Koran vs Old Testament: Who’s Violent?

I grow weary of the blindness of leaders who point out how the Koran “teaches violence”, totally oblivious to the fact that the Old Testament , taken alone, does the same and just as “viciously”. “Blessed is he who smashes their little ones against the rocks” comes to mind (Psalm 137:9).

Also, there are multiple passages instructing conquering Israeli warriors to spare noone, women , children, animals.

And then, for me, the clincher: How do the religions of great nations play themselves out in values expressed in the world? Is the history of the Western World, let alone that of the United States, a history of expansionism which always precedes it’s conquests with a theology of manifest destiny, and “conversion of the heathen, and the ushering in of civilization”? Church history is replete with examples of people who were sent as missionaries and ended up being “seditionists”; for once they spend a bit of life within those communities and come to know the people, they see the callous greed with which their own society treats these “heathen”. A more recent example of this would be the numerous missionaries to Central America in the 70’s and 80’s, who ended up siding with “the people”. Not the Sandinistas or the Contras, but the people. The Contras, we now know, were trained by the U.S. , and mirrored the tactics of the Sandinistas; which was basically “death squads” responsible for indiscriminate wholesale slaughter of entire communities of families. The “diplomats” in place from the U.S. during that time included John Negroponte, who is now Ambassador to Iraq.

This administration marks a radical swing to the extremes of the behavior of U.S. governments to the unapologetically pro-elite status. The amount of economic draining of the populace to funnel the benefits to the top is taking place on an unprecedented scale. This includes the return of talk about the use of death squads for use in Iraq (coincidence? Negroponte in Central America, Negroponte in Iraq?)

Christian Nation. A Church perfectly willing to trumpet “freedom and liberty” while remaining blissfully ignorant of the atrocities in iraq wreaked by U.S. bombs and missiles, not to mention the gunning down of civilians becuase they were “with” a group of insurgents. I have been asked if I would protect my family if a murderous person came in my door. Yes, but I wouldn’t blow up my entire street, but woudl direct it at THE guy. What if he’s in a crowd? Then, ….NO. It’s better for the guilty to go free than for innocents to be killed. Isn’t this a cardinal point at the basic tenets of “freedom and liberty”?

Look at Iraq and ask: “Who’s violent?” HOw many have insurgents killed, and how many have our troops and bombers killed? Insurgents react in defense of their country and we equate them with terrorists. If the US were under occupation, how many “insurgent terrorists” would we have, fighting for freedom?

We deceive ourselves thinking that we have righteous cause to inflict even more massive violence upon a population that ISN’T and WASN’T even involved in 9/11? We’re not even supposed to, as Christians, to go as far as “an eye for an eye”. And we take more than 10 to 1 if you want to look at the start of all this: the 3000+ on 9/11. We’ve brought 50 to 100,000 deaths to Iraq. 50,000, an almost certain underestimate, is apalling and evil. And there may well be another set of deaths equally as large.

I am constantly remembering a Twilight Zone episode where a bigot is talking in a bar to his buddies, and is loud and obnoxious, and spewing racial slurs, and after refusing to shut up after a couple of black men come over and ask him to pipe down, he is thrown out. When he gets up and brushes himself off, he is Nazi Germany, and is shot as a Jew; then he is hung by the KluKlux Klan, and then shot as a “gook” in some Asian country by U.S. soldiers. This is the “afterlife” that our Christian Church in America needs to have. Our families should be placed in Iraq and made to receive the “freedom and liberty” of the Bush administration. Or perhaps a “Christmas Carol” visitation in the night; I was thinking of this as I attended a performance of it in Cincinnati the week after Christmas. The Christmas past, a view of the last 20 years of history in Iraq, under Saddam, and under the occupation since the toppling of Saddam. Then the present, in Fallujah, in houses and neighborhoods and shopping centers hit by U.S. fire. And the future, the inevitable chaos and endless cycles of violence and accusations to set up further deceptions about new “immanent threats” which would require more “preemptive wars” and provide further econmonic benefits and “possibilities for new markets”.

The love of money is the root of all evil.


10 Replies to “Koran vs Old Testament: Who’s Violent?”

  1. Chris Capoccia

    Why is violence innately evil? There is a violence to judgement, and judgement will surely come. I do not need to rush ahead of God”™s timetable. If the judgement of evildoers does not come in this life, they will recieve a perfect judgement in the next.

    Hatred of evil, evildoers, and anticipation of God”™s judgement are themes found throughout the Old Testament.

