Christianity and violence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Crusades were a series of military campaigns fought mainly between European Christians and Muslims. Shown here is a battle scene from the First Crusade.

The relationship of Christianity and violence is the subject of controversy because some of its teachings advocate peace, love, and compassion, whereas other teachings have been used to justify violence and hatred.[1][2][3] Peace, compassion and forgiveness of wrongs done by others are key elements of Christian teaching. However, Christians have struggled since the days of the Church Fathers with the question of when the use of force is justified. Such debates have led to concepts such as just war theory. Throughout history, certain teachings from the Old Testament, the New Testament and Christian theology have been used to justify the use of force against heretics, sinners and external enemies.

In Letter to a Christian Nation, critic of religion Sam Harris writes that "...faith inspires violence in at least two ways. First, people often kill other human beings because they believe that the creator of the universe wants them to do it... Second, far greater numbers of people fall into conflict with one another because they define their moral community on the basis of their religious affiliation..."[4]

Christian theologians point to a strong doctrinal and historical imperative within Christianity against violence, particularly Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, which taught nonviolence and "love of enemies". For example, Weaver asserts that Jesus' pacifism was "preserved in the justifiable war doctrine that declares all war as sin even when declaring it occasionally a necessary evil, and in the prohibition of fighting by monastics and clergy as well as in a persistent tradition of Christian pacifism."[5]

Definition of violence[edit]

Abhijit Nayak writes that:

The word "violence" can be defined to extend far beyond pain and shedding blood. It carries the meaning of physical force, violent language, fury and, more importantly, forcible interference.[6]

Terence Fretheim writes:

For many people, ... only physical violence truly qualifies as violence. But, certainly, violence is more than killing people, unless one includes all those words and actions that kill people slowly. The effect of limitation to a “killing fields” perspective is the widespread neglect of many other forms of violence. We must insist that violence also refers to that which is psychologically destructive, that which demeans, damages, or depersonalizes others. In view of these considerations, violence may be defined as follows: any action, verbal or nonverbal, oral or written, physical or psychical, active or passive, public or private, individual or institutional/societal, human or divine, in whatever degree of intensity, that abuses, violates, injures, or kills. Some of the most pervasive and most dangerous forms of violence are those that are often hidden from view (against women and children, especially); just beneath the surface in many of our homes, churches, and communities is abuse enough to freeze the blood. Moreover, many forms of systemic violence often slip past our attention because they are so much a part of the infrastructure of life (e.g., racism, sexism, ageism).[7]

Heitman and Hagan identify the Inquisition, Crusades, Wars of Religion and antisemitism as being "among the most notorious examples of Christian violence".[8] To this list, J. Denny Weaver adds, "warrior popes, support for capital punishment, corporal punishment under the guise of 'spare the rod and spoil the child,' justifications of slavery, world-wide colonialism in the name of conversion to Christianity, the systemic violence of women subjected to men." Weaver employs a broader definition of violence that extends the meaning of the word to cover "harm or damage", not just physical violence per se. Thus, under his definition, Christian violence includes "forms of systemic violence such as poverty, racism, and sexism."[9]

Christianity's relationship with violence[edit]

I Believe in the Sword and Almighty God (1914) by Boardman Robinson.

Charles Selengut characterizes the phrase "religion and violence" as "jarring", asserting that "religion is thought to be opposed to violence and a force for peace and reconciliation. He acknowledges, however, that "the history and scriptures of the world's religions tell stories of violence and war as they speak of peace and love."[10]

Religion and violence[edit]

Critics claim that all religions harm society:[11][page needed][12][page needed]

  • Religions have sometimes used war, violence, and terrorism to promote their religious goals
  • Religious leaders have contributed to secular wars and terrorism by endorsing or supporting the violence
  • Religious fervor has been exploited by secular leaders to support war and terrorism
  • Religions have promoted exclusivity that critics believe inevitably fosters violence against those that are considered outsiders.[13]
  • Recent secularism has freed religious members from having to make practical, moral choices. Limiting violence may no longer be an essential principal, since religion is no longer in charge.[14]
Having Their Fling (1917) by Art Young.

Claims that Christianity has a violent side[edit]

Many authors highlight the ironical contradiction between Christianity's claims to be based upon "love and peace" while, at the same time, harboring a "violent side". For example, Mark Juergensmeyer argues: "that despite its central tenets of love and peace, Christianity—like most traditions—has always had a violent side. The bloody history of the tradition has provided images as disturbing as those provided by Islam or Sikhism, and violent conflict is vividly portrayed in the Bible. This history and these biblical images have provided the raw material for theologically justifying the violence of contemporary Christian groups. For example, attacks on abortion clinics have been viewed not only as assaults on a practice that Christians regard as immoral, but also as skirmishes in a grand confrontation between forces of evil and good that has social and political implications."[15]:19–20, sometimes referred to as Spiritual warfare. The statement attributed to Jesus "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" has been interpreted by some as a call to arms to Christians.[15]

In response, Christian apologists such as Miroslav Volf and J. Denny Weaver deny charges that Christianity is a violent religion, holding that certain aspects of Christianity might be misused to support violence but that a genuine interpretation of its core elements would not sanction human violence but would instead resist it. Among common examples cited in allegation that Christianity is a violent religion, J. Denny Weaver lists "(the) crusades, the multiple blessings of wars, warrior popes, support for capital punishment, corporal punishment under the guise of 'spare the rod and spoil the child,' justifications of slavery, world-wide colonialism in the name of conversion to Christianity, the systemic violence of women subjected to men". Weaver describes the counter-argument as focusing on "Jesus, the beginning point of Christian faith,... whose Sermon on the Mount taught nonviolence and love of enemies; who nonviolently faced his accusers unto death; whose nonviolent teaching inspired the first centuries of pacifist Christian history and was subsequently preserved in the justifiable war doctrine that declares all war as sin even when declaring it occasionally a necessary evil, and in the prohibition of fighting by monastics and clergy as well as in a persistent tradition of Christian pacifism."[5]

Miroslav Volf acknowledges that "many contemporaries see religion as a pernicious social ill that needs aggressive treatment rather than a medicine from which cure is expected." However, Volf contests this claim that "(the) Christian faith, as one of the major world religions, predominantly fosters violence." Instead of this negative assessment, Volf holds that Christianity "should be seen as a contributor to more peaceful social environments."[16]

In his examination of the question of whether Christianity fosters violence, Miroslav Volf has identified four main arguments that it does: that religion by its nature is violent, which occurs when people try to act as "soldiers of God"; that monotheism entails violence, because a claim of universal truth divides people into "us versus them"; that creation, as in the Book of Genesis, is an act of violence; and that the intervention of a "new creation", as in the Second Coming, generates violence.[1] Writing about the latter, Volf says: "Beginning at least with Constantine's conversion, the followers of the Crucified have perpetrated gruesome acts of violence under the sign of the cross. Over the centuries, the seasons of Lent and Holy Week were, for the Jews, times of fear and trepidation; Christians have perpetrated some of the worst pogroms as they remembered the crucifixion of Christ, for which they blamed the Jews. Muslims also associate the cross with violence; crusaders' rampages were undertaken under the sign of the cross."[17] In each case, Volf concluded that the Christian faith was misused in justifying violence. Volf argues that "thin" readings of Christianity might be used mischievously to support the use of violence. He counters, however, by asserting that "thick" readings of Christianity's core elements will not sanction human violence and would, in fact, resist it.[1]

Volf asserts that Christian churches suffer from a "confusion of loyalties". He proposes that "rather than the character of the Christian faith itself, a better explanation of why Christian churches are either impotent in the face of violent conflicts or actively participate in them derives from the proclivities of its adherents which are at odds with the character of the Christian faith." He believes that "(although) explicitly giving ultimate allegiance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, many Christians in fact seem to have an overriding commitment to their respective cultures and ethnic groups."[18]

John Teehan takes a position that integrates the two opposing sides of this debate. He describes the traditional response defending religion as "draw(ing) a distinction between the religion and what is done in the name of that religion or its faithful." Teehan argues that "this approach to religious violence may be understandable but it is ultimately untenable and prevents us from gaining any useful insight into either religion or religious violence." He takes the position that "violence done in the name of religion is not a perversion of religious belief... but flows naturally from the moral logic inherent in many religious systems, particularly monotheistic religions..." However, Teehan acknowledges that "religions are also powerful sources of morality." He asserts that "religious morality and religious violence both spring from the same source, and this is the evolutionary psychology underlying religious ethics."[19]

Dostoyevsky rejects this linkage. He says, "We have taken up the sword of Caesar, and in taking it, of course, have rejected Thee and followed him [the devil]."[20]

Christian scriptures[edit]

From its earliest days, Christianity has been challenged to reconcile the scriptures known as the "Old Testament" with the scriptures known as the "New Testament". Ra'anan S. Boustan states that "(v)iolence can be found throughout the pages of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament."[21] Philip Jenkins describes the Bible as overflowing with "texts of terror".[22]

In response to allegations of violence in their scriptures, many[which?] Christian theologians and apologists counter with claims that that the "God of the Old Testament" is a violent God and the "God of the New Testament" is a peaceful and loving God[clarification needed]. Gibson and Matthews have labelled this perspective as a "millennia-old bias", and as one that "places the origins of Judeo-Christian violence squarely within Judaism".[23]

Terence Freitheim describes the Old Testament as a "book filled with ...the violence of God". He asserts that while the New Testament does not have the same reputation, it too is "filled with violent words and deeds, and Jesus and the God of the New Testament are complicit in this violence.[24] Gibson and Matthews have a similar perspective.[23]

Gibson and Matthews make a similar charge, stating that many[which?] studies of violence in the Bible focus on violence in the Old Testament while ignoring or giving little attention to the New Testament. They additionally say that "those studies that lift up the New Testament as somehow containing the antidote for Old Testament violence."[25]

This apparent contradiction in the sacred scriptures between a "God of vengeance" and a "God of love" are the basis of a tension between the irenic and eristic tendencies of Christianity that has continued to the present day.

