Reposted from www.skepticmoney.com
After filming in Istanbul and being inspired by the Muslim call to prayer five times a day Liam Neeson is considering becoming a Muslim claiming “Islam got into his spirit.”
“The call to prayer happens five times a day, and for the first week, it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit, and it’s the most beautiful, beautiful thing.
“There are 4,000 mosques in the city. Some are just stunning, and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim.
Liam, short for William in Irish and Scottish, born to a caretaker at Ballymena Boys All Saints Primary School was named after a local priest. His interest in acting resulted from being an alter boy and his sneaking into church to listen to minister Ian Paisly:
“He had a magnificent presence and it was incredible to watch this six foot-plus man just Bible-thumping away… It was acting but it was also great acting and stirring too.”
At nine he began taking boxing lessons at the All Saints Youth Club, became quite good at it, and won the Ulster boxing champion at 11.
Catholicism in Ireland, especially Northern Ireland, is all embracing. Islam is also a faith which continually calls to its sheep, constantly requiring an influx of spirit and personal attention. Whatever Liam chooses it would have to be intense. If he became secular he would probably be militant.
The universalizing aspect of Liam’s faith is best evidenced by his contradicting C.S. Lewis who wrote ”Chronicles Of Narnia” is a Christian story. In 2010 Liam claimed Aslan was not Christ but represented all spiritual leaders including Mohammed. Lewis wrote earthly experience does not satisfy the human craving for “joy” and that only God can do it.
Furthermore Lewis’s fallacious logic, as described in Wikipedia, continues:
“Lewis goes over rival conceptions of God to Christianity. Pantheism, he argues, is incoherent, and atheism too simple. Eventually he arrives at Jesus Christ, and invokes a well-known argument now known as the “Lewis trilemma“. Lewis, arguing that Jesus was claiming to be God, uses logic to advance three possibilities: either he really was God, was deliberately lying, or was not God but thought himself to be (which would make him delusional and likely insane). The book goes on to say that the latter two possibilities are not consistent with Jesus’ character and it was most likely that he was being truthful.
I think he was just delusional and insane! If he even existed.
My own spouse insisted Narnia and Aslan were a hero’s story and she insisted Aslan was not even religious. Which has been the entire point of psycholigizing the bible by Catholics: to make the stories seem so humanly universal and psychologically, moralizingly true the jump to faith becomes rather small.
Odd that dismay at human crime, there is evil, theodicey, is proof of god, when for others it is proof of lack of god.
“Unless one grasps the dismay which comes from humanity’s failure to keep the moral law, one cannot understand the coming of Christ and his work. The eternal God who is the law’s source takes primacy over the created Satan whose rebellion undergirds all evil. The death and resurrection of Christ is introduced as the only way in which our inadequate human attempts to redeem humanity’s sins could be made adequate in God’s eyes.
Liam has noted his intense religious interest continues:
‘I was reared a Catholic, but I think every day we ask ourselves, not consciously, what are we doing on this planet? What’s it all about?’ … I’m constantly reading books on God or the absence of God and atheism.”
Durkheim in his social foundations notes the human need for enthusiasm and effervescence. We have a basic requirement for joyousness!
Liam’s wife died of a skiing accident which challenged his faith but I wonder if the various hero roles he plays hasn’t helped him expand his idea of faith. Clearly he loves the intensity of faith, that it is all embracing. Islam has a way of saying god is in all things including the movement of one’s hand. It’s not that there are signs everywhere it’s that everything is god. A weird combination of personalizing and pantheism which many people seek whether they call their car Josephine, their genitals Junk, or their breasts Billie and Bobbie.
I was recently In Istanbul myself for one evening and had the most amazing four-hr tour by a hell-bent, ex-pro racing taxi driver who tried to show me all 4,000 mosques in one night. During a short respite from driving when we walked to the Blue Mosque I saw the famous whirling dervishes, “something special” he said, and indeed they are mesmerizing and hypnotic.
In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak, he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”
It is too bad that heroism, love of life, and pure experiential joy are hijacked for a particular religious message.
Jim Newman, bright and well