I wrote the bulk of this article in 2002, because I was concerned that the issue of the role of the Koran in potentially inciting terrorism wasn't being widely recognised, so something was being missed. I had started reading the Koran, curious to know if it was a peaceful book; but was appalled by the number of verses in it that could potentially be used to justify violence, since it doesn't say anywhere in it that those verses were meant for specific occasions rather than being the general way people should behave. My article argued on the basis of the opinion I had at the time that in order to convince people not to adopt a terrorist lifestyle, the validity of the Koran ought to be challenged, in order to discredit it in the minds of people who might otherwise follow its apparent calls to violence.
I have since come to the opinion that there may be a better way of influencing Muslims. In fact, I've come to the opinion that Muslims should be urged to do their best to influence people in Western cultures to adopt more moral lifestyles. There are moral teachings in the Koran that many westerners could benefit from paying attention to. I've written a new little piece about it, called: Time for Western Teenage Muslims to Become Leaders and Civilisers.
The old article can still be viewed here: Is Islam Really a Peaceful Religion?
It may be that many Muslims will be angry at the article. I can't entirely blame them. I myself, as a Christian, can become very angry when non-Christians persist in trying to discredit the Bible, because I think if it's teachings are followed correctly, it can inspire people to better lives, and so to try to ridicule it persistently is destructive and could be harmful to people who might otherwise be inspired by it to a new life of joy, hope and a more healthy, less hurtful lifestyle.
However, even while I view the attempts of non-Christians to discredit the Bible as destructive and potentially harmful, at the same time, I believe that in moderation, they're a necessary evil, for two reasons:
One is that Christians need to be held accountable for their beliefs, since such calling to account can be a disciplinary factor in causing anyone whose beliefs are straying from what the Bible actually teaches and have the potential to become harmful to modify them. For instance, if atheism had been a serious challenge to the domination of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages and atheists had been allowed to speak out freely, the Catholic Church would probably not have felt confident enough in its supremacy or have had enough control of the people to engage in heretic burning. I believe it's essential to have a climate where critical voices are tolerated, in order that abuses of power can be challenged and stopped.
The other reason is that criticism of Christianity, when the flaws in the criticism aren't immediately apparent as they so often are, can cause Christians to research into answers to the objections the non-Christians raise and thus become more sophisticated in their defence of their beliefs, and in the process possibly more persuasive to those looking into whether to follow them.
Such research can also sometimes cause Christians to modify their beliefs in the face of new knowledge. For instance, the idea of never-ending hell fire is often spoken of with horror by atheists. Any Christian who's grown up with the idea might never have thought about it much before, especially if it doesn't seem too relevant to them because they can be fairly sure they won't experience it, or dying seems a long way off so they've never really had cause to think about it. However, in the face of non-Christians' arguments, Christians can be motivated to examine the matter more thoroughly. And in doing so, they may well discover information about ambiguity in the wording in the original languages which might mean hell is not in fact never-ending but age-long, and that the fire may actually be spoken of symbolically rather than being literal. There are several words translated hell by some Bible translations. Researching into the views held by people who were around in biblical times can shed some light on the matters, since their opinions may give some clarity as to which of the meanings was intended in the original language, or whether the different words for hell itself were believed to indicate that there was more than one place and type of punishment, and that one type would last for longer and be more severe.
Christians might become more satisfied with their own faith as a result of doing such investigations, as well as being able to make their faith seem more attractive to others.
Just as I think the criticisms of the Bible by non-Christians are destructive and yet necessary to some extent because they can actually cause Christians to refine and purify their arguments, and others will benefit by their increasing sophistication, I hope Muslims will be able to read my critique of the Koran in the same spirit.
Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:
Are you up to trying the challenges of the New Testament's moral guidelines, and would you like to know more of what it says about the love of Jesus? Here are some links to Bible quotes about the beautiful ideals the New Testament encourages Christians to try to live up to:
There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:
Fancy some light relief or laughter therapy? Then go to the first of our jokes pages:
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