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A Beginner’s Review of the Qur’an, Part 2: Biblical Terrorism?

by Shanon Brooks

This is part two of a three-part series.

Read Part I Here

The Qu’ran has been translated into over 100 languages. There are more than 20 English translations of the Qu’ran.

Admittedly, most of us know little of this religion as there are no more that 1 percent of Americans who claim adherence to this faith.

I am not a scholar of the Qu’ran. I am however, well versed in the Bible and have studied it for many years. It is important to remember that the Qu’ran is at least in one sense, a history for the Muslim People, just like the Old Testament is a history of the Israelites.

In fact, I find the two to be very similar, as I recall the command of God to the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua.

In the Book of Joshua, Gods commanded his people — the believers — to kill and destroy all who would not convert and follow Jehovah. In biblical terms, this is called Anathema.

In the Old Testament, the word, anathema is generally used as the rendering of the Hebrew word — herem — , derived from a verb meaning

  • to consecrate or devote; and
  • to exterminate. 

Any object so devoted to the Lord could not be redeemed (Num. 18:14Lev. 27:28, 29); and hence the idea of exterminating is connected with the word.

The Hebrew verb (haram) is frequently used to communicate the extermination of idolatrous nations. It had a wide range of application.

Christians believe that Joshua and the Israelites were commanded by God to commit anathema on the inhabitants of the City of Jericho. That is, to kill every man, woman, child, and living creature.

Today, that sounds a bit extreme, but faithful Christians see it as a matter history and being the truth.

If I were not a Christian and I read the Book of Joshua, believing that it was Christian scripture, could I come away with the impression that all Christians were commanded to kill all non-Christians? It is very possible.

By the way, Joshua and the Israelites went on for years, committing anathema throughout Palestine; destroying whole cities and reeking havoc on the civilizations of the Amorites, Cannanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

Does the Old Testament give Christians today the continued mandate to kill all non-believers? All but the most fanatical of Christians would likely answer no.

Have Christians since the Old Testament times ever used scripture as a means of justifying bloodshed? A quick perusal of history will show countless examples over hundreds of years of this being the case.

Today, Christians view the Old Testament primarily as a historic account, a portion of the annals of the Middle East. We certainly do not take God’s commands to Joshua as something we should devote ourselves to in the 21st Century.

Today, Christians are commanded to take a different path than Joshua. My religion, specifically the words of Christ, tells me to:

Luke 6:27 (GNT)
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Other Translations of Luke 6:27

But I say vnto you which heare, Loue your enemies, doe good to them which hate you. – King James Version (1611)

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you – New American Standard Version (1995)

But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you,
– American Standard Version (1901)

But I say to you who give ear to me, Have love for those who are against you, do good to those who have hate for you, – Basic English Bible

But I say to you who give ear to me, Have love for those who are against you, do good to those who have hate for you – Darby Bible

But I say to you that hear: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you. – Douay Rheims Bible

Lu 6:27-36 Love your enemies. These precepts are found in Matthew’s report in their connection. See PNT “Mt 5:44”. – People’s Bible

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you, – Webster’s Bible

But to you who are listening to me I say, Love your enemies; seek the welfare of those who hate you; – Weymouth Bible

But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, – World English Bible

But Y seie to you that heren, loue ye youre enemyes, do ye wel to hem that hatiden you;
– Wycliffe Bible

`But I say to you who are hearing, Love your enemies, do good to those hating you,
– Youngs Literal Bible

Here, the full idea is presented:

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also.
30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
34 And if ye lend [to them] of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. King James Version

To be continued…

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Shanon Brooks is the President of Monticello College, the Director of Education and Training for Humanitarian Visions International, S.A., and a founding partner of the Center for Social Leadership. He co-authored Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens.

Shanon and his wife Julia are raising their six children in Monticello, Utah.

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A Beginner’s Review of the Qur’an, Part 2: Biblical Terrorism?