As I was perusing various discussion groups regarding Pastor Terry Jones’ aborted “Burn a Koran Day”, I came across Christians comparing the Bible and the Qur’an. Some typical quotes are shown below:
“Nothing in the Bible encourages us to treat Muslims or any other religious group with this kind of contempt.”
“He [Terry Jones] should read the Bible a little more carefully, and spread the message of love and tolerance”
“The Koran encourages violence, but there is nothing in the Bible that encourages murder.”
I would think if a person believed the Bible was the “Word of God”, they would have actually have read it. There was a time that I believed the Bible was the “Word of God”, and I read it through at least 3 times. Even then, I knew the above quotes did not represent much of what the Bible contained. I rationalized many of those items away, but the fact is, my rationalizations were unjustified.
The Bible most certainly does encourage violence – particularly against those who do not have the same beliefs in the Judaic God. Jesus himself, as much as we have idealized his peaceful quotes, was not above approving of the use of violence.
Mosaic Law is where we received the revered 10 commandments. However, this law was also full of trite “crimes” worthy of capital punishment – much of the punishment to be carried out with death by stoning. (note that all Biblical versus are quoted from the New International Version or NIV).
Capital crimes included:
- Committing adultery, Leviticus 20:10
- A girl not being a virgin on her wedding night (note: this death is proscribed by stoning at her parents’ doorstep), Deuteronomy 22:20-21
- Being homosexual, Leviticus 20:13
- Cursing your mother or father, Leviticus 20:9
There are many more. These are but sampling. Worshiping any other God (intolerance of other beliefs) is also cause for death sentences.
Death sentences for being of another religion:
- Sacrifice to any other god, Exodus 22:20
- Enticement by a loved one to worship another God means you must be the one to initiate their stoning to death: Deuteronomy 13:6-10
- Not seeking God, 2 Chronicles 15:12-13
- Any town with more than one person seeking another God must be destroyed, Deuteronomy 13:12-17
This does not even cover the fact that many were ordered by God to destroy complete towns, including all inhabitants. The most notable is Jericho (Joshua 6:20-21 ), but also other cities (Joshua 8:1-29 , Judges 18:5-28 , 1 Samuel 15:2-3 ) Note that this last one was “punishment”, which included execution of “children and infants”. The punishment was because the city waylayed Israel as they came out of Egypt. However, this “punishment” was about 200 years after the alleged crime. I guess those “children and infants” were guilty for their great-great grandfather’s “crimes”.
Even Jesus is not without violence. At the last supper, he orders his apostles to “sell your cloak and buy one [a sword]” (Luke 22:36 ). Many say he was being allegorical, yet he did not rebuke his followers when they produced 2 swords in the next passage. Nor did he tell them to get rid of the swords when they used one of those swords to cut off a servant’s ear (Luke 22:50 ).
Peter, too, caused the death of two people, merely because they withheld some money from the sale of their own property from him (Acts 5:1-11). That is hardly the model “love and tolerance” that the above poster says the Bible contains.
I am not here to say Christianity is an evil religion or belief. However, I am here to say that Christians who do not know the contents of their own scriptures are being foolish. Christianity matured and renounced the fire-and-brimstone condemnations, and evolved into a more peaceful belief. That is not because their scriptures lack extreme violence for even the most petty of things, but because as they have grown spiritually, they have learned that such things are not helpful to humans as a whole. But at least know where your beliefs originated from.
This brings us back to the Qur’an. Islamic belief advocates as much violence in their holy scriptures as does the Bible. Radical elements of Islam attempt to carry out the literal implementation of those violent passages. However, can you imagine the violence that would occur should Christians carry out just the few passages I highlighted above?
There is no difference between radical Islam, Christianity or Judaism. The only difference in the faiths overall is the maturation of their followers. Consequently, if Islam is inherently evil, then so is Christianity and Judaism.
Moderate Muslims need to be encouraged, since they are following a well known path. The radical Muslims need to be condemned and dealt with just like any other radical element. But there really is little difference between the Qur’an and the Bible. The Bible and the Qur’an are merely twin sons of different fathers.