The Most Violent Religious Text

opinion

For a while now, I’ve been reading comments, Facebook posts and so on about how Islam and the Quran, its holy text, are so violent.

That has been the main argument made for why Islam is not compatible with the west.

Growing up in a Muslim family, I was never taught to be violent or to hate people, but to show compassion, tolerance and to help anyone in need. I remember numerous times when my parents would help out those in need by providing them with food, money or anything else that they needed.

After hearing all of this negative rhetoric about how violent the Quran was, I decided to read it for myself. When I read it, I did not view it as being violent at all. Granted there are certain passages, that when taken out of context seem very violent, but within context they are not.

My opinion about the prevalence of violence in the Quran may be biased since I was raised in a Muslim family.

However, researchers have been able to put data behind unearthing the question regarding of which religious text is more violent. To do so, they use software called OdinText to analyze the text of the Quran, the New Testament and the Old Testament.

The results show that violence and destruction are referenced about 5.3 percent of the time in the Old Testament, 2.8 percent of the time in the New Testament and 2.1 percent of the time in the Quran.

Also, forgiveness and grace were mentioned much more often in the Quran than the other two texts. In the Quran it was referred to about 6.3 percent of the time, the New Testament about 2.9 percent of the time and the Old Testament just 0.7 percent of the time.

Since the Quran was originally written in Arabic, it can be translated in many different ways. According to email correspondence with a source, the best translations come from Tarif Khalidi and Ahmed Ali. For those looking for a more readable version, Tarif Khalidi would be the best choice. For those looking for a more academic version, Ahmed Ali’s translation would be the better choice.

The bogus claim that Islam is inherently more violent than Christianity is not founded by any objective examination, but by fear and misunderstandings of the Quran.

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Comment(5)

  • Will
    March 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    If you want any government to use its monopoly of force to impose sharia law, then I would consider you to be a violent person.
    If you are Christian and want to use government the same way, I would consider you to be a violent person.

  • Will
    March 3, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    you may enjoy this debate if you have 2 hours to spend

    • Alen Fejzic
      March 9, 2016 at 4:33 am

      Hey,

      Thanks for sharing the video. I finally had time to watch it and was really entertaining.

      There were a few things in the debate that I had issues with.

      1st) Ali kept saying that monotheistic religions cannot be peaceful, but neither can polytheistic religions. The number of gods a religion believes is does not dictate the peacefulness of a religion. For example, you can believe there is only one god and kill anyone who disagrees with you just as you can believe in 1 million gods and kill anyone who disagrees with you.

      2nd) The anti-statement panel seemed to really did not take context into consideration.

      3rd) I think the pro-statement panel did a good job with trying to judge Mohamed and the beginnings of Islam in context, but not justify/excuse that behavior.

      4th) I really did not like the way they judged the debate. For example, the people who voted that they were undecided may have heavily been much closer to being against the statement before the debate and then got pushed even further against it after the debate.

      It would have worked much better if there were only two options; agree or disagree. Then see how the numbers changed.

      If you are interested in reading more into the history of the beginnings of Islam I would recommend No god but God by Reza Aslan. Aslan does a good job evaluating Mohamed and Islam based cultural norms at that time.

      If you would like more information on modern Islam, especially the birth of radical Islam, I would recommend reading Beyond Fundamentalism by Reza Aslan. He looks at the history, culture, socio-political, religious, and economic dimensions that have lead to radicalism in the Middle East.

  • Matt Frohlich
    March 3, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    “When I read it, I did not view it as being violent at all. Granted there are certain passages, that when taken out of context seem very violent, but within context they are not.”

    I am genuinely interested in an explanation for how the following passages are not violent (Ahmed Ali’s edition):

    190. Fight those in the way of God who fight you, but do not be aggressive:
    God does not like aggressors.
    191. And fight those (who fight you) wheresoever you find them, and expel
    them from the place they had turned you out from. Oppression is worse than
    killing. Do not fight them by the Holy Mosque unless they fight you there. If
    they do, then slay them: Such is the requital for unbelievers.
    192. But if they desist, God is forgiving and kind.
    193. Fight them till sedition comes to end, and the law of God (prevails). If
    they desist, then cease to be hostile, except against those who oppress.
    The Cow 2:190-193

    216. Enjoined on you is fighting, and this you abhor. You may dislike a thing
    yet it may be good for you; or a thing may haply please you but may be bad for
    you. Only God has knowledge, and you do not know.
    217. They ask you of war in the holy month. Tell them: “To fight in that month
    is a great sin. But a greater sin in the eyes of God is to hinder people from the
    way of God, and not to believe in Him, and to bar access to the Holy Mosque
    and turn people out of its precincts; and oppression is worse than killing. They
    will always seek war against you till they turn you away from your faith, if
    they can. But those of you who turn back on their faith and die disbelieving
    will have wasted their deeds in this world and the next. They are inmates of
    Hell, and shall there abide for ever.
    218. Surely those who believe, and those who leave their homes and fight in
    the way of God, may hope for His benevolence, for God is forgiving and kind.
    The Cow 2:216-218

    56. Those who are infidels will surely receive severe punishment both in this
    world and the next; and none will they have to help (or save) them.
    57. But those who believe and do good deeds shall be given their recompense
    in full; but God does not love the unjust.
    The Family of ‘Imran 3:56-57

    56. And those who disbelieve Our revelations shall be cast into Hell; and when
    their skin is burnt up and singed, We shall give them a new coat that they may
    go on tasting the agony of punishment, for God is all-mighty and all-wise.
    The Women 4:56

    Keep in mind that I pulled all of these questionable passages from the first 10% of the Quran. You do not have to look very hard to find passages like this.

    • Alen Fejzic
      March 9, 2016 at 8:30 am

      You really don’t see how Cow 190-193 is not violent?

      2:190-193 is essentially the quranic version of stand your ground.

      190: “Fight those in the way of God who fight you, but do not be aggressive:
      God does not like aggressors.”

      Simply, if someone is trying to harm you defend yourself, but never instigate a fight.

      191: “And fight those (who fight you) wheresoever you find them, and expel
      them from the place they had turned you out from. Oppression is worse than
      killing. Do not fight them by the Holy Mosque unless they fight you there. If
      they do, then slay them: Such is the requital for unbelievers.”

      Simply, oppression is the worst thing that can be inflicted on a person and you should defend yourself from oppression and take back what has been taken from you. Do not fight near the mosque, but if you are attacked by the mosque then defend yourself.

      192 & 193: “But if they desist, God is forgiving and kind. Fight them till sedition comes to end, and the law of God (prevails). If they desist, then cease to be hostile, except against those who oppress.”

      In simple terms, if the attacker surrenders/stops then you must also stop because God is forgiving and kind and you must also be kind and forgiving.

      3:56-57 is talking about what God will do to the disbelievers not what followers shall do.

      4:56 is the consequence of not believing living according to the word of God, which is no different than not accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior and not confessing one’s sins in Christianity.

      So, the only thing you’ve cited that is in anyway a command for the followers to fight is in regards to self-defense.

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