As a student in the Comparative Religion program at the University of Washington, I was one of ten students in my cohort and the only one who did not practice the religion I studied (Islam). While my fellow students were not raised in these traditions, at some point they made the decision to convert and become Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Wiccan, and Taoist, among others.
I often wondered what caused their conversion. Answers ranged from purpose, to morality, to the environment, and in one case, to being accepted by her husband’s family. I understand the interest in studying these religions more closely. Perhaps you will reach enlightenment, or you will “catch up” to those who have been part of the religious tradition their whole life.
The mom of a family I babysat once asked me, “Do you ever consider converting to Islam?” This question surprised me. She knew me from church and from the Christian school I attended growing up. But after living in the Middle East and becoming deeply familiar with Islam through studies, it makes sense why she, and probably others, wondered.
I never converted, or even considered converting, because nothing I studied ever made me doubt the validity or truth of Jesus being God’s son and the Messiah. For me, the combination of biblical prophecies, historical evidence, and the ultimate love God has for us provide the most compelling reasons to believe.
My parents and I visited Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi when they came to visit me. On one amazing marble wall in ornate tile and jewels, they have listed every name God is called and attribute God is given in the Qur’an. There are 99 in total. My mom asked our guide, “Do any of these mean ‘Father?’” He answered, “No.”
Our God loves us; he is invested in us, provides for us, and cares for us like a father loves his children. Jesus’ life and sacrifice on the cross go beyond our limitations and sinfulness in a way no other can claim. He is our Father, the Son of God, and the Messiah. Hallelujah!