The Muslims have a term for non-believers. No, it’s not “Filthy White Infidel” although that might be some people’s translation. No, the word is “Mushrikeen” or “Mushrik” if you’re thinking singularly. I know this because I’m reading an English translation of the Qur’an. It’s my goal to make it through the Qur’an, Bible, and Torah in hopes of gaining a better perspective on the three major religions of our time. To avoid long, uncomfortable conversations with my Dad (who is an Elder in his Presbyterian church), I probably won’t even start the Bible until I move out.
Although I’ve been reading this book for about a week now, I’m just now actually getting to the actual Qur’an. The first 120 pages are a history of their Prophet Mohammad. It’s, honestly, a little bit of a hard read because it was written by an Islamic religious scholar who was a little heavy on the religion but not so much the scholarly side. I’d really like to learn more about Mohammad because, in theory, he was a real person. I’m not sure but, I think that the case for Mohammad’s existence is a bit stronger than that of Jesus’s. Of course, this one fact wouldn’t give Islam any more validity in my mind than video of Jonestown makes me think Jim Jones was the Messiah or whatever he thought Kool-Aid and guns made him.
Anyway, I’ve finally gotten to the actual book but I’ve got a sort of sick feeling in my gut. I get this way with most Judo-Christo-Islamic situations because there seems to be such a heavy focus on ridding the world of Pagans. Whether through breeding (were a Pagan to father a child with a Jew, that child would be Jew), conversion, or slaughter, they all seem to have an unhealthy focus on getting Pagans the F*** out of here. As a Pagan, I find this a bit unnerving. Nobody likes the idea that major religions have spent several hundreds or thousands of years trying to get rid a particular group- least of all, whatever group that may be.
Look, not to get all crazy about it, but the history of Pagan polytheistic religions predate monotheistic religions by tens of thousands of years. I think we’ve got a right to be here. I’m not saying everyone needs to abandon their ways of thinking and come back to the folds of Mother Earth and Father Sky (Honestly, we don’t want you. Do you think we want our religion to be spoiled the way you’ve spoiled your own [see below]?), but I’d like to read a little more “this is what we believe and if you don’t, that’s cool, too” and a little less, “death to the infidels”, “thou shall not suffer a witch to live,” etc., etc.
In addition to that particular theme, in the beginning of the Qur’an, it says that Allah gave people Moses and the Torah to bring people to him. Then, he gave people Jesus and the Gospels. But people (we Pagans) did not believe so Allah sent the Prophet Mohammad to confirm the Torah and Gospels and give us the Qur’an as well. 2:[87-90] Okay, right there people! One God, one message spread across three books. Why the fuck are you guys so Hell bent on killing each other? You know, killing Pagans suddenly makes a lot more sense than killing each other. It’s like saying “You’re dead to me because you say tomāto and I say tomăto!” It’s the same damn fruit, people! At least when you say that we Pagans are the bad folk, it’s more like “You’re dead to me because I say ‘tomato’ and you say ‘garden.’”
I don’t think I’ll ever be turning my back on the Pagan Gods. Comparing polytheistic beliefs to monotheistic ones, I think that polytheism still makes way more sense. The idea that we are looked over by several different Gods and Goddesses that specialize in different things, have different views, and different temperaments just seems way more logical (if logic can be applied to religious and spiritual views at all) to me than this concept of a singular creator who destroys, kills, nourishes, and brings life to everyone so we can kill each other over how to correctly worship him.
But, because it’s important to attempt to understand, I’ll keep reading, and I’ll keep questioning.