Does the Bible condone jihad, as in when God commanded the destruction of the Amalekites?
One of our guest speakers was Kerby Anderson. Mr. Anderson is the National Director of Probe Ministries International. He holds masters degrees from Yale University (science) and from Georgetown University (government). He is the author of several books. He serves as the host of a radio program called "Point of View" which is broadcast nationally. Mr. Anderson's topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Islam" (watch).
Like the Koran, our Bible has some commands to destroy a particular people group. How do we respond to that?
Let's just take one example. In 1 Samuel 15 we read that Samuel tells Saul to go and attack Amalek. Now, who was Amalek? You can go back and look at Moses and when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness they were actually attacked by who? Amalek and the Amalekites, or Malekites depending on how you pronounce it. It was really the first terrorist organization we run into in history. Eventually there is a battle that takes place. Do you remember the battle where Moses' hand is raised? What happens? The Israelites begin to actually prevail. But, eventually he gets tired of holding up his hand and as his hand drops and then the Amalekites begin to prevail. So, Moses' aids try to hold his hand up, but they never really finished the battle. By Saul's time Israel is now strong enough to finish this and Samuel on behalf of God says, "Saul, finish them off."
What I think is intriguing is that in the next verse Samuel goes on to say, "But save the Kenites because they have been good to you." That particular group would be located in the Jordanian area today. They were good to the Israelites, so they will be saved. There's no collateral damage.
Here we have a direct and specific command to take out the Amalekites, but it's so direct and specific that they are not to affect any other groups around there. It was given in the Old Testament in Old Testament theocracy, and again it was a specific command for a specific time against this one particular group of terrorist-like people.
So, what about the Koran's call to destroy all who are non-Muslim, or at least reduce them to fined second class citizens? With the Koran such a command is universally binding for all individuals at all times. Osama Bin Laden before he was deep sixed (literally) actually in his fatwa's quoted from Surah 9:29. His second Zarqawi quotes from this verse and the many other verses that for Islam justify their jihad.
Can you think of any Christian leader today saying, "Go out and kill the Amalekites?" First of all, there aren't any. And, second of all, it's never ever used. What makes God's command to destroy the Amalekites so very different than the Koran's call to destroy all non-Muslims is because in the Old Testament it's a direct and specific command given in a theocracy towards a very specific group of individuals.
When we go and compare the New Testament to the Koran you see something even more intriguing, because what does the New Testament teach? It teaches us to turn the other cheek and to love your neighbors. In other words, the more literal my interpretation of the New Testament the more likely I am to be peace loving. But, the more literal I interpret the Koran the more likely I am to be a jihadist. Do you see the difference?
Take for example Surah 47 which reads, "When you meet unbelievers smite their necks, and then when you have made wide slaughter among them tie fast the bonds then set them free. Either by grace or ransom 'til the war lays down its loads. And those who are slain in the way of God, he will not send their works astray. He will guide them and dispose their minds alright and he will admit them to Paradise that he has made known to them."
This is an obvious argument for jihad, but those who are slain in this holy jihad, what happens to them? They go to what? Paradise. Elsewhere we're told they will receive seventy virgins supposedly. Boy, are a lot of people who have engaged as martyrs for Allah in for a great surprise, aren't they?
More importantly, we see that Surah 47 has become a very compelling argument used for the Martyr's Brigade and other radical Islamic groups. It also illustrates again the tremendous threat that we in the West face just militarily with an adversary who actually wants to die in battle.
In the next segment on the challenge of Islam, Kerby Anderson looks at the many historical inaccuracies claimed in the Koran that history and archaeology have proven incorrect.