Christianity is a very popular religion in places like Europe and the United States. The vast majority of Americans today identify as some form of Christian. The religion is based on the writings in the Bible. The book is thought to be sacred and the words inspired by God. The heavy influence of Christianity on culture and society in Western nations has caused a clash with people who believe in Islam. The Islamic religion is seen as distant, strange and violent. Muslim believers have a book they believe is divinely revealed too called the Quran. Islam and the Quran are popular targets of people and politicians who want to tie the religion and the book to terrorism and violence.
Many people claim that Islam is just an inherently violent religion. They claim the Quran is a horribly violent book and that the followers must all believe the terrible things in it because they are Muslims. These claims are often heard loudest from Christian Conservatives in the United States. The claims are not exclusive to America, however. A show in Holland called Dit Is Normaal decided to test average people on the street with a quick social experiment.
The host of the show took a Bible and then changed the dust jacket so that it looked like the Quran. He picked out some particularly gruesome passages mainly from the Old Testament. The host would approach people on the street, show them the book and then begin reading the passages. The selected passages talked about things such as cutting off hands, eating the flesh of your children and killing gay people.
The people being interviewed reacted with disgust. They were very critical of the biblical passages. Some of the people started to relate the passages to the actions of terrorists or extremists in the Middle East. The show host then asked the people how the Quran compared to the Bible. Most talked about how the Bible was less misogynistic, less violent and less hateful in general. They said that the Bible contained good messages and was peaceful.
The host finally revealed that the book the interviewees thought was the Quran was actually the Bible. The reactions were actually very mature, measured and genuine. Most just said that they were surprised those verses were in the Bible. Others just laughed at being fooled. One couple talked about always thinking rationally when presented with verses like the ones read previously. No one argued that the verses were not in the Bible or that they were taken out of context.
This segment from the show highlights one of the problems with Christians especially in the United States. Many of the Christians have not taken the time to sit down and read what is in the Bible before condemning the holy book of another religion. Many Christians actually have a very skewed view of the Bible assembled from religious movies, fiery evangelists and general misinformation. Few will stop and read the Bible since it is not the easily accessible, rosy picture of a loving God that they want. This creates a real problem when Christians talk to or about Muslims.
The reality is that the Bible holds more violent passages overall than the Quran. There are 1,138 violent passages in the Bible compared to 532 in the Quran. The Bible is longer although that does not remove that fact that over 4 percent of the Bible contains gruesome and horrible acts or instructions to do terrible things. It would help the conversation if all Christians stopped and read what the Bible says before professing to believe in everything it states.