Jimmergirl wrote:I totally respect his faith and know that he is devoted to his religion, but I feel frustrated when he tries to share it with me.
Jimmergirl wrote:Haha, as I Catholic, the Lord's Prayer is most definitely ingrained in me!
Jimmergirl wrote:..............Can anyone give me advice [yes, I am asking for advice ] about how to speak with him about this? I know he is just trying to share what he loves, and that he is concerned about me. I would like to be able to tell him that I wish to not discuss my personal religious beliefs, without him feeling like I have "slapped him in the face." Thank you for any help you can give me.....
Jimmergirl wrote:I am a westerner who was raised Catholic. I am currently working in a Muslim country and living with a Muslim family. I love my family here, and they treat me very, very well. Though I am not a devout Christian, I still have faith and believe in God. My "uncle" is adamant about sharing Islam with me, and urges me to seek "truths." I have no problem, on my own, reading about Islam so that I can better understand the religion, but I have no interest becoming Muslim. I know that his sharing of Islam comes from his heart, because he is devout and is concerned about me. He believes that since I am not Muslim, I will not enter "his" Heaven. I have told him that in Christianity it works a little differently. He believes that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all share the same God, but apparently "our" Heaven is different. He truly feels like we are family, as do I, but it is still difficult because of the religious differences. I lived here last year with another Muslim family, and never once did they try to discuss Islam with me, only to help me understand the religion when I had questions. Though my "big sister" says that one day she does hope I become Muslim, I do not take much offense to this.
On the other hand, my "uncle" tries to engage me in conversation about the Quran, creationism, Darwinism, and religion every so often. I understand that he just wants to share his religion with me because he is faithful, and that to him there's no difference between this and telling me about a good movie he watched or book he read. But sometimes I get very frustrated with the situation. I have explained to him that discussing religion is not something we do in the West, especially one's personal beliefs. I have told him that most families do not sit down and discuss religious beliefs with each other, let alone friends. I told him that this is not something I do with my brother or mother, let alone my extended family. And I definitely do not discuss my friends' religious beliefs with them - my friends come from all religious backgrounds: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. I have let him know that this topic is taboo in my culture and does make me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I had expressed my frustration to him about the Catholic's stance on birth control. He said that one can not pick and choose what parts of a religion in which we believe. In that way, I definitely disagree with the reasoning why a woman should wear a foulard/abaya, praying five times a day, or not drinking alcohol or smoking. I understand that most woman who were one choose to do so on their own, but I think the reasoning is quite flawed - if God made all of us, why should I have to cover myself? I am told that a woman needs to protect herself from men, who may do something to her because of her beauty - how is my beauty, which was given to me by God, my fault? It is the men that need to reform their ways. I feel this way about Islam, so therefore according to his logic, I shouldn't practice the religion.
He says to me that he is just giving me advice/information. He says, "What would you say if I asked you to give me advice?" Honestly, in my culture, it's not my place to give someone advice, especially with such an open-ended question. If someone asks me to give advice about how to apply to a western university or about a guy they're dating, that's completely different - but either way, I would never presume that I know what is best for them. In my opinion, when you give someone unsolicited advice, it's like you're saying you see something wrong with what they are doing. He tells me that it's not like he is right and I am wrong, or the other way around, but I feel like in this instance it is black and white like that, and I am in the "wrong." I have mentioned my being a little uncomfortable about this before, and he feels hurt that as a family, we are unable to discuss religion. He said, "So we are just going to discuss the weather, movies, television, etc?" (Obviously this is quite a simplistic interpretation by him.)
He likes to give me evidence of how true/powerful the Quran is, and then wants to discuss what I think about it afterwords. He recently sent me an email explaining how in the Quran's discussion of bees, they use the feminine form of the verb to talk about some of the bees' actions. From him: "In Arabic, there are two different usages of verbs. By means of the usage, it is possible to determine whether the subject is a female or a male. As a matter of fact, the verbs (italic words) used for the honey bee in the verses are used in the format of the verb for females. Through this, the Qur'an indicates that the honey bees that work in the making of the honey are females!!! We should not forget that it is impossible for this fact to have been known about the honey bees in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (saas). Yet, Allah has pointed at this fact and shown us yet another miracle of the Qur'an."
I totally respect his faith and know that he is devoted to his religion, but I feel frustrated when he tries to share it with me. I told him that I am happy with my life and my religion. He told me, "Well, a robber who steals is happy with the money he gets." I know he is not directly comparing me to a robber, but his comparison is frustrating nonetheless. We speak in English, and since it is not his first language, I know sometimes there are vocabulary issues that may be the fault of miscommunication. I really love my "second" family here very much, and in no way wish to make them upset, especially since I live with them. But I am growing weary of having to listen to these "proofs" and worrying if I'm going to hurt his feelings. Can anyone give me advice [yes, I am asking for advice ] about how to speak with him about this? I know he is just trying to share what he loves, and that he is concerned about me. I would like to be able to tell him that I wish to not discuss my personal religious beliefs, without him feeling like I have "slapped him in the face." Thank you for any help you can give me.
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