to even try. Likewise the Trinity is a concept that was given to us, revealed to us by Jesus. So if Jesus was God, then everything He revealed to us is true, and that settles it. Explain to Muslims that just as they believe what they think God revealed to them we believe what we think God revealed to us. God said it and that settles it.

To cobble together quotes from GK Chesterton (without losing his meaning):
Are you surprised that the same civilization which believed in the Trinity discovered steam? All the great Christian doctrines are of this kind. Look at them carefully and fairly for yourselves...The Christian, I repeat, puts the mystery into his philosophy. That mystery by its darkness enlightens all things. Once grant him that, and life is life, and bread is
bread, and cheese is cheese: he can laugh and fight.
Mahsheed said…
Furthermore I'd like to add that comments like societyvs is particularly unhelpful.

Societyvs, if you are just stating you opinion that's fine, but please tell me you are not evangelizing Muslims? Because only people who are well-grounded in theology should bother to try. No offense, but it's namby-pamby proud of their ignorance Christians like you (as presented in your comment) who kept me out of Christianity for so long. It's my biggest regret that I didn't convert sooner but really I never saw a decent Christian witness.
Fletcher said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fletcher said…
It has been said that Muslims find the doctrine of the Trinity to be the key weakness in Christianity, and many will try to "Attack" this doctrine. So, it's very important that Christians understand it clearly and are able to articulate it. DO NOT play the mystery card, and say "the trinity is a mystery, I don't really understand it."

Why? Because the doctrine of the trinity is biblical.

It is not enough to tell us Muslim that you believe in the trinity, you have to explain it as well... otherwise your beliefs will remain defined by their false preconceptions of trinitarian theology.

Muslims are repulsed by the trinity because to them it implies that God has partners and that he has a son, which can lead to the idea that he bore a child through intercourse with a female partner.

Some Muslims (And others, such as Mormons, JW's, Jews, etc.) argue that the word "trinity" is nowhere to be found in the Bible. This doesn't hold because there are many doctrines in many faiths that are not implicitly "called out" word for word. For example "Theocracy" is not in the Bible (JW's), or the Muslim word for God's unity (tahwid) is not in the Qu'ran.

The concept of the trinity comes straight from the scriptures in that we see God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit clearly and repeatedly defined as co-equal and co-eternal. Elsewhere, we find several scriptures that tell us that there is only one God. This is where we derive the doctrine of the Trinity. It is clear that there is one God, and the Father, Son, and Spirit are all three presented as God. There's really no way around it.

So, if someone has an issue with the doctrine of the trinity, then they have an issue with God's word itself.

Trinitarian theology is not a Christian invention.

The Father, Son, and Spirit are three different manifestations of the one true living God. Some say three different "persons" but all part of one "being", or "essence." Wordsmith it however you like, there is one God, and the Father, Son and Spirit are all defined as God in the Bible.

Wrestle with it! Think about it!
Azooz said…
SocietyVs - Nice to hear from you again, I didn't want to comment too much on your blog becuse I felt like I was too much promoting Arabic and the English discusions there are above my head most of the time. I'm trying to think of things to write even on my own blog but get distracted too much.

Mahsheed - My faith is language based as I think you know, never read any of the references you mentioned.

>>Muslims don't presume to even try.
We do try a lot actually, but we always fail constantly and totally, so it goes unnoticed. The challange is to say anything in better wording than the Quran - that is imposible. Tawheed as you menioned, it is written in a way that no one can deny it, or add anything or anyone to it at all. The Arab Comunists poets and writers of the 40-60s tried very hard, especialy in Egypt, Syrian and Iraq, but did not even come close.

>>God said it and that settles it.
In the Faseeh (expresive) Arabic of the Quran, that is undeniably true that God said it. I know it is hard to belive that is why I asked about your Arabic. There are many ex-Muslims who know Arabic better than me. I accept what is in the Quran becuase no one has written anything that expresive about anything, and that that is a fact.

Fletcher - I would never go after the Trinity, nor it's concepts and foundations etc if it causes a single Christian to lose faith in God - but always nice to see new Muslims. Tri-theists is the word I am objecting to, depite my rejection of the Trinity I never want to see a Muslim use that word about Christians. My belife that the Trinity is wrong is not based on logic or theology, it is based on language - no one has worded it this way or that better than the Quran, and I assure you that many have tried.
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

I appreciate your comments and you are very kind and I appreciate that you don't takfeer me or Christians in general. You say that your English is limited but it seems quite good to me.

"Muslims don't presume to even try.
We do try a lot actually, but we always fail constantly and totally, so it goes unnoticed." To clarify, yes it's true that Muslims enjoy the parts of the beliefs that agree with logic and reason, however, they do not rely on logic and reason. Secondly, God is so exalted and above us that we certainly don't expect to comprehend Him. The God that we understand is not God but an idol of our own making. And this is also a Christian belief.

