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James Wellman and Kyoko Tokuno. ""Is Religious Violence Unavoidable?"". Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 43, no. 3 (2004), pp. 291-296.
R.E.S. Tanner. Violence and religion: cross-cultural perspectives and consequences. Concept Publishing Company, Delhi, 2007.
Ideally, religion and violence are diametrically opposed concepts. However, for eons, these two phrases have walked hand in hand, ushering in a reign of fear and misery for the entire human race, regardless of socio-political or geographical boundaries. The current century has been witnessing mayhem of series of violence inflicted by misuse of religious apparatus, but this cacophony of religious violence was always present in the previous centuries, even the instances of crusade brought in forms of violence. For instance, the religion provoked terror attacks by various extremist groups, such as, Al – Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, ISIS, and similar groups have ravaged various parts of the world severely, causing great pain and plight to the innocent inhabitants of the respective countries, regions and consequently the fundamental notion of humanity have fallen into an intimidating situation. Various nations such as Syria, Afghanistan etc. are on the verge of absolute annihilation because of the religion provoked terror executed by various terrorist groups. Various parts of Europe have also fallen prey to the clutches of religion provoked terror attacks that resulted once again in deaths of several innocent commoners. Universal and national relations include religion in both verifiable and current demonstrations of savagery. As much as it assumes an essential part in advancing peace, religious savagery is another part of the issue. In this manner, in the investigation of International Relations and Conflict Resolution, religion has been respected to be the fundamental driver that prompts clashes and brutality. The fundamental point of this proposal is to do an exploration of the conceivable connection between different religious gatherings and demonstrations of viciousness in those religions supporters aggregate. This thesis will major on Christianity, Buddhism, and Islamic religions since they have scores of adherents over the globe when contrasted with different beliefs. In this proposition, viciousness will likewise be arranged into two general classifications: sexual manhandle like kids misuse in religious constitutions (assault, badger, attack) and direct terrorism which depends on religion. In this paper, violence against kids in Catholic, Islamic and Buddhist foundations will be discussed and analyzed independently.
This thesis will likewise analyze the impacts of religion in the contemporary clashes around the world, and its emphasis will be on much-discussed cons of religion for advancing the temptation that causes violence. In the concluding part of this thesis, these sexual and terrorism inflicted violence will be contrasted with each other in each of the mentioned religions, and their conceivable connection to human psychology will be dissected. This paper will also discuss the religion-borne violence on women in a chapter.
Table of Contents
Table Of Contents 3
1. Introduction 5
2. Definitions 6
2.1 What is Religion? 6
2.2 What is Violence? 7
2.2.1 Sexual Harassment 9
2.2.2 Terrorism 10
2.2.3. Religious Extremism 13
2.2.4. Relationship between Religion and Violence 17
3. Child Abuse in Religious Institutions 26
3.1 Catholic Institutions 27
3.1.1 Vatican's Preventions and Results about Child Sexual Abuse. 29
3.1.2. Child Abuse in the Bible 30
3.1.3. Scandals of Sexual Abuse in Religious Institutions 31
3.2. Instances of Child Abuse in Islamic Institutions 33
3.2.1. Islam and Pedophilia 34
4. Violence on Women 37
5. Religion and Terrorism 42
5.1. The Role of Strange Beliefs 43
5.2. Crusades 45
5.3. Islam and Terrorism 46
5.3.1. Al Qaeda 46
5.3.2. ISIS 47
5.3.3. Boko Haram 49
5.4. Buddhism and Terrorism 50
5.5. Anti-Muslim Movements 51
5.5.1. Massacre in Myanmar 52
6. Governments' Actions and Preventive Steps against Terrorism 54
7. Conclusion 55
Fanatic religious violence takes many structures, from deliberate war to sudden fear mongering attacks. Often, such violence is promoted by religious provocation, across the globe. In some such instances, the violence comes to crosswise over national and social limits and in some cases it emerges from inside a country when homegrown radicals assault their own particular government and common populace.
