Monday, April 11, 2011

A Quranic Interlude

While my main focus is generally on criticism of Christianity, I thought it might be interesting to pause for a moment and try something new. I helped the Rational Thought group find some of the verses in the Bible and the Quran that promote hatred or intolerance toward some specific group—gays, women, unbelievers, and so on. I'll be going into the awful passages in the Bible in some depth later on, but for now I'll just post some of the worst stuff I found in the Quran. There's plenty more where this came from, of course; this is just a small sample of the terrible things to be found in that book.

Apparently women are only half as reliable as men, and women can be beaten if they disobey men.
  • "And call two witness from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not at hand, then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if one erreth (through forgetfulness) the other will remember." (Surah 2:282)
  • "Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them." (Surah 4:34)
Muslims who want to promote interfaith relations evidently haven't read their Quran:
  • "O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk." (Surah 5:51)
It also condemns gay people. As a side note, "as no creature ever did before you" is a clear scientific error.
  • "And Lot! (Remember) when he said unto his folk: Will ye commit abomination such as no creature ever did before you? Lo! ye come with lust unto men instead of women. Nay, but ye are wanton folk." (Surah 7:80-81)
Killing Unbelievers
The Quran makes many more explicit references to the punishment of nonbelievers than the Bible does.
  • "They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them…" (Surah 4:89)
  • "Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (Surah 9:5)
Unbelievers in Hell
It also tends to be almost gleefully detailed in its terrifying descriptions of hell.
  • "Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise." (Surah 4:56)
  • "We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place!" (Surah 18:29)
  • "But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; and for them are hooked rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning." (Surah 22:19-22)
By no means is the Quran a more intolerant book than the Bible in every category, though. For example, the gratuitously cruel punishment of stoning isn't mentioned even once. It denounces homosexuality, but doesn't call for killing gay people as the OT does. And although it does endorse slavery, it doesn't do so as heartily as the Bible. One could make an argument for either book being a greater source of evil teachings, but in the end it doesn't really matter. They both advocate despicable views, and no one should use either of them as the basis for their morality.

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