William Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence

William Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence Book Report/Review example
Book Report/Review
Religion and Theology
Pages 3 (753 words)
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The Myth of Religious Violence
William Cavanaugh’s book, The Myth of Religious Violence, clearly states that religion is both a transhistorical, as well as a transcultural element of human life. That religion is essentially distinct from “secular” features such as politics and economics, which have an inclination to promote violence.


Religion, he says, must be tamed through restricting its access to the general public (Cavanaugh, 2009). In this book Cavanaugh examines how the twin categories of religion and secular are initially constructed by showing that they are used in arguing that they are the key factors of violence. He argues that there is no transhistorical and transcultural essence of religion, and attempts to separate religious violence from secular violence are incoherent. What refers to as secular or religious, in any given situation, is just but a function of different configuration of power (Cavanaugh, 2009). According to Cavanaugh, the myth of religious violence helps to construct and marginalize a religious group prone to fanaticism, to the contrast with the rational, peace-making secular subject. This myth, he says, can be and is used in domestic politics to legitimize the marginalization of certain types of practices and groups labeled religious, while it undermines the nation-state’s control on its citizens’ compliance to kill and sacrifice (Cavanaugh, 2009). In foreign policy, the myth of religious violence has served to cast non-secular social orders especially Muslim societies, in the role of villain. ...
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