Now here is a key difference between Muslim and Christian theology. In both, the exaltedness of God is accepted (for example Sobhanehllah), called transcendance, meaning God is above us. In Christian theology there is a secondary aspect of God with us, called immanence (Jesus's name Immanuel means God is with us). The sufis have some concept of this. The Jews also have this concept of immanence of God.

"Tawheed as you mentioned, it is written in a way that no one can deny it, or add anything or anyone to it at all." If you are referring to the Quran in general I was taught and believed the same that it cannot be duplicated. If you are referring to some verses about Tawheed outside of Al-Ikhlas Sureh then that part I don't know about. This claim I cannot evaluate for three reasons. First, I don't know Arabic well enough. Second, I (even though I am Iranian) don't understand or appreciate poetry very well in any language. And I tried very hard and never gave up. I am limited in that I am "deaf" to the pleasures of poetry and cannot judge what is faseeh. Third, I don't trust people who are faseeh, I think they are trying to deceive me. For example, US President Clinton is considered faseeh and I didn't trust him. Emotionally I understand the simple speech of current President Bush, even as I don't agree with him. So to me being faseeh is just a gift among gifts, such as being beautiful, or being strong, or being smart, or being good with my hands...

I too heard that "they" had tried to duplicate verses and failed. But I have never seen any records of this historic "contest". When did this happen? Who was the judge? What were the entries? Also, who would dare enter such a contest? Who would dare to win?

You ask about my Arabic. I learned Arabic in high-school. It was very basic. Years ago I was granted a gift from God to help me read the Quran better. My Quran had Arabic and Farsi underneath the Arabic words, so I would run my finger over the Arabic and read the Farsi. But my Arabic was not very good so I didn't pay much attention to the Arabic. In a very short time, perhaps it showed up one day?, I suddenly was able to understand the Arabic at the same time I was reading the Farsi. Of course I could never understand the Arabic without the translation to help me but even so I consider this a gift from God as it made reading the Quran very sweet for me. That was years ago and I am sure my Arabic is not as good as it was then.

Let me explain more about how Christians believe that "God said it and that settles it". How God said it is differently understood between Muslim and Christians but I can't explain too much now, except to say that Christian belief is that we cannot have faith in an abstraction. For example atheists may claim to have faith in "humanity". We can only have faith in a Person. Christians believe that faith is a gift from God, faith is not an intellectual exercise and conclusion (such as saying I believe a triangle has three sides and its angles add up to 180 degrees). And I cannot force myself to believe (for example force myself to believe in Santa Claus). And Heaven knows that the concept of Trinity is not easy to believe. So why do Christians believe? Through our relationship with Jesus. Jesus is so real to us, He is not experienced as an abstraction, He is not experienced as a ghost, and not even as another living human, but as a Person who is even more real than me so that I know in my heart that my own reality and being comes from Him such that I know He is God (Jesus can only be perceived as God). It is an experience that is different from anything else and you can only understand this experience if it happens to you. A Christian who has not experienced Jesus in this way cannot have a strong foundation for his faith.

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
Takfeer is used mostly by rude ignorant people who really do not know what it means. The Quran calls my people the worst of all kafir "ashado Kofra" so we always fear to use it on anyone else. My English is not as good as it was a few years ago, still rusty but getting there. I only recently became interested in Arabic but the Quran is the only Arabic book I read.


>>however, they do not rely
>> on logic and reason.

In English I have to agree with you becuase I can not word it well enough to show them. The English or Farsi Quran have the same words as the Arabic Quran, the faith issue is in that logic and reason while very obvious in Arabic, just get lost in the translations. You will notice that I am avoideing theology issues, language is what I am talking about ie the Quran explains it better than I can. "we don't expect to comprehend Him" - we can comprehend His words for He made them simple enough for children to understand, comprehend and think about.


Tawheed is mentioned a lot in the Quran but that sowra is the main place that it is emphasised, it makes it short and very clear. The "secondary aspect" is against the Quran so I ignore it totally, even Mohamed (pbuh) is no more than a slave of God. God is one, has no co-equals and needs no partners, the Arabic wording makes that very clear. Humans are always trying to add things to Tawheed, they just can not word it well enough in Arabic.


When studying Arabic grammar even children will autmaticaly try to equal the Quran, so do translators when they try to translate the Quran to another language, it is not forbiden and it is a good exersize to learn better Arabic. The closest anyone has come was the false prophet "Mosaylamah" but it was not close even by his own follower's evaluation. His best attempt was about an elephant's trunk and a frog's croak, faseeh but laughable. The judge of how good an attempt is stated in the Quran, you evaluate and compare your own writings (or someone else's) to the Quran by yourself i.e. you be the judge.

>>Who would dare to win?
That is not something to worry about, trying to blow out the Sun with a single breath would be easier. The challange is 14 centuries old now and still open to all. Muslims have never been able to write a good translation of the Quran for that reason alone.


