“God in the Qur’an” and author Jack Miles. Cover image courtesy of Penguin Random House; Miles photo by Louis Pescevic

‘More merciful than Yahweh’: Jack Miles on God in the Quran

(RNS) — Ever since 9/11, Americans have been treated to a host of conflicting, often ill-informed, views about Islam and its deity, Allah.

Some insist Allah is a vengeful being who commands his followers to kill nonbelievers. Others plead that Islam is a religion of peace and its God not different in kind from the one worshipped by Jews and Christians.

Jack Miles, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “God: A Biography” and a retired professor of religion at the University of California Irvine, now offers an erudite and highly readable close reading of Allah’s real nature.

In “God in the Qur'an,” he compares the God of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament with God as he is portrayed in the Quran.

Along the way he also compares the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses and Jesus, all of whom appear in both the Bible and the Quran.

Miles has long been fascinated with the nature of God in Scripture. Though he himself is Christian and claims limited knowledge of Arabic (he earned his doctorate in Near Eastern languages from Harvard), he is also a trained literary critic and draws on a deep well of biblical and theological knowledge.

Miles, a onetime Jesuit seminarian and a 2002 MacArthur “genius" fellow, now serves as the Corcoran Visiting Chair in Christian-Jewish Relations at Boston College.

The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

What led you to try to tackle the Quran?

I was hesitant at first. I have not made a study of Islam. But finally, I could see a way to do it with my own limitations and that was by studying how the Quran treats signal characters and episodes in the Bible.

The Quran is not narrative. It doesn’t tell all the biblical stories again. It’s not a revised edition of the Bible. It alludes rather than repeats. There’s a distinctly different emphasis. That’s how I found my way into doing this.

Were you interested in correcting the record?

I offer examples of great violence from Jewish and Christian Scriptures and note that we don’t deduce from that that all Jews and Christians are terrorists in waiting. If we don’t do that for ourselves, we shouldn’t do it for Muslims. But that’s a secondary motive, I would say. Once you get that out of the way, you’re free to look at the text, look at the characters and the episodes. That’s a pleasure. It’s a fascination.

What you found is that Allah is more merciful, consistently so, than in the Bible. Is that accurate?

“God in the Qur’an” by Jack Miles. Image courtesy of Penguin Random House

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Yes, it is. A friend asked me, what was the biggest surprise you discovered in writing the book? I said, Allah is more merciful than Yahweh. Understand, we’re talking about the same being, but the presentation (in the Quran) stresses not just Allah’s mercy, but also the themes of repentance and forgiveness. I should say, these episodes that involve biblical material probably are no more than a quarter or a fifth of the overall material in the Quran. So, my comment that Allah is more merciful than Yahweh is confined to that portion of the Quran.

I’ll give two examples. Adam and Eve in the Quranic version immediately repent of their sin and throw themselves on the mercy of Allah and Allah forgives them on the spot. They do have to leave paradise, but if they live a good life then at the Last Judgment they will ascend to the heavenly garden. Adam and Eve in the Bible never do repent.

Similarly, the Israelites, just after crossing the Red Sea, create the Golden Calf and God decides to exterminate them as punishment. Moses dissuades him from that, but still there’s horrendous violence imposed on them, a mass slaughter of the lead offenders. In the Quran, the Israelites immediately repent and Allah forgives them. The tablets of the law are not broken. In something approaching efficiency, the Israelites get over it, Allah gets over it and everyone moves on to the Promised Land.

You point out in your book that the biblical idea of humankind created in God’s image doesn’t really exist in the Quran. A lot of interfaith leaders might be surprised to hear that.

Yes, that’s right. Jews pray to "Avinu Malkeinu," "our Father, our King," and "Our Father, who art in heaven,” is the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer in Christianity. But there isn’t a similar kind of rhetoric or emphasis in Islam.

Allah is at pains to say that Jesus is not his son, and actually there’s a scene in which Allah and Jesus are speaking and Jesus explicitly repudiates any notion that during his life on earth he ever claimed such as a blasphemous thing. No, he is not the son of God. God had no son, or spouse, and no one really closely associated with him.

This has the effect of making Allah a more awe-inspiring, more august being. Christian theology itself sometimes uses the phrase that God is the "wholly other.” That phrase, "wholly other,” is a pretty apt description of Allah in the Quran.

