Academic journal article Military Review

The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation

Academic journal article Military Review

The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation

Article excerpt

THE AMBIVALENCE OF THE SACRED: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation, R. Scott Appleby, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Boulder, CO, 2000, 429 pages, $65.00.

Violence that ends without reconciliation will not lead to permanent peace. Religious organizations, rooted in local traditions and culture, offer the greatest hope for reconciliation between warring factions. The pivotal roles for external organizations are identifying the credible religious organizations and training them as national mediators in conflict transformation and reconciliation.

Reconciliation is the end point of a process of finding facts, identifying perpetrators, paying reparations, healing memories and offering and accepting forgiveness. Religious activists are committed to peace and reconciliation with enemies. Religious extremists are committed to reconciliation's defeat by any means.

In The Ambivalence of the Sacred, B. Scott Appleby expands the definitions associated with religious organizations and clarifies the roles they play in national politics, conflict and peace. Because they are already part of the community, religious organizations have great credibility and legitimacy in conflict transformation. …

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