Sharp About Your Prayers

the challenges, absurdities, and joys of an urban faith

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Violence, Violence

September 27th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Faith and the City

KenyaWe live in a vicious world. This past week, reporters have sprinted from one bloody scene to the next:

  • The Westgate Mall in Nairobi
  • All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan
  • The Navy Yard in Washington, DC
  • Cornell Square Park in Chicago

This deluge of mayhem bows our backs and makes us wonder: “Is the world more violent than ever?” 

The scientific answer may surprise us.

According to Harvard University psychologist Stephen Pinker, we are living in “the most peaceable time in our species’ existence.”

The statistics bear him out. Our world has proportionally less violence today than it did during World War II, the American Civil War or the brutal Mongol conquests of the 13th century.

Yet, after a week like this, Pinker’s conclusions offer precious little comfort. We may live in a time with less total violence, but we still share our ancestors’ base nature.

Every day, in every corner of the globe, human beings use deadly force to achieve their purposes. A lot of them do it in the name of religion.  

This Sunday we are going to talk about the role that religious faith has played in inciting violence in the world. And we are going to consider the ways in which our Christian beliefs equip us to stand against senseless aggression on street corners, in bedrooms and in every space in between.


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One Comment so far ↓

  • Laura FissingerNo Gravatar

    It seems to me that dark energy gets into humans when we get tangled up in fear and catastrophizing.
    This certainly seems to be an era in which people get caught in catastrophe-think very easily. How can we, who are exhorted by Scripture to “fear not”, let go of our “oh no!” habits?