There's a been quite a tempest in conservative circles since President Obama talked about the problems of extremism in all kinds of religions at the National Prayer Breakfast last month.
Conservatives, and specifically the Religious Right, have been cherry picking verses from the Qur’an to argue that Islam is necessarily and uniquely more violent than Christianity in their hierarchy. They have gone this route as opposed to than a larger understanding of the overall text.
Just to show the folly of approaching a text in such a simple-minded and shortsighted way, I thought it might be interesting to pull a few verses from the Bible, apply the same kind of cherry-picking and consider the results.
- Kill all those who do not worship God. -- 2 Chronicles 15:12-13
- If a town begins to not worship God, kill them all! -- Deuteronomy 13:13-19
- Kill relatives if they try to lead you away from worshipping God. -- Deuteronomy 13:6-8
- It's ok to have slaves, you can beat them as long as you don’t kill them. -- Exodus 21:20-21
- You can sell daughter as sex slave if she's tread better than other slaves.-- Exodus 21:7-8
- Spanking is probably good, but never rule out death. - Exodus 21:15
- The only penalty for unfaithfulness is death. -- Leviticus 20:10
- Premarital sex is punishable by death! Well, for women. -- Deuteronomy 22:20-21
- It’s fine to rape an unmarried woman, but if caught give her Dad 50 shekels and marry her. -- Deuteronomy 22:28-29
If conservatives really want all Muslims to renounce the most horrific verses in their holy text, it would seem that Christians will need to do the same.
If you're unwilling to apply the same scrutiny to your own faith that you insist on applying to other people’s faith, then at some point, you are going to have to admit that your issue is not with their actual faith but with the fact they are different from you.
Like the Bible, the Qur’an has an over-arching theology which, ultimately, overrides the worst parts of the text.
The full article is available here