World Religions on War and Peace

A Bibliography

A. Walter Dorn, Draft of 8 May 2017



GENERAL (on Religions, War & Peace)

     Abrahamic; Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Indic; Islam; Jainism; Judaism; Other religions; Sikhism

     Specific Religions
     Abrahamic; Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Islam; Indic; Jainism; Judaism; Other; Sikhism


BOOKS: GENERAL (covering multiple religions on war & peace)^

Cavanaugh, William, The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict, 2009. (selected chapters, incl. Intro, Ch 1 & Ch 2, in Google Books) (Review)

Ferguson, John, War and Peace in the World's Religions, Oxford University Perss, New York, 1978. (

Kumar, Ravindra, Religion and World Peace, Gyan Publishing House, 2007. 

Juergensmeyer, Mark (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2013. (Intro: pdf, 234 KB)

Juergensmeyer, Mark and Margo Kitts (Eds.), Princeton Readings in Religion and Violence, Princeton University Press, 2011. (Google Books)
     * provides excerpts from many classics in the field, from thinkers (Kautilya, Sun Tzu, Soho Takuan, Thomas Aquinas, Reinhold Niebuhr, Michael Bray, Abd al-Salam Faraj, Meir Kahane, Shoko Asahara, 9/11 Conspirator, Émile Durkheim Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, Sigmund Freud, René Girard, Walter Burkert, Maurice Bloch, Karl Marx, Nancy Jay, Elaine Scarry, Jean Baudrillard, Ashis Nandy) and from three scriptures (Bhagavad Gita, The Hebrew Bible (Deuteronomy 20, Exodus 23), The Qur'an (Surah 2))

Pennington, Brian K. (Ed.), Teaching Religion and Violence, Oxford University Press, 2012. (OUP) (Gogle Books) (

Popovski, Vesselin, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009. Intro (pdf); Complete book: (UNU Press pdf) (pdf, complete book 2.1 MB) (pdfs: Front matter, Introduction, Religion and war, Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism, Japanese religion, JudaismRoman Catholic Christianity, Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Protestant ChristianityShia Islam, Sunni Islam, Cross-religious perspective)

Reichberg, Gregory M., Henrik Syse, and Endre Begby (Eds.), The Ethics of War. Classic and Contemporary Readings. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford, 2006. (Wiley)

Rennick, Joanne Benham and Dallaire Roméo, Religion in the Ranks: Belief and Religious Experience in the Canadian Forces, 2011. (Google Books)

Seiple, Chris and Dennis R. Hoover, The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security, Routledge, 2013. (Google Books)

Shaw, Jeffrey M. and Timothy J. Demy (Eds.),War and Religion: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, SA, 2017. (ABC-CLIO)

Smith, David Whitten and Elizabeth Geraldine Bur, Understanding World Religions: A Road Map for Justice and Peace, Rowman & Littlefield, 2nd ed., 2015. (Google Books)

Ter Haar, Gerrieand James J. Busuttil, Bridge or Barrier: Religion, Violence, and Visions for Peace, 2005. (Google Books)
    * Produced out of the International Conference on Religion, Violence and Visions for Peace, 2001.



Dorn, A. Walter, The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions, Part III: Comparison of Scriptures from Seven World Religions, Defence Research and Development Toronto, CR2010-036, 2010. (pdf) (yumpu view)

Reichberg, Gregory and Henrik Syse (Eds.), Religion, War, and Ethics: A Sourcebook of Textual Traditions,  Cambridge University Press, Online publication date: June 2014. (Google books) (purchase)



ARTICLES: GENERAL (covering multiple religions)^




What is the World’s Most Peaceful Religion (3:50)
TestTube News offers some basic/simple approach, worthwhile, bias towards Eastern "Dharmic" religions

Religions of War, Religions of Peace (26:09)
TVO host Steve Paikin interviews Karen Armstrong, author of "Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence," about the debate that religions cause wars, which she challenges. She "says that humans can perpetuate violence quite easily on their own, without religion.""




