In tracking back a couple of articles, I came across a blog called "From the Front Lines" published by the Apologetics Resource Center with contributions by Dr. Steve Cowan and Jason Dollar. The blog seems to be a fine example of practical application of Christian apologetics in today's society. I looks to be a fine, developing resource.
Following up on Weekend Fisher's fine post on evangelizing Muslims, "From the Front Lines" has a post entitled "Why the Bible and not the Qur'an?", which tackles the claim by followers of Islam that the Qur'an must be true because of its literary beauty. The post reads:
The most popular argument given for the Qur'an's inspiration is its supposed literary elegance. One Muslim apologist, Yusuf Ali, says, “No human composition could contain the beauty, power, and spiritual insight of the Qur'an.” Muhammad himself said, “This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than God” (Sura 10:37). In fact, the Qur’an lays down a challenge which Muslims believe has never been met: “And if you are in doubt as to what we have revealed from time to time to our servant, then produce a sura like unto it” (Sura 2:23). The challenge is for someone to produce a literary work of equal quality to the Qur’an. Supposedly, if this could be done, the Qur’an would be shown to be a merely human work. But, the Muslim is confident that it cannot be done.
This is a very entertaining argument because I agree that all things beautiful are inspired by God. God as the source of all light, must, in my opinion, be the inspiration for anything that man can devise that is beautiful.
Of course, Dr. Cowan takes on the premise that the Qur'an is exceedingly beautful by pointing out that some Muslim scholars argue that it is not in any way superior to other Muslim writings. He also points out that there is a very subjective element in determining whether the Qur'an is the most beautiful of all books. But I don't think you even have to go that far in analyzing this argument. Accepting the premise for the sake of argument that the Qur'an is the most beautiful book ever written, it does not seem to follow that it must be from God.
I am not the least bit inclined to believe that simply because God is the inspiration, that all things beautiful are Godly or inspired in and of themselves. There are many beautiful sonnets that have nothing to do with God, even though the beauty that comes only from God is used as a tool for the transmission of the text. Some beautiful artwork are not odes to God but odes to paganism -- simply look at much of the tremendous art that was uncovered in the tomb of the Egyptian boy-king King Tutankhamun. It does not seem to me to follow at all that simply because something is beautifully written that it must be a direct message from God.
While I think it is important to understand the main teachings of the Islamic faith as taught to through the Qur'an to most effectively counter Muslim arguments for its truth, I think this is one area where common sense and real world experience points out the fallacious nature of the argument.