An Atheist (Me) Reviews The Qur’an
Ok, so I finally finished reading The Qur’an. It took entirely too long. Just a little over 3 weeks. I suppose the fact that The Qur’an is basically the same things said over and over again didn’t help matters. It was just plain boring. It may sound disrespectful, but it’s absolutely true. The Bible was at least much more interesting with the whole storyline and plot.
There’s no plot or storyline with The Qur’an. It sort of reminded me of a journal or a diary. As thoughts came to Mohammad, he would write them down, whether they dealt with things from a week ago, a year ago, or yesterday.
In fact, I have a translation of The Qur’an by J.M. Rodwell, and in the introduction, he states…
It was, in fact, at first not a book, but a strong living voice, a kind of wild authoritative proclamation, a series of admonitions, promises, threats and instructions addressed to turbulent and largely hostile assemblies of untutored Arabs…To speak of the Koran is, therefore, practically the same as speaking of Muhammad, and in trying to appraise the religious value of the book one is at the same time attempting to form an opinion of the prophet himself.
I must say, though, that if I were to throw my hat into the religious circle, I’d probably believe The Qur’an over the Bible.
The Qur’an VS The Bible
The Qur’an largely agrees with everything in the Bible. The Bible is even in some instances referred to as a “Luminous” book in The Qur’an. The main difference between The Qur’an and the Bible is that The Qur’an does not recognize Jesus as being equal with, or one with God. And this makes more sense from a monotheistic perspective.
The Qur’an denies the doctrine of The Trinity. And, I have to agree. God can’t be one and three at the same time. That’s called polytheism – in The Qur’an and to anyone with common sense.
Also, there is no “salvation” to speak of in The Qur’an. There is no mysterious rite of passage involving saying a certain set of words (being “Born Again”). As long as you are faithful, do good deeds and obey The Qur’an, you will get to Heaven. Again, I think this makes more sense.
The Qur’an On Its Own Merits
Now, I may have done a lot of “agreeing” in the previous section. But, that does not mean that, on the whole, I think The Qur’an is a good book. Quite the opposite. It’s just as bad, and in some cases worse, than the Bible.
First of all, women are treated as property. Take, for example, Sura 4, entitled “Women,” verses 35-38…
35 Thus, virtuous women are obedient, and preserve their trusts, such as God wishes them to be preserved.
36 And those you fear may rebel, admonish, and abandon them in their beds, and smack them.
37 If they obey you, seek no other way against them.
38 God is Highest and Mightiest.
And this is the attitude taken toward women throughout The Qur’an. How anyone could think that, were there a perfect and loving God, He would want His most beloved creation treated in this fashion? Hardly.
Slavery also plays a big part in The Qur’an. Go to this site and do a search for “slave.” Verse after verse of rules and regulations regarding the keeping and managing of slaves. Not really much different than the Bible, except that the Qur’an goes into more detail in these matters.
Aside from these two issues, The Qur’an is incredibly monotonous. Over and over again, you hear the same stories. Noah and the Ark, Abraham and Isaac, Lot, Pharaoh, etc. Old Testament stories. It would have been fine once or twice, but these stories are repeated over and over throughout the entire Qur’an. We are constantly reminded that these stories are a “remembrance,” and a “reminder” to those who believe.
One would be hard pressed to find a publisher today who would even take a second glance at The Qur’an, had it been initially published today. You can’t just write the same things over and over again and expect it to sell.
I also like the contrasts (contradictions?) in the verses of The Qur’an. For instance, a verse would talk about the horrible torment and torture that await the sinners, and then the verse ends with, “God is All-Compassionate, All-Forgiving.” It’s interesting, to say the least. He doesn’t see to be All-Forgiving. Maybe it should say Mostly-Forgiving, or A-Lot-Of-Forgiving. Not ALL-Forgiving, because He’s obviously not forgiving ALL.
On another note, how one could justify an All-Compassionate God would create an eternal place of torment for people who’ve only been alive for around 80 years… it’s flabbergasting. Maybe God is simply Somewhat-Compassionate, or Kinda-Compassionate, or even Not-Very-Compassionate.
Let’s put it this way. How is it at all compassionate or just to consciously torment a human being for anything they’ve ever done for a time that amounts to longer than they were alive??? Hitler could not have dreamed of such atrocity, such injustice. There is nothing you can say that will convince me otherwise. No excuse you could throw at me that would make me think that Hell is a just punishment for anything.
I know this is hardly a complete critique or review of The Qur’an. But, these are only my initial impressions after reading it through once; one translation. If you’re looking for a good, thorough critique of The Qur’an, there’s a great one here.
It is very thorough and filled with a lot of useful information.
And one final thing. Everyone always talks about how martyrs are destined to have 72 virgins and whatnot… that this is the reward for dying for the cause of God. Well, this isn’t accurate. It’s actually found in Sura 78:31-36…
31 But, for the God-fearing is a blissful abode,
32 Enclosed gardens and vineyards;
33 And damsels with swelling breasts, their peers in age,
34 And a full cup:
35 There they shall hear no vain discourse nor any falsehood:
36 A recompense from thy Lord – sufficing gift!
No mention of virgins, or even dying or killing infidels. Just those who “fear God.” They get to victimize women is the afterlife just like The Qur’an allows them to do in this life. Women, if you really accept The Qur’an, realize that this is what God has in store for you throughout eternity. You are the property of a man on Earth as well as in Heaven. It’s barbaric and sick.
Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for now. Let me know what you think.
Read a book. It’s good for you.