Religion as a source of mediation and conflict resolution

khairi janbek
Khairi Janbek is a former private adviser to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal. (File photo: Jordan News)
One cannot fail to notice that these days, paradoxically, religion is losing its grip in some areas and simultaneously tightening it in others.

Some sections of society – of all faiths – seem to embrace dogmas, displaying medieval rigidity and intolerance toward others, yet on the moral side, religion is on the retreat, leaving space to crime, disappearance of truth, lack of justice and social responsibility, and selfish individualism, even in countries that claim to be religious.اضافة اعلان

There are many other evils which may well be considered as signs of decadent society, and if moral values are considered to form the life and soul of religion, any religion, then the progressive strangulation of these values can lead one to conclude that if the body of religion is being resurrected, its soul is rapidly ebbing.

As such, the phenomenon of revival we observe in religion today is tantamount to resurrecting a body without soul to wonder like a zombie.
The urge to escape the present generates the desire to fill the void of expectations with something new.
In other areas, long stagnation and the lack of stimulating developments have negative consequences on the religiously inclined people.  Miraculous occurrences which they expect to materialize do not actually happen, divine intervention in world events, which would transform the world to their liking, does not happen, the strange prophecies that can give credence to their faith never materialize, and these people become the cannon fodder of extremism and destruction.

The urge to escape the present generates the desire to fill the void of expectations with something new.

With the continuous drastic changes in the world, how would it be possible to make religion from being a cause of problems between cultures to being a major part of solving those problems?

The world’s great religions are all based on profound notions of justice, peace and goodwill, but at the same time, although religion can be a force for peace, it can be also a force for conflict.

In fact, misuse of religion can be identified as the source of the overwhelming majority of conflicts in the world, so without determining why believers opt for conflict, it may well be impossible to understand the cause of a given conflict. Much worse, we cannot even begin to appreciate what religion can or cannot do in order to improve the understanding of its dogmas.

In the three Abrahamic faiths, there is authorization to use force by one people against another, but at the same time, they can inspire visionary people to commit themselves to a future of tolerance, justice and peace.  Therefore, it is essential, in this day and age, to reflect seriously on the subject of religious partisanship in practices, and work earnestly on transcending the religious diktats that govern political issues.

Religion ought to be taken out of the fray of politics in order to become a source and a vehicle of mediation and conflict resolution. Because it can play a potent role in many societies, when utilized as an honest mediation and goodwill tool, it can achieve far better results than conventional diplomacy, which is more often than not governed by expediency.

The writer is a former private adviser to HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal.

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