Turn the Other Page: A Host of Recent Books Tackles the Topics of Religious Violence and Nonviolence. What Would Jesus Do? These Authors Say He'd Be Creative, Courageous, and Compassionate

By McCormick, Patrick | U.S. Catholic, November 2005 | Go to article overview

Turn the Other Page: A Host of Recent Books Tackles the Topics of Religious Violence and Nonviolence. What Would Jesus Do? These Authors Say He'd Be Creative, Courageous, and Compassionate


McCormick, Patrick, U.S. Catholic


"RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE" SHOULD BE AN OXYMORON, but ever since Cain slew Abel in a dispute over whose worship was more pleasing to God, people of all different faiths have killed in the name of religion. The attacks of September 11 and the War on Terror have forced us to look again at the disturbing ties between belief and violence, and to ask how Christians--who are called to follow the Prince of Peace--should respond to the mayhem in the world and our own hearts. How is religion--particularly our own--responsible for violence in the world, and how can we become a "peace church"? Several recent books examine these questions and offer some helpful ideas and inspiration.

How should Christians respond to terrorism? Edward LeRoy Long Jr. offers three options in a timely and lucid little book called Facing Terrorism: Responding as Christians (Westminster John Knox, 2004). We can take up war against terror in a military crusade to vanquish terror by force. We can work with other nations and international organizations in a law enforcement approach that treats terrorism as a criminal activity. And/or we can take a peacemaking path that seeks to understand and address the causes of terrorism and to work toward reconciliation with our enemies.

Long favors a combination of the law enforcement and peacemaking approaches, and divides his short book into chapters examining the nature and causes of terrorism and warning of the dangers of an overzealous crusade that violates justice and provokes greater violence. A Christian response to terror must acknowledge the violence in our own hearts and history and seek reconciliation with those trying to provoke us to graver violence.

In the wake of 9/11 many Westerners and Christians pointed accusing fingers at the violence of Islam and the Qur'an, but Catholic biblical scholar John J. Collins argues in Does the Bible Justify Violence? (Augsburg Fortress, 2004) that the problem of religiously inspired violence is not peculiar to Islam. The Bible also portrays God as violent and as commanding us to slaughter the Lord's enemies, and down through the ages more than a few Jews and Christians have found biblical support for their violence.

In scripture God commands the Hebrews to annihilate the Amalekites (1 Samuel) and Canaanites (Joshua) inhabiting the Promised Land, and later generations of Jews saw this "ban" as justifying the Maccabean revolt and the "zealot" rebellions of Jesus' day, while Christians have used these texts to justify the Crusades, the wars of religion after the Reformation, and the colonial slaughter of indigenous peoples.

We cannot deny the violence we find in scripture, Collins argues, but we can read and interpret these troubling texts in light of the central biblical themes of compassion, repentance, and reconciliation, and we can acknowledge that these texts uncover the violence in our own hearts as well as the all-too-human tendency to project this violence onto God. Collins also warns that the heart of religious violence is to be found in a stubborn unwillingness to dialogue and a temptation to beat our biblical texts into spears with which to slay our opponents. We must read scripture peacefully.

But it's not only the Bible that's implicated. Christianity itself has charges to answer, and editors Kenneth R. Chase and Alan Jacobs ask Christians to look at the plank in our own eye in Must Christianity Be Violent? Reflections on History, Practice, and Theology (Brazos Press, 2003).

Several essays in this thoughtful examination of conscience take a long look at violent episodes in Christian history, the Crusades, the colonial conquest and slaughter of native peoples, the enslavement oftens of millions of Africans, and the Shoah. How did Christians justify, tolerate, or! oppose this violence? And what can we learn about ourselves and our vocation to peace from these episodes?

Other probing essays look for links between Christian theology and violence or peace. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Turn the Other Page: A Host of Recent Books Tackles the Topics of Religious Violence and Nonviolence. What Would Jesus Do? These Authors Say He'd Be Creative, Courageous, and Compassionate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.