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The Future of Religious Violence

The temptation is to label religious people as fundamentalist, or fanatical, or hypocritical, or moralizing, and so on. All these labels are true of any religious group, but they are equally true of every group. No religious group is exempt from the realities of the human condition. If you take a group of people who are lazy, corrupt, lecherous, angry, fickle, and hypocritical and baptize them, you will have a Christian congregation full of members who are lazy, corrupt, lecherous, angry, fickle, and hypocritical—but (hopefully) who will also help each other grow in wisdom. All sinners struggle with the same basic sins over the course of their lives.

The growth of civilization in the coming decades will be a growing of understanding in the reality of religious pluralism. The great challenge will be to name the extremist elements of our traditions and to draw them into communion. For if sin is the seed of violence, isolation is the nourishing soil. Perhaps in this age of nearly limitless possibility for communication, we might learn how to practice greater solidarity and thereby come to greater discernment of how to seek wisdom and at the same time help each other build a good world.

1/11/2011 5:00:00 AM
Tim Muldoon
About Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon holds a Ph.D. in Catholic systematic theology and is an award-winning author and Catholic theologian of the new evangelization.