Fighting Words The Origins of Religious Violence

ISBN-10: 1591022843

ISBN-13: 9781591022848

Edition: 2005

Authors: Hector Avalos
List price: $28.99 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: Is religion inherently violent? If not, what provokes violence in the name of religion? Do we mischaracterize religion by focusing too much on its violent side? In this intriguing, original study of religious violence, Prof. Hector Avalos offers a new theory for the role of religion in violent conflicts. Starting with the premise that most violence is the result of real or perceived scarce resources, Avalos persuasively argues that religion creates new scarcities on the basis of unverifiable or illusory criteria. Through a careful analysis of the fundamental texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Dr. Avalos explains how four "scarce" resources have figured repeatedly in creating religious violence: sacred space (churches, temples, holy cities); the creation of holy scriptures (exclusive revelations); group privilege (chosen people, the predestined select few); and salvation (only some are saved). Thus, Avalos shows, religious violence is often the most unnecessary violence of all since the scarce resources over which religious conflicts ensue are not actually scarce or need not be scarce. Comparing violence in religious and nonreligious contexts, Avalos makes the compelling argument that if we condemn violence caused by scarce resources as morally objectionable, then we must consider even more objectionable violence provoked by alleged scarcities that cannot be proven to exist. Moreover, he shows how many modern academic biblical scholars and scholars of religion maintain the value of sacred texts despite their violence. This serious philosophical examination of the roots of religious violence adds much to our understanding of a perennial source of widespread human suffering.

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Book details

List price: $28.99
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Prometheus Books, Publishers
Publication date: 4/8/2005
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 444
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.50" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.584
Language: English

Past explanations of violence
Premodern theories of violence
Modern theories of violence
Previous theories of religious violence
A new theory of religious violence exemplified in the Abrahamic religions
Scarce resource theory and violence
How religion creates scarce resources
Judaism and the Hebrew Bible
Academic defenses of violence in the Hebrew Bible
Christianity and the New Testament
Academic defenses of Christian violence
Islam and the Qur'an
Academic defenses of Islamic violence
Secularism and violence
The Nazi Holocaust
Stalinism
The nation-state and secular humanist violence
Synthesis
A comparative ethics of violence
Solutions
Foreign policy implications
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