ACADEMIA

Reviews on Resources for Biblical and Theological Studies

Cavanaugh. MYTH OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE (2009)

Written By: Paulson Pulikottil - Feb• 15•11

Cavanaugh, William T. The Myth of Religious Violence. Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). ISBN: 9780195385045.

The idea that religion by its very nature promotes violence is deeply rooted in modern consciousness due to a western propoganda to underwrite its own violence. In this book Cavanaugh argues that thinking in mutually exclusive terms like “religious” and “secular” or “religious” and “political” is a are western inventions. This has helped to create a religious “other” whose violence is seen as fanatical and the western violence to counter it as an attempt to peace-making. He argues that secular ideologies are as prone to violence as religious ideologies are.

The book is arranged in four chapters (besides Introduction) as (1). The Anatomy of the Myth (2). The Invention of Religion (3). The Creation Myth of the Wars of Religion (4). The Uses of the Myth.

William T. Cavanaugh is Professor in the Department of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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