In a bid to determine the causes of religious violence, it is important to come up with issues that perpetrate the idea of religious violence in the society today. Therefore there is need for us to gather information and indulge ourselves in some considerations as we try to analyze and conclude on the causes leading to religious violence. Juergensmeyer advocates that religious violence happens in a manner that incorporates theatrical and performance. Juergensmeyer suggests that the doctrine of cosmic war is one of the causes of religious violence. According to the book, portrayal of some sort of conflict occurs as in the line of political conflict and those that occur within religious lines. With the main view on the religious violence, the cultures of violence are generally concentrated in religious arguments i.e.
Jews, Christians and Islam are considered as the Abrahamic religions because of the acceptance of Abraham as their father thus they all share similarities in their beliefs and customs. Contrary to this, Jews reject the Christians belief that Jesus is the son of God whereas Muslims consider Jesus only as a prophet. Muslims and accept Muhammad as their Savior and not Jesus Christ. Christians believes that there is no way for a person to attain salvation simply by being a member of the Christian community. They believe that the salvation for the human can be attained through the acceptance of Jesus as Christ and God and that those who believe and act according to the teachings of Jesus Christ will get salvation. Christians believe that Jesus has saved the world from the punishment of sin and his crucifixion was a deliberate act performed by Jesus to save us from the punishments of the sins committed by Adam and Eve. In this respect, Christians believe in the Holy trinity in which the father, the son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit are perceived as the different elements representing only one living God.
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Islam on the other hand has slightly different beliefs than that of the Christians. Men and women are considered slightly differently by Islam unlike the Jews or the Christians. Men have been given the full authority for the maintenance of the family and hence their dominance in the family is allowed. Islam believes that men have certain qualities which the women lack and women have certain abilities which the men do not possess. Although women can earn, they are put to restrictions due to biological reasons, they are incapacitated for considerable periods of time, to earn a living. Biologically, both men and women are different and Islam does not allow women to engage in any kind of work during their menstrual periods. In other words a substantial period of time in a month, the men need to look after and work for the women in every month and it is logical to allow men a slightly upper hand in the family according to their beliefs
The logic of religious violence
The logic concerned with religious violence entails the nature concerning the religious view. This has been seen to bear the tendency on the images and acts of cosmic war rendering them absolute. In this regard, at present, religious violence contributes to the tensions experienced globally thus this problems occurring from the tensions created are in dire need of solutions. This also focuses on men who are personally humiliated by events and are pressing to see to it that there is restoration of their integrity which they consider as being lost as a result of political and social issues which are of a global concern and thus sweeping away their integrity.
The culture of religious violence is more considered as a theme of performance as the target groups are virtually global. This is done with the considerations of strategies based on the targeted groups which are in conflict. This strategy has a direct connection with the religious rituals involved in relation to religious wars. This also places symbolism as a theme related to the placement of violent practices in comparison to a cosmic war thus the casualties involved in the religious movement become martyrs leaving their opponents demonized.
Religious violence is mainly perpetrated by persons or groups (ex-military personnel) who consider themselves gallant warriors. This is coupled with the bonding of men as individuals thus indications by Juergensmeyer suggest that terrorist groups with motivation through secular political ideas involve women as active participants thus religious violence. Just like terrorism has practices executed with an aim to achieve and further objectives displayed in a wide array of politicized issues by organizations.
Cosmic war is generally a term put in place to explain the understanding of how crises are formed within the context of the present world in relation to religious violence. These aspects incorporate the challenges faced by religious entities and illustrate the emergence of terrorism acts as events that are aimed for certain symbolic and reasons that are more strategic. This consideration takes into perspective that for terrorists to engage in their acts for religious purposes, they view their terror acts as one large aspect which involves confronting God and those who oppose Godly acts and also deeds that are good or bad.
