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Worth The Trouble?


Tzarza
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Dear Forumverse,

I've been watching god/no-god religion/no-religion debates online recently, and I decided I might like to read the Quran. A lot of people (usually Christians) have absolutely no idea what's in that book, but they certainly have opinions about how evil it is. I've heard a few Islamic proverbs that I like. There's also loads of Islamaphobia in the US right now, and I'd like to have a more educated position about the pros and cons of that belief system rather than conjecture.

I have also noticed that when there's a debate (in English) about whether God exists or not, usually it's  by default between an atheist and a judeo-christian. When a muslim comes around to debate, people are totally baffled. They don't really have any experience with Islam. It would definitely be a task, do you think it would be worth the trouble to read it? It's supposedly much shorter than the bible. 

(PS-- I also haven't looked at a bible since deconversion, think there would be any value in reading that too, or some of it, through deconverted eyes?)

I can't decide if I'd be wasting my time or not. Do I want to just try to forget everything and leave religion behind me in the dust, or should I take the time to further educate myself? 

Sincerely,
Do I care? I don't know. Should I? Not sure about that either. 

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...should I take the time to further educate myself? 

 

 

 

Being educated is the only way I know of to make an informed decision or conclusion. I recommend studying all organizations and philosophies that threaten the world with their prejudice and violence.

 

Regarding Christianity vs Islam, I see little difference beyond window dressing and style. Islam is just another iteration of the Abrahamic mythology. There is still no evidence that any of it's true or relevant. You'll still run into creationism and homophobia in the religion. You still run into all the evils found on the Bible. You still bump into a big wall of cognitive dissonance.

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Guest r3alchild

 

...should I take the time to further educate myself?

 

 

Being educated is the only way I know of to make an informed decision or conclusion. I recommend studying all organizations and philosophies that threaten the world with their prejudice and violence.

 

Regarding Christianity vs Islam, I see little difference beyond window dressing and style. Islam is just another iteration of the Abrahamic mythology. There is still no evidence that any of it's true or relevant. You'll still run into creationism and homophobia in the religion. You still run into all the evils found on the Bible. You still bump into a big wall of cognitive dissonance.

Yes you would face the same stone walling as you would in christianity. But reading the quran could be interesting.
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I would argue a bit with Florduh on this. 

 

I think that the Quran is probably closer to being what Mohammed said then Christianity is to what Jesus said.  Partially because there is such a strong paranoia in Islam about getting anything he said wrong.   There also is a very strong tradition in islam of the Imans writing essentially commentary on the words of the prophet without taking Mohammed's name to do it. (ie  who really wrote the book of Mark).  Often it is these commentaries that led to the mess that Islam is today.  Whereas with the bible, it was just out and out forged to fit the mood of who was doing the translation. 

 

That said.  

 

My understanding is that the Quran is arbitrarily organized from shortest to longest sura.  What I would like to find is a book that contains the Quran and the history of what was going on at the time in the are organized with the suras in historical order.  I remember reading something somewhere that stated the message in the Quran started to change as Islam gained political and military power.  It became more draconian and less hippie. 

 

:shrug:  learning is always good. 

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I think that the Quran is probably closer to being what Mohammed said then Christianity is to what Jesus said.

 

 

 

Does that make it more valid? 

 

Jesus didn't start the religion, Paul did (essentially). A more proper comparison would be what the inventors and spokesmen for the religions say.

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Dear Forumverse,

 

I've been watching god/no-god religion/no-religion debates online recently, and I decided I might like to read the Quran. A lot of people (usually Christians) have absolutely no idea what's in that book, but they certainly have opinions about how evil it is. I've heard a few Islamic proverbs that I like. There's also loads of Islamaphobia in the US right now, and I'd like to have a more educated position about the pros and cons of that belief system rather than conjecture.

 

I have also noticed that when there's a debate (in English) about whether God exists or not, usually it's  by default between an atheist and a judeo-christian. When a muslim comes around to debate, people are totally baffled. They don't really have any experience with Islam. It would definitely be a task, do you think it would be worth the trouble to read it? It's supposedly much shorter than the bible. 

 

(PS-- I also haven't looked at a bible since deconversion, think there would be any value in reading that too, or some of it, through deconverted eyes?)

 

I can't decide if I'd be wasting my time or not. Do I want to just try to forget everything and leave religion behind me in the dust, or should I take the time to further educate myself? 

