Using religion to justify violenceStephen Clarke (Charles Sturt University)
Linkway Meeting Room, 4th floor, John Medley building.
University of Melbourne, Parkville
Abstract: Much has been written about the relationship between religion and violence, and much of what has been written is aimed at trying to determine whether, how and why religion causes violence. In my forthcoming book The Justification of Religious Violence (Wiley-Blackwell), I pursue a different goal, which is to understand if and how religion can be used to justify violence. Followers of many different religions, who commit violent acts, seek to justify these by appealing to religion. I argue that religious believers are able to incorporate premises, grounded in the metaphysics of religious world views, in arguments for the conclusion that this or that violent act is justified. In the book I examine various different ways in which the metaphysics of religious world views can be used in justifications of violence. In this presentation I concentrate on appeals to the importance of the afterlife to justify violence, focusing specifically on arguments that have been developed in the Christian and Buddhist traditions.
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