The Quality of Mercy

Turns out the Bible, even The New Testament, is more violent than the Koran. Not only that, the God of the Koran is more merciful than the God of the Bible. And this is all proven “scientifically.” All this according to a recent “study” by Tom H. C. Anderson. The process identified words such as “destroy”, “kills” and phrases such as “suffer vengeance”, as having violent connotations. By language count the Old Testament is the most violent, with approximately 5.3% of the text referring to “destruction and killing” — the Quran clocked in at just 2.1%, with the New Testament slightly higher at 2.8%.

Using that basis, Obama’s railing about gun violence proves what a violent, bloody-minded president he really is. And those Sunday sermons by your pastor/minister? Sinful to say the least.

Perhaps an exchange here between President Coolidge and his mother, after he had returned from church, is relevant. She asked him what the sermon was about. The President dutifully replied, “Sin.” She then asked further what the pastor said about sin. The President again dutifully replied, “He was against it.”

As Raymond Ibrahim points out in his PJMedia article on the Anderson study,

New Testament descriptions of Christians — including Christ — being persecuted and killed are supposedly equally inciting to Christians as Allah’s commandments for Muslims to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them — seize them, besiege them, and make ready to ambush them!” (Quran 9:5).

As for labeling God as merciful, it is true that the Koran wins hands down. Just as Christians routinely use the appellation “almighty God,” it is customary in the Koran to refer to God by one of Allah’s “beautiful” appellations  The divine appellation “ar-Rahman” appears in the opening formula which precedes every sura except Sura 9 (“In the Name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy). It is also customary to end suras with names glorifying. Allah is Ghaf?r(un) Rah?m (Forgiving, Merciful) is the most common. Ghaf?r, Rah?m (Forgiving, Merciful) (occurs in 51 verses), ‘Az?z, Hak?m (Mighty, Wise) (25 verses). ‘Al?m, Hak?m (All-Knowing, Wise) (25 verses) and so on.

As for the quality of mercy to which the Koran refers, here is the full ayat that Ibrahim referenced:

And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the infidels wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and pay tribute tax, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” – Quran 9:5

Merciful? Indeed, for those who convert. For those who submit but do not convert, it is second-class citizenship – mercy at the back of the bus. For those who fail to take either option, God’s mercy has a slightly different flavor:

But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads, Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron.–22:19-21


2 Responses

  1. Did Anderson only compare the *Quran* (in translation or in Arabic?) with the Bible?

    That’s cheating. Because the proper comparison would be of the entire Islamic trilogy – not just the Quran but the Sira of Ibn Ishaq, plus *at least* the two Sahih Hadiths, Muslim and Bukhari, though preferably also the other four of the six most esteemed hadith collections, including the Hadiths of Ibn Dawud – versus the Bible. That might get… interesting. What if one threw in the first Muslim historian, al-Tabari?

    Tina Magaard, comparing the texts of Islam – I assume *she* examined the Trilogy, in Arabic – with the texts not just of the Bible but of eight other major belief systems – came to rather different conclusions re the violence of Islam and violence in other belief systems. She was forced to the conclusion that Islam was far and away the most violent of religions.

  2. The great irony here is that it is precisely the forgiving and self-effacing nature of Judeo-Christian ethics that leads to this sort of humble pie analysis. When I read this sort of thing, I get scared and think that the West is really killing itself. As Justice Jackson might have put it: Judeo-Christian ethics should not be a suicide pact.

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