Saturday, June 15, 2024

Why Quran and Bible are not the Absolute Truth?

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In many religious circles, one often hears claims that sacred texts like the Quran or the Bible are “absolute truth.” However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that such assertions stem from a profound misunderstanding of what “absolute truth” truly entails. This article delves into the concept of absolute truth, contrasting it with the contextual nature of religious texts, and highlighting the importance of recognizing their relativity.

Understanding Absolute Truth

To grasp the fallacy of labeling religious texts as “absolute truth,” one must first comprehend the meaning of the term itself. Absolute truth refers to something that is valid independent of any external factors, such as time, place, environment, or context. It is a truth that holds true universally, without qualification or diminution. For instance, people consider the laws of gravity an absolute truth, as they remain valid regardless of where one travels in the universe.

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The Contextual Nature of Religious Texts

Religious texts like the Quran and the Bible are inherently contextual. They revealed or wrote them within specific historical contexts, addressing the circumstances and events of particular regions and cultures. The teachings and instructions within these texts often tailor to the societal norms and practices of those times.

For example, Allah revealed the Quran to Prophet Muhammad during his efforts to establish Islam in 7th-century Arabia. Similarly, the Jewish and Christian communities in and around Israel rooted the teachings of the Bible in their experiences. Consequently, the cultural and historical contexts in which they were given intrinsically tie many of the laws and guidelines found in these texts.

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The Relativity of Religious Teachings

Religious texts often contain instructions and guidelines for daily living, ranging from personal conduct to societal interactions. However, as societies evolve and circumstances change, the applicability of certain teachings may become obsolete or require reinterpretation. For instance, the Quran’s instructions on how to treat disobedient women, while relevant in 7th-century Arabia, may hold little relevance in modern times where women’s rights and societal norms have shifted.

Bible Context

Similarly, the Bible’s teachings on slavery are no longer applicable in contemporary societies where slavery is widely condemned and abolished. To claim that such context-specific teachings are “absolute truth” would be a gross oversimplification and a disservice to the nuanced understanding required when interpreting religious texts.

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The Distinction between Shruti and Smriti
Recognizing the fluidity of societal norms, ancient Indian scholars drew a distinction between Shruti (that which is heard or revealed) and Smriti (that which is remembered or tradition). People considered Shruti texts, such as the Vedas and Upanishads, as absolute truths, while they saw Smriti texts, like the Manusmriti, as relative truths that could be modified to align with changing times.

This distinction acknowledges that while certain fundamental principles may be timeless, the practical application of those principles must adapt to evolving circumstances. Unfortunately, some faiths often overlook such nuanced distinctions in their dogmatic interpretations of religious texts. 

The Subjective Nature of Religious Narratives
Religious texts frequently contain narratives and stories that depict events from specific perspectives. For example, one can view the Ramayana from Ravana’s perspective, portraying Rama as a villain and Ravana as a hero. Individuals or communities shape religious narratives, further underscoring the relativity of their content as they embody subjectivity inherent in their viewpoints and experiences.

To claim that religious texts like the Quran or the Bible are “absolute truth” is a gross oversimplification that fails to acknowledge the contextual and subjective nature of their content. While these texts may contain profound wisdom and guidance, their teachings are inextricably linked to the historical, cultural, and societal contexts in which individuals or communities revealed or wrote them.

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