Why are Abrahamic religions violent

Violence and religionMan is to blame

Is brutality an essential feature of monotheism, and not just an extremist derailment of fanatical believers? The Heidelberg Egyptologist and religious scholar Jan Assmann caused a sensation with this thesis. The theologian and church historian Christoph Markschies, Vice President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, contradicts: religion can in principle both spark and contain violence. It only reflects how violence was dealt with in an era. For Markschies, Assmann's steep theses in the debate about "religion and violence" are only evidence of how religion is being defamed today.

"That, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic example of simplification through defamation of religion. In addition to such simplistic, sometimes highly learned denunciations, there is of course also the simplifying exculpation, exculpation: the terrorist attack x, y, z has nothing to do with Christianity, Islam to do with monotheism itself. It can be explained politically, socially, psychologically or whatever. "

In Markschies' words, the ring was opened for the next round in a debate in which one can get no further with one big explanation. The emergence of violence can often be deduced - also religiously. Opinions differed about the role of belief in the one true God in the persecution and killing of certain groups of people. Jörg Baberowski, Professor of Eastern European History at Berlin's Humboldt University, drew a comparison with violence in the totalitarian systems of the 20th century.

"Ideologies in themselves don't kill, people do. And they can give the groups of perpetrators coherence by invoking religions, other ideologies - whatever. That makes it easier to justify violence, in front of oneself, in front of the group , but also in front of others. But it does not explain why there is violence. That is why I think this discussion that is now being carried out in public - is Islam or Christianity in itself violent or rather peaceful - completely wrong, because it the question of what belongs to human possibility is ignored. And that is violence. "

Religion does not need violence, but religion can be instrumentalized to legitimize violence, said Baberowski. The Paderborn Koran scholar Hamideh Mohagheghi protested against this analysis. The Abrahamic religions certainly offer a basis for the use of force in the service of faith. What Baberowski describes as instrumentalization, Mohagheghi sees more ...

"... as a misinterpretation of religion and also as a misinterpretation of what belief should actually be. That is what I would understand as religious violence. By the way, I find that violence based on religion can be much more brutal than other forms of violence Violence, because mostly people who take religion as legitimation for their crimes take the place of God. That is God who acts through these people. And with this idea, with this pattern, one can also manipulate people very much manipulate dangerously. "

The Berlin cultural scientist Christina von Braun sees further reasons for the extreme brutality with which supposedly religiously legitimized violence is exercised. Braun speaks of the "secondary religion", a belief whose originally directly tangible content has become lifeless texts through literacy.

"One of the characteristics of these secondary religions is that they try to exclude all intellectuality, all the faculty of ambivalence, all questions that do not point to unambiguity, and instead asks for clarity, but also for a gut feeling. The images, photography, film and others Visual techniques were invented to magically reload the texts, so to give the texts a corporeality again, which they had actually torn from the body. Why do videos play such a big role in ISIS? Why are all executions filmed and posted on the Internet ? "

In the face of excesses of violence, what should be done in the name of a religion? Jörg Baberowski would like to "pour the money into the Spree" for all social programs and better equip the state to maintain the monopoly of violence. Christiane von Braun and Hamideh Mohagheghi, on the other hand, count on religious education and enlightenment, which invite self-reflection and thus prevent violence. With that the Berlin discussion had reached the lower ground of politics. The book religions offer legitimations for violence as well as for non-violence. A preliminary result of the debate could be that religions are as susceptible to violence as humans are.