This approach is challenged by those who point out that there are also passages in the New Testament that tolerate, condone and even encourage the use of violence. John Hemer asserts that the two primary approaches that Christian teaching uses to deal with "the problem of violence in the Old Testament" are:

  1. Concentrate more on the many passages where God is depicted as loving – much of Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, Deuteronomy.
  2. Explain how the idea of God as a violent punishing war monger is all part of the historical and cultural conditioning of the author and that we can ignore it in good faith, especially in the light of the New Testament.

In opposition to these two approaches, Hemer argues that to ignore or explain away the violence found in the Old Testament is a mistake. He asserts that "Violence is not peripheral to the Bible it is central, in many ways it is the issue, because of course it is the human problem." He concludes by saying that "The Bible is in fact the story of the slow, painstaking and sometimes faltering escape from the idea of a God who is violent to a God who is love and has absolutely nothing to do with violence."[26] Ronald Clements expresses a similar view, writing that "to dismiss the biblical language concerning the divine wrath as inappropriate, or even offensive, to the modern religious mind achieves nothing at all by way of resolving the tensions in the reality of human history and human experience.[27]

The image of a violent God in Hebrew scriptures that condoned and even ordered[citation needed] violence posed a problem for some early Christians who saw this as a direct contradiction to the God of peace and love attested to in the New Testament. Perhaps the most famous example was Marcion who dropped the Hebrew scriptures from his version of the Bible because he found in them a violent God. Marcion saw the God of the Old Testament, the Demiurge and creator of the material universe, as a jealous tribal deity of the Jews, whose law represented legalistic reciprocal justice and who punishes mankind for its sins by suffering and death. Marcion wrote that the God of the Old Testament was an "uncultured, jealous, wild, belligerent, angry and violent God, who has nothing in common with the God of the New Testament..." For Marcion, the God about whom Jesus was an altogether different being, a universal God of compassion and love, who looks upon humanity with benevolence and mercy. Marcion argued that Christianity should be solely based on Christian Love. He went so far as to say that Jesus’ mission was to overthrow Demiurge—the fickle, cruel, despotic God of the Old Testament—and replace Him with the Supreme God of Love whom Jesus came to reveal.[28]

Marcion's teaching was denounced by Tertullian in five treatises titled "Against Marcion" and Marcion was ultimately excommunicated by the Church of Rome.[29]

The difficulty posed by the apparent contradiction between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament continues to perplex pacifist Christians to this day. Eric Seibert asserts that, "(f)or many Christians, involvement in warfare and killing in the pages of the Old Testament is incontrovertible evidence that such activities have God's blessing. ... Attitudes like this are terribly troubling to religious pacifists and demonstrate the kind of problems these texts create for them."[30] Modern-day pacifists such as Charles Raven have argued that the Church should repudiate the Old Testament as an unchristian book, thus echoing the approach taken by Marcion in the 2nd century.[31]

Old Testament[edit]

The principle of "an eye for an eye" is often referred to using the Latin phrase lex talionis, the law of talion. The meaning of the principle Eye for an Eye is that a person who has injured another person returns the offending action to the originator in compensation. The exact Latin (lex talionis) to English translation of this phrase is actually "The law of retaliation." At the root of this principle is that one of the purposes of the law is to provide equitable retribution for an offended party.

Dr Ian Guthridge cited many instances of genocide in the Old Testament:[32]:319–320

the Bible also contains the horrific account of what can only be described as a "biblical holocaust". For, in order to keep the chosen people apart from and unaffected by the alien beliefs and practices of indigenous or neighbouring peoples, when God commanded his chosen people to conquer the Promised Land, he placed city after city 'under the ban" -which meant that every man, woman and child was to be slaughtered at the point of the sword.

