Dialogues with the West – 1

By Allah’s grace a new door of the world opened for me to interact with the great minds from across the globe, particularly the West. It’s over two years now, enjoying a strong bonding with some of the best souls, their camaraderie is Allah’s blessing. Sharing here the conversations we had on different topics. The dialogues are meant for religious understanding and to get acquaint with the way we deal with different issues and try to solve matters in the light of religious teachings.

Conversations are random, some are conclusive and a few are inconclusive, but for sure they present a clear message about the subjects in discussion.

Its gives me great pleasure to present the conversations under the series “ Dialogues with the West”, here views of my friends have been retained as they appeared during conversation however their individual identities have not been revealed as a mark of respect to privacy of the forum to which we all belong. May Allah help us understand His religion and His people.  Aameen.

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To start with, I would like to present dialogues about the conception of God. It all started with my question on the topic:

Do you worship God out of love or fear?

Ericd says: I really try hard to fear my Lord. It makes sense to me that we should in some degree as part of our abiding love. Even the religious tenets of my faith indicate that I should fear my Lord. Huge portions and pointed commands within my Bible require fear of the Lord.

I just cannot do it. While I may be fearful of something that my Lord may do I just have to accept that what my Lord does do is done in love and for the overall betterment of myself and mankind. I believe in a loving God and I just cannot bring myself to be afraid of my Lord. So try as I might to include fear I only worship my God out of love.

Muhammad Abdullah Javed (MAJ) says: Ericd you have poured your heart out. Yes training a heart to fear God is far more difficult than Loving Him. A balanced approach here speaks of the credibility of faith.

Jacqueline says: I don’t worship God at all, so I hope you don’t mind me adding my answer. I would rather worship anything out of love. Worshiping something out of fear seems too much like an emotionally abusive relationship to me. In fact, for most, if it was not God one was talking about, people would encourage their friends and family to RUN from such a relationship. One should not fear that whom they have faith in. But, that’s just me. Thanks for letting me answer.

Muhammad Abdullah Javed (MAJ): Thanks Jacqueline, belief in God reflects self-belief, when you believe the relationship between you & your God develops with mixed characteristics of affection and nervousness. Just look at those with whom you have relationship, don’t you feel love and fear play a role?

Jacqueline: No, I don’t feel fear plays a role at all, unless you consider the “fear” as a parent or friend, that something will happen to someone I love. But I do not fear them or the relationship. I wonder if you mean “respect” – which is definitely NOT fear.

MAJ: Here fear means a kind of anxiety over the shortcomings in view of the greatness of the Creator. It’s entirely different from all forms of fear.

Jacqueline: Then I think it’s more about respect, than fear. Why fear shortcomings, however, if He is all powerful, and all knowing – He will know you cannot measure up to his standards….which in itself is cruel. Please understand I am not trying to be offensive.

MAJ: Exactly its more than respect you may term fear as reverence. You can be excellent and perfect in your approach any lacuna within create a kind of unpleasantness and that’s fear, it’s our attitude towards the Magnificent God. 

Peach says: I worship God because my parents told me to do so. Every kid is taught to worship whichever God that your ancestor had done so, unless you wanted to change when you are an adult.

MAJ: Peach your words are pure and adorn with a childlike innocence. Thanks for the response. I think we should make use of the faculties of hearing seeing and contemplating to form a lively relationship with the God.

Taylor says: I agree. A personal relationship is definitely best

John says: I worship God with agape love; however, I fear that what I have done is not enough for Him. I fear that I have indeed disappointed Him. I fear that I have placed Him on the smaller “back-burner” of life relative to my primary selfish concerns/attachments. Thus, one could conclude my fear is that I am not centered on God; therefore, I pray for His forgiveness for my weaknesses/attachments…

MAJ: Thanks John your other side of intense love is very realistic and touching, perfectly exemplifies the ‘err nature’ of us.

Leencas  says: There are only 2 religions; one of Love, and one of Fear.” ~ Sandra Rogers, spoken after her near-death experience. I believe life is not worth wasting on the Religion of Fear. Any God that demands fear should not be worshiped.

MAJ: But Leen what we feel is, love has to be with a fear without which it is considered to be mere a shallow one.

Leencas: I didn’t understand…

MAJ: I mean the love for someone has a fear factor, for the loved ones we do have some or the other kind of fear, don’t you think this is applicable here?

Leencas: When you truly love someone, there is no need to fear them. “Perfect love casts out all fear.” I John 4:18.

MAJ: I think that love is meant for faith which is simply void of all negative traits. But when you worship with love there must be a fear regarding its acceptance or rejection. Isn’t it?

Leencas: I hope not! Assuming God wants me to worship Him, surely He wouldn’t reject my worship? That would be cruel, wouldn’t it? In which case, should I love someone who is cruel?

MAJ: No that factor is not on the part of God, what I mean is being human we might fall short of worshiping Him the way He ought to be. So this shortcoming will create a kind of fear, don’t you think so?

Leencas: Wow – this sounds intimidating. I’ll go with what Ian says. I’m too busy struggling to survive to worry about worshiping a Perfect Deity who owns everything, knows all, and has no need for my piddly contributions.

MAJ: Leen, the blessings are numerous the mercy of the One whom we worship has enveloped our entire life, He is our Creator so His worship must be adorn with highly optimistic approach.

Crown says: I worship God out of love, out of the love that God has for me. I worship God in response to His unconditional love for me.

MAJ: Crown Do you have any reservations about that love? Do you find yourself at a comfortable state are you convince with your forms of worship and enormity of God’s love?

