Fire & Sword

Does Religion Promote Violence?

Among the forces that motivate people to torture and kill other people, religion is unique. In wars or other forms of collective violence it inspires the worst kind of killing—indiscriminate, unrelenting, insatiable. “Sacred rage” is the default mode of zealots driven by a devotion that is absolute, irrational, and inevitably divisive.

These self-styled true believers are willing to sacrifice themselves, their families, and their homelands in the effort to annihilate the enemy, who is...

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About the Author

R. Scott Appleby, director of the Kroc Center for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, is co-editor of Peacebuilding: Catholic Theology, Ethics and Praxis.