The extent of extermination is described in the scriptural passage Deut 20:16-18 which orders the Israelites to "not leave alive anything that breathes… completely destroy them …".[33] thus leading many scholars to characterize the exterminations as genocide.[34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43] Niels Peter Lemche asserts that European colonialism in the 19th century was ideologically based on the Old Testament narratives of conquest and extermination.[44] Arthur Grenke claims that the view or war expressed in Deuteronomy contributed to the destruction of Native Americans and to the destruction of European Jewry.[45]

New Testament[edit]

Christian interpretation of the lex talionis has been heavily influenced by the quotation from Leviticus (19:18 above) in Jesus of Nazareth's Sermon on the Mount. In the Expounding of the Law (part of the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus urges his followers to turn the other cheek when confronted by violence:

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38–39, NRSV)

This saying of Jesus is frequently interpreted as criticism of the Old Testament teaching, and often taken as implying that "an eye for an eye" encourages excessive vengeance rather than an attempt to limit it. It was one of the points of 'fulfilment or destruction' of the Hebrew law which the Church father St. Augustine already discussed in his Contra Faustum, Book XIX.[46]

Christian teaching[edit]

Theologian Robert McAfee Brown identifies a succession of three basic attitudes towards violence and war during the history of Christian thought. The first of these attitudes was the strict pacifism of the earliest Christians; by the 4th century, this pacifism had evolved to incorporate the concept of a just war which then led to the development of the holy war or crusade.[47]

Pacifism in early Christianity[edit]

Many scholars assert that Early Christianity (prior to 313 AD) was a pacifist religion and that, only after it had become the state religion of the Roman Empire, did Christianity begin to rationalize, institutionalize and endorse violence to further the interests of the state and the church. Some scholars believe that "the accession of Constantine terminated the pacifist period in church history."[48] According to René Girard, "Beginning with Constantine, Christianity triumphed at the level of the state and soon began to cloak with its authority persecutions similar to those in which the early Christians were victims."[49] And in Ulrich Luz's formulation; "After Constantine, the Christians too had a responsibility for war and peace. Already Celsus asked bitterly whether Christians, by aloofness from society, wanted to increase the political power of wild and lawless barbarians. His question constituted a new actuality; from now on, Christians and churches had to choose between the testimony of the gospel, which included renunciation of violence, and responsible participation in political power, which was understood as an act of love toward the world." Augustine's Epistle to Marcellinus (Ep 138) is the most influential example of the "new type of interpretation."[50]

In response to the accusations of Richard Dawkins, Alister McGrath suggests that, far from endorsing "out-group hostility", Jesus commanded an ethic of "out-group affirmation". McGrath agrees that it is necessary to critique religion, but says that it possesses internal means of reform and renewal, and argues that, while Christians may certainly be accused of failing to live up to Jesus' standard of acceptance, Christian ethics reject violence.[51]

In the first few centuries of Christianity, many Christians refused to engage in military combat. In fact, there were a number of famous examples of soldiers who became Christians and refused to engage in combat afterward. They were subsequently executed for their refusal to fight.[52] The commitment to pacifism and rejection of military service is attributed by Allman and Allman to two principles: "(1) the use of force (violence) was seen as antithetical to Jesus' teachings and service in the Roman military required worship of the emperor as a god which was a form of idolatry."[53]

Origen asserted: "Christians could never slay their enemies. For the more that kings, rulers, and peoples have persecuted them everywhere, the more Christians have increased in number and grown in strength."[54] Clement of Alexandria wrote: "Above all, Christians are not allowed to correct with violence the delinquencies of sins."[55][56] Tertullian argued forcefully against all forms of violence, considering abortion, warfare and even judicial death penalties to be forms of murder.[57][58] These positions of these three Church Fathers are maintained today by Catholics[59] and Orthodox Christians.[60]

Non-violence as a Christian doctrine[edit]

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a prominent advocate of Christian nonviolence
The Deserter by Boardman Robinson, The Masses, 1916

There is a long tradition of opposition to violence in Christianity.[61] Some early figures in Christian thought explicitly disavowed violence. Origen wrote: "Christians could never slay their enemies. For the more that kings, rulers, and peoples have persecuted them everywhere, the more Christians have increased in number and grown in strength."[54] Clement of Alexandria wrote: "Above all, Christians are not allowed to correct with violence."[56] Several present-day Christian churches and communities were established specifically with nonviolence, including conscientious objection to military service, as foundations of their beliefs.[62] In the 20th century, Martin Luther King, Jr. adapted the nonviolent ideas of Gandhi to a Baptist theology and politics.[63] In the 21st century, Christian feminist thinkers have drawn attention to opposing violence against women.[64]

Some theologians, however, reject the pacifist interpretation of Christian dogma. W.E. Addis et al. have written: "There have been sects, notably the Quakers, which have denied altogether the lawfulness of war, partly because they believe it to be prohibited by Christ (Mt. v. 39, etc), partly on humanitarian grounds. On the Scriptural ground they are easily refuted; the case of the soldiers instructed by in their duties by St. John the Baptist, and that of the military men whom Christ and His Apostles loved and familiarly conversed with (Lk 3:14, Acts 10, Mt 8:5), without a word to imply that their calling was unlawful, sufficiently prove the point."[65]

Just war theory[edit]

Forward with God! (1915) by Boardman Robinson.

