An Infidel Reads the Quran: Surah 2:114-163


Surah 2:114-163

Okay, we’re back. Let’s see what else Mohammed has to say in this Surah.

So if you outlaw religious expression of God and desecrate houses of worship, you’re going to hell.

Everything belongs to God. He’s all-knowing and all-present.

Christians say God has a son, but Mohammed says God owns everything and all are obedient to God, which… didn’t we just go over Satan and mankind being disobedient? I’m a bit confused. Is he saying that God ordains creatures to disobedience and evil too?

God’s given you all the signs you need, so stop asking for more proof…

If you convert from Islam to Christianity or Judaism, then God will be mad at you.

You’re a loser if you’re not a Muslim.

And we’re back to talking about the Jews. Remember God’s blessing, they’re his favorite people… but they need to look out for judgement day. (Duh duh duh duh duh…Terminator theme!)

God promised Abraham that he would be a leader of humanity. Abraham asks about his kids, but God says ‘I’m not promising the sinners anything.’

Abraham prays that God would bless the obedient, and God says “Yeah, yeah, but seriously, I’m going to set the unbelievers on fire forever and it’s going to suuuuuuuuuck.”

Abraham and Ishmael pray that God would accept their worship and make them submissive to Him and forgive their sins.” This must have happened before Abe kicked Ishmael and Hagar out into the desert to die. Father of the year, that one.

Oh, and they finish the prayer by asking God to send a prophet to teach them all about Islam. Wow, that’s some foresight.

Abraham tells his kids and Jacob… wait.. was Abraham alive when Jacob was born… quick Google search.. oh, hey, yeah, according to the biblical timeline, they did share a few years together. I bet Isaac never let him go camping with Grandpa alone. Ha ha ha… yeah… he tried to kill Isaac once…

Anyway, Abraham teaches them about God and his religion Islam and Jacob teaches his kids, and if Christians and Jews say they’re right about religion, you can say that we respect all of the prophets, but follow and submit to God.

God is… the best at… coloring? Okay, yeah, I guess that makes sense.

Tell those Christians and Jews that you don’t want to argue about theology because you all worship the same God even if you’ve gotten it right.

God wants you to pray facing Mecca so we can tell who is right and who is wrong.

Don’t be skeptical and question things. Okay, no, I’m sorry, even if I don’t agree with him on everything, I think Paul had a better outlook, “Test everything, hold fast to what is true.” If something is from God, it should be able to stand skeptical inquiry.

Seriously… face Mecca when you pray.

Remember God and say, “Thanks.” He appreciates it.

There is an afterlife.

Some of your lives are going to suuuuuuck, but it’s just God testing you. That sounds familiar.

God has two sacred hills named Safa and Marwa and if you’re on pilgrimage, you should walk around them. God appreciates it.

If you reject faith, God tortures you with fire forever.

There is only one God. Benevolent and Compassionate. (Of course, there’s the problem of evil again… it’s difficult to believe that pediatric cancer is somehow part of a benevolent deity’s plan for humanity.)

Man… this is harder than the bible to read through. Maybe it flows better in Arabic, but Mohammed seems to be jumping around all over the place a lot in the English translation.

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An Infidel Reads the Quran: Surah 2:40-113


Surah 2:40 – 113

Okay, looks like the next section is calling the Jews back to God. God says if they keep us their end of the bargain, he’ll keep his. Be religious… don’t be hypocrites… seek the Lord.

Remember how I got you guys out of Egypt, Red Sea, killed Pharaoh’s army, all that, and then you guys worshiped a cow god instead? But I forgave you and gave you the Law. Moses calls them to repent, but in this story, the Jews say, “No, not unless we see God” so God kills them with lightning (It’s super effective) and then resurrects them all.

Then God leads them to a city to go and eat lunch and tells them to ask pardon, but some of them say other words instead, so God kills them with a plague.

Moses hits the rock and 12 streams come out and give Israel water.

The Jews complain about the lack of diversity in their diet and ask Moses to ask God to make veggies grow in the desert for them, and God tells them that if they really want good food, they can turn this caravan around and go straight back to Egypt… which had all of its food destroyed by the plagues, so maybe God forgot that part of the story.

Then the Jews killed the prophets because they were wicked.

