How do I even start…how do I capture precisely the myriad emotions I feel jumbling over each other wishing escape? Let me trace it back to the first encounter…
So I was in this public bus on my way back from work, and there was this peculiar looking man sitted next to me. He had the beard and cap and all to aptly describe him as a Moslem cleric( Alfa). It is fasting period and a little minutes to six and I was tired, famished and had a little companion buzzing at the frontal lobe of my head reminding me I had not had any meal all day. I quickly bought ground nuts, walnuts and bottled water to combat the little militants biting off the lining of my poor stomach.
As I started eating, my mind told me to be fair: someone beside you is on a fast and here you are eating a feast yet, I had to douse the fire on my clothe first before looking to quench the one on my neighbor, so, I ate on. Then I heard “are you not observing the fast” with an accent so polished it is without doubt the owner must be versed in many a subjects. I looked beside me and was amazed that the man beside me, who looked liked any other “teblic” was the owner of the voice. As usual I became intrigued. and trust me, as always, a conversation that lasted two hours began…
This versed man went on to inform me of his need to enlighten me and make me see the truth. As a student of philosophy, I always have an open mind. So, I asked him to lead on. My “teblic” was born a MOSLEM, became a CHRISTIAN, then an ATHEIST then converted back to ISLAM and all these in search of an immutable truth. He found the immutable truth in Islam and he went on to justify his argument. I respect his search and I listened avidly curious to learn about what he had to impart. Short story long, I remained unconvinced. This is not because He did not make his points well or because He presented a fallible argument, NO! far from it. The reason is simply because as I was interested in listening, He was not interested in learning my views or how I arrived at the set of rules guiding my existence.
Yes, I am a Christian. BUT, I am not a christian because I was born one, or because it became a norm, far from it. I was born a Moslem and though I cannot claim to know all that Islam has to offer, I have had an open mind from the onset. I became a Christian because my Parents converted and lay claim to Christianity. BUT as I grew up, I chose Christianity because of vivid experiences I could not deny. I have had visions and dreams, encounters and the still clear voice to proclaim otherwise. Yet, I do not believe it is enough for me to denounce others. Far from it. We all have various experiences and beliefs.
Back to the argument in the bus. To my friend I said: the immutable truth that has come to convince me is this, the Bible says, that Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and Life. No man can come to the Father except through me”.
He rejoined that the Bible cannot be validated. He claims that my above statement was not made by Jesus, but is an “insertion” by elders of the church. To buttress this, He says that Moslems acknowledge the original Bible : which is now lost for eternity, for over thousands of years. The Bibles in existence are simply translations from the original Bible. The irony of this statement was obvious to me but I do not think it was to him.
He further states that the Quran is one book and it was received as an inspiration by the prophet Muhammad, an unlettered man. It is the same inspiration contained in the original Bible, and this revelation given to the Prophet Muhammad, was then committed to memory by faithful and very intelligent scholars who went ahead to put it in writing: these then validates the Quran but invalidates the translated Bibles in existence today. I tried pointing out the fallible statements he had made but he was not willing to listen.
He then claims that Yes, there is one “GOD” the whole of mankind calls upon But, some people have deviated from the path by partaking in Idol worship. God from the beginning says strictly that “He is the only one to be worshiped but Christians have deviated by calling on 3 gods: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I made to explain to him that we still uphold the commandment “thou shalt have no other GOD before me” but the reality of the existence of “Jesus”and “the Holy Spirit” was not that of worshiping a multi faced idol but that we worship God as the eternal Father, we recognize Jesus as the long prophesied messiah, who was validated by God to mankind as His son in whom He( GOD) is well pleased and under whose authority “God”put all things. and we know the Holy Spirit as the “comforter” and Spirit who knows the mind of God and teaches us to become more like him daily. I wanted to explain more but as usual He had his mind made…
I had to conclude that I choose to worship the 3-faced God and be an Idol worshiper not because I do not know else but because I know that God has hidden many truths from the crowd and it will take the Holy Spirit( the 3rd Idol) to reveal these “immutable” truths.
I went home knowing I had made a new friend and will continue to pray for him as am sure He is praying for me. I look forward to see which God will answer first: the all perfect single entity-God or the 3-faced IDOL, perfect in wisdom and ( SO INFINITE IN LOVE.)
Aside: “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings indeed has THOU ordained strength!”
By the way, am supposed to dine with his family on Saturday, I look forward to more of his beliefs…hopefully, He will listen to mine someday.