Just War Theory' (or Bellum iustum) is a doctrine of military ethics of Roman philosophical and Catholic origin[66][67] studied by moral theologians, ethicists and international policy makers which holds that a conflict can and ought to meet the criteria of philosophical, religious or political justice, provided it follows certain conditions.

Just War theorists combine both a moral abhorrence towards war with a readiness to accept that war may sometimes be necessary. The criteria of the just war tradition act as an aid to determining whether resorting to arms is morally permissible. Just War theories are attempts "to distinguish between justifiable and unjustifiable uses of organized armed forces"; they attempt "to conceive of how the use of arms might be restrained, made more humane, and ultimately directed towards the aim of establishing lasting peace and justice."[68]

The Just War tradition addresses the morality of the use of force in two parts: when it is right to resort to armed force (the concern of jus ad bellum) and what is acceptable in using such force (the concern of jus in bello).[69] In more recent years, a third category — jus post bellum — has been added, which governs the justice of war termination and peace agreements, as well as the prosecution of war criminals.

The concept of justification for war under certain conditions goes back at least to Cicero.[70] However its importance is connected to Christian medieval theory beginning from Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas.[71] According to Jared Diamond, Saint Augustine played a critical role in delineating Christian thinking about what constitutes a just war, and about how to reconcile Christian teachings of peace with the need for war in certain situations.[72]

Jonathan Riley Smith writes,

The consensus among Christians on the use of violence has changed radically since the crusades were fought. The just war theory prevailing for most of the last two centuries — that violence is an evil which can in certain situations be condoned as the lesser of evils — is relatively young. Although it has inherited some elements (the criteria of legitimate authority, just cause, right intention) from the older war theory that first evolved around a.d. 400, it has rejected two premises that underpinned all medieval just wars, including crusades: first, that violence could be employed on behalf of Christ's intentions for mankind and could even be directly authorized by him; and second, that it was a morally neutral force which drew whatever ethical coloring it had from the intentions of the perpetrators.[73]

Holy war[edit]

Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on the concept of just war

In 1095, at the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II declared that some wars could be deemed as not only a bellum iustum ("just war"), but could, in certain cases, rise to the level of a bellum sacrum (holy war).[74] Jill Claster characterizes this as a "remarkable transformation in the ideology of war", shifting the justification of war from being not only "just" but "spiritually beneficial.[75] Thomas Murphy examined the Christian concept of Holy War, asking "how a culture formally dedicated to fulfilling the injunction to 'love thy neighbor as thyself' could move to a point where it sanctioned the use of violence against the alien both outside and inside society". The religious sanctioning of the concept of "holy war" was a turning point in Christian attitudes towards violence; "Pope Gregory VII made the Holy War possible by drastically altering the attitude of the church towards war... Hitherto a knight could obtain remission of sins only by giving up arms, but Urban invited him to gain forgiveness 'in and through the exercise of his martial skills'". A Holy War was defined by the Roman Catholic Church as "war that is not only just, but justifying; that is, a war that confers positive spiritual merit on those who fight in it".[76][77]

In the 12th century, Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: "'The knight of Christ may strike with confidence and die yet more confidently; for he serves Christ when he strikes, and saves himself when he falls.... When he inflicts death, it is to Christ's profit, and when he suffers death, it is his own gain."[78]

According to Daniel Chirot, the Biblical account of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho was used to justify the genocide of Catholics during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.[79]:3 Chirot also interprets 1 Samuel 15:1-3 as "the sentiment, so clearly expressed, that because a historical wrong was committed, justice demands genocidal retribution."[79]:7–8

