Conflict In Conflict: The Roles Of Conflict

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THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN CONFLICTS The effects of conflict wherever it is located is to dislocate valued relationships and to cause stress on the structure on which they are based. The post-election violence of 2007-2008 in Kenya had over one thousand civilian casualties. In the Rwandan genocide, the story is much worse, over one million people lost their lives. So what could be attributed to the causes of these kind of conflicts? An increasing number of conflict resolution experts argue that bringing peace in the world cannot be achieved if the methods used do not take into account the underlying conditions that cause conflicts. Today these conditions are often intertwined with religious and cultural factors. Scot Appleby claims that approximately…show more content…
Their lists of factors which have caused this crisis contain mostly nonreligious causes such as failed promises of economic prosperity and social justice. In this context, it becomes easier for religious leaders to use their moral legitimacy to incite violence and hatred for example by employing religious objects such as sacred texts, symbols, imagery, myths and hyms to invoke various emotions such as heroism, chivalry, bravery, vengeance among others. These constructs contribute to the continuation of the conflicts in Africa and the world. Literature on religion & Conflict also discusses how religious organizations can become involved in conflicts whose basis are not religious. Haden & Shupe (1986) argue that religious ideas can become mobilizing ideologies among those who are alienated and disposed. Sahliyen (1990 in a similar vein argues that religion is often the vehicle for the articulation of grievances. He also argues that political, social and economic hardships often lead the clergy to assume the leadership of a political protest…show more content…
According to this approach, religious institutions seek to maximize their access to whatever resources they deem most important or to gain the support of whatever element of society they think will further the interests of the religious institutions they control (Fox). Fawcett (2000) in her analysis of the role of religious institutions in the ethnic conflicts in Ireland and South Africa also makes the argument that religious elites seek to occupy the cultural mainstream which she defines as “the ideas, institutions and values which have the greatest hegemonic weight and centrality within the public sphere (Fawcett 2001). They do this because much of their power comes from the fact that they occupy this cultural mainstream to the extent that the legitimacy & authority of whoever occupies the cultural mainstream is taken for granted. Thus, religious elites must shift as people’s opinion’s shift when political and economic power shift, a battle between old and the new order also takes place over where the cultural mainstream will be

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