The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

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Kane Augustus
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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by Kane Augustus » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:09 pm

socrates wrote:It is possible, he believes, to show that the Qur'an really is the "literal speech of Allah," by the use of certain valid arguments that can be found within the pages of the Qur'an itself.
This is circular reasoning, and in this case invalid. One cannot reasonably assume that their reference source doesn't refer to itself when it comes to holy writ. So to conclude that what is stated in a set of sacred writings is also what one can prove from those sacred writings is to say nothing at all. I can prove from the dippling on the skin of my orange that that orange testifies literally to it being an orange. So what?

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sgttomas
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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by sgttomas » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:17 pm

Kane Augustus wrote:
socrates wrote:It is possible, he believes, to show that the Qur'an really is the "literal speech of Allah," by the use of certain valid arguments that can be found within the pages of the Qur'an itself.
This is circular reasoning, and in this case invalid. One cannot reasonably assume that their reference source doesn't refer to itself when it comes to holy writ. So to conclude that what is stated in a set of sacred writings is also what one can prove from those sacred writings is to say nothing at all. I can prove from the dippling on the skin of my orange that that orange testifies literally to it being an orange. So ywhat?
he didn't represent my position properly.

I said the arguments are given in the Quran. The proof is in your mind.

all reasoning is circular. powerful reasoning is recursive. true reasoning is insightful.

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

Kane Augustus
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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by Kane Augustus » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:52 pm

sgttomas wrote:he didn't represent my position properly.

I said the arguments are given in the Quran. The proof is in your mind.
So you believe it because the Qu'ran says it. And because the Qu'ran says it, you believe it.

What are your external verifications? I mean, even infants seek external verification (I have lots of children so I've seen this to be the case many times over). But in the case of religion, it seems that people simply drop the logical utility of external verification. Thus people -- in a majority of cases -- build their religious foundations on special pleading: "I need proof for claims, except when it comes to my version of God. Then it's just faith."

For me, so to speak, that just doesn't cut the mustard.
sgttomas wrote:all reasoning is circular.
Thus the reason why some reasoning is invalid.
sgttomas wrote:powerful reasoning is recursive.
Repetition doesn't necessarily demonstrate power. Powerful insanities are recursive, too. So how does repetition of self-similar items justify anything to do with reason in this case?
sgttomas wrote:true reasoning is insightful.
"Great wits are oft to madness near allied" (John Dryden, poet). What makes some reasoning true and some reasoning false? How is the madman not truly reasoning and being insightful? You're not telling me anything. You're just asserting stuff.

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sgttomas
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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by sgttomas » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:17 am

Kane Augustus wrote:So you believe it because the Qu'ran says it. And because the Qu'ran says it, you believe it.
edited to bring down the smarmy tone of voice in my post...wanted more like firm and direct....

No. You're putting words into my mouth. If you read the pertinent text in this thread and the first link you can see the arguments I said are in the Quran. They are not in the form you proposed there.
What are your external verifications? I mean, even infants seek external verification (I have lots of children so I've seen this to be the case many times over). But in the case of religion, it seems that people simply drop the logical utility of external verification. Thus people -- in a majority of cases -- build their religious foundations on special pleading: "I need proof for claims, except when it comes to my version of God. Then it's just faith."
First of all, no one comes to believe in God unless they've already decided there is a God. No one. Intellectual assent to the reality of God comes after the heart's awakening to His presence. For one who decides there is no God, nothing, not a thing, will ever contradict that position. The reality of God is an intellectually arbitrary proposition with no reasoning sustaining one belief or the other without presuming the outcome (remember, that goes BOTH ways).

Secondly, my argument was precisely that there was external verification. Have a look.
sgttomas wrote:all reasoning is circular.
Thus the reason why some reasoning is invalid.
ALL REASONING is circular. The circularity of reasoning isn't what invalidates it. You can decide for yourself what invalidates it. I usually choose "consistency". In this case your response is inconsistent with the premise, and therefore is an invalid conclusion.
sgttomas wrote:powerful reasoning is recursive.
Repetition doesn't necessarily demonstrate power. Powerful insanities are recursive, too. So how does repetition of self-similar items justify anything to do with reason in this case?
It's power is the ability to self-reference and extrapolate. Powerful insanities are INDEED recursive. That's totally consistent with what I said. I merely said it was powerful. I'm describing different kinds of reasoning to you. And insanity is just the group's opinion of what isn't proper (really...that's the clinical definition; it's an entirely circular argument...like all arguments). So you have only told me that powerful reasoning is recursive...which is what I think I asserted.
sgttomas wrote:true reasoning is insightful.
"Great wits are oft to madness near allied" (John Dryden, poet). What makes some reasoning true and some reasoning false? How is the madman not truly reasoning and being insightful? You're not telling me anything. You're just asserting stuff.
Truth is whatever you want it to be. You will reason and justify your choice after the fact. The madman IS truly reasoning. It just depends on what game you're playing.

Insight is what comes as an accident to what your mind is occupied with. The truth of it is what you decide. And that comes with insight. Refer back to first assertion re: reason and circularity.