(on War and Peace)^

Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam combined)^

Avalos, Hector, Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence, 2005. ( (Review)

Dorn, A. Walter and Anne Frances Cation, The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions, Part I: Extracts, Summaries and Comparisons of Scriptures in the Abrahamic Religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism), Defence Research and Development Toronto, CR2009-125, 2009. (pdf)

Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jack, Is Religion Killing Us?: Violence in the Bible and the Quran, Bloomsbury Academic, 2005. (

Hashmi, Sohail H. (Editor), Just Wars, Holy Wars, & Jihads: Christian, Jewish, Muslim Encounters and Exchanges, Oxford University Press, 2012. ( (Google Books)

Thistlethwaite, Susan, Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War, 2012. (Front matter) (Google Books)







Deegalle, Mahinda, “Norms of war in Theravada Buddhism,” in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009. (pdf) (Complete book: pdf, 2.1 MB)

Bartholomeusz, Tessa J. In Defense of Dharma: Just-war Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka, Psychology Press, 2002. (Google books)


Films & Documentaries 

‘Buddhism and Peace - Just the Absence of War?’ (55 min)
Talk by Parami to Manchester Buddhist Centre, 30 July 2011, in the series 'Buddhism and the Big Questions'. "What is peace? And what does peace mean for Buddhists? Is it just the absence of war and conflict; guns and screaming? Or is it also the deep silence that arises when the mind and heart are in harmony - a positive state of mind that can be cultivated both personally and collectively, where good and evil don’t exist as concepts?"

Buddhism and the March to War: Practicing Non-violence
Talk to students of the Florida Community of Mindfulness by Fred Eppsteiner. V. Davidson comments: "He teaches that the Buddhist precept of non-violence is not simply a theoretical ideal to be recited. As the Buddha and so many other wise teachers from many traditions have taught throughout time, "Hatred will not cease by hatred, but by love alone." We must use the tools of mindfulness and investigation to look deeply into the very troubling and complex situations that we face today, examining the root causes and effects of conflict. Violent actions to produce short term results without consideration of the bigger picture can only produce the seeds of more future violence." (Published on Sep 15, 2014)



Gregory M. Reichberg, “Norms of war in Roman Catholic Christianity,” in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009. (pdf)

Morkevicius, Valerie Ona , “Norms of war in Protestant Christianity,” in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009, p.220. (pdf)

Stoyanov, Yuri, “Norms of war in Eastern Orthodox Christianity”,  in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009, p.166. (pdf)

Tirimanna, Vimal, Catholic Teaching on Violence, War and Peace in our Contemporary World: A Collection of Essays, ATF Press, 2007.

Turner, Bryan S., War and Peace: Essays on Religion and Violence, Anthem Press, London, 2014. (Google Books)


Films & Documentaries

"Birth of a Nation" (2017)
Set in slave-owning South, an African-American preacher (historical figure Nate Turner) uses scripture, at first to justify slavery (esp. Peter 2:18) and later to lead a slave revolt (youtube trailer). Includes Turner's debate with another preacher and heated exchange of biblical quotes.  Relevent excerpts of transcript (html) taken from the complete transcript (pdf).

"Brother Sun, Sister Moon," (Franco Zeffirelli, story of Saint Francis of Assisi,who came back from the crusades and renounced violence, embraced the simple life, devotional/music-filled), preview Rent (Google Play) (see also St Francis of Assisi (1961), Holllywood version:

Christian Attitudes to War and Peace and “Just War” (5:21)
Helps students prepare for an exam.  Answering questions like: "Is it the Christian duty to bear arms, fight and kill? to serve in the military? Do Christians go to war? Should they fight 'Just Peace' and do the 'ends justify means?' Etc. Interprets what the Bible says about war, killing and military service." (Published on Feb 2, 2014)

"Hacksaw Ridge" (2016) is a biographical war drama that describes how an Adventist named Desmond Doss refuses to carry a weapon but risks his life to save his comrades during the the Battle of Okinawa. Doss was the first conscientoius objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Several scenes show his pacifist reasoning and the end of the film shows clips of the real Doss reminiscing about his actions. 

Should Christians Go to War? (4 parts: 28 min)
David Pack in "The World to Come" preaches about his church's view of warfare. Well illustrated with imagery.



