The role of religion in violence and hatred throughout history

Time after time, as Crusaders slogged southeast on their umpteenth trip to the Holy Land, they slaughtered the Jews in their path.

religious violence statistics

In fact, the unbelievable vitriol with which conservative Christians have insisted on maligning not just radicals but an entire religion looks a lot like the kind of violence and intolerance of which they accuse Muslims.

Remember him, the guy who killed 29 Muslims as they prayed? Modern communications enabled governments to create and propagate a national ethos, and allowed states to intrude into the lives of their citizens more than had ever been possible.

The invention of the concept of "religious violence" helps the West reinforce superiority of Western social orders to "nonsecular" social orders, namely Muslims at the time of publication. Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and others have long invoked violence in the name of religion.

Relationship between religion and violence

Here we reach a crux for those who adhere to a revealed religion. This leads to a false essetializing of both religion as being prone to violence and the secular as being prone to peace, despite the abundant examples of secular violence that have occurred. God reveals things to us precisely because they are truths we would never arrive at by our natural lights. 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. You may object that moral considerations should limit our opposition to nonbelief. Islam, as it was practiced in medieval Spain, was beautiful and peaceful, too. Nor Judaism nor Hinduism nor Buddhism.

Hostilities against Muslims and Jews also increased across Europe, as did threats against Hindus in more than 18 countries. After studying suicide attacks carried out over the last two decades, he concludes that suicide bombers' actions stem fundamentally from political conflict, not religion.

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. During the French revolution, one of the first acts of the new national assembly on November 2,was to confiscate all church property to pay off the national debt: secularisation involved dispossession, humiliation and marginalisation.

Innovation was essential to progress, so people had to be allowed to think freely, unconstrained by the constraints of their class, guild or church.

Religious violence essay

But in France, the church could be dismantled only by an outright assault; far from being experienced as a natural and essentially normative arrangement, the separation of religion and politics could be experienced as traumatic and terrifying. Intolerance need not lead to violence against nonbelievers; but, as we have seen, the logic of revelation readily moves in that direction unless interpretations of sacred texts are subject to nonreligious constraints. Armstrong remarks that the move to jettison religion from politics may have created the secular state but not a state free from violence. The structural injustice of the agrarian state, however, had made it impossible to implement these ideals fully. The boundaries on both sides are fixed and immovable. A third approach sees religious violence as a result of community dynamics rather than religious duty. The peasants, who were resisting the centralising policies of the German princes — which deprived them of their traditional rights — were mercilessly slaughtered by the state.

Terrorism expert Martha Crenshaw suggests that religion is just a mask used by political movements to draw support. We are told that the fanatical fringe groups who do these terrible things are at odds with the essential Muslim commitment to peace and love.

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If Islam Is a Religion of Violence, So Is Christianity