Will I make it through the second half of the Qur’an?

Because I’m getting bored with it. It offers the most monochromatic worldview of any book – holy or otherwise – that I’ve ever read. I’ve been carrying it around for ten days now on the subway, my eyes just skipping over the paragraphs lazily, hoping something will happen. It’s just “God knows. God is compassionate. God will make sure you suffer for your unbeleif.” Yawn.

I suppose I’m being unfair, though. If I were to consider the possibility that this book hid “truths” somewhere among its thorns, or that it might indeed be in some novel way the word of a god, or God, then I might be more inclined to give weight to its insistence on, well, the omniscience of God. But it’s just the hypochondriacal rantings of a religious fanatic. It’s Sister Ray for the godly, without the fun of shooting meth and sucking on a transvestite’s ding-dong.

So, as an offering, take this passage from Hume:

Should a traveler, returning from a far country, bring us an account of men, wholly different from any with whom we were ever acquainted; men, who were entirely divested of avarice, ambition, or revenge; who knew no pleasure but friendship, generosity, and public spirit; we should immediately, from these circumstances, detect the falsehood, and prove him a liar, with the same certainty as if he had stuffed his narration with stories of centaurs and dragons, miracles and prodigies.

Hume’s “far country” is much like the Qur’anic paradise, a place where believers lounge on couches – yes, couches – in friendship among shady trees and rushing streams. Fruit grows in abundance. There is never a lack or a care in the world, and everyone just jives in the divine presence doing nothing for the rest of eternity.

But, as Hume points out, such a paradise in indistinguishable from a fable.

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