The Bible and the Qur’an are similar books, I’ve been clear on that before. One of the many similarities is a certain tendency to provide an insurance policy against the likelihood or fruition of doubt.
They both do so in the same ways; by ostracizing those unsure of their claims, demonizing them as deceivers, and apostatizing them in order prevent their dissent from spreading. Doubters and the questions that plague them, according to these holy texts, are like a cancer that will spread unless you cut it out and kill it.
From the Qur’an we have one of many warnings to those that would dare doubt the message of Islam:
And if thou art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers.
And the Bible:
2 John 1:7-10 (KJV)
7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.
These verses and others like them serve as an insurance policy against doubt. They tell the believer that questions and uncertainty shouldn’t be tolerated and that if they are uncertain of any cardinal doctrine of their faith that they must be Anti-Christs (for many Christians this title personifies evil) or anti-Islam.
Passages like the ones above should be our first clue as to the validity of the claims made by these religions. Demonizing doubt and dehumanizing the skeptic serve the purpose of retention as an unquestioning follower base is unlikely to defect – while even the smallest spark of uncertainty can lead to a raging fire with the power to break people free from religion’s grasp. The discouraging of questions are warning signs that something foul is ahead.
This Easter weekend I encourage believers to answer the following questions for themselves:
If my religion is the Truth, can it not stand up to scrutiny?
If my religion is the Truth, should it not encourage a deeper understanding?
If my religion is the Truth, can’t I examine it on a level playing field against other religions and epistemological presumptions?
Question what you fear. Question what you love.