Theoretical Reflections on Violence and Religion: Identity, Power, Privilege and Difference (With Reference to the Hispanic World)

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to reflect, from a theoretical point of view, on the relationship between violence and religion. The historic examples, taken mainly from the Hispanic world, aim to show that even if violence is an habitual component in religions, it is not at all a necessary combination, either in regards to religion in general or to any religion in particular. For this purpose, four aspects will be brought up in which the binomial religion-violence is manifested in a more characteristic way. The first has to do with identity: religion as a sign of identity can allow for a systematic and religiously correct resource for violence. The second aspect deals with the relationship between power and religion, in particular in its relation to the religious legitimization of power and the violence that goes along with its practice. The third aspect refers to privilege, generator of violence in a number of orders (between humans and animals, men and women, powerful and subjected, center and periphery, religious leaders and their followers, etc.). The last aspect refers to difference and introduces a reflection on multireligiosity, a characteristic of our present world, and in which the combination of religion and violence, even though it endures, tends to be mitigated in view of a global frame of cohabitation which must become stronger from the search for a consensus, necessarily based on the renunciation of religiocentric and ethnocentric stances.

Theoretical Reflections on Violence and Religion: Identity, Power, Privilege and Difference (With Reference to the Hispanic World)

in Numen

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