I have come to the middle of the only the second surah, a little over a week into this endeavor, and it would seem that right from the its birth, the Qur’an was born into a milieu of controversy and opposition.  Historically, the polytheists of Mecca took umbrage to this new revelation from God almost as soon as Muhammad returned from the Cave at Hira.  But the fact that the Qur’an is so quickly and persistently attacking Jews and Christians suggests these competing religions were even greater opponents (the attack continues today some places in the world).  I would have thought there were more important things to introduce this early in the book than the failings of the “People of the Book.”  It is almost as if Islam has knit its identity into the identities of these other two religions as a counter-point to their claims.  Almost like a symbiotic relationship, but in a negative way. 

That doesn’t seem like a healthy way to begin.  It seems like that only asks for the world to see you perpetually as a foil to these others, as if Islam cannot stand by itself.  Christianity at least positioned itself as a fulfillment to the religion of the Israelites, not a foil.  If this is a valid observation (and it certainly may not be) it also seems like it is no wonder that Islam’s history has always been intertwined antagonistically with either Judaism or Christianity.  And it seems like we are doomed to see that continue. 

I hope to hear soon about Islam, not the failings of the Jews and the Christians to believe.          

On the topic of Islam and pluralism, this ayah seems to confirm we are talking about replacement, not coexistence:

Any revelation We [Allah] cause to be superseded or forgotten, We replace with something better or similar. (2:106)