On I Did Not Know

I attended a lecture about Islam that was part of an interfaith dialogue series at a local church. On this night, a professor from a Lutheran seminary delivered the lecture and answered questions that led to small group dialogue among the participants.

In the discussion group served as an opportunity for misconceptions to come forth. For instance, a person in my group stated there are just as many mosques in the US as Christian churches. I relentless challenged him and used it as an example of the importance of learning, thus I had difficulty giving credence to his other point.

Back to the lecture, are some points that the lecture increasing my awareness.

I did not know that the Islam creation story involves Adam and Eve.

I did not know that the Qur’an includes many Biblical characters as Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Jonah, Miriam, Job, Mary, and Jesus (to name a few) … yet one character’s story may be interspersed over other chapters.

I did not know that Islam sees the Adam and Eve creation story in the same themes as Christianity: disobedience, repent, and forgiveness

I did not know that after the opening chapter, the Qur’an’s 114 chapters are generally from longest to shortest, thus not chronologically.

I did not know that the root that Qur’an means “recitation”, whereas Bible means “books”.

I did not know that some of the differences between Christianity and Islam in found in telling the same story with a different context.

No matter the topic, there are three categories of information: what one knows, what one thinks they know, and what one does not know … and that middle category is where one finds their misconceptions and misinformation – the basis for many ills in society.

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Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

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10 thoughts on “On I Did Not Know

  1. It’s truly fascinating to see how much overlap there are between the three “core” Western religions. Especially poignant is the common shared locale of the Dome Of The Rock in Jerusalem. It’s a pity they can’t use that commonality to seek peace amongst the three religions (and the various offshoots thereof).
    By the by, Bible coming from book is based on the “holy man” (pastor, priest, rabbi, whatever) reading from the book to the flock during worship. Qu’ran coming from recitation comes from the Imam leading the flock in recited prayers. Different methods of worship, different titles for guidebooks thereof.
    And the scariest part of all that knowledge I just disgorged? Most of it comes from “The Simpsons” – I’m dead serious.
    Who says “Everything I Ever Needed To Know, I learned From Star Trek”? :D

  2. most people who constantly attack other people based on their religion would be surprised to know just how much they have in common. however, ignorance seems to be the preferred currency nowadays.

    • Nonnie,
      A thought – Ignorance may have always been the norm, but given today’s available electronic resources, there should be less of an excuse. Then again, the web also delivers boundless misinformation that people buy into. SCREEEEEEAM! Thanks for commenting.

  3. When i first encountered some teachings on the Qur’an I was surprised to see the story of Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed only it was Ishmael who he took.

    The true sadness is that the very people who could use interfaith dialogue and education are the very people who will not attend or encourage such a thing.

    As for your challenge on the number of mosques in the US. Why is it we are worried about the number of Mosques, and not the number of guns in the US?

    • Beagz,
      As you said, there is a need for interfaith dialogue among the masses – yet the ones who shun it are the ones needing it most. I have no idea where that guy come up with that ridiculous statement, so I had to challenge him on that fact and that fact alone. Actually, I’m still a bit fired up about the statement as the guy didn’t even come close to recanting. Hopefully he won’t be in my discussion group at the next in the series. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for sharing the details–and you are right, I did not know these things either. I hope I know what I do not know rather than make up facts to fit my feelings like the person who raised the outlandish “facts.” Ignorance is not always bliss; sometimes it is downright frigthening, especially when people assume they know the truth but have no proof or evidence to support their notions. If people would just be open to seeing the similarities and build on what we share with others. I can hope.

    • Patti,
      I would not describe the man as ignorant … stupid is actually better because I see a difference between ignorance and stupidity.Since then, I researched his statements just in case I want to use them at the next event (which I hope to attend). Bottom line is that people must be open and willing to learn. Thanks for your thoughts.

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