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Bill Warner and Professor Muthuswamy say that a “scientific” content analysis is the best way to discredit the Koran. I think they are on to something, but instead of counting up the number of times “jihad” is mentioned, it might be more useful to count up the number of times that “Allah” sounds like an insecure preacher trying to establish his credentials as a prophet. You don’t have to do an actual word count to notice that certain themes pop up over and over in the Koran. One of the first things you notice on opening the Koran is that one of the chief preoccupations of the Koran is…the Koran. Read a few suras at random and you will quickly see that the Koran is extremely defensive about its own credibility.
Is the Koran an authentic revelation? It claims to be. In fact, it claims to be so again and again.
In sura 11:13 we read, “If they say ‘He (Muhammad) has invented it (the Koran) himself,’ say to them, ‘Produce ten invented chapters like it.’”
In sura 12:12 we read “this is no invented tale, but a confirmation of previous scriptures…”
Sura 32: 1-2: “This book is beyond all doubt revealed by the Lord of the Universe…Do they say, ‘He has invented it himself?’”
Sura 46:8: “Do they say he has invented it himself…let them produce a scripture like it.”
And so on. The Koran is full of admonitions about its own authenticity. Hardly a page goes by without some reminder that it is a genuine revelation, not a fake one. While allowances can be made for statements of this nature appearing here and there in a holy scripture, there are literally hundreds of such passages in the Koran. One of the first things a Western reader encounters upon opening the Koran is what seems to be a defensiveness about its own origin. The very first sura after the Fatiha begins with the words, “This book is not to be doubted.” By contrast the first words of Genesis are, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The author of Genesis has his mind on God and his creation, the author of the Koran has his mind on his book. True enough, there are plenty of passages in some Old Testament books where the author asserts the divine authority for what he has to say (“Thus saith the Lord”), but in the Koran the issue of authenticity is almost the central preoccupation. Turn at random to any page in it and there’s a good chance you’ll find an admonition about the truth of “Our revelations” and the fate of those who disbelieve in them. If you happen to have a Koran handy you can check this out for yourself. Go ahead. I’ll wait. It won’t take long.
Ordinarily, when someone tells you over and over that he’s telling the truth, you begin to have your doubts. The more he protests the truth of what he’s saying, the more you’re inclined to disbelieve. You get the same feeling after reading “this Koran could not have been devised by anyone but God” for the umpteenth time.
The self-consciousness of the Koran’s author is all the more apparent when you compare it to the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do not engage in constant fretting about whether or not their account seems to be made up. They have something to report and they simply report it. And when Christ speaks, you never get the sense that he is second-guessing himself. One of the things that people found most remarkable about Christ was that he spoke with such authority.
It may be an exercise in futility to try to convince any significant number of Muslims that their foundational document is a man-made fabrication. But, even supposing that were so, there is still a benefit in conducting a close examination of the Koran. One thing you find is that there are striking differences between the Koran and the New Testament. That’s something Christians need to learn or relearn, because it serves as an antidote to the enervating multicultural message that all religions are the same—and therefore, as Robert Spencer puts it, “basically equal in their ability to inspire good or evil.” Another thing you find if you dig into both texts is that the Christian revelation stands on a much firmer historical and rational footing than the Koran. Christopher Hitchens claims that the Koran and the New Testament are pretty much alike—both of them fabrications. Well, maybe…but, if so, the New Testament would have to be judged a much more skillfully executed fabrication than the Koran. It has the ring of truth. The Koran, on the other hand, rings rather hollow. Why is that important to know?—because success in resisting Islamization depends a lot on confidence, and right now the West is profoundly lacking in what Mark Steyn calls “civilizational confidence.” It might make a difference to our confidence if more people came to realize that their own foundational revelation has far more the look of the real thing.
Moorthy Muthuswamy worries that Westerners won’t undertake a deconstruction of Islam because the mode of analysis would undermine their own faith. As he sees it, “Some of the arguments used to question the religious foundations of Islam…can also pose difficulties for other faiths, including the majority religion in America.” Yes, to some degree perhaps, but they are the kind of difficulties Christians need to wrestle with if they are going to firm up their faith, and move beyond the intellectually flabby condition into which many Christians have fallen. There is a test of resolve coming. When Christians are put to that test they had better know what they believe, why they believe it, and why it is worth defending. It would also help if they knew what they are up against…before they find out the hard way.
William Kilpatrick’s articles have appeared in FrontPage Magazine, First Things, Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Jihad Watch, World, and Investor’s Business Daily.
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