Ian says: In my opinion we should worship our self-first (my body is my temple), & then worship everybody else as equals. God put everything out there for us to find, & gave us the strength to go & find it. The only trouble is what we really need is not out there it’s inside us; the path to the kingdom of god as the Buddha said is inside us all. It’s “specifically” negative emotions feelings & thought control & meditation practice until mastered, which will clear all a person’s emotional baggage from their past leaving them in the present moment only (logical thinker).

It’s also finding our hobbies passions interests & loves, & if a person starts doing all that over the months/years that is as good as it gets as far as worshiping god goes. So for me god is a logical thinking loving god unable to manifest negative emotions or feelings, & who also expects us to do a lot of bad things along the way until we learn why not to do them. So an evil person for example will disappear from existence when they die because they never learnt & all the good loving people that want to live for all the right reasons & do, they will get eternal life. 🙂

Starg says: To worship yourself is one of the central themes of Satanism. Satanists believe in self-worship.

Ian says: Satanists are nothing but brainwashed people buddy, & you have 2 possible self’s you know. There’s the one self-mind identified people (“I am” selfishness which should be dropped), & the real self-identified people (“We are” unselfish at heart).

MAJ: You are right Ian there are ‘selfs’ within our self, you need to further contemplate as to why one feel joy and sorrow over pleasant and unpleasant happenings?

Bock says: I never understood the concept of fearing God when I was a kid. I remember the church always taught us that we should fear and love God, but it didn’t make sense to me. As an adult (and also having converted to a different religion), I think I finally understand the fear thing… we worship God out of love, not fear–but we fear the possibility of separation from God. So while I think both love and fear are components of worship, I think the motivation to worship should still be primarily love. I mean, if your main motivation is fear, it seems that that would make faith less genuine.

MAJ: You mean to say love oriented fear is something one should opt for, the main reason being a possibility of separation…I think it should also include a kind of fear for a highest reverence for Him.

Bock: Sure, but the fear for a highest reverence for Him will result in separation. And that separation could occur in this life (by not having a relationship with God), or in the next (by ending up in hell).

MAJ: I think the missing link here is fear, for reverence both the elements of fear and love are required else it would be quite difficult to strike a balance cord between emotions and actions. 

Bock: I am new here on – I started to offer an answer and just realized that you gave me what I needed to start my first blog!!! You are on to something here that I have pondered many, many times. Sorry to waste this space but thank you!!!

Taylor says: Definitely out of love, fear of God has no place for Christians because God is Good all the time.

MAJ: Please explain how do you remain in a constant state of love?

Ryan says: Out of love. When I was growing up I was raised in a God-fearing family and I basically resented God and turned my back on him. However, when I was in college I found out that God is a forgiving God so I realized that he would forgive me of all my wrong doing and rebellion. I feel as worshiping God out of love I have a better and deeper relationship with him

MAJ: That’s sound sensible Ryan. I think with that love there must be a concern about the blessings not to get minimized or diminished.

Ryan: I do not think God as an Indian Giver where he gives and then takes away. I do know when I mess up-and I do that a lot-that I apologize to God not because I am afraid but I let him down.

Leencas says: Ryan I must take issue with your term, “Indian Giver”. The Native Americans were extremely generous when the Europeans first arrived on their land, but when they greedily took over, the Natives understandably tried to preserve what was theirs.

Ryan: Yeah I wasn’t thinking. And I apologize to all Native Americans. Not really sure where that term originated. I do have a little Native American as well in me as well.

Grow says: Both fear and love in perfect combination.

Starg says: I think both. I love God, but at the same time, I don’t want to be banished from His presence, which is what being in hell is all about.

MAJ: That’s excellent. Thanks for the response, Grow and Starg.

Allen says: If I were to read the books in the Bible where Jesus states that The Kingdom of God and that the temple of God is within ourselves. Why should I worship myself and fear myself. We are told to be careful with our thoughts and to love one another as our very selves. If we fear ourselves and the lord, which is within us, then we shall show that same fear to others and that is not what we are supposed to be doing. Love and have self-respect and trust and faith are all within us for without the trust and faith that we can do things we end up having a self-esteem problem and yes that creeps into others’ lives as well. Hold yourself up and truly find the meaning of love who you are and have trust and faith with who you are and what you sow because you will reap that.

Everything in moderation too because there is a fine line and a straight and narrow passage with that because if you go too much over the side of the road you either have a low self-esteem or you become very arrogant and neither of those will give you the change to meet the God Within you. Never fear who you are! You are God!

MAJ: Allen, instead of “God-within” I would regard a cautious self-being within that either appreciates or warns you, constantly and untiringly.

Cathy says: I love God with a passion. He is so good to me…only being I can trust completely who will always have my back and never let me down. Where there is love, there is no fear. God is and always will be a forgiving God.

MAJ: Cathy! If life is a coin, love and fear can be termed as its two faces. If we apply this to any aspect they appear very true. Apply it to God’s worship and see the result.

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Now it’s your turn to take forward the discussion

This is how the conversation went. Since it’s an online interaction, time difference between different continents sometimes discontinues the discussion and sometimes other engagements of the individuals obstruct the proceedings. Nevertheless the overall discussion provides you with the ideas of what actually people think of love and fear of God. While going through the conversations you need to stop, ponder, add and try to conclude on your own. This will facilitate you to know more about the subject and help you interact with your friends and study relevant books on the subject.

………..

© Muhammad Abdullah Javed- April 2016


 

Do you need further clarifications or want to say something? feel free to post your comments below or contact: [mdabdullahjaved@gmail.com].


Articles in Urdu @:

https://muhammadabdullahjaved.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Dialogues with the West – 1

  1. Assalam,
    I will read it completely afterwards sir.But,its very appreciable project work what you have chosen.
    And one should have broad religious knowledge to had convinced conversations.
    Almighty bless you sir.
    I am very happy thinking that you have consider me for posting this….
    Thank you.jazakallah

    Liked by 1 person

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