Professor Robin Gill examines the apparent rise in religiously–inspired violence in the 21st century, and explores what we can do about it. (Upcoming)
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The 21st century faces a serious problem of religiously inspired violence.
With numerous terror attacks upon civilians by committed Islamists in Paris, London, Manchester, Nice, Stockholm, Barcelona and many other places in the West, perceptions of public religions have rapidly changed. Worldwide there have also been other shocking examples of religiously inspired violence, such as Hindu violence against non–Hindus in parts of India or Buddhist attacks on Muslims in Myanmar and Thailand. Moreover, such attacks have, in Britain, brought back bad memories of the sectarian violence exported from Northern Ireland in the previous generation.
Far from being regarded as ephemeral and disappearing, strong religious commitments are now frequently seen as dangerous and far too prevalent. Perhaps society would be much safer and morally better without any religions at all.
This forthcoming essay, by renowned ethicist Robin Gill, Emeritus Professor of Applied Theology at the University of Kent, begins with two key questions: is religiously inspired violence on the rise? And does religious commitment inherently cause war and violence? It then asks why do religious extremists kill themselves and others in the name of God, and what can religious leaders do to reduce such violence?
Drawing on extensive contemporary research on the topic, and refusing to duck hard questions – or hard religious texts – Gill’s essay offers an unflinchingly honest, scripturally–sensitive and practically–helpful response to one of the major issues concerning religion in public life today.
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