Gods and Arms: On Religion and Armed Conflict

By Kjell-Åke Nordquist (editor)

Essays on the role of religion in promoting armed conflict, and how peacemaking may be helped by greater understanding of religiously motivated violence.

ISBN: 9780718893163


This compelling volume brings together a variety of perspectives on the ways in which religion can be related to violence and war – in both destructive and constructive ways. Religion can justify and mobilize violence just like political ideology. How is the link between religion and violent behaviour established in the first place, and how can we understand the connections between religion and war? Is religious work for peace irrevocably linked to the religious support of war? It may in fact be that peace work can be aided by knowledge about the role of religion in promoting violence.

In the search for answers to the puzzling question of the link between religion and war it is easy to focus solely on conflict situations. However, there may be as much to learn from the study of peace work as from war studies. This volume analyses peace work in different contexts, and addresses the multifaceted presence of religion in conflict situations, whether justifying violence or promoting peace. The work will be of great interest to those readers seeking an enlightening panorama of discussions which illuminate the troubling relationship between religion and armed conflict.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 174

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Kjell-Åke Nordquist is Visiting Professor at Stockholm School of Theology and Associate Professor, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.



1. Religion, Fundamentalism, and Conflict
     R. Scott Appleby
2. Religion in the Global Jihadi War
     Mark Juergensmeyer
3. Apocalyptic Speculations and the War of Armageddon
     Göran Gunner
4. “It Was the Work of Satan”: Perpetrators Rationalize the Atrocities of the Rwanda Genocide
     Anne N. Kubai
5. In Search of Grace: Religion and the ELN
     Jennifer Schirmer
6. Religion, Conflict, and Peace-Building: The Case of Sri Lanka
     Mariyahl Hoole, Nari Senanayake, and Jehan Perera
7. “Peacemakers” from the “Bridge Church”: The Anglican Church as A Third Party in Palestine 1920-1948
     Maria Småberg
8. Linking War and Religion: Some Observations
     Kjell-Åke Nordquist


Endorsements and Reviews

In Gods and Arms, internationally respected researchers approach the urgent problem of religion and conflict. This is done in intellectual and empirical analyses of concepts such as fundamentalism and terrorism. In addition, the book presents examples by relating well-known contemporary experiences of religiously ingrained war, genocide, and terrorism in Rwanda, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and Palestine … Gods and Arms provides a much-needed, stimulating, and innovative study that deepens our insight into the complex relationship between religion, conflict, and peace.
Peter Wallensteen, Professor of Peace Research, Uppsala University and the University of Notre Dame

… this is a pertinent, timely and short book on a crucial contemporary issue.
Peter Brain, in Reform Magazine, October 2013