    In the New Testament, the only nuance is that we should pray for God”™s mercy on the wicked and that they would repent. This concept is not entirely foreign to the Old Testament, though. Jonah had to learn this lesson through his ministry to Nineveh.

  2. Theoblogical

    I believe that Jesus taught that violence begets violence; this is why there is no other response than to love our enemies, and no more ‘eye for an eye’. Plus, we are not God, and therefore “punishment” inflicted by humans is NOT God’s judgment, but our own preferences to ciorcumvent what we , at heaqrt, really believe is our role since God doesn’t seem to be acting fast enough. It is imposing our own will , and accepting the world’s type of response to violence.

  3. Theoblogical

    My previous comment was in response to your first question. What you follow that with really makes the point I made in that comment:

    That judgment is GOD’s, not OURS. Bush clearly sets his administration up as the “Punisher of evildoers”. Our role, as Christians, is peacemaking. I believe that in “counter-terrorism” activities, which are POLICE, law-protecting activities rather than WAR activities, whcih are TOTALLY inappropriate to fighting terrorism, since in chossing the military route, you involve yourselves in even worse civilian casualties. This should be abhorrent to ALL Christians, and all people of good will of all faiths.

  4. ericisrad

    “I have been asked if I would protect my family if a murderous person came in my door.”

    This is the classic worldly (read: not Christian) question used to condone violence on the small scale which then almost always makes the illogical leap to condonce violence on the large scale (read: war). I’d suggest reading John Howard Yoder’s “What Would You Do If…?” essay. I have a link to purchase a booklet of essays in response to this question on my “Required Reading” section of my site.

    There’s clearly a self-righteous double-standard when it comes to Christians pointing out the so-called “origins” of violence in the Koran vs. the violence found in the Hebrew Bible (OT). Christians point out the violece in the Koran to make you believe that they are corrupt and violent at the core and must be destroyed, and then said Christians point out the violence in the Hebrew Bible to pretend that violence is only the tool of God’s chosen people (Christians/Israelis) so only “we” have the righteousness to use it against our enemies. Of course, the tragedy comes when they forget that Jesus taught us something completely different and go ahead and use all this illogical and so-called “evidence” to justify killing people.

    I’m saddened, because that is completely the wrong attitude we Christians should be having and it is the wrong question to be asking. It is not for us to ask who is the “right” group to use violence– it is for us to ask whether it should be used at all. And that answer, in following the example of Jesus, ends up being a resounding “no.” Being faithful to Jesus’ humble call creates a world for us Christians in which we can’t imagine any other way of living.

  5. nukebird

    Read “The Politics of Jesus” by John Howard Yoder. Then read 1 Samuel 8. Then read anything by Jacques Ellul.

    Nonviolence is a teaching at the very core of Christianity- Sermon on the Mount, anyone? Unfortunately, most deceive themselves into thinking otherwise. Do not resist evil with evil. Simple as that.

  6. Theoblogical


    I agree entirely; and I HAVE read some of Ellul; I ran across Ellul via quotes, and I believe I read a couple of whole chapters in something he wrote on Technology; I’ll have to investigate more, now, at your urging.

    Yes, the Sermon on the Mount takes a back seat , it seems, to the Old Testament today as Religious People rush to justify war from the Bible, and then accuse the Koran of teaching violence, while ignoring the very fact that THEY use the Bible’s Old Testament to justify acts of violence that only perpetuate and extend the cycle of vbiolence; which is what Jesus knew, and why he taught to “forgive, love, or return evil for evil”

  7. nukebird

    Some of Ellul’s greater works (IMHO):
    Christianity and Anarchy – offers a stunningly clear biblical analysis of political power
    The Subversion of Christianity – details some of the ‘fatal flaws’ that have ruined christian movements; I find it a useful guide to not repeating the same mistakes myself
    Apocalypse – a (very!) in-depth study of the Revelation of John.

  8. Andy Alexis-Baker

    “In the New Testament, the only nuance is that we should pray for God”™s mercy on the wicked and that they would repent. ”

    Hmmm . . . “nuance” . . . kind of a reductionistic way to look at grace is it not?

    “There is a violence to judgement, and judgement will surely come.”

    That is one way to read certain passages, another is to show from Revelation that the bloody lamb overcomes the world not through violence but through his suffering love.

    dale: Propaganda is a very good book by Ellul…that coupled with The Technological Society might just change your whole way of viewing the world.

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