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Featured How convincing is the Qur'an anyway? In which respects?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by LuisDantas, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    There is a thread by @Debater Slayer elsewhere discussing the literary merits of the Qur'an.

    However, there is a surprisingly predictable recurrence of claims about the excellence of the Qur'an in other respects.

    It is surprising because, to the best of my knowledge, they consistently turn out to be questionable at best, despite the passion and insistence of so many.

    Perhaps the best example of how bizarre those claims are is the anecdote of how the Qur'an predicts, apparently accurately by the perception of some, that Makkah is somehow "the center of Earth".

    There is also the anecdote told in the Qur'an itself tells about how hard it presumably is to create a text of comparable merit. Needless to say, that is ultimately pure self-promotion with nothing substantial to show for it.

    Challenge of the Quran - Wikipedia

    Far as religious doctrine go, I must say that the Qur'an is if anything deplorable. Its doctrine is both derivative, self-limiting and seriously misguided, to the point that to this day it insists on the repudiation of LGBT and the defense of "proper" ways for husbands to physically hit their wives.

    Then there is the sheer inability of the Qur'an to even acknowledge properly the nature and existence of either atheism or non-Abrahamic religion. Or the necessity of freedom of belief.

    All in all, a pretty limited and dismaying text, raised by the sincere if misguided effort of so very many to a role that it can't ever possibly sustain.

    Yet the claims that the Qur'an is of "remarkable accuracy" or admirable in other ways persist.

    Do we have any true indication that such is or could conceivably be the case?
     
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  2. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    From the scientific aspects that it presents considering embryology, I think at least if not considered plausible, surely is remarkable considering the lack of scientific inquiry in that region.
     
  3. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    I think the revelation of the Quran by an illiterate man is indeed with aid of spiritual sources above him.

    It is also in some ways a product of its culture and time and judgment by liberal 21st Century western society is taking things out of the context of the times preceding this revelation.
     
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  4. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    What makes you think this is in any way a remarkable statement of 'scientific' knowledge?

    We created man of an extraction of clay, (12) then We set him, a drop, in a receptacle secure, (13) then We created of the drop a clot then We created of the clot a tissue then We created of the tissue bones then We garmented the bones in flesh; thereafter We produced him as another creature. So blessed be God, the fairest of creators!

    Even some apologists have given up on the 'scientific miracles' trope because they found it counterproductive to be continually shown to be wrong when discussing science they didn't really understand.
     
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  5. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    While a good deal of what you say in the OP has merit, I would question your contention here.

    'Freedom of belief' was not anywhere endorsed in the ancient world of antiquity from which the Qur'an emerged, so I would find it odd to expect it to teach such a radical doctrine.

    The Greeks did not tolerate Socrates preaching about an inner deity of 'conscience' to which he had access outside the Athenian gods of the city, so they executed him and persecuted his followers.

    The Romans were more 'tolerant' of cultic diversity but didn't believe in freedom of religion: you could keep your native gods, but you had to honour the state religion of the emperor as a living deity and recognise the gods of Rome with sacrifices on top of or subsumed within your native pantheon, or else you'd be variously penalized, depending on the generosity of a given emperor or procurators. Thus we find that worshippers of Magna Mater, the Asiatic Mysteries, Mithraists, Jews and Christians were variously persecuted, executed or simply discriminated against under the Republic and Empire. Freedom of religion, per se, didn't become a legal norm until Constantine passed the Edict of Milan in 313 (that proclaimed to all "religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases" for the first and last time in Roman or Byzantine history), and which stayed in place until Emperors Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius revoked it in 380 by making Catholic Christianity the new state religion in their Edict of Thessalonica.

    Theodosius followed this with the prohibition of all pagan sacrifices; and when he was established as sole Emperor (following Gratian's murder by his own troops) a series of edicts were issued in 391 AD - 392 AD abolishing pagan cults and ceremonies, although paganism as such didn't vanish entirely until the sixth century in Byzantium.

    Among the early church fathers of Christianity, such as Lactantius and Tertullian, a belief that religion was above all a free choice in accordance with one's conscience first emerges (and was implemented, for nearly 70 years, by the first Christian emperor Constantine in 313), but while it was still paid lip-service to in principle in the Latin West (not the orthodox east), later church leadership departed from it as the state in the West began to prosecute and execute both apostates and heretics with clerical connivance.

    Against this background, the Qur'anic teaching doesn't seem at all reactionary: it was actually fairly enlightened - and I say that as someone who is not well-disposed towards other elements of Qur'anic ethical norms. By the time Islam came on the scene in the 7th century, the world of late antiquity was a bleakly intolerant place, from Sassanid Iran (where Zoroastrians were savagely suppressing Syriac Christianity), to the anti-Judaic legislation of certain Byzantine emperors and their corresponding suppression of the lingering traces of paganism, a trend which perhaps reached its apogee in the Western Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne's decision, in 722 A.D. during the Saxon Wars, to order the massacre of 4,500 Saxon pagans and forcibly convert the rest of the Saxon people to Christianity.

    We see, for instance, Muhammad stating in the 109th Sura:


    Say: O disbelievers!
    I worship not that which ye worship;
    Nor worship ye that which I worship.
    And I shall not worship that which ye worship.
    Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
    Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.

