Can you try a religion for a month?

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Yusuf, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    People usually think of religion in terms of a lifetime of commitment, but could you learn anything from trying one out for a month?

    The call to prayer sounds from Eyup Mosque in Istanbul and local Muslims gather on the marble square outside for prayer. Men on one side, women the other, they crowd on mats for the Friday ritual.

    Among them this week though are a few faces looking less than confident about what comes next.

    Barbra Taylor, from Hawaii, and Terry Goldsmith, from Bury, Greater Manchester, are two of them. They're not Muslim, but guests for nine days.

    This is part of "Muslim for a Month" - a programme from social enterprise group The Blood Foundation where participants get to "test-drive" a religion.

    "Coming away to do this process, some of my friends have questioned it and said 'are you crazy? Aren't you going to the enemy camp?'," Taylor says.

    "They feel anyone who's even remotely affiliated with the Muslim faith is a terrorist. I just felt this programme is interesting to me, I had an interest in Turkey and also I felt there was a misunderstanding about perhaps the second largest religion in the world."

    For Goldsmith it was his changing surroundings at home that inspired the trip.

    "One of the things is that there are a large number of Muslim people in the area I live in," he explains.

    "I don't really know much about the people and I'd like to learn something of the religion and the culture."

    Participants pray, fast, have lectures from Muslim scholars and spend time with local Turkish families. Most are here for their first taste of Islam, but some for a deeper understanding of the Sufi culture of Turkey.

    H Masud Taj is an architect from Canada, brought up Muslim in India. There were a number of questions about why he needed to become "Muslim for a Month".

    "My first response was that I was bemused, frankly," he says. "I was bemused that something that we take as sacred as religion could become like a shopping mall - try this out for a month.

    "It really seemed a very post-modern phenomenon, but, once here it really envelops you with its own world view so I think it's fascinating."


    Barbra Taylor encountered concern from some friends
    Like many of the participants Taj felt that Turkey was the place to hold this course. It may not have worked in other Muslim countries.

    There were tougher moments for participants; some women found being separated from the males in the group somewhat jarring. The organisers say this is all part of the experience.

    "I mean these are very hot points that often if they're not dealt with can be blown out of all proportion," says Ben Bowler, of the Blood Foundation.

    "The difference is sticking with that and working through that and certainly there is an element of how woman are treated in a religious sense in Islam, which is different from what we would expect in our culture, but this is the point of a cultural exchange if it was exactly the same it wouldn't be interesting."

    Taylor says she's taking home a different outlook, although she won't be pushing it with her friends back in America. The subject's still too sensitive she says.

    "I've really learnt a lot this trip. We've been fully immersed - praying in a Mosque, the ladies coming to show us what to do, really it's been a real eye opener for me in a positive way."

    But the organisers say it's been a tough ride. The title "Muslim for a Month" has put many people off, with some parts of the travel industry refusing to promote it because of the unease surrounding Islam in some quarters.

    "Sufi for a month" is going to start running as an alternative and plans for "Sikh for a week" are underway.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13989013 >
     
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  3. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Why Sikh for only a week? So tight! loll.
     
  4. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    I became a Buddhist last month (I mean not what today's Buddists follow, but the simple eight path theory of Lord Buddha), I converted myself actually. I like it because it says God is irrelevant and most important thing is your moral behaviour. And it says to follow the MadhyamPatha (the middle path)......Not interested about any other religion....

    Unfortunately I am not being able to follow the eight path also.... Even these simple things are very difficult to follow in today's world
    :( ... So , I am afraid I am without a religion again...
     
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  5. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Then you just renounced religion, friend. Buddhism is not a religion. It is a philosophy of life like other Dharmic branches of faith such as mainstream Hinduism and Sikhism. It is to discover the divine goodness inside oneself. I would not comment on conversion, but I pray that you find inner peace inside yourself. Om Mani Padme Hum.
     
  6. Dinku

    Dinku Regular Member

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    Happening Egypt same giving Dawat?
     
  7. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    Can a Muslim be Atheist for an Hour? If not then they should please stop trying to sell their cars, i mean sell their religion to us, i think a lot of us know how an run down ambassador is just by looking at it. You cant even see the car in case of religion, there is only hope of seeing the car if you die.


    Talking of test drives what if god was a car?

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  8. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Wow I liked it, it's a novel idea, we should divide 12 months in religion cycle lol. At least it can teach us the good aspects of other religions. :D
     
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  9. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    i dont mind being christian for a month--in fact for longer.....

    in mumbai at least their life is all disc ,party , drink , girlfriend--dhammal !!
     
  10. Dinku

    Dinku Regular Member

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    Ashdoc,,

    You this mean?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  11. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    If You think that's how it is in Mumbai you should see Goa.
     
  12. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    goa is about drugs--too much.....
     
  13. Sabir

    Sabir DFI TEAM Senior Member

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    Yes...even I think so....that is why I felt it attractive...but some people have made these philosophies very complex.... in all three cases...
     
  14. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    We should all be a Muslim as in JeM or Taliban style Muslim, climbing monkey bars and taking shooting training and read the Quran for 8hours a day, those are the problem people.

    Obviously if your in a normal family practicing religion it is going to be very much like your own family. A Muslim family wont be very much different from my own family, apart from the fact that my chances of getting Briyani would double! :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  15. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    Obviously you haven't seen the Muslim and Hindu boys trying to date those girls in those discos and parties there!!
     
  16. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    I was born a Hindu, studied in a missionary school, and have many Muslim friends. I have practiced 3 religions still being a Hindu. Chanted Catholic prayers, ate beef, participated in Pujas.

    However, I feel mostly an Indian.
     
  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Ich bin ein Inder. Ich bin stolz, so zu sein.
     
  18. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

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    i am born hindu..but i recently started reading vedas and was astonished to see huge difference in what vedas have taught and what common hindus do..so i now have started to follow vedas and stopped all other hindu traditions..
    but it is not for just one month,it is for my lifetime now..
     
  19. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    IMO the Vedas are not the true essence of Hinduism - the Upanishads are.

    BTW I am curious to know about what practises you are referring to.....
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011

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