In the present time, religious violence is broadly spread overall, particularly in zones enslaved by a specific religion. Therefore, individuals have communicated their dread towards religious fanaticism, especially in the proceeding with Islamic fear assaults. The individuals who partake in the demonstration of terrorism are categorized as individuals or groups, who have taken their religious convictions to an extreme point of execution. The thought behind this is the more a man is devoted to his/her religion; there are high odds of him/her submitting unselective demonstrations of savagery for the sake of that confidence. Accordingly, the principle point of this theory is to do an exploration of the conceivable connection between different religious gatherings and demonstrations of brutality in those religious supporters' bunch.
This thesis will majorly focus on three religions, in particular, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. Here violence will be classified into two general categories: sexual mishandle like child abuse in religious constitutions (assault, badgering, and attack) and fear mongering terrorism that depends on religion. At the beginning of this research violence against children in Catholic, Islamic and Buddhist institutions will be analyzed and searched separately. In the later part of this paper direct and violent terror attacks in reference to particular extremist groups will be discussed. Also, before drawing the conclusion, this paper will discuss violence practiced on women in the name of religion in various religious sects. Prior of delving into the core topics, this paper will discuss few key terms that are closely associated with the notion of religious violence and conservatism.
2.1 What is Religion?
Religion is a debatable word to delineate flatly, as the parameters to describe the general concept of religion is opaque till date and the ingredients or components to define religion vary from one religion to another and is subject to relativity. According to scholar Sarah F. Hoyt, the association of the expression ‘religion’ finds its origin to the Latin word ‘religare’ and this itinerary of the current expression of ‘religion’ is preferred by the contemporary scholar and writers.
The superstructure of the definition of religion can be roughly placed on a generalized ideological structure of particular sacred symbols which are dominant in various religions, for instance, the cross in Christianity, the symbol of star and crescent in Islam, the symbol of 'aum' in Hinduism etc. These symbols are not the only apparatuses of the religious ideologies, but they have deeper connotations in people of all the religions that establish a strong, persistent and long-term frame of mind and inspiration among people. The religion formulates an accepted array of living life with sets of visions and religion even sometimes or often regulates the outfits to be worn by the followers of that particular religion. The most interesting underlined truth about religion is that it shapes and controls the minds of the populace without getting distinctly noticed most of the times. It becomes very natural and normal for the followers to accept the salient set of religious living they are born into or converted into.
In every religion, some parts or sometimes a larger part of a respective religious group, people choose to walk on the path of extremism. Those groups of people are categorized as religious extremists. Through this loophole of extremism, violence creeps in. Religious extremism connotes that a hardcore supporter of a religion considers that it is not erroneous to practice violence in the name of religious faith. The concept of violence enroot religion is discussed below in the next section of this paper that elaborately discusses the notion of violence with a close reference to the religion induced violence.
2.2 What is Violence?
Violence is an ambiguous and multifaceted term. In different references, violence has different kinds of connotations. However, in any form of violence, the common factors of cruelty and hurtfulness are always present. According to Mark Vorobej, the notion of violence brings in different kinds of intense and close association to the concepts of causing harm, destruction and human or animal torment. Violence has multiple faces that generally cause harm and torment to the victims. In accordance with this paper, the concept of violence will be discussed in reference to religion. The exact notion of violence is quite difficult to describe from a general approach, because when it is discussed in religious reference, both verbal expressions and actions are to be taken into consideration as they together cause physical as well as mental harm. Religious violence may occur in form of a suicide provocation, in form of self- mutilation etc.
There are various kinds of religious rituals that are directly associated with self – inflicted violence. For instance, compulsory fasting, whipping self or others or to carry bunches of thorns in the event of Good Friday (Christianity) and Muharram (Islam) in order to portray the suffering of the great religious ancestors or saints (Jesus Christ in Christianity and Hasan – Hussain in Muharram) are direct cases of religious violence. It explicitly proves how religion blindfolds the rationality of people and controls the mass psychology.