>>First, I don't know Arabic well enough.
Arabic is not as hard a language to learn as English is, and the Quran makes it worth people's time for it is a very good read. Most Muslims do not know Arabic, it is just that they know that no one ever has ever or will ever equal it. I am refering to the whole Quran, every line of it, not only al-Ikhlas, but that one sowra is a true jem in itself despite haveing so few words.


>>Second, I don't understand
>>or appreciate poetry
Not needed where reading the Quran is concerned, knowing simple grammar is enough to see it's beauty. You'll only need to read poetry if you decide to become a scholar of the Quran yourself.


>>Third, I don't trust people who are faseeh,
>>I think they are trying to deceive me.
26th Sowra (The Poets) tells about fools who follow them for their word-smith powers. It calls those fools "Ghaawoon" meaning deceived. Trust only that God is more expresive than any human can be. The more you read the Quran the more faseeh you yourself become, the more faseeh you become the more the Quran means to you personally. This is not a matter of faith, so no trust required at all, simple language knowledge alone is all you'll need to prove all this to yourself.


>>"God said it and that settles it"
I honestly admire such faith and respect it for I have too little of it myself. In Arabic I only have faith in the language itself. To belive in the Trinity, or anything else against Tawheed, I would have to force myself to belive that someone (anyone) can write better than the Quran, I have faith that no one can from a language point of view. I know that this does not say much about my personal faith but it is what I build on.

God Bless you to Mahsheed, and please don't mind me for over-selling the Arabic languge :)

Peace
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

You are very kind and it is a pleasure to hear from you.

"I only recently became interested in Arabic but the Quran is the only Arabic book I read."
Are you not a native Arabic speaker? Why don't you read other Arabic books?

"This is not a matter of faith, so no trust required at all, simple language knowledge alone is all you'll need to prove all this to yourself."
I won't repeat too much what I said in my last post, but I did learn Arabic grammar in high school. I understand that it is hard for someone who appreciates language to imagine that other people (like me) don't share this gift.

Reading the Quran did not give me a better appreciation of faseeh. I'm more interested in the ideas than in how they are expressed. It is a common experience for people to become disappointed when they read the translations and they struggle with the ideas expressed. So it is not true that " - we can comprehend His words for He made them simple enough for children to understand, comprehend and think about.". If it is simple enough for children to understand then it cannot be claimed that every difficulty with the Quran is a result of translation.

There are many poets, Hafez for example, whose poetry cannot be duplicated. Another excellent poet is Omar Kheiam, who expresses terrible ideas in beautiful form. The library is full of genius writings of literature and poetry that are like the stars in the sky. God has given the gift of faseeh to many of His creatures (just not me). So even if it is true that the Quran is the most faseeh and cannot be duplicated it doesn't prove that it came from God.

"...the false prophet "Mosaylamah" but it was not close even by his own follower's evaluation..." You say it is not possible to win this challenge, but only a "false prophet" tried. Anyone who tries this challenge is a kafir or false prophet. So I cannot know if the Quran can be duplicated or not because most people don't dare to try.

Your last paragraph summarizes your argument very well:
"In Arabic I only have faith in the language itself. To belive in the Trinity, or anything else against Tawheed, I would have to force myself to belive that someone (anyone) can write better than the Quran, I have faith that no one can from a language point of view. I know that this does not say much about my personal faith but it is what I build on."
Let us say that you are correct. That means that Arabic Muslims have a special understanding of the Quran that I--a non-Arabic speaker--cannot have. Therefore, I would expect that Arab peoples have a better understanding of Islam than non-Arab Muslims. Therefore, I would expect that Arab Muslims from Saudi-Arabia, the birthplace and source of Islam, have an even better understanding of Islam. And I would expect that Wahabi-Islam, which is Quran-only and pure Islam coming from Arabs of Saudi Arabia the birthplace of Islam, to be the best Islam. How is it then, that the Arab Muslims do not show a better understanding of Islam (they are not all like you), that Arab scholars are not showing a better understanding of Islam, and Wahabi-Islam is not a better form of Islam but actually a source of fitna in the world? How can an Arab become a terrorist? Doesn't he understand the Quran better than me? Why are any Arabs (other than yourself) takfeering Christians and Jews?

This is called the "fruit" argument, which I understand better than the "faseeh" argument.

Jesus said (Matthew 7:15-20):
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

God Bless You,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
Mahsheed - You are very welcome, but I have to be kind becuase the Quran orders me to talk to people this way :)


English was my first language, Arabic is my second language, I learned it at 12 - this gave me the advantage of not knowing the low common accent before learning proper Arabic. Most of my life's reading was over 5,000 English science fiction and computer books.


