Religions and Nonviolence
The Rise of Effective Advocacy for Peace
by Rachel M. MacNair
July 2015, 321pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3538-4
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3539-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Nonviolence is a tenet of most religions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Covering the nonviolence traditions in all the major religions as well as the contributions of religious traditions to major nonviolent practices, this book addresses theories of nonviolence, considers each religion individually, and highlights what discrete religious perspectives have in common.

Covering all the major—and some of the larger minor—religions of the world, Religions and Nonviolence: The Rise of Effective Advocacy for Peace examines the rich history of how human thinking on nonviolence has developed and what each religion offers to the theory and practice of nonviolence, providing a counterpoint to the perspective that religion has largely inspired violence and intolerance. It also traces the contributions of religious traditions to secular nonviolent practices, recognizes and explains why religion has historically inspired violence, and provides additional resources for investigating the crossroads of religion and advocacy of nonviolence and peace.

The author addresses the nonviolence traditions in religions such as Bahai, Buddhism, Christianity, Ethical Atheism, the First Nations of North America, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Tenrikyo, and Revitalized Paganism. Ancient religions with important contributions to nonviolence—Zoroastrianism, Taoism, and Jainism—receive attention, as do Mo Tse and other Chinese philosophers as well as Pythagoras and other classical Greek thinkers. Students of religion, history of religion, sociology, or psychology will find this book key to achieving a balanced and therefore more accurate understanding of both religion and history. General readers will gain insights into the commonalities among different religions as well as each major religion’s historical and current stances on issues of violence, such as human or animal sacrifice, slavery, war, and the death penalty.


  • Explores all major world religions in the context of nonviolence in great detail
  • Serves as academic material to supplement a lesson plan or as general interest reading for nonacademic audiences
  • Highlights the history of each religion and its standing today
  • Addresses the subject from the perspective of an author with a background in peace and conflict studies, psychology, and sociology
Rachel M. MacNair, PhD, is director of the Institute for Integrated Social Analysis, research arm of the non-profit organization Consistent Life. Her published works include Praeger's The Psychology of Peace: An Introduction (two editions) as well as Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing and Working for Peace: A Handbook of Practical Psychology and Other Tools. She graduated from Earlham College with a bachelor's degree in peace and conflict studies and received her doctorate in psychology and sociology from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
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