Yes, there are beautiful passages in the Bible and the Quran, pointing out ways in which people may connect with a better, higher part of themselves. But over and above that — or under and below it — these manuscripts contain a number of atrocious instructions.
An interesting experiment took place in the Netherlands late last year. The researchers took to the streets, reading a few questionable passages from the Bible as if they were passages from the Quran, asking people what they thought about them. The results revealed a definite prejudice against the Quran (at least in the people filmed — no one knows how many people were approached, what footage was discarded, how representative the study was of the general population etc).
But the prejudice was there. In that respect, the experiment worked. Some people were itching to brand the Quran violent.
What does this show?
First, that there’s prejudice toward Islam.
Second, that Christian and Islamic texts have similarities, enough to be easily confused for one another. Excerpts about chopping off sinners’ hands and eating their flesh and damning them to hell sound legit in both texts.
Let’s focus on the second point. While everyone rages on about Islamophobia, they forget that there’s genuine cause for concern when dealing with Islam, as there is when dealing with Christianity or any religion whose laws and regulations come from books that contain a number of frightful instructions. There are many lowpoints in these religious tomes which we, as an intelligent and knowledgeable species, ought to be ashamed of. The charge of blasphemy and apostasy and adultery and damnation no longer represent our knowledge and understanding of the world, yet there they are, part of the cultural narrative of billions of people, taught in congregations across the world, in various sects, making themselves relevant not as points of view but as religious doctrine.
To be clear, this is not just some person believing privately that the people who stray from the holy word are damned. This is organized religion spreading its frightful viewpoints on certain aspects of life under the protection of the law, with all the authority afforded to it. This is dangerous ideology seeping into politics and education across the world, from the US and Russia to Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Forget the transcendental elements in both the Bible and the Quran. Yes, there are beautiful passages in both books, pointing out ways in which people may connect with a better, higher part of themselves. But over and above that — or under and below it — these manuscripts contain a number of atrocious instructions, moral codes, laws and judgements borne out of ancient and medieval times when society’s state of mind was saturated with institutionalized viciousness, prejudice, superstition and ignorance.
It’s these horrifying elements we must — emphasis on the word MUST — oppose. We MUST defang them. They MUST be stricken from today’s narrative so that the horrors they convey will be no more.
The conclusion is simple. The Quran and the Bible, for all their beauty when they got it right, ought to be revised and amended because when they got it wrong — and it happened on a number of occasions — they were monstrously off the mark, leading to horrific misinterpretations. Loathe as I am to tampering with original texts, especially old and culturally significant ones, these writings are no mere literature, or so they claim, therefore their content matters immensely, as does their credibility. They don’t have the luxury of being lackadaisical or ill-devised, like some random publication. They ought to be updated if they’re to continue being used in the capacity they command. Either that, or they have to be abandoned, decommissioned, and sent straight to the museums and archives.
If they’re to be left intact, their original esthetic unaltered (forget the countless alterations and misinterpretations suffered by these texts over the centuries in the hands of scribes and Bishops and Mullahs and Ayatollahs) they ought to be regarded neither as absolute law nor as divine word. On the contrary, they ought to be normalized, regarded as just another set of books, just another motherfucking point of view. Get off their high horse and join the rest of humanity’s narratives as just another tome of books depicting an array of epic worldviews, to each their own, end of story, enjoy them as you please but please, for God’s sake, keep the doctrine to yourselves and the zealous indoctrinating down, thank you very much. You don’t see me enforcing the mythology of Star Wars on others, do you? I don’t go batshit Tolkien crazy on those who haven’t read The Lord Of The Rings, even though I’m truly offended by their ignorance, and feel sorry for them, and angry, and compelled to make them understand the sublime nature of the canon I worship?
Finally, when anyone points out the monstrous elements in the Bible and the Quran or any other religious tome, let others judge the point made, not the person making it. Respond to the content of the criticism, not the messenger. This way we, as a global society, as a species evolving our way out of ignorance, may focus on the matter at hand, revising these damn holy texts as the need arises. Let us prevent them from being a major cause of global strife and calamity. Let us put an end to the prejudice they’ve been breeding, once and for all.
Then we can deal with the secular bigots, one at a time.
From your don’t-give-a-damn Spin Doctor, and in conjunction with Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, throw away the bad ones, and, most importantly,
Eyes open, mind sharp.