P074
Science, modernity and the attack on religion: explaining religious terrorism

Convenors:
Marcello Mollica (University of Messina)
James Dingley (Queen’s University of Belfast)
Location:
U6-42
Start time:
22 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The aim of this panel is to present a series of papers that will illuminate the various roles and place of religion in political violence and terrorism in particular, that whilst terrorism may seem 'mindless' to outsiders it is often functional and meaningful to its practitioners in religious terms.

Long abstract:

The current media focus is on Islamic terrorism but many l 'successful' terrorist organisations have been founded in religion or religious communities. The most important question is therefore - why religion? This is consistently overlooked in the literature on terrorism, yet both anthropology and sociology have a long history of fascination with religion and violence; from ritual violence to symbolic violence, the importance of martyrdom and of sacrifice to legitimising violence. The aim of this panel is to present a series of papers that will illuminate the various roles and place of religion in political violence and terrorism in particular, that whilst terrorism may seem 'mindless' to outsiders it is often functional and meaningful to its practitioners in religious terms. In particular we will look at how modernity poses particular problems for traditional religion, religious systems and religious belief due to the role of science in particular, which is seen as challenging fundamental religious tenets, relations and social systems as well as posing fundamental ontological challenges to traditional religion. We therefore seek papers that will look at the impact of modernity, particularly as represented in the impact of science, on traditional religion, its role in the lives of ordinary people and role and place of religious institutions in society and how this can be linked to understanding terrorism in general.