Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Violent Bible vs. The Docile Koran?

It is true that the Bible contains accounts more violent than the Koran. God even caused some of the massive destruction Himself. God called on people to perform mass genocide. The difference between the Bible and the Koran is telling as to why.

The Bible is a historical account rather than simply a set of suggestions. The law, prophets, wisdom literature and epistles are set in a rich historical context that spans thousands of years. This historical context is verifiable as much of it can be dug up by archaeologists. The Koran, on the other hand, is merely set of suggestions spoken by one man in a single historical context. The Bible is more violent because it doesn't mince words much when describing the gore of actual events.

But the Bible differs from the Koran in another way. The Bible explicitly tells why these events happened and why God dealt harshly with some. The human race is wrought with sin, starting with a simple bite of fruit. The Koran doesn't get so explicit other than to either agree or disagree with the Bible on some of the details. The Bible also provides a solution to the cause of the violence: payment of the penalty of sin, not by the perpetrators (us), but through an atoning sacrifice (Christ).

This leads to my final difference between the Bible and the Koran. The Koran condones violence in the spreading of Allah's law. The Bible, while giving historical accounts where it has been done, does not advocate it in this age of revealed grace. Although misguided Church leaders (I'll refrain from calling them legitimate Christians) fought wars and tortured people to death under the auspices of the Church, true Christians are not aggressively violent as a rule. Some Christians serve in the military, but are typically only violent in the defensive. Most Muslims are not aggressively violent although there is a tendency to become easily incited when in a crowd. However, there are some who claim divine right to be aggressively violent in the name of Allah. My point is, there is no demonstrable correlation between the overall level of violence between the Bible and Koran and their respective followers.

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