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With the ongoing debate on whether Islam is inherently violent and calls its followers to violence, software engineer, Tom Anderson, decided to run a sophisticated text analysis of the three Holy Books to determine if the Qur’an invited to violence, more so than the other Books.

Tom Anderson is the founder of OdinText, a new tool which he used for this analytical study of the three Holy texts. Text Analytics involves applying advanced statistics and other machine learning techniques to text data in order to find patterns and discover important relationships, which leads to valuable insights. In addition to answering questions, OdinText can also identify and track not just sentiment, but emotions.

Although such tools are mainly used for marketing, Anderson used it to conduct a comparative analysis of the Holy Qur’an, the Old Testament, and the New Testament, to ascertain with as little bias as possible whether the Qur’an is really more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts.

Anderson said, “To understand a religion, it’s only logical to begin by examining its literature. And indeed, extensive studies in a variety of academic disciplines are routinely conducted to scrutinize and compare the texts of the world’s great religions.”

With no hidden agenda or desire to prove one side of the argument over the other, Anderson’s intent was an objective analysis of the texts using this new tool. Interestingly, the Old Testament consisted of 23,000 verses, the New Testament 8,000 verses, and the Qur’an 6,000 verses. It took OdinText less than 120 seconds to read, parse, and analyze all three texts at once.

What were the results?

With regards to overall sentiment, positive and negative, the results were fairly similar. In all three texts, there is more positive sentiment than there is negative, although their findings showed that the Old Testament had slightly more negative sentiment than either the New Testament or the Qur’an.

The researcher took a deeper look into the emotions alluded to in the three Holy texts. The analysis examined the eight major human emotion categories: joy, anticipation, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, fear/anxiety, and trust.

In Anderson’s report, he said, “A look at the combined Old and New Testaments—the Bible—compared to the Quran reveals similarities and differences. The Bible and Quran are fairly uniform in ‘Surprise’, ‘Sadness’ and ‘Disgust’. But the Bible registers higher in ‘Anger’ and the Quran rates higher in ‘Joy’ but also in ‘Fear/Anxiety’ and ‘Trust’.

The next step of the analysis was to look for terms frequently mentioned in the texts and to identify what the three texts all share, and where they differ.

Some of the findings of this analysis give the student of religions a new perspective. For instance, ‘Jesus’ is the most unique and frequently mentioned term in the New Testament, and he is mentioned with a positive sentiment. ‘Jesus’ is also mentioned several times in the Qur’an.

What may be surprising to some people is that ‘Israel’ is mentioned more often in the Quran than in the New Testament.

The question remains, does the Qur’an more explicitly mention violence than the Bible?

According to the findings of the analysis, Anderson said, “A look into the verbatim text suggests that the content in the Quran is not more violent than its Judeo-Christian counterparts. In fact, 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 than in the Quran, but the Old Testament clearly leads—more than twice that of the Quran—in mentions of destruction and killing.”

The concept of ‘Love’ is more often mentioned in the New Testament than either the Old Testament or the Qur’an. But the concept of ‘Forgiveness/Grace’ actually occurs more often in the Quran than the New Testament or the Old Testament.

Some commonly held assumptions about a religion or a group of people are not necessarily true. Those who have not read or are not fairly familiar with the content of the Holy Qur’an or those who mistakenly quote verses out of context or pick out verses that apply only to a specific period in time may be surprised to learn that the Qur’an is not more violent than the Judeo-Christian Holy Books.

Anderson said, “Personally, I’ll admit that I was a bit surprised that the concept of ‘Mercy’ was most prevalent in the Quran; I expected that the New Testament would rank highest there, as it did in the concept of ‘Love’.”

In his report, Anderson repeatedly stated, “I feel obliged to reiterate that this analysis represents only a cursory, superficial view of just the texts, themselves. It is in no way intended to advance any agenda or to conclusively prove anyone’s point. I must also reemphasize that this analysis is superficial and the findings are by no means intended to be conclusive. Lastly, we recognize that this is a deeply sensitive topic and hope that no one is offended by this exercise.”



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