By Noha Medhat
A startling new study of the Christian and Islamic texts has revealed that violence and anger are more common in the Old and New Testaments than in the Quran.
Using software he developed himself, American software engineer Tom Andersen performed a text analysis of the holy books to find out whether the Quran is more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts.
“The question of whether or not there is something inherently violent about Islam has become the subject of intense and widespread debate,” Andersen wrote introducing his three-part study.
“The project was inspired by the ongoing public debate around whether or not terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions,” he further elaborated.
Using Odin Text, Andersen found out that killing and destruction are mentioned “slightly more often” in the New Testament than in the Quran, while their mentions in the Old Testament are “more than twice” that of the Quran.
“The content in the Quran is not more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts. In fact, of the three texts, the content in the Old Testament appears to be the most violent,” Andersen said.
Moreover, the study revealed that the Old Testament is “the angriest” of the three texts, based on an emotional analysis that categorized eight primary human emotions into joy, anticipation, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, fear/anxiety and trust.
The Old Testament was also found to contain the most mentions of disgust and the least mentions of joy. Overall, the Bible registered higher in anger, while the Quran registered higher in joy and trust.
In addition, Andersen found that the concept of love is mentioned more often in the New Testament than in the Old Testament and the Quran, but the concepts of mercy, forgiveness and grace are much more prevalent in the Quran than in the Old and New Testaments combined.
“This is partly because references to “Allah” in the Quran are frequently accompanied by “The Merciful.” Some might dismiss this as a tag or title, but we believe it’s meaningful because mercy was chosen above other attributes like “Almighty” that are arguably more closely associated with deities,” Andersen said.
The software engineer admitted that he himself was surprised by the fact that the concept of mercy was most prevalent in the Quran, saying that he expected the New Testament would rank highest in that aspect.
“It appears safe to conclude that some commonly-held assumptions about and perceptions of these texts may not necessarily hold true,” wrote Andersen.
“Those who have not read or are not fairly familiar with the content of all three texts may be surprised to learn that no, the Quran is not really more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts.”
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