Thursday, May 3, 2012

Koran = Bad, Bible = Good??

I heard some coworkers talking about something today that bothered me. Somehow discussion came to the Middle East and Muslims and one woman brought up the Koran. She said she and her daughter had read parts of it after 9/11 to try to understand why the terrorists did what they did. Based on her readings, she determined that Muhammad was crazy and that Muslims just had radical notions that were completely antithetical to Western beliefs. The guy she was talking to nodded in agreement and said some things that weren't much better. Both of these people are nominal Christians.

Whenever anyone brings up the Koran and things they've read in it (or heard were in it), I wonder if they've read the Bible. I mean really read it. There is a lot of messed up things there. Too many people seem to conveniently overlook these parts when they talk about their wonderful Christian faith. But being a Christian should mean grappling with the hard parts of the Bible and not just the Beatitudes. Let's take a look at some troubling passages in the Bible.

1 Timothy 2:12

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Sure, there are some denominations that still believe in this passage, but most don't. Why not?

Psalm 137:7-9

Everyone likes Psalm 137, right? It's quite beautiful. Many people never seem to make it to the last couple of verses, though.

Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

I know there are some Christians that seem to get excited about violence, but how many think it's okay to pray for the death of babies?

Exodus 21:20-21

And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

So, according to the Bible, a slave owner who beats his slave to death should be punished; but if the slave lives then the slave owner is free and clear? Got it. How come I haven't heard any preacher building a sermon based on this passage?

I could go on, but I'll let you find some more fun verses on your own. My point with this is not to say that the Bible is monstrous and should be thrown out. My point is to say that the Bible is very similar to the Koran in that there are some very beautiful things in each and some very troublesome things. We can't look at either with blinders (or blast helmets) on and make judgments on fragments. We must be fair and evaluate the whole. Perhaps you'll come to the conclusion that one or both are full of garbage and only idiots would read them for guidance in life. That's your prerogative. However, you should make your judgment based on a fair reading of the entire text and not just the bits and pieces that support your preconceived notions.

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