Indeed, there is not much clarification that religions cause religious clashes, but rather give more clarification about the way of a person. Truth be told, individuals may betray each other under any conditions, for example, race, culture, individual, or religious contrasts. The latest terrorist assaults occurred under various administrations that are opposing to religion under the umbrella of the national and worldwide community. Individuals are intended to battle about things they solidly have confidence in, and that religion is an immaculate situation to initiate a fight since such a large number of issues are joined to it. Religious radicals may impact an increase in violence. As indicated by them, the level of radicalization is basic principle while accomplishing the desires of God. Among various religious radical groups, an illusory cosmic vision is intentionally created that boasts about supernatural rewards for performing certain acts in the name of God, even if the concerned acts are violent and malicious or harmful for other people, and such vision is justified by saying that God sanctifies every form of terrible violence in order to achieve certain religious goals or those acts are God’s true will. In circumstances where satisfactory methodologies are not affirmed to have made results, financial, social or political, the populace then may search for outrageous methods to get their demands fulfilled in the name of religion.
In general view or opinion, Islamic religious sects are the real villains, which propagate religious violence internationally. However, it cannot be denied that a large part of direct violence of terrorism comes from the Islamic groups and in this paper such groups are discussed elaborately, but only Islamic associations practice religious violence would be a shallow idea to render. Outfitted clashes in which religion, frequently joined by ethnic contrasts, has an influence, which has multiplied in late decades in different parts of the world: “Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria” and so forth; therefore, it is evident that only Islamic terrorism is the only source of religious violence across the globe. Equally, a crowd may decide to refute other religions the chance to exercise their faith. This kind of actions is often intentional because they wanted to decrease the beliefs that the main group was mediocre or unsafe. Religious intolerance is one key factor that leads to religious violence. For instance, in China, On 5th July in the year of 2009, the Urumqi riots, the deadliest ethnic brutality in decades, uncovered profound established ethnic strains interlaced with religious issues in this district of China and raised doubt about the fundamental standards of the Party's "ethnic arrangements" (minzuzhengce). In Urumqi city, the lion's share of the entire population is Han Chinese (73%), while the Uyghurs represent 12.3% of the aggregate populace; The uproar started off from a little battle between individuals of various religions and the episode later transformed into a remarkable flare-up of expansive scale collective mobs and finished with a loss of life of 184, as indicated by the figure discharged by the governmental authority of China on 11 July 2009. Therefore, it is very much evident that most of the similar occurrences are the results of inadequate respect towards other faiths.
Various religious groups like Kahane Chai and Kach groups from Israeli background or the Egyptian Islamic Jihad perceive violent action as a ‘responsibility’; these underground radical parties committed the heinous Hebron massacre in the year 1994 that resulted in deaths of 29 Muslim worshippers and 125 people were injured in this gruesome attack. Those encouraging in such violence see themselves as delightfully engaged. This violence in the name of religion has to be abolished.
2.2.1 Sexual Harassment
According, to a recent circular by UN, sexual harassment means the unwanted sexual advances either physical or verbally or requesting for sexual favors of any nature. The same circular also states about the types of sexual harassment that are considered as punishable offenses, such as, physical sex assaults- i.e. rape/ molestation, undesired pressure for similar activities, undesired intentional touching etc.
While sexual harassment is typically thought of as surrounding a diverse kind of conduct than ethnic, religious or other judgment, these diverse forms of discrimination common in many ways. This exclusion on perception covers not only to the hiring, firing, and promotions just for hiring, firing, and promotions, it also caters for the place or the environment where an individual is working. When the environment is characterized by hostility where people are discriminated regarding religion race is that if a hostile work environment is created by race, religion, sexually harassing behavior, or based on any other personal status. Then person who is being stigmatized or discriminated upon or cannot work because the environment is uncomfortable. In such situations the persistence of such it may escalate to violence especially if one discriminated because of their religion. Moreover, Sexual harassment is common in various religions who are doing anything within their capability to push their extremist agendas ahead and whenever possible, practicing rampant and brutal violence to those who oppose their religious teachings and establishments; these two statements will be supported in the other parts of the paper with references.
Terrorism has become a global phenomenon in the contemporary time. It is multifaceted and has various connotations with different socio- economic and political propagandas and agendas. The severe most and a fatal kind of terrorism is the religious terrorism. The concept of religious terrorism can be generally described as acts that directly or sometimes indirectly preach violence and threat and it is generated by particular groups or individuals with the intention of daunting other people or the government administrations with certain religious objectives.
