Religion As A Primary Force Of Violence

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It is fair to say that most individuals within modern society consider themselves a certain religion. Within this religion they believe that all human beings who are apart of that religious community are sacred, in and of themselves, because they share a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices as well as worship the same God. It can be argued according to Mark Juergensemeyer, author of “Terror in the Mind of God.” that religion has a natural affinity to violence. That is why, even though religion began the division of humankind, the religious conscience has turned out to be the most reliable voice of opposition to the self-righteous delusions of nationalist wars. In Juergensemeyer’s book he identifies religion as a primary force of violence rather than nationalism. One explanation to this statement is that; violence is relatively harmless and the act of violence is justified as a means of propagating faith, suggesting that the survival and expansion of religion through violence is acceptable. Another explanation of religious violence is that it is largely symbolic, it can be performed in dramatic and theatrical ways. Ultimately these acts occur for a certain strategic reason, or political gain. Although Juergensymeyer ignores the nationalism approach to violence other authors such as Benedict Anderson offers a more in depth meaning of nationalism as Zygmunt Bauman notes the relationship between nationalism and violence which is exemplified through the Holocaust.

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