Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Opus 2011-102, Koran Klarifications: Opening Understandings, Part 1

I am going to begin a series of posts on what the Koran has to say.  This interest began several years ago when a principal who hated the fact that I was a patriotic American and a Bible believer made a point of changing my assignment from eighth grade U.S. History to seventh grade World History.  She was what I would then call a “liberal,” a term that has been replaced by “progressive.”  She was also an open lesbian.  She was so open that she announced her “marriage” to another faculty member at a faculty meeting.  With me she was doing “damage control.”  She replaced me with an avowed socialist whose parents were born in the middle east, a non-religious Arab,  who hates America as it is.  He thinks that Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States is the ultimate resource.  He truly dislikes our system and is fluent in Arabic so he teaches U.S. History and the Constitution.  I love the Constitution and had never read the Koran so I was to teach the period covering the birth and development of Islam.  This is public education at work.

So I bought a copy of the Koran and read it that summer.  Other people’s opinions are nice but the primary sources are much better.  I also downloaded the translation available from the Gutenberg Project .  As I read I compared the two translations.  The one I bought was translated by a Muslim and endorsed by that religion (as much as possible, more on that later).  (The Glorious Qur’an Translation, translated by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, Elmhurst, New York:  Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc., 2003.)  The download was the classical public domain translation that was translated in 1861by an Oxford professor, J.M. Rodwell, who I assume was at least a cultural Christian.  I felt that comparing the two would give me a fair chance at understanding what the Arabic actually said.  I am not an expert on the Koran.  I can, however, read and understand the meaning of what I read.  I will try not to read things in that are not there.  You be the judge.  If you are a Muslim I am open to correction if my facts are wrong but don’t forget that I can also judge what it says.  I am used to dealing with “Christians” telling me what the Bible says and means when anyone who knows which side of the page goes up can see that they are wrong. 

Many of the points of doctrine taught in Islam are not from the Koran but the Hadith.  The Hadith is a second book that contains the words of Mohammed as opposed to the Koran which is the word of God delivered to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel.  My understanding is that the Hadith is an extensive body of literature like the Hebrew Talmud, much longer that the basic scripture.  My impression is that the Hadith is so long and has so many contributors that it is one of those documents in which anything can be found if you look long enough.  The Hadith is not something that can be read through in spare time during a summer which means I am not familiar with the Hadith, so my comments will focus only on the Koran.

I know how many books there are that are commentaries on the Bible.  I imagine there is a similar collection about the Koran.  My comments are simply the comments of a reader who sees a lot of distortion by people who have never read either book.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.