It appears the theology of the Quran is fairly straightforward in comparison with the Bible. Would you agree?

Yes. I make the point that the Hebrew Bible came into being over a thousand years. The Quran came into being as 20 years of revelation to the Prophet Muhammad from the year 610 to the year 632. So, there is much greater consistency in the portrayal of the character of Allah. He is more moral in a way. He’s more exacting, but always in a predictable manner. Of course, the complexity that Christianity has by having the deity be both divine and human at the same time is also completely absent. So, by being "wholly other” Allah can be wholly simple. That provides a kind of appeal, a kind of fascination, but it isn’t a fascination of complication and conflict.

How would you describe the Quran as a literary work?

In its broadest sense, it’s oratory, and narrowing it a little further, it is preaching. Although a preacher may include an anecdote or allusion to a particular event, the point is always, "How are hearers going to change their lives or go forward in a moral way?" People want that inspiration and correction and direction. Sermons can be great literature. Oratory is a branch of literature and almost a foundational branch. The greatness of the Quran as literature is an oratorical kind of eloquence with music and rhyme built into it.


  1. So he has chosen to rewrite the Bible – moving on….

  2. So, Allah is more merciful than Yahweh? That’s a pretty low bar to set.
    In the message of El/Yahweh//God/Allah to mankind, Jesus and Allah discuss how Jesus really wasn’t god’s son, after all. I wonder why I suspect a political motivation for that little bit of revelation, given the times and the rivalries over who was actually Diety’s BFFF and who should therefore control the lands around arabia?
    I guess i’m just cynical.

  3. You’ve decided to end prejudice against Muslims by using classic anti-Jewish tropes. I sounds like those who feel that the “New Testament” is more lloving than the “Old Testament even though the “New Testament” is filles with hatred for Jews. The Quran has positive and negative quotes about Jews. The positive ones come from when Muhammed thought that he could convert Jews. When Jews would not convert, his tone completely reversed.

  4. All ancient texts need to be understood in relation to their times and place. This goes for all texts–Quran, Bible, Analects of Confucius etc. The problems stem from insisting that what worked for 1st century tribal groups still works without adaptation for 21st century mutl-ethnic, cultural, religious, racial scientific and industrial societies today.

    This doesn’t mean the books are worthless. Just that we must read them thoughtfully and critically. There is still great wisdom contained within their pages if we are open to finding it.

  5. We either accept the validity of “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet” with the ultimate revelation for mankind coming to us in Quran and hadith——-or we don’t (or can’t). I don’t and can’t. That said, we either accept the validity of all the Bible stories in Old and New Testaments or we don’t (or can’t). I don’t and can’t do that either.

    Comparing the documented mercies in these two sets of ancient written material is a fine exercise for a scholar, I suppose, but claiming that one “wins” due to a detail-counting contest (when both are completely questionable) is not in the least helpful to anyone seriously interested in “Did either set of this stuff tell humans objective truth about the real phenomena of life on earth?”

    Some Christians and some secularists believe that we are permitted to absorb and accept each new verifiable discovery about life and earth (even if it conflicts with the written materials) and simply hold ourselves to a theological obligation to try to be truthful, be fair, be kind, be compassionate, be forgiving. I’ll be with them.

  6. Well you Christians coopted the Hebrew Scriptures, said the Messiah had arrived and if the Jews didn’t convert they would suffer. You guys today have the nerve to interpret the Jews’ holy scriptures. Well Mohammed did it to you – having the nerve to say jesus was not divine. Later the Mormons did it to you by adding on. Can’t anyone be creative and not co-op? Oh, yes, Scientology. An original 20th century religion.

    I’m going to have to read the Quran I downloaded in light of the forgiveness Allah showed.

  7. And now to the truth and the fact some retired professors write books for profit and not for getting at the reality of things:

    The reality of Mohammed:

    And the idiocy of it all is that Islam was founded by a warmongering, misogynist, ex-spice, literate trader who started his life of horror by conquering spice trading cities in an attempt to control the flow of spices such as frankincense, and myrrh, two spices used routinely in those times to mask body and building odors. And today we have the stench of Islam covering the globe. Irony?

    Mohammed and his scribes eventually converted his crusade into a religion to keep his subjects bound to himself and inventing a mythical god, Allah with his mythical angel Gabriel being the earthly connection. The absurdity of it all boggles the mind!!!

