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Violence and Compulsion in Religion

A Critical Examination of Violence in the Sacred Scriptures of Islam and Christianity

  • 23 February 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 2942
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Anonymous

In the Feb. 20 seminar, Violence and Compulsion in Religion was the theme for both the first and second sessions. First up, Jim Walker aptly provided support from Islamic sources and history indicating that indeed violence has been an integral part of Islam since it first began taking root in Arabia, especially from the Medinan period beginning in 622.

Muhammad's initial hesitancy to believe his to-be role of God's prophet was mentioned along with his attempts at suicide-which would have been a more honorable end than shaming his family name by his perceived lunacy of receiving divine revelation. After finally finding support and accepting this role, Muhammad's life showed incredible resolve in the face of early persecution. He preached one God and non-violence in these early days with very little fruit for the first ten years or so.  Indeed, he was persecuted. But that changed after his flight to Medina (Al Hijra) as his acceptance and power grew.

Violence and Protection of Life

Including one's own


Violence is a tool. It is not a hammer or screwdriver that goes in your toolbox for everyday use. It is a tool of last resort. It is behind the glass broken only in extreme circumstances. What are the appropriate circumstances? We always want to avoid violence but there are circumstances when violence is necessary.

The Qur'an and hadiths of Islam teach that violence is an appropriate tool for the propagation of religion. In contrast, the Hebrew conquest of Canaan was a period in which God-ordained violence occurred but the purpose of the conquest was not to gain converts. Later, Jesus and the entire New Testament make it very clear that violence must never be a tool for the Church to spread Christianity or the gospel message.   This brings us to the question of self-defense.

"No Compulsion"?—Violence in Religion

A Comparative Analysis of Violence in the Sacred Texts and Histories of Christianity and Islam

  • 19 February 2016
  • Author: Scott Cherry
  • Number of views: 4894
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Reflections on the seminar on February 20, 2016

When is violence justified (if ever)? In this seminar we looked at the Bible's Old Testament as well as the Qur'an in terms of violent actions and violent commands. What are the justifications for violence? Do one or the other sacred texts condone violence?  If so, for what reasons? If not, why has violence been part of their history and/or their present?  First, Jim Walker examined Islam’s theological basis and scope of application for the use of force to spread Islam’s rule.  The statements and teachings found in the Qur'an, hadith, and sira, coupled with actions and events during Muhammad’s life form the basis for this topic.  Also, the statement “there is no compulsion in religion” (Qur'an 2:256) was reviewed for its context and scope. Next, Wissam Al-Aethawi covered the Biblical rules of engagement and proper hermeneutics of violent passages in the Old Testament of the Bible, and finally the Great Commission given by Jesus as the New Testament method of spreading the Christian faith. He also addressed implications for Christian self-defense. In the final segment Steve Schlichter with the two presenters facilitated a spirited discussion and analysis of both presentations.

Examining Jesus by the Historical Method

The Historian’s Job is Much Like That of a Detective.

In this eight part series, we will investigate how Jesus stands up to the historical scrutiny afforded to any person of antiquity. This week, we will examine the issue of area of multiple, independent sources.

Historians do not accept a historical testimony at face value. They look for a variety of sources relaying the same information. The more sources they have pertaining to an event, the more certain the historian is that the event actually took place.

The historian’s job is much like that of a detective. A detective assesses a crime scene. In doing so, the detective looks for eyewitnesses. One person may have seen the crime from one area. Another may have seen the crime from another angle. The more eyewitnesses, the more certain the detective can be that the event took place in a particular fashion. The same is true for the historian.

As it relates to Jesus, one must ask whether there are multiple independent testimonies relating Jesus. The answer is…
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