Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | October 26, 2014 | 10.54 am IST Extremists across the world have used religion (and any other excuse they could think of) to justify violence against innocent civilians. With videos of ISIS beheading journalists and killing civilians in brutal ways in the name of Islam, one wonders what exactly the holy books of Islam contain.  Often, Islam is perceived as a “violent” religion, with jihadi’s quoting the Quran about “infelds” and the like. But is it the only religion whose scriptures contain passages that advocate violence? AlterNet takes a look at the scriptures of three religions Christianity (Bible), Judaism (Torah), Islam (Quran).  Of the 30 that AlterNet puts together, the language in all of them is similar, and are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Here are two examples of each, the full list can be found on AlterNet: But if [a girl wasn't a virgin on her wedding night] and evidence of the girl's virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her father’s house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against God’s people by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. – Bible So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them. – Quran Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the [holy man] who represents God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged. – Bible I decided to order a man to lead the prayer and then take a flame to burn all those, who had not left their houses for the prayer, burning them alive inside their homes. – Quran  Towards the end, Valerie Tarico says: “Bible and Quran believers who recognize verses in this list will no doubt protest that they have been taken out of context, as indeed they have. I think the appropriate response to such a complaint is a question: What context, exactly, would make these verses uplifting, inspiring or worthy of praise? In what context are passages like these some of the most important and holy guidance that the creator of the universe might think to impart to humankind? In what context is a book that contains these passages and many, many more like them the apogee of divine goodness and timeless wisdom? “Members of each Abrahamic tradition are quick to point out the rational and moral flaws in the others. I wonder sometimes, what this world might be like if they were as quick to examine the flaws in their own.”
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