I have been a member of this forum for little more than two months now and I have decided to officially introduce myself. The reason I have waited this long is because, as opposed to the friend who recommended me to take a look at this forum (and as I have come to learn FROM many other members), I have had little religious experiences. I have just recently begun to think about religion, try to understand it and its effect on people. To that end I wish to engage in discussions and to learn your views on various matters.
Here is an outline of my experience with religion:
Being brought up, I was never told to do or don't do something because of god or scripture. My parents would say that I have been brought up with religious (at least partly) values and understanding, based on their own religion. My parents grew up in an Islamic country but left when they were about 25 years old. They are muslim but they interpret the quran themselves and use only those parts they think are valid and useful. By doing this they are not really considered to be muslim by even some of their own family members.
I have read some of the replies on this forum regarding 'cherry picking' from scripture to ones own liking. The first verse in the quran says it is a book of which there is no doubt...so I understand that it seems strange that one can do that and still claim to be (in this case) muslim. However, my parents maintain the argument that one must evolve with time and interpret scripture with our current knowledge.
Yesterday I told my parents that those values that they consider important do not necessarily origin from the quran (in their case because they are muslim), it can also be found in other religion or atheism. I argued that the reason they are muslim, in my opinion, is more due to cultural reasons rather than religious reasons. I finally asked them; 'What defines who you are, the fact that you are a muslim, or the fact that you grew up with certain principles and values that you believe in?' My dad said that religion has had an influence in shaping who he is, though I do not know to what extend and whether it is different than how Christianity influences someone who grows up in, say, South America.
What I try to understand is whether religion could be useful in my life or not. I do that to understand how I can best live my life. I do not believe in monotheistic religions because the explanation provided in the bible (I went to a catholic primary school) or quran (I recently started to read it) seems, thusfar, illogical. I will continue in reading the quran because I find it important to at least know what I talk about when I discuss, which is something that was kindly suggested to me by one of the members here. I have learned quite a lot from members, read through their posts, their personal experiences and I wish to continue in doing so.
Looking forward to your views!