Saturday, March 29, 2014

"I Have My Own Interpretation Of The Qur'an"

Earlier this month at my debate MeetUp I had a lovely conversation with a Muslim man over a few glasses of wine about the NSA spying scandal. In the middle of our conversation, I asked if he was Muslim, and he told me that he was. I then asked him why he thought drinking alcohol was OK since it is a prohibition in Islam and he told me that he has his "own interpretation of the Qur'an."

This is a line echoed by many theists that I've engaged in intellectual discussions with, and it's a perfect example highlighting one of the two major problems with the divine command theory of ethics. The epistemic problem with the DCT is due to the fact that no one knows what god commanded what, and whatever commands god is believed to have made can be subjectively interpreted however one wants. This leaves you ultimately, in practice, with moral relativism - which is, ironically, the very thing that the DCT seeks to eliminate.

Now the Muslim gentleman at that MeetUp is a really nice guy. He's pretty much just a regular guy who happens to be Muslim, and he can engage in intellectual conversations on a variety of topics. He takes a liberal approach to his interpretation of the Qur'an, which I think us atheists would hope for all Muslims to do, if they insist upon keeping the faith. It is said that American Muslims are far less radicalized than Muslims in other Western countries. There are always exceptions, but this is generally true. I suppose what we should encourage among all Muslims, but specifically Muslims living in the West (because we are most affected by them), is that they adopt a progressive attitude towards their religion in the same way many Christians in the West have.

Finally, I've also got my own interpretation of the Qur'an. And that is that it's a man-made book full of contradictions and factual errors and it shows. See here.

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