OdinText Text Analysis Answers: Is the Quran Really More Violent than the Bible?

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Advanced text mining platform scours Quran, Old and New Testaments in just minutes to reveal most violent content

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"The topic and data sources selected for this project constitute a significant departure from the consumer intelligence applications for which clients typically turn to OdinText."

OdinText, Inc., developers of the Next Generation Text Analytics SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform, today announced results from a comparative analysis of the Quran and the Old and New Testaments using the latest data mining technology to uncover with as little bias as possible the extent to which the content of any of these texts is more violent than that of the others.

The project was inspired by pundits’ claims that the rise of terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions.

“Obviously, to understand any religion one must start with its literature. So, we thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare the primary books of Islam and Judeo-Christianity—arguably the core of their philosophies and tenets—using the advanced data mining technology that Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies and other institutions routinely use to comb through large sets of unstructured text to identify patterns and uncover insights,” said Tom H. C. Anderson, CEO of OdinText.

“The topic and data sources selected for this project constitute a significant departure from the consumer intelligence applications for which clients typically turn to OdinText,” he added. “Given the complexity of the data sources and the sensitivity of the subject, we were eager to see what a higher level and therefore less biased analysis would reveal.”

OdinText initially scans all data with the exact same assumptions. This allows for completely fair and 100 percent consistent coding across all data.

OdinText completed the analysis of all three combined texts in fewer than two minutes to produce objective reads of sentiment—positive and negative—and to quantify the emotional nature of the respective texts across eight primary categories derived from modern psychology: joy, anticipation, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, fear/anxiety and trust.

A look at the combined Old and New Testaments—i.e., the Bible—compared to the Quran revealed the texts are fairly uniform in levels of ‘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’ (See figure).

Analyzing the Old and New Testaments separately against one another and the Quran yielded more specific findings:

-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 (2.8%) than in the Quran (2.1%), but the Old Testament clearly leads—more than twice that of the Quran—in mentions of destruction and killing (5.3%).

-The concept of ‘love’ appears most often in the New Testament (3.0%), significantly more than in either the Old Testament (1.9%) or the Quran (1.26%).

-The concept of ‘forgiveness/grace’ occurs significantly more often in the Quran (6.3%) than in the New Testament (2.9%) or the Old Testament (0.7%).

-On the concept of ‘faith/belief,’ the Quran leads (7.6%), followed by the New Testament (4.8%) and the Old Testament a distant third (0.2%).

An additional note about ‘non-members’
OdinText uncovered what appears to be a significant difference with regard to the extent to which the texts distinguish between ‘members’ and ‘non-members.’

Both the Old and New Testaments use the term “gentile” to signify those who are not Jewish, but the Quran is somewhat distinct in referencing the concept of the ‘Unbeliever’ (e.g.,“disbelievers,” “rejectors,” etc.). And in two instances, the ‘unbeliever’ is connected directly to the term “enemy.”

“While we’ve only scratched the surface here, it appears safe to conclude that some commonly-held assumptions about and perceptions of these texts may not necessarily hold true,” said Anderson.

“For instance, those who have not read or are not fairly familiar with the content of all three texts may be surprised to learn that the content in the Quran is not more violent than that of the Bible,” he said.

A series of posts authored by Anderson reviewing the project and the findings in greater detail will be published on the OdinText blog this week. Read part one today here.

About OdinText
OdinText is a patented SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform for natural language processing and advanced text analysis. Fortune 500 companies such as Disney and Shell Oil use OdinText to mine insights from complex, unstructured text data. The technology is available through the venture-backed Stamford, CT firm of the same name founded by CEO Tom H. C. Anderson, a recognized authority and pioneer in the field of text analytics with more than two decades of experience in market research. Anderson is the recipient of numerous awards for innovation from industry associations such as ESOMAR, CASRO, the ARF and the American Marketing Association. He tweets under the handle @tomhcanderson.

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Tom H. C. Anderson
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