The 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 those being used to justify butchery in Iraq and Syria.
The following 30 violent exhortations are a mix, drawn from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures. The generic word God is used for all deity names, and names of places or people have been replaced with generic terms. How well do you know your Torah, Bible, or Quran and Hadith? Can you tell which is which? Give it a try and then check the key at the bottom.
- Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the [holy man] who represents God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged.
- I decided to order a man to lead the prayer and then take a flame to burn all those, who had not left their houses for the prayer, burning them alive inside their homes.
- All who curse their father or mother must be put to death.
- Fight them until there is no more [disbelief or worshipping of other gods] and worship is for God alone.
- Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
- Whoso fighteth in the way of God, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.
- Make ready to slaughter [the infidel’s] sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants.
- [God’s messenger]… was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The [holy man] replied, “They [women and children] are from them [unbelievers].”
- Then I heard God say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children.”
- I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.
- Keep [my holiday], for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die.
- The punishment of those who wage war against God and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.
- If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death.
- It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…
- Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
- I shall terrorize the [heathens]. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them, because they oppose God and his apostle.
- A [holy man’s] daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death.
- So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.
- Everyone who would not seek God was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
- And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.
- But if [a girl wasn't a virgin on her wedding night] and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her father’s house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against God’s people by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.
- The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say.”O [believer]! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”
- If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you.
- God’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but God’.
- Cursed be he who does God’s work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood.
- God said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. [Prophet], you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But God desires killing them to manifest the religion.’
- Anyone who blasphemes God’s name must be stoned to death by the whole community of [believers].
- When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) [your religion]; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them [a tax]. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek God’s help and fight them.
- Anyone else who goes too near the [Holy Place] will be executed.
- Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us.
Is the Quran more violent than the Bible as most Americans believe? The question is hard to answer. A tally at the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible counts 842 violent or cruel passages in the Bible as compared to 333 in the Quran. That said, the Bible is a much thicker tome, and even though the New Testament endorses and adds to the violence in the Old, when percentages are compared, the Quran comes out ahead. In addition, the kinds of cruelty and violence vary as do the perpetrator and victim and the extent to which any verse can be interpreted as divine sanction for the behavior in question. Either way, endorsements of violence abound in both.
Bible and Quran believers who recognize verses in this list will no doubt protest that they have been taken out of context, as indeed they have. I think the appropriate response to such a complaint is a question: What context, exactly, would make these verses uplifting, inspiring or worthy of praise? In what context are passages like these some of the most important and holy guidance that the creator of the universe might think to impart to humankind? In what context is a book that contains these passages and many, many more like them the apogee of divine goodness and timeless wisdom?
Members of each Abrahamic tradition are quick to point out the rational and moral flaws in the others. I wonder sometimes, what this world might be like if they were as quick to examine the flaws in their own.
Key: Odd numbered quotes are from the Bible, even numbers from the Quran or Hadith. 1. Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT; 2. Bukhari 11:626; 3. Leviticus 20:9 NLT; 4. Quran 2:193; 5. Matthew 10:34-35; 6. Quran 4:74; 7. Isaiah 14:21 NAB; 8. Bukhari 52:256; 9. Ezekiel 9:5 NLT; 10. Quran 8:12; 11. Exodus 31:12-15 NLT; 12. Quran 5:33; 13. Leviticus 20:10 NLT; 14. Quran 8:67; 15. Numbers 31: 17-18 KJV; 16. Quran 8:12; 17. Leviticus 21:9 NAB; 18. Quran 9:5; 19. 2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB; 20. Quran 17:16; 21. Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB; 22. Bukhari 52:177; 23. Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB; 24. Bukhari 8:387; 25. Jeremiah 48:10 NAB; 26. Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 484; 27. Leviticus 24:16 NLT; 28. Muslim 19:4294; 29. Numbers 1: 51 NLT; 30. Tabari 9:69
Cross-posted from Away Point
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella created a national uproar when he advised women to rely on “good karma” for a raise. He almost immediately retracted. But if Nadella had instead advised women to ask for raises and urged girls to pursue computer science degrees, that still would have been the wrong answer to the gender wage gap question.
Washington state prohibited discrimination in pay on the basis of sex way back in 1943, when Rosie the Riveters were helping win World War II. At the national level, Congress banned sex discrimination in employment over 50 years ago. Yet the gender wage gap persists in every industry and at every rung of the wage ladder.
Women who worked full-time for the full year in Washington state in 2013 took home 80 cents to every $1.00 a man made, according to the US Census Bureau. Factor in race, and the stats get worse. Nationally, where women overall made 79 cents to a man’s dollar, Black women made 66.5 cents and Latinas 56 cents compared to a White man’s dollar.
Differences in occupation help explain part of the gender pay gap. Here in King County, men held eight out of ten computer and math-related jobs in 2013 and brought home $19,000 more each year than women. Women predominate in occupations such as office administration, health technicians, and personal care services, with much smaller paychecks but still noticeable wage gaps.
