Apostasy— what a mouthful! It’s a word full of harsh sounds, more consonants than vowels. Its’ pejorative connotation suggests more than a mere disaffiliation with a religion, yet sometimes, it’s not even that.
In recent months I’ve discovered a number of blogs dedicated to apostasy from Islam, yet no one ever uses this word. Perhaps former Muslims shudder at the thought of capital punishment called for by fanatics who understand nothing about human nature. let alone divine.
What I find curious is the defensiveness that marks these writings. Islam is accused of usurping free will, and ruining lives. Islam is accused of all sorts of tricks that rob the person of something that doesn’t belong to Islam. Since most religious systems could answer to the same accusations, I wonder about the maturity of such writers, and of their original motivation for adhering to Islam in the first place. One thing is sure– when a person tries to fill the culturally square Islamic peg with a round Western personality, some spillage is bound to occur.
I suggest that many tears and arguments have been poured into the world not because the circle doesn’t quite fit the square, but that the square was not large enough to contain the circle.
When you consider how differently Islam is practiced from country to country, community to community, individual to individual, you may be surprised to discover as much variation as can be found in Christianity. For the person who feels in need of reformation, self-discipline, or spiritual development through ritual practice, Islam offers much, and so does Christianity. For the person whose character holds tenaciously to the preservation of what little free will we think we have, Islam offers much, and so does Christianity.
Using the broadest definition of terms, a Muslim is one who believes in one God and Mohammad’s prophethood. A Christian is one who believes in Jesus. Therefore, a Muslim is also a Christian. Since both believe in the Judeo-Christian divinity commonly called “God”, both Muslims and Christians are also Jews.
So what’s the big deal? Hindus and Buddhists and Atheists remain. How ironic, then, that the most violent religiously based infighting occurs historically and persistently amongst Jews, Christians and Muslims, who supposedly believe in the same divinity! One would think that Jews, Christians and Muslims would get together and make war on Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists, because those groups reject the singularity of an almighty god.
Getting back to apostasy, then, one can rightly ask of any so-called apostate, “From what are you apostatizing?” I think the answer would have something to do with the container being too small to accommodate the spirit being poured into it.