It is very simple, learn just enough Arabic to read the Arabic Quran yourself without the translation, letter by letter is a good start and called (Tah-Taha) then you can go word for word. Ramadan is 2 weeks away, try to give it an hour a day if you can becuase it is the month of the Quran.


The "fruit argument" does not work here becuase Beduins rejected Christianity for 6 centuries, and belived Jesus (pbuh) to be a false prophet himself - untill the Quran said VERY clearly that he was the Messiah son of Mary (pbuh).


I hope if you do not mind if I skip the secterian stuff, I do not mind what religion people have and mind even less what sect they have. Fitnah is a very important word to study before saying it about others. Even in prayers one must use the phrase "my fitnah" and "our fitnah" - meaning I mind my fitnah more than "their fitnah". Fitnah means to be distracted from worshiping God - that is to be judged by God not by me.

>>Why are any Arabs takfeering
>>Christians and Jews?

It is a great sin to call them that and goes against the Quran itself.


""So even if it is true that the Quran is the most faseeh and cannot be duplicated it doesn't prove that it came from God.""

As I said, my faith is language based, to change anything I learned from the Quran I just need people to word it with the wisdom, kindness, mercy and love that the Quran's author put into it. It makes me cry, sometimes my knees shake and often my hair rises - that is how faseeh it is. This might not prove that the Quran is from God, but it is without doubt a very, very good read.


Peace
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

Just a minor note that Muslims obviously mean something very different when they call Jesus the "Messiah".

You may think I'm exaggerating but the biggest question in this life is Who is Jesus, and the answer determines the rest of our life.

I am interested in hearing more about what you are describing here, if you don't mind sharing:
"It makes me cry, sometimes my knees shake and often my hair rises - that is how faseeh it is." Is this beyond the regular enjoyment of good poetry? How often has this happened--more than once? What verses were you reading or meditating on? Also, how did you feel before during and after? Anything else not covered by my questions?

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
The "secondery aspect" is the only thing that makes that question important, but the Quran rejects all "secondery aspects" so it is not important in Islam. The difference in the two is very important indeed.

I read the link, the Quran mentions that others were also thought of as sons of God and they upset God with that saying. The Messiah (pbuh) will return, bring peace on Earth and will explain it all then he will die like all humans.

The prophets and messengers of God are all slaves of God, they are without doubt the best of all the human race but no more than slaves of God sent to deliver His Words, none of them are to be thought of as more than that.


>>Is this beyond the regular
>>enjoyment of good poetry?

Very much so. The Quran Starts where poetry can never reach, and it just keeps getting better, forever.


What I described is why you will see lots of tissue boxes in mosques beside the Qurans, it is normal and I see people cry daily, it effects most people I know much stronger than it effects me. I chose the (alRahmaan) recital from uTube on my blog becuase it always makes me cry. You can see the effect yourself on TV next week for a whole month when millions pray the daily Ramadan evening prayers (Taraweeh) live from Makkah and Maddinah. They are very nice to listen to and hard not to cry to.


The great reciters have to tone it down on the harsher verses else they can badly scare some people, but they scare themselves even worst. It has very often melted hearts made of stone.


>>What verses were you reading or meditating on?
All of the verses have some of this effect to some extent, the ones about the after-life and faith in God most of all - especialy when we think why He tries so hard with us. The meditation is especialy on the verses with the word "Tafakaro" about Earth, Life and Death, Creation, Space, Stars - many more. I have been thinking of the Quran's version of Cain and Able for over two years now, still have not got bored with it.


>>Also, how did you feel before during and after?
Very much humbled and very human. The feeling was stronger a few years ago and I hope to regain some of it this Ramadan inshaAllah it needs time, the late night readings are best.


>>Anything else not covered by my questions?
Many, but nothing I am avoiding. It is frustrating to describe it convincingly in English but if you learn Arabic you will see it for yourself. Each word in the Quran loves its place, that is one description of the Quran I like.

Let me make a recomendation. Start with the Quran's first page (alFateeha), memorize it and learn the proper pronounciation and meaning of it's words and study it's grammar - that one page will help you decide if learning Arabic is worth it for you. The Quran is a very simple book and that page is very simple, it will not take you long to check this out I hope.


Peace
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

I hope your fasting is going as well as you hoped.

The reason for my questions is that it seemed you are describing a mystical experience but it's hard to tell from your answers as they are general and impersonal again. I'm not going to press further.

"The prophets and messengers of God are all slaves of God, they are without doubt the best of all the human race but no more than slaves of God sent to deliver His Words, none of them are to be thought of as more than that."
This is the central point. Logically speaking, either Christianity is false or Islam is false, they cannot both be true.

The question is, would you follow the truth no matter where it leads you? Do you dare to pray for the truth this Ramadan?

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
The answer is yes.

Please read the first page of the Quran, it tells me to seek truth and to pray for God's guidence - not to accept things blindly for that leeds away from God.

the Quran Orders me not to accept Islam (or any other religon) only because I was born to it or becuase my for-fathers and society are Muslim.

