Friday, October 31, 2014

Have You Read the Koran?

I read the Koran. This is my take. 

I have nothing much positive to say about the Koran except that it’s good I read it to know the terrible awful truth. Even literarily it has practically no merit. Yes, it’s a translation but so is a lot of what I read including the Bible. I’m still miffed at Clifton Fadiman for putting the Koran in while leaving the Bible out of his “Lifetime Reading Plan” which I've been following more or less for several years. He gave the lame excuse that everybody has read it. Well, haven’t we all read a lot of the books on his 200plus list? And haven’t over a billion people read the Koran? He could have had us read selections from the Bible at least. Of all these books, the Bible is certainly one that can be read over and over. It is obvious to me that the Bible runs circles around everything else, especially the Koran, as classic literature alone. It’s sad, really.

The Koran wasn’t difficult to read. It was mainly repetitive and boring. I did learn some troubling things about the Muslim religion. Very troubling.

1. It is mainly a denouncing of Jesus Christ as Messiah. Over and over it says that God having a son is a “monstrous falsehood”(219). This is what is called anti-Christ. If we are Christians, we should look at this book and this religion as evil. It doesn’t just proclaim its own tenets, it is obsessed with bashing Christianity. Strange. It’s just like the anti-Christs in The Book of Mormon who mocked people’s beliefs and denied the need for repentance and salvation through Christ.

2. It is inconsistent and self-serving. If, as it says, Jesus was not the Christ, then he was lying about himself when he said he was the Son of God, etc. But the Koran accepts Jesus as a prophet. It follows that they are saying a prophet can also be a liar and teach falsehoods. Also there is no love your enemies or golden rule in the Koran. It’s: do evil to those who do evil to you.

3. It teaches that we make it to heaven on our own merits (by attending to prayers, rendering alms, and firmly believing in the life to come, p. 264). This is also anti-Christ as Savior and Redeemer. It presumes that human beings can save themselves by doing enough good stuff. (This of course engenders pride. Christians believe we make it to heaven by relying only on the merits of Christ. This is how we develop all those godly traits like humility and patience and charity.)

4. They don’t believe God has to follow eternal laws but will forgive you just because He can or wants to. The Koran says to repent, yes, but there is no divine advocate. They presume they can purify themselves. They have very harsh punishments for grievous sins I guess because they have no other recourse (no Savior). Hence, the hundred lashes for adultery, cutting off of limbs, and so on. Tragically, they are fooling themselves.

5. Heaven is just luxury; there is no eternal increase or spiritual progression like we believe. Doesn’t it sound so pointless? It’s like that Twilight Zone episode, "A Nice Place to Visit,” in which the man gets all the selfish things he wants after he dies and it turns out to be hell instead of heaven. Muslims want earthly rewards (ease, physical comforts, gratification of base appetites) in heaven (218). I don’t think it works that way. I think exaltation is about selflessness and truth and goodness and progress. It’s a spiritual place for striving spiritual beings. 

6. There is no respect for freedom or agency. It seems they do not believe in personal agency at all. Unbelievers are summarily judged and condemned here and now (even to death) unless they become Muslims. In fact, the book is extremely fixated on the unbelievers/infidels. Allah is certainly a respecter of persons (”See how We have exalted some above others,” 198) who actually hates some of his children. On the contrary, Christians believe God loves all of His children no matter what and offers them a spiritual way back to Him if they desire it.

7. They seem to think men lusting after women is okay but men lusting after men is definitely not okay. This is not cogent. Lust is lust. It's all bad. By the way, I think all people who practice homosexuality should be very afraid of this violent, unforgiving religion. And that would not be "Islamophobia" because a phobia is a mental disorder with no basis in reality. A healthy fear of the most radical of these people, especially if you are gay or Christian or British or American or Jewish, would be based on actual facts and real-life events. Radicals (aka: ultra orthodox?) blow up and behead people they don't like. In the case of homosexual behavior, regular Muslims, depending upon the particular country's leaders, punish homosexuality with flogging, to jail time, to execution.

You can see that I am very disappointed in this religion and sorry that so many people claim it. Yes, there is some truth in it, such as God being the Creator and how we should take care of our families. But the overall tone of the book came across to me as shallow, arrogant, selfish, rancorous, violent, and vindictive. Not to mention uncivilized and benighted. They buried their infant daughters alive? (Okay, Muhammad said to stop doing this.)  And cut off people’s alternate hands and feet? The Koran states that God says of the infidels to “Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers” (127 and 357). Scary.

Aside from the shocking violence in the Koran, it’s as if Muhammad was jealous of the Bible and the Jews and the Christians. But instead of coming up with his own ideas he borrowed the Bible stories and prophets he liked (Abraham, Moses, Jonah, David) and made up a tortured, broken Bible like the old fractured fairy tales on Rocky and Bullwinkle. The whole point of existence, to Muslims, is to outwardly keep the “main” commandments (evidently little sins don’t matter) and by so doing earn a spot on a brocade cushion in a endlessly delightful garden of streams and fountains with dark-eyed virgins waiting on them forever. And that’s another thing: this is a man’s religion. Women are not equal, in fact, they are not part of the equation except to give men pleasure and offspring. It makes me wonder why it’s so trendy all over the world to champion this religion. Americans especially obviously haven’t read the Koran.  If they had, among other things, they wouldn’t have wanted that Mosque at Ground Zero. Also, the book is very self-apologetic. Over and over it defends itself within its own text. This seemed weird. Methinks this religion doth protest too much at its very origins.

We all ought to at least know the five pillars of Islam:
1. One God, Muhammad is His prophet, everything happens according to God’s will
2. Prescribed prayer 5 times a day
3. Fasting from dawn to dusk during month of Ramadan
4. Give alms to the poor
5. Pilgrimage to Mecca once in lifetime if possible

These five pillars may sound nice, but we must recognize that this religion, according to its holy book alone, is about blind conformity and has no divine Savior and no emphasis on the condition of the heart, humility, or repentance (see five pillars--it's all outward, even the praying is prescribed). It contains some truths, but in other ways is selfish, lawless, brutal, and completely intolerant. We should all be wary of this religion and the respect, influence, power, and destruction it is amassing and threatening throughout the world.

-Janice Graham

No comments: