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Reflection on “The Complex Reality of Religious Peacebuilding”

The purpose of this article was to explain to the reader what religious peacebuilding was, how it originated, what the purpose of it was and some examples of work from some major contributors to the topic. Because there was so much content in this reading the way that I decided would be the best way to utilize these two pages was to give a brief explanation of religious peace building and then focus on a few of the major contributors and my reaction to their work. Religious peace building is a relatively new field, not being recognized as an academic field until the year 2000. This field has rapidly spread worldwide with one of its major steps being the creation of the World Council of religions. Also religious leaders and religious organization around the world are becoming more conscious about their major role in promoting peace building. My feelings toward this field and the role of religions and religious leaders in peace building are very mixed. I do agree that religions play a major role in conflicts around the world, and that they have the power to create peace. However this must be done with in the religions own people, meaning that they could work on changing the morality of their own people and make them better at conflict transformation. I do not believe that neither religions nor religious leaders should take a leadership role in any sort of political outlook or stand point. The reason for this is being that there is so many different religions that there is no way that one can umbrella all of them.

The first contributor that this author discussed the works of was Appleby. He is a strong advocator that religions and religious leaders could play a big role in peace building. “Religion can underwrite both violence and peace, justice and discrimination, reconciliation and retaliation on its own term” states Appleby. I do agree with this point that Appleby made, because I feel like religion is a very powerful and influential part of many peoples lives. Throughout time as you look back in history there have been very large movements and even wars based on the religious difference or beliefs. This shows how people’s religious beliefs are one of the most powerful drives that humans could have and are willing to fight for. However today as the world becomes more globalized and interaction between people from around the world and from every religion is occurring daily. This is making people and religious groups, as a whole be more open minded and accepting of other religions. In today’s diverse world this is a necessary or else we would be in constant conflict. “This hermeneutic process is a never-ending process, that each religious community and tradition is constantly itself, changing its orientation to the worlds and evolving is self understanding in the light of concrete circumstances”. We must become more proactive and opened minded as a human race in general we should not be closed minded like many people have been in the past, which they believed that that their way was the correct way and anything else was wrong or unacceptable. Appleby would state that the people that have the biggest responsibilities and are the most capable of making this happen would be religious leaders. “Religious leaders play a crucial role in this process, since they can strengthen within the internally plural and ambiguous traditions either the trajectory of peace or the trajectory of violence, revenge, domination and exclusion.” I completely agree with this because religious leaders are some of the moist influential people that can truly shape those religion followers morals and actions that they take. I feel like Appleby makes some very strong points about how religion could shape the lives of people and the outlook that people have on others.

The next contributor that I decided to focus on was Abu-Nimer his major contribution was to change the outlook that people may have on Islam and the Muslim world. Many peoples outlook on Islamic religions and culture throughout the world is that they are inimical to peace building and conflict resolution. People feel that these religions promote violence and wrong doings towards others that are not a part of there religion. This is a major contribution to why Islam and the Muslim world still remain not a part of peace research. I feel like the work that Abu-Nimer is doing is very important for peacebuilding as a whole not only for those religions. Because seeing the good that every religious group can bring will truly open peoples eyes and become more supportive and accepting of the differences that may have. “Abu-Nimer analyzes the potential and practices of peace building and nonviolence in Islam through the study of the Quran and the hadith as lived tradition, provides examples of currant peace building practices and values in Islamic society, and suggests how these examples can be extended further”. He is digging deep into the core of this religion and pulling out the good so that people could begin to practice it. This is an extraordinary step to finally being able to make progress in peace building.

The Final contributors that I am going to discuss are two people that worked together Sampson and Johnston. They worked together on a book The missing Dimension of Statecraft , which was a pioneering study it focuses on how religion has been walked away form in the study and practice of international relations and is the missing part of in U.S. statecraft and diplomacy. They believe and advocate that religion should always have a major factor in diplomacy as well as in law making. I have a hard time coming to an agreement with this only because I feel like it would be extremely difficult and nearly impossible to take all religions into consideration when doing this. The major problem with this is that some religions are going to be left out and not taken in to consideration, wouldn’t this be discrimination against that religion which their viewpoint and say is not being taken in to effect. However I do think that everybody’s moral bases and path of life is set for them through religion (if they are religious people) and even if it is not directly stated that religion is being taken in to consideration the underlying of every decision that most people make is based off of a religious viewpoint.

Bibliography

Hertog, Katrien. The Complex Reality of Religious Peacebuilding: Conceptual Contributions and Critical Analysis. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2010. Print.

Theology


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