    And Jesus and his crusaders?

    Actually, Jesus was a bit “touched”. After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today’s world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did his crusaders P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J’s gospels being mostly fiction.

  8. The Messiah told us He had arrived. He came for the Jews and they rejected Him. Muhammed was a fool following an idol.
    The Mormon are a cult.
    As far as the forgiveness that “Allah” allowed, pair that up with how it wants unbelievers dead.

  9. Let’s see: Allah is more merciful than Yahweh, and both are more merciful than you.

  10. Please provide three specific citations to support “the ‘New Testament’ is filles with hatred for Jews”.

    Btw, putting New Testament in quotes is insulting to Christians and their beliefs.

    The Christians do believe theirs is a new testament from the same creator as in the Hebrew scriptures, and that it describes the creation of a new covenant.

    Agree, disagree, but that’s their belief.

  11. I am not sure that “if the Jews didn’t convert they would suffer” is characteristic of Christianity as Christianity.

    Reading the Q’uran in any language but the original is not reading the Q’uran.

  12. You have read the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) and the Christian Greek (NT) Scriptures and you don’t see the change in god and overall tone? I’d like hear more.

  13. Isn’t Christianity, by nature, antisemitic? The Jews encouraged Pilate to execute Jesus. When the Jews as a nation failed to recognize Jesus a curse was put upon them for all time and, of course, individual Jews are consigned to Hades at death. Until the Evangelicals and their Last Day prophecies, antisemitism on the part of Christians was common. Our government has geopolitical motives for supporting Israel and will continue to do so.

  14. Let’s use reason and logic to see if this statement is true:

    Ben, how many people have you killed or let die/suffer during your lifetime? My guess is 0. If so, that makes you more merciful than Yahweh. I haven’t read the Quran to know how many people Allah has killed so it’s a draw for now.

  15. More than 0.

    And I am not the Author of Life, who gives and takes life as a matter of right.

    Mercy is another matter.

    If the deity does not take away every life, the deity is merciful.

  16. See my edit above.

    “Reading the Q’uran in any language but the original is not reading the Q’uran.”

    Nitpick much? I’m aware of that assertion but I believe I can stumble through.

    Not being able to understand the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages of the Bible leads to interpretation errors and a plethora of translations and a loss of the subtleties of the Bible.

  17. Wrong term, curse. For rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, god rejected the Jews as a nation (although individuals could convert) and they missed out on the blessings of being god’s chosen people. Just read the OT to see what Yahweh does to those who reject them. I thought Christians believe only Christians are going to heaven and the rest of us to Hell? Am I wrong?

  18. If Allah killed more than 0 people, Ben is our winner! Congrats Ben!

  19. Someone’s got to be wrong. Or everyone. Christianity is a cult based on Jesus. For goodness sakes you parade around with the weapon of his torture and death as jewelry. Statues of him, paintings in many homes. You pray to him and through him. You bow before him. You die for him. That’s a cult.

    I’m not a fan of Allah. Neither he nor Yahweh are anything to be proud of – or worshipped. Since the Jews came first and they don’t recognize him, I’m inclined to believe them. Aw heck, I forgot this is all made up.

  20. There are Christian bodies who believe only Christians are going to heaven.

    The largest group of Christians, the Catholics, do not hold that position.

    Neither do the Orthodox or a number of other Christian bodies.

    Supersessionism does not strictly speak to the salvation of the Jews, only that the New Covenant through Jesus Christ supersedes the Old Covenant, which was made exclusively with the Jewish people.


    For example Pope John Paul II during his visit to the synagogue in Mainz in 1980 called Jews the “people of God of the Old Covenant” which has never been abrogated by God “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”.

  21. I am stating the Islamic belief, which is NOT an assertion.

    Unlike the Bible, which is considered to be inspired, the Q’uran is considered to be very word of God.

  22. The fact that anyone is alive means Allah is more merciful than Ben, unless Ben can actually grant life.

    With all due respect to Jack Miles, the article never defines “mercy”. Without that definition it is absurd to assert one deity is “more merciful” than another.

    The article – and I realize this Jack Miles translated by Yonat Shimron operating well over her pay grade – seems to say mercy = low body count.

    That’s absurd on its face.

