The Myth of Religious Violence

William CavanaughA very interesting 14 minute interview about the claimed link between religion and violence.

From this site:

2 thoughts on “The Myth of Religious Violence

  1. I don’t think it works to say religious wars aren’t religious wars because Christians fight Christians and factions of Catholicism fight each other (that one might make more sense, given they supposedly have one Pope, but there’s still the impulse that comes from religious thought within the person and the people who join in aggregate to put down those people who are animated by Satan in the eyes of those who aren’t them). And I don’t think the fact secular states resulted after long periods of religious wars means they weren’t religious wars but the wars of establishing states. That’s a bit of playing with words. It comes to mind that there is a trend of saying no one is altruistic. It may be that no one is purely altruistic, but there is a definition for the word — one we can understand (some people can anyway, while other might pretend). There is a little bit of a problem with defining secular when people get into this topic (usually because they want to establish something they imagine romantically like a Catholicism pre-modern state, not that such a motive belongs to this person who was being interviewed). I think of what we have evolved into and we call secular as not rejecting religion but wising up to not wanting to establish a state religion. If you establish, then you have to define that and everything devolves again. And while we in this most militarily involved nation are theoretically secular (not establishing a required religion), in practice out of our deep drives we still see others as inferior in that they aren’t of our religious background. We’re even suspicious of fellow citizens because their background is different (even if we forced them to be here and they’ve been unreasonably patient, because of religion, with how poorly we’ve treated them).

    I’m using a general we. My family has never owned slaves or traded.
    But those who feel superior include me as superior.
    I’m marginalizing myself though as I distance my faith from establishments.

  2. I think there is a lot of word-playing in discussions like this, as each side tries to justify itself and vilify the other (whether religious or secular). Maybe the distinctions are more evident when religion and government are (at least nominally) kept separate.

    It seems to me that man can use ANYTHING to justify violence when they decide violence is the easiest way of achieving their aims. They can justify it with religion – or they can justify it with anti-religious arguments. Both can be useful tools to obtain and maintain power over others and are at complete odds with the commandments, teachings and witness given by Jesus.

    I think distancing our faith from establishments (whether religious or political) is the only way to maintain the integrity of our faith in Jesus.

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