Reflection on “Religious Peace Building”

I did a Reflection paper on Religious Peace Building by Maria Pilar Aquino. One of the main focuses of this paper, which has been a common theme in many papers that we have read this far in the semester, is the role of religious actors in peace building. However something that I found very interesting that Aquino did that I have not seen any other author do was categorized the level of influential power of different religious actors based on the specific position that they hold. “Lederach represents the different levels of society in which peace building actors operate: grassroots leaders local organizations and religious groups): leaders (national and regional groups and institutions): and top-level leaders (government and international religious leadership (1997: 37-55: also Schirch 2004: 70-4). I really liked this break down because it made a lot of sense to me in the way that people are influenced more by people that they see to have more “authority” or “power” which psychologically makes a lot of sense. If someone is well known and is seen as influential person they are going to have a larger and more powerful support group compared to someone that would be considered second level. This is especially true when it comes to the wealthier upper class and who is influencing them for the most part they would not be influenced by anybody who would be considered a “grassroots leader”. However, like it was stated in the paper it is vital and crucial to recognize the grassroots level as an important part in transforming violent conflicts. I truly agree with this because if you think about our society as a pyramid, the base of it would be the lower economical class people because they are the majority. So it is crucial to get them on board and seeing in the right direction in peace building so that it could continue upward and spreading. A pyramid could not stand without a strong base.

The next part of the paper focuses on the realization that even if the everybody is on this tract to become this better world, it can not be made possible unless the top on the pyramid is on board as well. The reason for this is because they are the most influential people in the world politically and economically. So without them it would be very difficult to make large-scale changes. “Promoting human rights. meeting human needs. and creating sustainable environments are not priorities of current global capitalism” (Aquino 571). I do agree with this that in the capitalist view the priorities of most are to make money over anything else. I feel like this is the way that our society has molded us has made us believe is the correct way to go about things, first worry about your self interest and self gain at all cost, then if you have time or excesses then consider helping out others. “It must be acknowledged that the current economic and financial crisis is the end result of an egoistical and irresponsible way of living” (Aquino 572). I could not agree more with statement that our recent individual action on a large scale has placed us in the current situation that we are in. This is only leading to a greater separation between the upper and the lower classes of the world and I cant not see this stopping any time soon. Unless we begin to realize and begin changing our way of lives as a society as a whole and become more aware of the damage that we are doing. I can see our generation being able to do this. As we become more globalized and more open to difference and as fields such as peace building become more popular and wider spread. “In light of this understanding. I suggest that peace building is a powerful venue to enhance positive identities, as it allows one to continue developing theories and practices aimed at overcoming realities of perverse global social injustice and. at the same time, changing radically our ways of thinking” (Aquino 576). This statement supports exactly my feelings for our future as a new and changing society. I also really liked the way that Religious Peace building was broken down on pages (576-577). This gave a clear summary of what the purpose, goals, methods and wanted outcomes are of transformative peace building are.

The million-dollar question is the one on page 578; what kind of future do we envision for others and ourselves? This is one of the major things that religious peace building is trying to focus on which is bringing a brighter future for all. However there are many concerns about religions being involved in such complex problems. Many people feel like things like this should be left for political leaders to figure out. However I feel like there is a lot of potential with intervention of religion in any sort of situation. Because religion is one of and has always been one of the most influential powers of the world. The underlining message of all religions are a guiding path of how one should live their lives and also values in which this should be done which are mostly shared by all religions. This will take away the doubt and discomfort of discrimination of one particular religion being left out or not take in to consideration because as stated by (Kung and Kuschel 1993: 14) “We affirm that a common set of values is found in the teachings of the religions, and that these form the basis of a global ethic”. Meaning that even though different religions may be seen as these complete different identities with not many similarities, it is possible to find a common ground in all of them that could be seen as universal. It is important if this is to be successful that people keep an open mind to many different out looks and are prepared to hear the input of people that may not believe in the same way or on the same stuff that they do. This could be a difficult task for many because it is in our human nature to fear and shut out things that we are not accustomed to or used to. However this must change especially considering the rate that we are becoming more globalized and diversified.

As time passes people will begin to realize that changes must be done to be able to continue to function as a complete society. There must be changes in many different things beginning with our outlook towards others, constructive peace building and ways to change our current economical situation. This will take a lot of work and time to be widely excepted and practiced however I do believe that religious peace building has a bright future, with unlimited potential.


Aguilar, Maria Cecilia Aquino., April M. Almaas, Brady Banks, Jennifer E. Barrett, Chris Bell, M. Chanta. Bhan, Rebecca Branch-Trevathan, Branden D. Brooks, Chris A. Cowan, Sara Flonders, Dwight L. Ford, Anne Gardner, Eric Gutierrez, Marika Hanushevsky. Hull, Jusin Jennings, Stina Kaverud, Alice Kim, Elizabeth Buckley. Kuehl, Tom Lenhart, Kathleen Guthrie. Lonergan, Juan Miguel. Marin, Gregory William. McGonigle, Michael S. McSherry, Elizabeth T. Meharry, Samira Mehta, Jeremy Melvin, Marlon Millner, Manish K. Mishra, J. Giles. Morris, Brian Nichols, Corey F. O'Brien, Eva Pascal, Megan Perry-Spears, Chad J. Pevateaux, Dakota Pippins, Devaka Premawardhana, Nan Prichard, Kelly Raths, John F. Rhilinger, Diane Rollert, Katrina Scott, Adam J. Shoemaker, Kevin M. Smith, Paula Marie. Smith, Nicole Sotelo, Suzanne Spaihts, Faith Sullivan, Nancy Alma. Taylor, Elizabeth Walker, Robyn Faith. Walsh, Brent Gavin. Was, Erin Elizabeth. Wells, and Wendy Jan. Wyche. [Senior Seminar Papers, 2005]. N.p.: n.p., 2005. Print.


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