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Is religion inherently violent?

If not, what provokes violence in the name of religion?


Asked by clarity333 at 2:39 AM on Jun. 16, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 22 (13,098 Credits)
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Answers (40)
  • People are inherently violent. Religion is designed by people. Does that make religion inherently violent? iPods are designed by people, too. They show (or can show) violent videos or play violent music. You can also kill a fly with one (to the detriment of the iPod). Does that make them inherently violent?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 2:43 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Dude A: "I'm right"
    Dude B: "No, I'm right, You're wrong!"
    Dude A: "Ok I am gonna have to kill the name of GOD!"
    Dude B: "Shit"

    Answer by kazmia at 2:44 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • The difficulty there is what's done in the name of religion isn't always really about religion. It's about territory, business interests, military strategy. Who is at fault - the religious who let their religion be used in that manner, or the people in power who twist religion to prey on people who (foolishly or not) trust them? Up until about the 1980's, every military action the US took had a religious argument. It wasn't necessarily the entire argument, but it was a component. There were verifiable issues behind each of those conflicts. The US has never had a legitimate religious military action. But, those verifiable issues didn't make a difference. Gaza is about slaughter and settlers and land. If Judaism and Islam both disappeared tomorrow, they'd still be fighting over that slice of land.

    Religion is just one of many means to channel the violence.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 3:16 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • A) Religion is a tool.
    B) People (as a group) are illogical, unreasonable, prone to violence, hold a grudge and have an overwhelming urge to be recognized as "right".

    A + B = Someone will always use religion to promote violence towards what they see as their adversary

    Having several major "my way or the highway" theological opinions as the major world religions (historically, more often than not, spread by the sword and/or slavery of the indigenous people) really doesn't help because there is not incentive to respect religious plurality and diversity...particularly when there *is* an incentive or for them to solicit their faith to others, whether it by by persuasion or force.


    Answer by thalassa at 6:51 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • If not, what provokes violence in the name of religion?  Greed, power and brainwashing / indoctrination.


    Answer by beeky at 7:27 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • No. Religion is a system of ideals that calls us above such behavior by encouraging traits like love, compassion, etc. Blame falls on the individuals who do not live up to those ideals and bastardize the religions of the world for their own gain. Most of the religious conflict in the world isn't just about religion. Usually it is geo-political issues given a religious mask, merely because religion is such a good tool for uniting people.

    If religion in itself were inherently violent, we would see EVERY believer expressing violent opinions or actions, and that is not the case. Believers fall on a spectrum which ranges from complete pacifism and love to extreme violence and hate. So it is the individual who chooses how to understand and apply religion. Religion itself is not an active power, it is merely ideas. People are the force through which it moves, and to people fall the blame when it is misused and misrepresented.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 7:31 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • I don't believe all religions are violent. Buddhism (arguably a religion by some, a philosophy by others) has not traditionally been violent. That doesn't mean there isn't an occasional Buddhist who is violent or that Buddhist sects don't disagree, but I don't believe there have been any major wars fought trying to convert people to Buddhism or any widespread violence. So, maybe exclusivity & the expectation that everyone should be a particular religion might lead to violence for some. Sometimes it's politics, attempts at controlling the public, and religion all intertwined so it might be hard to pinpoint how the violence begins. Generally, I think it's more likely that violent people use religion as an excuse or to justify their actions, because there are lots of example of both violent & non-violent people supposedly following the same religions. IMO It's probably more about individuals & in some cases politics + religion.

    Answer by pam19 at 8:48 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Religion and Christianity are two different belief systems. [sarah961]

    Definition of RELIGION for those who OBVIOUSLY do not know what it means:

    b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural 
    (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

    2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 12:54 PM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Inherent: involved in the constitution or essential character of something

    So, I would say NO, religion is not inherently violent

    Answer by soyousay at 8:36 AM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Religion itself is not necessarily violent but it can and is used to incite violence. 

    BUT ....

    Since man created religion and man is violent, it could be argued that technically religion is violent. 


    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 12:13 PM on Jun. 16, 2011