Breakdown of Christians at my work

I am fairly openly Muslim at work and super friendly. I suspect that is why people open up to me about their own personal religious beliefs. Pretty much everyone I work with is a Christian (well, there’s one atheist, one agnostic, one Eastern White Hindu-spiritualist). Here is a breakdown of the types of Christians I work with in no particular order.

  1. The Lutheran who attends a non-denomination Church, former military, attends a charismatic church. He would attend a Mega Church, but lives too far from one. Outwardly, he does not seem particularly outwardly religious in his day to day life (curses, makes sexual jokes, votes Republican) but is still fundamentally into it, cares for the poor, needy, etc, great guy.
  2. The American-born Jamaican, Seventh Day Adventist, follower of Levitical Law, has Muslims in his family and best friend is Muslim, not particularly gung-ho but cares enough that he regrets having sex before marriage, traditionalist, great guy.
  3. The on-again off-again Irish Catholic who seems more interested in social justice movements. He is pro-Palestinian and loves to talk to me about aspects of Islam, but assumes I hold Liberal views (which I do not). Great guy also!
  4. The Republican-Christian, is a convert to Christianity from Buddhism,¬†attends that very Mega-Church referenced above, makes a lot of ultra-conservative talking points about social justice issues, like calling people “snowflakes”, thinks I lean Liberal (do I give off that vibe?), probably not the most versed in his own religion. He’s the type of Christian who probably supports Israel (his minor-celebrity pastor is a Jewish convert, who can’t stop talking about how he’s Jewish). Sometimes he says semi-heartless, ignorant things about people in need, like how they should just get a job, but I’m sure he’s a great guy at heart.
  5. The Greek Orthodox Christian, who knows an amazing amount about Islam and the Ottoman Empire. He carries Worry-Beads (Similar to Muslim’s Tasbeehs, which I carry around), seems more than moderately learned in comparative Christianity. He randomly says Arabic expressions to me, like Eid Mubarak, wonderful person! If I ever got in a debate, he’s the only one I would actually be afraid of.
  6. The proudest Christian who also doesn’t practice. He attends a Church that worshiping on Saturday, shedding pagan practices, and proselytizing. But they do not have any social services, any counselling, just rigidity and”learn the Bible, spread it to others”. He seems burned out by it….At the same time, he prayers over his food, hates on Catholics and the Pope in particular (sometimes with the Irish Catholic present), says homosexuality is wrong, and that sorta, but then does every heterosexual sin under the sun. Okay, we’re all sinners, but he brags about it! With pictures! He’ll regularly talk about how he’ll have sex for 2-3 hours with two different girls at the same time. Then he teases me about not sleeping around (which truly does offend me, but whatever). When I say “Hey, isn’t that a sin in your religion?” he will respond with “Well, we’re all sinners”, as if Jesus dying on the Cross for your sins is a license to sin. He seems more interested in cars, motorcycles, accumulating money, comedy, and sex than anything else. But really, he’s a nice guy and means no harm.
  7. The Black Baptist. Christianity is just part of his culture. Sure, he might go to Church once in a while, but he doesn’t really care. He regularly brags about he used to “smash chicks” and “giving her the D”. I think he perceives my traditionalism as naive and teases me to an amount that is not appropriate for work. But he’s a good guy at heart, and does a lot of great community service projects on the side.
  8. The former marine protestant. He is one of the most respectful men I have ever met at work. He carries himself very well, which is a difficult aspect of being a “conservative” person in a society that is highly antagonistic to your values. He knows his Bible, can quote passages from memory. He’s also very traditional. For example, he has women eat first, gives up his seat for women, raised his son to hold the door for his girlfriend, that sorta. The man donated a kidney! I could learn a lot from him.
  9. The Alabama Black Jew-Christian: Yes, literally! He found out he’s a Jew by ancestry. He knows the Bible beyond the basics without being a scholar in it. He seems to use it as a serious guiding force in his life. He does not celebrate Christmas or other Pagan holidays, follows Leviticus to a degree, calls certain practices demonic, but isn’t really all that strict and is essentially “living in sin” with his girlfriend-to-be-wife. Also an awesome guy.
  10. The open Lesbian military chick realizing she values Christianity – I have not asked her her exact beliefs, but she seems to be “coming back” (did she leave?) to Christianity. I do not know her life story beyond that. Strangely conservative in some ways. Cool chick!

There are others, but these are just the ones I have gotten to know.

Honestly, its really refreshing for people to be so open about their faith!


Anticipating questions from the “modern” Pakistanis

I am (was, it happened) scheduled to give an “Islamic Talk” before a group of largely non-practicing Muslims who are doing a fundraising dinner for Pakistan. How unfortunate of an audience that I was selected to give this talk. I do not mean this to be humble, I mean that sincerely, if they knew how dark and empty my inner-soul was, they be shocked. However, I was authorized by a Shaykh and maybe at least my outward can be of some benefit.

I know this crowd. They tend to have a fairly hostile approach towards outwardly religious people. I once wore a pakol and pashtun clothing (I am Pashtun) and a woman came up to me and asked me “Are you from the Taliban?” It was fairly rude, because she didn’t even greet me or know who I was. When I said no, mostly in shock, she said “okay, then you can stay”. It was worse because I am very much not cultural, so to have my fledgling expression attacked was disheartening. But I won’t play the victim.

Anyways, before any talk that I present, on any topic, I practice in my car. I also anticipate the sorts of questions that people will ask me afterwards. In particular with this audience, I anticipate someone coming to me and saying that they like Islam, but these Mullahs who study in madrassas are all intellectually backwards and come to foolish conclusions.

I plan to basically criticize modernity, but not do it from a position of ignorance.

Modernists are a very confused group of people. They differ on basic points of morality that I bet even you would disagree with. For example, did you know that they no longer say there is just male or female? Want me to justify it for you from their perspective? (Engage them in a little bit of back and forth, make points they cannot refute).

You think you’re being “modern”? All you’re doing is being a laughable imitation of European culture. Your sleeveless shalwar kameez is not “modern”, its just not Pakistani.

Do you think you’re being educated? Auntie, I have a Masters degree. I’m more educated than you.

Did you know that in modern society, men do not protect women? Men have no obligation towards their wives at all. After all, we’re all just people who happen to have different different biology.

You think technology is so great? Did you know that technological advancement has been slowing down? Most of what we have is basically implementation of existing technologies. The basic principles are the same.

You think we are a golden age of physics? Lets take physics. You argue that physics is a glory to our knowledge and insight. But in modern physics, you have two irreconcilable theories that both explain the world and stand up to empiric observation. How can this be? Similarly, every 100 years or so the entire scientific paradigm changes. And in every period, it is presumed that its current conclusions of science is eternal truth. Then those eternal truths change!

You need to re-evaluate the way you look at the world. This European idolization is backwards.