Theology Thursdays: Revelation (The Bible and Qur'an) by Supreme Scientist Allah
Many religious people offer, in order to discover any 'evidence' of their 'god', that we must read and rely on revelation. They assert that we must believe in the testimony of various individuals who, supposedly, have communicated with a mystery god through conversations, visions, dreams, auditory messages, hallucinations, epileptic seizures, schizophrenia, ignorance, and other methods which resemble mental diseases and disorders. Supposedly, 'god' dislikes certain ways and actions of Man and, through the medium of a man called a prophet or a messenger, he reveals religious laws which we must obey. The individuals who have experienced these kinds of 'messages from god' have crafted several writings throughout history. Two of the most popular of these books resulting from the communication from the so-called 'god' are the Bible and Qur’an.
Unfortunately, once again, before we can begin to consider the ideas and information contained in these so-called revelations of 'god', the theist must prove with certainty that it was in fact a so-called 'god' communicating anything at all. How do we distinguish one 'revelation' from another? Why should we accept the 'revelation' of the Bible and Qu’ran as true, and at the same time, deny the so-called revelations of other religious sects and systems? How are we to know whether or not these so-called revelations are not simply the result of misconceptions of natural phenomena, plain ignorance or deceit? Considering the times in which these books were written, why would it be surprising to declare that they were not written with a sound, scientific mind, and therefore are not very reliable?
How are we to be certain that the communication is indeed from the so-called 'god' and not just the creative invention of another man, or their 'devil', or an entity alien to the Planet Earth? Who were the authors who received the revelation and recorded them? When did they record the so-called revelations? What type of people were they? Where did they live? What else did they write? Were they accurate? How do you know? Were they recorded first hand, by eye witnesses of the events or from oral traditions and stories? Did anyone else have access to what they recorded other than the authors? If so, who, when and how did they handle the said writings? These are the types of issues religious people must honestly address BEFORE they can quote, argue, or explain their position for using the Bible and Qur’an as proof for a mystery god and his laws.
After that is established, our next concern would be whether or not the 'revelation from god' is the truth. What purpose would it serve to accept a 'revelation' that spoke of the earth being created before the sun, women made from the ribs of man and other scientific impossibilities and logical errors. Does the so-called 'god' run around installing mythology inside of the head of men and women that is just false? Would not an all-powerful, all-knowing god want to communicate with us as clearly as possible? If it so urgent that we accept this mystery god and his commands, then why is 'he' speaking to us in ways that are so easy to misunderstand and misinterpret?
'God' could save all the confusion, suffering and death by speaking to man aloud or, better still, establishing one of those entertaining 1-900 numbers so that everyone could correspond with him directly or listen to his interpretation of the Bible and Qur’an. Unfortunately, as helpful as these alternatives to conveying the 'god's' will to us are, it appears as though he would rather remain a mystery and leave us the burden of sifting through endless texts and testimonies to discover his so-called true message.
It is very questionable whether or not the so-called 'god' really wants to save and protect man, woman and child at all. Firstly, one would ask why 'he' would deliver his messages in means that are extremely unclear and highly ambiguous in nature? If knowing his will, rules and regulations is so vital to us all, why was it not made easily understandable to all? And what about the millions, if not billions, of men, women and children who have never heard of a particular theology? Or those who have been exposed to that theology through ways that any rational person would reject? If anything, the so-called 'god' should understand why so many people are not accepting his will, prophets, messengers and ministers, being that the message is not being delivered in ways conducive to our universal acceptance. Or, since 'he' has the power over everything (i.e. omnipotent) as some religious people assert, 'he' could just implant 'his' message inside of our brains through one of 'his' supernatural means.
