|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Mission and Türkçe|
Religious affiliation: Muslim-Sunni
«All of you are our epistle, which is inscribed in your hearts… inscribed, not by ink, but by the Spirit of the living God; not upon tablets of stone, but upon the fleshy tablets of hearts…» (2 Corinthians 2:2-3)
What would you reply, if you were asked what your religion is?
Listen to how a Sunni Muslim replied to this question, during a free-reply survey that is currently taking place in the largest Christian forum in Turkey.
What is more soul-stirring than the reply itself is, however, the train of events that followed this Muslim Sunni’s participation in the survey.
-What is your religious affiliation?
-Actually, none of the religions suit me. Officially, on my I.D. papers it says “ISLAM-SUNNI”, but I don’t feel that I belong there. My heart beats faster at the thought of Christianity, but I am not yet a Christian…. I don’t know what to do…. If you can help me, I will find peace inside me.
The user obtains a member name and begins to “browse” around the forum. He studies various texts that relate to the Christian faith and he reads the experiences of other members who have converted to Christianity before him. Given that the forum in question has 3500 members and 15000 postings, his browsing takes him a considerable time to complete. Somewhere, he reads of the experience of a Christian and he sends him the following message:
My brother, I am experiencing exactly the same feelings that you are experiencing! From the moment that I saw Jesus Christ in my dream, my heart became Christian. When I see movies with churches or people praying, I am touched and I feel incredibly good. Even this moment, while writing these lines, that’s how I feel. What a pity there is no church in the place that I live. Last month, for that very reason, I visited another town in order to find a church. I arranged to meet with a priest. I wanted to ask for his help to become a Christian. I cannot describe my agony and the sweetness that I felt, the moment that I crossed the threshold of the temple! It was as though my every step brought me closer to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ! My every step filled my heart with a deep joy, and, without having the right to do so, I made the sign of the Cross, the way I have seen it done in the movies, and I prayed. (If what I’m saying contains mistakes, forgive me). But at that moment, I had passed through to another dimension. I was flooded by an incredible, indescribable inner relaxation.
Unfortunately, I cannot go to church frequently because there is no church in the town where I live and work for many hours. I study the Holy Bible and I pray. I beseech you all, help me – I want to become like you – I want to become a Christian.
Other similar touching messages were submitted by the same member. He describes how he asked for help from a priest in the south of Turkey but was troubled, because the priest told him that catechesis would take up to 5 years and that in the meantime he would have to come and go to another town (Gaziantep – Adana, 220 km. away). Nevertheless, he has not given up and he continues to study the Bible and pray. In each of his messages, he does not omit to mention that Christ lives in his heart. He is greatly comforted by praying.
In another of his discussions with a “Muslim” of the forum, he says:
Officially, I belong to Islam, just as you do. What alienated me from Islam were its foolish rules and laws. I believe that people should respect God, out of their love for Him. They should not be afraid of God. They should respect Him and love Him, like their own Father. To obey his commandments, out of their love for Him, and not out of fear! I am currently studying the Bible. By testing God’s love, I am learning what true Love and kindness are. Now I am much happier. I am behaving with more friendliness and understanding towards other people. When I am eventually baptized and they tell me that from now on I am truly a Christian, then they will have given me the whole world!! I send you my love and my respect. May God be with you!
The Christians in the forum encourage him and they respond to all his queries. Some even tell him to not be discouraged, because the period of 5 years may quite possibly be reduced, if he has suitably prepared himself and has been tested in the faith. Others give him various prayers to say and they also pray for him…..
And there are other messages, like the following one:
From the day that I chose to walk the path of Jesus Christ, I pray continuously and I study the Holy Bible. I begin by making the Sign of the Cross and saying “IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”, then I go on to tell God whatever it is that I desire. Every time I do this, my soul is filled with an indescribable joy and comfort and that day, everything I do progresses perfectly. If I am sad or worried, I feel every sadness dissolve. Are these things that I do sins, because I am not yet a proper Christian? I have even worn a Cross and when I wear it, I feel calm, strong and successful. Is this a sin, because I am not yet baptized?
In his most recent messages, he says he will wait patiently for his catechesis to be completed, doing only the absolute essentials that are required – conversing with brethren, studying the Holy Bible, and praying….
Pray for us too, our brother – for all of us who have taken our Christian Faith for granted and who have forgotten to say “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” before our every endeavor, even though we are …… “proper Christians”!
Translation: A. N.
Article published in English on: 27-5-2008.
Last update: 27-5-2008.