With yet another terrorist atrocity in the news – this time leading to the deaths of at least 38 people in Tunisia – people are again asking, ‘Is Islam inherently violent?’

We ask Carl Medearis, an international expert is Muslim-Christian relations who has lived, worked, and traveled in the Middle East for the last 30 years, to help us unpack this question.

Image provided by Carl Medearis. Used with permission.


Muslims, Christians, and Jesus: Understanding the World of Islam and Overcoming the Fears That Divide Us


“If you say, ‘Is Christianity violent?’ we might say, ‘Well, no. Of course not. Jesus taught love and peace.’ But that’s not the question. We didn’t ask what Jesus taught, we asked: what does Christianity do? Christianity has done lots of horrible things in its name.”

“The Quran – like the Bible – has been used to encourage and support violence. Which book has more violence: the Bible or the Quran? The Bible wins hands-down. Unfortunately, the Bible’s much more violent than the Quran. We would say, ‘But we know how to interpret those verses in Joshua and Judges and throughout the Old Testament.’ Well, yes. And most Muslims know how to interpret the violent verses in the Quran. Just because [Allah] told Muhammad in a specific battle at a specific time to kill somebody doesn’t mean that you can take that for all times to kill anybody you want to.”


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  1. I liked the interview until the last part of the reflection. Why do we in the West think that capitalism, and Western practices in general, will make everyone better? If only the ‘backwards people’ would become more like us with our economics, technology, ethics, etc. then they will be better people because of it. That is horrible reasoning! Saying that means that we should not follow Jesus, but the free market capitalism of the West because in the end that is what’s going to save us. Why do we not look at what capitalism has taken away from those ‘backwards people’? By doing that we might see how our choices have forced people into doing things that they might not normally do. Just a thought.

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