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Quran

This tag is associated with 7 posts

Book Review: “The Qur’an in Context” by Mark Robert Anderson

Mark Robert Anderson takes on a monumental task in his book The Qur’an in Context: providing an overview of the Qur’an without divorcing it from its own context, all while setting it alongside Christian beliefs and critiques. The long and short of it is that he succeeds masterfully at this task.

First, Anderson explores the cultural context of the Qur’an, exploring, briefly, the life of of Muhammad and his context. Then, chapters exploring aspects of the worldview within the Qur’an go over such topics as Adam, Sin, God’s Immanence, etc. A whole section is dedicated to the Quranic view of Jesus, and the book ends with a Christian evaluation of the Qur’an. I can’t really emphasize enough how important every single chapter is. Within each chapter, Anderson skillfully and fairly presents the picture the Qur’an puts forward on the topic, often giving some additional context for the discussion. Then, there is often some Christian evaluation within the chapter itself, though much is deferred to the final section. This makes the book absolutely necessary for any Christian interested in learning about Islam and the teachings of Muhammad.

It is clear that Anderson has done his homework, and I was enlightened multiple times on aspects of Quranic theology that I hadn’t picked up on before. For example, in the section on Immanence in the Qur’an, I discovered that the theism of Islam doesn’t always portray Allah as the kind of separate, wholly removed from the world deity I had thought before. Instead, like in Christianity, the Quranic God is shown to be active in creation and working with people to bring about ends, despite also having absolute sovereignty and control. These kinds of details are found on almost every page, and make the book a great reference.

The Qu’ran in Context is now my go-to recommendation for Christians looking to learn about the Qur’an. It can be paired with a number of other books to get a more complete picture of Islam in general, but Anderson’s work can stand on its own as an exploration to dialogue with Muslims and their Scripture.

The Good

+Generous perspective regarding Muslim approaches to their own Scripture
+Takes seriously differences between Christians and Muslims
+Offers contextual basis for understanding the Qu’ran
+Extremely valuable summaries and interaction

The Bad

-Nothing to complain about means I mostly have to leave this row blank

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher. I was not obligated to provide any specific kind of feedback whatsoever. 

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)

Eclectic Theist– Check out my other blog for my writings on science fiction, history, fantasy movies, and more!

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

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Really Recommended Posts 7/31/15- Planned Parenthood, the next Earth, the Quran, and more!

postI’m pleased to present to you, dear readers, another round of “Really Recommended Posts.” This round includes posts on science, the Quran, Planned Parenthood, and a four-legged snake.

Response to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ Washington Post Opinion Piece– A point-by-point rebuttal of Planned Parenthood’s response to the recent revelations regarding the possibility of their selling of body parts. Richards’ response leaves something to be desired.

Earth 2.0? Not Quite. – The recent revealing of an “earth-like” planet has sent some into spirals of hyperbole and extrapolation. What might we say about this “Earth 2.0”? Check out this post to find out more.

Why the Discovery of the Oldest Quran Fragments is No Big Deal– Recently, fragments of the Quran thought to be the oldest ever have been discovered. Does this demonstrate the truth of Islam? I think this is a good post on the apologetic significance of this find, though I do think that the increased ability to do textual criticism of the Quran is a pretty important aspect of the find.

How Atheists Try to Incorporate the Big Bang into their Worldview– Although not exhaustive, this post on some of the ways that some prominent atheist have tried to explain (or explain away) the Big Bang and its significance for the origin of the cosmos is worth reading and taking note of.

A Four-Legged Snake! Has the Edenic Serpent Been Found?– Does the discovery of a four-legged snake demonstrate the truth of young earth creationism?

Is Islam Violent? – A response to a meme

I do not condone this image nor do I claim rights to it. See post.

I do not condone this image nor do I claim rights to it. See post.

I saw a few friends sharing or commenting on the meme I’ve shared here the other day and thought it was definitely worth a response. Here at the start I want to note that I do not condone the image shared here and think it’s deeply problematic for reasons that will become clear in what follows.

I think that we need to be careful when discussing things like this primarily for two reasons: 1) verses quoted out of context can be used to support anything; for example, I often run into atheists quoting from Joshua and arguing that it means that Christianity is inherently violent or has violent roots; 2) the picture itself doesn’t really do much to make me think any effort was made to understand what is being quoted. See below.

I’m not an expert in Islam, but I have taken a graduate level course on the topic. Moreover, there are some basic problems with this meme. One issue with this picture is that it quotes from “Koran chapter:verse” when the proper term would be “Surah chapter:verse.” Saying “Koran” instead of “Surah” is similar to saying “Bible 12:3:15.” The Qu’ran is one book, so this does not cause distortion of where to find the quotes, but in my reading this method of citation seems not quite proper. [Thanks to several readers for pointing out a need to edit here.]

Another issue is that in the Qu’ran, people aren’t referred to as Muslims but rather believers, etc. Again, this is a fairly basic misunderstanding that would be like putting the word “Christian” into the Bible all over the place when it’s not there.

