UI – Part 500 – ‘Striving’ Differs for Religions (1 of 4)
My first blog on this site was written in December 2009, eight years ago. This is number 500. The total actually exceed 500 in that there were several that needed to be published in sections, however from a topic standpoint the number is 500. Where we go from here in unknown; the plan is to continue. Thank you for being a reader. Please refer this site to others so they too can Understand Islam.
A copy of the first blog (12/9/2011), an Introduction, can be read here (read).
Today’s topic, ‘Striving,’ to be presented over several days, is a critical element of the two religions I generally discuss, Islam and Christianity, and what convicted followers in their everyday lives do to be adherents, even examples, of what they believe.
For people of faith what they do in earnest to obey the Lord entails ‘striving.’ How does a person grow in their faith? They strive to fulfill the commandments, the directives from god. The tangent that fogs the mind is the ‘god of what?’
Striving is defined (Oxford Dictionary) as to “make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.” What we do, how we do it, how hard we try, how we obey directions or directives, what we learn, how we apply ourselves, our motivations, our individual thinking and goals, our purpose, or practice ethic, and more, comprise the effort, how little or how much, to achieve an end result. From playing piano, to golfing, to having knowledge of history, to trade crafts, arts and crafts, to artistry, and related activities, to be the best takes dedication and ‘great efforts.’
Religion takes all forms. A dedication to a charismatic leader, or a sport, or a hobby, or a philosophy, in addition to the traditional concepts of belief in a supernatural being, an unimaginable incomprehensible power. My writings have focused over the years on the two largest bodies of religion, those believing in Jesus Christ as savior, son of God, and on Allah, whose messenger was the mortal Muhammad.
From the dictionary there are a variety of definitions for ‘religion.’ They involve a set of beliefs, such as concerning the cause and purpose of the universe, a common moral code, established practices of a number of persons or sects, the practice of such beliefs, a devotion by a person or group in a common element or even a vow taken. So as to believing in God, that is just one of the definitions. I like the expression, “get religion.” It applies to all the definitions, but generally used when requesting a person mend their errant ways, from doing wrong, to making harmful items or acting in ways that negatively impact others.
Faith is similar to religion, as having a strong connection and adherence to an ideology, a path to follow, even when all factors are not known. Confidence in a person or thing, trusting another, is faith. By accepting what is an unknown, having faith, a person accepts a reality that is less than tangible, yet proven by actions, successes, miracles, witness testimony, historical evidence, including architectural evidence, and more. Stories told become foundational if there are facts that support the subject.
Referring to the dictionary again, this time for ‘faith,’ synonyms include confidence, belief not based on proof, accepting standards such as a code of ethics or merit, a system of belief, an obligation of loyalty which could involve ‘breaking the faith,’ maintaining fidelity to a promise, oath or allegiance (as no longer having faith in one’s fellow man), and certainly the idea of trusting in God.
Having faith, having a religion, and striving, suggests an objective, a goal that is attainable. If not achieved then there may be consequences, mainly personal. An analysis of the two largest religions, or systems of belief, systems of faith, Christianity and Islam, brings to the surface the operative question for each. What is the striving of the Christian? What is the striving of the Muslim? What is the objective?
Let’s take the Muslim first. Tomorrow blog 2 on the topic ‘Striving’ will appear.
Grace and Peace