Here is yet another moral equivalence argument, the likes of which we have seen many times before, from a professor in New York State. I continue to point out the weaknesses in these arguments because the idea that Christianity and Islam are equal in their capacity to incite violence is not only false, but it distracts from the reality and magnitude of the global jihad — and weakens our ability to resist that jihad, since if all religions are equally likely to inspire this sort of thing, we can not legimately do anything to limit the spread of the jihad ideology in the West.
“Bible, Koran are violent, but ‘read between lines,'” from the Sydney Morning Herald, with thanks to Mathew:
THE Bible has as many invocations to violence as the Koran, if not more, says an American biblical scholar and peace activist. There is a darker side to the sacred text that many Christians will not admit.
“If not more”? Please tell me more about this, Dr. Stanley. You only quote four below. Here, on the other hand, are eighteen invocations to violence from the Qur’an: 9:5, 9:29, 2:190-193, 2:244, 3:125-126, 3:169, 3:195, 4:71, 4:74-77, 4:84, 4:89-91, 5:33, 5:35, 8:9-10, 8:15-17, 8:39-40, 9:123, and 47:4. Now, I am fully aware that a single newspaper article cannot possibly contain the entire substance of your argument. So please send me the other Bible verses you have in mind (I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will then post the more than 100 other Qur’an verses that incite or encourage violence. And then we’ll tally them up. I look forward to hearing from you.
Alongside passages exhorting believers to love their neighbour and turn the other cheek are verses that refer to hellfire, encourage acts of violence or call for God to carry out acts of vengeance against sinners.
If you want to add in hellfire verses or calls to God to carry out acts of vengeance, the Qur’an has plenty of those as well. I’ll add them to my list
Even the Book of Psalms, generally regarded by Christians as uplifting and comforting, referred to the dashing of “little ones” against rock, said Chris Stanley, a professor of theology at St Bonaventure University in western New York state.
This is the point at which those in Stanley’s audience should have asked him, “Where are the Jewish and Christian terror groups that dash little ones against rock and point to this verse as their inspiration and justification? What, there aren’t any? What about in history? No, Jews and Christians never took this verse as a mandate for violence? Why is that, exactly? You mean it’s always been understood as rhetorical excess, not as a call to action? Then how does it compare to verses of the Qur’an that exhort Muslims to ‘slay the unbelievers,’ (9:5), a verse for which Osama bin Laden praised Allah?”
“There is the angry violent god of the Old Testament, but there is plenty of language in the New Testament that portrays God as a violent judge, and some that can be taken that human violence is something that God would ordain,” Dr Stanley said.
“Can be taken”? Possibly. “Have been taken or are being taken”? No.
Dr Stanley spoke at a two-day seminar hosted by the United Theological College that explored how religious texts have been used to validate violence – and can be reinterpreted to encourage dialogue between faiths.
This month, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, was criticised by Islamic leaders when he said the Koran was riddled with invocations to violence and described the central challenge of Islam as the struggle between moderate and extremist forces.
Dr Stanley said religious violence was not distinctively a Muslim problem and those who engage in violence and claim support from scripture are not necessarily twisting words, but picking up on past elements.
False opposition. To say that religious violence is distinctively a Muslim problem would be asinine, and unsupported by history. But to suggest that all traditions have this problem equally would be also asinine, and unsupported either by history or the situation of the present day.
Christians and Jews each had to face up to, not paper over, their violent antecedents, and no religion could claim the moral high ground.
That’s true as far as it goes: Muslims need to face up to, not paper over, the violence in their theology and history. But here again, the equivalence is faulty. Christians and Jews and everyone else have done evil things. But there is no doctrine of warfare against and subjugation of unbelievers in Christianity or Judaism. In Islam there is. This is a matter of fact, abundantly established by the texts not just of the Qur’an, but of Hadith and fiqh.
It was, however, sometimes harder for Muslims to deal critically with the violent statements in the Koran because of the belief that every word of the Koran is spoken by God.
The challenge, he said, was to have people follow those parts of the scriptures that espouse non-violence….
Indeed. But then there are people such as the Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia arguing that the elements of the Qur’an that espouse non-violence, such as the 109th sura, have been superseded by the violent verses. Nor is he the originator or sole proponent of this concept. This kind of exegesis is what needs to be addressed by people like Stanley and self-professed Muslim moderates. The world is still waiting.
The things that you’re liable to read in the Bible “¦
Psalms 137:9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
Matthew 10: 34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
Uh-oh. Get ready for the Christian jihad against mothers-in-law!
Seriously, here we have no command to violence, nothing like “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29). We have, instead, a verse that has been traditionally interpreted by all Christian sects as referring to differences between people that would be created by the Christianity of one and the non-Christianity of the other. Nothing to do with fighting or killing people at all.
Deuteronomy 7:2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them.
This one would be frightening indeed if it were an open-ended, universal command for all believers to wage war against all unbelievers, such as is found in the Qur’an (9:5, 9:29, etc.). But in fact, it refers to the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. And it is not in force for all time, but only until the Israelites take possession of the land God gave them. Evidence for this is found in the fact that no Jewish or Christian group that committed acts of violence in any context ever invoked Deuteronomy 7:2 to justify their actions. The contrast with the Qur’an and contemporary jihad groups couldn’t be more stark.
Psalms 58:10 : The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked
Here again: when we see Jewish and Christian terror groups washing their feet in the blood of the wicked, we may have something to be concerned about. Until then, we can rest on the assurance that Jewish and Christian interpretative traditions — mainstream traditions — mitigate the force of the literal understanding of this in various ways. Again, the contrast with mainstream Qur’anic interpretation couldn’t be more stark.