Lots of issues here...
As your question seems to be more about realizations and my opinions than technical quotes etc. this will be a more personal reply than I normally do here.
First the phrase "a self proclaimed muslim." To become a Muslim one sincerely says the Shahada: 'ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāh, wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh (which means: I testify that there is no god (ilah) but God (Allah), and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of
God). As anyone can easily do this no mater where they are or how much they understand of Islam, he probably is a Muslim.
Islam teaches that everyone is born a Muslim, later in life we sin and we fail to submit (islam) to God and thereby cease to be a Muslim (Islam). So no one "converts" into Islam, one "reverts" back to it.
The sacrifice of Ishmael by his father is discussed at Qur'an 37:99-109. Jews and Christians say it was Issac, Muslims say it was Ismael.
This is very important if one is concerned about which son was the legitimate heir of the Abrahamic covenant. There is of course no way of knowing at this point for sure. One generally accepts that it was the son corresponding to your own religion. I believe it was Issac.
I would not agree with you that this sacrifice was in any way "ritual abuse." It was a profound act of faith by the aged patriarch. Abram had wanted a child his whole life. Then miraculously when he is way past child bearing age he has not one but two sons. (The earth has two possible directions.) The promise was to go through... (pick your guy) ... and now God says to offer the boy as a sacrifice! (What is a sacrifice?
What did it mean?) What faith and devotion it must have taken! What vital lessons we can learn from this!
"The rabbit hole" is bottomless, however it is vital to remember the ground from which one enters the hole. Not that you are forgetting, just a thought here. All truth is known through layers, often described as the petals of the Sacred Black Rose, or perhaps as the skin of the Sacred Onion. Every layer or petal must be honored if one hopes to reach the next. A person in Graduate school is always indebted to his/her grammar school teachers. A student is always indebted to his/her guru maharaja, both siksa (teaching) and diksa (initiating). It is essential to honor them.
I completely agree that it is not possible to offend God. It is of course possible to move further away from God by our actions, thoughts, etc. to our detriment. God is our "eternal well wisher."
The Path of coming to know the One is, in my opinion, the ultimate goal of life. Nothing is more important. There is indeed nothing to fear in this holy quest, provided one is willing to face whatever comes. Study the lives of the saints, sadhus and martyrs. Spiritual life can have a
high price. Is it worth? Of course. Is it easy? Very seldom.
As for your statement that we were never supposed to be in the dark, it is here that I think our understandings might divide.
It is my belief that the earth passes through ages or "yugas", normally described as four in number (satya, treta, dvapara and kali), and that during this present Age times are dark, and they will become moreso despite short-term respites. In other worlds, I believe in de-evolution to
the point of dissolution, then with the turning of the tide, all things begin again.
The ripe fruit of the spiritual quest, not its purpose, the result, is liberation from this world of samsara (suffering) and liberation (moksa) to True Life.
I believe its not a question of our right to know how these things work. Such knowledge would destroy the process. It is by not knowing that we are forced to reach out into the darkness to learn and realize and, dare I say it, to grok (ala Stranger in a Strange Land) the Truth. I
believe we are here, in the material multiverses, to learn and to grow. Our true Self resides far above this temporary chaos and pain. This existence is "real" but it is temporary. Reality lies beyond this dark cloud
in which we temporarily find ourselves.
I do believe that the Jews were chosen as the linchpin of this age. This does not mean they are "better" than others, only that they are called out for specific purposes. We can discuss these later if you'd like, it is a rather lengthy discussion in its own right. I further that what will bring in the World Teacher, the Messiah, Shiloh, Kalki, Maitreya,
pick your name, will be the near annihilation of the Jews by the coming Dijal (many of the Islamic imams and muftis believe Bush is the forerunner of the Dijal). Everything, in my opinion, rests with the Jews. They are the key.
Personally I resonate most closely with the Vaisnava Sanatana Dharma (The Hindu worshippers of Lord Visnu). While my teachings and beliefs are not Hindu per se, they are deeply inspired by them.
I feel farthest from Islam, although there is a lot I admire about that faith as well.
There is an old saying, the lotus grows in the mud. Take the truth where you find it. If it does not "feel right" to you right now, don't throw it away, rather place it gently on a mental shelf. Later it may have relevances you can not now imagine.
Also as the Rg Veda says: Truth is One, the sages call it by many names. One of the primary dangers of religious fundamentalism of all shades is that they reject the truths of others. Truth is One. As Master Y'shua said, "He who has eyes to see and ears to hear..." will see and hear... experientially.
I grew up as a Missionary Baptist in North Georgia, so I can relate. I have however found amazing wisdom and insight in "the old rugged cross" that I would never wish to discard for anything on earth. It matters not that many Christians don't get it, Truth is there for the taking. There is a wonderful line in the Tao Te Ching that says something like,
'the sage knows the whole world yet never leaves his room. How does he know the whole world? Because he knows his room.' Never underestimate the spiritual realizations available where you are right now... no matter where you are, right now.
Anyway, I suppose I'm rambling now... open-ended questions do that to me hehe.
But I hope something here will be of assistance to you. Write back any time.
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