Ex-Muslim curious about Copt religion, lots of drama

Hello all,

I am an Egyptian ex-Muslim. I never really believed in the faith and had very open minded parents, but it was not until I married a real practicing Muslim in 2013 when I married a PRACTICING Muslim that I decided to read  the Qur'an and learn about it that I realized how much I actually despised the religion, I was in shock at the mysogyny, violence and lack of divinity in the scripture and had an existential crisis. I renounced the religion, joined an ex-Muslim support group and divorced my Muslim husband. I have since written essays and articles that I have shared online that oppose Islam and I have actually help prevent several Christian women from becoming Muslim which I am proud of.

 More recently when I was spending time with my Coptic friends I met a very nice man that I am very interested in. He is not a practicing Copt and is living in Canada but his parents are and the Church is very important to him. I told him that if he would like, I would be willing to attend the Coptic Church with him to learn about the religion, Jesus Christ and to see if its something that I believe in and want to embrace. We decided to tell his parents and they literally freaked out because of my Muslim background and that I am divorced. They told him that they forbade him from being with me and  that if he continued with our relationship that he would lose them. I do not understand how or why they could be so rejecting and hurtful given the fact that they are supposed to be Christ-like, compassionate, loving and forgiving. Even given the fact that I am willing to attend Church with him to see if the beliefs suit me and potentially convert, they still say they will practically disown him. How is this right? How is this faithful? Is there anything I can do to get through to them, or do I have to accept this fate? Their son actually does not even go to church now and I would have been BRINGING HIM to the Church which would have been good for him as well. Now they are pushing him away from the Church even more because he is angry and defiant. Any advice here would be really appreciated. 

THANKS SO MUCH.
God Bless,

Amira

Comments

  • oh dear, it looks like u got caught in the cross fire between this guy +his parents. please remember u are just a newcomer to this dysfunctional family, so the fights u see will have a lot of history that does not involve u. i hope this will help u not to take it 2 personally.

    it seems that u need to dive for cover, but the question is, do u want to go back for more fighting later?
    sadly I know several people who initially thought they could make a mixed marriage last, only to find that their rebellion from their parents was not a strong enough force to hold them together (this is what it often boils down to).
    i also have a friend who was agnostic,not brought up in any religion, who met her Christian boyfriend while he was going through a not-very-religious phase, then had to split up with him soon after her baptism as he resented her going to church so often and praying and fasting. so the idea of 'bringing him' to church could backfire badly.
    so there are 2 issues here, one of which is whether u are strong enough to continue this relationship, and the other about your search for God and for truth.
    i am not about to open a marital counselling service (maybe could call it 'good copt / bad copt advice service'?!) so i will just say that God exists and will be found by those who earnestly seek him (hebrews chapter 11 verse 6, in the Bible) and He loves u (john ch 3 v16).
    i am sorry to hear u had such a hard time with these people and pray that u will find the true love and peace of God that is beyond all understanding (philippians 4 v7).
  • Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. By dive for cover, do you mean continue to get to know him in secrecy? I am willing to fight more later if I find that indeed we are compatible as life partners. He wants us to continue to get to know one another as well, but fears that his parents will never EVER under any circumstances accept me. I fear that putting in time may result in me being very hurt in the end. It's a very devastating situation. 

    He has spent hours telling them of my good character, the fact that I renounced Islam, the fact that I have been vegan and eat like someone doing seeyam el kibeer and have been for 12 years and they don't care. He's told them I am willing to go to Church, willing to convert and still they threatened to ABANDON him? I cannot believe that any real faithful CHRISTIANS could be so absent of unconditional love? What I have learned about Jesus so far does not correlate with such a fearful and unloving way of being. 

    And yes, regardless of him I am interested in seeking the Truth. That is why I explored Islam and left it. I want to live my best life, the right way. I wonder if maybe I should just attend Sunday services in my area regardless and this relationship drama and learn more and if I feel compelled to be baptized for myself  then I will... and maybe by the Grace of God, if we're meant to be together then things could fall into place?

