What connections may we draw between attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Christchurch mosque shooting, African-American church arsons in Louisiana, the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka, and the synagogue shooting in San Diego?
Issue 15.6 of the journal Political Theology is a special issue on William T. Cavanaugh’s The Myth of Religious Violence. Dr. James Murphy served as guest editor of the issue. Below he introduces the symposium.
The appearance of William Cavanaugh’s important new book offers a strikingly new take on the familiar debate about religion and violence. According to Cavanaugh, it has become a very widespread article of faith that there is something especially dangerous about religion.
Habakkuk’s prophecy raises the unsettling question of how to deal with the image of the Divine Warrior in a sensitive manner. Handled carefully, rather than compounding violence with more violence, Habakkuk’s prophecy can function as a powerful appeal for justice.
Brad Littlejohn’s blog entry here last week would raise significant difficulties for the thesis of my book The Myth of Religious Violence if 1) the argument of that book is that modernity is more violent than previous epochs and 2) Steven Pinker has proven that modernity is in fact less violent than previous epochs. However, the first of these premises is false, and the second is highly questionable.