|Speaking of equality between men and women is like comparing apples to oranges|
So I finished the chapter on immigrants and it was interesting reading about people from the various communities in the United States. Some are very pro-America; some not so much. From the section on Salafis, I marked a quote I found thought-provoking. This from a "forty-seven-year-old Jordanian man from New Jersey [who] said it was 'unfair' and 'unjust' to speak of gender equality: 'You cannot compare apples with oranges. So there is no justice when you try to make people equal because people are not equal in their abilities, and treating them equally is not fair. For example, when a woman is pregnant, she is not to fast during Ramadan. So she is not treated equally, but it is fair and better for her. So obligations are based on abilities. Justice is better.'" (pg. 260)
What do you think?
Now I'm reading a chapter on American converts to Islam. They are only about 30,000 out of the country's 300 million people so a "tiny fraction." And the women to men ratio is 4 to 1 surprising to some who think Islam is oppressive to women. I've read about half the chapter and so far the overall theme to me is:
TOO MUCH FREEDOM IS A BAD THING
I was reading a bit and then came inside to clean and was pondering what Mr. Ahmed shared in this chapter.
We often celebrate freedom as a good thing. The Arab uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and beyond are rightly touted by many as people yearning for freedoms we often take for granted in the United States. Freedom to speak against the government if we choose. Freedom to express our views on most any topic. Freedom to assemble peacefully. Freedom to elect our leaders in fair elections. Freedom to use Facebook and Blogger and YouTube.
Yet freedom without any structure is a recipe for chaos. Like anarchy. If I am that free and there is no higher authority around to stop me, I can punch you in the nose because I am bigger and faster than you. And, whoa to me if someone is bigger or faster than I as the same fate could await me! So, how does this freedom stuff relate to this chapter on American men and women converting to Islam?
Because many of those who have converted found structure in Islam that they were unable to find in American society. They've seen Christianity as too broad a thing without enough guidelines. For them, you can go to church on Sunday and do whatever you want the rest of the week. By contrast, Islam with its emphasis on salat (prayer and worship of God) is structured around remembering God all the time. Five times a day, every day of the week, every week of the year, for your whole life. It doesn't have ambiguous rules on the subject of alcohol. There is no freedom to drink moderately or abstain. You abstain if you follow the teachings of Islam. There is no freedom to eat pork or abstain. You do not eat pork products at all. One male convert who formerly used drugs and was attracted to Islam for the discipline it brought into his life said "Islam was unlike Christianity...in that 'it sets out a process for the entire day, every day.' In Christianity, 'you don't actually follow anything; you just say you're a Christian.'"***
Female converts often hated how sexualized American society is, how a woman was objectified by her body and the types of clothes she wore. They were attracted to the ideas of modesty, honor and shame in Islam.
|A former party girl, this Texan found dignity in the modest dress of Islam|
Lesson for me: the more liberated and relativistic America has become in its morals and values and style of dress, the more people will associate this with Christianity and when they find this lifestyle empty and start looking for something more satisfying in the spiritual realm, they will not go searching for Jesus. Why should they if America as a "Christian nation" has lead to this longing of their souls?
|Carrie Underwood showing what is valued in American society?|
*** Note: I have some problems with this, but for the sake of letting the converts speak for themselves, I won't offer my thoughts on their views of Christianity. I know much of it is warranted by the way Christians have failed to be salt and light. I'm sure those who know me can articulate what I would say anyway.
But I would love to hear YOUR thoughts so share! Do you think there is too much freedom in Christianity? In American society? What did Jesus mean when he said, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed"? What about the truth setting us free? Is freedom good; but rules better? Thoughts?