CultureWatch

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Violence in the Bible and the Koran

Sep 13, 2010

There is plenty of misunderstanding about the nature of Islam – deliberate or otherwise. One only need turn to the speech US President Obama made on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks for yet another example of this. He used his speech to once again seek to placate Muslims.

He said in classic appeasement style, “It was not a religion that attacked us that September day. It was al-Qaeda. We will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust.” Oh, so Islam had nothing to do with 9/11?

And al-Qaeda has nothing to do with Islam? That of course is the usual spin which apologists for Islam make time and time again. But it is not what the leader of the free world should be making. Indeed, he should know better. But this is just the latest in dozens of things Obama has said or done which make so many Americans wonder what exactly his religion is.

It is possible he is not even sure what it is. It certainly is not biblical Christianity. Indeed, he seems to know little about either religion. And his speech is just another example of unhelpful moral equivalence concerning the two religions.

It is the sort of muddled thinking which cannot even begin to make moral and theological distinctions. It tends to blur boundaries and results in a jaded view especially of what Christianity is all about. It repeats the foolishness that if Islam is bad, and/or has its bad elements, well so too does Christianity.

And that somehow is supposed to be the end of the story. But it isn’t. A perfectly valid case can be argued that the so-called excesses and extremes of Islam are in fact a direct outcome of Islamic beliefs and teachings. On the other hand, violent excesses done in the name of Christ can be seen to be completely unrelated to genuine Christianity.

Consider the issue of violence and its promotion in the two religions. Anyone with a smattering of understanding about both will know that there is a world of difference between the two. I have written about this issue before, showing the very real contrasts, eg.: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2004/11/25/a-closer-look-at-religion-and-violence/

A new article assessing these differences has just appeared in the US and is worth promoting here. Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam closely examines the two religions on the issue of violence. His findings are revealing.

He begins his piece this way: “One of the most frequently used arguments heard in the defense of Islam is that the Bible is just as violent as the Koran. The logic goes like this. If the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, then why should we worry about Islam? This argument is that Islam is the same as Christianity and Judaism. This is false, but this analogy is very popular, since it allows someone who knows nothing about the actual doctrine of Islam to talk about it. ‘See, Islam is like Christianity, Christians are just as violent as Muslims.’

“If this is true, then you don’t have to learn anything about the actual Islamic doctrine. However, this is not a theological argument. It is a political one. This argument is not about what goes on in a house of worship, but what goes on in the marketplace of ideas. Now, is the doctrine of Islam more violent than the Bible? There is only one way to prove or disprove the comparison and that is to measure the differences in violence in the Koran and the Bible.”

After defining what he means by violence – and concentrating on the issue of political violence – he notes that both quantitatively and qualitatively there is a very large difference indeed between the Koran and the Bible. In the Koran such political violence is called ‘jihad’ or fighting on behalf of Allah.

Warner notes the threefold authority structure in Islam: “Islam has three sacred texts: Koran, Sira and Hadith, the Islamic Trilogy. The Sira is Mohammed’s biography. The Hadith are his traditions – what he did and said. Sira and Hadith form the Sunna, the perfect pattern of all Islamic behaviour.

“The Koran is the smallest of the three books, the Trilogy. It is only 16% of the Trilogy text. This means that the Sunna is 84% of the word content of Islam’s sacred texts. This statistic alone has large implications. Most of the Islamic doctrine is about Mohammed, not Allah. The Koran says 91 different times that Mohammed is the perfect pattern of life. It is much more important to know Mohammed than the Koran. This is very good news. It is easy to understand a biography about a man. To know Islam, know Mohammed.”

Warner then lays all this out in a series of helpful charts which I cannot reproduce here, but see the link below to see the entire article plus charts. His first chart deals with the amount of text devoted to jihad: “It is very significant that the Sira devotes 67% of its text to jihad. Mohammed averaged an event of violence every 6 weeks for the last 9 years of his life. Jihad was what made Mohammed successful.”

His second chart deals with the life of Muhammad and the growth of Islam: “Basically, when Mohammed was a preacher of religion, Islam grew at the rate of 10 new Muslims per year. But when he turned to jihad, Islam grew at an average rate of 10,000 per year.”

His third chart deals with the actual number of words devoted to political violence in the three monotheistic religions. “When we count all of the political violence, we find that 5.6% of the text [of the Hebrew Bible] is devoted to it. There is no admonition towards political violence in the New Testament. When we count the magnitude of words devoted to political violence, we have 327,547 words in the Trilogy and 34,039 words in the Hebrew Bible. The Trilogy has 9.6 times as much wordage devoted to political violence as the Hebrew Bible.”