Balkaran, Raj and A. Walter Dorn, "Violence in the Vālmı̄ki Rāmāyaṇa: Just War Criteria in an Ancient Indian Epic," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Volume 80, Issue 3 (July 2012), pp.659–690. (html) (pdf)

Roy, Kaushik, “Norms of war in Hinduism,” in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009. (pdf)


Films & Documentaries

Gandhi (1981) (Google Play)
S. Afr. Turn-cheek: 17:11-19:40, religions -21:20 (also, 2:07)
S. Afr. speech: 25:54-31:13 (also at, 3:59)
Charlie on Indian train top: 52:50-53:20
Marriage re-enactment: 2:00:00-2:01:30 (also at
Salt march strategy (non-violent direct action): 2:05:50-2:08:16 (also part of, 4:46) (teaching clip for )Calcutta fast, 
Speaks to Hindu extremists, 2:36:50-
Offers Jina's PM 2:39:30 (also at, 4:01)
Calcutta, Nehru-visit, 2:49:25-2:50:31
Calcutta, Find a Muslim child, 2;55:24-2:56:50 (also at, 2:17-4:02)


Bhagavad Gita. English translation, sung by Kumuda (Sharon Jarvis) in traditional Indian metre
     - (2:36:01)

Bhagavad Gita.
     - Story acted. Hindi  with English subtitles 
     - (1:52:16)



A. Walter Dorn, Raj Balkaran, Seth Feldman, Stephen Gucciardi, The Justifications for War and Peace in World Religions, Part II: Extracts, Summaries and Comparisons of Scriptures of Religions of Indic Origin (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism), Defence Research and Development Toronto, CR 2010-034, 2010. (pdf)

Films & Documentaries



Feirahi, Davood, “Norms of war in Shia Islam,” in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009, p.255. (pdf)

Kamali, Mohammad Hashim, “Introduction,” in Ghazi bin Muhammad, Ibrahim Kalin, Mohammad Hashim Kamali (eds.), War and Peace in Islam: The Uses and Abuses of Jihad, Islamic Texts Society, UK, 2013. Intro available at:

Khadduri, Majid, War and Peace in the Law of Islam, 2010.

Sonbol, Amira, “Norms of war in Sunni Islam,” in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009, p.282. (pdf)

Documentaries (Videos)

Holy Wars (BBC): The Life of Muhammad Episode 2 of 3 (after 33 min), Episode 3.

“What is wrong with Islam?” (47 min)
Interview/debate at Oxford Union with author Irshad Manji Degate (Muslim woman, critique and reformist)

History of Islam  (14:53)
Well-illustrated documentary (2015)

Inside Islam  (1:32:41)
The History Channel "explores the historic and poetic wellspring of the Muslim people and illuminates startling commonalities among Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Shades of difference between Islam's foundation and that of its counterparts prove more fascinating than divisive ... an antidote to gross anti-Muslim bigotry."

 "Inside the mind of a former radical jihadist," TED talk by Manwar Ali, Apr 2016.




Relevant Media

"Taliban Target: Scholars of Islam," New York Times, 29 May 2017.  (NYT link)



Films & Documentaries



Bemporad, Jack, “Norms of war in Judaism,”  in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009, p.106. (pdf)

Solomon, Norman, "Judaism and the Ethics of War," International Review of the Red Cross, Volume 87 Number 858 June 2005, pp. 295-310. See also

Films & Documentaries


Other religions^

Kisala, Robert, Norms of war in Japanese religion,” in Vesselin Popovski, Gregory M. Reichberg and Nicholas Turner (Eds.), World Religions and Norms of War, United Nations University Press, Tokyo, 2009.