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Volf, Miroslav (2008). "Christianity and Violence". In Hess, Richard S.; Martens, E.A. War in the Bible and terrorism in the twenty-first century. Eisenbrauns. pp. 1–17. ISBN 978-1-57506-803-9. Retrieved June 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ Avalos, Hector (2005). Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. 
  3. ^ Schwartz, Regina M. (1997). The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism. The University of Chicago Press. 
  4. ^ Sam Harris (2006). Letter to a Christian Nation. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 80–81. ISBN 978-0-307-26577-7. 
  5. ^ a b J. Denny Weaver (2001). "Violence in Christian Theology". Cross Currents. Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  6. ^ Nayak, Abhijit (July–October 2008). "Crusade Violence: Understanding and Overcoming the Impact of Mission Among Muslims". International Review of Mission (World Council of Churches) 97 (386–387): 273–291. doi:10.1111/j.1758-6631.2008.tb00645.x. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  7. ^ Freitheim, Terence (Winter 2004). "God and Violence in the Old Testament". Word & World 24 (1). Retrieved 2010-11-21. [dead link]
  8. ^ International encyclopedia of violence research, Volume 2. Springer. 2003. 
  9. ^ J. Denny Weaver (2001). "Violence in Christian Theology". Cross Currents. Retrieved 2010-10-27. "I am using broad definitions of the terms "violence" and "nonviolence." "Violence" means harm or damage, which obviously includes the direct violence of killing -- in war, capital punishment, murder -- but also covers the range of forms of systemic violence such as poverty, racism, and sexism. "Nonviolence" also covers a spectrum of attitudes and actions, from the classic Mennonite idea of passive nonresistance through active nonviolence and nonviolent resistance that would include various kinds of social action, confrontations and posing of alternatives that do not do bodily harm or injury." 
  10. ^ Selengut, Charles (2008-04-28). Sacred fury: understanding religious violence. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-7425-6084-0. 
  11. ^ Hitchens, Christopher (2007). God is not Great. Twelve. 
  12. ^ Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. Bantam Books. 
  13. ^ The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism By Regina M. Schwartz. University of Chicago Press. 1998. 
  14. ^ Bland, Byron (May 2003). "Evil Enemies: The Convergence of Religion and Politics". p. 4. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  15. ^ a b Mark Juergensmeyer (2004). Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-24011-1. 
  16. ^ Volf, Miroslav (2002). "Christianity and Violence". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  17. ^ Volf 2008, p. 13
  18. ^ Volf, Miroslav. "The Social Meaning of Reconciliation". Retrieved 2010-11-17. 
  19. ^ Teehan, John (2010). In the Name of God: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Ethics and Violence. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 145–147. 
  20. ^ Dostoyesvsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Project Guttenberg. p. 284. 
  21. ^ Boustan, Ra'anan S. (2010). Violence, Scripture, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity. BRILL. 
  22. ^ Jenkins, Philip (March 8, 2009). "Dark Passages". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-11-26. "the Bible overflows with "texts of terror," to borrow a phrase coined by the American theologian Phyllis Trible. The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery. … If the founding text shapes the whole religion, then Judaism and Christianity deserve the utmost condemnation as religions of savagery." 
  23. ^ a b Gibson, Leigh; Matthews, Shelly (2005). Violence in the New Testament. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-567-02500-5. 
  24. ^ |quote=The Old Testament has a reputation: it is a book filled with violence, including the violence of God. The New Testament commonly avoids such a charge; but it, too, is filled with violent words and deeds, and Jesus and the God of the New Testament are complicit in this violence.
  25. ^ Gibson, Leigh; Matthews, Shelly (2005). Violence in the New Testament. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 3. 
  26. ^ Hemer, John (April 2003). "Violence & The Bible". Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  27. ^ Clements, Ronald Ernest (1988). Jeremiah. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-8042-3127-5. 
  28. ^ Metzger, Bruce. Canon of the NT ISBN 978-0-19-826180-3; The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 characterized Marcion as "perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known."; Harnack's Origin of the New Testament: "Marcion, on the contrary, treats the Catholic Church as one that “follows the Testament of the Creator-God,” and directs the full force of his attack against this Testament and against the falsification of the Gospel and of the Pauline Epistles by the original Apostles and the writers of the Gospels. He would necessarily have dealt with the two Testaments of the Catholic Church if the Church had already possessed a New Testament. His polemic would necessarily have been much less simple if he had been opposed to a Church which, by possessing a New Testament side by side with the Old Testament, had ipso facto placed the latter under the shelter of the former. In fact Marcion’s position towards the Catholic Church is intelligible, in the full force of its simplicity, only under the supposition that the Church had not yet in her hand any “litera scripta Novi Testamenti.”"
  29. ^ Pixley, Jorge V. (2004). Jeremiah. Chalice Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-8272-0527-7. 
  30. ^ Seibert, Eric A. (2009). Disturbing divine behavior: troubling Old Testament images of God. Fortress Press. 
  31. ^ Hawkin, David J. (2004). The twenty-first century confronts its gods: globalization, technology, and war. SUNY Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-7914-6181-5. 
  32. ^ Ian Guthridge (1999). The Rise and Decline of the Christian Empire. Medici School Publications,Australia. ISBN 0-9588645-4-3. 
  33. ^ Ruttenberg, Danya, Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: War and National Security Danya Ruttenberg (Ed.) page 54 (citing Reuven Kimelman, "The Ethics of National Power: Government and War from the Sources of Judaism", in Perspectives, Feb 1987, pp 10-11)
  34. ^ Grenke, Arthur, God, greed, and genocide: the Holocaust through the centuries, pp 17-30
  35. ^ Philip Jenkins - quoted in NPR article "Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran?" by Barbara Hagerty. Online at [1].
  36. ^ Kravitz, Leonard, "What is Crime?", in Crime and punishment in Jewish law: essays and responsa, EditorsWalter Jacob, Moshe Zemer, Berghahn Books, 1999, p 31.
  37. ^ Magid, Shaul, "Subversion as Return: Scripture, Dissent, and Renewal in Contemporary Judaism, in Subverting Scriptures: Critical Reflections on the Use of the Bible Beth Hawkins Benedix (Ed), pp 217-236, p 234.
  38. ^ Cohn, Robert L, "Before Israel: The Canaanites as Other in Biblical Tradition", in The Other in Jewish thought and history: constructions of Jewish culture and identity, Laurence Jay Silberstein, (Ed.), NYU Press, 1994, pp 76-77
  39. ^ Boustan, Ra'anan S., Violence, Scripture, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity, BRILL, 2010, pp 3-5
  40. ^ Firestone, Reuven, "Judaism on Violence and Reconciliation: An Examination of Key Sources", in Beyond violence: religious sources of social transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, James Heft (Ed.), Fordham Univ Press, 2004, p 75