I took the liberty of looking up a couple of these Surahs. Surah 8:65 is quoted in this picture as “The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them” in fact says, according to the Sahih international version of the Qu’ran, ” O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are among you twenty [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand.” Not only does this not have the word Muslims, but it is also much longer, and doesn’t call unbelievers stupid. In fact, a comparison of the major English versions show that almost every one says “without understanding” or “do not understand.” The closest it comes to “stupid” is “without intelligence.”

The alleged quotation of 22:19 is particularly problematic, because it completely rips the verse out of context. According to the picture, it says “Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water, melt their skins and bellies.” Not only is this actually a reference to 22:19-20 but it also is not a command at all. The context of 22:19-20 is the day of judgment and this punishment is that described of for those in hell (see Surah 22:16-17 for more context). Quoting this verse to say Islam is violent would be akin to quoting a passage about weeping and gnashing of teeth from the Bible, turning it into a command to Christians without justification from the text itself and then saying it proves Christianity is violent.

I checked a couple more references and they too not only shortened the alleged “quotes” but also largely took them out of context.

Yet another problem with a picture like this is that it doesn’t account for the fact that in actual practice, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not violent. I’m not sure of the actual number of Muslims in the U.S. alone, but with over a billion Muslims in the world, if every single one were indeed violent, I would imagine that fighting would be occurring in the streets of Dearborn, MI; New York, Minneapolis, etc. Yet I don’t see this happening. Isolated incidents? Yes. A complete totality of violence everywhere? No. I would argue this is because the vast majority of Muslims have a more nuanced approach to the Qu’ran and its interpretation than simply quoting verses out of context allow; just as Christians would argue for nuanced interpretations in much the same way.

I have not entered into a wider discussion of Islam and religious violence, nor is this the place to do so [see some posts in the links]. I conclude simply by noting that the use of memes like this are, I think, deeply problematic. If we as Christians expect to be treated fairly and have real differences among Christian beliefs and interpretations acknowledged, if we think that people unfairly quote our holy texts out of context and that we deserve to have our nuances of thought also conveyed, then we should do the same for those of other faiths.

Links

Be sure to check out the page for this site on Facebook and Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies and more!

The Myth of “Religion” – Constructing the Other as Enemy– How has the category of “religion” been used to support the premise of religious violence and making the “other” into an enemy?

Book Review: “The Myth of Religious Violence” by William Cavanaugh– Here is a book which discusses the notion of “religious” violence at length with sometimes startling conclusions.

I am not sure who was the original user that put the image  up, so I can’t cite it appropriately. I make no claim to owning the image and use it under fair use.

SDG.

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The preceding post is the property of J.W. Wartick (apart from quotations, which are the property of their respective owners, and works of art as credited; images are often freely available to the public and J.W. Wartick makes no claims of owning rights to the images unless he makes that explicit) and should not be reproduced in part or in whole without the expressed consent of the author. All content on this site is the property of J.W. Wartick and is made available for individual and personal usage. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Wartick) and a link to the original URL. If you’d like to repost a post, you may do so, provided you show less than half of the original post on your own site and link to the original post for the rest. You must also appropriately cite the post as noted above. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy.

Really Recommended Posts 1/30/15- early Christianity, Neanderthals, and the church!

postAnother week, another set of great reads for you, dear readers. As always, let me know what you think! Be sure to let the authors of the posts know as well.

They Say the Church is “Too Feminine”– People often complain about the alleged “feminization of the church.” Here is an excellent post looking into the notion that the church is “too feminine.” I have also written on the notion of the “feminization of Christianity.”

James White debates Adnan Rashid on trustworthiness of Bible vs. Qur’an– Very often, Muslim apologists charge that we no longer have the Gospel because it has become corrupted and that the Qur’an is more trustworthy. Check out this post summarizing a debate (with a link to the debate) between two apologists on either side of this debate.

Christian Responses to the Spiritual and Physical Status of Neanderthals– How do Christians analyze the evidence for the existence of Neanderthals and their genetic lineage? Here’s an excellent post on some Christian responses to the evidence with some insightful commentary.

Three Questions to Break the Ice– Here are some excellent ways to break the ice in church (and other) groups! Timothy Siburg is a bit of an expert on church relations and topics related to it, so I recommend you follow his blog if you’re interested in that topic.

One of the Clearest (and Earliest) Summaries of Early Christian Beliefs–  Early summaries of Christian beliefs reveal a world in which Christianity developed fairly early on, not with the great difficulties some allege. Check out this post about one of the earliest summaries of Christian belief.

Really Recommended Posts 11/15/13 The Quran, egalitarianism, the Dark ages, and more!

snowl-owl-post-arpingstoneI have searched the four corners of the internet to bring you, dear readers, these really recommended posts. This week, we explore the Quran, egalitarianism, evidence for the truth of the Bible, the Dark Ages, and more! Check them out. As always, drop a comment to let me know what you thought! Have a post you think I’d be interested in? Here’s your place to share it (but don’t just leave a link! Tell me why I’d like it).

