Original Research - Special Collection: Religion in dialogue

Religion and violence: Shutup Shylock!

Jaco Beyers
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a5165 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.5165 | © 2018 Jaco Beyers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2018 | Published: 20 November 2018

About the author(s)

Jaco Beyers, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Violence is not only because of religious differences. Violence is part of human nature. While expressing and living a unique identity, people may experience animosity from ‘the other’ in society. The natural human response upon infliction is retaliation. To this effect, the play of William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, is taken as an example of conflict in society because of social, financial and religious differences. From the plot in the play, it is deduced that violent actions beget violent responses. The Dutch philosopher, Hans Achterhuis, provides valuable information so as to provide perspectives on violence in society. Achterhuis suggests that instead of seeking the absence of violence in society, one should rather seek how to differ responsible and peaceful from one another. Violence cannot be ignored or eradicated. Violence can however be tamed by fighting with one another peacefully. Society is in need of volunteers who will act as powerful buffers between conflicting societies, thus preventing differences becoming reasons for violence.


violence; religion; peace; inter-religious dialogue; utopia


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