Religion and Violence

Humans, as individuals and as groups, have the potential to be violent. Physical violence is disruptive and damaging to other individuals and groups because it conflicts with some of their basic rights. Individuals try to protect themselves from injury, and societies try to channel and curb violence both through symbolic action and through concrete counterviolence. Individuals and groups, on the other hand, may feel the necessity to resort to physical violence, while ritualization and symbolism may make violent acts easier to perform.

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