How is this not plagiarism?

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When I was a graduate student, a lot of emphasis was placed on academic honesty. We adhered to the guidelines for scholarly writing set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA style). In short, whenever we included information that we had not written in our academic assignments, even if they were short discussion responses, we were required to cite the author, in very specific terms. The type or format of the citation depended upon the media source (for example, chapters of books are cited differently from journal articles).

During either my second or third Capella course, it became apparent that another student was copying my work. I am not sure if this person thought they were being discreet, or if she was just arrogant enough to think that people would not notice, but it was pathetically obvious that she was re-writing entire paragraphs from my postings with only two or three words in each sentence switched into a different order. I brought this to the attention of my professor. It escalated into a situation that concluded with the student being removed from the university. In all academic settings, plagiarism is taken seriously. 

You would think the consequences would be as severe when it comes to taking bits and pieces, “copying and pasting” from the Bible, wouldn’t you?

Well, the heavenly consequences are, as Revelation 22:18-20 says this: 

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says “Yes, I am coming soon”. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

That tells me a few things: 1) Our all-knowing God KNEW, which is obvious from the multitudinous warnings in the Bible, that there would be innumerable false prophets, preachers and even pseudo-Christians who would come to lead people astray, and that 2) His infallible, inerrant Word would be used to do it.

The Qu’ran is proclaimed to be the inerrant word of Allah, yet it is full of contradictions and scientific errors. It claims that the sun sets in a body of water (so basically, it is small enough to fit in the earth), for example. However, what is more interesting is the number of stories that are obvious “adaptations” of Biblical stories. We are expected to believe that God authored the Bible, then decided the original wasn’t good enough and sought out Muhammad to correct his initial mistakes. (You see the problem with that statement? Since when does God make mistakes?) Muslims believe that God revealed the Qu’ran to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel.

For instance, the Bible tells us that Adam was formed from dust and that God breathed the breath of life into his body, then during a separate instance caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, during which he removed one of Adam’s ribs, and from that rib he brought forth Eve. The Qu’ran teaches that Adam was made from clay. Importantly, the Qu’ran teaches that Adam and Eve were wholly forgiven for their sin after their encounter with Satan, and thus there was no original sin that requires salvation–interestingly, that is the reason there is no need for Jesus and why it is okay to develop a belief system that relies more on works than anything else.

The story of Cain and Abel is also included in the Qu’ran, with amendments, as are Biblical stories that involve Biblical figures such as Moses, Abraham, Noah, and Jonah. Of course a big blaring error in the Qu’ran is the denial of the divinity of Jesus.

So how is that NOT plagiarism?

The punishment for the student who copied my work definitely fit the transgression. It only impacted a few people; therefore, being removed from the university was more than enough. However, the costs, namely the souls that have been lost because of this dishonesty, is absolutely appalling. 

My husband has a book that discusses the similarities among the Bible and the Qu’ran and includes an overview of the religion as a whole. Check back in while I read through it.



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