Oh, but verse 62 says that Jews, Christians, and Sabeans (which I guess are Ethiopians from a quick Google search) can go to heaven if they believe in God and the Judgement Day (cue Terminator theme music here) and act righteously. Good to know.

Then Moses tells the Israelites to sacrifice a heifer to God and they want to know which cow they need to kill, so we go through a scene where Moses has to keep running back and forth from God to the people to give them the necessary details so they pick the right cow to kill for God.

Then the Jews murdered someone, but God brings him back to life.

But the Jews are hard-hearted and hypocrites. (I’m starting to sense a theme in this book…)

Woe to those who write their own scriptures and claim it’s from God so they can make money. (O-kay…)

Seriously, God will set you on fire forever if you make him angry.

Seriously, the Jews suck.

They rejected Moses and Jesus. So God curses them for their unbelief.

Jews suck and don’t believe any of these religions that claim new revelation from God. If they really believed in an afterlife, they’d kill themselves. But those evil Jews want to live even more than pagans do. God will punish them.

The Jews are so evil, they have evil Jew magic that they learned from two devils named Harut and Marut during the reign of Solomon. So the Jews practice their Jew magic and can cast a spell causing marital discord… which… I was expecting fireballs or Wingardium Leviosa at least. But apparently Jew Magic isn’t that cool.

God predestines you to mercy or Hell.

We don’t go around replacing scriptures unless we can think of a better one.

Seriously, don’t question my authority or you’re damned and don’t listen to those Christians or Jews trying to convince you they’re right. They know I’m right, but they’re just jealous…

Okay, here’s a good bit. Pray and give money to the poor. God sees and will repay you in kind.

Christians and Jews say, “No one can enter heaven unless he’s part of our group.” You should ask them for proof. (Good comeback. Of course, one could ask you the same thing.)

But everyone who submits to God and does what is good will have nothing to fear.

Christians and Jews both read the bible and say the other one is wrong. God will sort it out on Judgement Day. (Dun dun dun duh duh! Terminator theme!)

An Infidel Reads the Quran: Sura 1 and 2:1-39


Sura 1: The Opening

It’s a prayer of thanks to God, the gracious and merciful, the lord of worlds, and the judge, ascribing worship and our prayers of help. The author asks that God would guide him on the straight path, the path of His blessing, and not the path of the misguided whom God is angry with.

 

Sura 2: The Heifer

Verses 1-39:

This is the book in which there is no doubt, a guide to the righteous, and if you believe in things you can’t see, prayer what it tells you to pray, give, and believe what you’re told, you can be certain of heaven.

If you disbelieve, God makes you deaf, blind, and will torture you.

(Wow. They don’t waste any time here. It took the Bible until the New Testament to introduce God setting folks on fire forever. You think God could find another solution to unbelief, like… I don’t know… appearing to modern man… or just saying, “Alright, you scamps, I get it, you thought there wasn’t a god, so 10,000 years in Purgatory for you, and then we’ll call it squarsies.”)

Some people say they believe in God and the judgement, but don’t. They deceive themselves, but don’t know it and God will bring on them a painful punishment.

Also people who claim to be reformers, but are troublemakers. (So don’t question our authority or God will set you on fire forever? Martin Luther must be glad he was Catholic.)

And people who think Islam is foolishness and refuse to conform.

And the hypocrites.

They’re evil and unbelievers even though God surrounds them and He could do bad things to them.

So worship God, attain piety.

God made the Earth, the sky, and causes the rains to grow crops, so don’t worship other gods.

If you doubt Mohammed here, then write your own book and get witnesses to say it’s from God, but if you don’t then you’re in danger of hell. (This really isn’t a valid argument. Joseph Smith wrote his own book and he has witnesses. Doesn’t make him right.)

The good people will have plenty of fruit to eat and pure spouses and will live that way forever.

God uses anything as an object lesson, if you believe, and if you don’t, you’ll doubt God, but He misleads you because you’re evil.

You’re a loser if you disobey God.

How can you doubt the existence of God since you’re alive? (It’s the only possible explanation, Robin.)

God said to the angels, “I’m going to produce an heir on the Earth.”

“Is he going to be a jerk and kill stuff and sin while we have to fly around singing about how good you are?”

“I know things you don’t know.”

