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The authors of religious scriptures have rarely had difficulty enhancing sacred narratives with the rhetoric of violence. The phenomenon continues in the easy cohabitation of violence and religion in film, music and literature, and this raises a number of important questions: To what degree does violent rhetoric shape belief and values? How might we understand the social function of violence in popular discourses? How might we understand audience empathy with violent protagonists in popular narratives? What is the significance of violence being associated with particular religious groups or ideas in the media? Reflecting on these issues in depth and with striking originality, scholars of religious studies, biblical studies, film studies and sociology have analysed a range of phenomena, from the discourse of terrorism to the spectacle of World Wrestling Entertainment. The result is a vital contribution to understanding an area of religious and cultural discourse that is relevant to us all.