July 28, 2003

The Koran changes

Islam has a fragility that is quite unlike Judaism and Christianity. The majority of believers hold the theological position that the only change made to the Koran since it was first written was the later addition of pronunciation marks and that not one word, not one syllable has been added or subtracted and nothing has been shifted around that would change meanings. This, they claim, compares favorably with the 'lying scribes' who have altered and changed the Jewish and Christian holy texts to fit their convenience, not God's (this also resolves, in Islam's favor, any discrepancies between the Koran and the Bible).

In discussing this, I've personally seen the veracity and unchanging nature of the Koran backed up with the most serious religious statement possible, the promise of conversion away from the faith if it were ever found to have been changed over time.

Thus we have a significant religious claim that can actually be historically verified or falsified, at least in theory and which could convulse the muslim world, with those who are more inclined toward Islamism being far more susceptible to disruption than their more moderate and liberal counterparts who can see a wider path of Islam.

But all this is so much speculation unless early koranic texts that differ from the modern koran have been found. Well, they have, and the idea that somebody copyedited God has people scared.

Establishing that the Koran has a history, when Islam claims it does not levels the playing field between the Christian/Islamic debate as most christians admit the historical record, that the Bible has a history.

But establishing that koranic writings were assembled and developed, also has a disparate effect on the various strains of Islam and most strengthens muslim liberals at the expense of Islamists and other inflexible muslim fundamentalists. Like the old millenarian christians who set a date for the 2nd coming, when the testable statements are falsified, that movement tends to die out.

The political use of religious debates has a long history. "God is on our side" is possibly one of the oldest political tactics known to man. Discrediting a violent, religious based, political movement has got to be the fundamental strategy of the resistance to Islamist aggression. If a challenge to Islam is presented that only the more peaceful moderates and liberals have an answer to, the hard line extremists will be left unable to adjust and will die away. They can threaten to kill researchers and publishers but that can't hide the truth for long.

Posted by TMLutas at July 28, 2003 03:46 AM