    While this was a Makkan sura delivered before Muhammad became a military leader who fought idolaters and smashed their statues (according to the traditional Sunnah accounts), verse (ayah) 256 of Al-Baqara which includes the aphorism, "there is no compulsion in religion, the right path has been distinguished from error" is, to my understanding, widely recognised as Medinan in origin.

    How one reconciles this with later Hadith, which interpret the infamous and equally Medinan sword verse of the Qur'an ("slay the polytheists wherever you find them") as mandating the slaughter of infidels if they refuse to either convert or pay the poll tax (there are some hadiths which say polytheists can pay the poll tax like Abrahamic people of the book and some which say they must convert or die), is a question better answered by an Islamic theologian.
     
    #5 Vouthon, Feb 7, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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  6. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    Because of the fact that the translations came from the language of desert people. The verse you mentioned apparently you are better left with the Arabic translation and a scholarly explanation.
     
  7. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Desert people who didn't live in an isolated backwater but were plugged in to networks in 2 major Empires. Anyway, they don't even say anything that would be remarkable for a desert person in an isolated backwater. It basically says babies develop from sperm and then get bigger and more human which humans learn from experience.

    The 'scientific miracles' trope was created by the Saudi government in the 1980s as an exercise in apologetics. They invited some western scientists over, put them on the spot to say something nice then quote mined what they said. They also put inserts into Saudi translations of Western scientific texts and then claimed the texts support this idea.

    The 'scholarly explanation' is modern Saudi government funded propaganda.
     
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  8. Remté

    Remté Active Member

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    It doesn't.

    Except that no one has ever done it.

    Where? Why? How?

    It doesn't. But do show where you think it does.

    It isn't an encyclopedia.

    The Quran talks about freedom a lot. It says God created people with a free will.

    Where is it inaccurate?
     
  9. Remté

    Remté Active Member

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    There are other Ayats more suitable for this discussion.
     
  10. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    The Quran like all religious scriptures is held as sacred and more by those who adhere to the religion and denigrated by those who oppose it. It is subject to exegesis where parts of it are highlighted as meaning typically whatever the interpreter wants the passages to mean complete with extensive footnotes.

    And further, for those that are not fluent in Quranic Arabic, there's a translation problem. Traduttori traditori (translator traitor in Italian) is a well-known problem and some of the passages of the Quran are worse than others in this regard. Ordinary poetry has this problem and it's much worse for scriptures.

    So to answer the OP, my first question is do vast majority of the translators and interpreters basically agree on the meaning of a sura? If they do, we can take the question further.
     
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  11. Remté

    Remté Active Member

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    There is a lot about freedom in the Quran that naturally includes freedom of belief.
     
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  12. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    None of which are persuasive or changes the fact that it was an invention of the Saudi government in the 80s and has no support outside of apologetic circles.

    Keith Moore who is often quoted as a proponent by apologists based on a text he wrote: "There is an Islamic edition… it’s really an English edition of my book with Islamic additions. My publisher [Saunders] agreed to allow King Abdulazziz University to print this special edition but it cannot be sold because they don’t want it sold in competition to the regular English edition… You can’t purchase it as I understand it in a regular bookstore, but if you need it for your Muslim libraries you can purchase this. That was the arrangement that was made with my publisher."
     
  13. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    To me this is the core of the issue. If Muslims' claims about the book were toned down, a lot of problems and issues and misunderstandings would go away. But as it stands, Muslims often make extraordinary claims about the book, and they simply do not have extraordinary evidence. In fact their evidence is quite weak.
     
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  14. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Sorry, just trying to sort the NONSENSE
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    After reading most of the other comments there is not much I could add save for the following points:

    Christianity seems quite pleased to tear at Islam, and that is sad.

    The Quran was written in Classical Arabic, and no one, save scholars speaks or reads it.

    Surah 4:34 'The one about beating wives', is mostly abrogated now days, except for the most conservative of Muslims. In short, in the circles I ran in the Quran was not used to give permission to do so. It is still practiced in Islam that the husband is the boss. The Bible says that too, but look how that has worked for the men?

    Yes, there are some amazing scientific revelations in the Quran. Who can say how that happened if not by Allah SWT?

    I think that the biggest problem in Islam now days is Tribalism. Colonial powers drove the Middle East back to the Middle Ages, and that is deplorable.
     
  15. Remté

    Remté Active Member

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    What was an invention?
     
  16. Shad

    Shad Well-Known Member

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    The scientific miracle claims in the Quran. You can see examples of those claims all over the forum.
     
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  17. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    It's very difficult to understand for me the translations that I've seen, but there are some Muslims that have had pretty good points that I agree with. They said it came from the Quran, so who am I to say it doesn't come from there? I'm just happy for them. Of course there are people who get something bad from their reads.
     
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  18. Remté

    Remté Active Member

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    A lot of Muslims can read it - though perhaps not fluently.
     
  19. Shad

    Shad Well-Known Member

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    Most of the posters in this thread are not Christian.

    The Ottomans were not some peaceful nation minding it's own business for centuries. ME's decline was not due to external forces of Europe alone but a history which spans centuries.
     
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  20. Epic Beard Man

    Epic Beard Man Bearded Philosopher

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    If you say so. there are scholars in America who are scientist who have explained it as well, but considering you are the supposed expert I thought you knew that. A one called Seyyed Hossein Nasr is one who explained the scientific aspect of the Qur'an he is an esteemed George Washington University professor.
     
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