MSNBC Talking Heads: Koran Holier Than the Bible, or Something

Warner Todd Huston reports on an exchange between MSNBC fill-in host Chuck Todd and Time Magazine’s World Editor Bobby Ghosh.

GHOSH: The thing to keep in mind that’s very important here is that the Koran to Muslims, it is not, it is not the same as the Bible to Christians.

The Bible is a book written by men. It is acknowledged by Christians that it is written by men. It’s the story of Jesus.

TODD: Yes.

GHOSH: But the Koran, if you are a believer, if you’re a Muslim, the Koran is directly the word of God, not written by man. It is transcribed, is directly the word of God.

That makes it sacred in a way that it’s hard to understand if you’re not Muslim. So the act of burning a Koran is much more, potentially much, much more inflammatory than…

TODD: Directly attacking… directly attacking God.

GHOSH:…than if you were to burn a, burn a Bible.

TODD: … Directly attacking God.

The stupid, it hurts.

This is a nonsensical distinction.  Jews and Christians may acknowledge that the Bible was physically written by men, but we also believe that it is the inerrant word of God.  No, the biblical authors did not act as mindless stenographers transcribing for the Almighty, but they were truly inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit.  This makes it no less sacred or less holy to us than the Koran is to Muslims.  After all, there must be some reason that we place our hands on the Bible when we make public oaths, right?  If it was just a bunch of words written by men, then why would we swear by it?

No, the different reactions to the desecration of our holy books has nothing to do with how we respectively view them.  What they tell us is not that Muslims revere the Koran more than we revere the Bible, but rather that a certain portion of the Muslim population will violently react to any mere insult, and that violent extremists within Islam are looking for any excuse to kill infidels.  But that’s a lot less politically correct of an explanation than the vapidness offered by these two goofs.

  1. Also, the Bible is correct while the Koran is wrong. So regardless of what the Muslims believe the Bible is infinitely more sacred than the Koran.

  2. It is accurate to say that Muslims revere the Koran more than Christians revere the Bible (which is obviously not to say that Christians do not revere the Bible). The way many Muslims view the Koran might be more analogous to the way many Catholics view the Blessed Virgin or even the eucharist.

    Obviously none of this serves to justify the Muslim reaction here.

  3. I would concede that there is slightly more reverence for the Koran on the part of the Muslims than for the Bible for Christians – without getting into distinctions about various denominations and what have you. But from the talking heads one would be left to believe that the Bible is held to be just another book among many and not a source of reverence in and of itself.

  4. The Muslim’s hard base reaction to burning the Koran so mirrors the typical NEA war lords on hearing even the threat of negotiating their collective bargaining or a liberal politician at the mention of cutting government spending or fixing Medicare and Social Security, less the beheadings for now of course. But, as the top union boss said on camera recently, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” God help us if our own amundantly blessed citizens compare themselves to the poor dimented souls using their religion as an excuse for violence and plunder.

  5. I think the eucharist analogy is correct. Some Jews and evangelicals may hold the Bible to be divine in the same way that Muslims hold the Koran.

    If I heard about someone disgracing (wrong word) the Blessed Sacrament, I wouldn’t attack UN workers. I’d pray for him. The difference is that I believe in a God who suffered indignities and death, largely because of me.

  6. Here is an actual letter published in the WSJ:

    “I say to the Western scholars: Do not interpret the Quran for Muslims. We Muslims are capable of interpreting the Quran for ourselves. No other people have shown the level of hostility to another faith as Westerners have shown to Muhammad, the Quran and Islam. It continues to this day. Islam doesn’t need reformation; the Western mind needs reformation about Muhammad, the Quran and Islam.

    “It will be better for both of us.”

    Tahir A. Qureshi; Silver Spring, Md.

    You see the formula. Massacres are regretable. Mass murder is not Islam. But, you richly deserve it. If you fail to “straighten up”, you will get more death and destruction.

    Bill Sr.: The liberals/progressives are working their way up to beheadings.

    “DEATH THREATS AGAINST REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN LEE TERRY lead to extra security.”

    Reportedly, 17 death threats were received by WI state legislators.

    Tea party members are routinely assaulted by union goons.

    Black congressmen fabricate racist slurs and spitting incidents.