Is the Quran the Book of God? Debate Transcript– This is a very lengthy written debate between a Muslim and Christian on the topic: “Is the Quran the Book of God?” It is well worth a read as it shows the methodology that Muslims frequently use in debates. The cross-examinations, in particular, are highly useful. Although it is lengthy, I do really recommend that you read through this to get a better understanding of the places Christians and Muslims differ. The Christian, I think, did a fantastic job of showing that the Quran claims the Old and New Testaments are inspired, while also showing that one cannot simply claim corruption. The Quran says the Bible is the word of God, but then contradicts the Bible. 

Why I’m an Egalitarian– An excellent post in which Leslie Keeney gives the reasons she holds to an egalitarian view–that women should be allowed full participation in leadership in the church and home. She addresses several biblical and social arguments.

Undesigned Coincidences– Tim McGrew points out, in this phenomenal post, the evidences for the truth of the Bible we can find even in those portions we so often skim past. Paul’s greetings provide us with confirmation of the details of his travels as found in Acts, for example. This post is Part 4, but it is standalone in content. Check out my own posts on this argument.

The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews “God’s Philosophers”– Christianity really slowed down scientific progress during the Dark Ages, right? Wrong. Here, an atheist explains how ridiculous such claims are historically.

Bad– Another great comic post from Adam4d, this one poignantly shows the truths about human nature.

Ad hominems, Special Pleading, Straw Men & Red Herrings: John Loftus’ Response to MandM– John Loftus has written a number of works attacking Christian theism from multiple angles. Here, MandM respond to a critique he leveled against their satirical moral argument. In this post, they analyze Loftus’ arguments in a number of different lights.

Really Recommended Posts 5/24/13

postOnce more I have gone to the ends of the internet to find some posts to recommend for you, dear readers. This week, the topics are, as ever, diverse. We have bioethics, parameters for debates, creationism, the Quran, and Nietzsche. As always, check them out. Let me know your thoughts.

Bioethics and Worldview– A fascinating post which shows how one’s worldview can guide one’s positions in bioethics. What do we value? That will come out in practice. Our society does not value life. I think that is obvious in our practices.

Convenient Explanations– Luke Nix offers some advice to Christians and non-Christians about respectful debate.

Biblical case for Long Days (VIDEO)– I found this short video informative. It gives some reasons that Bible-believing Christians hold to views other than young earth creationism.

The Bible or the Quran– A fascinating, worldview-level comparison of the Bible and the Quran. Which makes more sense of reality? Mike Robinson argues persuasively that it is the Bible.

Doug Groothuis – Nietzsche’s Evaluation of Christian Ethics– I found this very thought-provoking and insightful. Nietzsche is often seen as one of the more talented atheistic philosophers. How does his evaluation of Christian ethics play out? Is it sound? Doug Groothuis puts forth cogent arguments which must be considered.

Really Recommended Posts 10/12/12

Another great run around the internet today. I noticed that this edition of Really Recommended Posts has a lot on Christianity and Science, Islam, and religious or activist violence. Abortion, biochemistry, the Qur’an, violence in Islam, Mitt Romney, and more are all featured. Check out the posts. If you like them, let me know.

Cataloging the Historical Anachronisms in the Qur’an– Does the Qur’an potray accurately the period that it purports to describe in historical narrative? It does not seem so. Check out some of the anachronisms which crept in.

New peer-reviewed paper in Nature falsifies Darwinian junk DNA prediction– Darwinian Evolution has long used the notion of “junk DNA” as confirmation of its naturalistic processes. However, recent study has confirmed one of the predictions of the Intelligent Design movement: this supposed junk DNA would prove to be useful. I don’t claim to be a scientist at all, but I find this very intriguing. Check out the article.

Hey Atheists, Just Shut Up Please [LANGUAGE WARNING]- I found this article very interesting. An atheist discusses how people can tend to hate the “other” in their over-enthusiastic attempts to refute them. I was pleased with the article in general, but be aware that there is some strong language there. I myself have written about how religion is often used as a mechanism to hate the “religious other.”

Would a Romney presidency boost Mormonism?– Some Christians have come out saying they are afraid to vote for Romney because it would boost Mormonism. A pastor responds briefly to these claims.

Why Abolition Must be Non-Violent– The Abolish Human Abortion blog discusses why we in the pro-life movement must not resort to violence. The struggle is between worldviews, and pro-life persons cannot say they are pro-life while using violence.

Modern Muslims Who Choose the Path of Violence– Nabeel Qureshi discusses violence in Islam and the fact that Islam is not monolithic. The important thing to think about is how and when Islam turns violent. As I have emphasized elsewhere, religion and violence must be analyzed empirically, not with a mind towards demonizing the religious “other.”

Yes, the media does deliberately misrepresent and demonize creationists– Readers of my blog know I do not hold to a young-earth position. However, like Glenn Andrew Peoples I am still offended when the media blatantly misrepresents my Christian brothers and sisters. Check out this thoughtful post.

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