14 December 2015

Which is more violent, the Bible or the Quran?

(Repost with updated numbers 14 December 2015.)
The LORD is a man of war. Exodus 15:3
Fight in the way of Allah. Quran 2:244

Which is more violent, the Bible or the Quran? Is there a way to objectively answer such a question?

Well, it wouldn't be easy. But it is possible to compare the amount of cruelty and violence in the two books.

Here is a summary of the highlighted verses in the SAB and SAQ.

Number of Cruel or Violent Passages
Bible 1321
Quran 532

So the Bible has more than twice as many cruel or violent passages as does the Quran. But the Bible is a much bigger book. How do they compare when size is taken into account?

Violence and Cruelty Total verses Percent
Bible 1321 31102 4.25
Quran 532 6236 8.53

When expressed as a percentage of cruel or violent verses (at least as marked in the SAB/Q), the Quran has twice that of the Bible. (8.53 vs. 4.25%)

Of course this analysis does not consider the extent of the cruelty in the marked passages. And that is an important consideration. Is Numbers 31:14-18, for example, more cruel than Quran 5:34? That is something that each person must decide.

A good argument could be made that either book is the most violent and cruel book ever written. The award would go to one or the other, for neither has any close competitors.

It is frightening to think that more than half of the world's population believes in one or the other.

12 December 2015

The Misuse of 1 Corinthians 7 by Anti-Gay Christian Apologists

1ColoClerkIn an obvious attempt to discourage same-sex couples from applying for marriage licenses, Dallas Shroeder, a county clerk in Colorado, prominently displayed a poster quoting 1 Corinthians 7:2b: "... each man should have his own wife and each woman should have her own husband."

At least he did until the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained and forced him to stop.

Although the poster has been taken down, Christian apologists often to use 1 Corinthians 7 to oppose same-sex marriage. And yet this chapter is not against same-sex marriage; it is against marriage itself.

Paul begins the chapter by saying in verse 1 that "it is good for man not to touch a woman." Marriage, in Paul's view, is only for weaklings, those who cannot resist the temptation to fornicate. This is evident in the next verse, which says:

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (v.2)
By quoting only the second half of verse 2, Christian apologists make it appear that Paul approved of "traditional marriage," when, in fact, he considered it to be, at best, a necessary evil.

Later in the same chapter, Paul repeatedly discouraged Christians from marrying, saying:

I would that all men were even as I myself. ... I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (vv. 7-9)
Only those who "cannot contain" should marry. Because it's "better to marry than to burn."

Paul summarized his view on marriage this way: If you're not married, don't get married. If you are married, don't have sex. (There's no time for it since "the time is short," i.e., Jesus is coming.)

Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. ... the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none (vv. 27-29)
Thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Mr. Shroeder is no longer trying to influence couples seeking marriage licenses. But if he were to do so based on 1 Corinthians 7, his sign should say: "Don't marry unless you can't control yourself; if you do marry, don't have sex."

Or something like that.

09 December 2015

Is that from the Bible or the Quran?

Recently a couple of Dutch comedians covered a Bible with a paper jacket labelled "The Holy Quran" and read passages from it to people on the street. Here's what happened.

And it's not really all that surprising. The Bible and Quran sound a lot alike.

Here are twenty verses from these two holy books. Which are from the Quran and which are from the Bible? (Bible quotations are taken from the King James Version. Quran verses are from The Study Quran.)

  1. He that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him.

  2. As for the male and female thief, cut off their hands as a recompense for what they have earned, as an exemplary punishment from God.

  3. A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds, retribution.

  4. Cursed by he that keepeth back his sword from blood.

  5. Whosoever slays a soul ... it is as though he slew mankind altogether, and whosoever saves the life of one, it is as though he saved the life of mankind altogether.

  6. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

  7. And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears. ... Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt ... pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

  8. As for the adulterer and the adulteress, flog them each one hundred lashes, and let not pity for them overcome you concerning God's judgment.

  9. Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm.

  10. Those who disbelieve ... We shall surely cause them to burn in a Fire. As often as their skins are consumed, We shall replace them with other skins that they may taste the punishment.

  11. God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned.

  12. And Lot, when he said to his people, "What! Do you commit an indecency such as none in the world committed before you? Verily you come with desire unto men instead of women. Indeed, you a a prodigal people."

