Monday, March 23, 2015
Some objections to my literal interpretation of the Quran:
Objection 1: This is problematic. You leave the scientific attitude, and you make a quasi infinite argument per authority error. Like the catholic church which at least condemn literalism. You might be the one doing the blasphemy, asserting knowing a public relationship with god.
It is equivalent with: by definition I do right and you do wrong. Your literalism is equivalent with insulting all believers not sharing your assumption, pursuing different ways.
It would be more appropriate to search on what we all share about God.
I advocate the scientific attitude in theology. Literalism does not help. How could we ever "religare" the literalists in different traditions? How can you be literalist about a subject as complex as God, known for having no real name, no image, being inconceivable, etc. Your attitude prevents the doubt which makes possible the progress. I think.
My Response: You misunderstand me. I speak for my personal self only. Having studied the Quran and using science as a tool to help understand it, I am now fully convinced that the Arabic text of the Quran is indeed revealed scripture. So, my attitude towards it is one of humble submission. There are many verses that are still not clear to me, as I am only human and limited by my knowledge and understanding, yet as a believer I try to look for scientific research and knowledge to help me better understand the verses, instead of rejecting it simply because it is not according to my knowledge or popular current theories. Also, it is important to remember that the verses we speak and try to understand are mostly about creation. So, its basically an exploration and discovery of and about nature. Only a few verses give any idea about God. In fact, a verse clearly states that there is nothing like God, so we really cannot imagine or speculate about God. We can only observe and wonder about the majesty of God through the creation and check how factually accurate the scripture is about creation.
I understand that each one of us is at a different level of knowledge and understanding, as well as in their own unique journey of making sense of it all. It is perfectly okay for you and others to doubt and put the verses to the falsification test. I believe that if you're earnestly looking for the truth, God will lead you to it. Also, if someone does not wish to believe, God will never force faith on anyone.
Objection 2: The Quran is a divine poem. Nothing in a poem should be taken literally.
My Response: The Quran is not a poem. If we do not take a scripture or any piece of writing literally, then we can interpret it in several ways, some of which the author may not have intended. I think its far more dangerous and detrimental to the purpose of the scripture to not to take it literally than to take it literally. When you take it literally, you can have an opinion of whether you do or do not agree with the author; however when you do not take it literally, you first imagine what to interpret, and then refute your own imagination, and then blame it on the author.
Objection 3: literalism just remains stuck in the past, mired in contradictions and ambiguity of interpretation (not due to "blaming it on the author", that is your faith; mine is that language is often this ambiguous, especially concerning theological subjects because most people are aware of blasphemy problem, and don't wish to pretend being the voice of god) while critical distance and doubt allow possibly new and creative responses to a problem, while not betraying the purpose of the text. This freedom is immediately lost, when such larger meaning is made literal.
That's why I can relate to the position that literalists have perhaps less faith. They seem to not trust their God's truth, and have to look for little sentences in scripture to make their point. A critical theologian, that allows doubt and goes against scripture when the time is proper, has more faith here, as he learns and studies the will of god beyond the letters and admits the possibility that their God is greater than anything produced by letters; this attitude is open to expanding her/his understanding of reality and does not get stuck in literal interpretations that limit his conception of god.
My Response: God is greater than any and everything. God is also able to articulate whatever He wishes to communicate to us. Scripture is divine revelation. Moreover, as per the verse in the Quran [http://quran.com/15/9], it is our faith that God has taken the responsibility of guarding the arabic text of the Quran from any changes, so we are rest assured that the arabic text is free of corruption.
What I don't understand is that the same people who will study scientific papers and business letters and documents and legal notices in great detail, hanging on to each word, how can they so easily refute the scriptures, when it is such an important document, possibly from God?
Last updated on: April 2, 2015