When "the Learner" gives his response to the "One day = 50,000 or 1,000 years" difficulty, he ends the article with this remark:

I am sure if Mr. Katz will consider my arguments with an open mind, he shall see that his argument of numerical discrepany, at least in this particular case, holds no ground. I request Mr. Katz to look at the Qur'an with the same mental attitude with which he looks at the Bible... is that asking for too much?

That certainly is not too much to ask.

I have already stated my view on this issue in the very first paragraph of my introduction to the provided list of Qur'an contradictions. My whole purpose with this part of the web site is to give the Muslim an incentive to approach the Bible with the same mental attitude as he approaches the Qur'an. That is the reason I also have no problem in linking to the Muslim responses to those contradictions. I do not have the goal to bash the Qur'an and to prove with all means possible that it is wrong. I hope that both Muslims and Christians can learn from these discussions. This is something I find lacking on nearly all Islamic web pages that discuss the corruption of the Bible who have not interest to give the Christians the possibility to explain their view. They seemingly have the need to prove the Bible wrong and this need is stronger than the honest search for truth in interaction between different views.

It is somewhat ironic that "the Learner" now tries to turn this argument on me as if I had put different standards on the difficult passages in the Bible and in the Qur'an. That is not the case. I am personally willing to accept an explanation as possible even though it might not fully convincing and somewhat ad hoc. I know there are difficult passages in the Bible for which I don't have explanations which are fully satisfactory. I will give the same lenience to reading and understanding the Qur'an. I only hope that Muslims learn from these difficult and certainly at a first look contradictory Qur'an passages, that they need to rethink their attacks on the Bible if they want to be intellectually honest in their "comparative religion" discussions.

However, for the sake of full impact of this discussion and to show the Muslims how they make Christians feel with their relentless attacks on our holy book, I am going to give the toughest possible arguments against the Qur'an in some of these exchanges about contradictions, not because I believe they are so incredibly important in content or that this finally establishes the Qur'an as wrong. I believe they are important only to get a proper perspective in these inter-faith debates, to help us to finally talk about the essentials, and to overcome the all too common arguments about peripheral issues in fruitless debates.

These essential topics are not some more or less superficial internal contradictions but the deeper theological issues of the nature and character of God, the nature of revelation and the issue how revelation relates to historical reality.

"The Learner" also responded to the "garden or gardens" issue and suggested:

I do not fully agree with the response of the Muslim, as shall be explained below, but I think that if Mr. Katz really believes that the answer given by the Muslim is a satisfactory one and resolves an apparent contradiction, he should remove the particular contradiction from his "contradictions" page and place it in a "resolved contradictions" page. I really do not think that that is asking for too much. I believe that is exactly what he himself would expect a Muslim to do. No? I believe that we should all -- whether it be me, Mr. Katz, Muslims, Christians, Jews or anyone else -- we should all set high moral and ethical standards for ourselves and then try to meet these standards as far as is possible for us, irrespective of whether or not our (apparent) adversaries are doing so.

I think I have mostly answered this issue already in the above explanations regarding my purpose. I want to thank the Learner for his response. I agree, it is a reasonable answer, and resolves this difficulty to my personal satisfaction. Why then do I not remove it from the list? Because the purpose never was to present a list of difficulties which are objectively contradictions so that the Qur'an be proven false and must be rejected on this basis. If that had been my objective, then I agree, I should remove it.

But this list has the purpose to aid both Christians and Muslims to discuss Qur'an and Bible from a proper perspective. Others who read these passages might have the same observation of one or many gardens as they read the Qur'an and might use this in their discussions. If it is removed, nobody will know that it is already answered in a good way. If I leave the perceived contradictions and the Muslim responses with possible answers on this web page, then both, Muslims and Christians can refer to this page as a helpful resource. Muslim readers can find good answers to the contradictions in the explanations of the problem provided; answers they might not have been able to find based on their own resources, and Christians can find and understand these answers on the web even if no Muslim could explain it to them. I think this is reason enough to keep the perceived problem with its discussion on this page. It is a help for better understanding. No unethical behavior was ever intended.

I have thought at some time to create a "resolved contradictions" section, but I think that would not have the same desired effect, nor would it be easy in many cases to determine when a certain difficulty should be moved from one to the other section. People have different opinions whether an answer is satisfactory or not. Making two such sections, would only fill my mailbox with a large number of Muslim complaints why I have not moved this one or that one, since it is resolved in their opinion, but not necessarily in mine. Therefore, I find the current approach personally most satisfactory. Everyone can find all the passages which "some people might consider contradictory"; they can read the different answers that have been given, and then come to their own conclusion whether this is resolved for them or not. I do not have to make this decision for the reader.

I hope these explanations are satisfactory and my course of action is no longer seen as morally questionable or coming from an evil motivation.

Jochen Katz

Contradictions in the Qur'an
Answering Islam Home Page