Religion and Violence
What is religion? Religion is the belief in a god or in a group of gods, or an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods, or it can be an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group. How does religion and violence coexist and why are they connected together? Since September 11th, 2001, the United States and possibly the world have put these two categories together. For some of the hard-core people in the world, like Chris Kyle, they say “God, Country, Family.” These words could be used in almost any country when it comes to war and/or violence. Kyle was a highly decorated Navy Seal sniper; he served in four tours to Iraq. In his book American Sniper (2012), Kyle says, “My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul. I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job.” Myself included, I have seen and done thing in the heart of battle that would make the normal civilian person say, what the heck! These people that Kyle had to kill posed threats to his fellow comrades. But does religion make violence okay to commit? First, lets look at what George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden both said after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
According to Osama bin Laden, “Fight in the path of Allah, you are not charged with the responsibility except for yourself, and urge the believers, lest Allah restrain the might of the rejectors, and Allah is stronger in might and stronger in inflicting punishment” (Pallmeyer pg. 1). This is pretty much what President George W. Bush said in his September 20 press speech. Bush said, “As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror. This will be an age of liberty here and across the world… Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail…. The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them. Fellow citizens, we’ll meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America” (Pallmeyer 2). These statements are from two completely different people with two completely different Gods and yet they practically say the same thing. With God on our side we are protected from the enemy.
President George W. Bush became a born again Christian at the age of 40. He publically announced that himself and God had numerous conversations. President George Bush has claimed he was told by God to invade Iraq and attack Osama bin Laden's stronghold of Afghanistan as part of a divine mission to bring peace to the Middle East, security for Israel, and a state for the Palestinians. Evidentially, the former Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath says Mr. Bush told him and Mahmoud Abbas, former prime minister and now Palestinian President: "I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.' And I did, and then God would tell me, 'George go and end the tyranny in Iraq,' and I did." Could it be that God really spoke to George W. Bush or could it be that since there was a plot to kill W. Bush’s father, that the voice he heard was maybe that of his dad? W. Bush could have just hiding behind God and using him as a means for support. Osama bin Laden made a videotape on October 7th, 2001 stating, “Here is America struck by God Almighty in one of its vital organs, so that its greatest buildings are destroyed. Grace and gratitude to God. America has been filled with horror from north to south...
Bibliography: Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terror in the Mind of God. 2000.
Lincoln, Bruce. Holy Terrors: thinking about religion after September 11. Chicago, 2003.
Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jack. Is Religion Killing Us? 2003.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document