    I have never had dealings with such ignorant people. Do you have any advice as to anything he or I could do or say to these people to get through to them? Or is this a lost cause?

    Again thanks for your insight... I truly appreciate the gracious and loving bible quotes you chose to share with me that convey love and understanding rather than this judgement and hate that I am currently being faced with. I know that there are many loving Christians out there with open hearts, and I truly thought that they would be happy to save someone.

    I also considered going to the Coptic church with him and seeing if together we could speak with Aboona and he could counsel us on what we should do or how to deal with his parents? Would you recommend this?
  • Also, can copts disown their kids? Is there a religious rule about this? if I do get baptized and convert and we partake in Church life, how can they justify doing this to him? What does religion say about this? 
  • edited May 22
    Dear Amira,
    I am sorry for this situation and ask for your forgiveness on behalf of my church.
    Regarding the reaction of his parents they are not representative of the Church's mind as we are called to love one another without discrimination. I would also like to add that through the history of the coptic church, we have been oppressed by the mohammadans (over 40 million martyrs and even more rapes, kidnappings, sex slavery, etc.). I am saying this because the reaction of his parents, although unchristian, I expected because of the "survival culture" which protected the copts through history. Again, I repeat, this behavior is unacceptable, but if we were sinless, we wouldn't need church or God's everlasting-mercy (The Church is a hospital for the sick- Saint John Chrysostom).

    Regarding your plans on conversion to the Coptic Church, I am very happy to hear this and would love to welcome you to our family, the living body of Christ. But in order to so with honesty to yourself and God, you need to pray for God to show you the truth and be willing to forsake everything including your life for the sake of this truth. To do this, you should not convert because of a significant other, I suggest you schedule a time to speak to the Priest of your local church for advise on your situation and to learn what the coptic church believes and more importantly, why we believe so (Fulfilled prophecies, eyewitness martyrs, etc.). So that when doing this, you make a willful, objective, and honest decision with God's grace.
    Please email me at [email protected] for anything related to your situation. I'd be more than happy to help.
    God bless you and keep you.

  • edited May 25
    I am not Copt but i am Tigrayn(Abysinian) Orthodox christian and member of Ethiopian Orthodox church (look here if you don't know what mean Tigrayan Abysinian http://tasbeha.org/community/discussion/comment/177910/#Comment_177910 ).Don't listen his parents.Our lord Jesus Christ teach us that we must love all people, even our enemies.
  • sorry for delay in replying, in case the original poster comes back on line, i would recommend a chat with an orthodox priest. this could be by yourself (diving for cover means taking time out from both this guy and his parents) or with him, if you think that is better.
  • Dear Amira, 

    I warn you to really think through this very carefully. I am a Muslim (more spiritual rather than plain religious) woman who married a copt. Please read my recent post, please do. 

    http://tasbeha.org/community/discussion/16631/the-holy-week-that-turned-into-hell-week#latest

    As @mabsoota mentioned, this will be an uphill battle, make no mistake. One that you may not have enough strength to fight. 

    Additionally, ones you are married you will understand there is no such a thing as "non-practicing copt" as there maybe non-practicing Muslim, Jewish and etc. Furthermore, you will be surprised to find out that many controversial things are the same between Muslims and Copts such as woman must be subservient, menstruation is bad and etc. I am telling you as someone who already walked your journey. I don't want you to listen to me regarding what to believe, that is your business, I am just warning that you might find yourself battling the same doctrinal issues that you did with Islam. 

    I learned that centuries of self-preservation efforts (while I praise and admire them for that) of Coptic people created this animosity against Muslims that can destroy LOVE and definitely has the power to destroy any marriage. I will do my best to judge the doctrine here out of respect to the community but please do not rush into a decision to be with a Copt. 
  • ..."He has spent hours telling them of my good character, the fact that I renounced Islam, the fact that I have been vegan and eat like someone doing seeyam el kibeer and have been for 12 years and they don't care. He's told them I am willing to go to Church, willing to convert and still they threatened to ABANDON him? I cannot believe that any real faithful CHRISTIANS could be so absent of unconditional love? What I have learned about Jesus so far does not correlate with such a fearful and unloving way of being." 

