An analysis of violence in religious and philosophical texts

Jump to navigation Jump to search This is a glossary of terms of philosophy that end in -ism. These statements are called absolute truths. A common reaction by those who newly criticize absolutism is the absolute truth statement: Absolute truths do not exist.

An analysis of violence in religious and philosophical texts

Reflections on Violence, Law, and Humanitarianism Talal Asad Charles Taylor, one of the most influential living philosophers in the English-speaking world, has inspired many social scientists, including anthropologists. In his remarkable work Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity he traces the sensibilities that are central to the modern individual and argues that they have Christian especially Protestant roots.

Prominent among them is the virtue of universal benevolence that is closely connected with a new concern with psychological interiority: This is not just a sensitivity to suffering, a greater squeamishness about inflicting it or witnessing it.

It is true that this undoubtedly has occurred, as we can see it in a host of ways, especially in the softening of penal codes which the Enlightenment helped bring about, partly under the influence of Beccaria and Bentham.

But beyond this, we feel called upon to relieve suffering, to put an end to it. But this very critique supposes certain standards of universal concern.

It is these that are deeply anchored in our moral culture.

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The assumption in narratives about the elimination of human suffering is that moral progress is advanced when the violence of military conflict and dictatorial repression gives way to the nonviolence of international diplomacy and democratic politics, when harsh physical punishment of convicts gives way to humane confinement, when war gives way to peace.

They are diverse in the sense that they may evince horror at what they see or remorse at what they have done; they may express a feeling of inadequacy at the thought that they are unable to prevent some terrible suffering or of complacency at supporting a virtuous cause from a position of security.

They are complicated because they may articulate pleasure or gratification at the cruel punishment of people they have learnt to fear and hate and despise, or several emotions may contend in the same person.

An analysis of violence in religious and philosophical texts

I simply stress the need to enquire into how people react to that standard, how they employ it, and what emotions help constitute it. But before I try to do this I want to bring out briefly some contradictions in our understanding and practice of benevolence.

Thus the modern state is seen not only as the crowning achievement of liberal democracy but also as the basis of a wealthy civilization founded on capitalism in which general concern for human well-being can flourish.

This is consistent with a widespread belief that, since the end of the eighteenth century, peoples in Euro-America have become increasingly free and humane because freedom and humanity naturally reinforce each other. But the conditions of benevolence are more complicated than this story would suggest.

Take the modern US prison system, for instance. What are we to make of the fact that US correctional system, with all its cruelty, contains a far higher proportion of prisoners to the total US population than it ever did before? The legal historian James Whitman has, however, a provocatively different view: It is precisely the political culture of liberal democracy, he declares, by which this modern statist form of violence is to be explained.

The answer, perhaps, is that the major objects of punitive violence in that period were slaves and Indians, two classes of people who were regarded not only as a danger to settler freedom but also as an obstacle to the growth and flourishing of civilization itself.

So my point here is not the banal one that Enlightenment thinkers did not overlook emotion in favor of reason we know that many of them wrote at length about the centrality of emotion to social life ; it is that many of them had a more subtle view of sympathy than some modern humanitarians have.

In what follows, I want to explore humanitarianism that uses violence to subdue violence and some of the paradoxical ways it is played out emotionally and conceptualized in modern law and morality. Why is modern morality most evident in expressions of aversion rather than approval?

How, precisely, do benevolence and empathy that moderns should cultivate combine with cruelty and violence that moderns should avoid? What accounts for the modern expressions of horror at crimes against humanity—distinct, that is, from the crime of murder?

This is what I want to explore in what follows. Humanism, Humanity, Humanitarianism Much has been written on concepts of the human as the active subject of modernity, on humanism, humanitarianism, and the humanities.De Vries, Hent, Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida, Johns Hopkins University Press, , pp, $ (pbk), ISBN Reviewed by Kevin Hart, University of Notre Dame In Religion and Violence, Hent de Vries continues the work he commenced in Philosophy.

Fighting Words: Religion, Violence, and the Interpretation of Sacred Texts With its nuanced consideration of a complex topic, this book is not merely about the religious sanctioning of violence but also about diverse ways of reading sacred textual sources.

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eISBN: 1 Exegesis and Violence: Texts, Contexts, and Hermeneutical Concerns. The first line of figures gives the regular series, from 1 to The second reproduces this line doubly; first ascending, from the first figure of 18, and then returning from the second figure of De Vries, Hent, Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida, Johns Hopkins University Press, , pp, $ (pbk), ISBN Reviewed by Kevin Hart, University of Notre Dame In Religion and Violence, Hent de .

RELIGION, VIOLENCE, AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION. Marc Gopin. Religion has a dual legacy in human history regarding peace and violence.

Conflict resolution theory must examine more systematically the decision-making of religious actors and leaders in order for strategies of peacemaking to be effective in the relevant contexts. About this web site Our statement of beliefs.

The importance of faith/belief statements: We feel that every denomination, para-church organization, religious group, and religious web site should consider creating a statement of belief or faith and displaying it prominently.

Derrida, Jacques | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy