THE ROLE OF FAITH IN CROSS-CULTURAL CONFLICT
One of the most important findings of cross-cultural conflict resolution re- search is that religion is a perpetual and perhaps inevitable factor in both conflict and conflict resolution. Religion, 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., freedom and inevitability, fear and faith, security and insecurity, right and wrong, sacred and irreligious), religion is deeply implicated in individual and social conceptions of peace. To transform the conflicts harassing the world today, we need to uncover the conceptions of peace within our diverse religious and cultural traditions, while seeking the common ground among them.
When we speak of the role of faith in cross-cultural conflict resolution, our challenge is to honor the diversity of the world’s humanistic and spiritual traditions while seeking common ground among them, that common ground is that we are all same GOD’s creation, he is our GENERATOR, OPERATOR and DESTROYER. What we need is an agenda for research, dialogue and activism that is global in conception and responsive to common challenges of peacemaking and coexistence within and among the world’s many traditions. It is no longer sufficient for transnational peace agendas to be defined primarily by the cultural experiences and perceived security threats of a particular nation or culture. We need new frameworks for organizing knowledge about religion, culture and spirituality – frameworks that recognize the powerful role that faith and belief play in conflict and conflict resolution, and that do not privilege one culture as ‘normal’ and label another as ‘exceptional’. Education of the masses about different religions is the key in resolving conflicts.
Many Religions, One Community: –
Our contemporary situation raises many serious questions:
How can different cultures and faith groups find ways to live together in peace and prosperity in a shared society? To what extent are tensions be- tween different faith groups and cultures inevitable? How should these ten- sions be understood and handled? History provides us with a number of resources for thinking about these questions and about how we might an- swer them today.
The Rise and Fall of Islamic countries highlight a period in history when Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together and flourished. At the height of this era, people of these different faiths and cultures learned each other’s languages, translated each other’s great works of literature, philosophy and science, and benefited from a time of peace and prosperity. But this period of peace and prosperity was brought to an end by interfaith conflict, misunderstanding and intolerance. What implications do this historical period and its decline have for interfaith and cross-cultural relations in our community, our nation and in the world today?