Dehistoricizing Violence in Holy Texts

One of the pinnacle elements in religious extremism, violence and terrorism is dehistoricizing violence within their tradition and Holy texts. In other words, when one does not only see revelation of violent means as an historic revelation – locked in behind the door of history – but also that the revelation is revealed for a specific purpose, at a specific time period, towards a specific peoples; he dips his heels into religious radicalism.

Sometimes violence is encaptured within a historic and textual context, it is descriptive – rather than prescriptive – and tells a story of battle, war or killing, in relation to an event, religious followers, religious law or the religion itself. Sometimes violence is captured within an orthopraxic context – it relates to correct conduct for initiating, behaving and ending times of conflict and war (for example in the Just War Theory tradition).

This is where it all gets messy. This is also the interpretative cliff that extremists fall off. The apparatus they use to analyse and commit to their violence based on their religious understanding takes revelations out of a bracket; a local, specific-time conflict or dispute, and plagiarizes them for the present day and towards their own political ambitions.

When an individual or group use these stories, whether fictional or factual, they open the gates of history and those contextualised lessons flood into modern times. This is the habit that must be halted for religious groups and secular people to live together in harmony.

For more insight, see the videos below.

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