As public awareness has grown concerning religion’s persistent influence in shaping world affairs, an implicit consensus appears to have been reached in how to distinguish between those religious adherents whose faith is expressed constructively – ‘moderates’ – and those whose faith is expressed destructively – ‘radicals’ or ‘extremists’.
But is this a sufficiently discriminating distinction? Does it construe the relationship between religion and violence to be one of degree – the more religious a person is, the more likely they are to support or engage in violent acts in the name of their faith? Moreover, does the terminology reflect particular biases towards specific religions, such that use or application of the term ‘radical’ (or perhaps event more likely, ‘moderate’) is more likely to be applied to some religions (e.g. Islam) than others (e.g. Christianity).
The Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme is hosting a one-day interdisciplinary conference, "Reconsidering Religous Radicalism", focused on exploring the development of this terminology, the assumptions upon which it rests regarding religion’s relationships with other ideologies or commitments.
The deadline for registration is 5:00pm Thursday 12 May 2016, and the conference is on Saturday 21 May 2016 at Clare College, Cambridge.
Get in touch with the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme for more information.