Monday, 22 November 2010
My motivation for reading the Koran was to get to the truth about the widespread assertion that the Koran tells Muslims to go out and kill the infidels (the unbelievers). In addition, as Muslims believe that Jesus is a great prophet, do they then follow his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount about loving enemies, turning the other cheek and being a peacemaker rather than a warmonger? (Not that the followers of Jesus, themselves, have been zealous in following this particular teaching for the last 1,700 years.)
This is the Jesus who was non-violent and non-aggressive in all he said and did. The irony is that the faith where Jesus is the most central is by far and away the most violent and aggressive when comparing the track record of Muslim and Christian nations over the last 1,400 years. The evidence for this is found on my blog and, in particular, in my piece, "Islam is all sweetness and light when ... " Both Islam and Christianity accept violence/aggression as perfectly acceptable from time to time, especially for self-defence. Having now read both the Koran and the Bible, the Bible, thanks to the Old Testament, is clearly the winner with the prize of most bloodshed.
Today, I finished reading the Koran (over 600 pages). Rather heavy going and nothing much that anyone could possibly take exception to. Lots of "God is Forgiving and Merciful" and being condemnatory of the unbelievers and polytheists and hypocrites. Old Testament characters and Jesus are given a similar treatment as we have in the Bible, except that Jesus is not the Son of God or divine, of course.
There were no stories of blood and gore, either, as you get in the Bible. No killing of unbelievers (infidels), except in self defence or when they are persecuting the Muslims. "Kill those who war against you." No holy war, either that we get in Deuteronomy ch 20 v 1-20 with the rules for waging holy war! The word, 'paradise' was never found, nor was that pernicious idea of suicide bombing to go straight to paradise. The nearest word to paradise was heaven and the Garden. However, I did find the following:
"And those who are slain in the way of God, He renders not their actions vain. He will guide them and improve their state and bring them into the Garden, which He has made known to them." Surah 47: 4-6. Also, Surah 4: 74, below.
Earlier in verse 4 in this Surah we read that, after battle against unbelievers, to show "either grace or ransom till the war lays down its burdens." Grace, I suppose, meaning showing forgiveness and mercy and releasing prisoners or, ransoming prisoners of war, perhaps.
One good verse about "Assuredly, the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of humankind" Surah 40 v 57. And, my translation had humankind, too and not mankind. This is good, for me, if the verse means that the heavens and the earth will outlive humans and, if it means that we need to stop the deterioration of the earth's life support systems from human activities. This verse got the nearest to humans needing to follow the principles of stewardship of the planet. Stewardship of the earth's resources is also not found in the Bible - only plenty of references to people being stewards or servants. Sharing/equality (aka the Marx/Engels idea) is found in 2 Corinthians 8 v 13-15. Again, in contrast, the Bible has humans being greater than every other living thing (in Genesis 1) and being free to do as they will with the earth's resources and everything on it ("dominion over").
Quotations on the subject of Islamic warfare or, what we prefer to call, Islamic terrorism:
Surah 2: 190-193 "Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loves not aggressors. ... if they attack you then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. But if they desist, then lo! God is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more."
Surah 2: 216 "Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful to you."
Surah 2: 217 "Warfare (in the sacred month) is a great transgression. ... And they will not cease from fighting against you until they have made you apostates from your religion, if they can" (This is what NATO - the traditional Christian nations of N America and W. Europe - is doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pakistan border. In addition, on the backs of the military, are the Christian missionaries working hard to save Muslims as they turn from Islam to Christ or, to make them 'apostates' from their religion.)
Surah 3: 199-200 "Be patient and outdo your enemy in patience, be ready and fear God, in order that you may succeed."
Surah 4: 29-30 "... and kill not one another. Lo! God is ever Merciful to you. Whoever does that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for God."
Surah 4: 74 "Let those fight in the way of God who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoever fights in the way of God, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward." (not a harem of virgins in Paradise for the men and nothing for the women suicide bombers, as is commonly supposed by non-Muslims - and some Muslims, too!)
