The Myth Of Religious Violence


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The idea that religion has a dangerous tendency to promote violence is part of the conventional wisdom of Western societies, and it underlies many of our institutions and policies, from limits on the public role of religion to efforts to promote liberal democracy in the Middle East. William T. Cavanaugh challenges this conventional wisdom by examining how the twin categories of religion and the secular are constructed. A growing body of scholarly work explores how the category 'religion' has been constructed in the modern West and in colonial contexts according to specific configurations of political power. Cavanaugh draws on this scholarship to examine how timeless and transcultural categories of 'religion and 'the secular' are used in arguments that religion causes violence. He argues three points: 1) There is no transhistorical and transcultural essence of religion. What counts as religious or secular in any given context is a function of political configurations of power; 2) Such a transhistorical and transcultural concept of religion as non-rational and prone to violence is one of the foundational legitimating myths of Western society; 3) This myth can be and is used to legitimate neo-colonial violence against non-Western others, particularly the Muslim world.

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Author by William T Cavanaugh
Genre eBook Religion
Read Book 296
ISBN Number 0199736642

Fields Of Blood


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From the renowned and bestselling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion's connection to violence. For the first time in American history, religious self-identification is on the decline. Some have cited a perception that began to grow after September 11: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance and divisiveness--something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? And does it apply equally to all faiths? In these troubled times, we risk basing decisions of real and dangerous consequence on mistaken understandings of the faiths subscribed around us, in our immediate community as well as globally. And so, with her deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong examines the impulse toward violence in each of the world's great religions. The comparative approach is new: while there have been plenty of books on jihad or the Crusades, this book lays the Christian and the Islamic way of war side by side, along with those of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism and Judaism. Each of these faiths arose in agrarian societies with plenty of motivation for violence: landowners had to lord it over peasants and warfare was essential to increase one's landholdings, the only real source of wealth before the great age of trade and commerce. In each context, it fell to the priestly class to legitimize the actions of the state. And so the martial ethos became bound up with the sacred. At the same time, however, their ideologies developed that ran counter to the warrior code: around sages, prophets and mystics. Within each tradition there grew up communities that represented a protest against the injustice and violence endemic to agrarian society. This book explores the symbiosis of these 2 impulses and its development as these confessional faiths came of age. The aggression of secularism has often damaged religion and pushed it into a violent mode. But modernity has also been spectacularly violent, and so Armstrong goes on to show how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence--and what hope there might be for peace among believers in our time.

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Author by Karen Armstrong
Genre eBook Religion
Read Book 432
ISBN Number 9780307401984

The Blackwell Companion To Religion And Violence


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The timely Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence brings together an international, interdisciplinary group of scholars who provide a coherent state of the art overview of the complex relationships between religion and violence. This companion tackles one of the most important topics in the field of Religion in the twenty-first century, pulling together a unique collection of cutting-edge work A focused collection of high-quality scholarship provides readers with a state-of-the-art account of the latest work in this field The contributors are broad-ranging, international, and interdisciplinary, and include historians, political scientists, religious studies scholars, sociologists, anthropologists, theologians, scholars of women's and gender studies and communication

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Author by Andrew R. Murphy
Genre eBook Social Science
Read Book 632
ISBN Number 9781444395730

The Destructive Power Of Religion


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Select chapters from the controversial 4-volume set examining the influence of sacred texts shaping human nature, society, politics and military strategy across the last 3,000 years.

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Author by J. Harold Ellens
Genre eBook Psychology
Read Book 261
ISBN Number 0275997081

Migrations Of The Holy


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Whether one thinks that religion continues to fade or has made a comeback in the contemporary world, there is a common notion that religion went away somewhere, at least in the West. But William Cavanaugh argues that religious fervor never left it has only migrated toward a new object of worship. In Migrations of the Holy he examines the disconcerting modern transfer of sacred devotion from the church to the nation-state. In these chapters Cavanaugh cautions readers to be wary of a rigid separation of religion and politics that boxes in the church and sends citizens instead to the state for hope, comfort, and salvation as they navigate the risks and pains of mortal life. When nationality becomes the primary source of identity and belonging, he warns, the state becomes the god and idol of its own religion, the language of nationalism becomes a liturgy, and devotees willingly sacrifice their lives to serve and defend their country. Cavanaugh urges Christians to resist this form of idolatry, to unthink the inevitability of the nation-state and its dreary party politics, to embrace radical forms of political pluralism that privilege local communities and to cling to an incarnational theology that weaves itself seamlessly and tangibly into all aspects of daily life and culture. William Cavanaugh continues to provide leadership and vision in the field of political theology. He addresses essential questions about the religious status of the nation-state, the political character of the church, and how the tradition of Christian political thought might be brought to bear upon contemporary politics. . . . Unfolds a theological response to present political conditions and a political response to our theological condition. Luke Bretherton King s College London Another vigorous but distinct voice in the burgeoning conversation about the role of religion generally and the church specifically in political life. . . . Worth a careful read. Robert Benne

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Author by William T. Cavanaugh
Genre eBook Religion
Read Book 200
ISBN Number 9780802866097