Films & Documentaries



A. Walter Dorn & Stephen Gucciardi, "The Sword and the Turban: Armed Force in Sikh Thought," Journal of Military Ethics, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp.52–70 (2011). (html) (pdf

Films & Documentaries




Canada, Department of National Defence, Religions in Canada, Directorate of Human Rights and Diversity, DND, Ottawa, 2008. (pdf-old)(pdf)
      * gives basic facts about religions and branches 
      * includes useful glossary

Harvard Pluralism Project, "On Common Ground: World Religions in America," (pdf, 5 MB, 2015)
      * describes five world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism)
      * covers the basics very well, concise (10-15 pages per religions); introduces key terms and gives useful internet links; sympathetic with the religions; relatively recent (2015); nice accompanying images with explanations; imprimatur of Harvard University; US slant/emphasis.

"Introductory Readings on Seven World Religions" (pdf, 6.2 MB)
      * texts include the above Harvard Pluralism Project articles and adds article on "Jainism" and "Sikhism" from the The World Religions & Spirituality Project, Virginia Commonwealth University





Resource Database to accompany "Exploring World Religions: The Canadian Perspective", Memorial University,  Newfoundland, 2009. (link)
   * intro to scriptures and ways of reading/interpreting them [I would like some academic readings on reading/interpreting religious texts. ]

Willard G. Oxtoby and Alan F. Segal, A Concise Introduction to World Religions, Oxford University Press, Third Edition, .... [standard textbook used in introductory courses on world religions]


CNN Videos for World Religions, Oxford University Press (link)

Expansion, Geographical of six religions -
Expansion, Religion spread around the world, animated map (Business Insider):



Specific Religions (Introductions)^

Abrahamic (see also Christianity, Islam, and especially Judaism)


Documentaries (on Abrahamic religions)



Book of Daniel (2013; 2:40) 

Elijaj Prophet (57:43)
     English subtitles

One Night with the King (2006; 2:03:00)
     The young Jewish girl, Hadassah, goes on to become the Biblical Esther, the Queen of Persia, who saves the Jewish people.

Ten Commandments (1956; 3:40:00) 
     Blockbuster Hollywood dramatic film, 20-minute story through cuts 



Documentaries (on Buddhism)

Buddhism: An introduction (51:51)
Slow moving from previous decades



Life story of Buddha acted out in “Little Buddha” MovieCLIPs (1993) (first 2:20 min of 2:41 clips)
 (4/12) The Birth of Siddhartha -
(5/12) Beauty Beyond the Walls -
(6/12) Gates to the Kingdom (to 2:14) -
(7/12) Show Me Death (to 2:21 of 2:42)
(9/12) The Serpent (1:47 min of 2:42)
(11/12) The Middle Way of Enlightenment

Buddha's Story - Continuous excerpts but with added (annoying) audio track (14:16)
(Buddha meditating/enlightenment 10:00-14:10)
Short scene of the Buddha Awakening (Mara attacks again) (1:39)

Little Buddha The Story of Prince Siddhartha part 6 (5:53, fuzzy, interrupted)
Buddha vs Mara (to 2:15 of 5:53) - (bit fuzzy, shows children watching)




Documentaries (on Abrahamic religions)



Gospel of John (3:03:09)
*  fully narration with enactments from the Gospel (Good News Translation)
     * by Chapter; Ch 1 (11:30); Ch17 (prayer, 4:08); Ch 18 (arrest to Pilate's sentening; 8:42); Ch 20 (resurection & conclusion, 6:31); Ch 21 (Jesus appears, 6:05)

Jesus Christ Superstar  and Godspell
Musical/theatrical (Broadway) versions of the Jesus  story

Jesus: A True Bible Story (2:00:00) and Life of Jesus Christ (2013, 1:19:17) 
     * enactment of Gospel scenes using actual words from the Gospels, well acted but slow moving at times

Jesus Of Nazareth (1977, 6:20:27)
     * long detailed story telling

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
     * dramatic Hollywood version of the Gospels

Martin Luther (1953)

 See also List of films based on the Bible (wikipedia)



 Flood, Gavin. An Introduction to Hinduism. UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Documentaries (on Hinduism)

The History of Hindu India (Part One)
Hinduism Today magazine sponsored docuentary that graphically illustrates Indian/Hindu history, culture.



Gandhi (1982)
"acclaimed biographical drama presents major events in the life of Mohandas Gandhi (Ben Kingsley), the beloved Indian leader who stood against British rule over his country. Dedicated to the concept of nonviolent resistance, Gandhi is initially dismissed by English officials ...""

