definition: par•a•digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm')

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this blog is four-fold:
to recognize that every person functions within a basic paradigm, which affects how all information is processed;
(2) to understand the paradigms of others;
(3) to discuss, in particular, paradigms which are related to science, religion, and philosophy.

(4) to reveal the paradigm shifts in my own life, a process that has completely changed the direction and purpose of my existence.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to convince anyone that their paradigms or beliefs are correct or incorrect. I am hoping for an honest dialog, but the discussions must remain respectful of others, even if there is profound disagreement. If any comments are not respectful, they will be removed.
(Revised 1/13/09)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Some Discussions are Bigger than I had Imagined--The Bible and the Qur'an--Part 1

Some days ago, I started a project that I thought would be interesting: a comparison of the main messages of the Bible and the Qur'an. It is interesting. The only problem was, when I looked up what scholars said about the Qur'an, and hence Islam, it was not at all what I had expected, considering all that we hear on the news about radical Islam. It was clearly going to be no simple task to compare the Bible and the Qur'an. At least, with the Bible, I can show pretty clearly what it actually says, even if different denominations have varying interpretations. However, I could not do that with the Qur'an, because I am not familiar with its content, as I am with the Bible. My solution was to go to several web sites about Islam, to see what Islamic scholars said about its key doctrines. This is where I ran into trouble. Scholar after scholar explained that the Qur'an teaches that "The Qur’an’s main message is to call people to turn to the Source of all being and the Giver of life, and to serve Him with a pure heart, free of idolatry or superstition." (From: In addition, they explained that the Qur'an teaches that "Muslims were allowed to wage war only because they were oppressed and subjected to violence. To put it in another way, God granted permission for war only for defensive purposes. In other verses, Muslims are warned against use of unnecessary provocation or unnecessary violence." ( It was clear, then, that this project was going to be harder than I thought. I have therefore decided to open this post up for contributions from other scholars of Islam.