Surah 4: 75-76 "How should you not fight for the cause of God and of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying, 'Our Lord!'. Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh give us from you some protector! Oh, give us from you some defender! Those who believe do battle for the cause of God; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of Satan." (this appears to reflect a time when Muslims were being persecuted)
Surah 4: 84 "So fight (O Muhammad) in the way of God. ... Perhaps God will restrain the might of those who disbelieve. God is stronger in might and stronger at inflicting punishment." (appears that the Muslims were suffering at the time of these writings)
Surah 4: 88-89 "... if they (self: unbelievers) turn back to enmity then take them and kill them wherever you find them, and choose neither protector nor helper from among them." (killing only in self-defence is allowed)
Surah 4: 90-91 "If they keep not aloof from you nor offer you peace nor hold their hands (self: nor hold back from killing Muslims), then take them and kill them wherever you find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant."
Surah 4: 100-101 " ... it is no sin for you to curtail your worship if you fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth, the disbelievers are an open enemy to you."
Surah 7: 55-56 "(O People!) Call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. Lo! He loves not aggressors."
Surah 47: 4-6 "Now when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when you have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lays down its burdens. ... He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of God, He renders not their actions vain. He will guide them and improve their state, and bring them into the Garden, which He has made known to them."
Quotations about men/women:
Surah 2:228 "Women have rights similar to those of men over them in a just manner and men are a degree above them. God is Mighty, Wise."
Surah 4:26-28 "God would make the burden light for you, for man was created weak." (However, 'man' here, probably means men and women.)
Quotation about Abraham (Muslims, Christians and Jews are all children of Abraham or, all descended from him)
"Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was true Muslim, and he was not of the polytheists."
The Quran on manslaughter
Surah 5: 32 "We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all human kind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all humankind."
The Quran on Judaism and the Bible
Surah 5: 67-69 "O People of the Scripture! You have nothing (of guidance) till you observe the Torah and the Gospel. ... Lo! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Sabaeans and Christians - whosoever believes in God and the Last Day and does right - no fear shall come upon them neither shall they grieve."
Tim Weller 21 November 2010
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
... compared with the Christian West and Israel!
- The 20th century was the most violent, destructive and horrific in the history of humanity, it seems to me. But we can't blame the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists or the blacks. It has to be us - the Christians and the whites, in my opinion!
- Centuries of persecution of Jews by Christians and not Muslims.
- You can't blame Islam for the holocaust. It was a Christian nation that did it.
- Centuries of on/off warfare in Europe between the Christian nations cannot be blamed on Islam. In fact, centuries of interference, invasions, attacks and occupations around the world by the white man was much more widespread, harmful and longer lasting than Islamic empires like the Mogul Empire in India.
- Those European centuries of violence ended in the Great (magnificent) War to end all wars that Islam did not start. The Christian European nations started it and such was their unsatisfactory and unjust settlement that it then led to World War part 2 in 1939!
- It was not Islam who also gave the world WMD and were the first to use them.
- You can't blame the Muslims for vapourising Pacific Ocean islands on which nuclear bombs were tested.
- The traditional Christian and Bible based, Western nations made 11 mega tonnes bombs that are 1,000 times more destructive than the Hiroshima bomb. Our half a mega tonne thermo-nuclear bomb makes it the most powerful weapon of mass destruction ever. All this evil intent is nothing to do with the much criticised (and even despised) Arabs, Muslims, Middle East nations!
- It is our good friend and ally, the President of the USA who has the means to annihilate most of humanity; not a Muslim president or President Ahmadinejad of Iran.
- The richest and most economically and military powerful nations and empires have been the Christian ones. They have dominated the world for centuries. Yet, their founder rejected any kind of domination in the Temptations of Christ.
- It was the Christian nations who had the most slaves and indulged in the most slavery when compared with the Arab nations.
- It was not Islam who that was responsible for Bloody Sunday and other horrors over 800 years of our occupation, settlement planting and colonial rule in Ireland.
- Islam is not responsible for the thousands of men, women and children that our friend and ally, Israel has killed in its 62 yrs. 1,400 alone in the 2008/9 war on Gaza. In contrast, 13 Israelis were killed in that same war.
- It was not Islam that introduced concentration camps. It was, guess who? Us - the UK in the Boer War. The camps killed 20,000 women and children!
