A Comparative Analysis of Violence in the Sacred Texts and Histories of Christianity and Islam
Reflections on the seminar on February 20, 2016
When is violence justified (if ever)? In this seminar we looked at the Bible's Old Testament as well as the Qur'an in terms of violent actions and violent commands. What are the justifications for violence? Do one or the other sacred texts condone violence? If so, for what reasons? If not, why has violence been part of their history and/or their present? First, Jim Walker examined Islam’s theological basis and scope of application for the use of force to spread Islam’s rule. The statements and teachings found in the Qur'an, hadith, and sira, coupled with actions and events during Muhammad’s life form the basis for this topic. Also, the statement “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur'an 2:256) was reviewed for its context and scope. Next, Wissam Al-Aethawi covered the Biblical rules of engagement and proper hermeneutics of violent passages in the Old Testament of the Bible, and finally the Great Commission given by Jesus as the New Testament method of spreading the Christian faith. He also addressed implications for Christian self-defense. In the final segment Steve Schlichter with the two presenters facilitated a spirited discussion and analysis of both presentations.