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Religious Studies
RELS 331

RELS 331 - Abstract #2 – The Myth of Religious Violence, Nov-20-13 Frankie Tarascio - 06212494 Cavanaugh, William T. "The Myth of Religious Violence." The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence. By Andrew R. Murphy. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 23-33. Print. This chapter, written by William Cavanaugh, in Murphy’s book, The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence, deals with the errors in understanding the connections between religion and violence. Misconceptions are created due to lack of an actual definition of religion, it being historically intertwined in everyday life, and unwarranted power and authority from religious distinctions. Cavanaugh begins by addressing the need for a unified definition of what religion is. All over the world, in the numerous practised religions, there does not exist one single definition of what a religion is. It becomes difficult to decide whether or not religion is a cause of violence and is dangerous without having a good understanding of what it means. Any attempts to group all religions under one classification have resulted in definitions that are unjustifiably clear on what does or does not constitute a religion. By having a definition that is too broad, it cannot be helped that other aspects of life in varying cultures would be characterized as being a component of a religion. Many scholars would start a definition of religion by attempting to substitute a word such as ‘God’ with a word like ‘transcendence’, which results in the vague inclusion of completely unrelated lifestyles. Cavanaugh points out that the idea of transcendence could be meant to include Judaism (which has a God) as well as Buddhism (which does not)
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