Tom Caylor writes:

> So you believe that the Qur'an is the literal word of God? What I was hoping 
is that
> you would say Muhammed was deluded or lying, so that the Qur'an is at best an
> impressive piece of literature with some interesting moral teachings: i.e., 
what atheists
> say about the Bible.
> Stathis Papioannou

No, I was just answering your question.  I'm going out on a limb (not
referring to Shirley McLane ;) but I think that the belief in Islam
about the Qur'an is that it fulfills the role of the 2nd/3rd
hypostates, instead of the person of Jesus.  It is eternal and spans
the infinite gap between God and man.  For the Christian, Jesus
fulfills this role.  (Also, Jesus, being a person, solves the problem
of the infinite relationship gap between us and God in a from-God-to-us
direction rather than the from-us-to-God direction of good works. Good
works are only finite.)  So as I see it the Christian has a different
belief about the Bible than does the Muslim about the Qur'an.  There
are plenty of good sources about the Christian's belief about the
Bible, and evidence to support those beliefs, so I don't want to get
into a long discussion about it on this List.  I'll just say that I
believe that a non-Christian can read the Bible, and about the Bible,
to try to find out something in a rational way, just like reading any
other book.

Sure, the Bible contains some historical facts, some moral teachings, some great literature, as does the Qur'an. But there are literal conflicts between the Bible and the Qur'an, eg. Muslims believe that Jesus was just another prophet, not God in human form [if that concept is even coherent], while Christians do not believe that Muhammed actually took dictation from God. But in terms of empirical evidence, general plausibility, or even strength of conviction in believers, there isn't much to choose between the two faiths. Why do Christians and Muslims agree on certain incredible-sounding things of which they generally have no direct experience, such as the Earth being spherical, but strongly disagree on other things such as the status of Jesus and whether he really rose from the dead?

Stathis Papaioannou
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