Religions in Conflict Resolution Isyana Adriani, BA, M.Si.
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Religions in Conflict Resolution
Religions in Conflict ResolutionIsyana Adriani, BA, M.SiIntroductionReligion, after all, is a powerful constituent of cultural norms and values, and because it addresses the most profound existential issues of human life (e.g right and wrong, profane and sacred), religion is deeply implicated in individual and social conceptions of peace. (Abdul Aziz Said & Nathan C. Fun, The Role of Faith in Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution.)Identifying The BarrierThe assumption of a universally valid (and presumably secular) framework of knowledge for peace and resolution of conflicts already exists. This cannot be justified because peace and human development cannot take care of itself while actors pursue economic growth and state security. Christianity vs Islam: Conflict ResolutionConflict resolution in the Christian way (which in turn affects the West) encourages personal responses, historical breaks from the past that enable renewal and revision. This is in line with Christianitys emphasis on personal relationship with God and the idealized social values attached to individual pursuit of interests. The role of community and its leaders to achieve historically and communally acceptable resolutions are evident in Islam Western (Secular) vs Islam: Approaches to PeacePeace equals absence of war, justice is equated with absence of gross human right violations. Peace is maintained with a threat of coercion and cooperation amongst great powers. The West tends to think about conflict resolutions in terms of reason, as reason is sacred and passion is dangerous.In Islamic conception, reason and passion complement each other, which are integrated in faith and practice of Islam, active submission to God. So peace is understood as not just the absence of violence, but also a just condition that enables human fApproaches to Peace (continued)Sharia law is a protective code to ensure that Muslims are able to pursue a good life without fear. Contrasting with the Western idea of free choice and freedom from constraint (freedom to do), Islam emphasizes existential freedom (freedom to be.) In Islam, ones dignity is actualized through service. Searching for A Common GroundWhile the Western approach points to political pluralism, individual rights and consumerism as the substance of peace, Islam affirms cultural pluralism, communal solidarity, social justice and faith. Modern Western traditions see conflict as natural and even creative (natural selection, creative destruction, non-violent conflict transformation.) Searching for A Common Ground (continued)Islam frames conflict as a communal matter and not just an individual concern, with emphasis on maintaining social relationships. Under conditions of cultural, economic and political marginalization against Muslims, many people are returning to fundamentalism, as they search for authentic values and alternative means to respond to their problems. Challenges in The Search for A Common GroundThe West has to live up to its liberal tradition, which includes openness to new revelations of truth. Avoid cultural ghettos (grouping ethnics or religion believers) as it is a denial to diversity.Initiating dialogue on mutual respect and openness to cultural eclecticism.Avoid generalizations. To Remember:When speaking of Islam and The West, we have to consider the following questions: Which Islam and which West are we discussing? How are we representing the West and Islam (culturally, geographically or intellectually)? Is the West a finished product? Who represents Islam?