But then there are qualitative differences as well. “The political violence of the Koran is eternal and universal. The political violence of the Bible was for that particular historical time and place. This is the vast difference between Islam and other ideologies. The violence remains a constant threat to all non-Islamic cultures, now and into the future. Islam is not analogous to Christianity and Judaism in any practical way.”

He concludes as follows: “It is time for so-called intellectuals to get down to the basics of judging Islam by its actual doctrine, not making lame analogies that are sophomoric assertions. Fact-based reasoning should replace fantasies that are based upon political correctness and multiculturalism.”

That is equally true of American Presidents as well. Until he begins to understand the true nature of Islam, as revealed in its trilogy of sources, he will never understand the war we are in and who the real opposition is. Until that time comes, the US will continue to lose the war against terror.

www.politicalislam.com/blog/the-political-violence-of-the-bible-and-the-koran/

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22 Responses to Violence in the Bible and the Koran

  • Hello Bill,
    Time and time again the USA shows its naivety when dealing with Islamic countries and Muslims. They obviously do not study the history and cultural differences of these countries and people. Islam and democracy are not compatible and never will be. Where are the instances of Christians killing each other over their differences of opinion? Muslims are killing each other all the time and will continue to do so. It is their “culture” and their interpretation of Islam that makes it so.
    Now, more than any other time in history, Christians should put aside their differences and become united in the war, not only against Islam, but against Satan and all his devious schemes for the souls of people.
    Paul de la Garde, Sydney

  • Yet more evidence of violence and Islam today. www.news.com.au/national/five-muslim-men-planned-attack-on-nsw-army-base-supreme-court-told/story-e6frfkvr-1225921088341

    And yet the judge lacks the common sense to link the violence to Islam: “The Islamic faith is not on trial,” Justice King said. “It isn’t about being a Muslim.”

    Is it not right that the motivations behind the crime should be considered and that logical conclusions should be made?

    Matt Vinay

  • Isn’t there also a problem with the fact that Muslims are encouraged to read the Koran only in Arabic, in the same way that Bible was at one time, in Western Europe, only written in Latin? And since many Muslims are now born in the West and have no knowledge of Arabic they are ignorant of what it actually says themselves – preferring instead to leave it to their religious leaders to guide them.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 327,547 words in the Trilogy would probably represent a larger proportion (percentage) of the total number of words in it than would the 34,039 words in the Bible?
    Dunstan Hartley

  • Hi Bill,
    I don’t think it is very fair to be that critical of President Obama for his speech.It must be remembered that he is a politician and not a religious leader. For him to make a speech that sways in favor of a particular religious group in a country which is very much religiously pluralistic will be inflaming an already fiery situation. We all know that Al-Qaeda is an Islamic religious group and for the fact that the president blantly blamed the group for the September 11th incident is enough to suggest his stance on the matter. After all which of the western leaders considered to be more Christian than Obama could pointedly blame Islam for Al-Qaeda’s wickedness?
    Michael Ntanu

  • Thanks David

    Yes Islamic tradition regards the original Arabic as the preferred Koran to read, but plenty of English – and other – translations exist. But it is quite true that the majority of Muslims would not be well-versed at all as to what is in their own holy book.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Dunstan

    Yes I think you are right, although I am not privy to how exactly Warner got his numbers. Bear in mind that there are various collections of the Hadith, as well as more than one authoritative Sira.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Michael

    But you miss the point. It was exactly the case that his speech ‘swayed in favor of a particular religious group in a country’ – Islam. And if this were simply a one off that would be one thing. But he has consistently, time and time again, chosen to appease Islam while denigrating his own country and the Christian faith. It is this recurring pattern which is such a worry. And there are fortunately some Western leaders who know that Islam is more part of the problem than part of the solution.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I believe that nowadays there are three separate “types” swallowing the twaddle that Islam is a peaceful religion. The main ones are what is loosely termed “the intelligentsia”. I wish I could remember who uttered this bit of wisdom (and I’ll have to paraphrase it). He said “Some ideas are so absurd, only an intellectual would be stupid enough to swallow them”. It sounds like something Thomas Jefferson (America’s third president) would say. Then the second lot are those cowards who crawl to the Muslims in the hope that the Muslims will eat them last. That group would also contain many in the first group. The third group are those who haven’t a clue and knowing they haven’t a clue repeat the rot which the first two groups spew out. This third group think they are on safe ground if they parrot off anything they hear or read. “It must be correct, I read it in the newspaper”.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Thanks Frank

    I believe it was George Orwell who said, “There are some ideas so preposterous that only an intellectual could believe them.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Someone commented that the Islam of Indonesia (where Obama tasted the only sense of belonging, certainty and structure) of his young life and even the Black Muslim church of Rev. Wright are far less radical and volatile than and murderous than the Islam of the Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Hamas, Al Quaeda etc. Perhaps Obama feels the goals of Islam are worth the carnage.

