Last week we received an inquiry about publishing an English version of the Koran for PocketBible. This isn’t the first time we’ve been approached with the idea.
As you may know, I wrote the first version of QuickVerse back in 1988 and took it to Parsons Technology. Within just a few weeks after starting work there, a lady came into the office carrying a copy of the Koran. Apparently her recently deceased husband (whose name I don’t recall) had created one of the most popular English translations of the Koran. She wanted to know if we were interested in publishing it.
We ultimately decided not to do it for a couple of reasons, and those reasons became the basis for our thinking on the subject (and related publishing opportunities) over the last twenty-plus years. First and foremost, we were a Bible software company, not a religious software company. We were Christians interested in Bible study, not scholars interested in comparative religious studies. We simply weren’t interested in spending any time on something that wasn’t going to do any good for Christians interested in studying the Bible.
Second, we knew that publishing the Koran was like the proverbial camel who gets his nose into the tent. Sure, we could publish the Koran — perhaps under the theory that doing so would help some Christians better witness to their Muslim neighbors — but next thing we knew, I’m sure there’d would be commentaries and other reference material that we would need to publish to support it. Pretty soon we’d be pressured to publish all kinds of Muslim material, none of which we personally had any interest in.
So when this opportunity came up last week my immediate reaction was “no”. However, it occurred to me that things were a little different now than they were twenty years ago. With the rise of Islamic terrorism there is more interest these days in understanding Islam so that we can be better equipped to win Muslims to Christ. So I decided to post a message on our Facebook fan page asking our fans there what they thought of the idea.
It was going to take an overwhelming tide of “yes” votes to change my mind. I have absolutely zero interest in doing anything to promote the Koran. You’ll notice there’s no picture in the upper right corner of this article. That’s because our stock photo supplier didn’t have any pictures of Muhammad or a burning Koran. I can’t imagine wasting any of my time on tagging the Koran for PocketBible.
In the sixteen hours or so that the question was up on Facebook, we received over 60 replies from 46 different people. 14 people were in favor of the idea and 30 against. A couple didn’t care one way or the other.
There was some controversy in the comments, with 9 of you essentially calling for a boycott of Laridian if we were to do this. Several people seemed to think we were already in the process of doing it, and three of you “unliked” our Fan page during those sixteen hours (two more of you “liked” us so our net loss was only one). I was a little disappointed that despite three follow-up comments from me there were still people who didn’t understand that we were just asking a question, not converting to Islam. On the other hand, at least one negative comment was deleted after I replied and the person had more time to think about their initial knee-jerk reaction.
As I pointed out on Facebook, the Koran is available for Logos in both English and Arabic. I haven’t heard of a mass boycott of Logos, so perhaps this isn’t as contentious as it might appear from our unscientific poll of Facebook fans. Or perhaps you expect less of Logos.
I’ve deleted the post on Facebook so as to limit any further confusion on where we stand on this issue. Suffice to say that the idea of publishing the Koran in PocketBible was always a long shot, that we were just asking for your opinion, and that we have not been mass converted to Islam, despite what a number of you apparently think.