Bible or Quran

How do we know that whatever we believe is indeed true? With the world full of relativism, how can we discern what is right? This argument goes way back to the classical periods with philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke disagreeing on the exact nature of human beings. Are human beings selfish and self-preservative as espoused by Hobbes, or are they peaceful, as seen by Locke? In a bid to “run away” from this quagmire, we have embraced religion forgetting that religion is the biggest contradiction that ever exists. Well, last night I happened to stumble upon a book by Ali Muhsin ” Let the Bible Speak ” and I realized human ignorance, at least as I saw it, at its best. Muhsin (n.d.), who is assumed to have written the book while serving a 10-year jail term, goes ahead to point out numerous contradictions in the Bible. He emphasizes the fact that in his 10 years of solitude, he was able to ascertain that Islam is indeed the “true religion.” This got me really interested.

I will start by observing that I am a Christian and I have nothing against Islam or Christianity. My concern lies in the fact that I am academically grounded in philosophy and philosophy is geared toward establishing ultimate truth. My study of logic emphasizes on valid arguments that are not fallacious, that is, not psychologically manipulated to serve a specific purpose. Logically, Muhsin (n.d.) could be quoted as having said: True religion is one that is without blemish or contradictions; Christianity is based on teachings full of contradictions while Islam is not: Therefore, Christianity is not a true religion, BUT Islam is. This argument could be valid if the second clause of the second premise [Islam is not] was true. But is it?

I woke up this morning dying to know whether indeed Islamic teachings, based on the Quran, had no contradictions. My findings led me to resolve that religion is nothing but a belief. You choose what to believe and make it part of you. Don’t ask whether it is true or not because once you do, then you will find hedonism the most appropriate “beliefless” belief. Nonetheless, I thank Muhsin (n.d.) for his ten years of studying the Bible led me to new realizations. For instance, he observes that “the original sin” (the one committed by Adam and Eve) in the Bible presented a contradiction to the view on the inherited sin. According to Paul in Romans 5:12-15 “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned…” and 1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”. These two verses (note that these two verses do not represent the rest of the verses that talk about the inherited sin) suggest that all are sinners by virtue of Adam, being our father, sinning. However, Deuteronomy 24:16 states “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin”. This verse is a complete contradiction to the two preceding. While one may argue based on the “context” of the two scriptures, still, we should not forget that “God does not change” and He is the same, from the times of Moses to the times of Paul. Think about that and while you are at it, consider Jeremiah 31:29-30, Ezekiel 18:19-20, John 9:1-3 and Mathew 18:3.

The most striking establishment, he notes, is the fact that there is nowhere in the Bible where Jesus admits that He is the son of God. He never “uttered” these words by himself, instead, others did. For example, in Mark 15:39, it is the centurion who says “Truly this man was the son of God”. Moreover, in Luke 22:70, we see Jesus becoming evasive about the question when we observe: “And they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” I am just wondering loudly why Jesus was so evasive when it came to this question. In the same line, think about Mathew 26:62-64, when Jesus was confronted by the high priest as to whether he was the son of God and he replied by saying, “You have said so…” Think about it.

Now let us look at Islam to which Muhsin (n.d.) fallaciously describes as the true religion. To him, the Quran is without blemish, no contradiction and exclusively “a book that is unique in the world in its purity” (p.51). While I was rummaging through the internet I came across an article by Matt Slick “Contradictions in the Quran” and thought Muhsin had spoken too soon. Slick observes that the contradictions in the Quran become evident from the onset of the Holy Book with the story of creation. Particularly, it is not consistent about what man was made up from; was it blood, clay, dust or nothing? He goes ahead to note the following contradicting quotations:

“Created man, out of (mere) clot of congealed blood…(96:2) “We created man from sounding clay…”(15:26) “He has created man from a sperm-drop…”(16:4)…….Among other quotes

Categorically asking, from what was man made from exactly?

The second notable contradiction concerns one who should claim to be the first Muslim. While reading through 39:12 suggests Muhammad: “And I [Muhammad] am commanded to be the first of those who bow to Allah in Islam. Looking at 7:143, we see Moses saying “Glory be to thee! To Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe”. Lastly, we see Abraham suggesting pre-existence of Islam even before the days of Moses or Muhammad in 2:132 when he says “Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you; then die not except in the Faith of Islam.” At least with Christians, Christianity began with Jesus Christ.

The only connection, if it does exist, between these two religions may lie in Muhsin’s words when he observes that “Jesus confessed that he had not said all that he wanted to say, but ‘he’ that was to come would do so and complete the work”. Was Muhammad the “he” He was referring to? If indeed it was then Muhammad completed the work and therefore Islam would be the most complete religion…or if the “he” was Paul (who in record said so much as compared to Jesus) then too bad…just saying :-).

All in all, religion is a belief and a faith, lexically speaking, “an institution to express belief in a divine power” or “a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny”. The second definition would pass if it wasn’t for the fact that it mentions the control of human destiny which suggests humans as determined…for more about determinism please read my article “Ethical and Aesthetic Pragmatism here. My observation is that there is no religion that is without blemish, no religion that can be scientifically proven to be true or false as it is based on faith (assurance of things hoped for but not seen). Therefore, I do not see any reason why one should claim that a particular religion is false or the other is true. However, we could learn to respect each other’s beliefs, after all, either could be true…or neither!

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