  13. If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated...

  14. When Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, "If have come unto you with wisdom and to make clear to you some of that wherein you differ. So reverence God and obey me."

  15. Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God ... who shall be punished with everlasting destruction.

  16. And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend.

  17. Let neither your property nor your children divert you from the remembrance of God.

  18. Among your spouses and your children there is indeed an enemy unto you; so be wary of them.

  19. If a thief ... have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

  20. On the day you see it, every nursing woman will forget what she nurses, and every pregnant woman will deliver her burden, and you will see mankind drunk, thou drunk they will not be. Rather, the Punishment of God is severe.
See here for the answers.

That's what Hanukkah is all about, Charlie Brown

This year, Hanukkah began Sunday evening and will end Monday, December 14th.

Everyone knows what Christmas is all about (ever since Linus explained it to Charlie Brown), but how many can say the same for Hanukkah?

Well, it's all about the Hanukkah killings in the first book of Maccabees (Killing 145 in Drunk With Blood: God's killings in the Bible).

Here's the story.

A year after God's slaughter of Georga's army, Lysias attacked Judas with army of 60,000.

The year following Lysias gathered together threescore thousand chosen men, and five thousand horsemen. 1 Machabees 4:28
Judas asked God to deliver the Syrians like he did the mighty and the strangers to David and Jonathan.
Judas met them with ten thousand men ... and he prayed, and said: Blessed art thou, O Saviour of Israel, who didst break the violence of the mighty by the hand of thy servant David, and didst deliver up the camp of the strangers into the hands of Jonathan the son of Saul and of his armourbearer. 4:29-30
He asked God to scare the hell out of them.
Strike them with fear ... and let them quake at their own destruction. 4:32
And kill them with the sword of those that love him.
Cast them down with the sword of them that love thee: and let all that know thy name, praise thee with hymns. 4:33
And it worked. God helped Judas kill 5000.
And there fell of the army of Lysias five thousand men. 4:34
After God "discomfited" the Gentiles, Judas and his brethren went to clean up the Temple.
Then Judas, and his brethren said: Behold our enemies are discomfited: let us go up now to cleanse the holy places and to repair them. 4:36
They found the Temple to be a bit of a mess.
And they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burnt, and shrubs growing up in the courts as in a forest, or on the mountains, and the chambers joining to the temple thrown down. 4:38
So they did the usual things that Jews do when they get upset: they rent their garments, put ashes on their heads, and fell on their faces.
They rent their garments ... and put ashes on their heads ...And they fell ... on their faces. 4:39-40
Then they cleaned things up at the Temple and killed some animals for God.
They made new holy vessels, and brought in the candlestick, and the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. And they put incense upon the altar, and lighted up the lamps ... And they offered sacrifice. 4:49-53
And everyone fell on their faces once again. (You just can't do that too many times.)
And all the people fell upon their faces . 4:55
When the Gentiles found out that the Jews had cleaned up the temple, they were exceedingly angry.
Now it came to pass, when the nations round about heard that the altar and the sanctuary were built up as before, that they were exceeding angry. 1 Machabees 5:1
So they began to persecute and kill the Jews.
And they thought to destroy the generation of Jacob that were among them, and they began to kill some of the people, and to persecute them. 5:2
Which got Judas (and God) in a killing mood once again. He slaughtered the children of Esau.
Judas fought against the children of Esau in Idumea, and them that were in Acrabathane ... and he made a great slaughter of them. 5:3
Burned to death the children of Bean.
He remembered the malice of the children of Bean ... And they were shut up by him in towers, and he ... burnt their towers with fire, and all that were in them. 5:4-5
And smote the children of Ammon.
Then he passed over to the children of Ammon ... and they were discomfited in their sight, and he smote them. 5:6-7
God helped Judas kill the Gentiles because God likes the Jewish people more than other people, likes the Jewish religion more than other religions, and likes Jews to kill and sacrifice animals to him in the Temple. After the slaughter of the Gentiles and the re-dedication of the Temple, the Jews established the annual eight-day festival, which we know today as Hanukkah.
Judas, and his brethren, and all the church of Israel decreed, that the day of the dedication of the altar should be kept in its season from year to year for eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu. 1 Machabees 4:59
And that's what Hanukkah is all about, Charlie Brown.