The Bible vs. the Quran

A count of words

Published on December 8, 2015

A friend of mine shared a video where some guys disguised the Bible as the Quran and then recited select parts to passerbyes. Besides getting fooled, most people were confident that the Quran is more "harsh" than the Bible. But is it really so?

How to compare

This post will be split into 5 parts

  1. Getting the data and creating a noun-only copy
  2. Top 10 nouns in the Bible vs. the Quran
  3. The positive index
  4. Kill/death ratio
  5. Conclusion

Disclaimer: I am aware that simply counting words in piece of text is not a reasonable representation of the general meaning of the text. However I find that this is the only way to minimise subjectivity and should be seen as nothing more than what it is, a count of words.  

Getting the data and creating a noun-only copy

The Bible is readily available online while I had more difficulty in tracking down an English version of the Quran. I removed the references (like Genesis 1:6) from the Bible as well as  removing a lot of introductory text in the Quran.
I also created a noun-only copy which will be useful in our studies. To do this I basically made a list of all known nouns (including pronouns) in the English dictionary, which I could then compare each word to.

from nltk.corpus import wordnet as wn
nouns = [str(x).split('.')[0].split("('")[1] for x in wn.all_synsets('n')]

Top 10 nouns in the Bible vs. the Quran

bible top 10 nouns quran top 10 nouns

The two figures show the percentage of a specific noun being used out of all noun-counts in the associated scripture.
The Bible contain two major nouns, namely he and a, while the Quran has three major nouns will, a and are.

Will is apparently more important in the Quran than in Bible. Since my script does not truly distinguish between the verb and the noun version of will all of these counts can mean will you please hand me the beer or this is the will of the gods or this is my last will and testament.

What is perhaps more interesting is the fact that king scores higher than people in the Bible while it looks to be the other way around in the Quran. Furthermore we already see the "positive" word good in the top 10 for the Quran.

The positive index

The positive index is my measure of the amount of positive/negative nouns in a text. We start by taking a look at them separately.

bible pos quran pos

The above figures show the top 10 positive nouns in the Bible and the Quran respectively. What immediately caught my eye was the very high amount of good in the Quran, nearly double the percentage we find in the Bible. What might also be interesting are the words gold and glory in the Bible. We find no such terms in the Quran top 10. 

bible neg quran neg

The above figures show the top 10 negative nouns in the Bible and the Quran respectively. Both are fairly equal in their amount of evil while we see a prominent sin count in the Bible whereas fear dominates the Quran.
Having these results we can calculate a positive/negative ratio and compare this ratio for the Bible and the Quran respectively, as seen below. 

pos neg ratioThis figure tells us that the Quran is the clear winner in terms of having the largest positive/negative noun ratio, i.e. the Quran has the highest positive to negative count of words.

Kill/death ratio

The kill/death ratio is a term used in games such as Counter-Strike to describe the ratio between the number of people you have killed over the amount of times you have been killed of. To investigate such a number in this setting, we start by looking at some select "bad words" in the Bible and the Quran.

bible top 10 nouns bible top 10 nouns

The above figures show a fairly equal amount of death(+dead) in both the Bible and the Quran. We do, however, see a lot more kill(+killing) in the Quran while these nouns are balanced by famine in the Bible. 
We now take the kill/death ratio of their respective counts (not percentage) as such
k_d = ( kill + killing ) / ( death + dead )<br />
which result in the figure seen below.

bible top 10 nouns

This figure tells us that the Quran is the clear winner with a k/d ratio of around 1/3 meaning that for every kill(+killing) there are 3 deaths(+dead). Returning to Counter-Strike terminology, both the Bible and the Quran would definitely be Silvers.


So what did we learn?
We learned that the Quran has a higher positive/negative noun ratio compared with the Bible i.e. the former has the highest positive to negative count of words. However, there appear to be more counts of the word killing in the Quran than in the Bible.

So which is the harshest? I will let you decide.

The full code for this post can be found at Github.