Journal of Religion and Violence

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2019

Violence and the Christian Right

Sean Durbin
Pages 231-254

Violence as Revelation
American Christian Zionist Theodicy, and the Construction of Religion through Violence

Drawing on Russell McCutcheon’s (2003) redescription of the theological category of theodicy as a socio-political rhetoric that functions to conserve social interests, this article examines the way that American Christian Zionists employ theodicies to explain historical, contemporary, and anticipated acts of violence. It argues that violence is central to Christian Zionists’ conception of God’s revelation, and thus to their identity. Rather than requiring the intellectual wrangling often associated with religious explanations for why violence is inflicted on or by a certain group of people, Christian Zionists identify acts of violence as either God’s punishment for insufficient support for Israel, or as God’s vengeance upon those who wish to harm his chosen people. In any given context, Christian Zionists draw on acts of violence to reaffirm their truth claims, and to ensure their desired social order is maintained.