The Western intelligentsia’s capacity for self-flagellation and self-hatred seems to be endless, and so now comes Jack Miles, a retired professor of religion, to tell us in a new book that Allah in the Qur’an is “more merciful” and “more moral” than the God of the Bible. Miles is, of course, being feted and celebrated for this in all the right places by all the right people, those who know that teaching the people of Western Europe and North America to despise their own culture and heritage, and to love that of Islam, is a good and noble endeavor.
Miles’ claims, however, are completely wrong. In the first place, there is the evidence of present-day reality. There have been well over 30,000 jihad terror attacks worldwide since 9/11; virtually all of them carried out by Muslims acting upon Qur’anic dictates, many of them screaming “Allahu akbar.” There have been no terror attacks committed by Jews screaming the Shema or Christians screaming “Jesus is Lord.” No doubt Christians have behaved violently in the name of Christ throughout the history of Christianity, but in doing so they never invoked the violent passages of the Bible as justification for their acts.
There is a simple reason for these facts: while there is a great deal of violence in the Bible, it is descriptive, not prescriptive. That is, it describes violent acts commanded by God, and that has created a number of theological problems that have preoccupied many Jews and Christians ever after, but nowhere does it present those violent acts as something to be imitated. The Qur’an, by contrast, exhorts Muslims to wage war against unbelievers in commands that are presented as universal, that is, applying to all Muslims for all time. That is also how they have been interpreted by Islamic exegetes from Muhammad’s first biographer Ibn Ishaq up to the present day: as mandating offensive jihad against unbelievers as the highest and final stage of the Qur’an’s teaching on jihad.
And as for Allah being “more moral” than the God of the Bible, consider these passages from the New Testament and the Qur’an:
“God our Savior…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:3-4)
“And if we had willed, We could have given every soul its guidance, but the word from Me will come into effect: I will surely fill Hell with jinn and people all together.” (Qur’an 32:13)
So Allah is saying that he could have saved everyone, but has instead decided to torture some people in hell for all eternity, just because. “We’re talking about the same being,” Professor Miles? No, we aren’t.