About the new Inside Loyola



A one-stop-shop of Loyola's most popular and useful Web resources.

A - Z Index



“Violence and Religious Conviction”

Gini in a Bottle

“Violence and Religious Conviction”

Al Gini


Below you will find a brief essay taken from a blog posted by The Jesuit Institute of South Africa. I think that this essay is both prophetic and profound.

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction”

                                                                                       (Pascal, Pensées, 1670)

            How is it that violence and the sacred can be so closely connected? Réné Girard and others have written extensively on the human capacity to demonize “the other”, the one who is different, the one of a different colour, the one from a different tribe. And so often it is in the name of religion. It has happened between Protestants and Catholics, between Whites and Blacks, Gays and Straights, between Sunnis and Shiites. Now we see it happening where Islam and Christianity come into contact. Perhaps, however, it is not so much the religious conviction but rather the distortion or misinterpretation of religious principles that leads to violence. This happens when people allow passion to replace reason in public discourse. This happens when we dare to use God to justify our desire for violence.

Add a Comment


(will not be displayed) (required)