The choice for me is easy becuase I depend on the logic of the Quran, I study it with a microscope. I study the letter that make up the words, the accents over the letters to. I am an expert in some small parts of the Quran becuase I have listened to dozens of scholars talk of it over decades, I take it very seriously.

To say that there is no secondery aspect is, as you say either right or wrong - I base my choice on words in the Quran that can not be refuted by anyone, the words are in tones of terrifying anger - I pity those that try to go against them, but understand their positions. the Quran can be translated, but to get those tones is imposible.

I worship only God, and reject any "secondery aspect" in even the smallest detail of His domains. No mesenger or prophet hears my prayes, and none of them have say if I go to heaven or hell - that it only God's and no one stands between me and Him. No one died for my sins, they are all my own and only God can forgive them for me. I pray no humans name, I do not wish any mans favor to carry my prayers to God.


Mahsheed, I ask you the same question rhetorically, just please learn Arabic and you will have all your answers to if I am right or I am wrong - I do understand the importance of this matter but language really does help in makeing a choice.

>>Do you dare to pray for
>>the truth this Ramadan?
Bi'Ay Aalaa Rabikomaa To-kathibaan - by what sign of God do you (two) deny - on a language level I have no doubts at all, and I if I could translate those few words properly, few could deny it either. Nothing mystical in it at all - in Arabic it just makes everyone cry.


Peace
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

I'm glad to hear your reply. I once prayed God that I would become Hindu if that's what He wanted (not that Hinduism is an attractive option for me) or go back to Islam if I was making a mistake, and it hasn't changed.

Regarding the language issue, I'm convinced that you are confusing the vessel with the source of grace. In other words, I think the Holy Spirit is working through your reading of the Quran to reach you. And if I'm correct, then you wouldn't experience that joy reading just any passage, such as the inheritance passages or kill all unbelievers for example. Not just the language but also the meaning is important.

That spiritual joy is called "consolations" in Christian tradition. That's neither here nor there, of course, but someday if you are personally called to Christ I believe you will lose the consolations from Islamic practices because that's what happened to me.


God Bless You,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
You are quoteing the media's propaganda versions of the Quran, there is no "kill all unbelivers" in the Quran - please read it for yourself. It is why the title of this subject upset me in the first place. The Quran is a miracle, all of it, even the inheretance passage - the elequent parts are just More elequent but it is all elequent, each line. The combined efforts of all humanity could not write a single page like it - the Quran say so, and so far it has been right. I have read dozens of other Holy books in both English and Arabic - and many fiction and non-fiction books to, none compare or even come close.


The Quran is the best written book in the World - an undeniable fact.


>>That spiritual joy is called "consolations"
The joy I feel is more in lines of finding great and beautiful truth that never ends. It hits many a faithless and hard man's soul like a sledge hammer and makes them whimper like frightened children - but I am not there yet myself. If I get called it will have to be in the same elequence of the Quran - no "secondery aspect" of any name is that elequent.


Islam is neither an Arab or Arabic religion - but the Arabic Quran can not be translated for a reason or reasons unknown. Pride, both language and racial, is an issue here and to be feared. I really am not trying to sell you on Arabic, just saying the Quran is a totally different book in Arabic.



Peace
Azooz said…
Ramadan sees the anuall Shia Sunni Debates held in London and braodcast live 90 Minutes daily. It's in Arabic and too theological for me, but in short: Wahabi Takfeer is now officialy over I am very glad to report - and wish it had happened decades ago. The "secondery aspect" in Imam-iya (12 Imams) Shia Islam is still being "discused" but the Shia intelectuals think it will finish soon to especialy as a form of government. They still think Shnni Muslims will go to hell for not beliveing in the Shia's "secondery aspect" but hopefully that will go to. This year they ignored the point that most interests me, Shia's continuing insistance on de-emphasizing the Arabic Quran - it stirred a lot of anger the last years, that might be one reason and no one wants to anger the other too much with wars going on, but I know it is vital becuase the Quran says it is. No one has baught up the large number of Iranian ex-Muslims, but next year I am sure the number will be too large for them to ignore - I personally think that ex-Muslims will give the Quran's side a boost. I am just glad that they do debate, Islam as a whole will become better for it in the long run - this secterian divide is too harmfull to Muslims.
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

To summarize our conversation so far, I'd say that your basis for faith is your experience of eloquence of the Quran and mine is my experience with Jesus. We both agree that truth is most important thing and the only reason to be Muslim or Christian is that it is true and not for other benefits such as community or feeling good. Therefore neither of us are afraid to pray for truth.

At this point I'd like to propose a way to move our conversation forward to other topics (if that's something you like) by ending these talks with an action: since you have been recommending me to read the Quran, how about if you recommend me a passage with instructions which I promise to do, but in return you say a prayer that I will write for you which will not have any kufr in it. The two activities should be similar in length and equivalent.

