Bridge Or Barrier: Religion, Violence and Visions for Peace by James J. Busuttil, VI International Conference on Religion,

By James J. Busuttil, VI International Conference on Religion, Gerrie Ter Haar, Gerrie Ter Haar

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Additional info for Bridge Or Barrier: Religion, Violence and Visions for Peace

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20 gerrie ter haar If we look at the so-called book religions – those that base themselves on a written authority such as the Torah, Bible, or Qur"an and other sacred scripts – it is apparent that the humane worldview on which many people strive to base their actions today did not exist at the time that these books were written. In these texts, the use of violence is commonly accepted and even encouraged in certain circumstances, while peace and tolerance are usually limited to a particular circle of people.

It could, or should, be regarded as a “penetrating insight”, necessary for just rule in the global world order. 64 Her argument finds an echo in Joseph Ngala’s discussion of the role of conscience in conflict and peace. Commenting on the historical experience of the Church in Africa he distinguishes three types of people: people with what he calls “a wrong identity”, who perpetrate violence in the name of religion; people “without an identity”, who are therefore unable to do anything in the name of religion, whether good or bad; and people with “a right identity”, who inculcate positive values that shun violence.

This has critical implications in terms of a strategy of intervention. It may mean that creative religious hermeneutics on the part of leadership or even individuals may be the key to a solution. It may mean that secular intolerance and lack of support for moderate religious leadership may be a hidden contributing factor of religious intolerance. There is no doubt about it, religious rituals are potentially dangerous. But even the rituals that flirt with violence mean much more to people than simply a rehearsal of trauma or revenge for trauma.

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