for jihadis and just warriors

I’ve been revisiting the passages from A Secular Age in which Taylor addresses violence. His commentary relates well to my current research, but even if my draft was complete (and by now, it ought to be) I might have a topical reason for my interest.

Here’s one:

The impulse to violence, for instance is frequently invested by a sense of a great moment. I have been insulted, my honour is at stake; or this act that I am about to strike is for a noble cause. And on top of all that, violence can be exciting, can seem to lift us out of the banality of everyday existence, onto a higher, more exalted frame.

I read this and wonder if it becomes more difficult to give causes their cast when no one sacrifices for them. I think there is a defensive move that works similary: we are not monsters, and we would not have killed if it were not for the greatest good. By innuring policy in danger and sacrifice, violence¬† may serve its own justification. Or to lift Euthyphro’s formulation: Do we fight for the good because we believe it is the good, or do we believe it is the good because we fight for it?

Here’s two:

The force of numinous violence is among us… In the face of this, we are tempted to offer reductive and objectifying accounts. But a Christian perspective forbids us taking this kind of satisfying distance from it all. Indeed, perhaps it allows us to see that taking this distance , just because it mobilizes us more effectively to crush these outbreaks, and make over the perpetrators through compulsion, also helps awaken and legitimate the hostility and aggression in us, so that we are the more ready to believe and participate in our own kind of”holy” violence, even in a secular, liberal framework.


~ by staticandme on January 4, 2009.

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