Heather pointed me to this site on Qur'anist perspectives when I was asking her some questions. I finally got around to poking around on the site and I recalled that SarahO had said, when I said that the only proof of the Qur'an is Mohammed's claim at being a prophet, that there were more proofs of the Qur'an on the site. So I went looking for those articles, to see if they were saying anything I hadn't heard before. The first article I came across was 'Qur'an and Self-Reference' and I then spent the next ten minutes trying to decide if I wanted to laugh hysterically or...no. Just laughing.
The premise of the article starts out with the concept of self-reference. Which is a real thing, mind. It exists and is really kind of fascinating and mind bendy if you get into it. For a general idea, I refer you to the Wiki article on the subject. The fascinating thing is that the author of the article seems to be making an attempt to prove that the Qur'an *must* be true because it contains no logical issues of self-reference. I can't actually speak to that, nor do I think it makes any difference, because I don't read classical Arabic.
For example, he says that the Qur'an states: "If it had been from anyone other than God, it would contain many contradictions." - 4:82. What does that prove, you may ask? Well, according to this theory, if one can find the word 'contradictions' in the Qur'an, multiple times, then the Qur'an has failed the self-reference test because it says one thing, but that thing is incorrect because the statement it makes is provably, technically wrong in that the word or phrase is used inside of the work in a way that contradicts the statement.
It's an entertaining game, really. But does it prove that the Qur'an is from God? Is that really the 'test' that God or Mohammed intended for people to use to verify the Qur'an? I don't think so. It's clear that the intent was not for people to sit there and count the number of times any given word was used. The intent was for the phrase to refer to instances of contradiction, rather than instances of the word 'contradiction'. To view it otherwise is to play a pseudo-scientific game with the words.
The author is taking something that is scientific (when it refers to maths, for instance) and applying it to a religious text. Ignoring all the context and basic knowledge of language in order to prove a point. It sounds, let's say 'good' and probably convinces some people. They see this and are amazed by the 'science'. But it's just a linguistic game. It doesn't *mean* what he says it means. And that makes it funny, in the sad kind of way.
The rest of the article goes on and on about the numbers of times words appear in the Qur'an and the meaning of the numbers and blah, blah. I fully admit to letting my mind drift and only skimming those parts. Numerology is a bunch of babbly crap, no matter which religion is trying to make use of it. Our brains are wired to see meaning and patterns. Even where there are none. We see something and our brain will reference it to something else that we know and we're suddenly, 'Aha! It has SIGNIFICANCE! It is a SIGN!' When, in reality, it's nothing. We're making it up without realizing it. The brain. Fascinating. So, really, the number of times a specific word is used in the Qur'an, or the Bible, or whatever, means bupkiss. Especially to me, since I know this and patently Do Not Care. I am Unimpressed By Your Numerology.
The author of the article couldn't resist getting one dig in on the Bible though, at the very end.
"The Bible is not free from paradoxes (contradictions) of self-reference. The famous "Epimenides paradox" is well known. Paul, writing to Titus, says about the Cretans:
12. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13. This witness is true….(Titus 1:12-13- The Bible)
An analysis based on self-reference tells us that if the statement that Cretans are always liars is true, then since "one of themselves (a Cretan)" said this, it must be a lie, since Cretans always lie (according to the statement made). So if the statement is true then it is a lie (based on self-reference). Only if the statement that "Cretans are always liars" is false can this "witness" be true. So it is a paradox, a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This shows that the author of Titus had no idea what he/she was talking about."
*cough* *eyes it* *laughs so hard she hurts herself* Author, allow me to introduce you to a rhetorical device known as hyperbole. It's been around for a long, long time. It is the use of exaggeration in order to make a point. But you go on and believe in the utter intent of every sentence to be absolutely 100% factually true. I'll be over here, thinking of what a silly, silly duck you are.