If you agree then the first stage is to give each other the activity and the second stage would be to modify until they are both equivalent and something we are both comfortable doing and after approval the third stage is to do the activities and the fourth is to report that we did them.

If you don't like this suggestion then we can move on to other topics or else risk going in circles. What do you think?

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
I would be glad to, but it might be a bit unfair to you. I still remember reading many a nice Christian prayer and also singing hyms as a child growing up in England and still memorize most of the Lords Prayer to this day. I was not kidding about reading the holy books of many religons either. I look forward to what you write and will say them in prayers as often as I hope you read the Quran - ie five times daily.


I'll ask you to read and concentrate on just page One of the Quran (alFatiha), read the full Tafseers of it, memorize it and study it - I think it will help you write a good prayer for me and everyone else to. There are many bad Tafseer for it, so read as many as you can find for that page - ignore any translation that mentions "secondery aspects", Christians or Jews - they are just translators "mistakes - add ons". It is about searching for truth, makeing choices, not going to far away from truth, and trusting in God - and a lot more that I hope you find interesting. Many a scholar has written volumes on that page alone.


I'll also ask you to read the whole Quran in any langauge at least once while you study that page - a good copy from online or any book store. It is not a bad read in any language, and limit yourself to only one part (of 30) each day, 7 parts at most - evening reading is best - and read it out in normal voice (recite) not silent reading. Studying the first page will make the rest of the Quran more meaningfull.


I know I am being greedy, but from it you will see why that the first page is the first page.


I do not expect the report to say that you have become a Muslim, and hope you do not belive I will convert just from human words - it is a nice test and I'm interested in what happens from it.


I do have another topic you might suspect is on my mind - ex-Muslims and the Arabic Quran, but I'll delay that for couple of weeks to see how this test goes for both of us.


Peace
Mahsheed said…
Dear Azooz (Azoozeh azeezam in Farsi),

"I would be glad to, but it might be a bit unfair to you." That's why I said the activities should be equivalent.

"I still remember reading many a nice Christian prayer and also singing hyms as a child growing up in England and still memorize most of the Lords Prayer to this day."
Reading is not the same as praying and the prayer I had in mind for you is actually just a prayer for truth and not very Christian because I am going to give you a prayer that you can pray in all honesty.

"I was not kidding about reading the holy books of many religons either. I look forward to what you write and will say them in prayers as often as I hope you read the Quran - ie five times daily." I was thinking just a one time activity <10 minutes, but if you want a little repetition, then it can be repeated once a day for 3 days--what say you?

"I'll ask you to read and concentrate on just page One of the Quran (alFatiha), read the full Tafseers of it, memorize it and study it - I think it will help you write a good prayer for me and everyone else to. There are many bad Tafseer for it, so read as many as you can find for that page - ignore any translation that mentions "secondery aspects", Christians or Jews - they are just translators "mistakes - add ons". It is about searching for truth, makeing choices, not going to far away from truth, and trusting in God - and a lot more that I hope you find interesting. Many a scholar has written volumes on that page alone."
Wait wait wait, I know this one, plus I am surprised you are suggesting this with tafseer. If you scroll through the posts I know rudimentary Arabic (kharaja kharajaa kharajoo...) and can understand if I have the translation written under the words. I am surprised because you claim that the Arabic language is what does it and not the translation and here you are just referring me to find a tafseer. Plus you are not even referring a tafseer or providing a link to a tafseer. I have Abdullah Yusuf Ali, and it is considered good so I'll go with that. If you have a better tafseer find a website and the link that refers to the passage. And change to another passage please. Since you said that even the kill all unbelievers or inheritance verses would be effective you can basically choose anything. What I was thinking is part of the 30th jozv, but not something I already know but I'll let you know if I know it. Give me one of your favorites, if you can think of just one.


"I'll also ask you to read the whole Quran in any langauge at least once while you study that page - a good copy from online or any book store. It is not a bad read in any language, and limit yourself to only one part (of 30) each day, 7 parts at most - evening reading is best - and read it out in normal voice (recite) not silent reading. Studying the first page will make the rest of the Quran more meaningfull." This is much more than I had in mind. I would only do something like this if I could give you a book to read. Let's put this idea on the back shelf. The activities have to be equivalent and we both have to be able to do them.

"I know I am being greedy, but from it you will see why that the first page is the first page." I don't want to do the first page unless you insist. I thought you said all of the Quran is inspiring. Let me know what you decide.


"I do not expect the report to say that you have become a Muslim, and hope you do not belive I will convert just from human words - it is a nice test and I'm interested in what happens from it." Neither of us are naive (at least I hope I'm not). I expect it to bring blessings to our lives mainly.


