November 28, 2005


Koran 'no match for violent Bible' (Samantha Maiden, November 29, 2005, The Australian)

MUSLIM extremists may use the Koran to justify their terror attacks, "but when it comes to good old-fashioned violence, the Judaeo-Christian God is hard to beat".

NSW Labor MP Julia Irwin -- considered a serial offender on religious issues by her own party -- ignited a new controversy yesterday as she described devout Christians as "happy clappers" and said the Bible was more bloodthirsty than the Koran.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2005 4:36 PM

She's got a point. The Islamists might want to ponder that the message Jesus brought us about turning the other cheek is one that has incompletely filtered down through the Christian Churches. We're more than capable of turning 'Old Testament' on the Islamists if they push us hard enough.

Posted by: Steve White at November 28, 2005 6:11 PM

Of course, Christ was a hypocrite--witness his lack of cheek turnage to the money lenders.

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2005 6:43 PM

One must have to work really, really hard to miss the point as completely as Ms. Irwin has...

Posted by: b at November 28, 2005 7:07 PM

As the saying goes: "In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is." I suppose one could count violent incidents in the Bible and Koran and say the Bible is "more violent." However, in the real world, I see very few Bible-waving maniacs murdering Jews, gays, adulterers, pizza-eaters, nightclub patrons, retarded children, etc, etc. and justifying it with one passage or another. And when such things do happen, they are loudly and widely condemned by other Bible-followers.

On the other hand, there seem to be lots of Koran-waving maniacs who eagerly slaughter all sorts of people, justify it with their holy book, and who aren't generally condemned by their co-religionists. I'd say the proof's in the pudding.

Posted by: PapayaSF at November 28, 2005 7:36 PM

Where is Harry when you need him? He'd have been rolling in this like it was catnip.

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 28, 2005 10:18 PM

I don't know how we could ever test her theory. I've attempted to read the Koran on occasion.

It is utterly incomprehensible. It seems to mean what it's mullahs want it to mean. This appears to have been the intent when writing it.

Posted by: Bruno at November 29, 2005 12:57 AM

The ultimate question is, once one believes in God, God's grandeur, God' glory, and God's law (spirit or letter), what is it that is permissible to do in God's name?

And what isn't.

Some faiths have worked it out more or less. Others seem to grant quite a bit more leeway.

The problem being, of course, the temptation to believe that I, the believer, know exactly what God would have me do---and that, therefore, conversely, God would approve of what I feel, or rather know, is absolutely necessary to do, no matter how bloody or barbaric.

It's always been a question of checks and balances (guilt? conscience?), I guess. Some belief systems offer more; others come up a bit wanting.

In the end, however, it may be, perhaps unpleasantly, that those systems that promote guilt (and the acknowledgement of personal responsibility that guilt entails) and expiation become more adept (successful?) than those that promote shame, rage, and the blaming of others.


Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 29, 2005 2:22 AM

Like Joe, I lament Harry's disappearance.

If he were here, I imagine he would observe that Ms Irwin is correct, but that Christianity has been much better than Islam at adapting itself to changing social (secular) moral trends.

Posted by: Brit at November 29, 2005 6:03 AM

Yes, but on this subject "better" would be a decidedly relative term in Harry's lexicon.

Posted by: Peter B at November 29, 2005 6:38 AM

The OT is the story of the relationship between God and his Chosen People. Israel literally means "he who struggles with God". Time and again Israel fell away only to be reconciled. It is a testament to God's faithfulness to his people.

The NT completed the story with Jesus (literally "God saves"). Jesus completed and fulfilled the Law. By his example he showed the perfect ideal of the relationship God wanted, and in doing so created a bridge allowing everyone to come to God through Him.

Jesus' teachings are difficult. Love one' enemies? Turn the other cheek? Yet they are solidly founded on the basis of love, which is what the Bible is all about: the loving parent/child relationship that God wants, starting with Israel thence through Jesus with all of us.

The Koran is the story of power. Islam means literally "submit". The relationship with Allah is master/slave. He rewards the faithful with the promise of heavenly physical pleasures (72 virgins). Allah is high and remote. Mohammed is the only one allowed to be close to Allah (creating a barrier, the opposite of Jesus who is a bridge). There is no getting close to Allah; he loves you only in the sense of a master patting a dog on its head. Because there is no love in Islam, any lie, deceit, violence, or treachery is allowed if it increases his power.

Posted by: Gideon at November 29, 2005 7:08 AM


It's poetry. Get a good translation and it's lovely. It most resembles the King James Bible in that it didn't just present revelation but created the language.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2005 7:37 AM

The Quran is a book of the sword, and only astonishingly selective reading can change that.

Especially since it doesn't have anything like a New Testament to constitute something of a divine re-think.

As for Harry, until something under a year ago, he and I occasionally traded emails. Last month, I sent another his way to inquire how he is doing. Unfortunately, his email address is gone, and all other attempts proved fruitless (Thanks to JK Rowling and fan fiction, trying to find "Harry Eager" via Google is now a mug's game...). He did have some health problems, though, so the reason he isn't posting here anymore might be quite sad.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 29, 2005 7:48 AM

The New Testament is just God's acknowledgment that Man's flaws are His fault.

"Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2005 7:56 AM


You might try emailing the Maui News to enquire?

Posted by: Brit at November 29, 2005 7:57 AM

Harry had a byline in the paper yesterday:

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2005 8:05 AM


Your googling efforts were undoubtedly hampered by the fact that his last name is Eagar, not Eager. There is an e-mail link at the bottom of that article.

Posted by: Peter B at November 29, 2005 9:04 AM




Thanks -- when I was googling around, I tried getting to the Maui news, and every link available (of several I tried) didn't work at the time.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear my expectation was far too dire.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 30, 2005 7:00 AM