Satanization in itself is a cause brought by the view that the world’s engulfment of the symbols of religious violence results to a cosmic war. Terrorists at first instance before taking their sinful acts into consideration; consider themselves victimized of the symbolic ideas thus purport to destroy any forces or ideas that contravene their religious beliefs. In the act of religious violence, terrorist lose their lives in the process of fighting for the freedom and defense of religion thus they are considered as martyrs. This symbolizes a disorder in terms of religion as these gallant warriors are considered to have sacrificed their lives for the well being of their religion.
Patriarchy as viewed in religious concepts is aimed at locking out the female presence even in areas where they are needed. Women are caring and ready to listen thus should be given the chance to get involved in discussions before actions are considered. Patriarchy in religion is a major cause or religious violence where the role of women is ignored and/or narrowed. This leads to evil decisions which are reached by men. Socialization is also a factor as different individuals intend to trigger conflicts which raise the concept of religious violence.Want an expert to write a paper for you Talk to an operator now
Some religions are adamant about their beliefs and they will never try to dilute their beliefs. For example, Muslims will never accept anything against their fundamental beliefs even if the science and technology proved it as wrong beliefs. Muslims were reluctant in accepting the fact that man landed on moon because of the strong association of moon with their beliefs.
Juergensmeyer argued that religions not only supplied the ideology, but it supplied motivation and organizational structure also for the religious terrorism (Juergensmeyer, p.5). All the religions know that terrorism or killing of innocent people is an evil act under normal circumstances. But in order to protect religious beliefs, religious fundamentalists do not see any harm in killing innocent people. Killing of non-believers is considered as a sacred act by such terrorists who are mostly of Muslim religions. The most dangerous aspect of the current terrorist activities is that it divided the entire world communally.
Terrorism can make a lot of mental changes among people and they will be forced to think irrationally thus the call for preventing such wars from international community is very weak because of this changing attitudes and beliefs of people. Many people believe that war on terror is the only option to ensure their security.
Do Terrorists and Fundamentalists think critically?
In most situations, terrorists and fundamentalists act emotionally thus do not consider the aspect of critical thinking as important. The misinterpretation of religious principles is everywhere and in all religions as well. For example, in Christianity itself, there is separation of the church forming groups which follow different doctrines. These include the Protestants and the Catholics et cetera. This is because of the difference in interpretations of the teachings of the Holy Bible. Same way, in Islam also different communities are there like the Shias and Sunnis. It is a curse that some of the scholars in all the religions and politicians try to exploit the religion for executing their hidden agenda and to conserve their selfish interests. For example, Pakistan is a country which is under the heavy influence of religion. The Pakistani politicians are exploiting their people’s anti-Hindu feelings to create troubles in Hindu dominated India. On the other hand, the Indian Hindu dominated communal party Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) is trying to exploit the feeling of the Indian Hindu community by destroying a controversial mosque “Babri Masjid”. Another example is Iran where the current president is trying to exploit the feeling of the Iranian people by raising slogans against America and Israel. Muslim communities must realize that politicians and scholars are misinterpreting the teachings of Qu’ran.
Juergensmeyer points out that when religions justify violence, politics exploits such beliefs and vulnerability of religion towards terrorism (Juergensmeyer, p.10). He also points out that New and Old testaments of the Bible have narrations of violent conflicts which serve as raw material for theologically justification of violence in Christian groups (Juergensmeyer, p.20). Probably being a Christian, George Bush has acted violently against the Muslim fundamentalists after the 9/11, taking revenge up on the same manner was an old act and Jesus has never shown or taught such violent acts to his disciples. He places emphasis on his disciples to win the world using the weapon of love.
Exploitation of religion for political interests has become a major occurrence and the innocent Muslim followers are more vulnerable to such exploitation. Fundamentalists fail to realize that the current war on terror like counter terrorism activities may cause more damage to their religion and religious beliefs than in the normal circumstances. In fact the war on terror was declared as a result of the 9/11 attacks. If the terrorists were able to kill a few hundreds of Americans, through 9/11, they forced to sacrifice the lives of thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis; as America would declare war on these countries terrorizing innocent individuals from the Muslim community.
