Yes, there is more violence in the Bible than the Quran but…

A.B. Melchizedek
6 min readJun 29, 2024

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Photo credit: Behance

Although going out of fashion these days, one argument used against those who draw attention to the violence called for and inspired by the Quran is that there is way more violence in the Bible than in the Quran.

Is this not the same Bible that contains the conquering of the promised land, David and Goliath, the episodes with the Moabites e.t.c? What gives Christians the right to call out violence in another religion when their own book contains even more violence? Piers Morgan also brought this up in his interview with Tommy Robins when the latter pointed out there were hundreds of verses calling for both their deaths, the former says, “The Bible and the Quran which has more violence?”.

Does the Bible have more violence in it? Yes!

First, the Bible is a significantly longer book than the Quran is. The Quran has about 6,300 verses. The Bible on the other hand has 31,102 verses so the Bible is about five times longer than the Quran. The result here is we are not comparing like for like.

Secondly, the above comparison ignores the books of the Hadith. A lot of the violence in Islam is found in the books of the Hadith which are not factored into the above. For example, the command to kill apostates from Islam or the justification for killing those who insult prophet Muhammad, are in the Hadith and thousands, if not millions, of people worldwide have been or are under threat of being killed because of this.

Third, consider the nature of the violent narratives in the Bible. You see the Bible is a collection of books each of which is written in a different genre. The violent narratives are historical narratives informing the reader that in such and such a time, such and such a thing happened. So Israel waged war on the Amalekites, the book of Judges had some weird stories at the time when “every man did what was right in his own eyes”. You know what you never get from the violent narratives in the Bible? That this is a command for the reader to carry out today! There are no Amalekites or Moabites to fight and conquer.

The Quran on the other hand gives direct commands and instructions to adherents of Islam. It orders them to fight those who do not believe in their religion or their prophet,

Fight against those who do not believe in Allāh or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allāh and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth [i.e., Islām] from those who were given the Scripture — [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allāh”; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allāh.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before [them]. May Allāh destroy them; how are they deluded?”

(Surah 9:29–30)

Violence in this instance is commanded against and directed towards groups who are still very much alive today. Christians and Jews.

Also, the Quran extols violence as a virtue and as a holy act pleasing to Allah,

Indeed, Allāh has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allāh, so they kill and are killed.

(Surah 9:111)

Martyrdom or death for the Islamic faith, not as a result of being persecuted or oppressed, but as a result of Jihad i.e. waging war in the cause of Allah is the highest possible good. Hence the prophet of Islam says in the Hadith,

Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).

(Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 56 Hadith 13)

And again,

“It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin Qatadah that he heard Abu Qatadah narrate from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), that he stood up among them and said that Jihad in the cause of Allah and belief in Allah are the best of deeds. Then a man stood up and said:

“O Messenger of Allah, if I am killed in the cause of Allah, will Allah forgive my sins?” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Yes, if you are killed in the cause of Allah, and you are patient and seek reward, and you are facing the enemy, not running way”

(Sunan An-Nasai Book 25 Hadith 73)

And again,

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul, were it not that some men among the believers would not like to stay behind when I went out (to fight), and I could not find any mounts for them, I would not have stayed behind from any campaign that fought in the cause of Allah. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I wish that I could be killed in the cause of Allah, then brought back to life, then killed, then be brought back to life, then killed.’”

(Sunan An-Nasai Book 25 Hadith 68)

The nature of violence in both books is very different. Bible violence is descriptive, a historical account, Quranic violence is prescriptive, a command.

Fourth, the nature of both books is very different. The Bible reflects the evolution of an understanding of God as He reveals Himself in His interaction with men and nations. He is revealed as Elohim, then YHVH, then Shaddai, then ultimately as the climax in the person of Jesus Christ. There is an evolution in even the relationship between God and men in the Bible across various covenants which all climax in the new covenant and the epistles with final judgment being done by Jesus Himself in the book of Revelation. The violent narratives we encounter in the Bible were under a covenant which no Christian is under today, in fact Christianity never comes into the picture until the New Testament. And what is Jesus’ command? “Love your enemies and do good to them that hate you”

The Quran on the other hand has no such concept. Islam is the last and final religion for all time, the prophet is the last and final prophet for all time, the Quran is the last and final revelation for all time and what is its command? “Fight those that do not share your belief in Allah”, “Slay and be Slain in the cause of Allah!”

Finally, consider what we all know and see even if nobody wants to say it. How many times in the 21st century do we hear somebody committing random acts of violence in obedience to Biblical commands? How many terror organisations are formed based on solid Biblical principles which Jesus and His apostles would agree with? Do we find that across countries, cultures and continents, there are Bible verses interpreted the same way and cited as justification to commit random acts of violence or murder people of other faiths? Dare we ask the same questions about the Quran and Islam?

In conclusion, there is more violence in the Bible than in the Quran but in the real world, there is way more violence caused by the Quran than by the Bible.

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A.B. Melchizedek

Crusader for the truth of the gospel and the logical coherence within the context of the scriptural worldview.