Violence in Christianity

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Violence in Christianity

Violence, it has been a main tool in the Christian arsenal since the middle ages. From the Crusades to the Inquisitions of Spain, violence is ever prevalent. Even in this day and age, intolerance and violence continue to be preached. But is this violence an instrument of God or man? Is violence an inherent part of this religion? Some would say that it is indeed built in to the very fabric of its being. The Old Testament is full of the smiting of infidels and those who defy God. The Book of Revelations tells of the violent and fiery demise of this entire planet. There are instances of mass genocide, the killing of innocent children, holy wars, you name a violent act and God has called for it. The story of Noah recounts how God killed off everyone in the world save one family. This violence, some speculate, is a result of man?s own doing. Perhaps God?s word was miss-interpreted or those in power sought to legitimize their own violent acts through the involvement of religion. Regardless of whether it was God or man that made religion violent, it is now deeply a part of it. The very involvement of religion into a dispute can cause the dispute to escalate exponentionally. ?Limited mundane conflict may escalate into violence when the issues at stake are imbued with religious ultimacy. (Klausner 268)?

Violence not only plays a strong role in both commandment and practice, it is part of the very core of this belief system. From the zeal and fervor of conversion to the conquest in the name of a deity, violence is ingrained into religion?s very being. ?Religion? engenders an energy that may be experienced as despair or as enthusiasm? Despair can feed an urge to rid the world of pollution and sin (Klausner 268).? Violence in the religious realm may serve several purposes. It can be an end unto itself, a means to accomplish a religious or religious/economic/political goal. It can be done to invoke terror and awe, as in ?witness the power of our God and tremble before his might.? However it is enacted and whatever its reasons, violence is now an inescapable inevitability in religion?s ongoing battle between Good and Evil. In attempting to prove this, I will be drawing on a body of information collected from the Bible; The Encyclopedia of Religion: Articles on: Violence, Crusades, Inquisition; Ethics: Violence; Dictionary of Middle Age...

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... Roman gods certainly seem to be human projections onto the divine; perhaps we as Christians just projected a human father figure onto a beard in the sky as a means of protection and justification for the wickedness of man. After all, if it is in the name of God, how can we be wrong?


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Finucane, R.C. Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Mircea Eliade. ?Inquisition, The.? Macmilian Publishing Co.: 1986.

Johnson, James Turner. The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics. Ed. James F. Childress & John Macquarrie. ?Just War?. The Westminster Press: 1986

Klausner, Samuel Z. Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Mircea Eliade. ?Violence.? Macmilian Publishing Co.: 1986.

Little, Donald P. Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Mircea Eliade. ?Crusades.? Macmilian Publishing Co.: 1986.

New American Standard Bible.

Russell, Frederick H. Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed. Joseph R. Strayer. ?Crusade, Concept of.? American Council of Learned Societies: 1984.

Wakefield, Walter L. Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed. Joseph R. Strayer. ?Inquisition.? American Council of Learned Societies: 1984.
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