Religiously motivated violence caused by the fusion of state and religion occurred in medieval Tibet and Bhutan and later in imperial Japan, but interfaith conflict also followed colonial incursions in India, Sri Lanka, and Burma. Before that time, there was a general premodern harmony among the resident religions of the latter countries, and only in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries did religiously motivated violence break out. While conflict caused by Hindu fundamentalists has been serious and widespread, a combination of medieval Tibetan Buddhists and modern Sri Lankan, Japanese, and Burmese Buddhists has caused the most violence among the Asian religions. However, the Chinese Taiping Christians have the world record for the number of religious killings by one single sect. A theoretical investigation reveals that specific aspects of the Abrahamic religionsan insistence on the purity of revelation, a deity who intervenes in history, but one who still is primarily transcendentmay be primary causes of religious conflict. Only one factora mystical monism not favored in Judaism, Christianity, and Islamwas the basis of a distinctively Japanese Buddhist call for individuals to identify totally with the emperor and to wage war on behalf of a divine ruler. The Origins of Religious Violence: An Asian Perspective uses a methodological heuristic of premodern, modern, and constructive postmodern forms of thought to analyze causes and offer solutions to religious violence.
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About the Author
Nicholas F. Gier is professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Idaho.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: From Mongols to Mughals: Hindu-Muslim Relations in Medieval India
Chapter 2: Hindu Nationalism, Modernism, and Reverse Orientalism
Chapter 3: Premodern Harmony, Sri Lankan Buddhist Nationalism, and Violence
Chapter 4: Burmese Nationalisms and Religious Violence against Muslims
Chapter 5: Buddhism in Bhutan: From Violent Lamas to Peaceful Kings
Chapter 6: “Compassionate” Violence in Tibet: 1,000 Years of War Magic
Chapter 7: Buddhism and Japanese Nationalism: A Sad Chronicle of Complicity
Chapter 8: Sikhism, the Seduction of Modernism, and the Question of Violence
Chapter 9: Religious Nationalism, Violence, and Taiping Christianity
Chapter 10: Hypotheses on the Reasons for Religious Violence
Chapter 11: The Gospel of Weak Belief, Overcoming the Other, and Constructive Postmodernism