Monday, September 08, 2014

Are All Religions Basically The Same?

One way to increase your appreciation for the Bible is to read the Quran. Consider Antony Flew's experience, for example.

Flew was a prominent atheist philosopher who came to believe in the existence of God shortly before his death. He never became a Christian, but that makes his comments about the contrast between Christianity and Islam even more significant. Unlike many critics of Christianity who irrationally claim that there aren't any significant differences among the religions of the world, Flew acknowledged some important contrasts between Christianity and Islam:

"Between the New Testament and the Qur'an there is (as it is customary to say when making such comparisons) no comparison. Whereas markets can be found for books on reading the Bible as literature, to read the Qur'an is a penance rather than a pleasure....Whereas St. Paul, who was the chief contributor to the New Testament, knew all the three relevant languages and obviously possessed a first class philosophical mind, the Prophet [Muhammad], though gifted in the arts of persuasion and clearly a considerable military leader, was both doubtfully literate and certainly ill-informed about the contents of the Old Testament and about several matters of which God, if not even the least informed of the Prophet's contemporaries, must have been cognizant. This raises the possibility of what my philosophical contemporaries in the heyday of Gilbert Ryle would have described as a knock-down falsification of Islam: something which is most certainly not possible in the case of Christianity....The evidence for the resurrection [of Jesus] is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion….Well, one thing I'll say in this comparison is that, for goodness sake, Jesus is an enormously attractive charismatic figure, which the Prophet of Islam most emphatically is not." (208-9, 211 here)

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