Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Context and Method

I was reading excerpts from the Koran, in particular parts dedicated to condemning Christians, Jews, unbelievers and sinners. As I was doing this I began comparing what I was reading in the Koran, to similar passages from the Bible. The Old Testament has references to stoning and executing sinners too. I was trying to determine what the fundamental difference is in the teachings and messages of the two books because you don’t see Christians or Jews committing religiously inflamed acts of violence everywhere in the world like you do with Muslims. Yes, certain Christian groups have persecuted others in the past, but those times are long behind us and even at that it's history is short in comparison to the ancient eternal hatred for all non-believers that has followed Arabs and Muslims alike for past millennium. I drew upon two conclusions from my research and ‘philosophizing’. One was that Christians live by the New Testament in which Jesus teaches them to love their enemy, to be accepting and kind to everyone. This changed people’s relationship with each other and with God. Jesus famously stated “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”, when he came to the defense of a woman who had committed adultery and was about to be stoned to death. Thus all previous harsh practices became voided and unjustifiable to Christians. The second point I concluded was that there is a difference between how things are preached to Muslims in the Koran and to Christians and Jews in the Bible. The Bible and Koran both authorize capital punishment for certain crimes and sins but where the Koran makes a fundamental divergence in philosophy is how it dictates the importance of actively seeking out nonbelievers to persecute and sacrifice in the name of Allah. Koran 9:5 “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them…” Koran 8:60 “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemies of Allah and your enemies…” They are told it is their duty to find and rid the world of unbelievers, whereas the Bible says only that people should be punished for their sins accordingly. Specifically for Christians, those laws of punishment became obsolete with their rejection of the Torah to follow Christ and for the Jews; the Rabbinical authorities by and large put a stop to capital punishment.

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