Kid’s say the darnedest things, don’t they? Adults say the craziest things. Maybe it’s because we’re not as cute as our prepubescent selves that when we say the darnedest things, people look at us and shake their heads or wag their finger in our face. (By the way, if I were President Obama I might have broken that finger. With my teeth. Luckily, he has more sense than I do. However, Governor Jan Brewer (R) is unaware of the social graces that stipulate that you don’t scold grown men in public, especially if they’re your boss, especially if they’re the President of the United States. She’d better be saying her five prayers today, thanking God that she woke up in 2012 and not 1793. We all know how Robespierre handled dissent.
My first thought upon seeing the article on Huffington Post that he’s considering converting to Islam was, “But he’s white.” Then my mind flew away on a tangent, fondly remembering the 30 second clips of All-American Muslim I saw on TLC’s website after Lowe’s et al pulled their advertising. I really liked that show, but I’m gonna need for TLC to do better and air entire full episodes, specifically the one where and Irish Catholic man converts to Shiite Islam to marry the woman he loves. Hope they make it. Maybe Neeson can fund the full episode segment online, so he can get mainstream America acquainted with the idea of the changing face of Islam.
My second thought was, “Wait. Where have I heard that name before?” So I Google’d Liam Neeson and was a little embarrassed to find that he’s a lot more famous than I thought. Schindler’s List, and Les Miserables, in addition to two boatloads of critically acclaimed films. Your list of favorite Neeson films is probably four times as long as mine, but only because I’m not a fan of action, fantasy, or sci-fi movies. It’s only fair that I get to play my I only watch dramas, romantic comedies, psychological thrillers, or gory flicks card.
Third and final thought, “I love that name. Liam Bella. My boy is going places with a name like that.)
Apparently, Liam and I are both experiencing a crisis of faith. Before anyone writes us off as being loony tunes, here us out. According to Neesom in The Sun, “The Call to Prayer happens five times a day… drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit and it’s the most beautiful, beautiful thing…It really makes me think about becoming a Muslim.” Istanbul has that effect on people. Or maybe it’s just Liam. Still, you can’t deny that in our American culture that’s obsessed with all the wrong things, that when you find something that “gets into your spirit” that you don’t want to hold onto to that. Forever.
Is Liam on to something? With Islam? My answer is the same regardless of the religion. The most important thing in terms of adopting and living out a religion or philosophy is to believe in it. My crisis of faith started in middle school. A lot of those stories, as you all know, are unbelievable.The fact that Satan spoke through the Serpent and got Eve to break God’s law and sin wasn’t at all mind-blowing. Satan? Embodying serpents? Talking satanic serpents? Fine.
Guess where I halted in my tracks. With the language! I wanted to know what language they were speaking. All of them. God spoke to them, the serpent spoke to them, Adam and Eve spoke to each other — what exactly did they say? Not the English translation. Not the Hebrew translation. Can anyone tell me? We’ve managed to keep this story alive for over 2000 years with an oral and written record, and I want to know what was man’s first oral language.
I’m not jumping ship from Christianity to Islam or Judaism or Bahai’sm to figure all of this out. I don’t think I need to do that to find the answers. The power of faith is the enormous power of belief. I’ve been fascinated with religious beliefs from my early childhood, fascinated in other people’s religious beliefs and quite desperate to find a spiritual home where I feel loved, at peace with the history of the religion, and even somewhat controlled. (I like rules.) I think I need to listen to what other religions have to say and listen to my inner voice about what I feel is true. Because once I find something to believe in, once I feel it’s true, then I’m the kind of person that would have the faith of two mustard seeds.
It doesn’t sound like Liam’s making any rash decisions. It sounds like exploration. It feels like he’s making room for another truth even though we live in a society that is very much afraid of what Muslims have to say about God. Some reasons for conversion are brow raising. But most are fueled by our desire to understand God in a way that the religion we were born into failed to teach us. We’re all looking for different stuff, and if we look for that stuff from God, we’ll find it. I actually do believe that He can give us everything. We just forget.
When I hear people questioning their religious beliefs, I hear people questioning the authority or their parents, church, synagogue, mosque, and communities. And I love it. I really do. I hear them looking for their own meaning and I know we’re all on the right path. You find out what’s true for you and I’ll find out what’s true for me. And we’ll let everyone else find out their truth, too. And hopefully we all stay out of hell.