IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Holy warriors? Holy mackeral!

I don’t want to offend anybody, but as a “peacenik” I find the idea of “holy warrior” something of an oxymoron–at least these days.  I understand a little about the “jihadist” mindset and its reputed historical origins at the time of the Prophet himself.  BTW, there are a variety of views about what Jihad means and how it should be carried out, and they do not all involve arms.  I am also a little informed about the Christian crusader tradition, and about the actual “ups and downs” –both military and moral–of the crusaders in the Middle Ages.  I can even remember as a child being fascinated with the Crusades and having a very hard time accepting that, at the end of the day (and despite the nearly 100 years of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem) Europe lost.

What is on my mind today is just how inappropriate, ineffective and generally problematic the “holy warrior” concept/image is in our era.  It may have had its time, utility and raison d’etre, but there are many indicators that that time is past (at least, IMHO).  Killing for God, just doesn’t work anymore.  Why?  well, I don’t think it is very complicated.  In our day, it is rather clear that (as always) violence surely breeds violence.  So unless you kill or convert everybody, you are just going to raise the overall level of violence and vengeance in the world by behaving this way; and it is hard to see how that is good for anybody except, maybe, the arms merchants.  I’m not sure any contemporary “holy warriors” have a real chance to convert or kill everybody who doesn’t agree with them, so it might be time to seriously think about changing tactics (whoever you are and whatever your agenda might be).  So how about instead of “kill or convert”, we try something like “educate and convince”?  Just a thought 🙂

That being said, remember I am a political scientist more or less specialising in the Global South.  So, I know that many times “religion” is a vehicle for pursuing what are really very much earthly political goals.  However, if people can appreciate that the “old school” holy warrior mode/mindset might actually be counter-productive for their faith(s) and at the same time make them the pawns of ideologues and demagogues with other agendas, we might start to see a change in the right direction…something more along the lines of “blessed are the peacemakers”.

IGbarb says:  “Beat your swords into ploughshares (it’s about time, right?).”


December 8, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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