Essentially, what the Bible and written Qur’an does offer us is a means of searching for analogies from past experiences for the purposes of utilizing the intelligent solutions to solve our current problems. These books also offer us a means of being mindful of those decisions which were hazardous and unproductive to civilized life in the past. However, the problem with citing the examples of a person's life choices from the Bible, or Qur'an is that the people of the Bible and Qur'an believed they were dependent on a mystery god. Even if it were proven that all of the people of the said religious books were physically real people (which it has not), this still does not mean that their decisions, 600 or 2000 years ago, are the right decisions for us in this day and time. How could their decisions be necessarily correct for us, in this day and time, when they saturated their lives with belief in a mystery god, a belief the sun revolving around the earth, belief in a mythical heaven and hell and other fantastic ideas? Thus, this rely-on-the-religious-books mentality fails to recognize and realize the new experiences in man’s history. Surely there is something 'new under the Sun' if we have come to correctly understand, contrary to what the bible states, that the Sun was actually created before the Earth.
Other theists posit that everything in the said religious books is right, if you interpret them correctly. Well, I suppose we could also make science fiction, the tabloids, or fairy tales “right” or "true", if we employed the same method, as well. In addition, one must ask, "Is the Bible and Qur’an 'right' by itself or only through a certain person's perception and explanation?" Unfortunately, the authors of these writings are not available for us to consult for the purpose of 'righting' a lot of the obvious wrongs of the Qur’an and Bible. While having the talent in interpreting these books is entertaining, it does not prove the Bible or Qur’an is 'right' unless one also proves that their 'interpretation' is also what the author of the Bible and Qur’an intended. Otherwise, no matter how efficiently the theist can turn jigsaw puzzles into Van Goghs, the Bible and the written Qur’an will remain to be faulty references for truth.
Another problem with interpreting prophecy and scriptures is that they are often very vague. One could actually 'interpret' just about any passage from a religious book as being the prophecy for a real life experience. What religious people actually mean is, if we discover a scientific or logical error in the Bible or Qur’an, they will interpret and interpret and interpret until the original meaning of the words of the Bible or Qur’an disappears. According to the common theologian, he could take 'any' inaccuracy and create a mental reality or circumstance that resembles the writings of the Qur’an. That is not hard to understand or accomplish.
It should interesting to note that, in the 21st Century, many people still continue to believe in supernatural communication. After agreeing that various strange forms of telepathy are a part of the natural world, it is no wonder why so many people will accept the notion of prophecy and messengers. I am without doubt that if a person were to insist they are receiving these kinds of 'messages' in their life, they would not be taken with serious consideration. Instead, they would be recommended to consult a qualified doctor or psychologist at their earliest convenience.
Regardless of the commandment, code of conduct or instruction, it is difficult to understand that an author would have 'prior knowledge' of your individual circumstances in life. The narratives of the Bible and Qur’an, for instance, do not instruct you on what to do in every situation in life in actuality. They do, again, illustrate how various individuals, both real and fictional, handled certain situations in their lives so that we can consider the results of their decisions. And, regardless of the many laws and regulations given to improve the quality of living and civilization, they are not universally applicable. Many of the said religious laws must be interpreted to fit our present day circumstances.
One can not maintain that knowledge, or logic, or science, is their foundation in life and, in the same breath, utter that they believe in the Bible or Qur’an. The theist shows the coloration in his perception by suggesting that we take religious books as evidence for his assertions and belief in a 'god.' It also shows the world his lack of logic, scientific awareness and understanding of reality. This is because, in order to advocate that the written Qur’an and Bible are literally true and without error, is to, at the same time, advocate the absurdities and falsehoods contained in those books. Clearly, using the said religious books as 'proof' of their beliefs is only proof that they have no proof at all.
It should also be mentioned that the religious community will often argue that the poetic literary quality of the Bible and Qur’an alone is enough evidence to a 'divine' revelation. But even if we regard the Bible and Qur’an as literary works of art, this still does not pardon the problem of their logical and scientific errors. If the purpose of these books is to paint an attractive picture in the brains and imaginations of man, woman and child, then we can certainly concede that they have accomplished their goals. However, if they were designed to give us a certain truth about ourselves, and the world around us, then their poetic quality (or means of being revealed) is not a legitimate yardstick to measure with. Not all poems are true. Neither is all of the information in the Bible and Qur’an.
Supreme Scientist Allah
This article appears on The Scientific Community. The author Supreme Scientist Allah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Supreme Scientist Allah
Thursday, April 28, 2005