Sunday, May 19, 2013

Accepted fact in this country: By nature Islam is the most violent religion. Not so fast Christians!

I have little doubt that you have heard this argument made multiple times. and in fact it raised its ugly head right here just last week.

However as comforting as it is for Christians to believe that THEIR religion is a religion of peace and that the Islamic religion is one of hate and aggression, the facts do not bear that out.

This from the Boston Globe back in 2009:  

Unconsciously, perhaps, many Christians consider Islam to be a kind of dark shadow of their own faith, with the ugly words of the Koran standing in absolute contrast to the scriptures they themselves cherish. In the minds of ordinary Christians - and Jews - the Koran teaches savagery and warfare, while the Bible offers a message of love, forgiveness, and charity. For the prophet Micah, God's commands to his people are summarized in the words "act justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). Christians recall the words of the dying Jesus: "Father, forgive them: they know not what they do." 

But in terms of ordering violence and bloodshed, any simplistic claim about the superiority of the Bible to the Koran would be wildly wrong. In fact, the Bible overflows with "texts of terror," to borrow a phrase coined by the American theologian Phyllis Trible. The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery. The Koran often urges believers to fight, yet it also commands that enemies be shown mercy when they surrender. Some frightful portions of the Bible, by contrast, go much further in ordering the total extermination of enemies, of whole families and races - of men, women, and children, and even their livestock, with no quarter granted. One cherished psalm (137) begins with the lovely line, "By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept"; it ends by blessing anyone who would seize Babylon's infants and smash their skulls against the rocks. 

To say that terrorists can find religious texts to justify their acts does not mean that their violence actually grows from those scriptural roots. Indeed, such an assumption itself is based on the crude fundamentalist formulation that everything in a given religion must somehow be authorized in scripture. The difference between the Bible and the Koran is not that one book teaches love while the other proclaims warfare and terrorism, rather it is a matter of how the works are read. Yes, the Koran has been ransacked to supply texts authorizing murder, but so has the Bible.

If Christians or Jews want to point to violent parts of the Koran and suggest that those elements taint the whole religion, they open themselves to the obvious question: what about their own faiths? If the founding text shapes the whole religion, then Judaism and Christianity deserve the utmost condemnation as religions of savagery. Of course, they are no such thing; nor is Islam. 

But the implications run still deeper. All faiths contain within them some elements that are considered disturbing or unacceptable to modern eyes; all must confront the problem of absorbing and reconciling those troubling texts or doctrines. In some cases, religions evolve to the point where the ugly texts so fade into obscurity that ordinary believers scarcely acknowledge their existence, or at least deny them the slightest authority in the modern world. In other cases, the troubling words remain dormant, but can return to life in conditions of extreme stress and conflict. Texts, like people, can live or die. This whole process of forgetting and remembering, of growing beyond the harsh words found in a text, is one of the critical questions that all religions must learn to address.

I have to admit that though I own a Quran I have only read a few pages into it.  (I have been told that reading the Koran in English is tantamount to trying to eat an ice cream cone through a chain link fence. The brutish language makes the beauty within its pages virtually unattainable.)

However I HAVE read the  Bible about one and a half times, and found the experience to be quite a challenge and the primary reason for my atheism. How anybody can read that book and NOT be an Atheist is one of the great mysteries of mankind.

And yes the brutality contained within its pages would give Stephen King himself nightmares. (And in fact it has been suggested that many of his most frightening tales have been inspired by his reading of the Bible.)

I believe that it is factually accurate to suggest, and our blood drenched history bears this out, that IF America were actually to derive its laws, undiluted, from the Bible, we would be the most savage and brutal country on the planet.

It is ONLY because our views are tempered with reason, and our laws are written in a largely secular manner, that we have any justice in this nation whatsoever.

So when Christians look down on Muslims for their violence toward women, or nonbelievers, or Westerners, they really are peering at them from the most fragile of glass houses.


  1. We are the most savage and brutal country on the planet.

  2. Leland4:09 AM

    I HAVE read the Qu'ran, Gryphen, even if reading it in english does "lose so much of the beauty". I don't know about that, not being able to read Arabic. I DO know, however, that reading it in english is still better from a knowledge point of view than not reading it at all.

    And I have read the Bible - several translations, actually - and the Torah.

    I can easily say that what is stated above from the Boston Globe is quite factual. Both christianity and judaism are vicious in their histories and are the cause of more death, blood-spilling, torture and outright genocide than any other single cause. At least, until WWII, and even there there is room for conjecture since in Europe alone over 15 million people died for religious reasons of one sort or another.

