fields of blood religion and the history of violence

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Fields Of Blood

Author : Karen Armstrong
ISBN : 9780385353106
Genre : History
File Size : 82. 94 MB
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From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence. For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? With deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present. While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity’s Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith—not only Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism—in its totality over time. As she describes, each arose in an agrarian society with plenty powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, then the only real source of wealth. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred. In each tradition, however, a counterbalance to the warrior code also developed. Around sages, prophets, and mystics there grew up communities protesting the injustice and bloodshed endemic to agrarian society, the violence to which religion had become heir. And so by the time the great confessional faiths came of age, all understood themselves as ultimately devoted to peace, equality, and reconciliation, whatever the acts of violence perpetrated in their name. Industrialization and modernity have ushered in an epoch of spectacular and unexampled violence, although, as Armstrong explains, relatively little of it can be ascribed directly to religion. Nevertheless, she shows us how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence—and what hope there might be for peace among believers of different creeds in our time. At a moment of rising geopolitical chaos, the imperative of mutual understanding between nations and faith communities has never been more urgent, the dangers of action based on misunderstanding never greater. Informed by Armstrong’s sweeping erudition and personal commitment to the promotion of compassion, Fields of Blood makes vividly clear that religion is not the problem.

Fields Of Blood

Author : Karen Armstrong
ISBN : 9780307401984
Genre : Religion
File Size : 87. 35 MB
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From the renowned and bestselling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion's connection to violence. For the first time in American history, religious self-identification is on the decline. Some have cited a perception that began to grow after September 11: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance and divisiveness--something bad for society. But how accurate is that view? And does it apply equally to all faiths? In these troubled times, we risk basing decisions of real and dangerous consequence on mistaken understandings of the faiths subscribed around us, in our immediate community as well as globally. And so, with her deep learning and sympathetic understanding, Karen Armstrong examines the impulse toward violence in each of the world's great religions. The comparative approach is new: while there have been plenty of books on jihad or the Crusades, this book lays the Christian and the Islamic way of war side by side, along with those of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism and Judaism. Each of these faiths arose in agrarian societies with plenty of motivation for violence: landowners had to lord it over peasants and warfare was essential to increase one's landholdings, the only real source of wealth before the great age of trade and commerce. In each context, it fell to the priestly class to legitimize the actions of the state. And so the martial ethos became bound up with the sacred. At the same time, however, their ideologies developed that ran counter to the warrior code: around sages, prophets and mystics. Within each tradition there grew up communities that represented a protest against the injustice and violence endemic to agrarian society. This book explores the symbiosis of these 2 impulses and its development as these confessional faiths came of age. The aggression of secularism has often damaged religion and pushed it into a violent mode. But modernity has also been spectacularly violent, and so Armstrong goes on to show how and in what measure religions, in their relative maturity, came to absorb modern belligerence--and what hope there might be for peace among believers in our time.

Fields Of Blood

Author : Karen Armstrong
ISBN : 9781446467718
Genre : Religion
File Size : 58. 89 MB
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It is the most persistent myth of our time: religion is the cause of all violence. But history suggests otherwise. Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to disprove the link between religion and bloodshed. * Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the centuries, from medieval crusaders to modern-day jihadists. * The West today has a warped concept of religion: we regard faith as a personal and private matter, but for most of history faith has informed people’s entire outlook on life, and often been inseparable from politics. * Humans undoubtedly have a natural propensity for aggression: the founders of the largest religions – Jesus, Buddha, the rabbis of early Judaism, the prophet Muhammad – aimed to curb violence and build a more peaceful and just society, but with our growing greed for money and wealth came collective violence and warfare. * With the arrival of the modern all-powerful, secular state humanity’s destructive potential has begun to spiral out of control. Is humanity on the brink of destroying itself? Fields of Blood is a celebration of the ancient religious ideas and movements that have promoted peace and reconciliation across millennia of civilization.

The Great Transformation

Author : Karen Armstrong
ISBN : 9780307371430
Genre : Religion
File Size : 60. 81 MB
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From one of the world’s leading writers on religion and the highly acclaimed author of the bestselling A History of God, The Battle for God and The Spiral Staircase, comes a major new work: a chronicle of one of the most important intellectual revolutions in world history and its relevance to our own time. In one astonishing, short period – the ninth century BCE – the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity into the present day: Confucianism and Daoism in China; Hinduism and Buddhism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Historians call this the Axial Age because of its central importance to humanity’s spiritual development. Now, Karen Armstrong traces the rise and development of this transformative moment in history, examining the brilliant contributions to these traditions made by such figures as the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Ezekiel. Armstrong makes clear that despite some differences of emphasis, there was remarkable consensus among these religions and philosophies: each insisted on the primacy of compassion over hatred and violence. She illuminates what this “family” resemblance reveals about the religious impulse and quest of humankind. And she goes beyond spiritual archaeology, delving into the ways in which these Axial Age beliefs can present an instructive and thought-provoking challenge to the ways we think about and practice religion today. A revelation of humankind’s early shared imperatives, yearnings and inspired solutions – as salutary as it is fascinating. Excerpt from The Great Transformation: In our global world, we can no longer afford a parochial or exclusive vision. We must learn to live and behave as though people in remote parts of the globe were as important as ourselves. The sages of the Axial Age did not create their compassionate ethic in idyllic circumstances. Each tradition developed in societies like our own that were torn apart by violence and warfare as never before; indeed, the first catalyst of religious change was usually a visceral rejection of the aggression that the sages witnessed all around them. . . . All the great traditions that were created at this time are in agreement about the supreme importance of charity and benevolence, and this tells us something important about our humanity. From the Hardcover edition.

