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Religion, Intolerance, and ConflictA Scientific and Conceptual Investigation$
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Steve Clarke, Russell Powell, and Julian Savulescu

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199640911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 August 2021

Religion, Cohesion, and Hostility

Religion, Cohesion, and Hostility

Chapter:
(p.36) 2 Religion, Cohesion, and Hostility
Source:
Religion, Intolerance, and Conflict
Author(s):

Harvey Whitehouse

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640911.003.0002

This chapter examines the effects of religious ritual on tolerance and intolerance. It distinguishes between the rare traumatic rituals that are typical of small religious groups and the high-frequency routinized religious rituals that are typical of established world religions. It argues that rare traumatic rituals contribute to intense relations of trust and tolerance within small religious groups but also in terms of out-group hostility and intolerance. High frequency routinized rituals do less to directly establish trust and toleration of the in-group, but they allow for the extension of attitudes of toleration and trust to a much broader in-group. Because groups with routinized rituals can unite larger populations, they tend to out-compete groups who lack similar group-identifying markers. In times of hardship and conflict it may be difficult to maintain tolerant attitudes on a large scale. A way to create universal attitudes of tolerance may be to reduce people's levels of ‘existential anxiety’.

Keywords:   religious rituals, tolerance, intolerance, religious groups, trust, group identification, existential anxiety

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