  41. ^ Ehrlich, Carl S., "Joshua, Judaism, and Genocide" in Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,BRILL, 1999, pp 121-122
  42. ^ Garber, Zev, "Deconstructing Theodicy and Amalekut", in Post-Shoah dialogues: re-thinking our texts together, James F. Moore (Ed.), University Press of America, 2004, pp 241-243.
  43. ^ Van Wees, Hans, "Genocide in the Ancient World", in The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies, Donald Bloxham, A. Dirk Moses (Eds), p 242.
  44. ^ Lemche, Niels Peter, The Old Testament between theology and history: a critical survey, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, pp 315–316:
    "The [Biblical] story of the 'morally supreme people' that defeats and exterminates another, inferior, nation was part of the ideological baggage of European imperialists and colonizers throughout the nineteenth century. It was also carried by European Jews who,.. migrated to Palestine to inherit their ancestral country … In this modern version of the biblical narrative, the Palestinian population turned into 'Canaanites', supposed to be morally inferior to the Jews, and of course the Arabs were never considered their equals … The Bible was the instrument used to suppress the enemy".
  45. ^ Grenke, Arthur, God, greed, and genocide: the Holocaust through the centuries, New Academia Publishing, LLC, 2005, pp 17-18:
    "Discussing the influence of Christian beliefs on the destruction of the Native peoples in the Americas, Stannard argues that while the New Testament view of war is ambiguous, there is little such ambiguity in the Old Testament. He points to sections in Deuteronomy in which the Israelite God, Yahweh, commanded that the Israelites utterly destroy idolaters whose land they sought to reserve for the worship of their deity (Deut 7:2, 16, and 20:16-17). … According to Stannard, this view of war contributed to the .. destruction of the Native peoples in the Americas. It was this view that also led to the destruction of European Jewry. Accordingly, it is important to look at this particular segment of the Old Testament: it not only describes a situation where a group undertakes to totally destroy other groups, but it also had a major influence on shaping thought and belief systems that permitted, and even inspired, genocide."
  46. ^ Contra Faustum, Augustine of Hippo, NewAdvent.
  47. ^ Brown, Robert McAfee (1987). Religion and Violence (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-664-24078-X. 
  48. ^ Roland Bainton, quoted in Robin Gill, A Textbook of Christian Ethics, 3rd ed, Continuum, 2006, ISBN 0-567-03112-8, p. 194.
  49. ^ Girard, Rene. The Scapegoat. p. 204. 
  50. ^ Ulrich Luz, Matthew in History, Fortress Press, 1994, p26-27
  51. ^ Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion?, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2007, ISBN 978-0-281-05927-0
  52. ^ "No known Christian author from the first centuries approved of Christian participation in battle; citations advocating pacifism are found in → Tertullian, → Origen, Lactantius, and others, and in the testimonies of the martyrs Maximilian and Marcellus, who were executed for refusing to serve in the Roman army. Grounds for opposition to military service included fear of idolatry and the oath of loyalty to Caesar, as well as the basic objection to shedding blood on the battlefield.", Fahlbusch, E., & Bromiley, G. W. (2005). Vol. 4: The encyclopedia of Christianity (2). Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill.
  53. ^ Allman, Mark; Allman, Mark J. (2008). Who Would Jesus Kill?: War, Peace, and the Christian Tradition. Saint Mary's Press. 
  54. ^ a b Origen: Contra Celsus, Book 7 (Roberts-Donaldson)
  55. ^ The Early Church on Violence « Rachel Stanton
  56. ^ a b Clement of Alexandria: Fragments
  57. ^ Osborn, Eric (2003). Tertullian, First Theologian of the West. Cambridge University Press. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-521-52495-7. "Tertullian rejects all violence, even killing by soldiers or by courts of law, any form of abortion, and even attendance at the amphitheatre." 
  58. ^ Nicholson, Helen J. (2004). Medieval warfare: theory and practice of war in Europe, 300-1500. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 24. "At the beginning of the third century, Tertullian recorded that some Christians did fight, but indicated that he did not approve. He argued that God's command not to fight overrode Paul's command to obey the authorities that God had appointed. Tertullian observed that one of the last words of Christ before he was led away to be crucified was when he instructed Simon Peter to put away his sword." 
  59. ^ Evangelium Vitae
  60. ^ Orthodoxy and Capital Punishment
  61. ^ "Members of several small Christian sects who try to literally follow the precepts of Jesus Christ have refused to participate in military service in many nations and have been willing to suffer the criminal or civil penalties that followed."Encyclopædia Britannica 2004 CD Rom Edition — Pacifism.
  62. ^ Speicher, Sara and Durnbaugh, Donald F. (2003), Ecumenical Dictionary:Historic Peace Churches
  63. ^ King, Jr., Martin Luther; Clayborne Carson; Peter Holloran; Ralph Luker; Penny A. Russell (1992). The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07950-7. 
  64. ^ Hood, Helen (2003). "Speaking Out and Doing Justice: It’s No Longer a Secret but What are the Churches Doing about Overcoming Violence against Women?". EBSCO Publishing. pp. 216–225. Retrieved May 19, 2010. [dead link]
  65. ^ War, A Catholic Dictionary: Containing some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils, and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church, W. E Addis, T. Arnold, Revised T. B Scannell and P. E Hallett, 15th Edition, Virtue & Co, 1953, Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Philips, Imprimatur: E. Morrogh Bernard, 2 October 1950, "In the Name of God : Violence and Destruction in the World's Religions", M. Jordan, 2006, p. 40
  66. ^ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/war/ The first philosophers of just war were Aristotle and Cicero, and the first theologians St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas
  67. ^ "Just War Theory [The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]". Iep.utm.edu. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  68. ^ "JustWarTheory.com". JustWarTheory.com. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  69. ^ "Home > Publications >". Eppc.org. 1998-09-01. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  70. ^ "Religion & Ethics - Just War Theory -introduction". BBC. Retrieved 2010-03-16. [dead link]
  71. ^ Christians and War: Thomas Aquinas refines the "Just War" Theory[dead link]
  72. ^ Diamond, Jared (2008). 1000 Events That Shaped the World. National Geographic Society. p. 74. ISBN 1-4262-0314-4. 
  73. ^ Smith, Jonathan R. "Rethinking the Crusades". Catholic Education Resource Center. 
  74. ^ "Christian Jihad: The Crusades and Killing in the Name of Christ". 
  75. ^ Claster, Jill N. (2009). Sacred violence: the European crusades to the Middle East, 1095-1396. University of Toronto Press. pp. xvii–xviii. ISBN 978-1-4426-0060-7. 
  76. ^ E. Randolph Daniel; Murphy, Thomas Patrick (1978). "The Holy War (review)". Speculum 53 (3): 602–603. doi:10.2307/2855169. JSTOR 2855169. 
  77. ^ Thomas Patrick Murphy, editor (1976). The holy war. Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Ohio State University Press. 
  78. ^ Bernard of Clairvaux, In Praise Of The New Knighthood, ca. 1135
  79. ^ a b Daniel Chirot. Why Some Wars Become Genocidal and Others Don't. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. [dead link]