The clashes between religions have not started in the recent past. The Bible speaks of many incidents concerning clashes between the Jews and Palestine (Muslims). But the clashes between religions in the present times have caught the attention of the public. This was as a result of the 9/11 attack on America followed by several other incidents like the Bali bombing, Mumbai terrorist attack, Indian parliament attack, Attack against the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan, the ongoing clashes between different ethnic groups in Pakistan, clashes between Israel and Hamas, America’s clashes with and Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran et cetera. Of these attacks, no other religion has been criticized for such execution of satanic events other than Muslims.
While some western scholars believe that Islam is on a collision course with the west and is inherently inimical to modern age we live in, other scholars (Muslim and non-Muslim) suggest that Islamic societies-like other world cutlers’ influence by traditional religions- are reacting to the global transformation taking place. Many people are of the opinion that the Islamic world is unique in their clashes with the West. In my opinion, it is not correct. We should remember that a person with Islamic background is ruling the Christian dominated America at present while on the other hand the Muslim dominated Turkey is trying hard to acquire a place in the Christian dominated European Union (EU). The above facts clearly show that there is no point in blaming the entire Islamic world for their clashes with the West. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are some of the close allies of United States in the Middle East. In fact in the battle against Iraq these countries have given immense support to United States.
At the same time it is suicidal if we completely rule out the existence of some kind of differences between the Islamic world and other Western countries. But, most of the differences between the Islamic world and the West are swinging around Israel. Islamic world in general believes that the West is keeping a soft approach towards Israeli’s massacres at Palestine. They believe that Israel and the west are keeping secret ties between from them. The suspicions and prejudices between the Islamic world and the West are the causes the wider presentation of problems around the World today.
Terrorists and fundamentalists in religious violence as seen in the book are considered to possess unreliable thinking patterns. This is with cause that for these terrific acts (bombings and violence) to be effectively carried out; these individuals believe that they have to work as a group as events or ideas which are always carried out in group always faces major challenges. This will range from slow decision making processes to the feeling that there exists the possibility of the idea being leaked out before it can be executed. The unifying factor among religious fundamentalists is fear; all Christians, the Jews as well as the Muslims have a fear for change, which is an influence under the effect of modernization. Their fear is for the young to put the church, the mosques as well as the synagogues asunder as a result of physical and material gratification. They usually fail to practice the two key features of critical thinking that is open system and objectivity and have also been noted to avoid the “unreliable thinking patterns” and the “fallacies of reasoning”. Some religions are adamant about their beliefs and they will never try to dilute their beliefs. For example, Muslims will never accept anything against their fundamental beliefs even if the science and technology proved it as wrong beliefs. (Juergensmeyer, 85 – 103).
The beliefs concerning religions are still an issue of debate around the World. With the World breaking apart and countries disagreeing on major issues of controversy, it is important that religious leaders try to take the lead and inform their followers about the dangers of religious violence. These issues of controversy have created enemity between religious groups thus creating tension around the world as the key players are the wealthy nations who have the capacity to fund organizations or groups who then participate in terrorism.
America has declared war upon the Arab World which is a sign of revenge in reference to the attacks carried out on 9/11. As a Christian nation, America has the right to defend its sovereignty but acts of revenge must firstly focus on what impacts (whether positive or negative) may result as a result of the defense mission. Revenge has led to the destruction of Iraq significantly though advantage to the Iraqi citizens is the end of the Saddam Hussein’s era of iron rule. To come to such conclusions and/or decisions, critical thinking is paramount as the effects are shared within the Diaspora.
The United States has a keen interest in the protection of Israel which is considered by the Arab World as a land belonging to Muslims. Recently, Iran’s President reiterated that the significance of Israel in the Middle East is not worthy thus the State of Israel should be completely wiped out of the face of the earth. These comments invoked the Israeli administration as well as the United States as the President spoke on the basis of undermining Jewish and Christian religions. This are the fundamental ideas that should be observed in order to free ourselves from now and then collisions involving religious views.
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