And if you want to understand the power of the reasoning that I employ, refer to Fleetmouse and his marriage to Richard Rorty. I developed something that is compatible in its structure, but is situated in the theism camp. The reasoning is the same; I just decided before hand that it ought to be done under the authority of God. And if you want to work out that exercise of coming to knowledge of the "true" God, we can do it. Just don't dismiss what I said off hand. I'm a lot more that what you think of me....ask these folks. They'll let you know.

Peace,
-sgttomas
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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fleetmouse
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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by fleetmouse » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:07 pm

sgttomas wrote:Okay, here is the argument in the clearest and strongest way that I know how to express it. Ask the author of this website, he'll tell you much better than me: http://www.shariahprogram.ca/

That's the best I can do. He (the author) has claimed in his classes that he understands the expression of the Quran's inimitability through its literary forms and content. I'd say he has a better shot at giving you an honest answer than I do. And if you don't already know Arabic, he can teach you, as that is a prerequisite for attaining to the knowledge you are seeking. Without this knowledge base, you cannot evaluate the other claims. The Quran is an Arabic Quran, as the Quran says about itself. The renderings into other languages are useful for instruction and have their ability to guide a person. But you are asking me about the Quran as a divine book and how to properly evaluate it. You need to fulfill the requirements that a scholar would assume in order to approach the book properly.

It is the case that people have come to appreciate the Quran as the Word of God without access to this level of knowledge. As in my case, I was convinced by something entirely personal. That is all I can hope for you without reaching the proper scholarly levels of knowledge to properly evaluate the divine origin - and how can I know what that will be for you?

There is a weaker option, but one that might meet halfway between the scholarly route and the personal one. That is you could undertake a meta-investigation of the Quran's inimitability. Good people on these boards can tell you the the position of the Bible as the verbal plenary Word of God is untenable in academic circles of credible and honest work. Consequently, modern Christianity has adjusted to a different notion of divine speech and human interaction with it. What similar work has been done on the Quran, what is the scholarly consensus, and what has been the reaction in the faith community? I'll leave this to you to investigate, as I have neither the desire, or resources to carry it out.

The only claim for you to evaluate now is the inimitability of the Quran. That's the first and foremost argument and nothing else can compare to it. You'll come to your own conclusions. I think that a basic dictionary defintion suffices for what kind of search for knowledge this will be. The meanings are rendered clear. I've done what I can for you.

May ALLAH guide you.

-sgtt
sgttomas, going to the extent of learning Arabic to study the Quran academically sounds like a good way to induce sunken cost bias.

Could you express a couple of ideas about the Quran in your own words, that make you think it is the literal speech of Allah? And could you be specific rather than simply piling up compliments and honorifics at its feet?

Also, I'm not married to Rorty, though we are having a hell of a fling.

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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by Metacrock » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:33 am

Historically at least some school of Islam may have thought the Koran was literally the words of Allah. I'm pretty sure of that. I'm not sure that's the only story. I'm not at all sure that's the only view today.

I ask Sarge, spit it out, yea or ney, am I right in thinking this is not the only view?

the literal words of sarge tom.
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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by sgttomas » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:11 pm

The overwhelming consensus throughout history has been the "Literal" one. Indeed though, in the first Islamic century there was a powerful group who had political dominion over parts of the Muslim lands. They asserted that the Quran was created. These were called the Mutalizites. There are many subsequent groups that hold or have held similar positions. There is no reason to seriously consider these positions. The underlying reasons for this approach have always had one thing in common: the need to change the religion of Islam from the core documents, rather than the more equitable, but less variable position of reinterpretation. You can find a million opinions these days. I think we can take that for granted in the age of the internet. There is a fortified position of Islamic thinking that keeps these at bay; the established traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and the unbroken chain of narrators who have conveyed his message precisely as he delivered it. Neo-Mutazilites stand completely outside of this tradition; they have no un-broken chains. Therefore, to the traditional Muslim, they are incorrect a priori.

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by sgttomas » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:18 pm

fleetmouse wrote:sgttomas, going to the extent of learning Arabic to study the Quran academically sounds like a good way to induce sunken cost bias.
Your emotional appeal is interesting, though irrelevant. No academic is taken seriously if they can't investigate the subject matter in the original language, dialect, customs and idioms. The arguments put forward about the Quran have no reality in a language other than Arabic.

Sure, it's a shame you were born speaking English and not Quranic Arabic. That puts you in a group with 99.99% of all people. Most Arabs have to go study Quranic Arabic to have any inroads to scholarship. I guess they have a bit of an advantage, but you can make up for that by investing $1000 and about 300 hours of study. That's a pretty paltry price to pay.
Could you express a couple of ideas about the Quran in your own words, that make you think it is the literal speech of Allah? And could you be specific rather than simply piling up compliments and honorifics at its feet?
Do I speak Arabic? Do you? So we can't progress very far. I take it for granted because I trust the scholars who told me of this attribute. I believed in the Quran because of the interjection of the names and attributes of ALLAH, how they were invoked, and the rhetorical effect this had on my psyche.
Also, I'm not married to Rorty, though we are having a hell of a fling.
:mrgreen:

eta: I bring forward two things for your consideration. I want this to be a means for you to appreciate that I'm not a non-thinking zealot, but rather a considerate advocate. First, this was composed before I become a Muslim or considering anything of the teachings of Islam, and describes my ideas of religion. I still maintain this is valid.

