Kroc Institute faculty and fellows have published widely on the roots of religious violence and the potential for religious communities and movements to work for peace. The study of religion in conflict and peacebuilding has been a major focus of Kroc Institute research sincewhen Kroc Institute director Scott Appleby invited the first of 16 scholars of religion and peacebuilding to become visiting fellows at the Kroc Institute. Many of these year-long fellowships, which resulted in a substantial body of work, were funded by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation. The work has evolved into 2 distinct strands:
Issue 2, Spring Religion, after all, is a powerful constituent of Religion and peace building norms and values, and because it addresses the most profound existential issues of human life e. These choices, in turn, determine their attitudes toward conflict and violence.
Violent and nonviolent actors alike claim monolithic authority to justify and advocate as well as to deflect criticism. For instance, religious leaders who condemn violence often seek to distance their religion from co-religionists who have committed acts of terror or provoked violent conflict.
Yet, it also means that within each of these religions there is room for the normative tasks of conflict resolution. There are existing and developing spiritual practices and theological and ethical resources for hermeneutics of peace.
They can also play an important role in countering the violent extremism of minority religious movements. In sum, religion can be a source of peace or violent conflict, and its importance and potential strength lies in this ambiguity. The Need for Reappraisal: Religion and Conflict Resolution  Western modernity, especially as understood through the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, has heavily influenced conflict resolution and international relations.
As such, these academic disciplines and their practical applications have incorporated elements of secularization theory  and marginalized the influence of religion in their analysis of world affairs. Scott Thomas explains that in Europe during the Middle Ages the religious realm conflated with the social and the moral, all of which were sourced from and sustained by community.
The sacred and spiritual were an indistinguishable part of a total way of life of social, political, economic, and moral dimensions. The process and effects of secularization have been halting and mixed.
Even in the West where governments, academics, and policy institutes have, to various degrees, minimized or ignored the effects of religion on international relations, religion itself has not disappeared. Analyzing data from the European World Value Survey, she argues that the dramatic decrease in religious attendance since the s has not been accompanied by a decrease in religious belief.
Moghadam concludes that change over time in religious adherence, behavior, and values indicates a general trend of strengthening in a majority of countries, certainly in the former Eastern Bloc and most likely in large parts of Latin America, Africa, East Asia, South East Asia, and the Middle East.
It can be traced backward through the roots of some of the most intractable contemporary conflicts including conflicts in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tibet, and Kashmir. In new terms of terror, religion has been a factor in events ranging from the bombing of abortion clinics in the early s to the attacks of September 11, It also illustrates a significant distinction between religiosity among domestic populations and religious literacy in international affairs.
While high numbers of Americans are religious and religious issues have been a part of domestic politics for at least the last fifty years, U. Despite the Christian rhetoric with which the Bush administration pursues its own policy, it has marginalized the validity and importance of religious identity in the Arab world.
According to Michael Hirsch, the Bush administration dismissed veteran State Department Arabists during the crucial months of andand instead consulted scholars like Bernard Lewis, author of What Went Wrong?
Bulliet cautions against rejecting Islam as anti-modern and urges the West to remember its own struggle with the role of religion in civil society, one that continues in America today. Foundations of Religious Peacebuilding Changes in the context of international relations and conflict resolution have been matched by changes internal to many religious traditions.
Positive responses to the human rights era, globalization, and fundamentalism have included the growth of the Christian ecumenical movement, increased pursuit of interfaith dialogue, and the development of coalitions across religious, secular, cultural, and geographic boundaries.
While this necessarily involves training in contemporary conflict resolution techniques and approaches, religious actors can also draw upon their identities as participants in a social and spiritual tradition. The social theory of Alasdair MacIntyre provides a useful vehicle for beginning such an exploration.
Grown from Aristotelian thought, it argues for the importance of community in forming, continuing, and rejecting morality and tradition.In the wake of September 11, religion is often seen as the motivating force behind terrorism and other acts of violence. Religion and Peacebuilding looks beyond headlines concerning violence perpetrated in the name of religion to examine how world religions have also inspired social welfare and peacemaking activism.
In the post-9/11 world, religions and religious actors are more associated than before with extremism and conflict between religious communities, in particular in the popular mind. The many other dimensions and contributions of religion, in particular in relation to peacemaking and peacebuilding processes, are less known, or maybe misunderstood, if not entirely neglected.
Peacebuilding is an intervention technique or method that is designed to prevent the start or resumption of violent conflict by creating a sustainable grupobittia.comuilding activities address the root causes or potential causes of violence, create a societal expectation for peaceful conflict resolution, and stabilize society politically and socioeconomically.
Two additional assets of religion for peacebuilding highlighted by scholar Daniel Philpott explain the potential for reintegration processes: "connectivity," or the ability of religious actors to extend their reach into a very wide range of sectors of society, and "holism," or an ability to conceive of transformation as a project for the whole of a society and its members.
Religion, after all, is a powerful constituent of cultural norms and values, and because it addresses the most profound existential issues of human life (e.g., freedom and inevitability, fear and faith, security and insecurity, right and wrong, sacred and profane), religion is deeply implicated in individual and social conceptions of peace.
The Peacebuilding Initiative is an evolving project, which benefits from the knowledge and experience of its users. We welcome you to submit a resource or document to the research team by emailing: [email protected]