Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse the Thinking about Religion and Violence
course for describing the extreme violence that religions have
used against "others" as well as their own believers.

Thinking about Religion and Violence
Lectures by Professor Jason C. Bivins

Thinking about Religion and Violence (2018) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
Thinking about Religion and Violence  at

We live in a world where religious violence seems more prevalent than ever. But while news stories make this seem like a relatively modern phenomenon, the truth is that religion and violence have been intertwined since the dawn of the world’s great faiths. Religious violence isn’t a contemporary phenomenon—it’s an enduring aspect of the human experience.

What is it that causes some people to commit violent acts in the name of religion, either against themselves or others? Why does violence even play a role in religion to begin with? How can theology, as well as history, sociology, and other frameworks, help us grasp the nature of religious violence? All religions, including the world’s great faiths—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism—have their inner battles with violent beliefs and practices. And, in a world where violence in the name of religion can impact so many other people’s lives, it’s critical to understand the intersection between the two.

Perhaps the biggest obstacles to this understanding lie in fear, sensationalism, and dismissal, all of which can prevent you from truly grasping the nature of religious violence. What’s required is not to see religion as inherently violent, but to recognize that the violence associated with religious groups and communities is worth exploring and interrogating. It’s about examining whether religious violence is an indelible part of the human experience or a problem we can truly solve.

“If we want to know why ‘bad stuff’ happens in the name of religion, we need to understand how those who commit religious violence perceive what they’re doing,” says Dr. Jason C. Bivins, award-winning professor of Religious Studies at North Carolina State University. “That’s the best way to understand why our world is producing so much of it, and what we can do about it.”

In his 24-lecture course, Thinking about Religion and Violence, Professor Bivins takes you on a global, historical, and multidisciplinary investigation of religious violence. Delivered with honesty and sensitivity to the diversity of spiritual beliefs, he examines the roots of this phenomenon and guides you toward more informed ways of thinking about it. You’ll consider how faiths like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism view concepts like human sacrifice, martyrdom, penitence, and means of violence; the ways religious violence can be directed toward specific races, genders, and cultural groups; the connections between violence and other religions, including Mormonism and Native American faiths; concepts like heresy, demonology, and witch-hunting; and more. Blending history, theology, psychology, sociology, and other fields, Professor Bivins helps you get to the heart of a complex problem that’s broader and deeper (and more optimistic) than you might have thought.

Learn How to Talk about Religious Violence

At the heart of Thinking about Religion and Violence is this central question: What sources shape and feed violent habits of mind and, in turn, the violence that sometimes follows from them?

To start, Professor Bivins grounds his lectures in the central concepts and ideas you’ll need for understanding the subject, mastering the flexibility with which we need to talk about religious violence responsibly, and fashioning your own interpretations.

You’ll also explore sacred texts to see what they have to say about the spiritual purposes of violence, and how their meanings may have been misconstrued and manipulated over time. Some of the fascinating books you’ll explore include not just the major religious books—the Old and New Testaments, the Qu’ran, the Bhagavad Gita—but also lesser-known texts including the Malleus Maleficarum, the infamous and widely used witch-hunting manual of the 15th century.

From Racial Violence to “Cult” Panics to Terrorism

Throughout Thinking about Religion and Violence, you’ll explore multiple examples from all over the world and throughout history as a way to probe the nexus of these two powerful forces. These examples range from racial violence and holy war (and peace) to “cult” panics and terrorism.

Given the immediacy of the issue, Professor Bivins takes care to burrow deep into both current issues as well as their historical and conceptual sources. The goal is to illustrate the concept of religious violence as not particular to one faith but as a part of human spirituality around the world.

Jason C. Bivins is a Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at North Carolina State University. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Indiana University. Professor Bivins specializes in religion and American culture, focusing particularly on the intersection between religions and politics since 1900. He is the author of Religion of Fear and The Fracture of Good Order as well as articles, book chapters, review essays, and pieces on religion, politics, and culture in the United States.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Religion and Violence: A Strange Nexus 13: Peace as a Religious Ideal
2: Defining Religion and Violence 14: War Gods and Holy War
3: Violence in Sacred Texts 15: Religious Violence in Israel
4: Martyrdom, Sacrifice, and Self-Harm 16: Religious Violence in India
5: Scapegoating and Demonology 17: Religion's Relationship with Slavery
6: Understanding Witch Trials 18: Native Americans and Religious Violence
7: The Apocalyptic Outlook 19: Violence and ''Cults''
8: Racial Violence and Religion 20: Anti-Catholicism in Europe and America
9: Religion and Violence against Women 21: The Persistence of Antisemitism
10: Sexuality, Morality, and Punishment 22: Islam, Violence, and Islamophobia
11: Heresies and Their Suppression 23: Religion and Terrorism
12: Religion and Just War Theory 24: What We Can Do about Religious Violence

(Comment by Webmaster) Religions the world over are saturated with violence against those who do not believe what is "right" according to their scruptures. Many of the punishments include things as bad as those promised in various "Hells" and "Don't turn him into a victim. He nearly killed you. He was a killer and a rapist and he enjoyed it. He had the same chances as everyone else. You choose who you want to be. He wasn't a victim. He was an evil bastard who hated women."

Thinking about Religion and Violence
Lectures by Professor Jason C. Bivins

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse the Thinking about Religion and Violence
course for describing the extreme violence that religions have
used against "others" as well as their own believers.