In order to understand a religion, we can refer to its holy book, which establishes guidelines and principles for followers to adhere to. At the same time, followers, both radical and mild, interpret the holy text to provide a deeper and often more complex meaning of a particular verse, often to help explain issues that directly affect their personal beliefs.

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. Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, we are also curious about how each passage mentions love, tolerance and friendship. To do this, we built a toolset originally in Processing that allows both holy texts to be fully readable and to provide a way of seeing the frequency of word usage between both texts. While not perfect (i.e. finding a linguistically accurate pair of both texts is not possible and the synonym api we are using does not account for ancient synonyms), this system allows for a suitable way to compare ideas and topics between both passages, even just as an explorative toolset. Our primary goal is to help inform and educate of the differences and, more importantly, the similarities between both texts.

Without going deep into personal interpretations, we built a simple linguistic toolset that allows you to search for a word and similar variations of that word to visualize its frequency in both texts. Radical Christians claim the Quran is a book of terror. Type in the word 'terror' or even an act of terror, such as 'behead' and see which book discusses this more. Try words of peace, such as 'forgiveness' or 'friend' to see the results. Roll over any rectangle in both text to read a verse. If you have it in you, roll over all rectangles to read the entire texts. More importantly, after you enter a word and see the verse highlighted that uses that word, try reading the verses before and after that word to better understand it in context.

Credits/Sources:

Concept, Design, Programming: Pitch Interactive (@pitchinc)
Synonym API: powered by wordnik.com
King James Holy Bible: http://www.loveallpeople.org/kjvpage.html
The Holy Quran: http://tanzil.info

Privacy notice: We are anonymously storing words people are searching for a potential visualization later. However, no further information is being used or stored beyond this.