The Origins of Religious Violence

The Origins of Religious Violence : An Asian Perspective

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Religiously motivated violence caused by the fusion of state and religion occurred in medieval Tibet and Bhutan and later in imperial Japan, but interfaith conflict also followed colonial incursions in India, Sri Lanka, and Burma. Before that time, there was a general premodern harmony among the resident religions of the latter countries, and only in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries did religiously motivated violence break out. While conflict caused by Hindu fundamentalists has been serious and widespread, a combination of medieval Tibetan Buddhists and modern Sri Lankan, Japanese, and Burmese Buddhists has caused the most violence among the Asian religions. However, the Chinese Taiping Christians have the world record for the number of religious killings by one single sect. A theoretical investigation reveals that specific aspects of the Abrahamic religions-an insistence on the purity of revelation, a deity who intervenes in history, but one who still is primarily transcendent-may be primary causes of religious conflict. Only one factor-a mystical monism not favored in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-was the basis of a distinctively Japanese Buddhist call for individuals to identify totally with the emperor and to wage war on behalf of a divine ruler. The Origins of Religious Violence: An Asian Perspective uses a methodological heuristic of premodern, modern, and constructive postmodern forms of thought to analyze causes and offer solutions to religious violence.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 340 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 612.35g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739192221
  • 9780739192221

Review quote

Thoroughly researched and meticulously argued, The Origins of Religious Violence makes a powerful case that Asian religious traditions-although historically less conducive to violence than their Western counterparts-have their own histories of complicity in warfare and oppression. Nicholas F. Gier provides a compelling and insightful philosophical analysis of why violence occurs in the name of religion, despite the centrality of nonviolence to so many of the world's religious traditions. This book should quickly become indispensable to college courses and to any serious conversation or reflection on religion and violence. -- Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown College, author of A Vision for Hinduism: Beyond Hindu Nationalism, Jainism: An Introduction, and The Historical Dictionary of Hinduism This is an extremely timely, relevant, if not actually prophetic book as we continue to struggle with the roots and realities of religious violence, religious intolerance, and religious terrorism in our own contemporary world. -- Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice Universityshow more

About Nicholas F. Gier

Nicholas F. Gier is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Idaho.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: From Mongols to Mughals: Hindu-Muslim Relations in Medieval India Chapter 2: Hindu Nationalism, Modernism, and Reverse Orientalism Chapter 3: Premodern Harmony, Sri Lankan Buddhist Nationalism, and Violence Chapter 4: Burmese Nationalisms and Religious Violence against Muslims Chapter 5: Buddhism in Bhutan: From Violent Lamas to Peaceful Kings Chapter 6: "Compassionate" Violence in Tibet: 1,000 Years of War Magic Chapter 7: Buddhism and Japanese Nationalism: A Sad Chronicle of Complicity Chapter 8: Sikhism, the Seduction of Modernism, and the Question of Violence Chapter 9: Religious Nationalism, Violence, and Taiping Christianity Chapter 10: Hypotheses on the Reasons for Religious Violence Chapter 11: The Gospel of Weak Belief, Overcoming the Other, and Constructive Postmodernismshow more

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