Do religious justifications for violence differ from secular justifications for violence? The relationship between religion and violence has long been the subject of intense discussion, and indeed, followers of many different religions have committed violent acts and attempted to justify them by appealing to their religious convictions. Rather than questioning whether religion causes violence, Clarke explores how religious justifications for violence develop and whether or not they differ from secular justifications of violence.
Clarke demonstrates that many religiously based justifications for violence are as acceptable as rigorous secular justifications for violence, provided that crucial premises, which religion supplies, are accepted. Religious believers are able to incorporate premises, grounded in the metaphysics of religious world views, in arguments for the conclusion that particular violent acts are justified.
This book considers whether and to what extent liberal democratic societies can and should tolerate religious believers who believe that they are justified by their religion in acting violently. In addition, it reflects on our prospects for developing effective policy measures to persuade those who believe that violent action is justified by religion to refrain from acting violently.