  23. I can compare the gods quite well using an English translation of the Quran.

  24. I do not read or write arabic.

    I have spent considerable time with those who do, and the poetry of the Q’uran is completely lost in translation.

    The nuances disappear.

    If you keep it simple you can do a body count.

    You lose the essence or “spirit” of the account.

    Allah is definitely more “other” than Yahweh.

  25. Sincere thanks for being willing to retract the claim of “a curse was put upon the Jews for all time.” As Mark said, such a curse is not stated in the New Testament

    The NT (for example Rom. 1:16 and John 3:16), is very clear that both Jewish and non-Jewish individuals can hook up with the God of the Bible. How? By repenting of their sins, and accepting and trusting the Messiah, Jesus Christ, by faith as one’s personal Savior and Ruler, based upon what Christ accomplished on the Cross for all people. Many people of all flavors have done this. NOBODY is more merciful than the God of the Bible.

    I’ve even heard that a few atheists have cashed in on this deal. Perhaps you’ve heard the same rumor?

  26. Some atheists become religious and some religious folks become atheists. The latter is probably more common.

  27. Did you reach that conclusion after finishing the “Kama Sutra”?

  28. You’re right. I asked Floyd Lee if Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust are now in Heaven or Hell, The answer was Hell.

  29. I also put the “Old Testament” in quotes too. I do that because calling it the”New Testament” is supercessionist and so is calling the Hebrew Bible the “Old Testament.” Jews would never call our Bible a Testament. It describe the creation of a new covenant that used to mean the dissolution of the old covenant. I realize not all Christians now believe that, but at one time they all did. It will take more time to come up with three examples. Try reading James Carroll, Constantine and His Sword.

  30. In other words by becoming Christian. Jews have never believed that Jesus was the Messiah. That is the opposite of being inclusive.

  31. Nope, the Jews knew Barrabas, but most Jews in Jerusalem had no idea who Jesus was. Barabbas was a hero to them. They didn’t encourage Pilate to execute Jesus. They encouraged Pilate to save Barrabas. It was the Roamans who decided that only one could be saved.

  32. Supersessionism is not, per se, anti-Jewish. It is pro-Christian. No, not all Christians EVER believed that the old covenant was dissolved, and that is reflected in the texts of the New Testament itself.

    While I understand that a Jew would not refer to the texts which are included in the Christian Old Testament as a “Testament”, Jewish sources do refer to a covenant between G-d and Man contained in some of those texts.

    “Covenant” is a synonym for “testament”:


    so I would not make too much of the result of years of conflict between Jews and Christians reflected in avoidance of terms used by Christians.

    I am sure you mean “Constantine’s Sword”.

    That book is unfortunately colored by anti-Catholic polemic as it was written by a disgruntled ex-priest with some “issues”.

    There are much better and more objective sources.

  33. How about Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Greek Scriptures? I only use OT and NT because it’s easier to type and more are familiar with them.

  34. I forgot to include the plotting of the Pharisees and Sadduces to have Jesus put to death.

  35. What do you mean – how the infidels were treated by the Muslims?

  36. How does any dominant faith treat minority ones when they have political power? Badly. All in accordance with their faith.

    Sectarian violence is not a function of any given religion but if their place in society.

  37. Yes, it is anti-Jewish. It’s a belief that Judaism was replaced by something morally and spiritually superior. Jews & Judaism were supposed to fade away. The “New Testament” is partly a polemic to prove the spiritual superiority of Christianity over Judaism. I can start with the treatment of the Pharisees in the “New Testament” which is completely inaccurate and distorted. The Pharisees weren’t evil. They weren’t even petty-fogging hypocrites.. Modern Judaism wouldn’t exist without the foundation laid down by the Pharisees and Judaism wouldn’t have survived the destruction of the Temple and the Diaspora. Unfortuantely, some Trump critics, left and right, are comparing his supporters wrongly to the Pharisees.

  38. The evil Pharisees again. Not true either. See my reply to Mark below.

  39. That is a relatively new position for the Catholic church. The farthest it goes back to is Vatican II. Mainz and other cities along the Rhine was the location of the first Jews in Europe. They were vandalized & murdered or given the choice of death or conversion during the Crusades.

