Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dare I do it? Dare I talk about Religion...

Religion is often considered a topic to keep away from the dinner table, and I wonder, perhaps the blogosphere?  I am hesitant to begin this post.  Hesitant to put forth this introduction, this idea, for a series of posts related to religion, faith, and how a Christian and a Muslim compromise in a cross-cultural relationship.   For some readers this may be a non-topic, yet for those of us with any bit of Turkish in our lives, we all know that religion is a powerful aspect of Turkish culture. 

Religion and faith are two different entities in my book: religion is organized, prescribed, (at times) dictated and predetermined; faith, on the other hand, is open, enduring, unpredictable and resides in the heart.   They are obviously intertwined, yet also may be independent of one another (at least the way I see it).

Unfortunately, religion is often used as a tool to create violence and hatred - I don't think it is difficult to think of an example in this case, so I won't go into details here.  In many cases, especially in the US these days, religion is used as leverage to achieve certain political goals as well.  With all the bad press about religion, I have developed an aversion to discussing it.  History, geography, culture, and politics all get thrown into the messy religion soup and just a tasting of these topics in conversation can burn your lips.

Yes, I have shied away from discussing religion, even though it is probably one of the most frequent curiosities I am questioned about with my cross-cultural relationship. 

For example:
"Where is your fiance from?"
"He's from Turkey."
"Oh really, is he Muslim?"
"Um, yes, why do you ask?"
"Just curious…[insert all sorts of questions about head scarves, women's rights, war and terrorism]"

Many of these questions are about religion (and often politics), but not about faith.  Questions about rules, not about meaning.  It is understandable, people want to know about the rules, the dress code, the stigmas and the drama - yes, especially about the drama.  Yet, few, unfortunately, want to know more about the why and the meaning behind said rules.

Yes, what does it all mean?

I'm trying to answer these questions myself these days, sifting through my earlier ideas of religion and actualization of faith, and trying to gain a greater understanding about the religion and faith that hold such a prominent place in the heart and mind of my other half.   I'll try to keep my own  philosophical musing out of these posts, and instead, shape them with facts and stories.  (I'll try!)

I invite you to share your thoughts and engage in a discussion as these weeks unfold.

Cairo street art
Copyright Giulia @ TravelReportage


  1. Brave girl - it's a subject I rarely allude to.

    1. Haha - Thanks - I know what you mean, religion is tricky to talk about, but I thought I'd give it a try. We'll see!


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