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Causes & Sources of Religious Violence: Why Are Religions Violent?

Religious violence has probably existed for as long as religion. History has done nothing to calm the passions, hatred, and brutality expressed in the name of religion; if anything, the progress of science and technology have enabled religious extremists to hate and kill ever more effectively. Almost everyone would like to end the violence, but few understand its causes. Even worse, some religious believers are in denial about the causes and connections between violence and their religion.

Religious Terrorism as Symbol, Ritual & Performance Violence
The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, right? Terrorism is designed to frighten people into submitting to some group's desires which have not been achieved through the normal political process, right? Those are the most common assumptions about terrorism, but when it comes to religious terrorism there can be far more involved. For religious...

Sanctified Religious Violence as a Form of Religious Devotion, Holy Obligation
Many religions proclaim that they are peaceful and opposed to violence, but these same religions generally have traditions in which violence, war, and aggression not only exist and are not only permitted, but are in fact sanctified. To be "sanctified" means 'to be made holy' - thus violence becomes a form of religious devotion like prayer or...

Violence & Justice: Religious Violence as a Means for Achieving Justice
It's often said that violence doesn't achieve anything, but if that's true why do so many people use violence in order to achieve various goals? To be more specific, it appears that even when violence is being employed senselessly, more often than not that those employing it are doing so because they think it is as justified means for achieving...

Loving God & Hating Humanity: Can Loving God Lead to Hating Humanity?
Traditional theistic religions are often defended on the basis that they teach believers to love. It's true that they typically include ideals about loving both God and humanity, but it shouldn't be assumed that the two are always and necessarily compatible. On the contrary, other teachings common to religions around the world can in fact set...

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