References[edit]

  • Avalos, Hector. Fighting Words. The Origins of Religious Violence. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2005.
  • Schwartz, Regina M. The Curse of Cain. The Violent Legacy of Monotheism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bekkenkamp, Jonneke and Sherwood, Yvonne, ed. Sanctified Aggression. Legacies of Biblical and Postbiblical Vocabularies of Violence. London/New York: T. & T. Clark International, 2003.
  • Collins, John J. Does the Bible Justify Violence? Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004.
  • Hedges, Chris. 2007. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. Free Press.
  • Lea, Henry Charles. 1961. The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. Abridged. New York: Macmillan.
  • MacMullen, Ramsay, 1989 "Christianizing the Roman Empire: AD 100-400"
  • MacMullen, Ramsay, 1997, "Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries"
  • Mason, Carol. 2002. Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-Life Politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  • McTernan, Oliver J. 2003. Violence in God's name: religion in an age of conflict. Orbis Books.
  • Thiery, Daniel E. Polluting the Sacred: Violence, Faith and the Civilizing of Parishioners in Late Medieval England. Leiden: Brill, 2009.
  • Tyerman, Christopher. 2006. God's War: A New History of the Crusades. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Belknap.
  • Zeskind, Leonard. 1987. The ‘Christian Identity’ Movement, [booklet]. Atlanta, Georgia: Center for Democratic Renewal/Division of Church and Society, National Council of Churches.
  • Robert Spencer (author) Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, Regnery Publishing, 2007, ISBN 1-59698-515-1
  • Rodney Stark God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades, HarperOne, 2010,