When God Stops Fighting: How Religious Violence Ends

Mark Juergensmeyer. Univ. of California, $21.95 trade paper (182p) ISBN 978-0-520-38473-6
Scholar Juergensmeyer follows up God at War with an uneven look at how and why religiously motivated conflicts end. He undertakes a close study of three such violent movements: the Islamic State (which he claims was “territorially defeated by 2018”); the Filipino Moro Movement for a Muslim Mindanao (1969–2019); and the Sikh separatist movement in northern India (1980s and early 1990s)—though “in each case, aspects of the struggle linger on.” Through on-the-ground research, including conversations with former militants, Juergensmeyer considers how each conflict concluded, such as via military destruction, a loss of popular support, or negotiation. On the latter, he purports that when engaged in “cosmic war,” his term for “a form of absolute war that is totally merged with a religious view of the world,” combatants may feel invulnerable, and their leaders resist negotiation. Abandoning a religious war worldview requires, he writes, “a conversion out of it, or a dramatic accommodation to a new sense of nonviolent religious commitment.” But Juergensmeyer found that facts on the battlefield, such as losing ground, could overcome such faith in divine support. His ambiguous conclusion—that “cosmic war... can live on symbolically, perhaps someday to rise again” begs for further analysis. This is a solid starting point, but it raises more questions than it answers. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/08/2021
Release date: 01/01/2022
Genre: Religion
Open Ebook - 196 pages - 978-0-520-38474-3
Hardcover - 196 pages - 978-0-520-38472-9
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