Holy scripture, whether the bible, qur'an, or all other ancient documents, were written by human beings for their time, understanding and customs.
Higher power does not exist, there is no one or some thing with a plan for our lives, that guides us, answers prayer, heals us or protects us from illness, accident or war. We exist, through the processes of nature, and just as the universe came from some spark that is beyond my understanding, so too, does life come into being. An egg and a sperm meet and spark into life; that also happens beyond my understanding. I function without knowing, and I exist as part of an incredibly complex, beautiful, full-of-wonder universe.
What would happen if Jews and Christians and Muslims “set their books aside long enough to see each other as human beings?" That is the basic problem, Jews, Christians and Muslims, whether born into the faith or convert, will not set aside their teachings and written books, nor will they discuss, compare, contrast, negotiate and compromise.
Every human being is born with certain natural characteristics, some passed through DNA and others exist as individual attributes. (This person represents hardware).
The operating system (i.e. Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX) defines how the computer will operate. (This represents software.)
The bible (software) is to people (hardware) as the operating system (software) is to a computer (the hardware).
If one has a computer with software that gives faulty information, or is wrong, or is biased, or is irrational, the computer operator gets rid of the software that does not do the job.
If a person reads, learns, believes, has faith in the printed word, and if the word is faulty, many people have difficulty getting rid of the ideas. Even if they don’t believe the fantasy of the writings, they may incorporate the values and some use different language to dominate, or control, or oppress and feel entitled to do so.
I agree Joan - all those so called holy books are written by humans and not gods as they claim.
I have to thank my daughter, Laura, she always gives me bones to chew on.