Is The Bible More Violent than the Quran?

religion-40578_1280I recently read an article that stated the Bible is more violent than the Quran. The engineer who developed the analysis program said:

The project was inspired by the ongoing public debate around whether or not terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions. ~ Tom Anderson

So in two minutes his program looked at eight emotions – Joy, Anticipation, Anger, Disgust, Sadness, Surprise, Fear/Anxiety and Trust – and concluded that the Bible scored higher for anger and lower for trust than the Quran.

The New Testament references killing and destruction 2.8% of the time while the Quran references killing and destruction 2.1%. I’ll be honest, the article doesn’t talk about the ins and outs of the program, but it’s a computer program and not a human. It’s geared towards finding quantitative data rather than qualitative data. what I mean is this:

The New Testament has some inherently violent elements. After all, it talks about the intentional self-sacrifice of Christ, who was plotted against, crucified/murdered, dead, and buried. Yes, those are some violent parts of the New Testament. But the overwhelming theme BEHIND the keyword violence is love – God’s love and self-sacrifice. I would rather have this 2.8% kind of violence than a 2.1% of Quranic violence that talks about doing harm to infidels (again, I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of the program nor do I know what material in the Quran was targeted).

My point is simply that, though the New Testament does contain Jesus 05keyword elements of violence, it is not done in a way that directs others towards violence. In fact, an honest reading of the New Testament directs people AWAY from violence and towards peace. Contrary to ultra-conservative leanings, Jesus was NOT a gun-toting war-monger.

On the flip-side, however, we need to be honest and realize that, just as violent themes in our sacred text do not necessarily lead to violent Christians, violent themes in the Quran do not necessarily lead to violent Muslims.

In the end, a simple computer search of emotional language in a sacred text is a pretty shoddy way of evaluating that text – ANY sacred text. It eliminates any nuance. It looks at the text through a single interpretive lens – the lens of the software engineer.

And that’s just shoddy hermeneutics.

#SanBernardino and the Only Solution to Gun Violence

By now most of the world has been brought up to speed about the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. San Bernadino ShootingThree people went into a building and killed 14 others and wounded an additional 17. It is an incomprehensible tragedy. The violence is sickening and disgusting. Yet, even before the event concluded, both side of the political spectrum launched into promoting their own agendas.

Ban guns!

More guns!

Ban guns!

More guns!

It was entirely predictable.

The problem with the gun debate as it stands is that nothing either side proposes will provide a real working solution to the violence in America. Because the problem isn’t really about guns.

It’s about people.

A friend of mine commented that violence has been part of the human condition since the beginning, when a single act of rage wiped out 25% of the world’s population (Adam and Eve had two sons, so when Cain killed Abel…). It’s not the guns – it’s the human heart.

This is what Jesus is trying to get at when he says:

“You have heard it said, ‘Do not murder….’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire….”

It’s not about the weapon – it’s about the heart. As weapons change and technology changes, the ways in which we kill may change. When the condition that fuels such behavior remains unchecked, though, we will never see an end to the violence.

This is why the gun issue will never be resolved. It’s not really about guns. ChangeUntil humans are willing to change their hearts we will continue to be subjected to news stories of terror and violence. And this is not a solution that the government can carry out.

It’s something only God can do.

Sorry, Charlie – Racism Is Real

I just saw this short video from Brave New Films. It’s totally worth the 3 minutes to watch it.

So let’s speak frankly. I’m not naïve, and I understand that statistics can be skewed to meet particular agendas. Statistics also don’t give the REASONS behind statistics. By that I mean that some racial discrepancies COULD be attributed to factors unrelated to race.

Still, you can’t negate the EXPERIENCE of many minorities in the USA, and experience (even my experience being a white guy married to a brown-skinned woman) shows us that racism is still a problem in our nation. No, this isn’t a post to justify the violence in Baltimore. The other day Barnabas Piper said:

Random violence and theft isn’t ever the right response to oppression. Neither can it be used as an excuse to overlook the oppression.

That’s it right there. Was the rioting, looting, and violence acceptable? Absolutely not. But that response doesn’t excuse the rest of the nation from hearing the complaints behind the poor response. We get into a dangerous circle of violence and blindness when we ignore the valid concerns. Many of our responses to the riots have been equally violent – not physically but mentally, psychologically, and, yes, even spiritually.

“What kind of hippie-dippy nonsense are you spouting, Chris?”

Just this – I’ve seen a lot of hatred and animosity directed towards rioters. I’m talking about pictures, memes, and posts that spew further racist idiocy. ObamaThis includes accusing Mr. Obama of WANTING the riots – one of the most idiotic accusations I’ve ever heard in my life. And that’s NOT okay. Why do we expect anything to change when we continue the violence against others?

This isn’t the Christian way.

Christians are called to rise above racial differences and be people who humble ourselves, strive to serve others, and consider others BETTER than ourselves (I didn’t make any of that up – it’s from the Bible).

It’s time to knock off the racist garbage and listen to the complaints. It’s time to engage in authentic dialogue. It’s time to pursue the well-being of people who feel oppressed.

This is the Christian way.

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