Death to the Infidel!

"If God be for us, who can be against us?" Rom. 8:31

It is well-known that the spread of religious ideas has often been facilitated by the threat of force. Economic, social, political, or physical force (violence) has been exercised by and upon nearly every religion in history. In the name of God, our ancestors exterminated entire communities and even cultures, using scripture and traditional doctrine as justification.

To be fair, the forceful propagation of religion carried with it certain economic, strategic, or political incentives. The church has classically endorsed or encouraged actions that strengthen its position in the world. The same could be said of certain political ideologies (Communism or Socialism, for example) that hold secular philosophy in high regard. However, it is not these additional considerations that concern me. What concerns me is that each of the three largest religions today have scripture that not only permits this, but encourages it.

It is truly appalling that these attitudes prevail to this day. Muslim, Jewish, and even Christian extremists routinely call for, attempt, or rejoice in the extermination of those who do not subscribe to their preferred dogma. While Muslim extremists have the dubious distinction of having carried out the most recent and egregious acts of religious terrorism, the scripture for each of the aforementioned faiths contain similar exhortations to cast out, cut off, and even kill non-believers.

Christians are quick to argue that their faith does not sanction this type of behavior. Yet in reality this is due to the influence of increasingly rational thought and liberal philosophy, not scripture. The OT does in fact contain a call to kill unbelievers that is nearly identical to the Qur'an.

The Qur'an advocates or implies the killing and/or punishment of unbelievers in several places. However, for the sake of simplicity (many of the verses are more spread out) and contextual comparison we'll look at just one.

In verse 89 of Chapter 4: AN-NISA(WOMEN), the text reads (using the Shakir translation):

"They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper."

In comparison, here's a look at Deut. 13:5-16:

"5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee. 6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you. 12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, 13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; 14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; 15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. 16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again."

As the reader can plainly see the Bible does order the killing of unbelievers in much the same way as the Qur'an. The former text is simply more to the point (i.e., shorter). In addition, the Bible advocates the destruction of an entire city because of the presence of 'certain men' (those of a competing faith, but also applies to non-believers).

One interesting note is that the Qur'an seemingly gives the unbeliever a chance. If the unbeliever decides to "fly in Allah's way" (follow the faith or become a believer), he/she can avoid death. Of course, this does not mean that this passage is to be embraced, but it is notable in that no such chance is given to the unbelievers in the biblical text.

A Christian might easily retort that Jesus nullified this and all other OT Laws through the atonement. Verses such as Matt 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36 do seem to indicate that Jesus held a different view. However, in light of Jesus' less charitable sayings such as Luke 12:49-53, Luke 14:26-27, and Matt 10:21-22, 34-39, combined with Jesus' famous affirmation of OT Law in Matt 5:18, is this at all certain?

Of course, this topic also hints at the contradiction between the prohibition against murder (Ex 20:13) and the legislation of death for transgressors and non-believers to be found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Then again, in the days in which the Bible was written perhaps such things weren't considered murder, but that's a topic for another time.

In any case, while we are fortunate that rational thought and the application of liberal theology has resulted in a more palatable version of Christianity than might have been, no Christian can claim his/her faith is any more based on tolerance or peace than Islam. The violent intolerance displayed in the OT is something Christians do well do discard, but cannot deny is indeed commanded by God in scripture.


Anonymous said...

It's just another example of the Christian tendency to "cherry pick" the OT for verses that support their views and agendas. I mean, why abandon the dietary laws and still insist on persecuting homosexuals?

Dovelike Christians will overlook those particular verses and hawklike (and skinhead-type) Christians will underline them.

R. Shelby said...

There is a pack of co-workers at my place of employment that gather in or near my office every morning to discuss current events from their Christian point of view. Without ever asking me they assumed that I am part of their gang. It must be close to 100 times that I have heard them announce that the Qur'an orders followers of Islam to kill non-believers. Not once have I heard them quote the passage in Deuteronomy you quoted in your post.

