Almost every week someone contacts me to ask about troubling passages in Islamic literature or to cite passages to prove Islam is an evil religion.

Today I’ll try to put such inquiries in perspective. A future column will look at specific citations within the Islamic traditions. Here are three examples from other faiths.

Suppose I tried to attract you to a faith with a beloved scripture based on God’s upbraiding a warrior who does not want to fight because he would be killing his own kinsmen. You might not be very interested. But that is exactly the scene of the great Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita.

However, most Hindus understand the text as a metaphor. The battle is within each of us to see clearly and to do our duty without attachment to the outcome.

In this one, the greatest leader of the faith is angry with his army because the soldiers spared women and boys, though he allowed saving the virgins for the pleasure of the soldiers. Such stories appear in the history of the Hebrew people, in passages such as Numbers 31, Deuteronomy 6, 7 and 20, Joshua 6 and Judges 21.

Would you call a religion a cult if its divine person asks his followers to hate their parents, siblings and children, said he came not to bring peace but a sword, and whose body and blood some of his followers believe they consume each week?

Christians revere Scriptures that include Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:34 and John 6:54, which are the basis for these characterizations.


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