Good question-is the Bible "as violent" as the Quran/Hadith?
I got this sincere question:
I have a question and it's so important to me..
I was a muslim, when I read The Bible and studied on it I decided to be a
christian but I have some serious problems with it.
I write in a muslim forum, I was arguing with muslims about Bible, Quran and
stuff..They always show me some verses in Torah and They say Bible is as
violent is Quran and hadith...and Some claims God of the Bible is as
arbitrary as Allah(God of quran)
Anyway, Arent't these verses so disturbing?
"Dt 20:14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else
in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use
the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.
Dt 20:15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance
from you and do not belong to the nations nearby."
And some atheists claim that Moses uses "God" for his own needs saying you
may take women, everything from the enemy...
So what can we say about these verses?
I don't really want to get into the question of 'how violent' the Quran/Hadith are,
but I will lay out some of the more significant (IMO) differences between my
general understanding of traditional Islamic views on this matter. [the atheist
assertion is simply that--an ungrounded accusation/slander. It is purely
speculative, and would require some evidence that Moses was able, and actually DID,
pull the wool over 1.2M Israelites. The issue is more complicated than that, of
course, but I cannot address such speculation here. I want to focus in this little
piece on the Muslim claim.]
[Draft: Oct 4/2004]
This warfare rule for 'when you are attacked by neighbors' is NOTHING LIKE some
general ethic that allows one to hide and ambush caravans for their goods, without
ANY provocation or without ANY hostile intent. And is very distant from using conquest to 'convert' a nation
to some religion...
I have hurried this response, and not been able to adduce the relevant passage from the Quran and Hadith, so
I will have to rely upon your background in Islam to recognize the several contrasts between this position
and that of 'traditional' Islam.
I hope this helps some, friend...
Sorry so brief & hurried,
Glenn Miller (Oct/2004)
- The first thing to note about this passage is that it is about aggressive
enemies--it is NOT about conquest of other nations, it is NOT about spreading
Judaism throught the sword, and it is NOT about 'judgment' on infidel nations.
It is about self-defence. [You can see this from the opening section in that chapter--
Israel is told not to be dismayed by the enemies' strength and battle formation IN THE FIELD.]
- The second thing to note is that conquest of land (and the implicit 'conversion'
of that land to the worship of Yahweh) was NOT a general thrust in the Hebrew Bible.
Israel was SPECIFICALLY forbidden to try to conquer the land of Esau (for example), and,
had the kings of Bashan and the Amorities let Israel pass through the land without
incident, Israel would NOT have been allowed to annex Transjordan. But these kings
were aggressively oppressive, and so the Lord (not Israel) judged them with
conquest. Israel was told to travel THROUGH these lands--NOT to convert them!
- Thirdly, the only conquest in the Hebrew Bible is about the land of Canaan, which was
an explusion and NOT a 'conversion to YAHWEH'. There was nothing 'evangelistic' about it;
it was a judgment by God on the Canaanites and their practices. God evicted them, and
gave the land to new tenants.
- Fourth, the Abrahamic covenant was set up by God, with a specific judgment clause:
"I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee". Any nation that
attacked Israel (when Israel was relatively righteous--unlike the Exile) would be
attacked by God (not by a land-hungry Israel). By the same token, God would have
blessed Israel's neighbors had they been good neighbors to Israel (without ANY annexation of land!).
no requirement to convert to Israel's "version" of Yahwehism existed in the Hebrew Bible.
- Related to this, fifthly, is that Israel was NOT supposed to conquer/convert the
nations, but rather to be a 'kingdom of Priests'--to intercede for, to teach, to
heal, to nuture the foreigners. God would draw to Himself those Gentiles who
wanted a closer relationship with Him.
- Next, we should note that the enemy was ALWAYS offered peace first--even if
they HAD been the aggressor! Israel was NOT allowed to take their land, if they
accepted peace. They became servant-states, under tribute, but their land was
their own. No conquest or blood-lust at all here either.
The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com]