11. The Mind of God

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.

So there are five ways Juergensmeyer says we can eliminate religious violence. I’m going to be spending the majority of my time on those, and the majority of that time on a specific argument.

The five ways are as follows: destroying violence. In this situation, the solution is made with force. Terrorists are killed off or forcibly controlled. Next, there’s terrifying terrorists. The threat of violent reprisals or imprisonment so frightens religious activists that they hesitate to act. The strength of this proposal is not in the threat upone one’s self, but in the threat upon one’s family. YOU may be willing to die for the cause, but are you willing to sacrifice everyone you know? Thirdly, violence can win. Violence is used as leverage in poltiical negotiation and the causes are met. Fourth, you can separate religion from politics. The absolutism of the struggle is defused; religious aspects are removed from the political arena. And lastly, you can heal politics with religion. Opponents in a conflict summon a minimal level of mutual trust and respect.

Okay, so now we have those five notions. What do we do with them? Are they even valid solutions?

I propose that first we must have one more piece of information–these are meant to be solutions to religious violence. In what scope is Juergensmeyer referring to religious violence? Is he referring to religious violence as a whole in all of society, or is he referring to specific acts of religious violence? I am more skeptical about it being religious violence in all of society, so we’re going to ignore that and isntead examine this problem within the parameters of dealing with individual movements of religious violence.

Now, if that is the case, do these solutions work? Can they actually resolve anything? First, let me say that I don’t believe number four is valid; in a world where everything is able to hold a political connotation and even separation of church and state doesn’t really separate church and state, I don’t believe it’s possible to ever untangle those threads. However, that still leaves us with ideas one, two, three, and five. Here is what I think: three is the only one the could be interpreted as being an actual solution. Oh, I don’t doubt that one, two, and five are USED–quite often, I’m sure. Nevertheless, they are not true solutions. Each of them ends with the party who instigated religious violence feeling resentment (injustice if we wan to go down Brown’s route) and planning for their next attack or their next uprising.

Solution three is generally the one that we consider to be the least valid–violence winning? People don’t like to think there’s no happy ending. However, in number three, when violence wins, the cause is satisfied. Granted, this may lead to a NEW party bringing forth religious violence, but the original position (ha ha, Rawls–okay, sorry) has been resolved.


~ by spim on October 23, 2008.

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