Religious Hatred

John Corrigan

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Emotion

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780195170214
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199892150 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Religious Hatred

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  • Sociology of Religion
  • Religious Studies


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Hate as an emotion, while not exactly the same in all instances, manifests in certain ways regardless of whether the context is religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, or other kinds of difference. Religious ideologies and institutions historically have served as backgrounds that condition the performance of hatred by individuals and groups. Some religious hatred arises from intellectual cultures characterized by an absolutizing worldview, in which reality is parsed into clearly bounded categories of holy and unholy, good and evil, saved and damned. Religion is a marker of group identity, and is frequently interwoven with other aspects of identity, including nationalistic, ethnic, and cultural elements. Religious hatred, accordingly, is sometimes mixed with hatred having to do with ethnicity or nationalistic fervor. Religious hatred is most easily observed in violence, and it is through violence that it is most effectively expressed. In the history of religious hatred in the West, Judaism shares the center stage with Christianity and Islam. Religious hatred is not limited to monotheistic religions.

Keywords: West; Judaism; Christianity; Islam; religious hatred; culture; ethnicity; nationalism; violence; identity

Article.  6251 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion ; Religious Studies

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