While occupational differences are determined partly by employee choices, deeply embedded workplace cultures and employer practices also push women and men into different career paths.
For example, in the typical Puget Sound-area grocery store, nine in ten meat cutters are men while eight in ten meat wrappers are women. Meat cutters, it will come as no surprise, get paid a lot more. Now, those guys in the back room at Safeway aren’t wrestling bulls to the ground and slaughtering them with a hunting knife. Women can achieve the strength and skill required to cut meat and be just as good at is as men.
Even when women do get traditionally “men’s jobs,” many firms prohibit employees from discussing pay, so no one knows if others are getting paid more for similar work.
No matter how many girls take advanced math and science classes, no matter how many women enter non-traditional and higher paying careers, our economy will continue to produce lots of jobs in child care, retail, restaurants, and office administration. So we can’t solve the wage gap by focusing only on high paying careers.
We need a cultural shift to value “women’s work” both in the market economy and caring for family at home. And cultural shifts don’t happen only through individuals changing their behavior. They also require the push of policy change.
So here is the answer I wish Nadella would now give.
First, he should commit to equal pay for equal work at Microsoft, and lift the veil of wage secrecy within his own company that enables discrimination. Then he should go a step further and pledge Microsoft backing of federal and state Paycheck Fairness acts so that all employees everywhere have the tools to identify and challenge pay discrimination.
Next, he could commit to working with women’s groups and female employees to identify ways to change Microsoft culture to encourage women to seek and stay in tech careers, rather than discouraging them. Beyond that, he could lend support for federal and state legislation that support all workers’ roles as family caregivers, including paid sick days, family and medical leave insurance, and workplace flexibility.
Finally, he could go beyond platitudes about the need for STEM education for girls and children of color, and commit to working with other corporate leaders to change the narrative of austerity that has prevailed for too long in Washington, DC and Olympia. We need ample funding for education, from preschool through university. That means raising federal tax rates on the wealthy, closing state and federal loopholes that allow corporations – including Microsoft –to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and instituting a personal income tax here in Washington state.
If Nadella did all that, he really would create good karma.
Originally posted at at the South Seattle Emerald »
The Fight to Save Public Housing
Stop SHA Rent Hikes!
Saturday, October 25, 7:00 pm
Doors open at 6:30 pm. Door donation $1-5.
No one turned away for lack of funds.
Desserts and snack plates, with vegan option,
available for $2.50-7 donation.
- Yusuf Cabdi – Immigrant rights advocate and former Seattle Housing Authority Commissioner
- Sidney Carter – Resident and activist at New Holly who has lived in SHA housing for over 22 years
- Fadumo Isaq – Mother and childcare provider, Yesler Terrace resident and leader
- Gina Petry – Radical Women president, organizer for low-income families and single mothers
- Annaliza Torres – Member of Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 8 and SHA worker
New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave., S, Seattle.
4 blocks south of S. Alaska St. at the Dawson stop of the #7 busline.
Auspices: Radical Women and Freedom Socialist Party.
Stand Up and Speak Out for Your Health and Safety!
Northwest communities are facing an onslaught of coal export and oil-by-rail proposals. If oil and coal companies are permitted to build their proposed facilities, they would turn our beloved region into a fossil fuel corridor.
With their hazardous coal dust and explosive fuel, these trains pose serious risks to our communities. These mile-long trains are an accident waiting to happen. Derailments happen frequently and all too often cause disastrous loss of life and property.
IT’S TIME TO SPEAK UP and demand protection for our families and our children’s future!
Save the date:
WHEN: October 30, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
WHERE: Red Lion Hotel – 2300 Evergreen Park Dr SW – Olympia, WA
In June, Governor Inslee funded a Department of Ecology study to assess the risks of oil transportation in Washington. The completed report is here: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/OilMovement/2014MRstudy.html. The recommendations are totally inadequate, with no mention of limiting oil trains on our railways nor stopping new oil terminal expansions. October 30, the public has a chance to comment. This is a critical opportunity to voice our concerns about the combined impact of oil and coal trains on our communities. We need to fill the aisles and tell our elected officials to stand up to big oil!
Help ensure that the study addresses the whole picture, such as risks and threats to rail communities, terminal communities, our economy, public safety, and our waterways like the Puget Sound, Grays Harbor, the Columbia River, and the Spokane River. Your participation can inform how the state will respond to this very important issue. Don’t miss this incredibly important opportunity to speak up. Join us!
Schedule for hearing:
5:00 pm doors open
5:15 pm pre-hearing rally, outside the Red Lion
6:00-9:00 pm public comment
NOTE: Bus transportation is being arranged for Whatcom/Skagit County, East King County, Seattle, Grays Harbor, and Vancouver/Longview. Car pools for all areas are also being organized. Details are in the RSVP link above.
Thank you for all you do for the environment,