Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Violence and Religion

  • James W. JonesEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_849

All the religions of the world contain storehouses of symbols and metaphors of war and violence. At the beginning of the sacred history of the Bible – the fountainhead of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – God “Himself” hardens Pharaoh’s heart to set the Egyptians up for slaughter. The firstborn child of every Egyptian family is slain until every Egyptian family knew death. Bloody stories of warfare, pillage, rape, and conquest fill the opening books of the Torah. Such texts lay the basis for the Holy War tradition in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The New Testament contains bloody portrayals of Jesus’ suffering on the cross, Paul’s metaphors of continual spiritual warfare, and the horrific images in the Book of Revelationso dear to apocalyptic Christians. The crusades, the inquisition, and the European wars of religion following the Reformation are all part of the history of Christianity. Islam tells and retells the stories of the Prophet’s battles and conquest and there is the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ReligionRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA