David Eller's New Book on Religion and Violence

Jack David Eller's book Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence: Religious Violence Across Culture and History, is massive and sure to be a good one. Be sure to get it. I plan on doing so.

From Publishers Weekly
Over the centuries, critics of religion have often condemned the world's religions because of the violent acts religions' practitioners have committed against society and against one another. In this unremarkable study of religious violence, anthropologist Eller simply reminds us that religion and violence are not synonymous. After he explores quite perfunctorily six dimensions of violence (instinct, integration into groups, identity, institutions, interests, and ideology), he contends that religion is a social and ideological system that creates a reality in which violence is acceptable, necessary, and even desirable. Drawing on a broad range of examples from the world's religions, Eller examines the violence of many religious practices, ranging from sacrifice and asceticism to war and ethnoreligious conflict. In spite of the persistence of violent acts in and by religions, many religious traditions teach and practice nonviolence, and in his concluding chapter Eller explores the ways in which such traditions present an alternative to religious violence. --Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Description
This is an illuminating and objective exploration of the role of religion in violence throughout history and culture. The phrase 'religious violence' often brings to mind dramatic and tragic events - the 9/11 attacks, riots between Hindus and Muslims in India, religious genocide in Africa, and as far back as the Crusades. But, as this illuminating in-depth study shows, violence connected with religion is a phenomenon that encompasses all cultures. Drawing on a wealth of case material, "Cruel Creeds, Virtuous Violence" presents a balanced and objective examination of the many manifestations of religious violence - including sacrifice, self-mortification, religious persecution, ethno-religious conflicts, and religious war - to reveal why certain kinds of religious ideas and practices contribute to certain types of violence.