Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive
Most of us haven’t read both the Bible and the Koran cover to cover, let alone dissected each word of text. Now, with a new online program called bibleQuran, users can compare the number of times key words appear in each of the holy books, with surprising results.
Type in any search word—“war,” “forgiveness,” “behead,” whatever—and bibleQuran will reveal its frequency as well as the percentage of verses in which it appears, reports Information Aesthetics. (You can even read the individual verses by hovering your mouse over the highlighted tiny rectangles.) Here are examples of how a few words measure up, based on percentage of verses:
Love: Koran, 0.98% | Bible, 1.8%
Hate: Koran, 0.34% | Bible, 0.67%
Friend: Koran, 0.91% | Bible, 0.37%
Enemy: Koran, 1.1% | Bible, 0.67%
Ruler: Koran, 15.2% | Bible, 22.8%
Slave: Koran, 0.56% | Bible, 0.26%
Revenge: Koran, 0.19% | Bible, 0.19%
Pitch Interactive, the data visualization firm that designed the program, sees it as an opportunity to, perhaps, combat religious divisiveness:
Unfortunately, people of one faith try to use the holy text of another faith to ridicule that faith or show its abominations by pointing to a particular text, often entirely out of context or misquoted. One such example is the Quran burning controversy stirred by Terry Jones in Florida. While claiming the Quran is a violent book of terror, Jones failed to make a comparison to the Bible, which also contains many violent passages.... Our primary goal is to help inform and educate of the differences and, more importantly, the similarities between both texts.
The interface isn’t perfect—one commenter points out that “fig” and “dress” are synonyms—but it provides an objective way to compare two books that are so often pitted against each other in a much less civil face-off.