When Religion becomes confusing
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Meet Asadullah Ali al-Andalusi brought up in a
Catholic family became an Atheist shortly after that found an Orthodox Church and finally accepted ISLAM.
This is his story
I was born in the United States, my family originated from Spain. My great grandparents migrated to Puerto Rico and then my grandparents migrated to New York. My mother gave me an English name on account of the prejudices she experienced growing up as a child in the U.S. She also insisted that I only learn English as a result so that I would not have to go through what she did. However, on account of my difference in appearance, I still experienced a great deal of prejudice growing up. I also never knew my biological father because he left shortly after I was born.
I was raised Catholic but had no interest in religion. My grandmother was the most devout in our family (and still is in that regard). My mother was only interested in it culturally, but she has never been the practicing type. As I grew older my disinterest in Catholicism manifested into an irritation with religion in general. As a result I went through a teenage phase of “atheism” (if you can call it that) and just disavowed all forms of worship and God. Around the age of 17 I decided I would not pursue university as I was now interested in professional fighting. I became very good at professional TaeKwonDo and developed myself physically. At this point, my life took a turn for the worse. Around the age of 19 I suffered a major accident in a tournament fight, rupturing a disk in my neck. I was told by doctors not to fight again and Ive had pain ever since. At this point I involved myself in petty crimes etc. I became so depressed I tried to kill myself and was also eventually jailed. Shortly thereafter, I decided to turn my life around again and started to take up a religious life. I became Christian (non-denominational) and joined university. I didn’t have anything particular in mind to study so I just picked philosophy as my major on account of my idol — Bruce Lee — having studied the same field.
As I studied the subject, I became much more critical and open to the world. I started questioning a lot about my faith as a result. I found myself moving from denomination to denomination in search of the “true” Christianity, until I finally ended up in the Greek Orthodox Church. Although not fully content, I thought I had found “true” Christianity at last. I was attracted to their focus on history, their rejection of original sin, and other concepts I had problems with from other denominations. However, perhaps still the most difficult doctrine was the fact that Jesus was God. I understood the Trinity, but the concept still felt as though it was “forced” on to what the scriptures were actually saying.
Still, during this time I debated with atheists and began forming the foundation of the arguments that I use today. I found atheism fascinating and frustrating all at once, which determined me to understand the way atheists think, where they get their ideas, and the validity and soundness of those ideas.
As time went by, I became more skeptical of my Christianity. I then met a friend during the end of my undergraduate education. He told me he was Muslim and asked me to visit his masjid if I was interested in learning about Islam. We are now still very good friends, but at the time I was unaware of what sort of Islam he practiced.
When I took up his offer, I was introduced to to Shi’ism. I spoke with the imam at his masjid over a period of 4-5 months or so (as best as I can recall). I remember distinctly the man’s character — as well as the characters of all those in the masjid. They were highly intellectual and engaged in philosophy more deeply than the average person. They were also all very kind and seemed very devout in their faith. Anyways, as I spoke with this imam over the months, he would tell me about the two main groups within Islam (Sunni and Shia) and mostly other basic things which I found fascinating. I remember quite well that he even told me once, “I don’t care if you become Sunni or Shi’a, as long as you become Muslim”. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but now I admire his integrity.
Eventually, I became more interested in Islam. I then decided I wanted to read the Qur’an. Read more
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