"I do have another topic you might suspect is on my mind - ex-Muslims and the Arabic Quran, but I'll delay that for couple of weeks to see how this test goes for both of us." Isn't that what we've been discussing?

This is exciting, and now I have to write you a prayer.

God Bless,
Mahsheed



Peace
Azooz said…
Please take your time, the last ten days of Ramadan leave me little time, but I will show up daily for updates - I just copied your post and will read it ASAP.


Peace
Azooz said…
Tardy again, and after Eid I'll try not to have more excuses ;)


Reading the whole Quran should not be considered a too hard for you, it is a short and simple book compared to many I am sure you have endured reading. I asked you to read the Quran becuase it gives the first page more deapth and meaning. I'll insist but give you no time limit, take your time - The Quran is not a boreing read. I chose the first page becuase it is very interesting and deep, worth your time to study - I can not recomend any tafseer books for it for my education is based on Arabic Tafseer TV and Radio shows I'm sorry to say. For this i can offer no links but am sure you can find some English or Farsi material on it?


I just want you to be more aware of the word meanings for it shows the relation between the words. "Rab aalaMeen" for example, it means the Lord of all Creation but those words fit in (exactly) with many other words used in other images - knowing the first page's Arabic words, some Tafseer, and whole Quran explains that one page by useing the words in other places. Many verses in the Quran include words that seem out of place unless you know the first page well, like the verses of anger - you will see the "mercy" words right after them. Think of it as two parts, the first page alone, and the second part is the whole Quran - and they fit together well. The first page explains why we read the rest of the Quran - these are not my explanations, of course, just things I remember - Good thing I have a week memory else I could go on for ages.

In short - you know it as much as I do about alFateha, not much - just give it a bit more study.


I'll repeat your prayer - as often as you think right. Please include something to increase faith along with truth. I pray God guides your thoughts and words to produce something great. Abraham (pbuh) is called "Haneef" in the Quran becuase God loved his search for Truth - while his father accepted what "truth" he was born into - as did his people. Haneef is a strange word to use becuase it means "curved" meaning he knew his path was not straight and searched for the truth to "straighten it"- I can't do that without searching - no that good at it, lazy, but trying to push myself in faith.




Peace
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

Here is the prayer, not very elegant because it's in my own words. First, since I don't know what language you talk to God in, do you address God as (Ya Rab) or something else. I start it with Ya Rab, but if you say something else please feel free to make that substitution.

Ya Rab, please take pity on us poor sinners--me and Mahsheed--and give us both an increase in our faith, hope, and love. Since at least one of us is in clear error, enlighten us by showing us which religion is the correct one and most pleasing to You. And if our understanding of who Jesus was is incorrect, grant us the truth. Give the one or both of us who needs to repent the courage to do so and accept our repentance that we may turn to You and not be lost in the everlasting fire. And fire our hearts with zeal that we may burn the more with love for you. Ameen.

Since it's a short prayer, I'd like you to pray it three days in a row around the same time, if possible. I'll prayerfully read the Al Fatiha three days in a row around the same time.

I'm also including some extra prayers that you might enjoy, although these two are optional. I was looking for hints in how to compose my prayer (not that it helped much) and found these two:

This is a prayer for truth by John Cardinal Newman:
O MY God, I confess that You can enlighten my darkness. I confess that You alone can. I wish my darkness to be enlightened. I do not know whether You will it: but that You can and that I wish, are sufficient reasons for me to ask, what You at least has not forbidden my asking. I hereby promise that by Thy grace which I am asking I will embrace whatever I at length feel certain is the truth, if ever I come to be certain. And by Thy grace I will guard against all self-deceit which may lead me to adopt what my nature would offer as truth, rather than what reason enlightened by faith approves.

And this one is not a prayer for truth, but is a famous prayer by St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Regarding tafseer, I also have a Farsi translation, but it does not have a tafseer. I found Ibn Kathir on the web and I'll go with that as I think you'll approve it. It'd be great if you could write the tafseer for me, or just a few notes. The little you wrote is very good.

Please let me know if you approve the prayer and my tafseer or if you have any suggestions.

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
Got it - and very sorry for the delay, will review your prayer and respond tomorow inshaAllah - I'll not criteque your prayer too harshly but a day should be enough.


To explain why I chose alFateha this is a description of Ramadan prayers in short:

The reader (Imam) reads the first page, then a bit from the Quran, usually a page or more. Bows, then reads the first page again, then a bit more from the Quran, repeat till one part is finished each night. Repeat each night till whole the Quran is finished by the end of Ramadan. It's the same in most other mosques around the world.



Salaam
Azooz said…
I see no need for changes and glad you went with mention of hell. I'll say (pray) it in 7 morning prayers - a week is more fair, especialy since I hope you read the whole Quran. I'll skip the optionals becuase I'm lazy these days.


