For class, I read a very interesting and thought-provoking article by Mark Juergensmeyer called, “Is Religion the Problem?”. The article discussed if religion was the problem of violent attacks, if religion’s shady side had been exposed, or if religion was the problem or the victim. One important point that Juergensmeyer brought up was that besides the 9/11 attacks, almost all other terrorist attacks are Christian. I had never known this before, as I was under the impression all terrorist attacks were due to the Middle East. I think this fact needs to spread and be discussed more to help not only stop discrimination of Muslims around the world, but to also make Americans look internally at our nation. I think that a lot of people don’t want to believe this already because it is easier to have a scapegoat and blame an external source, rather than looking internally at the state of our nation.
Another argument Juergensmeyer makes is that religion is not the problem of these violent attacks, but it is “the medium through which these issues are expressed”(Juergensmeyer 7). I found this to be extremely fascinating, because I had never thought of it like this. People that provoke or participate in violent attacks are expressing their anger of social frustration and marginalization through their religion. One way of doing this is thinking of the attacks as cosmic war, that they are a part of a greater religious battle such as those talked about in their religions. This way they can see themselves as being a part of a greater good and seeing the opponent side as inherently evil or devilish. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the article and got many new aspects of religion and how it pertains to violence.