“The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

~ Mark Twain, Letter to George Bainton

 

Just as the best manual to operate the Nokia phone should be made by the Nokia Company and not ShoeLace Company similarly the best manual for man should be from the Creator of Man and not “We the People”. It is common knowledge that God communicates through revelation sent to His chosen Messengers. From God’s Scriptures is where man gets all the answers to the dilemmas of life.

The person who uses his intelligence will undoubtedly affirm that man is naturally greedy and selfish. In his book, Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes described man as cruel, greedy, and selfish, and if not caged, they would fight, rob, and trouble each other.[1]An intelligent person knows that man can do anything to serve his personal interests. Man is a potential anything. Man is a potential truthful person, man is also a potential liar. Anyone can be anything. That man you respect and trust could one day be a thief, a liar, corrupt, rapist . . . . Immanuel Kant, the German writer and philosopher echoes the same thoughts by saying: “Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild.” Therefore, a smart person knows that God’s scripture can be a victim of man’s corruption. Like any other valuable commodity, scripture can be counterfeited. Unless there is divine intervention, man can corrupt the Holy Scripture for reasons best known to this greedy man. If some people can interfere with a country’s constitution to suit their vested interests, it should not be a surprise for the same materialistic people to alter God’s scripture. Placing your salvation on the wrong scripture is like leaning a ladder against the wrong wall, the steps you take, slowly but surely, gets you to hell.

I sometimes feel like crying when I go to a bank and see the teller passing the money given through a Bank Note Detector. Because the same person would go to Church and be given a book called the Bible and without passing it through an authenticity detector, he/she blindly believes it to be a genuine word of God! Sometimes I believe people will go to hell because of double standards. You work hard at work, but you don’t want to work hard in religion. You don’t accept money till you verify its authenticity but you accept scriptures without verification. The way we have genuine and fake notes, we also have genuine word of God and fake scriptures. But the ignorant thinks that religious scriptures can’t be forged by professional counterfeiters such as Satan and his allies. “Do not consider it proof just because it is written in books” Maimonides cautioned long time ago, “for a liar who will deceive with his tongue will not hesitate to do the same with his pen.” The one who uses his brains will investigate the scriptures at his reach to verify if the scripture is free from fabrications inserted by corrupt men. How would someone be given a scripture and without careful scrutiny he completely believes in it. The world is a den of evil men. Maybe the righteous are outnumbered by men of evil. Eleven centuries before Thomas Hobbes* told us that “man was cruel, greedy, and selfish”, the Qur’an had already declared: “And truly, most of men are rebellious and disobedient.” [Q 5:48] Maybe the scripture you are reading is in fact a man’s masterpiece and not God’s revelation. The halfwit are those who are unaware that man is capable of committing the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues. The smartest don’t accept any scripture without scrutiny. How wonderful are these words of wisdom echoed by Buddha:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Bart D. Ehrman, a leading scholar of the Bible cogently suggests not to even accept the ilk of the preceding quote without rational evaluation:

In my opinion, people need to use their intelligence to evaluate what they find to be true and untrue in the Bible. This is how we need to live life generally. Everything we hear and see we need to evaluate—whether the inspiring writings of the Bible or the inspiring writings of Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, or George Eliot, of Ghandi, Desmond Tutu, or the Dalai Lama.[2]

We have blindly accepted the scriptures as unchallenged authority without verifying whether the authority is indeed unchallenged or not. “If a word in the dictionary were misspelled, how would we know?” so said Steven Wright. Right as he was, I take the pleasure to paraphrase that and say, “If a word in the Bible/Qur’an were concocted, how would we know?”

