The Old Testament does, indeed, record various acts of violence committed by men against each other or kings against other kings. Much of that was done against God's will, and the aggressors in such violence were condemned and punished by God.
Another type of so-called violence in the Old Testaments was actually punishment from God against evil nations. Those nations took it upon themselves to disobey God's authority, tempt God's people to commit sin, sow corruption on earth, and defile the land. The reason that God decided to get rid of them was to contain evil so it would not contaminate society, and to stop evil from spreading through their offspring. Sometimes God dealt directly with such evil as in the cases of the flood at the time of Noah and the burning of
The New Testament, on the other hand, brings with it a new dispensation based on grace. Forgiveness was the main theme of Jesus' teachings. When the Jews brought to Him a woman who was caught committing adultery, asking that she be stoned, Jesus gave the woman a second chance, telling the accusers, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (John 8:7). Jesus taught us not to resist evil, but to turn the other cheek (Matthew ). Jesus rebuked Peter for using the sword (Matthew 26:52). When Jesus' disciples, James and John, asked for fire to come down from heaven to consume a village that did not receive Him, Jesus rebuked them saying, "Ye, know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." (Luke 9:55&56)
It seems regressive rather than progressive that, after Jesus, another messenger would come from God, to advocate using the sword.
And, how about violence committed in the name of Christianity, such as in the Crusades, and in the Balkan...etc.?
Although such violence was done in the name of Christianity, Christianity did not sanction it. Because the Crusades to control
Any person who claims to be Christian and commits atrocities against others is not a true Christian. The fruit of a tree is an indication of what kind of a tree it is. The fruit of a Spirit- filled Christian is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." (Galatians 5:22&23).
The wars in the Balkan are ethnic rather than religious. They took place between different ethnic groups that happened to belong to Christianity or Islam. It is an old struggle, and all sides committed atrocities against one another during different periods of past history. Christianity doesn't approve of the atrocities committed by those so-called "Christians." Christians around the world condemned the violence against the Muslims, and Western, predominantly Christian, countries were instrumental in stopping the violence and protecting the Muslims.
By contrast, [for example], the Muslim government of
If polygamy is wrong, why was it practiced in the Bible?
Polygamy is against human nature. No woman, whether she is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew or an atheist would be happy to see another woman in the arms of her husband. When God created Adam, He created for him one Eve not four.
God did not design polygamy in the Old Testament. It was man's choice and it was a corrupting element for man. Solomon's wives corrupted his life and he ended up being disobedient to the God of Israel, and worshiping idols.
In the New Testament Jesus made it clear that it is one woman for one man. Jesus said, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them (one) male and (one) female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain but one flesh." (Mark 10: 6-8)
If Islam is not from God, why is it the fastest growing religion in the world?
First we have to assume that Islam is in fact the fastest growing religion. No concrete scientific evidence has been presented to prove the point. It may well be that perhaps atheism is the fastest growing belief in the world.
It is not coincidental that the growth of Islam happened to occur during the last few decades, and after the discovery of oil in the Islamic world. Billions of Dollars from oil revenues have been poured into Islamic evangelism. The money is being used to build mosques, hire activists, print books and pamphlets, and buy television and radio time. The money is also being used to help financially those who embrace Islam, and to support extremist Islamic groups who are waging a jihad against those whom they label as infidels. It is a carrot and the stick policy to entice people into Islam, and at the same time to deter critics of Islam from freely voicing their opinions.
The total number of followers is not indicative of the validity of the religion. Movements that fall in line with satisfying fleshly desires are usually more popular than those which seek to satisfy the spirit. For example, a party that will feature a performance of belly dancers will most likely attract more people than a prayer meeting.
Christianity never claimed that it is a religion for the masses, rather it is only for the few who sincerely search for the truth. Jesus said, "wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13&14). Notice here that the broad way that leads to destruction is available for the masses to simply go upon it. On the other hand, the narrow way is not easily found. One must be willing to search for it until he/she finds it. On the broad way, people benefit from going upon it, while on the narrow way, people sacrifice by going upon it.