10. Warriors’ Power

Disclaimer: This is a journal for my class on Religious Violence. It is generally written as if it is addressing my teacher, Chuck, and is written in relation to the book Terror in the Mind of God by Mark Juergensmeyer.

The warriors’ power. This journal, too, may be a little disorganized. It’s just that I’ve got so much to say that I don’t know where to begin, so I end up just listing them for you.

First off, in this chapter Juergensmeyer says that practicing rituals allows for peace. Personally, this made me think of art therapy or hitting a punching bag. The specific phrase, “[T]he ritualized acting out of violent acts plays a role in displacing feelings of aggression.” Well, excuse me if I’m being obtuse, but wouldn’t anything that changes your focus dissipate violence? It’s the same reason why in an awkward silence between two people, a third person saying something dissipates the tension. The focus has been changed. Doesn’t the same hold true for violence?

Also, in relation to this, what ritual are we talking about? It never really says, so I’m assuming all religious rituals. Christian faiths take communion–is this one of those rituals that helps stay violence? I mean, if you think about it, it is pretty gross what the church is implying. The blood and body of Christ. Ah, no thank you. However, if I find myself in The Silence of the Lambs, I’ll be sure to point any cannibals I meet in your direction. I’m sorry, I know that was flippant, but isn’t it true? Communion is a ritualized version of cannibalism.

This section also talks about “marginal men”–young men who live life on the margins, who are looking for something to guide them. I suppose I can kind of see the appeal. I mean, if you’re lonely and you feel like you’re making no impact on the world, I suppose you would be looking for a way out of that situation. By becoming a suicide bomber, you make an impact on society, you are employed, you will leave a legacy, your family will be taken care of, and you’ll have a fabulous afterlife with virgins! In somewhat relation to this, I found the gender roles that he ascribed interesting. It’s a tangential side note, but many cultures have much broader definitions of gender than the U.S.–it’s interesting to look at some that do not.

Somewhat awkwardly, Juergensmeyer also talks about sex as being motivation. I felt like he was channeling Freud the entire time. You know the joke–a guy walks up to his buddy and says, “I had a dream last night.” The friend doesn’t even look up from what he’s doing, but just says, “It means you want to have sex with your mother.” Without being crude or oversharing, I think sex is fine and dandy, but I don’t think it has the hidden impact that so many think it does. I mean, yeah, it’s great. But the motives that are sometimes sexually ascribed…well, I just don’t get it. Maybe that’s my ignorance rearing it’s ugly head.

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~ by spim on October 23, 2008.

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