A history of religious violence

Definition of religion Religion is a modern Western concept. The word "violence" can be defined to extend far beyond pain and shedding blood. It carries the meaning of physical force, violent language, fury, and, more importantly, forcible interference. But, certainly, violence is more than killing people, unless one includes all those words and actions that kill people slowly.

A history of religious violence

Confronting Religious Violence Jonathan Sacks. Religion, say its gainsayers, is the primary cause of violence and war in human history. This is not a new claim. In the face of continuing debate on the subject of religiously inspired violence, three recently published books seek to add clarity to the dialogue: Omar and Michael K.

Duffey, also a well-published professor, specializes in theological ethics centering on issues of justice and peace. The editors offer seven essays by scholars of five major world religions—Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism—as well as the philosophy of Confucius and the belief system of the Native American Osage Nation.

Karen Armstrong is a prolific British author, commentator and educator who offers an informative and compelling discussion of the subject in Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence.

The History of Religion and Violence | HuffPost

Confronting Religious Violence is a thought-provoking and fluid discussion of the politicized religious extremism that grips the Middle East today and is being violently exported to France, America and the West. Sacks is a rabbi, philosopher, scholar of Judaism and author of many books.

Each of these three books reveals that, while religion may be connected to violence and conflict, that connection throughout history has been mostly indirect. Conflicts occur more often over resources, territory and power than over a religious imperative.

The charter documents of every major religion that is, their sacred writings are overwhelmingly weighted in the direction of peace. Despite this, Omar notes, religions have at times permitted violence. Unfortunately the editors and essayists neglect to address the blurring of religion and government in premodern history before the 17th centurya period generating some of the loudest accusations about the religious roots of war.

A history of religious violence

During this time the state often coopted religion—the strongest emotional unifier and motivator of a society—for political, territorial and economic gain through violent action. Yet it has been kidnapped and falsely applied. Conflicts branded as religious were often political struggles for power and territory but given a sacred patina as rulers justified their aggression as a mission from God.

Armstrong supports her position with a fascinating review of history, tracing the development of civilizations in tandem with religion while detailing the extraordinarily interwoven political, social, economic and sacred threads that make up the fabric of any society.

Dawn of the liberal state

It has to do with identity and life in groups. Personal identity is sought and developed within this group culture. We exercise altruism toward those within our group and aggression against those outside the group.

This in-group altruism and out-group hostility produces conflict and war as groups clash over secular issues of power, territory, scarce resources, and identity itself.

From this foundation Sacks takes the reader through the progressive steps that produce the politicized extreme terrorism of today, citing among other factors a dualistic all-good vs all-bad world view, and the necessity of creating a scapegoat as the source of all the bad.

Rather than being a description of sibling rivalry and of the selection and rejection of one brother or people over another, he says, the true reading of these accounts is that, despite the conflict, God chooses all; the Genesis brothers Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his 11 bothers ultimately live together in peace.

Though compelling in his analysis, Sacks, too, stops short of offering a practical process that will lead to a world without violence. An international campaign to void hatred is a captivating idea, but where to start?

And how will governments embrace the necessary changes? The Violent Heart The story of humanity is in large part the story of animosity and violence.Senior Lecture, History of Religious Ideas, U of CA Irvine It is possible to think only Islam is susceptible to religious violence and forget about centuries of intermittent Christian violence.

History also demonstrates the violence perpetrated by Christians. Crusades, warrior popes, physical punishment under the façade of "spare the rod and spoil the child," slavery, systemic.

The myth of religious violence

Aug 01,  · Christianity itself has a long history of such intolerance, including persecution of Jews, crusades against Muslims, and the Thirty Years’ War, in which religious and nationalist rivalries. Religious violence in India, especially in recent times, has generally involved Hindus and Muslims, although incidents of violence have also involved atheists, Christians and Sikhs.

There is also a history of Muslim – Parsi riots (List of riots in Mumbai). In examining the history of religious violence, intolerance, discrimination, and persecution in the United States, we arrive at some possible explanations for why the United States has seen such minimal religious conflict despite being so religiously diverse.

Voice If Islam Is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity The world’s oldest religions all have troubling histories of bloodshed. Singling out Islam is just Trump’s latest, hateful hypocrisy.

If Islam Is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity – Foreign Policy