The History of Hindu India, (Part Three: 1000-1850 ce), Hinduism Today Magazine -
     - good tone and historical fact, good imagery; error at 9 min, could not continue

Mahabharata (1989) 
     - film/theatrical adaptation by Peter Brook of the ancient epic using a multiracial cast.
     - (3:32:34)




Documentaries (Islam)


War & Peace in Islam and Other World Religions (2016)
Talk by Dr. Shabir Ally, Toronto Islamic Information and Dawah Centre, 27 Feb. 2016
Notes by V.Davidson: "Very poignant points about how war is often mis-labelled and misused by religions to advance religious doctrines. He discusses how and if war built into fabric of human existence. Good historical analysis of how war has evolved from hunter-gatherer societies (and power over who stored excess grains in farming societies, etc.) and distorted into modern realities via political/social/religious agendas! Discusses the 'us vs. them' nature of religions and how dangerous such a concept is."


The Messenge (1976, 3 hr)
Gives good sense of the story of Mohammed (from age 40), including his war fighting, from Islamic point of view. "In accordance with Islamic law, director Moustapha Akkad's biopic of Mohammad never actually depicts the prophet himself, but rather outlines his story through the lives of certain cardinal figures in his life." (stars include Anthony Quinn)
Info: (better resolution copies might be available)
King of Abbysinia (8:19), Bilal and first Adnan (2:24, longer: 5:19), final scene (5:47, start after 1 min)

Inside Islam (National Geographic Documentary, History Channel)

Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar  ("Crash Course World History #13")
(quick/fast, fun, not take itself too seriously, but informative )

The Life of Muhammed (BBC documentary) narrated by a British Muslim (3 Pts, 1 hr each)
Pt 1: The Seekers:
Pt 2: The Holy Wars:,
   (second half, after 33 min, relates most to armed conflict),
Pt 3: Holy Peace: (Pt 3)

Islam: Empire of Faith (PBS documentary)


Documentaries (on Abrahamic religions)




Bromley, David G., "Jainism," World Religions and Spiritualities Project,, accessed October 2016.


Documentaries (on Abrahamic religions)

Jainism (5 parts) (Part 1
Fuzzy version but good imagery and explanations






Documentaries (on Judaism, see also Abrahamic)

Judaism: Inside the Torah (47 min)
National Geographic documentary with usual excellent imagery. Biblical, historical and archeological story of Kings David and Solomon. "Describes how David conquered Jerusalem and gave Kingdom of Israel for his son and the Jewish people."  


The Kingdom of Solomon (2010)
"Solomon, Prophet and the King, has asked God to give him an ideal kingdom which has never been given to anybody before."

The Story of Jacob and Joseph (1974 TV Movie)
"the Biblical stories of the last of the Hebrew Patriarchs in the Book of Genesis."



Documentaries (on Abrahamic religions)



Avalokitesvara (2013)
"Chinese religious film based on a legend about how Mount Putuo in China's Zhejiang Province became known as the bodhimaṇḍa of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, who is better known in Chinese as 'Guanyin'" (




Bromley, David G., "Sikhism," World Religions and Spiritualities Project,, accessed October 2016.

McLeod, W. H. (1976) The Evolution of the Sikh Community (London, UK: Oxford University Press).

McLeod, W. H. (1989) The Sikhs - History, Religion and Society (New York, NY: Columbia University Press).

McLeod, W. H. (1995) Historical Dictionary of Sikhism (Delhi: Oxford University Press).

McLeod, W. H. (1997) Sikhism (London, UK: Penguin Books).

Documentaries (on Abrahamic religions)

The Sikh Story (59:30)
BBC documetnary shows history with emphasis by the Golden Temple, narrated by a British Sikh who gives her own story as an immigrant



Related Literature on the Ethics of War and Peace

Endre Begby,Gregory M. Reichberg and Henrik Syse, The Ethics of War. Part II: Contemporary Authors and Issues, Philosophy Compass 7/5 (2012): 328–347 (pdf, 128 KB) (pdf, Begby site)