Various radical religious groups follow the path of extremism or violence in the name of their respective religions. According to Perlmutter, the FBI has prepared a categorized report on international terrorism into three sections, i.e. “Loosely Affiliated Extremists (now categorized as Radical International Jihad Movement as they have become extremely organized), Formal Terrorist Organizations and State Sponsors of Terrorism”. The first category of terror organizations are committed to the notion of “Radical Jihad Movement”, they press their ideology against all the potential foes of Islam, they intend to slash all the governmental administrations that are not ruled by Islamic set of rules etc. Al Qaeda and Al- Jihad are such kinds of terror groups. The second category of Formal Terrorist Organizations are autonomous organizations that include their official personnel, transportation and other networking systems and are capable of escalating more global terror assaults in a very large scale; the Palestinian Hamas, Al Gama of Egyptian origin, Lebanon based Hizballah are such organizations. The third category- State Sponsors of Terrorism look upon terrorism as an active apparatus of securing favorable foreign policies; they provide security to other international militant groups and they directly support anti- Western violent militancy by arranging provisions of finance and logistics; FBI has included nations like Iran, Sudan, North Korea, Iraq, Libya, Cuba and Syria in this category. A noticeable fact comes up from this study that almost all the terrorist groups that practice extensive and serious religious violence across the globe- mostly follow a monotheistic religious dogma.
Terrorism continues to be an indefinable term because of bias. The term continues to initiate more definitions as new occurrences of terrorism take place as well as the different characteristics of the attackers as compared to the traditional terrorism. Terrorism can be characterized as the consistent exercise of dread particularly as the methods for compulsion, or terrorism might likewise be characterized as the utilization f savagery and scare in order to debilitate or force for politically identified or religiously defined advantages. The leftist fear based oppression started in the repercussions of the Vietnam War. This type of fear based oppression included assaults on American dominion and free enterprise as a rule. As per the leftist psychological militants, free enterprise and American dominion are in charge of the misuse in the world. Subsequently, trying to prevent such abuse, the leftist fear based oppression developed in the form of an arrangement. The leftist fear based oppressors' objectives will likely supplant the exploitative free enterprise with turmoil, socialist, or communist concepts. Albeit the leftist fear based oppression keeps on being a noteworthy danger for America and the world, by and large, this kind of terrorism is repetitive in nature because of the fact that the aspect of dynamic brutality is upset by the aspect of regrouping where dynamic savagery is negligible.
The leftist psychological oppression depends on politically defined philosophies particularly supporting communism, insurgency, and socialist concepts over private enterprise. Be that as it may, the leftist fear mongering in the present day scenario concentrates greatly on particular issues, nearly being related to the single-issue psychological warfare. A few wing issues incorporate class struggle, instruction, condition, work, media, decisions, migration, and hostile to war (Los Angeles Independent Media Center, 2015). Regarding all of these categories, different parts of the leftist fear mongering might be recognized and talked about.
In the case of Jewish Angelenos, the group members demanded that the governmental authority of the United States should quit giving support to Israel because the group members thought that Israel was promoting the organization of war wrongdoings against the general population of Gaza. This speaks to a common case of the leftist issues, which likewise bear a few components of a psychological extremism based on a solitary issue. Apparently, the expectation of the gathering was to contradict the bolster from the United States for Israel, the country that was taking up arms against the general population of Gaza. It is important to note that America has been a nearby partner of Israel for quite a while. These nations have frequently upheld support in different viewpoints particularly about army improvement and fights against saw foes. In spite of the fact that the gathering did not utilize extraordinary types of viciousness to accomplish the objective, they occupied with criminalized actions that involved obstructing the representatives at the office from getting to their work environments. The gathering shut the department for a few hours. The law enforcement department was on standby to manage the demonstrations of brutality which would probably have arisen.
