From Holy War to Holy Peace

Biblical Alternatives to Belligerent Rhetoric
  • Martti Nissinen
Part of the Culture and Religion in International Relations book series (CRIR)


Does religion kill? In the post-cold war world, this question is asked by many who feel haunted by a new sense of insecurity caused by acts of extreme violence performed in the name of God. Many people would not hesitate to answer in the affirmative: There are enough rituals, sacred texts, divine beings, and human authorities in different religions that not only accept killing but also give straightforward orders to kill when sacred things are at stake. Others would maintain that the prime mover of violence should not be sought in religion but in the human condition: I Human beings, due to the complexity of their mutual relations, commit violent acts irrespective of their religiosity, while religion is often utilized as the ultimate justification for violence. In other words, religion does not kill, but people use it to justify their violent pursuits. If these are the alternatives, I would rather opt for the second stance. However, I find it necessary, not only to identify elements that make religion a source of conflict and are used In justifying violence and warfare, but also to look for sensible alternatives.


Religious Tradition Covenantal Relationship Oracle Query Extreme Violence Theme Text 
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Copyright information

© Raymond Cohen and Raymond Westbrook 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martti Nissinen

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