    The idiot Jesse Jackson blasphemed Our Lord comparing necessary union curbs to the Crucifixion. At least, the libtard didn’t commit the travesty on Good Friday.

    Ban the Q’ran. Deport terrorist sympathizers.

  7. Vatican II is strongly convinced as to the Bible’s being written by God.

    Chapter 3 of Dei Verbum

    11. Those divinely revealed realities which are contained and presented in Sacred Scripture have been committed to writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy mother Church, relying on the belief of the Apostles (see John 20:31; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-20, 3:15-16), holds that the books of both the Old and New Testaments in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.(1) In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, (3) they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted. (4)

    Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore “all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Greek text).

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  9. I think the Pope made pretty much the same point a few years ago. The Bible is revelation filtered through human agency–the word of the Lord in the mouth of the prophet; the Gospel according to Matthew…Each book is a product both of divine inspiration and particular historical circumstances and also, perhaps, individual human personalities. This allows for a difference in emphasis and temperament. It was not the product of a mechanical dictation and should not be received in a mechanical way. . .

    The Koran, on the other hand, is the unadorned word of God, literally transcribed by the prophet. The text is this, and there is no arguing with it. This is an obstacle to rational discussion of religious truths, not only between Islam and other religions but within Islam itself.

  10. What Blackadder said @ 12:35pm, and the comparison of Muslim reverence for the Koran to Christian’s reverence for the Eucharist is accurate.

    Robert Spencer is correct in this regard:

    The Qur’an is, according to classic Islamic thought, a perfect copy of a book that has existed eternally with Allah, the one true God, in Heaven: “it is a transcript of the eternal book [in Arabic, “mother of the book”] in Our keeping, sublime, and full of wisdom” (43:4). The angel Gabriel revealed it in sections to Muhammad (570-632), an Arabian merchant. Like Jesus, Muhammad left the written recording of his messages to others. Unlike Jesus, Muhammad did not originate his message, but only served as its conduit. The Qur’an is for Muslims the pure Word of Allah. They point to its poetic character as proof that it did not originate with Muhammad, whom they say was illiterate, but with the Almighty, who dictated every word. The average Muslim believes that everything in the book is absolutely true and that its message is applicable in all times and places.

    This is a stronger claim than Christians make for the Bible. When Christians of whatever tradition say that the Bible is God’s Word, they don’t mean that God spoke it word-for-word and that it’s free of all human agency — instead, there is the idea of “inspiration,” that God breathed through human authors, working through their human knowledge to communicate what he wished to. But for Muslims, the Qur’an is more than inspired. There is not and could not be a passage in the Qur’an like I Corinthians 1:14-17 in the New Testament, where Paul says: “I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.)” Paul’s faulty memory demonstrates the human element of the New Testament, which for Christians does not negate, but exists alongside the texts’ inspired character. But in the Qur’an, Allah is the only speaker throughout (with a few notable exceptions). There is no human element. The book is the pure and unadulterated divine word.

    It is why, for example, Muslims will only refer to books as “translations of” the Koran — copies of the divine.

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    Would that all Christians regard the Eucharist with such reverence.

  11. Christopher;

    I am of the opinion that beheading and killing innocent people is a tab bit more than being a “tad bit upset”. Please do not diminish muslims evil acts and the loss of life because of their actions by calling muslim behavior a “tad upset”.

    My mother always taught me that “but” erases everything that came before it.

    I can never understand from any perspective why muslims can kill innocent people.

    Would you regard human life with such reverence.

    Please keep carrying the water for muslims. When they come for you do not cry that you did not know. Read about Dhimmi.

  12. Catholic Lawyer, you are off base here. Christopher has a brother with the US Army who has fought in the Middle East and who he is very proud of. Christopher fully understands the threat posed by radical jihadists.

    He has also been supportive of Israel in her struggle for survival in the Middle East.

