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Lies and Damned Lies - a response

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Lies, and damned lies

Submitted by Mark Durie (Australia), Apr 18, 2008 at 21:54

Contrary to what Shepard implies, I did not say Allah was the devil.

Also, the fact that the Alif-Lam root is common to various Semitic languages is quite irrelevant to this issue. The word 'walrus' contains the same root as the word 'whale 'but that doesn't prove that a walrus is a kind of whale.

It seems vacuous or at best merely polemical to insist that the deities of the Bible and the Qur'an are the same, without first carefully examining their attributes. In fact, despite some similarities, there are significant differences, which many Bible-followers and Quran-followers have noticed, and sometimes agreed upon. I quite agree, for example, with Sayyid Qutb's observations in his 'Basic Principles of the Islamic Worldview', when he distinguishes the Quranic concept of Allah's unity from that found in the Torah and indeed the rest of the BIble as well.

The verse from Isaiah 45:7 which Shepard brings is a most relevant one to reflect upon in this context, but the Hebrew word translated 'evil' (ra') can refer to calamity and trouble, not simply moral evil as the English word implies. This verse refers, I suggest, to God's capacity to bring blessing or curses upon humanity, not to his creation of moral evil. Moreover, the whole point of chapter 45 from Isaiah is that God is the source of righteousness - cf the immediately following verse:
"You heavens above, rain down righteousness;
let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
let salvation spring up,
let righteousness grow with it;
I, the LORD, have created it.

It is just too easy to take verses out of context and twist them mean whatever you want them to mean: they need to be considered, not only in their immediate context, but also in the broader context of the whole BIble or Quran from which they have come, and in the light of how religious adherents have interpreted them, and built religious traditions around them. I would insist that, not only are Allah and YHWH different, but the societies build upon Islam and Christianity (or Judaism for that matter) have very different characteristics which are grounded in the different conceptions of deity. Which god you worship makes a difference to how you live.

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