In an effort to dispel the oft-mentioned argument that Islam is an "inherently violent religion", an American software engineer processed the Holy books in order to find out how frequently savagery is mentioned.
Tom Anderson said: "The project was inspired by the ongoing public debate around whether or not terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions."
Anderson used software he developed, Odin Text, to analyse both the Old and New Testaments as well as an English-language version of the Quran dated from 1917.
It took just two minutes to complete the analysis and produce a series of data analysing the sentiment of words included in the scriptures.
Of eight emotions - joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger and anticipation - the Bible scored higher for anger and much lower for joy and trust than the Quran.
Delving into the Bible further revealed the Old Testament was distinctly more violent than the New Testament.
The process identified words such as "destroy", "kills" and phrases such as "suffer vengeance", as having violent connotations.
Anderson wrote in summary: "“Of the three texts, the content in the Old Testament appears to be the most violent.
Killing and destruction are referenced slightly more often in the New Testament (2.8%) than in the Quran (2.1%), but the Old Testament clearly leads—more than twice that of the Quran—in mentions of destruction and killing (5.3%).”
References of killing and destruction as percentage of verbatim text
- Quran - 2.1%
- New Testament - 2.8%
- Old Testament - 5.3%
Source: Odin Text
However, Anderson cautions: "First, I want to make very clear that we have not set out to prove or disprove that Islam is more violent than other religions.
"Moreover, we realize that the Old and New Testaments and the Quran are neither the only literature in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, nor do they constitute the sum of these religions’ teachings and protocols.
"I must also reemphasize that this analysis is superficial and the findings are by no means intended to be conclusive. Ours is a 30,000-ft, cursory view of three texts: the Quran and the Old and New Testaments, respectively."
He concluded: "Lastly, we recognize that this is a deeply sensitive topic and hope that no one is offended by this exercise."
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