 

Sincerely,

Do I care? I don't know. Should I? Not sure about that either. 

I think you should ask yourself the question "would it be fun" or "would i like to do that" instead. I mean life is about enjoying yourself and doing what brings you joy.

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HI there in Seoul, my daughter lives in Incheon. Great place. I think if you are interested of course you should read it. I did. For me it doesn't matter so much what is in the book as much as how people use it to hurt and control others. As far as I can see it is all the same.

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I think it is. Learning to truly understand is always worth the effort, IMO. 

 

I found reading the Qu'ran mostly inspired the same feelings I had reading the Bible. Mostly, now I hate both those religions equally and I sincerely hope one day they fade away into mythic obscurity. 

 

However, I've learned that religion is really lousy criteria to judge a person by, so I try to be careful not to let my opinions and disgust for those religions to spill into judgements against people. I let people's actions speak for the people. 

 

A good person is a good person, and religion doesn't change that. 

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Go for it! It's always good to read up on things and see what's important to other people.

I assume you're reading it in English, which will be an interesting facet, in itself: Nearly all English translations are tandem translations, Classical Arabic on one side and English on the other, so that anybody learning Classical Arabic, or able to read both, can go back and compare. There's also a lengthy preface, usually, to justify even translating it. Since the whole idea behind Islam is that the entire thing was transmitted directly, avoiding translation errors (as in the schoolchild's game of telephone) is Serious Business of the highest order. So, actually, Quran translations in English usually have far better attested and transparent notes and rationales of translation than nearly any mass-market Bible you'll ever find. (Islam's tie to Classical Arabic and hefty body of scholarship on translation and interpretation also makes a great point to bring up with biblical literalists: which Bible, exactly? Islam does it better. *watch fireworks*)

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I think that the Quran is probably closer to being what Mohammed said then Christianity is to what Jesus said.

 

 

 

Does that make it more valid? 

 

Jesus didn't start the religion, Paul did (essentially). A more proper comparison would be what the inventors and spokesmen for the religions say.

 

(It doesn't make it more right, but it does make it excellent ammunition in an argument against biblical literalist fundies. Who will probably have no way to counter your points, because they're too scared of "heretic cooties" to do the research themselves. The worst kind of person, in their eyes, are the ones who believe almost, but not exactly, the same exact thing they do. That's why I bet they have such a virulent problem with Islam.)

 

Edit: er, the fundamentalist type of Islam, that is. Sufi Islam is pretty laid-back. Also, some very nice poetry. I'm pretty sure Christian fundies don't know these guys exist at all... On a related note, conflating "Arabic culture" with "Islam" - the largest Muslim majority state isn't Arab at all. It's Indonesia.

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It's only worth the trouble if it's interesting and productive for you.

 

If you had unlimited time and resources, it would be worth the time. But if you find that you aren't enjoying it but you could be learning about something that interests you, or doing an activity or spending time with family and friends or if it's becoming stressful or triggering, there's nothing wrong with learning or doing something else that interests you more.

 

If you know what you do believe, you don't have to know every detail of what you don't believe to make a positive difference in the world. Complete ignorance is never good, but for example, learning everything there was to know about the Bible front and back was 1% a positive learning experience and 99% a waste of time - I could understand Christianity without knowing the name of Jacob's daughter or when the book of Hezekiah was purportedly written, and similarly you could get a good idea about Islam without needing to read the entire Koran. In fact, if someone read the entire Bible but didn't know many Christians, they definitely wouldn't understand the dynamics of the modern church just from reading the Bible, and your perception of Islam won't be accurate just by reading the Koran unless you also know how different Muslims actually apply it in normal life.

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Tzarza, interesting what you mention about debates between atheists and theists usually involve Jews or Christians (actually almost always Christians) representing the theists.  As a Hindu I feel woefully un-represented by this.  Then again, I'll take atheists over Christians any day, so whatever.  But few people tend to notice this discrepancy, so I'm glad you did.

 

As for reading about Islam, if you've got the spare time I can't see how more religious knowledge would ever hurt.  I would point out though that most non-Christian arguments against Islam aren't based on what the faith teaches, but on the practices of Islamic culture and Muslims in general.  Whatever else you might say about Christians, it's pretty rare to see them going and bombing people.  While it's true that most Muslims aren't terrorists, most Muslims I talk to or see on TV support terrorism.  I think it's fair to look at surveys, statistical trends, etc. and comment on Islam without ever reading the Quran.  Just a thought.

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