Attaining peace, particularly in spite
of the activities of some organized religions
"Can't we all just get along?," Rodney King.
"There will be peace on earth when there is peace among the world religions." Hans Küng.
"The pursuit of truth does not permit violence being inflicted on one's opponent."Mahatma Gandhi.
"For every dollar that the developed countries spend on international
assistance, they invest $10 in military budgets." d'Escoto, senior advisor
to the president of Nicaragua, 2008-SEP.
"Lasting peace will come only from a profound understanding of violence." Leland R. Beaumont
"The war changed everything in my life and I was one of thousands forced to leave during the ethnic cleansing in my city. But they did not
manage to change me. I have NOT learned to hate my neighbors and I never will." Lana Obradovic, a student from Bosnia Herzegovina who lost
many relatives during the religious genocide primarily perpetrated by Serbial Orthodox Christians there during the 1990s.
"Once started, religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in
Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring
about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the
peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility." Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing the
Fellowship on 2001-MAY-4. 1
"...sometimes religion motivates violence, and sometimes it is used, even manipulated, to justify violence. There also is violence
unrelated to religion that gets religiously charged because the conflicting parties happen to be of different faiths." Rev. Shanta Premawardhana, Interfaith
Relations Director for the National Council of Churches USA.2
During the 1990s and so far into the 21st century, peace has
proven elusive in many areas of the world. There have been many genocides, mass crimes against humanity,
and violent civil unrests in countries around the world. Examples are:
Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina,
Burma, Chechnya, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, East
Timor, India, Indonesia, Kashmir, Macedonia, Middle East, Nigeria, Northern Ireland,
Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Tibet. Of these:
The Rwandan civil war was a largely ethnic conflict between two tribes:
Hutus and Tutsis. Both were mainly Roman Catholics. Any differences in religious
faith between the two tribes were not a major
Tibet is experiencing a conflict between the Buddhist population and
the Chinese Communist occupying forces.
The remaining conflicts are based to a significant degree on religious
differences -- either inter-religious or intra-religious. The most common
type of conflict is between Christians and Muslims. However, Animists,
Hindus, Jews, and Sikhs are involved in a few of the battles. Different
denominations and traditions within
Christianity and Islam are also in conflict.
Perhaps we are naive, but we hope that:
The negative influences of religion, which create or aggravate conflicts
can be reduced, and
The positive influences of religion which eliminate or attenuate conflicts
can be promoted.