Religion & Violence

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    Hall, John R.


    Religion and Violence: Social Processes in Comparative Perspective

    "...[T]here are considerable scholarly resources for exploring the manifold relationships between violence and religion, and it is now urgently important to map them in ways that encourage further inquiry. I proceed by: (1) surveying sociological approaches and theories of religion that inform the analysis of violence, and (2) proposing an exploratory typology that identifies multiple linkages of violence and religion -- on the one hand, within established social orders, and on the other, in relation to countercultural religious movements. To emphasize the variety of affinities and parallels, I invoke wide ranging historical and comparative examples. But the scholarship is extensive, and this survey is hardly comprehensive (for a bibliographical essay, see Candland 1992). My focus is on key theoretical arguments, cases, and comparisons."
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    Iannaccone, Laurence R.


    Religious Extremism: The Good, the Bad, and the Deadly

    "Viewing religious behavior as an instance of rational choice, rather than an exception to it, economists have analyzed religious behavior at the individual, group, and national levels. And sociologists now speak of rational choice and market models as a 'new paradigm' for their studies of religion. My views on religious extremism grow directly from this work and cannot be explained without reference to it. I have therefore structured this talk as one might a tour, starting with broad principles, ending with specific applications, and visiting numerous examples along the way. Throughout, I will emphasize two policy-relevant themes. First, that academics, journalists, and governing officials can best understand religious commitment – even its more extreme manifestations – by viewing it as rational (normal, reasonable) behavior. And second, that the effects of government intervention are, if anything, more pernicious in the realm of religion than in the realm of commerce. To label religious extremism the product of ignorance, coercion, or psychopathology is to foster misunderstanding. To combat extremism with the powers of the state is to invite conflict. To support 'good' religion while repressing 'bad' religion is to invite violence."
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    Volf, Miroslav


    Christianity and Violence

    "...Professor Volf counters the claim that religion fosters violence and that the 'resurgence of religiously legitimized violence' is a direct consequence of a 'contemporary resurgence of religion'. Limiting himself to a case-study of Christianity, he argues that the cure to social violence 'is not less religion, but, in a carefully qualified sense, more religion'. Professor Volf identifies and criticizes a number of influential arguments found in the work of several authors, including Mark Juergensmeyer, Maurice Bloch, Regina Schwartz and Jacques Derrida, which he believes erroneously link Christianity and violence."