    Here is one of his posts on the subject:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2008/12/30/thoughts-on-israels-war-with-hamas/

    Here is another post on the Catholic Friends of Israel:

    http://catholicfriendsofisrael.blogspot.com/2010/06/israel-confronts-gaza-freedom-flotilla.html

  13. If we were to grant that Muslims revere the koran to the same as extent as Catholics are to revere the Eucharist, then it follows that no koran or queeran should be on display in any public library, bookshop, dawa centres etc., for heaven forbid that such an exalted object should fall into the hands of infidels who might trash it like the homosexuals and atheists did to the Eucharist. I’ll be happy with that, but I suspect that almost everyone who has thought about this knows, that the manufactured outrage by muslims is a clear attempt at intimidation of non-muslims. I frankly do not care what Jones does, and the I won’t p*** on a koran if it was on fire, as I see that the main issue here is the special treatment that muslims seek to gain whether passively by their unctious bathos a la Karzai (which is a replay of the drama put on earlier by Imran Khan during the Motoon riots) , or as now increasingly by terrorising and butchering christians.

  14. Catholic Lawyer,

    Cool your jets. If you bothered to read my post, you would understand we’re on the same page as far as the killing of innocent people in protest — no matter how great the sacrilege.

  15. It is probably accurate to say that the reverence Muslims have for the Quran is somewhat equivalent to that of Catholics for the Virgin Mary or for the Eucharist. Then again, when was the last time you heard of Catholics rioting in the streets over a desecrated Host, or a portrait of Mary plastered with elephant dung? When was the last time you heard the pope or any bishop call upon the faithful to rise up and kill anyone who receives the Eucharist in an apparent state of “manifest grave sin”?

  16. There are Muslims who do the beheading, and there are Muslims who condemn them in turn. Lest we forget: Sunni Muslims in Anbar province got fed up with “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and joined General Petreus in rooting them out. Or we can talk about Ahmad Shah Massoud, “Lion of Panjshir” — a Sunni Muslim who fought against the Soviets and stood up for the Taliban, forming the Northern Alliance. It was believed that he had caught wind of and attempted to warn the West about 9/11 and was assassinated.

    Good Muslims? — you bet.

    “Are you happy to meet Allah with this heavy burden on your shoulders? It is a weighty burden indeed – at least hundreds of thousands of innocent people, if not millions [displaced and killed]. And it is all because of the ‘crimes’ perpetrated against civilians by bin Laden’s Al Qaeda on 9/11.”

    Who said this in an open letter to Bin Laden? — a Muslim. Moreover, Salman al Ouda, cited by and influence on Bin Laden.

    I recommend to everybody a reading of Fawaz A. Gerges’ The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global

    Fawaz Gerges’ book on al Qaeda and the jihadist movement has become a classic in the field since it was published in 2005. Here he argued that far from being an Islamist front united in armed struggle, or jihad against the Christian West, as many misguided political commentators and politicians opined, al Qaeda represented a small faction within the jihadist movement, criticized by other groups who preferred to concentrate on changing the Muslim world, rather than attacking the Far Enemy and making the fight global. In the intervening years, with the advance of the ‘War on Terror’ and the invasion of Iraq, much has changed and, just as Gerges showed, al Qaeda’s fortunes have taken a significant downturn. Revisiting The Far Enemy in this new edition, Gerges demonstrates that not only have the jihadists split ranks, but that voices from within the ultra-religious right, those that previously supported al Qaeda, are condemning its tactics as violent, unethical, and out of accord with the true meaning of jihad. In fact, millions of Muslims worldwide have rejected al-Qaeda’s ideology and strategies and blame Osama bin Laden and his cohorts for the havoc the organisation has wrecked on their communities. Al-Qaeda is now in the wilderness suffering massive erosion of authority and legitimacy in Muslim eyes and facing a fierce revolt from within. As Gerges warns, the next US administration would do well to use political and socio-economic strategies rather than military means to ensure that it stays there.

    Gerges makes a convincing case that the “identity crisis” within Islam extends even to the ranks of the Islamists themselves.

    Rage on against “the Muslim horde”, but I think it is to our benefit that we pay attention to the nuances, the distinctions, the complexities of Muslims and within Islam itself.

  17. “Then again, when was the last time you heard of Catholics rioting in the streets over a desecrated Host, or a portrait of Mary plastered with elephant dung? When was the last time you heard the pope or any bishop call upon the faithful to rise up and kill anyone who receives the Eucharist in an apparent state of “manifest grave sin”?”

    Elaine — I couldn’t agree more, and precisely the point of my own post on the topic.

  18. Donald;

    Thank you for your perspective. You are normally a very reasonable but in this instance I think you are mistaken.

