RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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The Role of Religion in Conflict
Does religion cause conflict?
- People who don't follow a religion, such as humanists and atheists, sometimes say that religion is the cause of many of the world's conflicts. This is because there are examples of conflict where different sides practice a different religion.
- Different religious practices, beliefs, and ideas about God lead to disagreements, causing more conflict.
- Rather than bringing about peace, religion actually contributes to the problem of conflict in the world.
- Without religion, there would be less conflict.
Many non-religious people don't agree with conflict, but like some Christians, would accept violence when necessary, for example, if its purpose was to bring about peace.
- Christians would say that, although there are conflicts in which both sides practice a different religion, this is not the cause of the conflict. There are usually political, social, or economic reasons behind the majority of conflicts, therefore it is unfair to blame religion for the conflicts in the world..
- Christians state that, rather than causing conflict, their faith actually discourages it. If everyone followed the teachings of Jesus, the world would be a very peaceful place. To support this, they point to Church teachings about peace, Christian teachings on justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation, along with the fact that Jesus is seen as a peacemaker.
- There are many Christians who work for peace. For example, Pax Christi, promotes peace across the world, highlighting injustice and working to bring about reconciliation through non-violent means.
- Christians emphasise the need to focus on uniting people, finding things that they have in common, rather than making a big deal about the differences. This helps to bring about peace.