Like a fun-house mirror, Western conceptions of religion and violence have distorted the truth in a way that is severely damaging to us all. The relationship between religion and violence is a subjective connection used to justify political goals. Because the West purports itself to be secular, the use of religion and violence arguments allows people to dehumanize religious people and societies and to therefore justify violence done against them for political purposes. According to Terror in the Mind of God author Mark Juergensmeyer, for those committing violence, it requires an enormous amount of moral presumption for the perpetrators of these acts to justify the destruction of property on a massive scale or to condone a brutal attack on another life, especially the life of someone one scarcely knows and against whom one bears no personal enmity.[1]

Othering, the fear of someone different from oneself and subsequent prejudice, comes into play as an important factor in the psychological need for religion-and-violence arguments.

[1] Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (University of California Press: Berkeley/ Los Angeles/ London, 2000), p. 11


Religions; Religions -- Philosophy; Religions -- History


Relics, Remnants, and Religion: an Undergraduate Journal in Religious Studies

Publication Date




Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


The University of Puget Sound