(Not) Defending the Quran

I read way too much apologetic literature, of both the Christian and the Muslim kind. It’s always hard to be confident I’m getting a representative sample; after all, I also ignore a lot that seems boring to me when I flip though a few pages. Still, I’ll risk a broad-brush comparison.

The Christian stuff I run into tends to be either not overly concerned with the Bible, or, if it’s fundamentalist in character, will often at least gesture toward detailed reasons why the Bible is completely trustworthy and so forth. There are lots of books out there that purport to demonstrate that the Bible is the Word of God. As a connoisseur of “loony books” and a fan of pseudoscience, I find these very entertaining.

I have, however, run into far fewer equivalents from the Muslim side. There is no shortage of writers standing up in defense of Islam, but it’s more typical for them just to assume that the Quran is the perfect Word of God, offering very little in the way of hints of why this is so. Their main preoccupation is defending one version or another of Islam as being True Islam. Sure, there are Josh McDowell equivalents in the Muslim world, but they seem to play a much more minor part. The more common attitude seems to be that the sacred nature of the Quran is just obvious. You encounter the Quran, and its perfection sweeps you away.

You have to be impressed by it. A billion Muslims, and for most of them, it would almost never occur to question whether an almost incomprehensible mishmash is divine. That’s strength in a faith.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University


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