My name is Ibrahim.
Abraham was bad man.
(“slitting throat” sign language with croaking noises)
He bad man.
Very bad man.
And Ibrahim (not Abraham) was off to serve another customer.
“Abraham Sees The Promised Land According To Genesis 12 1-7”
by After Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
Odd conversations like that tend to stick – “Did he just say what I think he said … ?”
It wasn’t the Abraham bit. It was Hitler and Abraham in the same breath, I have never heard that before.
We had another conversation with a lady who reads. She rattled off different authors with the expectation we would be nodding along. We were looking confused and shaking our heads.
Anyway, Ibrahim and this lady reminded me how we all think we know the sacred text of our own upbringing and culture. For Ibrahim the Koran. For me the bible. How we all accept the religion of our upbringing and culture. For Ibrahim Islam, for me Christianity. Yet knowing the bible is not what the bible is about. Just as knowing the Koran is not what the Koran is about. And how cultural faith / religion at a country level is mainly the politics of convenience.
There were two articles on the BBC news website today. One concerned the Turkish school curriculum and asked whether scientific evolution had been replaced by Koranic jihad (some say yes, some say no). The other concerned the obligation of schools in England to teach “RE”, religious education (some say disregarded – others say not), and how RE tuition is important in understanding other cultures through their religions.
Cultural faith is religion is cultural knowledge is …
We like Ibrahim. I find more and more in common with the Ibrahims of this world. The ones who say the wrong thing because (to them) it is the right thing. The ones who put Abraham and Hitler in the same sentence and leave me to work out what I think of it. The ones who cause me to pick up my knowing and find my unknowing.
I was brought up thinking that Abraham was a rock of ages, cleft for me and all that. And my occasional thought – that any father who took their child out with intent to kill would not be held up as a role model today – was washed away with all the rock of ages stuff. And I now think I shouldn’t have been so accepting so easily.
Because I think that whatever your God, he is happier with real than unreal. I think that whoever your God, he is not as keen on the rock of ages stuff as we are.
And I really think that GSHJ likes Ibrahim as much we do.