Recently I was watching a CNN special titled, “Why They Hate Us.” The idea was to analyze the motivations of terrorists. One of the statements caught my attention. The show said that the Koran says to kill infidels and that the Bible says the same thing. I was surprised by that statement. I’m not an expert on the Koran but I know the Bible well. It does not teach killing of infidels.
I did some online research and found others making similar statements. The problem is that while the Koran says to kill infidels, the Bible does not.
So, let’s look at where the Koran says to kill infidels and then the fact that the Bible does not teach the same.
1. The Koran says to kill infidels.
Note: an “infidel” means “a person who does not believe in religion or who adheres to a religion other than one’s own.” Synonyms are: unbeliever, agnostic, atheist, pagan, idolater, and heretic.
Here are passages from the Koran that teach Muslims to kill infidels (note: a sura is like a chapter reference):
“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem [of war]; but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful” (Sura 9:5).
“Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book [Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [tribute] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Sura 9:29).
“Prophet! Make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal sternly with them. Hell shall be their home, evil their fate.” (Sura 66:9)
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.” (Sura 48:29)
“And fight them until there is no fitnah [civil strife] and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah.” (Sura 8:39)
This is a sampling of the teachings of the Koran and hadiths (the words, actions and teachings of Muhammad). There is plenty in the teachings of the Koran and Islam that inspires terrible violence and terrorism.
While the Koran says to kill infidels, thankfully not all Muslims take these teachings literally or focus on them. But there are enough who do so that we have a serious worldwide threat of Islamic terrorism. Terrible acts of slaughter are occurring at the hands of Islamic literalists in Paris, Berlin, San Bernardino, Orlando, New York, Washington DC, all over the Middle East and elsewhere.
As they massacre, they apparently feel no regret. Instead, based on Koranic teaching, they appear to feel great justification, vindication, peace and perhaps even happiness. They believe they’re doing the work of Allah which other Muslims are too fearful, timid or unrighteous to perform. They’re fully convinced that the Koran says to kill infidels.
Regrettably, in the name of political correctness or other motivations, Western media and politicians are often unwilling to call Islamic inspired terrorism what it is. Instead, they try to say, like the CNN show “Why They Hate Us” that Islamic teaching is the same as Christian teaching.
2. The Bible says to love infidels.
Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was himself quite violent. However, the founder of Christianity, Jesus, taught peace, love and forgiveness toward others, even one’s enemies.
Here is some of the teaching of Jesus and the Bible about how to treat others:
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 KJV)
While being crucified for our salvation Jesus said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34a KJV)
“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18 NLT)
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.” (Romans 12:20a NLT)
“We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us.” (1 Corinthians 4:12 NLT)
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” (1 Peter 3:9 NLT)
When I did an online search for the topic “do both Christianity and Islam say to kill infidels” I found a lot of misinformation and misquoting of the Bible. The top two search result articles misquoted Jesus as saying, “And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.” (Luke 19:27 NLT)
But this is not Jesus’ command. He is quoting someone else.
In the story Jesus is quoting a king. He is making a symbolic point, but it is not a point about Christians killing infidels. The king represents God and His judgment. The point is that God will judge—God, not believers.
Other passages are also cited to “prove” that the Bible says to kill infidels. These fall into two categories:
a. Bible passages that justify military conquest.
In the Old Testament (before Jesus) we have the history of the Jewish nation, chosen to bring the Messiah.
A part of that history is the military conquest by the Israeli army, directed by God. See for example Deuteronomy 31.
But here are some things to consider in these military conquests:
i.These directions were for a specific people (the Jewish nation) against specific nations, at a specific time.
The instructions are not for all believers.
ii.The nations to be destroyed were incredibly corrupt.
The cultures that were conquered were seeking to annihilate the Israelites. They were also incredibly evil. For example, they practiced child sacrifice, bestiality, incest, cultic prostitution and intense brutality.
iii.Opportunity was given for repentance.
According to this article, they were given over 400 years to repent and be spared.
b. Bible passages about death for abandoning Jehovah.
But here are some things to consider about these passages:
i.These directions were for a specific people (Jews) against a specific threat (Jewish defectors), at a specific time (a time of theocracy).
A theocracy is “a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God’s or deity’s laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities.”
These instructions were not for all believers throughout history. Instead, they were for the Jewish people, related to those who abandoned Jehovah God at that time.
Under the New Covenant of Jesus, Christians are to lovingly admonish those who abandon the faith, not kill them.
ii.The crime was equivalent to espionage or treason.
Israel was a theocracy—a government where God is the head of state. The unity of the nation came from their faith. To deviate from faith was to undermine the government and potentially destroy the nation.
Thus, just as espionage and treason have deserved capital punishment in other nations, that was the penalty in Israel.
Again, that teaching was for a specific people at a specific time. There are no Christian theocracies today. These passages are historical record, not Christian teaching and practice for today.
To suggest that the Bible teaches Christians today to kill unbelievers is dishonest and irresponsible.
Here are some final thoughts:
1. Let’s acknowledge reality about the root of terrorism.
Where does terrorism come from today? It is not coming from Christianity. It is typically coming from Islamic terrorists inspired by the Koran. As they slaughter they yell “Allah Akbar” (Allah is great).
To win the “war on terror” we need to know the enemy. It is a war against “Islamic terrorism.” This is because the Koran says to kill infidels, as shown above. While not all Muslims strictly follow this teaching, enough do that Islamic terrorism is a significant threat.
2. Remarkable good has been done through Christians inspired by Jesus Christ.
Through the influence of Jesus Christ and Christianity, incredible good has come to the world. These include countless advancements in medical care, charity, education, civil rights, the arts, government, the sciences, and so on.
I wrote an article to introduce this topic which you can read HERE.
The contrast is stark. The Koran says to kill infidels. The Bible, outside of the special circumstances above, says to forgive and love your enemies.
Unfortunately, disdain for Christianity has prevented many from acknowledging this reality. The result is that the world is much more dangerous for all.
Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
- 3 Proofs Jews, Muslims and Christians Don’t Worship the Same God
- I Love Muslims But…
- Podcast: Is Christianity willing to make peace with Islam?
- Podcast: Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?
- Podcast: Why did God allow such violence in the Old Testament?
- Podcast: Isn’t Christianity arrogant to claim to be the only way to heaven?
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