It appears that Jewish Angelenos' point was to make open issue pull in the consideration of the administration to their request and impact people in general to bolster them. There is likewise evidence which demonstrates that the gathering is fit and conceivably wanting to adopt a more rough strategy to accomplish the objectives. While the risk would not be so obvious now, it is probable that the gathering could swing to fanaticism or unite with other radical gatherings battling for a similar issue. The leftist bunches have a tendency to work in a repetitive nature; it infers that Jewish Angelenos is currently aiming to regroup before demonstrating extreme savagely.
2.2.3. Religious Extremism
Religious Extremism means that a believer of a particular religion believes that it is not wrong to kill or hurt someone as long as the action is done in the name of faith. For instance, a number of Muslims interpret the teachings of Islam in such a manner which leads to the generation of belief that it is the Quran probably justifies jihad and one of the tragedies of such faith is the manner in which women are treated based on Sharia law, an indication that these Muslims take their faith "too far" and commit a crime. On the other hand, extremists have the tendency of misinterpreting the Bible passages to say proudly that their views are valid. Surprisingly, as much as there are many violent religious extremists, there are also several people who live peacefully as compared to those who choose the same belief and acts differently. For example, as much as there are many antagonistic Al Qaida Muslim terrorists worldwide, there exist equally several innocent Islamic believers who only mind about their lives and are not happy with the violence that is caused by Al Qaida. It is on these grounds, therefore, that extreme conservatism is linked to violence and is a big challenge that has permeated into our social fabric in the 21st century. There are several factors which may lead to religious extremism and violence. These factors include:
The wrong interpretation of the tolerant religious teaching leading to some undesirable and absurd beliefs.
Legitimizing actions through believing in high authorities.
Unearthly optimism and obsession related to corruptness, evils, and immoralities of this universe that make the various group go to the extreme by carrying out their terrorist activities.
The differences among religions may cause or rather have triggered all types of conflicts, terror attacks and wickedness between people of all kind and this is a fact that nobody should deny. However, this has little proved about religious beliefs being right or wrong in Christianity or the whole human race. In any case, countries often go to a battle in the name of fairness and honor. However, this does not make justice and honor to be termed as bad ideas.As a matter of fact, there is no much explanation that religions cause religious conflicts, but give more explanation about the nature of human being. In fact, human beings are able to turn against each other under any circumstances such as race, culture, personal, historical or religious differences. Actually, the most recent terror attacks took place under regimes that are antagonistic to religion under the umbrella of national and global collectivism. Generally, the human being is meant to fight over things they strongly believe in, and that religion is a perfect scenario to commence a battle since so many issues are attached to it.
Religious extremists may influence conflict intensification. According to them the degree of radicalization is essential when achieving the wishes of God. In situations where adequate approaches are not alleged to have created outcomes, economic, social or political, the population then may look for extreme clarifications for answers.
Numerous religions similarly have substantial pressures of evangelism that may result to conflicts. Religious people are called to spread the word of God as well as increasing the statistics of the congregation. For instance, to inflict Christianity on the focused group led to some significant conflicts affecting the colonization of Africa and Europe.Equally, a crowd may decide to refute other religions the chance to exercise their faith. This was intentional because they wanted to decrease the beliefs that the main group felt was mediocre or unsafe, for instance, Christianity in China and Sudan was suppressed.However, the conflict leading to the suppression was also influenced by various political factors. In China specifically the conflict was not between two religions but the viewing of the government that religion was a perilous opponent for loyalties of citizens.Therefore, all these occurrences are as a result of inadequate respect towards other faiths. Minus genuine techniques for religious groups to give their opinions, there are high chances for them to opt for violence, and this is possible because it is agitated by gaining more supporters via social service work at the times when the government is alleged as doing little for the people. Examples include the Hindu supporters of independence and Drastic Jewish prisons in Israel and moreover, Sikh extremists in India are also examples of fundamentalists movements motivated by alleged threats of faith.
