Religion and War

Attention to the relationship between religion and war has increased considerably since the end of the Cold War and the attacks on September 11, 2001. The precise nature of the relationship continues to be debated, yet in each case, they cannot be properly understood without reference to their object. Both religion and war are means to different ends, spiritual and political. The examples of the Crusades and the Jihad are frequently cited as self-evident examples that religious belief fosters adversarial attitudes leading invariably to violent conflict.

Before proceeding with an examination of the role of religion as a cause or cure for violence, it is necessary to establish that religion, as such, should not be understood as an unchanging or transhistorical phenomenon. To argue that religion ...

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