By Mike Edwards
Both Books make controversial statements contributed to God. Many interpret the Quran claiming Jews are not only infidels but enemies. See here. The Bible supposedly says gays will not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9). I am not suggesting all Muslims or Christians interpret their Book the same, but many assume God (Allah) condemn Jews or gays because their inspired Book does. Most don’t acknowledge their interpretation could be wrong. The greater danger may be many don’t question if words recorded are really inspired by God. This leads to interpretation, right or wrong, overruling moral sense. Did writers always understand God perfectly?
When one assumes a Book is inspired by God (Allah)
When believing something is inspired by God or Allah, one naturally assumes anything written is approved by God. An exception would be if the writer claims they are speaking for themselves and not necessarily representing God’s thoughts. If God is interpreted to condemn Jews or gays in a Book, a believer naturally shows devotion and obedience to God by imitating God. Keep in mind one can’t prove a Book is inspired — that God controlled the thought or writings — other than accepting a writer’s claim they were inspired by God. I am convinced it is best to assume a writer’s words may not be inspired by God.
The slippery slope toward assuming interpretations are inspired
I am more familiar with the Bible, so I will offer an example that I believe is relevant for our discussion. I don’t believe God is opposed to women priests or preachers. I don’t believe God condemns gays. Biblical scholars agree with me, some don’t. See here. See here. All literature, even if inspired, requires interpretation. It is rarely admitted one’s interpretation may be wrong or that the biblical writers may not have always understood God perfectly. I admit both. We avoid the slippery slope toward supposed inspired interpretations by accepting the Bible may be fallible.
How can we know God then?
A Book cannot be the sole determinate of what God is like since the same passages are subject to different interpretations. Also, the majority of people born in this world did not have a copy of the Bible. We are left to wonder how a Perfect God, the only God worth believing in, truly loves. It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. We all seem to know the question we ought to ask ourselves — am I loving others perfectly? Or am I loving others like I want to be loved. It isn’t presumptuous to imagine what a loving God is like through our moral consciences. See here.
How should we act toward others in the name of God?
A loving God surely desires to inspire and encourage you to become the person deep down you want to become. Consider a Book’s writer or editor didn’t understand God fully if your interpretation of a text is contrary to your moral intuition of a loving God. No reasonable human being doesn’t respect the universal compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. Moral truths aren’t hidden in any Book. Obviously, sexual abuse is immoral is obvious to most rational people. We must have open discussions which actions best imitate a loving God for the greater good of all.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org