Software engineer Tom Anderson had long heard individuals debate whether or not terrorism was related to Islam being a fundamentally violent religion – so he decided to look more closely.
In particular, he used text analytics software he had developed to compare the Bible and Quran, looking in particular at words categorized in eight different categories: Anger, anticipation, disgust, fear/anxiety, joy, sadness, surprise, and trust.
In a blog post, Anderson explains: “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.”
The analysis of all three books – the Old Testament, New Testament, and Quran – took just two minutes.
An analysis into whether the Quran is more violent than the Bible found killing and destruction occur more frequently in the Christian texts than the Islamic.
The results? The bible scored much higher on anger and much lower on trust than the Quran.
Further analysis found the Old Testament was more violent than the New Testament, and more than twice as violent as the Quran.
As Anderson summarized: “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%).”
However, he adds: “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.”