What are the links between religion and violence? Are there less and more aggressive religions? How are monotheistic religions and history of their existence conditioned by violence? Which are the historically famous patterns of religious violence? Certain attempts are to be made to answer these and many other related questions under present heading singled out by ‘TheoLab’.
This branch of Religious Studies is especially important to be researched in the frames of the Armenian culture for a number of key reasons. The Armenian nation has created the most crucial harbors of its history in the struggle to preserve its own religious and national identity. The first example of this is the Vardanants War, which formed the Armenian Christian identity, in the struggle against forced religious conversion, and in the centuries to follow under the yoke of various empires. The Armenians were put under compulsions of forceful conversions during the Armenian Genocide and mostly resisted to convert to Islam preferring the death: this is when the proclamation of a holy war against Christians, ritual killings and various religion-driven targeting took place. Later Armenians survived atheistic anti-Christianity under the rule of Soviet communism. The above mentioned historical events contain an array of cases of religious violence, hence, in their complexity constitute a wide area for research.
Certainly, the testimonies of Christian martyrs are subject of discussion in terms of the present branch of research. Numerous theories on the subject have been proposed by the researchers worldwide, studies have been conducted hitherto. However, it is important to understand what kind of answers can be given to this problem by the Religious Studies researchers of Armenian origin, whose history is particularly flooded with such episodes. The ‘TheoLab’ Center has created this platform and anticipates publications on the topic.
This study is designed to reveal some theological peculiarities of the most systematic, legally defined pattern of mass violence – the phenomenon of genocide. In this paper ‘the syndrome of Cain’ is considered as a paradigmatic and descriptive model for understanding and interpreting general theological outline of the phenomenon of genocide through the story of Cain and Abel. Famously, this is the story of the first murder, the story of first human violence, and the first narrative in the Bible built around the phenomenon of sacrifice. This research points out the issues of struggling for superiority, enmity, the separation of ‘us’ from ‘the others’, and scapegoating ‘the others’ which are very vividly present in almost all known genocides.