    And a tremendous amount of it was done BY AND FOR the catholic church! (For those of you who don't like that statement, tough! Just as one example, look for the treaty between Hitler's Germany and the catholic church in the Second World War. Basically it says the church won't condemn Germany for killing all the jews if Germany will not attack the CHURCH!)

    I will go even further in my condemnation of most christians feelings about islam and the Arabic peoples. Look at the history of what European man has done to them and their cultures for thousands of years and compare it to the history of tolerance and understanding THEY have given us until the past 75 or so years when they are finally starting to "stop taking it"!

    It never occurs to many people that there may actually be a REASON why the European stock nations are hated by them.

    So yes, I have to agree that christianity and judaism are far deadlier than islam.

    Do I want to have anything to do with ANY of them?

    NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I must agree with Gryphen here. Why ANYONE would still believe after reading the bible (and I will go even further and say ANY of the three) and NOT become atheist is beyond me - except for the brainwashing that happens to the overwhelming majority of children.

    And that in itself I consider to be a massive example of child abuse of the WORST sort!

    1. Anonymous7:18 AM

      I think that all we have to do is look at the 'supposed' christians that live w/in the USA and watch how they act. The majority of them do not live up to the teachings they learned in school, classes, etc.

      Look within your own families and see how horrible they can be to each other. Talk about no love and respect of each other! See it time and time again in families that are all attending church and supposedly christians!

      I say 'bullshit'! Our country is as savage as others across the world...cops shoot to kill now vs to maime...the poor and the minorities are the ones in the majority in our jails across the nation and on and on!

  3. Anonymous4:35 AM

    Neither the Christian bible nor Islam's Quran has a respectable record regarding the equable treatment of women.

    1. Leland5:22 AM

      Agreed. But you left out the Torah, a lot of which forms the OT.

    2. Anonymous11:02 PM

      Pft. Europeans used to argue that Islam was disdainful because it was too gender equitable. The rights that American women got in the 1900s were granted to Muslim women in the 14th century. Check the Qur'an.

  4. Interesting Book " Drunk With Blood"by Steve Wells.
    Tongue in cheek, amusing and oh so true.

    Who killed more, Satan or God?
    Satan 10
    God 2,476,636
    "You've heard this one before. God killed his son in order to stop himself from torturing people forever after they die... It's hard to imagine something worse than a father planning to kill his own son...'he that spared not his own son' shouldn't be trusted by anyone."

  5. For a full account read John Dowling "The History of Romanism: From the Earliest Corruption of Christianity to the Present time" (present time is 1875)
    Book available free
    it's lengthy and you can get a printed copy from Harvard Book Store.

  6. It comes with the territory and is at base--water issues. Ever hear of the Christian Phalange of Lebanon? Of course you have, and likely for one reason only.

  7. Anonymous6:09 AM

    "the troubling words remain dormant, but can return to life in conditions of extreme stress and conflict."

    Hence, the birth of the Tea Party with the greatest fool 'warriors' Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Santorum, Huckabee, et. al, who are stressed and conflicted about a Black President.

  8. Anonymous7:57 AM

    "How anybody can read that book and NOT be an Atheist is one of the great mysteries of mankind"
    My experience has been that most church goers just take the word of their leader and don't think critically about what is said.

    I was recently invited to a neighbors home to watch a "science" movie on the ear and eye. It detailed how they worked and then claimed that evolution can't be real because they work this way? It went on to quote two very old, 1950's & 70's, scientific papers and a college professors blog as their point of contention.

    I have a degree/work in a science field and was shocked, why invite me to watch this crap?? All I could think is this the best you got old papers and a blog (no offense intended)....

  9. Most of us can't take the time to learn enough of the language to read the Qu'ran in it's original language.

    For that matter, if you're going to read the Bible, you'll have to learn ancient Greek to start. Plus a few more languages. The King James is hardly a faithful translation of the bible.

  10. Anita Winecooler6:07 PM

    The bible is full of some of the most mind boggling examples of violence and provides the perfect "excuse" for things like killing kids, keeping and mistreating slaves, keeping women "in their place", etc. etc. People can and do justify almost anything by cherrypicking quotes while ignoring the violent parts. I never understood how someone could find joy in being a shepherded sheep. They're raised to be killed and eaten for food.
    Looking for "Death Panels"? The bible is full of them.

    Why Christianity is obscene-


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