  40. You could say the same thing about the “Old” and “New” Testaments. Can u read Aramaic, Greek or Hebrew?

  41. Muslims are closer to the Torah than modern day Jews. Modern day Jews follow the Talmud which are Rabbinical teachings, most of them not founded on the Torah but are simply wisdom of the Rabbis.
    The Talmud was written in common era and has lots of passages dealing with Christ, Mary and Christians.

  42. Why do you ask, do you need something translated?

  43. It’s strange: I’ve never seen anyone say, “Wow, that guy’s legally insane…but he sure does have great teachings! Let’s emulate the teachings of a mad-man!”

  44. Actually it appears in one of Paul’s letter to the Romans, first century CE.

    I would not adopt Abe Foxman as my model for assessing either antisemitism or Catholicism.

    Just so we are on the same page, the Jewish population in Palestine vandalized and murdered Christians from time to time in the first two centuries of the Common Era.

    Let’s not fall into the trap of being ahistorical to “prove” something.

  45. I wouldn’t count on your translation. I ask because you said, “Reading the Q’uran in any language but the original is not reading the Qu’ran.” I assume that would apply to the “OT” and “NT”

  46. Regardless of any Church’s position, the New Testament quotes Jesus as saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by Me”. He also said, “I am the door”.
    When people look at the Old Testament Book/Chapter of “Isaiah 53”, the allusions to Jesus, seem obvious.

  47. “Reading the Q’uran in any language but the original is not reading the Qu’ran.” is the Islamic teaching.

    Muslims believe that the Q’uran was literally dictated by Allah.

    Jews and Christians do not believe that about their scriptures, usually calling them “inspired”.

  48. Even Jews who believed that the Hebrew Bible was the word of God believed that it was open to many levels of interpretation. They also believed that many different interpretations could be equally valid. There are centuries of Midrash and Biblical commentaries with differing interpretations in compilations of Torah and various commentaries. It’s like a discussion or an argument over time and space.

  49. Jesus is quoted in the New Testament as saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by Me”. He also said, “I am the door”. Any Church that teaches otherwise, is contradicting his claim.

    The Old Testament Book/Chapter of “Isaiah #53”, clearly alludes to Jesus.

  50. Just to avoid fundamentalist literalism to the detriment of religious truth, Catholics for example believe non-Christians can be saved, but they’re saved through Jesus whether they know it not.

    “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold …”. John 10:16

  51. Nope. Christians live for Jesus. Christ lives for us. Get it right Jim.

  52. As noted, “his” teachings were those of P, M, M, L and J i.e. humans with no god connections and whose ideas of ethics and morals were lifted from books like the OT, the Code of Hammurabi and the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

  53. The Koran and its laws give women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her autobiography, Infidel. (so why doesn’t the author address these wrongs before spewing out praises for Allah the good of horror for all women?)

    “Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circumcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It’s a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hirsi Ali escaped — and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women.”
    ref: Washington Post book review.

    some excerpts:

    p. 47 paperback issue:

    “Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly beaten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their screams resounded across the courtyards. “No! Please! By Allah!”


    “The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had castes. The Untouchable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were untouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were touchable: we touched them see? but also horrifying to think of yourself as untouchable, desp-icable to the human race.”


    “Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were killed by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exaggerating.”

    p. 347

    “The kind of thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Somalia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feudal mind-set based on tribal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hyprocricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam”.

  54. I think I answered a bit more than that, but apparently you only heard what you wanted to hear.

    The Jewish author and movie critic Michael Medved, once wrote that the **only** topic that today’s Judaism can agree on these days, is their rejection of Jesus. I’m sure you and I can agree with him on that.

    But it doesn’t mean that the New Testament is anti-Demitic. Jesus was Jewish. So was his inner circle. So was the Apostle Paul, who wrote half the NT.

    In this forum, the main issue is not Anti-Semitism. It’s actually just “Whatcha Gonna Do ‘Bout the Jewish Jesus.”

  55. or the christians in the century after jesus’ death and resurrection modeled their understanding of jesus after the understanding that isaiah gave to the jews for their understanding of what happened to the people of judea .

  56. Bar Abbas, son of the father, was also known as Jesus Bar abbas.

  57. Incorrect. Some Jews do believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Both 2000 years ago, and even today. Many folks. They don’t back down off of it, either.

  58. No, I’m not getting my information from non-Christian sources. I’m getting this from Christian ministers and other Christians. One of the most common misperceptions of Judaism by Christians is understanding who the Pharisees were. I have read the “New Testament” myself and a lot it makes me angry and sick to my stomach.

