Thou Shalt Kill: Using Machine Learning Algorithms to Measure Violence in Islamic and other …

Thou Shalt Kill? Measuring Violence in Islamic and Other Religious Scriptures Using Modern Text Analytics Anastasopoulos, L., Muhammed Idris, Tarek Masoud and Richard Zeckhauser Abstract Scholarship on religious violence often describes it as the product of contextual factors. Little, however, has been done to systematically explore how religious doctrines may predispose followers to engage in violence. Some note that Islam’s principal holy text, the Qur’an, impels adherents to violence while others counter that Islamic scriptures are no more violent than those of other Abrahamic faiths. We attempt to resolve this debate by conducting a quantitative study of scriptures from the three major monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Using topic models and Bayesian SPAM filtering methods, we explore the extent to which the holy texts of each religion sanction three…


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