Twincats was right when saying that Christians cherry pick quotes from the bible. After speaking highly of Bush’s war for oil, “Love thy neighbor,” they always say!

Deamond said...

Some people believe that Hitler was either a satanist or a Atheist, but he was, in fact, a catholic.

I once ame across a websight that pointed out how the catholic church and the nazi party supported eachother. There was even a picture of a nazi belt buckle that says 'Gott Mit Uns' (God with us)

If there is even the slightest doubt in your mind that this is true, come to Dandenong, a suburb of Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Just near the Dandenong Plaza, there's an RSL club (a club for ANZAC veterans) inside, near the pokey machines (gambleing machines, similiar to slot machines)there's several displays of WW1 surplus equiptment. Including ANZAC guns and helmets, Japanese swords, German money, etc. Allot of it's rusty, and aparantly used. And in one of these displays I specifically saw a used german belt buckle that says, "Gott Mit Uns". It was a WW1 belt, but still.

Deamond said...

Here's a good analogy for what you were talking about.

There's been over 100 movies based on dracula, or that have a vampire character who's name ends with "ula", or "Alucard", or "Dr. Acula". or that have Dracula as one of a cast along with The Wolfman, Frankenstein, the creature from the black lagoon, etc.

Add to that, there's been several TV shows that have Dracula or dracula-like characters as either main characters or guest characters (The Count from Sesame Street, for example).

Of all the various depictions of dracula, maybe half a douzen have been made by people who've actually read the book.

Here's how you tell;
If dracula gets younger as he drinks and/or has a moustache, it's based on the book. If not, it's based on the Bela La Gosi version. If dracula has a HUNCHBACKED assistant named IGOR, rather than an INSANE one named RENFIELD who EATS BUGS, spiders and birds,they didn't even bother watching the Bela La Gosi version.

This is nothing compared to how inacurately people adapt the Bible to their LIVES.

Anonymous said...

Bela Lugosi. His actual name was Bela Blasko, but he was born in the Hungarian town Lugos.

And while Hitler technically speaking was a Catholic, I don´t really think we can argue he was a real Christian.

But as regards the Bible and violence: almost all of modern Christianity, apart from the most despicable cults, turns a blind eye to these passages. They make their own God. In their mind, God is kind, and any evidence to the contrary is ignored or smoothed over.

Maybe we should be happy about that. Imagine if the majority started to believe violence in the name of God is justified.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"I don´t really think we can argue he was a real Christian."

Perhaps not, but it cannot be argued that he thought he was, and that he was able to convince a large number of Christian Germans of the same and that Jews were the enemy. This was undoubtedly made easier by the longstanding Christian tradition - fostered by both Catholic and Protestant churches - that the Jews murdered God.

"They make their own God."


"Maybe we should be happy about that. Imagine if the majority started to believe violence in the name of God is justified."

Indeed! If clearer, more rational heads had not prevailed over the centuries, we might today be hearing cries of "In the name of Jesus, kill the infidel!"

J. C. Samuelson said...

Oops...the first sentence in that last comment should've read:

"Perhaps not, but it cannot be denied that he thought he was..." etc.

Anonymous said...

Actualy, Adolf Hitler was a christian.
He abbandoned the catholic church in favour of a decidedly funtamentalist version of the christian cult (rather similar to modern american christian fundamentalism)

Anonymous said...

“And while Hitler technically speaking was a Catholic, I don´t really think we can argue he was a real Christian.”

Oh Pleeeaaasssee! So who the heck is a Real Christian, then? YOU?
What on earth is a “Real Christian?”

Most Christians I know, seldom read their bibles, pray mostly in church, and rarely tithe. So, what makes those pew-warmers “Real Christians?”


純平 said...

"And while Hitler technically speaking was a Catholic, I don´t really think we can argue he was a real Christian."

Er, so what was he? A half Christian? A fake Christian?