  59. Whoever told you that is full of beans.

    “I have read the ‘New Testament’ myself and a lot it makes me angry and sick to my stomach.”

    How would you respond to a Muslim writing:

    “I have read the Jews’ scriptures myself and a lot of it makes me angry and sick to my stomach.”?

    You’re skating right along the edge of engaging in anti-Christian polemic.

  60. Why did I know that you were going to say this? No Jewish rabbi, educator or scholar agrees with you. There were Jews tht believed Jesus was the Messiah over 2000 years ago, but nothing happened that was supposed to happen when the Messiah came happened, so they stopped believing. There were also Jews who believed Bar Kochba was the Messiah. Now that idea is only believed by Christians who want to convert Jews. At least give Jews the respect of letting us define our own religion.

  61. You’re reading the “Old Testament” backwards. If you start out believing in Jesus, you will find allusions to Jesus everywhere. That is not their original meaning. Quotes from the “New Testament” don’t mean anything to me.

  62. I forgot to say that the Hebrew Bible and the “Old Testament” are not identical. The Hebrew Bible ends with Chronicles II and the “Old Testament” ends with Malachai. I know the Catholic “Old Testament” contains books the Hebrew Bible leaves out.

  63. Just to know the long-term prospects of infidel-Muslim dialog succeeding.

  64. Your statement is confined to the Semitic religions, including the social sciences.

    Pagans generally encourage other people to celebrate their festivals. The pagan Roman Empire did it; the pagan Mongolian Empire did it; the Indic traditions did it.

  65. You are right that polytheists tend to be less “exclusionary” and more open to syncreatism, but there is plenty of history of non-abrahamic faiths engaging in sectarian supression.

    Modern day Sri Lanka is a good case study for Buddhists acting badly with the brutal repression of Tamil Hindu culture by the more dominant Sinhalese.

    Modern day Indian Hindu Nationalists are fairly hostile to their minority Muslim countrymen

    Shinto/Buddhist Japan suppressed Christianity outside of a proscribed area in Nagasaki for about 400 years.

    Confucian China had suppressed Buddhism in its history

    There are other examples.

  66. There are red flags that the LTTE (the Tamil militant group) was crypto-Christian, and not Hindu. The Sri Lankan trouble could well be a conflict between Buddhism and a Christian theology that has exclusive truth claims.

    The Hindu-Muslim conflict is between Hinduism and an Islamic theology that has exclusive truth claims.

    The Shinto suppression of Christianity could also be an instance of a tolerant tradition confronting a Christian theology that has exclusive truth claims.

    In the three cases above, the problem is the same: can the tolerant tolerate the intolerant?

    As to the Confucian-Buddhist conflict, I must read more. From my readings, I could not gather what part of Buddhism caused trouble to Confucianism.

  67. Jack Miles is either a dimwitted ignoramus or a lying sack of crap.
    Islam IS violent, perverted and full of hate. It is the most vile and evil ideology ever inflicted on humanity. Islam has ALWAYS been spread by the bloody sword. Islam mandates that all muslims, as their first and foremost holy duty, must wage eternal war on all non-muslims until the entire earth is ruled by sharia law.

    For muslims the prophet mohammad is the eternal example of a perfect life lived with no sin. But mohammad lied; stole; cheated; raped; ordered people assassinated when they mocked him; terrorized neighboring tribes; had non-muslims tortured by staking them down and having fires lit upon their chests in order to induce them to tell the location of their tribe’s treasure; molested a 6 year old girl and then outright raped her when she turned 9 yrs; murdered hundreds of non-muslims with his own two hands by cutting their heads off.

    Islam encourages muslims to lie, steal, cheat, rape, terrorize, torture, murder and commit genocide on all non-muslims…. in other words, it encourages all muslims to follow mohammad’s example of a “perfect” life lived.

    There have been over 39,000 Islamic terrorist attacks worldwide since 9/11.

    There have been virtually NO Christian, NO Jewish, NO Hindu, NO Buddhist, NO Zoroastrian, NO Wiccan, NO Santaria, NO Animist, NO Taoist, NO terrorist attacks inspired by any other religion to further it’s mandate of global domination.