So God made Adam and taught him the names (of the angels?) and asks the angels to tell him the names (of each other or mankind?) and they say, “Eh, we don’t know. We only know what you preprogrammed into our noggins, Lord.”

So God has Adam tell them their names and God commands the angels to bow down to Adam, and they all do, except for Satan. (I guess Satan and God aren’t buds in this one.)

Then mankind goes to Eden, but screws up and gets kicked out, but God is merciful and doesn’t roast them like ants with a giant magnifying glass. But he does say, “Okay, guys, go live out your lives, but when I come and give you guidance, if you listen to me, you have nothing to fear, but if you disobey, seriously, I will light you on fire forever and ever.”

(Okay… let’s see… wow… 200 more verses to go in this one… I guess maybe I’ll stop here for the day. So far, it sort of reminds me of Proverbs, but with more threats of divine destruction. I guess Mohammed was a bit more hard core about theology than Solomon.)

An Infidel Reads the Quran: Prologue


Hello, everyone,

When I was growing up, I attended parochial school. A very strict Baptist school. So my first exposure to the religion of Islam was that it was a false religion, here are the basic beliefs, and here’s how, as good, little, Christian evangelists that Jesus expects us to be or else, is how to refute those beliefs.

Growing up in the 80’s, Arabs and Libyans were always the bad guys in the movies. Terrorists killing in the name of Allah. And then came 9/11… and I joined most of America in cheering along the war machine as it invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Later, I realized that the latter war was based on lies, that the United States helped fund and train Al Qaeda back when they were the heroes of Rambo III, that we continued to help and assist Saudi Arabia which was exporting the sort of Islam that was inspiring Al Qaeda, and that the Iranians had a very good reason for not liking us and kicking out the strongman we helped place over their country.

Islam is still confusing to me. It’s hard as a Westerner and an American to separate the religion from the culture. I can respect and accept that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people who, like me, just want to work and live in peace and leave their children a better world, and I’m happy for that. I would love one day to be able to travel the Middle East, enjoy the food, and meet them.

But Islam the religion seems to have inspired some people towards darkness.

So… here I am. I’m going to read the Quran for myself. I’ll be looking it over just like I looked over my own scripture. I will be reading it in English, because my talents do not include linguistics. And when I find something worthy, I will point it out. When I find something objectionable, I will point it out.

So, if that bothers you, then ignore my blog for the next few months. If you want to have a dialog, comments are open and I approve all of them except spam, profane, or violent ones. If you want to read along with me and laugh occasionally, then welcome to the next series in my personal exploration of world religions.

Who knows? If the book is truly God’s word to humanity, maybe I find what I am lacking in it. I am highly skeptical, but if God is and God did, then perhaps he will work a miracle.

The TL:DR Bible: Epilogue


What do you do when you wake up and you realize that you have doubts about your faith? I turned to my scriptures and I read them.

Did it help resolve the doubts?

No. It made the doubts stronger. Whether it’s the contradictions or the immoral moral laws supposedly dictated from on high to a desert tribal leader that we have no historical or archaeological evidence for, it seems almost certain that the bible was written by men addressing the issues and the culture of their own day.

So what did I find?

Well, I found out that there is a theme of social justice running from the prophets through the New Testament. I found a debate about the place of outsiders and whether or not God or a God could love them. He does. I found some good moral instruction.

And I found that it’s time for me to leave Evangelical Christianity behind. The current state of its politics make it easier, as does the views of most Evangelicals towards progressives in general and liberal Christians in particular.

At the end of the journey, I have more questions than answers, more doubt than faith, more ignorance than knowledge. I am an agnostic Christian who isn’t sure a God exists, but likes the idea of a benevolent one and a future hope and thinks that social justice is worth fighting for.

So call it what you will, judge me according to your standards, I have to be true to my own heart and mind. And if there is a loving God worthy of worship, I’m sure He (or She) will understand.

Thank you for reading along with me.

When I have time, I will compile all of my posts, edit them, and produce them in  book form. If you’re interested in that, stay tuned, I will announce when it’s ready.

But, for now, it’s time to move on to the next Abrahamic religion.

The TL:DR Bible: Revelation 17-22


 Chapter 17:

One of the angels that dumped out his bowl of wrath tells John to come and see the judgment of the great whore.