A Christian is a Christian - one who follows the "faith of God" (as in the bible).

Anonymous said...

Is everyone viewing the excellent BBC productions being posted on this very site?

It all goes back to faith being malignant; if you believe, you don't have to prove anything. Even more convenient, you can make the Bible or Koran support whatever agenda you want!

Ergo, Hitler believes through his faith that God and Jesus approve of his killing of millions of Jews and certain Muslims believe through their faith that they must obey fatwahs to kill Americans and other non-believers.

No believer is able to produce evidence that they are right in any concrete, logical sense, and so they only way to "prove" that their belief is correct is to either outnumber or pulverize the non-believers.

Deamond said...

There may or may not be any such thing as a "Real" Christian. Maybe you're a Christian if you think you are. In which case Hitler was defininitely a real Christian. He even acted like Jehovah in the Old Testiment. He was definitely a devout follower of the doctorine at the time, which blamed the Jews for killing jesus even though Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdolin and the apostles were also Jewish. I always thought that was odd.

Anonymous said...

Hitler's theology?

“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago — a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”

Just some quotations from the man himself

And what about Luther:

Martin Luther's views on the Jews are described as racial or religious anti-Semitism, [1] or as anti-Judaism. [2] In his pamphlet Von den Juden und ihren Lügen (On the Jews and their Lies), published in 1543, he wrote that Jews' synagogues should be set on fire, prayerbooks destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes "smashed and destroyed," property seized, money confiscated, and that these "poisonous envenomed worms" be drafted into forced labor or expelled "for all time." [3] He also appeared to sanction their murder: [4] "Jerusalem was destroyed over 1400 years ago, and at that time we Christians were harassed and persecuted by the Jews throughout the world ... So we are even at fault for not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for 300 years after the destruction of Jerusalem ... We are at fault in not slaying them."

Read the whole article at Wikipedia:

Anonymous said...

You're just sick and mentally ill, you have all the consistancies of a braindead christian.

Catafalque said...

There were three major events that influenced my decision to renounce Christianity as a personal faith.

Of the three, the one that brings me to topic here and directly relates to the verse under discussion was the abysmally inhumane treatment of the original possessors of North America by those professing Christianity.

The rallying cry during the 19th Century expansion west, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," seemed to be adopted by the non-Indian masses. D. James Kennedy, that great present-day promoter of Christian Reconstructionism (and holder of five doctorates), has stated repeatedly that over 98 percent of Americans (he excludes Indians from that title) of that period were born-again Christians. He and so many others claim this country as a Christian nation, with its basis of laws and morals undergirded by the Ten Commandments.

Yet: 'You shall not steal' - but the land, that most cherished possession of Native Americans, was taken mostly by deception and outright force. 'You shall not covet' - the Trail of Tears exemplified the Christian greed of the time. 'Love your neighbor as yourself' - even if it meant forced conversions or the indoctrinating of Indian children in Christian boarding schools. 'You shall not bear false witness' - yet treaties with Indians were rarely if ever kept.

And, (notwithstanding the deuteronomic command) 'You shall not murder' - whole tribes were slaughtered, villages burned, food supplies and homes destroyed.

And by whom? Well, if Kennedy's research is credible, by Christians.

The horrific history of Christianity in this nascent 'Christian' nation (which was not taught in Sunday Schools or preached from the pulpits) significantly influenced my decision no longer to be associated with this belief system.

It seems clear to me that the deuteronomic mandate to murder the 'Indian infidel,' the one who held to a different deity, was all too successfully carried out during the first four centuries of American Christian hegemony. And if James Kennedy is even close to the number of Christians extant during this period, then Christianity as a belief system, as one that incorporates the idea that God lives within the believer, deserves to be trashed.

Anonymous said...

You are taking the OT verse out of context.

"Other gods" does not mean other ways of worshiping God, other paths to God. It means idols of stone and wood, the worship of which was commonplace in the time of the OT.