    Has there been even ONE case of any religion other than islam being the inspiration for flash mobs of people off the street and dedicated zealots….1. Throwing gays off the tops of tall buildings? 2. Caging POWs and burning them alive? 3. Caging POWs and dissolving them alive in acid? 4. Capturing nonbelievers off the street, lining them up on beach and blowing their heads off with detonating cord? 5. Hobbling a captive then running him over with a tank? 6. Leading clerics preaching to their followers that they have a DUTY and a RIGHT to rape and murder non-believers? 7. Gangs of devoutly religious men grooming and gang raping young prepubescent non-believing girls BY THE THOUSANDS??? BY THE THOUSANDS!!!!

    Fun little fact, in the UK there is an Islamic terrorist machete attack on non-muslims EVERY 90 MINUTES. In Germany there are 773 robberies, rapes, assaults or murders by muslims upon nonmuslims EVERY DAY. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lmc8yYe-JzA

    If muslims or any islamophile still want to claim that islam is a “religion of peace and tolerance” they just need to STOP LYING.

    Islam creates monsters capable of any atrocity and then encourages them to commit atrocities upon any and all non-muslims.

  68. Muslims will kill you anyway, but good luck with that strategy.

  69. That’s how I felt when I read the “New Testament.” So you think I’m full of beans when I giive you my honest reaction. I never denied there are beautiful passages in the “New Testament.”

    There are positive depictions of Jews in the Qu’ran and negative. It seems the positive ones were written when Muhammed thought he could get Jews to convert to Islam. Jews would not convert. The depiction of Jews in the Qu’ran then turns ugly.

  70. Just because Jesus was Jewish does not prove that the “New Testament” is or is not antisemitic. The term anti-Judaism may be more accurate. Although, if Judaism is such an awful relgion what does that make the people who follow it? The Gospels were written many years after Jesus was executed and all the Apostles were dead. So, it matters much less if whether the Apostles were Jewish or not because the Gospels were written by Christians who wanted to downplay Jesus’s Jewishness.. Yes, there were Jewish Christians, but they disappeared when it became clear that that the Messiah had not come yet. That’s why Christianity became a separate religion. You quote Micahel Medved, but then tell me that multitudes of Jews have accepted Jesus. If any Jew accepts Jesus, it is because they don’t know anything about Judaism. Assuming I’m wrongand you can be Jewish and Christian at the same time, that still leaves you thinking 99% of Jews are going to Hell. Yes, I remember you said a lot more than just that, but it didn’t change anything. Besides, I’ve heard the samething think from other Christians, White and Black.

  71. Here was the question:


    “I have read the ‘New Testament’ myself and a lot it makes me angry and sick to my stomach.”

    How would you respond to a Muslim writing:

    “I have read the Jews’ scriptures myself and a lot of it makes me angry and sick to my stomach.”?


    I then suggested you were skating right along the edge of engaging in anti-Christian polemic.

    Your response reminds me of the story of the man who ate a rotten egg and then commented “Parts of it were good.”

    Historically the polemic has gone both ways.


    I suggest everyone consider everyone else’s scriptures off-limits. They’re considered dictated/inspired and NO ONE is going to change them to suit another religion.

  72. Where did you read that? Even if it’s true. Christians have murdered Jews for over a thousand years. They have forcibly converted Jews and then executed any former Jews who retained any trace of Judaism. There’s the treatment of Jews in Poland for centuries. The Orthodox churches still don’t have the equivalent of Vatican II. Who’s being ahistorical? I do have to add, I think the Catholic church has come farther than the other Christian churches in their relationship with Jews. Abe Foxman is not my model for assessing antisemitism or Catholocism, but you will reject anyone I mention. I don’t know what you’re problem was with Abe Foxman, though.

  73. Some fundamentalists do or at least they are literalists.

  74. Abe Foxman was an intemperate individual who picked fights with other religions over their own scriptures, among other things.

    Obviously you’re against Christians.

    Personally I have not found that approach to interfaith relations to be very productive, but be my guest.

    I will, however, point it out when I read it.

  75. The Bible I usually read has footnotes and commentary which readers of English to understand what the original Hebrew meant. Some times it just says “origianl meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.”

  76. Are you speaking of Muslims, Christians, or Jews?

  77. SInhalese version Buddhism is considered intolerant and “fundamentalist” even among Buddhist sects. With the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, there are ongoing efforts to erase or suppress Tamil culture and majority Hindu faith

    With Japan there is also a history of trying to suppress and erase other religions as well such as the indigenous faiths of “burakamin” (The Ainu people of Hokkaido and Ryukan culture of Okinawa and surrounding islands).

    “From my readings, I could not gather what part of Buddhism caused trouble to Confucianism.”

    The fact it was a foreign-born “missionary” religion mostly.

  78. Then what IS the original meaning of “Isaiah #53”?
    There ARE Jews, you know, who converted to belief in Jesus as Messiah, BASED on that Book/Verse. Many have said their Rabbis/Synagogues refused to preach that particular passage….. and when they actually read/heard the passage, for the first time, said they recognized who it was, based on the historical record of Jesus’ death. Those people became believers in Jesus as Messiah, BASED ON that verse. It was the CAUSE of their conversion.

  79. So I guess you didn’t like that Jesus was saying the Pharisees had an “outward appearance” of religiosity; going through the motions of the religious/ ceremonial law…. while their hearts were full of filth. Even the Old Testament confronts people who meet that description.

  80. People who confine themselves to one source of truth are always dangerous to others who choose not to share it.

  81. Jews don’t believe that the Messiah is a personal savior. They thought the Messiah would establish a new kingom of israel and a world of universal peace. Jews have thought that the Messiah has anything to do with whether you go to Hell or not or what happens to you after you die. So even if Isaiah 53 predicted the Messiah’s coming, it didn’t predict the coming of Jesus as a personal savior.

    I never heard of any rabbi refused to discuss anything. Rabbgis don’t really preach. I have just reread Isaiah 53. I can’t imagine it would cause any JEw to convert unless they knew nothing about Judaism.

  82. Jews have never believed that the Messiah was supposed to be a personal savior. The Messiah’s purpose was not to save you from Hell. The Messiah’s purpose was to establish a new kingdom of Israel and a world of peace, love and understanding. Since we don’t have a world of universal peace, that Messiah has not come.

  83. Every word of the Qur’an is believed to be by Allah himself so every verse therein represents Allah – can’t just cherry pick. Hence, especially in the non-abrogated later verses (Median verses) like sura 9 he is clearly an extremely intolerant, bloodthirsty, conquer, plunder, take sex slaves and subjugate the world god.
    This apologist for the Qur’an certainly has his critics:

    Let an ex-Muslim tell you about Allah – The Merciless God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1kGtAQSCV8

  84. Beautiful awesome impressive stunning,” Adam and Eve in the Quranic version immediately repent of their sin and throw themselves on the mercy of Allah and Allah forgives them on the spot.”

  85. Miles sounds like Rip Van Winkle. He has been asleep for the past 20 years-or maybe 1400 years. I taught part-time at UCI from 1996-2018 and attended way too many of the anti-Israel events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union every May. You would not believe the vicious speakers they have sponsored over the years. Amir Abdel Ali, Alim Abdul Musa, Mohamed al-Asi, crazy George Galloway, Hatem Bazian, Ben White and on and on. How many times I heard speakers call for the destruction of Israel. How many times have I heard insults thrown at Jews. I would invite MIles to attend the week long hate week that MSU puts on every May. Now they walk around with their faces hidden behind Palestinian keffiyas, chanting, and getting in peoples’ faces trying to intimidate them. Whenever Jewish students put on a pro-Israel event, it gets disrupted necessitating the campus police to respond.

    Miles should wake up and follow the news in the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere. People are dying every day. In virtually every Muslim majority country, non-Muslims are persecuted.

    Miles should learn how to read the Koran. The chapters are not in chronological order. Placed in order, they perfectly mirror Mohammed’s beginnings as a prophet with his peaceful preaching in Mecca followed by his life as a warlord in Medina spreading Islam by the sword. One sees how the language in the Koran goes from the benign to the violent and hateful. Sura 9 is the last major sura before Mohammed’s death. It is arguably the most hateful and violent.

    So how do the Muslim scholars make sense of the contradictions? Very simple. The principle of abrogation means that in the case of conflict between verses in the Koran, that revealed later in time abrogates that revealed earlier. Sura 9 basically abrogates every peaceful verse in the Koran.

    A shame that Miles made it all the way to retirement without learning much about Islam.

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