Religion: The Missing Peace

Theology on Tap welcomed Leah Watkiss and her talk “Religion, The Missing Peace: How, Why, and When Religion Can Transform Conflict” on October 24, 2011.

While it is commonly believed that religion is the source of many of the world’s conflicts and wars, in fact religion is often only a superficial cause. Factors such as injustice, history, culture, economics, and land disputes are the true causes of conflict. Religious causes are emphasized in ongoing conflicts such as those in Northern Ireland and the American War on Terror -- however, other issues are the real cause.

Instead of viewing religion as the source of conflict, Watkiss explained how we should instead use religion a way to resolve conflicts. Religion can bring a gravitas to peace-making negotiations that can be difficult to achieve using strictly secular routes. Additionally she noted that in most areas religious leaders have more credibility than political leaders, and can act as alternative channels for communications. In all, while religion is not the sole cause of conflict, involving religion in the conflict resolution process can bring greater success and peace.