Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Comparing the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and the Bible

People are always writing books, and too much study will make you tired.
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Since the week before September 11, when that publicity-hungry pastor threatened to hold a Koran-fueled weenie roast, this column has been discussing the various merits and demerits of the Koran and the Book of Mormon. In this final installment in the series, we will discuss the Bible's inspiration.


Several commenters pointed out that I was taking it as a given that the Bible was the touchstone with which these other books must conform. I have been at pains to point out that it isn’t me saying that, but Muslims and Mormons themselves who claim to believe the Bible, and claim that their books are additions to, not replacements of, the Bible. Still, it is true that I do have a prejudice in favor of the Bible. I admit to believing the Bible is inspired.

Why do I believe the Bible, and the Bible alone, is from God? Frankly, since I’ve been studying it all my life, it would take me longer than the space available in this column to answer that, but let me just hit some of the highlights.

Science:

The Koran says the sun sets at night in a pond. (Sura 18:86)

The Book of Mormon speaks of diseases “to which men were subject by the nature of the climate.” (Alma 46:40) It was a common belief in Joseph Smith's day that some diseases were caused by the climate. Malaria, for example, was believed to be caused by the humid air of a swamp, (mal = bad, aria = air) rather than being transmitted by the mosquitoes that lived in the swamp.

Bible writers were not swayed by the non-scientific beliefs of their time. While it is certainly no science book, what it says conforms with proven scientific fact. For example, it describes the earth as round, and hanging unsupported in space. This at a time when most of the human race believed the earth was flat and supported on the back of a huge elephant.

Prejudice:

The Koran incites prejudice against Jews, Christians, and even ‘ignorant Arabs’: “The Arabs of the desert are the worst in Unbelief and hypocrisy, and most fitted to be in ignorance.” (Koran 9:97)

The Book of Mormon incites prejudice, stating that dark skin is a curse and white skin is a blessing: “And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.” (3 Nephi 2:15; see also 1 Nephi 13:15)

The Bible is entirely without prejudice: “God shows no partiality. In every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:35)

God’s justice:

The Koran says the wicked will burn in Hell.

The Book of Mormon says the wicked will burn in Hell.

The Bible says the wicked will cease to exist. (1 Samuel 2:9; Job 3:17; Psalm 37:9,10, 34, 38; Psalm 104:35; Proverbs 2:22)

Jesus’ sacrificial death:

The Koran says Adam repented and God forgave him. Hence no one inherited sin, and there is no need for a ransom.

The Book of Mormon says Adam repented and God forgave him; I agree with the logic of the Koran: If we didn’t inherit sin from Adam, why do we need Jesus’ sacrifice? 
Nevertheless, the BoM still speaks much of it, and calls on all to believe in Jesus.

The Bible says: “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on to all men inasmuch as all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

Wisdom:

For me, the most powerful reason for believing the Bible is its wisdom. People who have lived – knowingly or unknowingly – by Bible precepts have had better lives than those who have not. Some of those precepts are:
  •  Treat others as you would wish them to treat you.
  •  Happy are they who realize their spiritual poverty.
  •  A man who loves silver will never get enough silver.
  •  Do not offer to remove the speck from your brother’s eye when you have a plank in your own.
  •  A tranquil heart makes for a healthy body, but jealousy is like bone cancer.
  •  Man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.
  •  There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.
Take a minute to ponder that last one. Look around at your neighbors. Many of them seem to be living by the principle that there is more happiness in getting. “When I get that car… when I get that house… when I get that girl, then I’ll be happy.” Left to their own devices, these people could go through their entire lifetimes without ever discovering the truth that there is more happiness in giving. That’s because this is God’s thinking, not human thinking.

For me, this is a “Wow!” point. The wisdom of the Bible is the best proof of its inspiration.

If you believe the Koran is inspired, if you believe that the Book of Mormon is inspired, I have one challenge for you:

Show me a “Wow!” point from either of those works. To qualify as a “Wow!” it must be a principle that is true, profound, and something most humans don’t seem to be following, something they would never think of on their own.

Oh, and one more thing: It needs to be a principle that was not already covered in the Bible. 

Because, Koran believer, Book of Mormon believer, it is your contention that God had more to say after the Bible was finished. And it’s my contention that He did not.
 
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