Complete 5 pages APA formatted article: Religion and Violence. The purpose of this paper is to investigate religion and violence by examining the historicity of religious violence, the ways religions promote or oppose violence, and practical initiatives to support inter-religious harmony.
The Historicity of Religious Violence
. . . Four historical moments reveal the origins of religious violence. The first is associated with the diffusion of world religions during the 4th to 7th centuries of the Christian era. Christianity became the dominant religion of Europe through the displacement of the faiths native to the continent, and through the officialization of the new religion in the Roman empire. While Christianity spread to Ethiopia in Africa and South Asia, Hinduism spread to Indonesia, Buddhism to China, Korea and Japan from India. By the beginning of the 8th CE, Islam covered Spain and the Arab world and went to Sind in the Indian subcontinent. “Much violence was involved in the transcontinental spread of the world religions”. Although most of the pre-colonial spread of religion was associated with political conquest and physical violence, this was not always the rule. For example, violence did not characterize the spread of Hinduism. Christianity scarcely used power in spreading to South Asia. King Ashoka converted to Buddhism, unable to bear the carnage of the Kalinga war, and propagated the religion through peaceful means.
. . . . The second historical moment was colonialism characterized by racial superiority and cultural conquest through the “civilizing mission”. This was in addition to political and economic domination and was charged with religious violence. “The European missionaries did not even recognize the religions of the New World as religion”, not even as human beings. Not only were the First Nations not allowing their cultural identity, but they were also physically liquidated. The people of Africa were considered primitive, without history and religion. Hence it was thought to be necessary to convert them to Christianity in large numbers. However, in the case of Islam, they put up a stiff resistance, resulting in violent conflicts between the two imported religions. Today, the leading religion of 50 per cent of the African states is Christianity, the other main religion being Islam, thereby relegating native religions to the background.  .
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