Throughout the OT you will find references to the Hebrew words "elohim acheirim" and they always mean idols.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"You are taking the OT verse out of context."

In your rush to criticize the article for violating context, you missed the entire point. Regardless of the literal meaning of 'other gods,' those who worship them - or draw you away from worship of Yahweh - are to be killed, including those who are close to you.

The injunctions in the Koran and those in the Bible that advocate the killing of non-believers and those who worship other deities are, for the Christian, uncomfortably similar. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

BINGO. You got it.
When I was a child, I remember the religious teachers focusing on the Love thy neighbor, help others, be a good person.

Now we have high religious christian leaders ready to kill anyone that they do not like. "God says I am right!"

I have to wonder where the love, kindness, and charity have gone? Maybe the religion never really had that and it was only a momentary blip in history. AFter all, wasn't the Inquisition, a religious thing?

Elder Norm

Anonymous said...

It would seem that the 'kinder, gentler' Christian was, perhaps, a blip on the radar, but in reality, was it ever really so?

Underneath all of that "faith, hope and charity" business has always been the slimy flip side of "we're saved and you're not" which, of course, is nothing more at its core than the ancient us/other dichotomy.

Sure, they only want you to 'accept Christ as your savior' out of obedience to God and brotherly love and all. But if you decline the generous offer, you're still damned!

Anonymous said...

You missed the part where in the Noble Qur'an it clearly states in the verses surrounded your quote that killing those people is only ok in the context of a war in self-defense, which is what the early Muslims were doing when the aggressive Pagans attempted to annihilate them.

In fact, the very next verse states (and for the sake of consistency, I'll use Shakir as well, and the same website):

4:90 Except those who reach a people between whom and you there is an alliance, or who come to you, their hearts shrinking from fighting you or fighting their own people; and if Allah had pleased, He would have given them power over you, so that they should have certainly fought you; therefore if they withdraw from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not given you a way against them.

So this is not a general "kill unbelievers" statement, rather it is referring to a certain group that was persecuting Muslims at the time.

And second, you have not understood the notion behind your Devarim 13 quote. That chapter is merely saying "God has given you (Hebrews) the truth, and anyone who says otherwise should be killed". In other words, it states that if someone tries to come and aggressively convert these Hebrews to another religion ("Let us go worship other gods"), then they should be put to death. This is self-defence once again, as it is not an aggressive approach. The Hebrews shouldn't go and kill those who worship other gods according to this chapter, but rather should kill those who try to come and force the Hebrews to worship other gods. It is clear, from a historical context, that both of these verses from the Book of Devarim and the Qur'an that you have chosen, are dealing with that respective religion's divine right to practice their religion without outside interference. The Muslims wanted to worship as they pleased, without the Pagans harassing them. Same with the Jews. I don't see anything wrong with this.

boomSLANG said...

Jason Macker in defending the Holy Q'ran: "So this is not a general 'kill unbelievers' statement, rather it is referring to a certain group that was persecuting Muslims at the time."

And let's see......who is "persecuting Muslims" right now in the 21st century? Obviously, from a Muslim standpoint, that could be anyone who disagrees that Allah, and "His" word the holy Q'ran, is not THEE one "truth". 'Got 9/11?

Jason Macker in defending the Holy bible: "And second, you have not understood the notion behind your Devarim 13 quote. That chapter is merely saying 'God has given you (Hebrews) the truth, and anyone who says otherwise should be killed'. In other words, it states that if someone tries to come and aggressively convert these Hebrews to another religion ('Let us go worship other gods'), then they should be put to death. This is self-defence once again, as it is not an aggressive approach."

Perfect, so then Jews/Christians can blow the brains out of any Jehovah's Witness who comes to their door seeking to "aggressively convert" them, right? It would seem that killing people is an "aggressive approach" no matter the conditions of when it happens. BTW, now that you have just defended both holy books, which one is the one and only "Truth"?

Pageviews this week: