Beyond Violence: Religious Sources of Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Beyond Violence: Religious Sources of Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Edited by James L. Heft
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Violence: Religious Sources of Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
    Book Description:

    In an age of terrorism and other forms of violence committed in the name of religion, how can religion become a vehicle for peace, justice, and reconciliation? And in a world of bitter conflicts-many rooted in religious difference-how can communities of faith understand one another?The essays in this important book take bold steps forward to answering these questions. The fruit of a historic conference of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars and community leaders, the essays address a fundamental question: how the three monotheistic traditions can provide the resources needed in the work of justice and reconciliation.Two distinguished scholars represent each tradition. Rabbis Irving Greenberg and Reuven Firestone each examine the relationship of Judaism to violence, exploring key sources and the history of power, repentance, and reconciliation. From Christianity, philosopher Charles Taylor explores the religious dimensions of categoricalviolence against other faiths, other groups, while Scott Appleby traces the emergence since Vatican II of nonviolence as a foundation of Catholic theology and practice. Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia, discusses Muslim support of pluralism and human rights, and Mohamed Fathi Osman examines the relationship between political violence and sacred sources in contemporary Islam.By focusing on transformative powers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the essays in this book provide new beginnings for people of faith committed to restoring peace among nations through peace among religions.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4696-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Leonard Swidler
    (pp. 1-14)
    James L. Heft

    Especially since the religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many people in Europe have linked religion with violence. Bloody conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, and then between Protestants and other Protestants, lasted for decades. Once the leaders of the Enlightenment added to the horrors of these religious wars the memories of the Crusades, and especially the Inquisition, they concluded that if religion were excluded as a force from public life, violence could be minimized. They believed that once “privatized,” religion would no longer be a source of violence. The public sphere would then be governed, they assumed, by...

  5. 1 Notes on the Sources of Violence: Perennial and Modern
    (pp. 15-42)
    Charles Taylor

    What I want to focus on here is not violence in all its aspects, which includes domestic violence, criminal violence, and the like. What concerns me is categorial violence, exercised against whole categories of others, people therefore that one may never have known or been in contact with. I’m thinking of the violence wrought against a scapegoat rninority or phenomena such as ethnic cleansing or genocide. And, needless to say, the events of September 11, 2001, come very much to mind.

    The fact that these events recur so frequently in our “civilized” century is deeply troubling. How can we explain...

  6. 2 Judaism, Christianity, Islam: Hope or Fear of Our Times
    (pp. 43-56)
    Mustafa Ceric

    “The evil we are talking about here was not committed by Christians, but by those who have broken all the teachings of Jesus. Those who have raped women and killed innocent people have no religion. They are simply murderers.”¹ I wish Alija Izetbegovic was able to come personally to this conference and read you this and many other of his statements concerning his understanding of religion and morality in the context of world affairs of today.

    Unfortunately, his age and health did not allow him to be with you today in Los Angeles. He has asked me to represent him...

  7. 3 God Is the All-Peace, the All-Merciful
    (pp. 57-73)
    Mohamed Fathi Osman

    From the Qur’an:

    “He is the All-Merciful, the Mercy-giving. God is He save whom there is no deity; the Sovereign Supreme, the Holy, the All-Peace” (Qur’an 59:22–23).

    “And God calls [the human beings] into the abode of peace, and guides one who wills onto a straight way. Those who persevere in doing good, they will get the ultimate good” (10:25–26).

    “O you who have attained to faith! Enter all wholly into peace, and follow not Satan’s footsteps, for, verily, he is your open foe” (2:208).

    “And among the humankind there is the one whose views on this world...

  8. 4 Judaism on Violence and Reconciliation: An Examination of Key Sources
    (pp. 74-87)
    Reuven Firestone

    Christians have sometimes claimed that Judaism is a violent religion and the God of Israel is a violent God. The accusation tends to be made in relation to Christianity as a religion of peace and the God of Christianity as expressing only love.¹ As a student of religion in general as well as Judaism in particular, I must admit that I know of no criteria through which one can judge a religion as violent or merciful, cruel or compassionate, just or perverse. Such judgments of religion tend to be made on the basis of only a few, carefully chosen scriptural...

  9. 5 Religion as a Force for Reconciliation and Peace: A Jewish Analysis
    (pp. 88-112)
    Irving Greenberg

    This chapter was written for presentation at a conference of Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The goal of the colloquy was to help religions become a resource for communities and nations seeking peaceful means of conflict resolution. This objective in itself was a noble response to the widespread recognition that religions around the world are at this very moment, tragically, all too often a source of murderous violence toward people of other religious backgrounds. Religious authority is being used to validate violent ethnic outbursts and to instigate internecine conflicts in many countries. In recent decades, one can point to the religious...

  10. 6 Disciples of the Prince of Peace? Christian Resources for Nonviolent Peacebuilding
    (pp. 113-144)
    R. Scott Appleby

    Since the end of World War II, I shall argue in this essay, momentum has been developing, within both Christian theology and praxis, toward nonviolent peacebuilding as the heart of the Christian ethic. Today nonviolence is seen by significant numbers of Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants—as well, of course, as by members of the historic peace churches-not merely as an option, but as the nonnegotiable dimension of Christian discipleship. Peace-building, as we shall see, is the constructive agenda of the nonviolent agents of social change. First, however, it is necessary to trace the emergence of nonviolence itself as a...

    (pp. 145-148)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 149-162)