    Whatever differences, it is still the same Koran and the same anti-Christ spirits at work. As for Indonesia, I have a missionary friend whose wife was slaughtered in the Philippines…and we have heard other stories over time. The violence may be slightly less frequent there than in, say, Pakistan.

    However, Islamic violence is growing and building here in the US of moslems killing Americans at a mall, in an army base, or killing their own wives and daughters. There is an intense recruitment of African American criminals in our prisons and the establishment of radical structures and training cells across the US.

    We are facing a deadly spiritual enemy who can only be defeated by repentance, prayer and Scripture…returning to the Truth, Love and Life of God. Assyria always rises when God’s people fall into sin and recedes when they return to His Law/Word/Commandments.

    May we do so wholeheartedly and soon.

    Sibyl Smith

  • Spoke a little too soon. Islamic violence is cranking up in Indonesia.
    Sibyl Smith

  • Thanks Bill. I do recall now that it was in fact George Orwell who made that remark. Another of my favourite sayings in relation to the intelligentsia is “That some intellectuals lack the common sense of the blue collar worker and the farmer.”
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Hi Dunstan,

    Yes you are correct. The figures presented on the link at the bottom of Bill’s article show that the proportion of the text devoted to political violence (jihad) in the Trilogy is 31%. This presumably is directly comparable to the 5.6% in the Hebrew Bible or what would work out to be 4-5% for the Bible as a whole.

    So it’s fair to say that the Mohammedan scriptures are proportionally about seven times more violent than the Bible.
    Then, of course, there are the qualitative differences, showing that the Mohammedan scriptures advocate political violence as currently applicable and universal, whereas in the Bible it was for a specific place and time.

    Mansel Rogerson

  • Another important Islam/Christian difference. In Islam, the sword is, well, a sword, a sword that is often used to cut off the heads of enemies of Islam (“infidels”). In Christianity, the sword is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, mentioned as part of the full armor of God in Ephesians 6:17. BIG difference.

    John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com

  • Pentagon law expert Stephen Coughlin who was dismissed because of his views on Islam has a MA thesis showing that Islam itself is the cause of Islamic terrorism (and it is to the detriment of western intelligence to ignore such). Islam has not be “hijacked” as the representatives of PC tell us.

    He points out that the authoritative texts and figures in current Islamic jurisprudence all unanimously sanction violent jihad against the west.

    You can read his thesis here;

    www.carlisle.army.mil/DIME/documents/20080107_Coughlin_ExtremistJihad.pdf

    Damien Spillane

  • Paul de la Garde, you ask:

    Where are the instances of Christians killing each other over their differences of opinion?

    Sadly, there are enough instances in Western history, and the 20th century (Northern Ireland, for example, or Africa-Rwanda) to demonstrate that so-called “Christians” have been killing each other.

    Whilst the proportions are never close to the Islamic world, the equivalence argument is the same as Bill is writing about today, and is just as difficult to combat.

    John Angelico

  • Thanks, John Angelico.
    You are correct. I was thinking in terms of modern times and forgot about Northern Ireland etc. It is great that Christians can discuss and comment, and correct each other, on Bill’s blog without the usual put-downs on many other sites.
    God bless.
    Paul de la Garde, Sydney

  • Bill, yes, well put: ”Fact based reasoning should replace fantasies that are based upon political correctness and multiculturalism”.
    Stan Fishley

  • Paul and John: it’s certainly, sadly, true that Christians have killed one another because of doctrinal differences – but the point is that this action is against the specific, unambiguous, and constant, teachings of Jesus, the Bible and the Church. It does not seem as though this can be said of Islam, where – it is strongly attested – violence towards non-believers, in the propagation of the faith, is required, or at least recommended. (It is a mistake to see the Northern Ireland’s violence as being about religious differences, rather, it is about being part of a state, or ruled by rulers, which you would choose, rather than those you consider foreign/enemies/aliens, etc.).
    John Thomas, UK

  • Thanks John

    Yes quite right. There are big differences here, as I point out in more detail in these articles:
    www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/11/21/jesus-muhammad-and-violence/
    www.billmuehlenberg.com/2004/11/25/a-closer-look-at-religion-and-violence/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I’ll never forget when Obama bowed down to some Islamic princes in respect and refused to respect the Queen of England giving her nothing more than an extended hand shake, this shows the bias that he has towards Islamic faith and the contempt that he has towards Christianity, but obviously he has and continues to do this again and again doesn’t he.
    Dorian Ballard

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