Religion Violence and Non-violence essay
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Why according to Osama bin laden himself did he attack the twin towers?
The attack on the twin tower is believed to have been religiously motivated. The people involved were of the Islamic faith and according to Osama bin laden, he said that he and his Al- Qaeda group bombed the twin towers because they believed they were fighting a holy war. This holy war is commonly known as the jihad, which was targeted to destroy the infidels. This soldiers of the jihad believed that if they fought this holy war they would become martyrs.
Another reason for bombing the twin towers was to bring down the morale of the United States. Osama stated that the attack on the twin tower along with the pentagon and Capitol Hill, where the plane that crashed is believed to have been headed was well calculated. He said that these places represented the power of America and the influence that they were extending to other countries especially the Middle East. He said that they wanted to destroy the morale of the United States.
Why is it easy for someone motivated by religion to convince him/herself that his/her violence is legitimate?
The first reason why people are easily motivated by religion to commit violence is the moral justification. Religion in our today lives is responsible for setting out what is morally right and what is wrong. It sets out the paths that its followers should take and failure to take such paths amounts to committing a sin that is punishable by religion. Therefore, if religion teaches that violence is holy, right, and then individuals will engage in such violence so that they can abide to religion.
Secondly, individuals engage in violence as a religion because of the spiritual and eternal rewards that they are promised by religion. For instance the Sikh militants believed that they were engaging in an action that was higher than themselves and that was exemplary religious. The Islamic terrorists also believe that they commit violence because they will receive rewards in heaven.
What according to the author are 3 theories that most commonly proffered to explain religious violence? Please explain these theories in your own words.
Charles Selengut in his book argues that the first theory that can be used to explain religious violence is the need or desire of human beings to punish those who have hurt them or wronged them. He argues that human beings use religion as a cover to disguise their real reasons for engaging in violence, which is a human need or hunger to kill and destroy. Another theory that Charles pointed out was that individuals were jealous and angered by the success of other human beings and therefore decided to attack them, while hiding under the religious cloak.
The third theory that can be used to explain religious violence is that of the individuals trying to get back at someone or an organization. Selengut addresses this as therapy, where a group of individuals feel humiliated by what another has done or the domination from another group and they can’t fight back. Therefore, the only way to get back at this dominating people is to launch terrorist attacks on them, to defeat them and make them feel as them.
How does the author feel about identifying religious ideologies from the secular ones that cause violence?
Charles Selengut feels that religious ideologies and secular ideologies are more or less the same. If people engage in violence because of their religious beliefs or ideologies, it might not be entirely religiously motivated and that it may have some secular motives behind the religious justification. For instance, Islamic religion may use religious justification while trying to cover up for their political or economic grievances.
On the other hand, he argues that secular ideologies are also likely to cause violence as religious ideologies would, therefore in indentifying these ideologies from one another one cannot firmly state that religion does cause violence. Furthermore, the discrepancies between what is secular and what is sacred are mostly found in the west and in the Islamic countries, what is sacred and secular is not well defined. In addition, secular ideologies cause violence.
Explain what the author means by the term “strong religion” and “weak religion”.
Hector Avalos in using the term strong religion means that it is that religion that has immense influence on its followers. In this book, he explains how the bible in the old testaments encourages violence and brings about the scarcity that may cause violence to imply. He also discusses how Christianity was predominant especially in the Roman Empire, but Islam later joined it in having influence in places over the world. As for the weak religion, these are those that were overshadowed by the strong religions such as Christians and Islam. These weak religions do not usually have influence on violence that is religiously related. Avalos also emphasized on leaving the bible as a historical book and to stop treating it as still living as it contributes to the current religious influenced violence.
What do you think of the author’s coinage “religious illiteracy”? Provide examples to support your point.
Avalos coined the term religious illiteracy to mean those that have little knowledge of what religious teaching are and those that do not show interest in knowing such religious teachings. This term originated from biblical illiteracy, which showed that few people read the bible unless urged to do so by the religious leaders. He argues that even in earlier times the translation of the bible had been discouraged. To Avalos religious illiteracy is not such a bad thing as many would see and perceive it.
An example is most Americans are said of having little knowledge of the bible and its teachings yet they attest to being Christians. If religion were to cause, violence then having, little knowledge of its teaching would rather be advantageous. Additionally, teachings especially those of the bible in the Old Testament are said to somehow encourage violence. If everyone knew of this writings and followed them, wouldn't this cause an increase in violence? It would therefore in saying that religious or biblical illiteracy is not that bad Avalos was probably right.