In the name of GOD – NI 370 – Keynote: “God the sponge

Some argue that faith is rarely the cause of violence. What religion does is absorb the violence of the society in which it finds itself.

?The Qur?an reflects the brutal tribal warfare that afflicted Arabia during the early seventh century,? points out religious historian Karen Armstrong. ?The scriptures all bear scars of their violent begetting, so it is easy for extremists to find texts that give a seal of divine approval to hatred.?

In a similar way, she says ?the Christian Right today has absorbed the endemic violence in American society: they oppose reform of gun laws, for example, and support the death penalty. They never quote the Sermon on the Mount but base their xenophobia and aggressive theology on Revelation.?

Most Muslim extremism today, Armstrong says, ?is the product of societies that have suffered prolonged, hopeless conflict?. She cites Palestine, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir. Osama Bin Laden uses scripture that reflects this violent reality.8″

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