- It was not Islam that was responsible for Bhopal and decades of indifference, carelessness and complacency in the USA.
- You cannot blame the the Islamic nations for the most greenhouse gas emissions and the most "help yourself to the most natural resources in the world" mentality and behaviour of the West.
- The Christian nations and the Church waged their holy Crusades against 'evil' Islam. Evangelical Christian, GW Bush Jnr did the same with the War of Terrorism launched on 7 October 2001 that continues to this day. He called it a crusade until he was told not to.
- We can't blame Islam for attacking Iraq to remove their WMD, only to find there were none, after all!
- We can't blame Islam for the West's hypocritical behaviour in removing leaders it doesn't like but preaching the importance of electing governments and their leaders.
- We cannot blame Islam for wiping out so many of the very long established, original peoples in both North and South America. It was Spain, France and the UK taking God, guns and the white man's germs. God led them to believe He had given them the new lands across the Atlantic. Guns helped to kill the original peoples; and, germs brought diseases that, again, led the colonisers to sincerely believe it was the hand of the good Lord in using the Western, European brought diseases to make it easier for them to claim the land for themselves as the Indians succumbed to foreign diseases and died in their hundreds of thousands (from BBC Radio 4, 'America: Empire of Liberty')
- Unlike the Christian nations, Islam did not interfere or involve itself in affairs to bring Muslim culture, Shariah law, governance and Islamic faith to the Western, white nations. Rather, we have seen attempts by the hegemonic, white, Western European and Christian nations to impose their culture, commercialism, democracy and Christianity on the Middle East nations - and, SE Asia in the immediate post-war years.
- We can’t blame Islam for the Korean War of 1950–1953 when, according to Lord Alton, nearly 3 million died (mostly Korean) but of which 38,000 were US and UN soldiers, 600,000 Chinese combatants and 1,000
servicemen. (‘Today’ programme on 27.11.10) UK
- It was not Islam that was responsible for slaughtering 2-4 million men, women and children in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the West's war from 1959 to 1975.
- It was not Islam that was responsible for apartheid. Rather, it was the Dutch Reformed Church from Western Europe - yet, again, the stamp and authority and dictat of supposedly enlightened, forward thinking and so very democratic and civilised and traditional Christian nations!
- We can't blame Islam for running the world in such a partial, lopsided way that the traditional Christian, white and very powerful nations have it all their own way on the world stage.
- Muslim convert and heavyweight boxing champion at 32 yrs, Mohammed Ali, went to prison rather than fight in that crime of aggression, the Vietnam War. I have not heard of any Christian who had that same moral courage as that famous Muslim. Rather, some dodged the draft by fleeing to Canada.
- We have proved to be the worst or the real terrorists down the centuries with our empires that were founded on violence throughout the world. Many Western European nations, in order to found their empires, went out to explore, conquer and decimate local populations of black people who wanted nothing more than to be left alone.
- The Bible based and Christian European nations, if you look through history from today back down through past centuries, have killed many more humans than the Islamic nations.
- It was not Muslims who invented poison gas, nor were they the first to use it.
- The vast bulk of prison mistreatment, abuse, rape, torture and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan was done by foreign, NATO soldiers and not the home-grown prison officers and soldiers.
- British intelligence was complicit in the mistreatment and even torture of Muslim detainees.
- It was not Muslims who killed 23 people in Oklahoma in 1996.
- It was Muslims who killed nearly 3,000 men and women on
11 September 2001. The Quran frequently asserts that their God is forgiving and merciful. Our nine years and continuing reaction of furious warfare shows that our version of God is the exact opposite. Our Bible says, “ ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay’, says the Lord.” We believe the Lord needs a little help with his revenge!
- Even taking into account that the Bible is very much bigger than the Quran, from my reading of both, there is clearly much more bloodshed in the Bible than the Quran. In fact, there are no stories of bloodshed in the Quran. In the Bible, we have 'Rules for waging holy war' in Deuteronomy 20 v 1-20. My commentary has: " ... holy war is not a human enterprise ... but is an action in which the Lord himself is engaged and in which his people respond with fanatical devotion." Does that help to explain the much greater violence and aggression by the Christian nations than the Islamic ones?