Most Rev Justin Welby was speaking to an audience of headteachers and stressed how important it is to begin to see why someone might be driven to commit acts of violence in the name of religion.
Speaking to the Anglican Academies and Secondary Heads Conference at Coventry Cathedral he said that violence in the name of religion must be better understood and stressed that it was the duty of the Church of England to provide an alternative.
He told those gathered: "You may reject and condemn it [religious violence] - that's fine - but you still need to understand what they're talking about."
He told the audience that "the issue of conflict and of religion is generating a powerful and, indeed, at times uncontrollable and destructive influence in our society and around the world, to an extent that has put it at the top of the political agenda, and which affects the life of our own nation as well as abroad.
"No one before you in the last ten years as secondary heads has had to face the kinds of issues with religiously motivated violence since the 17th century to this extent," he said.
The archbishop went on: "It has come back, and that means religious literacy is essential to building the kind of society that we need in the future, whether you believe in the faith of a particular group of no particular group."
Justin Welby said the Church and Christians schools had a duty to offer pupils another rhetoric and place to turn.
He said: "We have to offer an alternative vision that is more convincing. That is more profound. That is more satisfying to the human spirit.
"And where to do we find a better vision than in the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the good news of Christ?
"And that's where you come in."
He concluded by saying education is the "most important" area of the Church's work and that the teachers before him had the opportunity to create a better society and educate future ambassadors of goodwill.