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Faith-based Radicalism

Christianity, Islam and Judaism between Constructive Activism and Destructive Fanaticism


Christiane Timmerman, Dirk Hutsebaut, Sara Mels and Walter Nonneman

Terror attacks against Western symbols of power, suicide terrorism in Chechnya, or bombing of abortion clinics in the United States: these are a few of the violent religious outbursts that the media never seem to stop broadcasting. While these outbursts are mostly linked to Islamic extremism, it should however be acknowledged that every religion has its own violent side. Despite all the events the media are too prompt to show us, it would be dishonest and insensible not to accept that every religion has also a potential for religious peace building and communal renewal. How, can it be explained then, that religions sometimes react violently against the society surrounding them by trying to overthrow it, while at some other times they willingly help and try to build a better world for everyone?
The University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp organised an interdisciplinary summer seminar in September 2005 and gathered senior scholars – all experts in their own fields – and junior scholars – who will be the experts of tomorrow – from all over the world, to discuss these burning issues. The seminar focused on miscellaneous topics all pointing towards the question of religion and society; like literalism and the Holy texts, the ambivalence of faith-based radicalism, the psychology of religion and terrorism, nationalism and religion and religious social movements.
Contents: Willfried Spohn: Nationalism and Religion in a Globalising World. A Multiple Modernities Perspective – Ayhan Akman: Framing Faith-based Radicalism in the Context of Civil Society. Beyond an Ontological Approach – Anne Speckhard: Sacred Terror. Insights into the Psychology of Religiously Motivated Terrorism – Mario Ferrero: An Economic Approach to Religious Extremism – Naftali Brawer: Judaism and the Challenge of Sacred Text – Michiel Leezenberg: Islamic Radicalism, the Quran, and the Modern World – Christopher Rowland: Radical Christian Writings – Zbigniew Kubacki: The Question of Salvation and Faith-based Radicalism – Tisha M. Rajendra: «The Tyranny of Caprice.» Absolutism and Relativism in the Thought of Joseph Ratzinger – Heinz Streib: Faith Development and a Way beyond Fundamentalism – Dirk Hutsebaut: Religious Cognitive Styles and Ethnocentrism – Carl Sterkens: Reflection on the Limits of ‘Religious’ Explanations of Violence. A Social Psychological Perspective – Jerrold M. Post: Countering Islamist Militancy. An Epidemiologic Approach – Orla Lynch: Fundamentalism, Psychology and the European Threat – Markku Ruotsila: Christian Nationalism and American Unilateralism. The Case of the World Christian Fundamentals Association – Clyde Wilcox: Radical Dreams and Political Realities. Religion and Social Movements in the United States – Daniela Kalkandjieva: The Orthodox Church and Religious Nationalism – Katrien Hertog: Peace Building Resources and Obstacles in the Russian Orthodox Church – Sami Zemni: Islamism, Radicalism and Jihad. At Odds with Modernity? – Konrad Pedziwiatr: Public Mobilisation of Islam in Europe. Possible Outcomes of the Activism within Student Islamic Societies.