June 2005: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 3

My Journey to Submission

I was born on May 19, 19xx. 42 days later my parents baptized me as a Roman Catholic. I had no choice in the matter. My mother whose family originally comes from Ireland and my atheist father agreed to bring my sister and I up as ‘good Catholic girls.’ Although in fact our lives differed little from other people’s in Britain except for the odd reminder that because we believed in God we were ‘special.’ Perhaps like most children, religion did not feature significantly. I went to a Catholic school until 11 and to church every Sunday on and off through until my early teens. The best bit was always home time. I always believed in God and went through all the motions e.g. going to confession and I prayed the way I had been taught whenever I felt worried or frightened. But I had little faith.

Christianity leads you to believe that God i.e. Jesus loves you, the end. You do not have to do anything except love Jesus and try to be as good a Christian as possible. But then even if you commit grave sins Jesus is going to forgive you anyway since he gave his life for you in the first place. Life is not a test, it is a gift from Jesus. Every Sunday while reading the Statement of Faith I learnt that only Catholics go to heaven and we were of course all going there without question. Although most of the doctrines I could never understand. The logic of the trinity still escapes me. How could Jesus call himself ‘son of man’ and ‘son of God’ at the same time? Why were there 4 different accounts of the same story and how were we supposed to accept all of them? How on earth was altar wine and rice cakes supposed to turn

into Jesus’ body and blood, and how scary was that? I assumed and was told that I was too young to understand and thought I was the only one to question such beliefs. I kept quiet. At 16 after several short-lived attempts to find truth in my religion and ‘sort out my relationship with God’ as I put in once in a diary entry of things to do, I had had enough.

Religion was on hold for now, it was time to live. My Mum had given up making me come along to church a year earlier, I often felt like walking out anyway. I wondered if God existed at all, dare I become an atheist? But I couldn’t. The truth was out there, somewhere. I just wasn’t ready for it yet. Or so I thought. Soon after I started studying Islam in great depth.

Looking back due to my change of schools I realized that by some “coincidence” I had been exposed to it for the past 6 years even though it’s only mandatory to have covered it in one year of high school. Oh good I thought, Islam is interesting. A couple of days later, I read a hadith where Muhammad predicts the future and my heart skips a beat. In a split-second I wonder if there is truth in this religion of which I am so fond.

So began my obsession with Islam. Everything I read is Islam, I am surfing the internet all the time. I can’t study except of course if it’s Islam. The more I learn the more I love and the more I question the things I grew up believing. I waited weeks to be allowed to take our school’s Quran home, a Yusuf Ali translation. Reading it I am absolutely terrified: what is this talk of hell, and punishment, who is this God to talk to us like this, why is God constantly reminding us of His greatness and all that He does for us. Really this is how arrogant Christians can be.

But I read and read.

One day I find the part which states the trinity to be blasphemous. Suddenly I feel as if I have ‘come home’ and even though I knew all along that Islam rejected the trinity, for the first time I actually realize that it is God saying it, to me. It was quite a psychological shift to convert. If the God of Islam was the God I knew and loved was there any truth in Christianity at all? So then I started searching for proof about Jesus, archeological evidence, everything and anything. I had major doubts. Suddenly everything had to be questioned, it got very deep. What was the meaning of life, what were we here for, was life a test?? Islam was so perfect, it answered all my questions. Compared to the restrictions and negative attitudes associated with Catholicism it was a breath of fresh air.

Well for a while. 4 months later, the course changed but I continued to research into Islam alone. I felt that it was truth. I could imagine myself converting one day, if only I could seek out my doubts. Since all the while I was learning about Islam there was something making me uncomfortable but I didn’t know what. Of course I knew all about the bad side of Islam, the culture that was mixed up in it. I read testimonials of people who had suffered and blamed the religion for it.

I read up on Middle Eastern politics, terrorism, Jihad, we had studied this at school too. I knew all about the ‘dark’ side to Islam. It was sad, horrible and frightening but I didn’t despair, this was, after all, the truth. I was really into it, trying to memorize Arabic words for things, wondering what Muslim name I would pick.

Cont’d on page 4