I’m sure anyone can find subjective value in practically anything. There are Kabbalists who search for hidden patterns in the repetition of letters in the Bible. There are morbid folks who make fetishes of dead bodies because they see beauty in decaying flesh.

But to deny that the themes I referred to are objectively dominant in the Quran doesn’t seem to me defensible. There are only so many words in the book and you can count how many times different ones are used. As I said, “punishment” and “fear” come out ahead, and references to hell, too, abound.

Do you deny the summary of the Quran I gave is fair and accurate? What else is the Quran supposed to be about?

I realize the article may be offensive to Muslims, but it seems to me that if you’re resorting to the view that the Quran is entirely subjective, you’re implicitly agreeing with my article. You’re saying Muslims should retreat to a postmodern (relativist, subjectivist) view of truth, to avoid dealing with the obvious, objective contents of the Quran which are awkward and antithetical to modernity.

I agree we can focus on different themes and interpretations, especially when it comes to poetry, since poetry can reflect back what you put into it. But the outlines of the Quran seem to me perfectly clear and frankly off-putting.

Anyway, I’m glad you’ve found something that’s meaningful and useful to you. I’m just explaining the problems I have with the book and with monotheism in general. The Quran itself seems to call for such a response because it’s so aggressive against nonbelievers.

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Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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