At least the Qur’an doesn’t shield its readers from rational inquiry by mandating people to have the Holy Spirit for them to study it. The Qur’an, without bashfulness, invites men and Jinn to examine and analyze it and probably that is because truth fears no questions. The Qur’an claims to be the word of God and asks mankind to prove it wrong. I am sure you agree that no one is listening until you make a mistake. Now imagine a situation where your college lecturer announces: “In this semester you will never hear any mistake as I lecture, mistakes in facts, grammar, even a mispronunciation . . . notify me if you spot one!” Going with human trend, we should not be surprised to see the students coming in for the lectures with an extra notebook written on it “Mistakes in Lecturer’s Speech”. Anyone knowing  that “human is to err” would be very confident to emerge successfully in such bold challenges. Let me add another example. If at the end of his answer sheet, a student writes: “This answer is perfect. There are no mistakes in it. Find one if you can!” Do you think the teacher marking that paper would take it lightly. No way, he will not sleep until he finds a mistake. He will try to find even a slight mistake such as a spelling mistake. Qur’an challenges men saying, “Do they not consider the Qur´an (with care)? Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.” [Q 4:82]. In other words the Qur’an says if you think that it’s not a God’s revelation; find any faults (discrepancies) in it! To paraphrase that, it would be something similar to, “this Qur’an is a perfect word of God and you will not find even a single mistake in it, prove me wrong by finding any faults (be it contradictions, scientific errors, grammatical errors, false prophesies, linguistic deficiencies, whatever . . . .” The Qur’an has presented itself clean and transparent. Now, with the Bible’s case, are we going to examine it objectively’? Billy Hughes was not objective when he said “when having my portrait painted I don’t want justice, I want mercy.” However, for us to know whether the Bible is the Right Revelation, we should analyze it with the lens of justice not mercy. Truth be told, if we examine the Bible unblinkingly we will agree that love may be blind but Faith has 20/20 vision. For those who would want to rephrase the preceding Qur’anic verse in the context of the Bible, I think it would read something like this: “Do they not consider the Bible (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.” I challenge anyone who claims the Bible to be an inerrant word of God to go to the nearby bookshop and buy Bart Ehrman book Jesus, Interrupted. If absence of discrepancy in scripture is a hallmark of divine revelation, then by the time you finish reading Jesus, Interrupted, you will certainly agree that the Bible is not an inerrant word of God.

Muslims acknowledge that the Bible is a mixture of both the true word of God and man’ s corrupted insertions and hence they disdain the Bible because they are extremely cautious of half truths, they don’t want to risk getting hold of the wrong half. And since it is twice as hard to crush a half-truth as a whole lie, the propensity of distancing away from the Bible increases even further. Moreover, Muslims will argue that since the central purpose of life is to worship God, then there is an uncompromising need of using an error-free,100% accurate manual of worshipping God. No one doubts that in the Bible, mankind can extract amazing advise and information but if we go with Thomas Fuller’s adage: “Good is not good where better is expected”, Muslims will evidently show that the Qur’an is a 100% pure, unadultered word of God, and that it should be followed by anyone who has a habit of making smart choices. Let us not be like those men who when in love with a woman’s dimple, they make the mistake of marrying the whole girl but let us only admire the good part of the Bible and refrain from the ugliest segments. “I had started seminary as a born-again fundamentalist,” the Bible scholar Bart Ehrman says, “by the time I graduated (i.e. with master’s of divinity Degree) I was moving toward a liberal form of evangelical Christianity, one that still saw the Bible as conveying important teachings of God to his people, but also as a book filled with human perspectives and mistakes.”[3] This is the intellectual honesty which is fraught and applaudable in Qur’anic text.

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{Excerpted from Salim Boss’ book “They are either Extremely Smart or Extremely Ignorant”. Buy the eBook  for $1.9 and the paperback for $9. Just click here to buy the book}

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Buy Ebook Smart

REFERRENCES:


[1]. Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. 1651.

* Thomas Hobbes died in 1679 A.D. By the time Muhammad died in 632 A.D. the Qur’an had been fully revealed.

[2].  Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted. Kindle Edition. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.p.281-282    

[3]. Ehrman, Bart D. Jesus, Interrupted. Kindle Edition. HarperCollins e-books, 2009.p.16

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