There’s a woman riding a seven headed, ten horned scarlet beast with blasphemous names on it. She’s wearing designer clothes and jewelry and carrying a gold cup full of abominations. She has a face tattoo of her name, Babylon the great, mother of whores and abominations. You wonder how that fit on her forehead.

And she’s drunk on Christian blood because subtlety is for losers.

The angel says the beast is going to rise out of the abyss and go to destruction. The seven heads of the beast are seven mountains and if you’ve heard Rome called the city of seven hills, you know that’s what he’s talking about. John proclaims that they are also seven kings, five are dead, one is, and one is to come. Which doesn’t make sense because by the time this was written, Rome had had 15 or 16 emperors who had died, not five. But the beast is the eighth king, but one of the seven and geez, John, get an abacus, would you? And then the ten horns are ten new kings that don’t have a kingdom yet, but when they do, they’ll be vice-king under the beast.

Then they fight against eldritch abomination Jesus and he defeats them.

And everyone who used to love the beast will hate her and burn her with fire and devour her body.

 

Chapter 18:

Rome falls and becomes desolate and abandoned in a day, a place of wild animals and birds because of their economic and moral exploitation. Christians are warned to abandon Rome or else they will get caught up in God’s karmic retribution.

And now everyone is sad about Rome falling because of the good and economic losses they’ve incurred.

And a strong angel picks up a rock and chucks it into the sea and says, “That’s Babylon. They sucked.”

 

Chapter 19:

Then everyone in heaven looks at God and says, “It was a good thing you overthrew Rome and killed all of her inhabitants… a very good thing.”

Then Jesus finally makes an honest woman out of the church after being engaged for like 2,000+ years and they have a very tasteful reception with an open bar and passable chicken cordon bleu with a vegetable lasagna option for Daniel and his vegetarian friends.

Then I guess after the honeymoon to Disney World, Jesus gets pissed and rides a horse over to face the beasts and the dragon and their armies. He’s got laser eyes, bloody robes, a thigh tattoo of his special name, and a sword mouth again.

An angel calls all of the carrion birds to come and eat because this isn’t Jesus “Turn the other cheek” Christ, this is Jesus “When you absolutely positively have to kill every mother****er in the room, accept no substitutes” Christ.

And he does. He kills everyone. Except the beasts. Those guys he flings into a Lake of Fire alive.

 

Chapter 20:

An angel puts the devil into prison for a thousand years, then Angry Vengeance Jesus holds a tribunal over the dead Christian martyrs and they get to join him and rule over the nations.

Then the devil is granted parole… which… come on, it’s the friggin’ devil! You know he’s going to reoffend. But the devil gets out and everyone is angry at living under Jesus’ rule, so they rebel and God kills them all and throws the devil into the Lake of Fire too. And he destroys the Earth and the universe for good measure.

Then God holds court and judges all of the unbeliever dead and throws them all into the Lake of Fire to be tortured forever and ever without respite, hope, mercy, or compassion, and God is the good guy in this story…

 

Chapter 21:

God makes a new universe and a new Earth. He makes a new Jerusalem. God will live with men forever and ever. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (So I guess you forget at some point that God is torturing Uncle Sal in the lake of fire then? Or you nod, smile, and say, “It’s a good thing you done that God, a very good thing.”)

God says, “I’ve made everything new. I’m the first and the last. Anyone who wants to drink the waters of eternal life can. But if you’re a coward, an unbeliever, an abomination, a murderer, immoral, a wizard, a liar, or an idolater, (he remains silent on the tokers, the smokers, and the midnight jokers) you’re shit out of luck and I will be torturing you with fire forever. Yes, I am somehow still considered the GOOD guy in this story.”

And then John sees the new Jerusalem. It’s a cube with each side being a length of 1,500 miles. And it’s gilded over in precious stones and metals like a Trump tower. The doors are never closed and everyone comes and goes as they please and God makes it his home.

But yeah… outside there are still billions of people that God is torturing with fire and they can’t come inside.

 

Chapter 22:

Then John sees the river of life coming from the throne of God and Jesus Christ. God’s planted some trees of Life next to the river and it bears different fruit every month and its leaves can heal. Evil and natural evils will no longer exist and you can go and see Jesus anytime you like.

“I’ll be back soon. I just need to go to the liquor store and get a pack of smokes,” Jesus says.

