Bible vs Quran—Test Your Knowledge of Who Deserves Death in Which Religion

Since neuroscientist and author Sam Harris has again raised this issue in a recent blog of his own, and in a conference at Harvard, I’m reblogging this excellent article by Valeria Tarico, which she published a year ago.


quran vs bible 2The world has watched in horror while members of ISIS justify the next mass murder or icy execution with words from the Quran, followed by shouts of Allahu Akbar—God is the greatest! If beliefs have any power whatsoever to drive behavior—and as a psychologist I think they do—there can be little doubt that the Quran’s many endorsements of violence play a role in how exactly ISIS has chosen to pursue religious and political dominion.

At the same time, it should be equally clear a sacred text filled with violence is insufficient to trigger mass brutality unless other conditions are present as well. Culture, empathy, education and empowerment—and other factors that scholars understand only in part—appear to have a protective influence, safeguarding even most fundamentalists against the worst teachings of their own tradition. We know this in part because the Bible contains commandments and stories that are as horrific as…

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About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at
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1 Response to Bible vs Quran—Test Your Knowledge of Who Deserves Death in Which Religion

  1. This is such a complex and difficult subject. I was reflecting on the Spanish Inquisition recently, and how those who carried out the barbaric and horrifying executions justified their behaviour by quoting the bible. Man’s inhumanity to man is constantly expressed, and when a culture or system of beliefs is threatened, or feels that this is so, it can react in the most brutal of ways. Another sad observation brought to mind by a study of man through the ages

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