Monday, August 18, 2014

Reading the Koran to understand the genocide of Christians in Iraq by ISIS

Today I bought a copy of The Koran, which was translated from the Arabic by J. M. Rodwell, with a Foreword and Introduction by Alan Jones.  The main reason why I bought this book is to understand the current genocide of Christians in Iraq--whether this genocide is based on the Koran or not in the most literal sense.

A.  Genocide in Koran and the Bible

I browsed the Koran and found this passage which speaks of the destruction of unbelievers, which may be used by ISIS to justify their genocide of Christians in Iraq:
Say to the infidels: If they desist from their unbelief, what is now past shall be forgiven them; but if they return to it, they have already before them the doom of the ancients!
Fight then against them till strife be at an end, and the religion be all of it God's.  If they desist, verily God beholdeth what they do:
But if they turn their back, know ye that God is your protector: Excellent protector! excellent helper! (Sura 8).
It is true that the Bible also spoke about how God commanded King Saul to slaughter the the Amalekites and destroy all their possessions--a direct order through Samuel the Prophet which Saul disobeyed: he spared the King and his army kept the fat sheep, oxen, and lambs.  And for this reason, the kingship was removed from Saul and later transferred to David.  As Samuel said to Saul:
Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.” “Speak!” he replied. 17 Samuel then said: “Though little in your own eyes, are you not chief of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king of Israelg 18 and sent you on a mission, saying: Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction. Fight against them until you have exterminated them.h 19 Why then have you disobeyed the LORD? You have pounced on the spoil, thus doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight... Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obedience to the LORD’s command? Obedience is better than sacrifice, to listen, better than the fat of rams.* 23 For a sin of divination is rebellion, and arrogance, the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, the LORD in turn has rejected you as king. (1 Sam 15:16-23)
This is the Old Testament.

In the New Testament, God established a new nation, the Church, with Christ as King.  Christ said to Peter:
Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But then how would the scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must come to pass in this way? (Mt 26:52-54)
Christ also told Pilate about his Kingship--not on the might of arms like that of the Roman Empire--but a Kingship based on Truth:
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”q 37 So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.* For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”r 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:36-38)
B. Should Christians read the Koran?

It is perilous for a Christian who has not read the Bible to read the Koran.  I say: Don't.  Touch it not.  And if ever you must read the Koran, you must spend the same amount of time reading the Bible or praying the rosary.

But Perhaps God has prepared me for this encounter with the Koran.  I have read the Good News Catholic Bible with Deuterocanonicals when I was in elementary and I read it primarily for the stories.  I liked the Maccabees then, the story of the battles of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers against the Greeks.  I read the New American Bible in college, just after my reversion to my Catholic Faith after years of dabbling with New Age books.  At that time, because of my encounter with Our Lady of Guadalupe, I read the Bible more as a way to understand the symbolism in her image--how she is the New Eve, the Ark of the Covenant, the New Israel, and the Woman of the Revelation.  And lastly, I read the whole Bible for the third time after college when I lost a good friend because of our differences in religion: she's a born-again and I'm a Catholic just fresh out of reading books on Apologetics and Dogmatic Theology lent to me by a friend during my few years stay in University of St. La Salle.   In my heartbreak, I read the Bible from the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25) to the Feast of St. Augustine (August 28).  And I learned that the Bible is really just one long love story between God and his people, as the book of Hosea tells us, where idolatry is considered adultery fit for filing a divorce.
On that day—oracle of the LORD— You shall call me “My husband,” and you shall never again call me “My baal.”* 19 I will remove from her mouth the names of the Baals; they shall no longer be mentioned by their name. (Hos 2:18-19)
I feel that the Koran for me is like the palantir which was entrusted to Aragorn by Gandalf:
"How is the hobbit, Pippin?" asked Aragorn.
"I think all will be well now," answered Gandalf.  "He was not held long, and hobbits have an amazing power of recovery.  The memory, or the horror of it, will probably fade quickly.  Too quickly, perhaps.  Will you, Aragorn, take the Orthanc-stone and guard it?  It is a dangerous charge."
"Dangerous indeed, but not to all," said Aragorn.  "There is one who may claim it by right.  For this assuredly is the palantir of Orthanc from the treasury of Elendil, set here by the Kings of Gondor.  Now my hour draws near.  I will take it."
Gandalf looked at Aragorn, and then, to the surprise of the others, he lifted the covered Stone, and bowed as he presented it.
"Receive it, lord!" he said: "in hearnest of other things that shall be given back.  But if I may counsel you in the use of your own, do not use it--yet!  Be wary!"
"When have I been hasty or unwary, who have waited and prepared for so many long years?"  said Aragorn.
"Never yet.  Do not then stumble at the end of the road," answered Gandalf.
(The Palantir, Lord of the Rings, p. 594)
But the temptation is always there.  Saruman studied the lore of the rings too closely that he became enamored with them and sought to rival Sauron himself.  As Elrond said in the Council after Gandalf told his tale:
This is grievous news concerning Saruman... for we trusted him and he is deep in all our counsels.  It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill.  But such falls and betrayals, alas, have happened before. (The Council of Elrond, Lord of the Rings, p. 265)
So I would like to ask my dear readers: please pray for me as I undertake the study of the Koran.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
The Koran
The Koran
The Holy Qur'an with English Translation and Commentary (English and Arabic Edition)
The Holy Qur'an with English Translation and Commentary (English and Arabic Edition)
Remember Amalek!: Vengeance, Zealotry, and Group Destruction in the Bible according to Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus (Monographs of the Hebrew Union College)
Remember Amalek!: Vengeance, Zealotry, and Group Destruction in the Bible according to Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus (Monographs of the Hebrew Union College)
Why I Left Jihad: The Root of Terrorism and the Return of Radical Islam
Why I Left Jihad: The Root of Terrorism and the Return of Radical Islam
Seeking Purity: An In-Depth Study Of The Book Of Hosea
Seeking Purity: An In-Depth Study Of The Book Of Hosea
Lord of the Rings Gentle Giant Mini-Busts Saruman
Lord of the Rings Gentle Giant Mini-Busts Saruman
Fatima: The Signs and Secrets