Atheism and Islam

Question from Michael:
I have a few friends of mine who were discussing Islam with me. They had points to defend Islam such as; Predictions about scientific phenomenons that were not discovered till this century or the century before. They also have points like the validity of the Quran as its literature is of high eloquence. Its hard to debate with them as they are biased and dont approach atheism with an open mind. Any help with points to prove that atheism is valid especially when in regard to Islam would be greatly appreciated.

Answer by SmartLX:
My existing piece on prophecies uses exclusively Christian examples, but the core argument applies perfectly well to material from the Quran. Cases of scientific foreknowledge usually go into category 4, Shoehorned.

I’ve been decidedly outdone in this area by YouTube user TheIslammiracle. In his playlist of Quran Miracle Debunked videos, he systematically tears down 50 separate claims of the Quran’s divine foreknowledge of modern science. If your friends aren’t being specific, it may be simplest just to point them to that playlist. If on the other hand they’re being specific enough that what they say isn’t covered in the videos, put more detail in a comment here and we’ll try to help out.

The eloquence of the Quran leads into two different arguments for Islam, the first bolder than the second:

1. As the Quran itself says, “Bring one sura or just one verse like it, if you can!” or in other words, it’s so beautiful that no human literature can match it, so it must be divine. This is entirely subjective, and has been flatly denied (scroll to the section on Eloquence) by many scholars over centuries.

2. The Quran came out of a time, a place and a people so savage and primitive (Muhammed himself was likely illiterate) that only divine assistance could have produced such competent prose. I think I’ll let you come up with possible alternatives to this yourself.

More generally, if you want to be prepared to defend atheism against Islamic apologetics, go and research Christian apologetics. There is tons and tons of overlap, and there’s a lot more Christian stuff written in English. Start with the rest of my series on The Great Big Arguments; every one of them applies to Islam in some way, and just the titles will give you plenty of leads for wider Googling and reading.

If you need help with any particular point, feel free to write in again.