Bridge or Barrier: Religion, Violence, and Visions for Peace

Bridge or Barrier: Religion, Violence, and Visions for Peace

Bridge or Barrier: Religion, Violence, and Visions for Peace

Bridge or Barrier: Religion, Violence, and Visions for Peace

Synopsis

The book discusses the transformative role of religion in situations of violent conflict. It considers both the constructive and destructive sides of religious belief and particularly explores ways in which religion(s) may contribute to transforming conflict into peace.This volume analyses the role of religion in its current manifestations and provides alternative views of it. It is concerned with the role of religion as a source of conflict that often takes violent forms, thus contributing significantly to current problems. Attention also focuses on questions of peace from the perspective of the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A number of essays actualize a vision for peace based on religion and situate visions for peace in the wider context of human security. All chapters consider the policy implications of the theoretical and practical perspectives offered on questions of conflict and peace.The most important documents that have emerged from a variety of religious groups, notably those represented in the book, outlining their view on issues of peace and human rights are collected here, showing how religious believers have engaged with questions similar to those suggested by the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Excerpt

This volume results from the International Conference on Religion, Violence and Visions for Peace that was organised at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague in May 2001 under the auspices of the Chair in Religion, Human Rights and Social Change. The revised and edited lectures were complemented with a number of commissioned papers that provide further insight into the subject matter. The editors are grateful to all authors for their valuable contribution.

The book focusses on the ‘Abrahamic’ religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. An additional chapter on Buddhism highlights the comprehensive vision of this religious tradition in the field of peacebuilding. The volume opens with an exploration of religion as a source of conflict on the one hand, and as a resource for peace on the other. In conformity with the aims and objectives of the original Conference the book discusses the transformative role of religion in situations of violent conflict, particularly exploring ways in which religion – or religions – may contribute to transforming conflict into peace.

The book aims at a wide international readership that includes both academics and non-academics. Consequently, the present volume also has a separate section containing documentary resources on religion, violence and peace.

The editors are grateful to the following organisations in the Netherlands for sponsoring the International Conference from which this volume emerged: the National Committee for International Co-operation and Sustainable Development (NCDO), Cordaid (Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development), The Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, and the European Centre for Conflict Prevention (ECCP). They are also grateful for the generosity of the Institute of Social Studies in facilitating and hosting boui the Conference and an Expert Meeting.

The Editors
The Hague
April 2004

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