Desecrating the Quran

In light of recurrent news items concerning desecrations of the Quran, I thought I should contribute.

After all, I don’t treat the Quran as a special book. In both my offices—at home and on campus—it’s not unusual to see books strewn and stacked on the floor. And it occurs to me that I have, in the past, created sights that would shock some of my more devout Muslim friends. I have had, I will confess, a copy or two of the Quran lying on the floor, tossed aside. Worse, I have had other books on top of the Quran. If some of my devout Muslim acquaintances were to witness such a offense, they would automatically pick the Quran up, kiss it, and remove it to a high shelf in a position of prominence.

So here’s my documentation of mild Quran-desecration:

Not only is the Quran on the floor, I have stacked on top of it a copy of the Tanakh, the Book of Mormon, and Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt: A History.

Terrible, terrible stuff. I expect to burn in hell for this. Or at least to be hauled into court for “inciting religious hatred.”

Critical Thinking is Bigotry
Lessing’s Broad Ditch and Brad’s Lesser Ditch
Evolution vs. The Argument from Providence
Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 2
About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • Keith Parsons


    Right now a late-night meeting is going on in Islamabad to determine your fate. "How shall we deal with this bottom-stacking infidel?" one asks. "May the fleas of many camels nest in his eyebrows!" adds another. "Shall we declare an official fatwa," asks their leader, "or will an informal riot do?" Another opines: "The impious Qur'an bottom stacker is a physicist. I suggest that we ransack the physics department at the university and beat the physics professors. That will teach him better manners!" "Ah, you are always too merciful," says another, "unless one or two innocent people die improper stacking of the Holy Qur'an could spread uncontrollably!" All concurred with this wisdom.

  • Novelyn

    Okay, so I want to respect you and your opinions, but since you're purposely posting this post bragging about how your actions offend your religious friends, I see no reason to not say that I think this is just an example of how petty your religious arguments are. You can't stomp on our God like you stomp on our books. You can't, and you'll never be able to, because you are a human, and there are things bigger than you in this world.

  • Keith Parsons


    I think that Taner's point (correct me if I'm wrong, Taner) was that some people are so sensitive that it is hard NOT to offend them. In fact, many derive a perverse pleasure from being offended and the indulgence of self-righteous indignation that follows. Anger is a wonderful, invigorating feeling when you have it and can feel good about it. Also, one of the great comforts of religion is to give people targets for guilt-free hatred–blasphemers, infidels, heretics, apostates, etc. You can hate with impunity, indeed with delightful sanctimony, if you are convinced that you hate the same people God hates. Because righteous indignation and holy hatred are such seductive feelings, many people look for any opportunity to enjoy them, and so their capacity for being offended has a hair trigger.

  • IamJoseph

    There is only one legitimate way Muslims can demand respect for their scriptures: "reciprocity".

    What is hateful to you – do not unto others.

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