It’s sometimes argued by Christians that the Koran commands Muslims to kill “the infidel”, including Christians, and that this is therefore evidence of the evil of that religion.
I’ve been unable to find that exact quote in the Koran. I can find snippets that certainly would support a view that the Koran encourages killing non-believers. I can also find Muslim websites explaining why the Koran does not encourage killing non-believers. Unsurprisingly, there’s a fair bit of logical squirming on those sites to justify what seems to be contradictory to the words of the Koran, but at least they make the very clear point that the Koran needs to be interpreted according to the societal context in which it was written, and they disown the inherited xenophobia.
Christians have exactly the same problem: much of the Bible advocates murder, slavery, rape, and may other acts abhorred by a modern moral code, and often these acts are advocated for the flimsiest of pretexts. A modern Christian will conduct some amazing theological feats of acrobatics to get around this. The most common is that the O.T. (in which most of these acts of barbarism are given holy sanction) was in some fashion replaced with the coming of Jesus and the New Testament’s moral code. This is an argument that deserves time and space for a full rebuttal, which I shan’t attempt here except to note that it’s extraordinary for any religion – including Islam – to publically state simultaneously that its holy book is the one, true, unadulterated Word of God, and every line and word in it is true and sacred, and in the next breath deny the relevance of three-quarters of it – yet still cherry-pick from it to justify anti-homosexuality, bigotry, and xenophobia. Evidently it is too much to expect consistency and rationality in religion.
I initiated this post with the object of underscoring that both Islam and Christianity have the problem of painting their creed as embracing and loving when their holy scriptures contain much that is the exact opposite. In light of the statements of both sets of scriptures, it is actually much to the credit of both Christianity and Islam as wholes that the vast majority of practitioners of both religions are peaceful, loving people who are guilty, at worst, of nothing more than being as prone to emotional outbursts as the rest of us. Please note that I am deliberately excluding such extremists as the Westboro Baptist Church or Al’Qaida from that statement, but those groups have as much relation to their “mother” religion as I do to a monkey – long ago there was a common ancestor, but that’s about it.
So in terms of holy exhortations to annihilate the non-believer, the score is about level. Please don’t use quotes from the other religion’s holy book to illustrate why the other, be they Christian or Muslim, are nasty, terrible people who secretly want to kill you the moment they can get away with it. The same argument can be used against you, and it is no more true of a typical Christian than of a typical Muslim.
If you truly wish to demonstrate the superiority of your faith, then it’s simple: take a lesson from the Buddhists and Taoists, take a deep breath, and stop espousing racism, xenophobia, and prejudice, for there is nothing that brings a religion more into disrepute than messages of hate.
Blind attacks on other religions without having the grace to acknowledge the same issues with your own comes a close second, however.