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The Justification of Religious Violence

Steve Clarke (Original Author)
ISBN: 978-1-118-52972-0
272 pages
April 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
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How are justifications for religious violence developed and do they differ from secular justifications for violence? Can liberal societies tolerate potentially violent religious groups? Can those who accept religious justifications for violence be dissuaded from acting violently? Including six in-depth contemporary case studies, The Justification of Religious Violence is the first book to examine the logical structure of justifications of religious violence.

  • The first book specifically devoted to examining the logical structure of justifications of religious violence
  • Seeks to understand how justifications for religious violence are developed and how or if they differ from ordinary secular justifications of violence
  • Examines 3 widely employed premises used in religious justifications of violence – ‘cosmic war’, the importance of the afterlife, and ‘sacred values’
  • Considers to what extent liberal democratic societies should tolerate who hold that their religion justifies violent acts
  • Reflects on the possibility of effective policy measures to persuade those who believe that violent action is justified by religion, to refrain from acting violently
  • Informed by recent work in psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and evolutionary biology
  • Part of the Blackwell Public Philosophy Series
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Preface

1 Justification, Religion, and Violence

2 Religion

3 Morality

4 Justifying Violence,War, and CosmicWar

5 The Afterlife

6 The Sacred

7 Recent Justifications of Religious Violence

8 Tolerance

9 Reducing Religious Violence

References

Index

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Steve Clarke is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Australia, and a Senior Research Associate of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. He has published over sixty academic papers and is the author of Metaphysics and the Disunity of Scientific Knowledge (1998), and co-editor of three books including Religion, Intolerance and Conflict: a Scientific and Conceptual Investigation (with Russell Powell and Julian Savulescu, 2013).

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“How could anyone believe that they are justified in blowing up school busses or the World Trade Center? What role does religion play in their thinking? Steve Clarke illuminates these complex and controversial issues with clarity and balance. This important book is highly recommended for all of us who wonder about the relations between religion and violence.”

—Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Duke University

“Avoiding big claims about religion causing violence, Steve Clarke argues that many religiously-based justifications for violence, far from being wildly irrational, are formally similar to those commonly offered as secular justifications. Clear, very readable, and thoroughly researched, the book makes a valuable contribution to one strand in the current debate about religion and violence.”

—C.A.J. Coady, University of Melbourne

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