Holy War

Author :
ISBN : 9780385721400
Genre : History
File Size : 29. 51 MB
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Covers the history of the Crusades, from Pope Urban II's call to holy war through its violent conflicts, while explaining their direct influence on the modern world's ongoing Middle East turbulence among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.

The Better Angels Of Our Nature

Author : Steven Pinker
ISBN : 9780143122012
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 35. 2 MB
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Presents a controversial history of violence which argues that today's world is the most peaceful time in human existence, drawing on psychological insights into intrinsic values that are causing people to condemn violence as an acceptable measure.

A History Of God

Author : Karen Armstrong
ISBN : 9780307798589
Genre : Religion
File Size : 67. 66 MB
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Why does God exist? How have the three dominant monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—shaped and altered the conception of God? How have these religions influenced each other? In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism—a concept previously unknown in the world. Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned 'the One God' to suit the social and political needs of their followers. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic. Praise for History of God “An admirable and impressive work of synthesis that will give insight and satisfaction to thousands of lay readers.”—The Washington Post Book World “A brilliantly lucid, spendidly readable book. [Karen] Armstrong has a dazzling ability: she can take a long and complex subject and reduce it to the fundamentals, without oversimplifying.”—The Sunday Times (London) “Absorbing . . . A lode of learning.”—Time “The most fascinating and learned study of the biggest wild goose chase in history—the quest for God. Karen Armstrong is a genius.”—A.N. Wilson, author of Jesus: A Life

The Oxford Handbook Of Religion And Violence

Author : Michael Jerryson
ISBN : 9780190270094
Genre : Violence
File Size : 48. 37 MB
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Violence has always played a part in the religious imagination, from symbols and myths to legendary battles, from colossal wars to the theater of terrorism. The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence surveys intersections between religion and violence throughout history and around the world. The forty original essays in this volume include overviews of major religious traditions, showing how violence is justified within the literary and theological foundations of the tradition, how it is used symbolically and in ritual practice, and how social acts of violence and warfare have been justified by religious ideas. The essays also examine patterns and themes relating to religious violence, such as sacrifice and martyrdom, which are explored in cross-disciplinary or regional analyses; and offer major analytic approaches, from literary to social scientific studies. The contributors to this volume--innovative thinkers who are forging new directions in theory and analysis related to religion and violence--provide novel insights into this important field of studies. By mapping out the whole field of religion and violence, The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence will prove an authoritative source for students and scholars for years to come.

The Fundamentalist Mindset

Author : Charles B. Strozier
ISBN : 9780195379655
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 81. 1 MB
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This work sheds light on the psychology of fundamentalism, with a particular focus on those who become extremists and fanatics. The contributors identify several factors: a radical dualism, a destructive inclination to interpret authoritative texts, paranoid thinking, and an apocalyptic world view.

Being Alive And Having To Die

Author : Dan Cryer
ISBN : 9781429989350
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 59. 63 MB
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One of the year's Top Ten Books on Religion and Spirituality (Booklist), Being Alive and Having to Die is the story of the remarkable public and private journey of Reverend Forrest Church, the scholar, activist, and preacher whose death became a way to celebrate life. Through his pulpit at the prestigious Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York, Reverend Forrest Church became a champion of liberal religion and a leading opponent of the religious right. An inspired preacher, a thoughtful theologian and an eloquent public intellectual, Church built a congregation committed to social service for people in need, while writing twenty five books, hosting a cable television program, and being featured in People, Esquire, New York Magazine, and on numerous national television and radio appearances. Being Alive and Having to Die works on two levels, as an examination of liberal religion during the past 30 years of conservative ascendancy, and as a fascinating personal story. Church grew up the son of Senator Frank Church of Idaho, famous for combating the Vietnam War in the 1960s and the CIA in the 1970s. Like many sons of powerful fathers, he rebelled and took a different path in life, which led him to his own prominence. Then, in 1991, at the height of his fame, he fell in love with a married parishioner and nearly lost his pulpit. Eventually, he regained his stature, overcame a long-secret alcoholism, wrote his best books–and found himself diagnosed with terminal cancer. His three year public journey toward death brought into focus the preciousness of life, not only for himself, but for his ministry. Based on extraordinary access to Church and over 200 interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, Dan Cryer bears witness to a full, fascinating, at time controversial life. Being Alive and Having to Die is an honest look at an imperfect man and his lasting influence on modern faith.

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