Reading Others’ Scriptures: The Golden Rule Applies

Reading Others’ Scriptures: The Golden Rule Applies December 5, 2015

Hemant Mehta is among several who have noted the above video, which features a couple of pranksters in the Netherlands putting a “Holy Qur’an” cover on a Bible and then stopping people in the street, reading parts of it, and asking them what they think. The passages were classic examples of difference between our values and Ancient Near Eastern ones – cutting off a woman’s hand, people being forced to eat their own children, women being submissive, etc. What is most interesting is the way people responded when asked about the differences between the Qur’an (which they thought had just been read to them) and the Bible, before they were told that what had been read to them was actually itself from the Bible.

The Golden Rule applies to reading the Scriptures of another religion. If you cannot see anything good in the Qur’an, and cannot acknowledge anything reprehensible in the Bible, then you are being unfair to at least one if not both. And you are, perhaps most ironically, violating the most axiomatic teaching of Jesus in the process. You are not treating others the way you would want to be treated.

What do blog readers think? Anyone want to try this on the street of their hometown and make an English-language version?


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  • I read that blog the other day. I really enjoyed it and the video. I am curious how an American audience might respond. I would hate to generalize the Dutch, but I have the impression that they are not as grounded in Scripture as an American would be. (I am basing this on my 10 years experience as a missionary to Germany.)

  • I really appreciated how honestly and graciously these Dutch subjects responded when they realized they were criticizing the brutality of the Bible rather than the Qur’an. The recognized and acknowledged their own prejudice with humility.

  • The Eh’theist

    Does the Golden Rule apply here? What concerns me is that the people in the video immediately discarded their moral judgements when told the quotations came from the Bible. There were two possible courses of action: (1) reconsider their judgement of the people they thought believed in the inspiration of the verses, or (2) reconsider their judgement of the people who actually believed in the inspiration of the verses. I think both would have made much more sense, followed by questioning of Christians as to how they treat these verses.I know you don’t support them, but some make apology for them and should be asked about that..

    It’s like the comments made at Liberty university by its president, urging concealed carry to “get” Muslims who might be a threat. Public reaction would be very different if an imam had told his congregation to conceal weapons and “get” Christians they thought might hurt them, but should it be different? And if it should be the same judgement, should that judgement be acceptance or rejection of the speaker and his followers?