Volume 15, Issue 1, Autumn 2010
Paul B. Cliteur
Religion and Violence or the Reluctance to Study this Relationship
This article is about the religious roots of violence, in particular religious terrorism. The author argues that there is a great reluctance to study this relationship. This is unfortunate because only on the basis of a realistic estimate of the facts can a successful counterterrorist strategy be developed. One of the problems with religious violence is that holy scriptures, in some passages, exhort believers to violent acts. In combination with a theory of ethics that is known as “divine command morality” this is problematic. Even if the holy book contains only a small percentage of passages invoking violence they pose a problem if the whole book is considered to be holy and the word of God.