Faith and violence

23 03 2010

I listened to a recent NPR story about whether the Bible is more violent than the Koran. I am not going to throw my hat in the ring regarding that question. But this did make me wonder why, particularly among contemporary people in the developed world, violence and religion are seen as no longer going together, as if violence is no longer a part of people’s daily lives.

It also strikes me as odd that certain folks are surprised that many criminals are still religious, even the really bad ones. I was reading a recent USA Today story about the cult to Jesus Malverde in Mexico, and he seems to get dubbed the “patron saint of the narcos” on both sides of the border, as if all the drug smugglers only venerate him since they feel that they have “crossed over to the dark side” and can’t ask any other heavenly intercessor for a favor. I would speculate that these people do not “theologize” along such Manichean lines, and they are just as likely to have a medal of St. Jude around their neck as they are one of Jesus Malverde or Santa Muerte. Such dichotomies between official religion and what people actually do seem only to comfort a certain sector of the self-proclaimed literati. I never take them seriously.