A study analyzing the texts of the Bible and the Quran has found that the Quran is not more violent than the Bible, while both religions’ holy books share some similarities.
In a three-part blog series, software engineer Tom Anderson used a self-developed software to analyze the texts of the Old and New Testaments and the Quran to determine which emotions are most prevalent in each book and whether there is something “inherently violent” about Islam’s teachings.
According to Anderson, the study 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.”
The data analytics found that, while the concept of “love” is mentioned least often in the Quran in comparison to the Old and New Testaments, the concept of “mercy” shows up more than twice as much as in the New Testament and nine times as much as in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament was also found to have the greatest number of violent references to destruction and killing, while the Quran had the fewest references to violence, destruction and killing.
Anderson’s textual analysis revealed similar results in the three books’ references to enemies, with these references being most prevalent in the Old Testament.
Although, as Anderson highlights, these holy books are not the only literature in Islam, Christianity or Judaism, he hopes his analysis shows that “some commonly-held assumptions about and perceptions of these texts may not necessarily hold true.”