For decades, Mark Juergensmeyer has been studying the rise of religious violence around the world, including groups like ISIS and Christian militias that have been involved in acts of terrorism. Over the years he came to realize that war is the central image in the worldview of virtually every religious movement engaged in violent acts. Behind the moral justification of using violence are images of great confrontations of war on a transcendent scale.
God at War explores the dark attraction between religion and warfare. Virtually every religious tradition leaves behind it a bloody trail of stories, legends, and images of war, and most wars call upon the divine for blessings in battle. This book finds the connection between religion and warfare in the alternative realities created in the human imagination in response to crises both personal and social. Based on the author's thirty years of field work interviewing activists involved in religious-related terrorist movements around the world, this book explains why desperate social conflict leads to images of war, and why invariably God is thought to be engaged in battle.
Introduction: Why Do We Think About War?
Chapter 1: The Odd Appeal of War
Chapter 2: War as Alternative Reality
Chapter 3: Religion as Alternative Reality
Chapter 4: The Marriage of War and Religion
Chapter 5: Can Religion Cure War?