The dominant perception of religion in contemporary Western societies like Canada is that its institutions and discourses are particularly prone to dangerous, excessive, and fanatic behaviour, in comparison to other institutions and discourses like medicine, journalism, sports, arts, and law, to name but a few.
Hurting oneself, sacrificing one’s life or even risking to do so for religious reasons is generally considered excessive and suspect behaviour. It often triggers fears dangerous extremism in mainstream society. However, consider the following list of situations in which similar behaviour for non-religious purposes is actually considered praiseworthy in dominant Western discourse:
An interesting academic discussion related to these questions is:
Beaman, Lori G. Defining Harm: Religious Freedom and the Limits of the Law. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2008.
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Transdisciplinary scholar of Islam and Sufism.