    Please re-read Christopher post. He is rationalizing why Muslims are killing innocent people. He is asking us to look at it from their perspective – which is to kill innocent people who had nothing to do with burning a book, be it holy or not. With all due respect to Christopher as a fellow human being, he uses the word “but” in his argument hence my comment on the affect of that word. Lets look at what rationalize means:

    ra•tion•al•ize is to ascribe (one’s acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes. (see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rationalization)

    He is asking us to look at killing innocent life from the Muslim perspective. That “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading”, BUT if we could only be enlightened enough to see it from the Muslim perspective their action would make sense. I am sorry but it does not make sense to me – maybe I am just slow and not as enlightened as some but God made me how I am.

    Christopher;

    Thank you for your concern about my jets but they were not in need of cooling. Just as I cannot understand why a baby can be killed (aborted) so to do I fail to understand why Muslims can kill innocent people. Again, I cannot understand from any perspective that it is justifiable or understandable to kill innocent people no matter what someone else did. Just because some fool in Florida burned the Koran does not make it okay for some one else thousands of miles away to kill innocent people. Muslims must take ownership of their actions – not claim it is the will of God (Inshalla). I hope you will not next tell me that I need to understand from a rapist’s perspective why they raped a person no matter what type of clothes the victim was wearing.

  19. Thank you Chris (Burgwald).

    I said as much in the prefix to the sentence Catholic Lawyer is citing:

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    I’d also refer Catholic Lawer to this post:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2011/04/05/on-the-muslim-response-to-terry-jones-quran-burning-a-reply-to-rich-sanchez-huffington-post/

    Where I am making the same point: protesting sacrilege cannot be taken as grounds for murdering the innocent.

  20. What Chris Burgwald said.

    I would also ask the Catholic Lawyer to take note of my disclaimer …

    NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, but understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.

    – and to please read the prior post as well: On the Muslim Response to Terry Jones where I specifically dispute the notion that protesting sacrilege is legitimate grounds for murdering the innocent.

  21. Christopher;

    Words have meaning. Look at what you really said “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, BUT understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might get a tad upset witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.” (Emphasis added).

    But defined:

    CONJUNCTION:
    1. On the contrary: the plan caused not prosperity but ruin.
    2. Contrary to expectation; yet: She organized her work but accomplished very little. He is tired but happy.
    3. Usage Problem Used to indicate an exception: No one but she saw the prowler.
    4. With the exception that; except that. Often used with that: would have joined the band but he couldn’t spare the time; would have resisted but that they lacked courage.

    So lets write what you really said “NOT that this is grounds for the behavior of those doing the beheading, EXCEPT THAT understood from this perspective, you can see why any Muslim might [kill] witnessing somebody burning a copy or posts a Youtube video ripping one to pieces.” If this is not your intended meaning then you should be more careful in what you are writing.

    Men of good will can disagree and still treat each other with common courtesy and respect.

  22. Chris, isn’t it fun to be accused, on one thread, of being an apologist for Islam, while on another thread someone tweaks you for making a religious issue out of supposedly political and tribal slayings?

  23. Christopher;

    I may have misunderstood your post but I am not alone. I come to this conclusion because
    1. Other people on this site have; and
    2. I asked others to read your posts and they came to the same conclusion that I did. Admittedly, the people I asked are of similiar temperment and mind set as I. In thier defense, they are highly intelligent and highly educated (not that these two are necessarily related).

    If your position is to compliment or remind other of those Muslims that have not reacted violently even when provoked then you should make this point more clearly. I know you have in other places but, I know this will come as a shock to some, not everyone reads all the posts here

    I did not intentionally misunderstand your post but took it at face value. It says what it say. If what it says is not how it should be interperated then please speak more clearly.

    I am sorry that you feel that having a discussion about the use of words amounts to a vendetta or something. I cannot prevent you from feeling this way. I would hope you understand that it was and is not my intent. Christopher, we are both brothers in Christ and I hold no ill will towards you. I would hope that if we ever met we could be friends.

  24. “Christopher, we are both brothers in Christ and I hold no ill will towards you. I would hope that if we ever met we could be friends.”

    Thank you, the feeling is mutual.

  25. Good on you, CL.

    Let me explain *my* reaction–I’ve long thought that Chris Blosser was one of the five sanest men on the internet (honest–it’s not a backhanded compliment). The idea that he-of all people-would be thought of as apologizing for religious terror…astounds.