The Thistle

The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict – J. Oliver Buswell Jr. Library Select Items

Have you heard “religious wars” used to characterize inter-Christian violence including that in 17th century England between different Protestants? More recently, Northern Ireland and today the vast sectarian violence within Islam, as well as inter-religious violence such as in Africa (especially Muslim against Christian) and India (Hindu against Muslim) help feed the notion that violence is an inherent characteristic of religion. Strongly countering this, and especially the secularist and anti-Christian nature of it, is The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict, by William Cavanaugh (Oxford, 2009). He’s Professor of Catholic Studies at DePaul University, and his book is the focus of the “Symposium” that begins the fall 2011 issue (vol. 20, no. 4) of Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology. It consists of essays by the Archbishop of Canterbury and professors (some emeritus) at, respectively, Connecticut College, McGill University, and the University of Notre Dame. To these interlocutors Cavanaugh then responds.