Shattering The Myth


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Islam is often portrayed, especially in Western media, as an alien, violent, hostile, and monolithic religion, whose adherents are intent upon battling nonbelievers throughout the world. Shattering the Myth demonstrates that these conceptions more accurately reflect the bias of Western reporters than they do the realities of contemporary Islam. Westerners are barraged by images of violence that usually originate from armed confrontations in one small corner of the world. Islam, Bruce Lawrence argues, is a complex, international religious system that cannot be reduced to stereotypes. As Lawrence demonstrates, Islam is a religion shaped as much by its own postulates and ethical demands as by the specific circumstances of Muslim people in the modern world. The last two hundred years have brought many challenges for Muslims, from colonial subjugation through sporadic revivalism to elitist reform movements and, most recently, pervasive struggles with fundamentalism. During each period, Muslims have had to address internal tensions, as well as external threats. Today Muslims in the post-colonial era, only some of whom are Arab and living in the Middle East, are playing ever greater roles in economic changes, both regional and international. As the impact of these changes has become evident in societies around the globe, new leaders have come into public view. The most remarkable emerging presence is that of Muslim women. Lawrence argues that it is the experience of Muslim women in particular that calls for a more nuanced understanding of Islam today. It is time, Lawrence believes, to replace inaccurate images of Islam with a recognition of the multifaceted character of this global religion and of its widely diverse adherents. Here he describes changes that are taking place throughout the world, particularly in Southeast Asia, enacted by governments and nongovernmental organizations alike. In a time of rapid international change, Lawrence suggests that it is time for our images of Islam to reflect more clearly the realities of Islam as it is lived. Shattering the Myth provides significant insights into the history of Islam and a greater understanding of the varied experiences of Muslims today. "An informed interpretation of the contemporary Muslim experience . . . Lawrence's explanations for the particular states of affairs in Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia, among other cases, are compelling . . . [A] distinguished contribution."--From the foreword by James Piscatori and Dale F. Eickelman

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Author by Bruce Lawrence
Genre eBook Religion
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ISBN Number 9780691188294

The Myth Of Religious Neutrality


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Written for undergraduates, the educated layperson, and scholars in fields other than philosophy, The Myth of Religious Neutrality offers a radical reinterpretation of the general relations between religion, science, and philosophy. This new edition has been completely revised and updated by the author.

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Author by Roy A. Clouser
Genre eBook Religion
Read Book 397
ISBN Number UOM:39015060852491

The Myth Of Persecution


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In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss, a leading expert on early Christianity, reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent and galvanize a new generation of culture warriors. According to cherished church tradition and popular belief, before the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in the fourth century, early Christians were systematically persecuted by a brutal Roman Empire intent on their destruction. As the story goes, vast numbers of believers were thrown to the lions, tortured, or burned alive because they refused to renounce Christ. These saints, Christianity's inspirational heroes, are still venerated today. Moss, however, exposes that the "Age of Martyrs" is a fiction—there was no sustained 300-year-long effort by the Romans to persecute Christians. Instead, these stories were pious exaggerations; highly stylized rewritings of Jewish, Greek, and Roman noble death traditions; and even forgeries designed to marginalize heretics, inspire the faithful, and fund churches. The traditional story of persecution is still taught in Sunday school classes, celebrated in sermons, and employed by church leaders, politicians, and media pundits who insist that Christians were—and always will be—persecuted by a hostile, secular world. While violence against Christians does occur in select parts of the world today, the rhetoric of persecution is both misleading and rooted in an inaccurate history of the early church. Moss urges modern Christians to abandon the conspiratorial assumption that the world is out to get Christians and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.

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Author by Candida Moss
Genre eBook Religion
Read Book 320
ISBN Number 9780062104540

God Is Not Great


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Christopher Hitchens, described in the London Observer as “one of the most prolific, as well as brilliant, journalists of our time” takes on his biggest subject yet–the increasingly dangerous role of religion in the world. In the tradition of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris’s recent bestseller, The End Of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope’s awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix. From the Hardcover edition.

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Author by Christopher Hitchens
Genre eBook Social Science
Read Book 320
ISBN Number 9781551991764

The Darkening Age


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A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 “Searingly passionate…Nixey writes up a storm. Each sentence is rich, textured, evocative, felt…[A] ballista-bolt of a book.” —New York Times Book Review In Harran, the locals refused to convert. They were dismembered, their limbs hung along the town’s main street. In Alexandria, zealots pulled the elderly philosopher-mathematician Hypatia from her chariot and flayed her to death with shards of broken pottery. Not long before, their fellow Christians had invaded the city’s greatest temple and razed it—smashing its world-famous statues and destroying all that was left of Alexandria’s Great Library. Today, we refer to Christianity’s conquest of the West as a “triumph.” But this victory entailed an orgy of destruction in which Jesus’s followers attacked and suppressed classical culture, helping to pitch Western civilization into a thousand-year-long decline. Just one percent of Latin literature would survive the purge; countless antiquities, artworks, and ancient traditions were lost forever. As Catherine Nixey reveals, evidence of early Christians’ campaign of terror has been hiding in plain sight: in the palimpsests and shattered statues proudly displayed in churches and museums the world over. In The Darkening Age, Nixey resurrects this lost history, offering a wrenching account of the rise of Christianity and its terrible cost.

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Author by Catherine Nixey
Genre eBook History
Read Book 384
ISBN Number 9780544800939