John tries to worship the angel who’s been guiding him, but the angel says, “Yeah, don’t do that. Jealous God and all, remember? Also, people don’t change and the end is near.”

Jesus says, “I’m coming back quickly and I’ll repay everyone according to their deeds. Make sure you’re on the right side of heaven’s gate, because seriously, yes, I’m going to torture everyone on the outside. I am the GOOD guy of this story.”

And everyone says, “Yes, Lord, return quickly.”

Also, if you add words to this book, God will smite you with all of the plagues of this book and if you take words away from this book, like say… by writing a blog where you summarize the bible… God is… going to take away your name from the book of life and torture you with fire forever. Well…shit… I guess I should have read the end of this bible thing first.

But grace to everyone. Amen.

And they all lived happily ever after, except for the people that God spent eternity torturing with fire. Amen.

The TL:DR Bible: Revelation 13-16


 Chapter 13:

John sees a leopard with bear feet and seven lion heads with ten horns crawl out of the sea. And its heads have blasphemous names written on them The devil gives it power and authority.

One of the heads is wounded, but is healed. So the entire Earth decides to give up all of their deeply held religious beliefs and worship the leopard, lion, bear thing and the Christian devil because….?

The beast goes around saying blasphemy a lot for three and a half years. And he decides to kill the Christians.

Everyone who isn’t predestined for heaven worships him, which doesn’t create moral or ethical questions because…?

What goes around comes around though.

A second beast hops out of the sea with ram’s horns and a dragon voice. Fus Ro Dah!

He makes everyone worship the first beast and knows the fire breath shout too. He convinces the world to make a giant idol of the first beast and then he animates it so it can kill anyone who doesn’t worship the first beast.

And he makes everyone get a mark on their right hand or forehead if they want to participate in economic activity. And the mark is 666 or 616 depending on your translation.

 

Chapter 14:

Eldritch abomination Jesus stands on Mount Zion. And he’s got the 144,000 Jews with him. All dudes, of course. And all virgins because they haven’t ‘defiled’ themselves with women. Yeah, women are icky. Sex, which God supposedly created, is also apparently icky.  They’ve all got matching Yahweh tattoos on their foreheads and they sing a new song that only they can know.

Then an angel flies around the globe telling everyone the gospel story in their own language, followed by an angel who announces that Babylon the Great has fallen. Dude, we know… we read about it back in Daniel. I know, I know, it’s probably symbolic, but I was told to read the bible literally, so that’s what I’m doing.

And a third angel flies after them saying, “If you take the mark of the beast, you’re boned and God will set you on fire forever.”

Then the son of man is standing around with a sickle and angels fly out with sickles and another angel tells them all to start reaping. So they do, and they fill the wine press of God’s wrath with grapes and mash it all down, so blood flows from the wine press six feet high in a 200 mile diameter. I hope Jesus invested in some Oxyclean.

 

Chapter 15:

Meanwhile, everyone else is in heaven singing the song of Moses to God, then seven angels appear and get seven bowls full of blood wrath from one of the good living beasts and the Temple of God is full of smoke and burning and no one gets in until the angels are done pouring out their bowls.

 

Chapter 16:

The first angel pours out his bowl and everyone who took the mark of the bad beast gets boils all over their bodies.

Angel 2 dumps his bowl and everything in the sea that was still alive dies.

Angel three dumps his bowl into the rivers and they all turn to blood. And the angel of the waters sings, “Righteous are you, O God. Those people shed the blood of saints and now they have only blood to drink. They deserve this.”

Angel four dumps his bowl into the sun and it heats up making everyone on Earth miserable, so they curse God’s name because that makes sense…

Angel five dumps his bowl and the entire kingdom of the beast is plunged into darkness. And everyone is miserable and biting their tongues and cursing God because again… this makes sense if you’ve never met a human being…

Angel six dumps his bowl on the Euphrates and it dries up, so the kings of the East can march their footmen across it because it’s not like military engineering has advanced since the 2nd century CE.

The dragon, the beast, and the second evil beast open their mouths and frog spirits hop out and convince everyone to go to war at Armageddon.

And angel seven dumps out his bowl and a voice says, “It is done” and the entire Earth shakes, the great city breaks into three parts, Babylon is judged again, the islands and mountains collapse for a second time and 100 lbs. hailstones fall from the sky and kill lots of people. And everyone curses God again for sending hail.