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Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence



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Prometheus Books
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Goes a long way toward helping us understand the nature of violence generally, its complicated connections with religion, and how society in the future might avoid being blindsided by the worst aspects of human nature.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 7
Understanding Violencep. 11
What Is Violence?p. 12
What Makes Violence Possible-and Likely?p. 16
A Model of Expanding Violencep. 18
Conclusion: Hurting without Feeling Bad-or Feeling Anything at Allp. 43
Understanding Religionp. 45
What Is Religion?p. 46
Populating the Religious Domain: Beings, Forces, and "Types" of Religionp. 52
"Local" versus "World" Religionsp. 65
The Functions of Religion: Explanation, Control, and Legitimationp. 69
Conclusion: Society, Supernatural Agents, and Violencep. 76
Sacrificep. 81
What Is Sacrifice?p. 82
The Diversity of Sacrificep. 85
Theories of Sacrifice: Girard and Burkertp. 105
Toward a Better Understanding of Sacrificep. 108
Self-Injuryp. 117
Religious Self-Mortification: A Cry of Pain to the Spiritsp. 120
Asceticism: Religious Athletesp. 133
Pain, but What Gain?p. 143
Martyrdom: Death on Principlep. 149
The Selfish Selflessness of Martyrs and Other Self-Mortifiersp. 158
Persecutionp. 161
What Is Persecution?p. 162
Religious Persecution in the Ancient/Non-Christian Worldp. 168
Early Persecution of Christiansp. 170
Early Persecution by Christiansp. 173
Persecution in Islamp. 184
The Persecution of Witchesp. 188
Persecution of Religion by Antireligionp. 191
Persecution by the American Religious Rightp. 197
The Virtues of Persecuting-and Being Persecutedp. 201
Ethnoreligious Conflictp. 207
Ethnicity, Culture, Religion, and Conflictp. 208
Ethnoreligious Conflict in the Modern Worldp. 215
Why Ethnoreligious Conflict Now?p. 238
Warp. 241
The Religion and the War in "Religious War"p. 242
Religious War among the Ancient Hebrewsp. 252
"Holy War" in Christianity: The Crusadesp. 256
"Holy War" in Christianity: The European Religious Warsp. 260
The Taiping "Rebellion" in Chinap. 263
Islam and Jihadp. 267
War in Hinduismp. 275
"Fighting Orders": Saintly Soldiersp. 279
The Mythology of Warp. 283
Homicide and Abusep. 291
When Is Religious Crime "Religious" and "Crime"?p. 292
Religious Homicidep. 297
Religious Abuse: Women and Spousesp. 311
Religious Abuse of Childrenp. 319
But Religion Is Supposed to Make People "Good" and "Moral"p. 327
Religion and Nonviolencep. 331
What Is Nonviolence?p. 333
Religions of Nonviolencep. 342
The Religious Contribution to Nonviolencep. 360
Notesp. 373
Bibliographyp. 407
Indexp. 427
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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