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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 Religion and Violence Sep 30, Oct 2, Oct 7.docx

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Department
Religious Studies
Course
RELIGST 2H03
Professor
Ann Pearson
Semester
Fall

Description
Religion and Violence Questions: -Is religion really the major cause of violence in the world, in the past? Today? -Is ‘religion’inherently violent? (Or does religion lend itself to violence?Are some religions more violent or lend themselves more to violence than others?) -Pawn of politics? -Role of media in playing up religions’connections to violence? • Religion isn’t a main cause, but it can have some correlation India 2002: -Kar Sevaks (Hindu religious nationalists) -Ayodhya (Birth-place of the god Rama) -Godhra, Gujarat Purposes of religion? • The education and promotion of the well-being of humankind? • Ultimate authority in giving purpose, organization and meaning to life • Reaching to the roots of motivation, awakened the capacities to love, to forgive, to sacrifice for the common good; to discipline baser instincts… • But, when perverted, can be a source of prejudice, intolerance, harmful attitudes & behaviours Gods of war -Ares/Mars=Greek -Thor=Scandinavian -Ishtar=Semitic -Kali=Hinduism God, the king and the state • ‘Divine right’of kings; the ruler as an emblem or personification of god on earth • In Christianity, civil rulers ordained by God to do his work– upholding justice, punishing the wicked • In Muslim countries, rulers expected to exemplify the laws of Shari’a, and ensure that the people were obedient to the law Christian ‘Just War’theory [St. Augustine 354-430 CE] • The Guiding Principle: principle of proportionality – more lives would be saved by the use of force than would be lost.  First people of Christianity were extreme pacifists  Christians must consider ethical beliefs whether something is just or not • Criteria for a ‘just war’: • Ajust war can be waged only by a legitimate authority (king or government) • Ajust war can be fought only for a just cause (e.g., self-defense) • War must be a last resort (all other efforts must be exhausted first) • Non-combatants must not be injured (so, weapons used must be able to discriminate) • Goal must be peace, not (political or economic) gain The Crusades (1096-1291) * Framed as just wars; instigated by several Catholic popes (first was Urban II) to ‘liberate’ Palestine from the Muslims for the Christians * Deus hoc vult – “Wars of Religion” -Muslim rulers in Palestine were tolerant of the Jews & Christians that were living in their domain -The Qur’an says that you have to leave the Christians of their Jews & let them be & not forcibly convert them -The real motive for the Crusades was political, not religious; it served interest of the popes/rulers (what did they do though??- search it up) -Some Crusades were against it & did not want it to continue. Though, these people were in the minority “Wars of Religion” * Struggles between the Catholics and the Protestants -- following King Henry the VIII’s break with the Papacy, the establishment of the Church of England in 1534, with Martin
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