    And yes, they will abandon him, and not because doctrine says that but because Church is made of people, as fallible as you and I. And if that happens then he will start resenting you, don't be fooled that he is "non-practicing" and he will not care, he will, he is raised to believe Church is everything and without it, there is no LIFE and no LOVE!

    Jesus teaches unconditional love but, as a an Ex Muslim, you will not find it in Coptic community, not in Canada, not in US, not in any westernized country for that matter,  because the people/followers suffer from profound superiority complex. You or any other Christian will not be good enough. It's really sad to see and surprising because I grew up with Russians who are also Orthodox but I never, ever felt that from them. I don't mean to sound so pessimistic darling, and I'm by no means expert and Coptic culture but 4 years of being with so called "non-practicing Copt" taught me a lot. PM me if you want.

    NonCoptic Wife 
  • edited May 29
    @PaulIbrahim, thank you for your kind words and encouraging message. I agree that I shouldn't convert just to be with someone, I am sincerely open to attending Church with him to see how I feel about it, if its teachings are in line with my beliefs and what it would be like for us to both go together... I actually emailed you and look forward to talking further.

    @Mabsoota, I agree. I will go speak with an Aboona about the entire situation and see what he says. I would be interested to see what he would say.

    @NotCoptic ... I appreciate you sharing your story with me but my situation with this man is quite different. I actually have no issue attending Church with him or religious events and would not turn it does in the way that you have. I intend to either support him in his religious beliefs as as a partner and partake in his religious life if it is important to him... or I could potentially convert IF I choose that I believe in it and want to do so. 

    Can anyone tell me if there are any grounds for Coptic parents to actually disown their children? I want to know if their threats are backed up by the actual religion or just their ignorant/superstitious beliefs?

    Thanks again!



  • @amiramoon as said before I believe they are acting this way as a generational effect of "survival" due to prolonged history of persecution. There is no grounds for disowning your children as there is no grounds for hate in the first place in Christianity.
  • Hi NonCoptic,

    Wait a second.. the similarities between muslims and copts that you have mentioned are not true. Women being subservient - that's not true. It is not how we are raised. I know a guy who treats all women, even his wife, as if she's lower than him and she has to shut up - and he's coptic. I find him an absolute idiot. He treats non coptic women this way too. 

    I think NonCoptic, what you maybe have experienced is the Egyptian Culture - not really Coptic Orthodox Christianity. 

    Maybe if you went to a Catholic Church it may help to know what a Christian life is about, or Evangelical. That's because what unites us , more than often, in the Coptic Church, is not Christ. It is speaking arabic and our love for Egypt, and Egyptian culture. If you went to a Catholic Church , say in France, no one there is going to meet up because they miss speaking French with each other, nor are they meeting in the Church so they can discuss French politics. 


  • Thanks @Zoxsasi
    I think you're right about the fact that the Coptic Church is not United in Christ but united in the Egyptian culture which unfortunately can be extremely shallow and judgemental in its nature.

    I plan to check out the local Anglican Church by my house... My friends husband is an Episcopalian (Anglican) Priest and I have talked with him many times and the way he practices and what he teaches is definitely in line with my spiritual views, so I am willing to explore that more.
  • @Zoxsasi

    Totally agree, all my perception of the Copts may be projections of the Egyptian culture instead of the religion. I work with many Catholics in the US, I grew up with Russian Orthodox side by side, and yes none of them resemble Coptic (essentially Egyptian) Orthodox Christianity. Unfortunately, based on my third party observer view point, the Egyptian culture (with all it's good and bad) and the Coptic Orthodox Christianity is so intertwined that, for outsiders like me, it is very difficult to differentiate one from another.

    Another sad part, Egyptian Copt and Egyptian Muslim despise each other (sorry if I am wrong), but they are all the SAME in thinking, temper, actions and mentality, LOL. 

    Anyhow, God bless them all regardless of their religions. I love Egyptians, that's why I am putting up with this mess and wish Amira the best :-).
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