Second,this is why my psyche was so affected by reading the Quran (also composed before becoming Muslim, or considering anything of the teachings of Islam). I was predisposed to seeking out the names of God as the most direct encountered with His reality. The Quran is remarkable for this aspect of invoking the Divine Reality to fulfill, justify, or propound the meaning of the words surrounding the names and attributes of ALLAH

-sgtt
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by sgttomas » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:10 am

Fleetmouse,

I think I can fill out a bit more of my answer regarding your request for me to flesh out my belief in the Quran as the literal speech of ALLAH.

As I mentioned, I have a propensity for seeking meaning through the names and attributes of ALLAH. The Quran imposes this upon one's psyche in a very peculiar way. It caught my attention. I was spellbound by the meaning it implored. I came to understand that this Quran was revealed to a man, who claimed to be speaking the words that ALLAH was placing in his mouth. I learned that historically this was a verified fact (that this claim was levied and that no one had subsequently tampered with the text...so I could trust that whatever was claimed by this prophet was available for my direct inspection, not mediated through higher criticism or other such guesswork).

I had to consider the old conundrum that people use for Jesus, but that actually holds no water because it cannot be attributed to him directly: either this person was telling the truth, or else he was a liar. Indeed, the Quran brings forward all of the skeptical arguments. Indeed, the Quran brings forward many kinds of arguments in addition. And indeed, the Quran speculates on who the source of this document it. And what I like most of all, the Quran never says that a set of proofs {x,y,z} conclusively demonstrate that this text is holy - because nothing does that. The Quran says that no one can create something like it. That's a claim that can be tested. And all other assertions to the Divine are emotional appeals, even when disguised as appeals to reason. The Quran is creating venues for self-reflection and avenues to self-denial and self-accountability. And all along the names and attributes of ALLAH keep appearing.

The whole structure of the text was compelling to me. It has intermixing historical narration, with contemporary ethics, with philosophical conjecture, with emotional appeal, with rebuke and stern warning, and moreover it was composed piecemeal and in a different order than the way it was finally compiled. It was brought together in synthesis as a cohesive thing from historically contingent circumstances and disparate trains of thought...what was I supposed to make of it? The names of ALLAH were true. They were integral to the text. The arguments as to its authenticity were clear, never venturing into unprovable grounds, never overstepping the bounds of sound reason, and the character of humanity in relation to Divinity was extremely compelling to me. And when I learned of what Muslim scholars derived about the nature of God (called "Tawheed" - Divine Oneness) it was JUST as I thought one ought to speak of the Creator - the way that it was NECESSARY to speak of the Creator, and never anything else but that was brought forward. It was so pure.

If you take your Rortian matrix and apply it to The Self-Sufficient Fount of All Being, you get Tawheed. If you take Tawheed and apply it to religion, you get Islam. If you take Islam and apply it to Prophethood, you get Muhammad - may ALLAH bless him and grant him peace, to him and his family, his companions, and all those who follow in his footsteps until the Final Hour. It was a take it or leave it proposition. There is no middle ground. Half-baking it is just self-deception or "shirk" (associating something with God that is not properly "God"). Neither of those positions was tenable for me. I wanted purity of thought and purity of meaning. Call it truth if you like.

Check the Avatar.

I was sold.

(yes, this is entirely an emotional argument - or else a rational argument entirely contingent upon the emotion choice to believe in God beforehand, and then to come to grips with what this "God" means...I have a lot more to say on that subject, but will leave it here for now).

Peace,
-sgttomas
Last edited by sgttomas on Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

Kane Augustus
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Re: The Qur'an, is it the "literal speech of Allah"?

Post by Kane Augustus » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:09 pm

sgttomas wrote:No. You're putting words into my mouth. If you read the pertinent text in this thread and the first link you can see the arguments I said are in the Quran. They are not in the form you proposed there.
I'm not putting words in your mouth. I'm summing up what I perceive your position to be.
First of all, no one comes to believe in God unless they've already decided there is a God. No one. Intellectual assent to the reality of God comes after the heart's awakening to His presence.
Yes, no-one believes unless they decide they believe. That much is obvious. As for your proposition about the heart awakening to God's presence -- aside from the poetic expression of your thought -- the intellect assents to realities, any and all realities after the evidence for those realities has been apprehended or perceived. When it comes to the supernatural, every religion accepts the special pleading clause: everything that is believable is believable because there is evidence for it; but when it comes to God/gods, you just have to open your heart, feel the burning in your bossom, accept the traditions that say this-or-that is so, etc. Special pleading for God's existence equals the degrading denial of the requirements of reason.
For one who decides there is no God, nothing, not a thing, will ever contradict that position.
Wrong. Conclusive evidence easily contradicts the position that no God/gods exist. The difficulty is that there is no conclusive evidence that God/gods do exist. So why believe against reason?

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