OK, put your books away. We’re having a pop quiz.
Below are four quotes. Each is from one of two sources: the Bible or the Koran, although, just to make things interesting, there’s also a chance all four are from one book. Two were edited for length and one of those was also edited to remove a religion-specific reference. Your job: identify the holy book of origin. Ready? Go:
1) “. . . Wherever you encounter [non-believers], kill them, seize them, besiege them, wait for them at every lookout post . . .”
2) “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
3) “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods’ . . . do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death.”
4) “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”
All right, pens down. How did you do?
If you identified the first quote as being from the Koran (9:5) and the other three as originating in the Bible (Matthew 10:34, Deuteronomy 13:6-9, Numbers 31:17-18), I congratulate you on that degree in theology. If I have guessed correctly, most people will not have found it easy to place the quotes in their proper books. If I have guessed correctly, most people will have found a certain thematic similarity in them.
Leonard Pitts Jnr in the Miami Herald, 26 March 2011