Religious revitalization is influential because it may provide a sense of conceit and purpose; however, in Sudan and Sri Lanka, religious revitalization has created a set of strong reactionary patriotic concepts which have occasionally led to intolerance and discernment. The individuals encouraging violence perceive themselves as delightfully engaged, thus hindrances have to be abolished. Religious extremists are, on the other hand, driven by discontentment with modernism. Their actions to reinstate faith to a central place are driven by the relegation of religion in contemporary society. Religion, therefore, needs to be purified among extremists. For instance, lately, cultural globalization has contributed to this tendency and the wide range of Western materialism is regularly liable for rises in betting, drunkenness as well as unhealthy morals. For instance, Al-Qaeda claims that they are being supported by neo-imperialism and the existence of the external military troops in the holy land of Muslims.
The Western cultures also being liberally sustained to threaten traditions whereby the individual is given much priority, as compared to a group of people, and interrogating the proper role of women in society. Moreover, conflicts over training about evolution in learning institutions and abortions are examples of matters that make various religious groups’ traditions abandoned.
2.2.4. Relationship between Religion and Violence
Religion has been associated with violence since centuries ago. For example, the Old Testament in the Bible is full of accounts of violence that relate to religion such as wars. Additionally, a historical perspective of various world religions shows that violence is indeed a major influence on religion. For example, a number of Christian martyrs were killed and are still being killed because of their religious beliefs and practices. In modern times, religious violence persists in religion. A good example is the issue of terrorism, which has largely been associated with religious differences. Some religions are intolerant to other religions, which forms the basis of violence. Even with this being the case, many religions tend to dissociate themselves from violence. Therefore, when comparing violence in religion and that of an ethnic group, the religious conflicts tend to be higher than the ethnic conflicts raising concerns among policy-makers, government agencies, researchers, and media globally.
Religious violence in particular is violent behavior that comes up as a result of motivation in result to religious teachings, texts as well as a system of belief. It involves violence that does not favor religious institutions and the public or at the point of time when the violent behavior becomes aggravated to a certain extent through various religion-based aspects of the targeted group or principles developed and adopted by the assailant. Violent behavior in the name of religion does not entirely mean the carrying out of violent acts by religious groups; however, it also involves crimes committed by secular groups against religious groups. Like any violent behavior, spiritual hostility is regarded as a cultural practice that depends on context and is known to be multifaceted. Oversimplifying religions and violence frequently bring about wrong understanding and exaggeration of reasons that make people commit violence. Most violence is caused by religious beliefs which can be differentiated between an individual and communal types of violence. In general, a wide range of ideological motives perpetrate religious violence and is mainly one of the main social and political aspects that lead to conflict.
The phrase "religion and violence" is harsh as it can be asserted that religion is known to oppose violence and instead promote peace and reconciliation. However, it is now admitted that the historical background of the world’s religious beliefs narrates accounts of violence and hostilities as much as they advocate for peace and love among their followers. There are three hundred influencing variables that impact the religious violence and these factors have been talked about by various scholars but some experts hold that violence that is caused by religion is a complicated event, and oversimplification further endangers peace as it is difficult to understand many of the causal factors. There are fifteen methods of addressing the complexity of violence through religious and non-religious ways. In addition to that, there are non-religious accounts that cause violence in religions. These reports are likely to be wrong or inflated as a result of oversimplification of people’s religions and belief as well as disregarding the multifaceted worldly basis of the believed religious violence. In addition to that, whenever talking about religious violence, people are supposed to take into account that many religious people hardly get motivated to participate in violence.
Nevertheless, the amalgamation of religious beliefs and violent behaviors is not comfortable and that the religious scholars circumvent the combination of religion and violence, and that religious violence only takes place under certain conditions that are regularly one-sided. Thus, as other people use religion to rally for support of violence; religious leaders condemn such exploitation to be against their beliefs. Therefore, with the end goal to understand the relationship amongst violent behavior and religious beliefs, one ought to consider divergent perspectives. First, violence has been used to inhibit the growth of religion. This is evident in the history of almost all world religions. In Christianity, the early Christian community, including the disciples of Jesus Christ, was subjected to violence in an attempt to prevent them from growing and expanding their influence in the society. Many of these were killed for preaching about Christ. Even Jesus Christ himself was crucified for the religious principles supported. Apparently, such violence that is intended to inhibit the growth of religion is still evident today. Some societies are intolerant of...
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