"The Origin of Quran. Its transmission, compilation, corruption/preservation and current status". 

A COMPREHENSIVE WRTITTEN DEBATE BETWEEN THREE ATHEISTS, A CHRISTIAN AND THREE MUSLIMS.

The debate will be hosted jointly by Exploring Faiths Organization (THIS BLOG) and the group "Religion, philosophy, let us talk about it" (http://www.facebook.com/groups/181024738596591/) and Islamic Perimeter (www.islamicperimeter.com). The debate will be published onhttp://www.exploringfo.blogspot.com and in the group mentioned above and also on the website http;//www.islamicperimeter.com

Mr. Dave Mark Rowlands: A British atheist and a humanist.

Mr. Dave Mark Rowlands' Rebuttal.
Like any good indoctrinated follower of an ideology we see the Islamic side of the argument regurgitating the same things that we always hear about the Qu'ran. It's inimitability, it's perfectness, that it's without error, how no-one has ever passed the Qu'ranic challenge and on and on. Ignoring evidence that points to the contrary, instead choosing to discard recorded historical facts.

When we examine the Qu'ranic challenge we immediately see how faulty it is. The Qu'ran itself sets no objective rules, instead simply declaring "create a surah like it and bring your witnesses". Who is the judge though?

If the challenge was serious there could of course be only one judge, and that judge would have to be Allah. After all, if humans are to be the judge it only further solidifies the fact that it's not Allah that protects the Qu'ran, it's humans. So how do we contact Allah, how do we call upon one of his metaphysical representatives? None of this is stated in the Qu'ran.

If we were to call on Allah itself to be our witness, what would the result be? Would he send the angel Gabriel as an intermediary?

Of course not, we would simply be sat there twiddling our thumbs while Muslims discuss amongst themselves the reasons why it's impossible for Allah to be the witness and judge. The rest of us would know the reason why it's impossible, the non-existence of said deity. The Qu'ranic challenge isn't evidence of it's divine origin, it's evidence of it's human origin and the non-existence of Allah. The fact that it needs to be judged by humans is more evidence that it has always been humans protecting it.

Would a Muslim be honest about his judgement? When we consider the mental gymnastics used in order to explain away the errors in the Qu'ran we are only left with one answer, no. They would reflexively and defensively claim that it fails to meet some previously unspoken rule.

What about the claims of inimitability? What is so special about? Once again it's left up to humans to explain. One of the answers is that it follows none of the rules of Arabic poetry and prose of the time, instead being in it's own category and grammatical style. In otherwords, it's simply badly written and excuses are made in order to forgive this fact. Followers of Islam should ask themselves whether it would have been considered unique, perfect and inimitable if there was no claim of divine origin. If I was to write a haiku that had an extra syllable in one of the lines would it be considered unique and inimitable? Would it be considered a classification of it's own? Or would it simply be considered badly written haiku?

What if I was to claim that it came from a god, would that then make it perfect and inimitable? Of course not, it would still simply be considered bad haiku. The unique writing style of the Qu'ran is nothing more than faulty grammar.

"But the Qu'ran has perfect grammar" are the cries of Muslims everywhere. It follows every rule of Arabic grammar, while still not following the other rules.

Well of course the Qu'ran has perfect grammar, now. The Arabic language and rules of grammar were codified around the language and usage in the Qu'ran. Anything can be considered perfect if you design the rules around it's imperfections. What if we delve deeper into the claims of perfection? Well we find it to be far from perfect of course.

One of the claims of the Qu'ran is that it's a perfect book of guidance, yet the words can be misinterpreted. We see various sects interpreting the Qu'ran in different ways, the interpretation changing as the morals and ethics of humanity evolve. Can a perfect book of guidance be misinterpreted?

Of course not. For a book of guidance to be perfect there could be no room for misinterpretation, it should be as unquestionable as an accurate mathematical equation. The minute you can call one of it's teachings into question, or the minute a teaching can be taken more than one way, it is no longer perfect. Unless you rewrite the definition of perfect of course.

This leads me back to my claim about the spiritual corruption of the Qu'ran. Again we hear excuses from the Islamic side about how Allah simply protects the lettering and words of the Qu'ran, not its message. Once again I declare this to be complete nonsense, and nothing more than excuses in order to hold on to a very false belief. Is it beyond the power of Allah to protect the message as well? Was it beyond the power of Allah to write the Qu'ran in such a way that it couldn't be misinterpreted?

The most important part of a philosophical or spiritual message is that the message itself is clearly understood. If I gave you vague directions to a destination that may or may not lead you to the intended place, would that be me giving you good directions? Of course not, I would be a terrible guide if I didn't give you clear and concise directions. Would my directions be considered perfect? Of course not, they would be considered faulty. When then is the Qu'ran given such leeway in it's faultiness? Why do Muslims not hold the Qu'ran to the same standard as they hold anything else? In fact the Qu'ran should be held to a higher standard than any other book on the planet, it is supposed to have been written by an all-knowing, all-powerful and perfect being after all.

Has the spiritual message of the Qu'ran become corrupt? If we ask Muslims around the world whether terrorists are following the Qu'ran properly we will hear a resounding yes. However, we also have a problem where if we were to ask the terrorists whether "moderates" are following the Qu'ran properly, we will once again hear a resounding yes. So we are forced to look at the tafsir, but once again we are left with a problem. What is that problem? Well there are several different interpretations in the tafsir as well. Not all of the writers agree on all of the verses. Imperfection rears its ugly head one more time, and a lack of protection from Allah gleams through like a lighthouse in the night.

So how do we judge whether or not the spiritual guidance of the Qu'ran has become corrupted? Can we ask Allah what its vague metaphoric verses mean? Sorry, that's a big fat zero. Can we ask one of its prophets what the vague metaphoric verses mean? Nope, as according to the Qu'ran Mohammed is the final prophet, even though we've seen more prophets since the advent of Mohammed. So exactly are we supposed to know what the Qu'ran means and whether terrorists or moderates are following the Qu'ran correctly? We can't, so once again it's left up to humans to protect the Qu'ran. Once more we see that Allah is an absent partner. This is the reason that Muslims focus solely on the protection of the letters and words that the Qu'ran consists of. It's something that can be protected by it's followers, regardless of the sect that they belong to.

Have the letters and words of the Qu'ran always been protected though? History tells us differently, and the Sana'a manuscript shows us differently. In the Sana'a manuscript we find scribal errors, showing that errors in the transmission of the Qu'ran are certainly possible. If the book was being divinely protected then scribal errors would be impossible. Instead it needs proof reading by humans to ensure accuracy. Does Allah not have enough power to ensure that all scribes write it correctly?

Then we look at the standardisation by Uthman, where copies of the Qu'ran were burnt because they didn't conform to the standard. Why, when a book has protection from an all-powerful being, did so many differing copies exist? Why did it take a human to stop all the corruption that happened? The obvious answer is that Allah doesn't actually exist, that all along the Qu'ran has been a human creation and has been under the protection of humans. All of the evidence points to this fact, and it takes some serious excuse making to change this reality.

Islamic claims regarding the divinity, perfection and protection of the claim simply do not hold any weight under even the slightest of scrutiny. Excuses must be made, history discarded and mental gymnastics done in order to continue on with the belief in any of them.

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