Please read the first few lines of the 18th Sowra (the cave), they are about the anti-Christ. Muslims are to say them if we ever meet him and to confront his claim of being a son of God (swt). I promise to pray your prayer but want you to know that those verses are worded with great warning in Arabic. They jumped up from my memory, and the question of who is the Messiah and who is the anti-Christ is the greatest of all Fitnah, so I take this seriously - so I do not want you to think I am rejecting or refusing out of hand, it is just that those lines are really powerfully worded.


I am still thinking of how to ask about the effect of Iran's Imams de-emphasizing the Arabic Quran, but have discovered that I can not without the secterian issue showing up - I know it is a touchy subject with Imam-iya Shia (Khomayne), especialy comeing from a Saudi. I think Suffi Muslims can better ask it than me, but most are not interested, and I do not blame them. I am not actually sure why I am so obssesed with it, but I think it is important.


Peace - and God Bless You :)
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

I'm glad you approved the prayer and a little flattered that you preferred it over the other two.

I'll start my assignment, three days in a row if possible for me. I'll let you know when I finish that and also read the Cave verses later.

Regarding your question about the Shiites de-emphasizing reading the Quran--I must confess I don't understand what you are referring to. Is that something the Sunnis believe about Shiites or has there been a development in Iran that I'm not aware of? Are you talking about Khomeini, the long dead revolutionary leader or a current cleric with a similar sounding name (there are some).

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Mahsheed said…
Finished day 1.
Azooz said…
Third for me - It has become part of my morning.

If Wahabi Islam ended today, I would not shed a tear - and I belive that both Shia and Sunni will last till the end - acceptance of that is what I want. I see both sects comeing together, kicking and screaming - but I want it to happen faster. Khomayne like some Wahabi Imams tried to slow it down, that is my main complaint I guess.

I'll collect some thoughts for an article called "Internet Islam" - I have been avoiding it for a few years now - lazy as always. In short, sects are no longer as important as they were centuries ago, and the role of the Quran in this, interests me most, from a language level it unites.


Peace
Mahsheed said…
Finished day 2.

Sunnism and Shiism coming together?

Hmmm that's interesting. It doesn't seem possible but who knows. How many Imams would we have--12, 4, or 15?

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Mahsheed said…
Finished day 3. I'll try to do a few more days as well.

Mahsheed
Azooz said…
I still have two days to go - but do not mind adding more days if you read that page more. If you have any comment about it I will try to answer them to.

I know page one of the Quran enough to accept Zero Imams as the answer to that number question. I also know from that same page not to takfeer people who chose other numbers - they might be right and I might be wrong. Wahabis this year accepted this finally and now I await the Iranian Shia Imams to do the same. It'll happen sooner or later, but Iran's Imams have lost 100,000s of their Shia followers to Sunni Islam and Christianity while they delay.


>>burn the more with love for [Y]ou.
If you do not mind I will change it to read "burn with more Taqwa of You". Page one can be summerized in the word "Taqwa" - meaning both "Fear of God" and "Love of God" in that order. Word order is very important in the Quran and enhances meaning greatly. Cain, for example, loved God, but did not fear Him as Able was trying to warn him (three times).


Peace
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

""Taqwa" - meaning both "Fear of God" and "Love of God" in that order"

That is beautiful. The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord. Many in the post-Christian countries have lost their fear of God and seem to think He is like a kindly uncle or toothless circus lion.

Then I wouldn't call what you describe a "combining" of Shiism and Sunism but rather all the Shiites becoming Sunni.

Mahsheed
Azooz said…
Done, but no increase (or change) in my faith I am sorry to say, and avoided all pride as well as I could - I do not except anything from prayer other than to please God and I hope I did.)

Please keep on reading page one, along with the whole Quran - no time limit.


Peace
Azooz said…
I write very slow, and missed your post while I was writeing mine, please give me another day to reply - sleepy :)
Mahsheed said…
Azooz,

I'm just glad that I can keep up with you. I can't post any faster than twice a week so it's good you don't become impatient.

"Done, but no increase (or change) in my faith I am sorry to say..." That's absolutely fine. God's time scale for these types of prayers is often years and in any case the changes are almost always gradual. Very few people have St Paul type experiences.

I enjoyed my praying exercises as it brought back pleasant memories. I didn't like the Ibn Kathir tafseer very much after all. Is his tafseer typical of what's out there? Feel free to write me your insights.

God Bless,
Mahsheed
Azooz said…
Sincere apologies Mahsheed
- I got writers block and could not write anything at all - it is not a new thing and I had to give up my old forums for it. I was delighted that I kept up with this thread so long but my writers block came back. Thank you for your time and effort.


Peace
Mahsheed said…
Dear Azooz,

I completely understand, I know a bit about writers block.

My door is always open to you and
should you get unblocked I'd be delighted to pick up where we left off.

In closing, here is a passage from Mark 10:17-22 that reminds me of you for some reason, though I hope you don't make the same choice.

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

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