Religion, War and Terrorism
Tony Coady

October 15, 2019, 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Dianoia Insitute of Philosophy, Australian Catholic University

Mercy Lecture Theatre
115 Victoria Parade

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


University of Reading (PhD)

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Since the early years of the 21stcentury, the causes of war and of acts of terrorism have been strongly identified in the public mind with religion, and especially with the Muslim faith. This identification is in some ways unsurprising, but it relies upon a number of different but mutually reinforcing and long-standing cultural presuppositions. One is that religion itself has an inherent, distinctive, possibly unique tendency to promote violent acts; another is that, whatever about that, many past and present wars and terrorist acts were in fact wholly caused by specific religious commitments; another is that whatever the full story about causes may be, religion inevitably promotes particularly bad features of war and terrorism, such as their ferocity and duration. This talk will offer a critical appraisal of  these presuppositions and their influence. It will discuss and assess William Cavanaugh’s influential rejection of the malign tendency of religion towards political violence and while sympathising with an element in his critique will reject his arguments that express radical scepticism about the concept of religion. It will examine claims and arguments by an assortment of theorists both those in favour of the causal connections between religion and violence and those against. Interestingly, religious and non-religious

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