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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The case of the 2015 attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris illustrates the imagined war between secularism and religion that is in the background of many incidents of violence at the turn of the twenty-first century. The Enlightenment idea that there are two different worldviews—two distinctly different spheres of understanding about reality, one of them secular and the other religious—is inherently problematic. This dichotomy creates an arena of discord that is easily exploited by people who feel isolated and marginalized for whatever reason and look for someone to blame and some battle to join. It is a false conflict that extremists on both sides, religious and secular, have exacerbated.

Keywords: religious violence, terrorism, secularism, Enlightenment, religion, war

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