Varieties of Violence


Violence is a primordial phenomenon dating back to the time when Adam and his sons resided on the Earth. As in all former eras, the twenty first century also is the eye witness of the bitter consequences of the dark side of mankind. So, globally, violence takes thousands of lives every year and the number is increasing annually due both to unequalled mixture of people of all faiths in many parts of the world and unprecedented level of free expression of either religious or secular perspectives on every aspects of life which naturally results in bare widespread violence. Various forms of violence have been recognized as violation of human rights embodied in international and regional treaties as well as in national laws and constitutions. In the present article, the diverse classifications of violence including spiritual violence are discussed, while religious violence, where religion is either the subject or object of violent behaviour, is analysed in more depth. In the concluding part of the article, while it is admitted that certain aspects of religions might be misused to support violence, it is asserted that a genuine interpretation of all Abrahamic religions' core elements would not authorize human violence and every main religion of the world has expressed kind of commitment to the value of peace: “Thou shalt not kill”[1] is in the essence of all monotheism faiths, certainly the three based upon Abraham and God. The concluding remarks of the author in this article is that, as violence is nowadays resorted to in the name of religions and religious leaders, it should, in turn, be fought by religious leaders emphasizing on peace, forgiveness and compassion, as the key elements in all religions.

[1]     Exodus 20:13 

واژگان کلیدی
: violence, human rights, religious violence, spiritual violence

منابع و مآخذ مقاله

Exodus 20:13

Bible. Gen. 1: 26-28.

GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death, Various collaborators (17.12.2014).

Ralph E.S. Tanner (2007) Violence and Religion: Cross-Cultural Opinions and Confluences, Concept Publishing at pp.5-6.

See: Johan Galtung (1990) “Cultural violence,” Journal of Peace Research, 27: 291-305.

Jack Nelson-Palmeyer (2005) Is Religion Killing us? Violence in the bible and the Qur’an, Continuum International Publishing Group, at p.136.

Regina M Schwartz (1998) The Cures of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism, University of Chicago Press.

Lawrence Wechsler (1997) “Mayhem and Monotheism,” The New Yorker 24 November 1997,

Wilhelm Heitmeyer and John Hagan (2003) International Encyclopedia of Violence Research, Vol.2, Spring 2003.

William T. Cavanaugh (2005) Killing in the Name of God, at pp. 127-147.

Verse 32/V.

Aruna Gnanadason (2004) “Religion and Violence: A Challenge to the Unity of the Churches,” Political Theology, 5: 61-75.

Sura 22:78. The Koran, translated by N.J. Dawood, Penguin Classics, Penguin Books, London, 1990.

Sura 9:5.

Sura 2:190-193.

Sura 41:34

Bruce Lincoln (2006) Holy Terrors, Chicago: University of Chicago at pp.77-91.

Verse 179/II. See also verses 45/V, 40/XLII,4/V of the Qur’an.

Rebecca Joyce Frey (2009) Genocide and Intergenerational Justice, Facts on File Publishers at p.83.

Charles Phillips and Alun Axelrod (2005) Encyclopedia of Wars: G to R, cited by Alan Lurie in: Is religion the Cause of Most Wars?

Verses 103-104/XVIII of the Qur’an


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