Would you kill anyone for your religion?

“Suppose we apply an empirical test to the question of absolutism. Absolute is itself a vague term, but in the religion-and-violence arguments, it appears to indicate the tendency to take something so seriously that violence results. An empirically testable definition of absolute, then, might be “that for which one is willing to kill.” This test has the advantage of covering behavior and not simply what one claims to believe. Now, let us ask the following two questions: what percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Christians would be willing to kill for their Christian faith? What percentage would be willing to kill for their country? Whether we attempt to answer these questions by survey or by observing American Christians’ behavior in wartime, it seems clear that, at least among American Christians, the nation-state—Hobbes’s “mortal god”—is subject to far more absolutist fervor than religion. For most American Christians, even public evangelization is considered to be in poor taste, and yet most would take for granted the necessity of being willing to kill for their country, should circumstances dictate.” (William T Cavanaugh – The Myth of Religious Violence)

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