How to break the ill-fated bond between religious truth and violence

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Abstract

This paper argues that religious violence can be interpreted as resulting from the disproportion between the transcendent, elusive character of the divine and the need of a religious community for identity. This explains why the divine has to be contained in finite, human categories. Inevitably, these categories mark the distinction between inclusion and exclusion, as well as between orthodoxy and heresy. Hence, religious violence can be explained as a problematic reaction to the threat of the loss of religious identity. Against this background, the final section explores how this reaction can be averted. Paradoxically, the very absoluteness of God and of religious truth that critics of religion often see as monotheism’s greatest weakness becomes a resource for identifying religious violence as a religious failure to admit one’s own fundamental limitations in understanding the divine. Hence, faithful are called upon to practice the virtues of epistemic humility and religious hospitality in their dealings with other religions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Truth and Identity in an Age of Plurality
EditorsPeter Jonkers, Oliver Wiertz
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Pages246-263
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780429019678
ISBN (Print)9780367029371
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2019

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Jonkers, P. (2019). How to break the ill-fated bond between religious truth and violence. In P. Jonkers, & O. Wiertz (Eds.), Religious Truth and Identity in an Age of Plurality (pp. 246-263). Routledge.