Holy Scriptures and Faith-Based Violence: A Quiz

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I’ve noticed an odd phenomenon among some Christians when it comes to violence and the Scriptures. On the one hand, they will vehemently denounce both the violence that some Muslims do in the name of Allah, as well as the violence espoused in the Qur’an, but on the other, they will refuse to acknowledge that Christians have a storied history of engaging in just as much violence—all justified by Scripture. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I have, and it’s quite striking. They will look you dead in the eye and talk about how violent the Qur’an is, but when it comes to the Bible, watch how they start back peddling. Watch how they all become Olympic level mental gymnasts—Team Cognitive Dissonance—poised to take home the gold in every event.

Fascinating.

So, because of this, I came up with a test for them to see if they really know what they are talking about. What I’ve done is listed 20 passages from both the Bible and the Qur’an. They are not labelled, and the task will be to figure out which book they come from.

Good luck, and may God, or Allah, or the Force—whichever you prefer—be with you.

*Note: in order to keep the passages anonymous, I’ve replaced words like “The Lord,” “Yahweh,” and “Allah,” with the generic term “God.” Also, specific character names have been avoided. Instead, I’m using generic terms like “the man,” or “the location.” I don’t want any cheating!!!

  1. You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them . . . God will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.
  2. Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.
  3. The man went up to the location. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of God. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.
  4. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.
  5. And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.
  6. He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them . . . He did this in obedience to all the laws written in the scroll that the priest had found in God’s Temple. Never before had there been a king like him, who turned to God with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws. And there has never been a king like him since.
  7. The we said: Go together unto the folk who have denied our revelations. Then we destroyed them, a complete destruction. And their folk, when they denied the messengers, we drowned them and made them a portent for mankind. We have prepared a painful doom for evildoers.
  8. You may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of God, your relatives, must never be treated this way.
  9. God has cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a flaming fire, wherein they will abide forever. They will find no protecting friend nor helper.
  10. And for those who are unjust, they are firewood for hell . . . And those who turn away from the remembrance of God; he will thrust him into ever-growing torment.
  11. If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death, and the animal must be killed.
  12. No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of God.
  13. The only reward of those who make war upon God and his prophet and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.
  14. And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.
  15. They long that you should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that you may be upon a level. So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of God; if they burn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever you find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.
  16. But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in the land, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall put away evil from among you.
  17. But as for those who disbelieve, for them is the fire of hell; it taketh not complete effect upon them so that they can die, nor is its torment lightened for them. Thus we punish every ingrate. And they cry for help there, saying: Our God! Release us; we will do right, not the wrong that we used to do. Did not we grant you a life long enough for him who reflected to reflect therein? And the warner came unto you. Now taste the flavor of your deeds, for evildoers have no helper.
  18. If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her.
  19. Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.
  20. All married women are forbidden unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of God for you.

To check your answers, please see the key below. Tell me how you did in the comments section.

  1. Bible: Deuteronomy 28:30-31, 35
  2. Qur’an, 9:5
  3. Bible: 2 Kings 2:23-25
  4. Bible: Numbers 31:17-18
  5. Qur’an, 2:191
  6. Bible: 2 Kings 20:20-25
  7. Qur’an, 25:36-37
  8. Bible: Leviticus 25:44-46
  9. Qur’an, 33:64-65
  10. Qur’an, 72:15, 17
  11. Bible: Leviticus 20:15
  12. Bible: Deuteronomy 23:1
  13. Qur’an, 5:33
  14. Bible: Exodus 21:20-21
  15. Qur’an, 4:89
  16. Bible: Deuteronomy 22:20-21
  17. Qur’an, 35:36-37
  18. Bible: Deuteronomy 25:11-12
  19. Qur’an, 66:9
  20. Qur’an, 4:24
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • A J MacDonald Jr

    It’s easy to criticize the Bible. Jim Jones did as much. You have to move beyond criticism, in a positive, faithful, direction.

  • Indeed. But to move on from only criticism does not always mean one shall not criticise at all. I’ve got four books out and even in one, argue the Bible gives a reasonable answer to the problem of violence.

  • A J MacDonald Jr

    You don’t understand the pedagogical nature of revelation in Scripture.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    I keep seeing this. Anyone who dares criticise eventually gets someone telling them “You don’t understand the pedagogical/historical/psychological/theological/whichever I think appropriate nature of Scripture.”
    Frankly, I’ve taken to thinking such statements are the equivalent of throwing in the towel.

  • LOL.

  • Richard Gerard Evans

    100%

  • Brenda Finnegan

    18/20. Interesting that the two I missed I took for Biblically-based when actually the quotations were from the Qu’ran. Reading the whole Bible (and not just the epistles of Paul) does tend to give one a true feel for the amount of violence in the OT and the contrast that exists with the Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus.

  • Richard From Aus

    I don’t see any New Testament Scriptures in your concordance of quotes…
    Fundamental Biblical Scholarship should tell you that the New Testament – the words and work of Jesus and his disciples – replaces the Old…
    While the Old Testament is a history of God’s people before the Advent – it’s there to show that mere “law” doesn’t work without grace.
    So it is that Christians are told to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love their enemies and so on.
    To use Old Testament quotes to have a shot at someone of what might be called the “fundamentalist right” is … well … I’ll leave it to your imagination…
    Perhaps next time you could use anonymous quotes from the New Testament alongside the Koran … I think that’s a better measure of Christian faith the “right” or “fundamentalists” tend to use…
    Anyhow… thanks for the exercise…

  • Norma LaGiusa Pressimone

    Excellent job! A great amount of research was done. Compliments. I practically remember all verses and surahs you mentioned.

  • Linnea912

    100%. 🙂

  • John March

    would you be willing to look at these scriptures in light of ancient history and cultures? I found this resource to be quite interesting and perhaps you would too.
    https://www.seedbed.com/violence-in-the-old-testament-starting-points/ (article written by Lawson Stone professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.

  • amhogif

    I’ve read the exchange you’re having with A J MacDonald. Isn’t the point that you’ve provided a list of material drawn from the respective Scriptures without specifying whether a) the texts are direct instructions to the faithful (rather than accounts of historical/mythical events of the past), that b) were never subsequently qualified or reversed later in the Scriptures (in the case of the Christian Bible, the Sermon on the Mount’s “you have heard it said, but I say to you…”; in both the Quran and the Torah, legal traditions of interpretation)? You are right to say that Christians run into trouble when they treat the Bible like a comprehensive training manual that at all points in the text have instructions that are directly relevant in the present, rather than a collection of documents charting a complex development in theological approaches, or who do this sort of thing to other scriptures but not to their own. But you appear to imply by the way you’ve gone about this that this is the only way to proceed with these texts from a faith perspective. That would mean your argument depends on all Christians being fundamentalists and literalists, which they aren’t. The way you look at the Scriptures affects whether you criticize them, or criticize particular interpretations of them.

  • Ellen Hammond

    20/20. I have always found it strange that many Christians seem to have no problem cherry picking the OT in order to ‘prove’ their condemnation of others is ‘biblical’. It often seems to be the same ones who also condemn Islam for the violence they have heard is in the Quran. But, when the violent passages in the bible are pointed out to them, they immediately jump to “Well, that was in the OT, but Jesus changed all that.” Yet they don’t seem to think they should apply that same train of thought when it comes to those they disapprove of because of some text in Leviticus. And at the same time, even though they condemn the Quran, they seem to have gleefully adopted its teachings of hell.

  • Kathy Ruth

    Is this not also true of criticizing the Qu’ran?

  • Kathy Ruth

    The Fundamentalists that I know use the Old Testament almost exclusively for their various “clobber”-type verses so I think this comparison is entirely appropriate!

  • Richard From Aus

    Thank you!
    I hope the US is looking as great as ever…
    I really enjoyed a trip there several years ago, and long to go back…
    R

  • pen44

    Indeed, Ellen Hammond, Jesus did clear up some rules and regulations that the scribes and Pharisees had added to God’s Law, which, as Jesus pointed out, the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai….rest is just survi

  • pen44

    Exactly, Brenda!!