Can Violence Be Redemptive?

While political violence and personal violence fill our newspapers, violence also permeates many religious beliefs with images of sacrifice and histories of divine propitiation. Children in many traditions learn sacred stories of divine action and human response that include acts of violence. Both inside our houses of worship and outside of them, we hear of bloodshed.

Violence is a thread that runs through many sacred texts and traditions around the world, from animal sacrifice to the mass slaughter of unbelievers to Jesus' suffering and death on the cross. How should modern believers interpret texts that seem to condone or defend violence? Is violence ever justified on religious grounds? Can violent acts be redemptive?

The Patheos Public Square is produced in partnership with Christianity Today and the Progressive Christian Initiative.

Patheos Archives


Patheos regularly hosts a variety of symposiums and series on current events and trending topics. Open the list below for a full offering of our topical pages featuring curated columns, blogs, and articles by subject.


In the Public Square, we connect the timely and the timeless and host conversations about some of the most important questions in life. For a full list of topics featured in our Public Square open the list below.