I’d like to offer Robert Wright of the New York Times a little helpful advice. Robert, when you want to appear smart by offering one of those little quizzes wherein the deluded masses believe the answer is one thing but you, by dint of your superior intellect, know the real answer, you should make every effort to, well, know the real answer. Otherwise, you come off smarmy and ignorant.
Test your religious literacy:
Which sacred text says that Jesus is the “word” of God? a) the Gospel of John; b) the Book of Isaiah; c) the Koran.
The correct answer is the Koran. But if you guessed the Gospel of John you get partial credit because its opening passage — “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God” — is an implicit reference to Jesus. In fact, when Muhammad described Jesus as God’s word, he was no doubt aware that he was affirming Christian teaching.
No, that’s not correct. The opening passage of the Gospel of John is an explicit reference to Jesus. Let’s go beyond the first verse, quoted by Wright, to verses 14-17.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
There’s your explicit reference, and if that’s not quite explicit enough, let’s skip ahead a bit farther to verses 29 and 30 where John all but screams, “This is the Word guy!”.
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me
In most Bibles, all these verses are on the same page, so it’s not like Wright had to go hunting for the explicit references to Jesus that were cleverly concealed right under his nose. Of course, if he acknowledged them, he wouldn’t have been able to continue to opine about how Christians who condemn the Koran do so out of deliberate ignorance and bad will. Wright says much of the Christians’ bad will stems from “a tendency to latch onto evidence consistent with your worldview and ignore or downplay contrary evidence.” I’d say he needs a big tablespoon of his own medicine.
UPDATE: Linked by Dan Collins, one of the best writers in the blogosphere, bar none.