Religions, Violence and Conflict Resolution: How to Negotiate Between Religions

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Title: Religions, Violence and Conflict Resolution: How to Negotiate Between Religions
Creators: Bitter, Jean-Nicolas
Keywords: religious conflict
conflict resolution
Issue Date: 2005-01-27
Publisher: Ohio State University. Mershon Center for International Security Studies
Abstract: Religions can be usefully conceptualized as matrixes of social constructions of reality. In this view, they constitute vital "fiduciary systems" (Polanyi) for the communities who inhabit them. Imposing a "worldview", a "world" or a "religion" is one of the worst form of oppression and violence (Oscar Nudler). Interactions between religions are therefore susceptible to be violent. Conflicts between "worlds" are complex because their respective values and interests are not independent from each other: values do shape interests, and the latter cannot be bargained anymore. George Lindbeck has developed a cultural and linguistic model of religion (The Nature of Doctrine, 1984)- cognitively and politically neutral - that helps to understand how religions and doctrines can be both firm and flexible, how, if religions are taken seriously, one can nevertheless think of the possibilities of doctrinal reconciliation without capitulation. In terms of practical conflict resolution, the model opens space for conceptualizing and implementing negotiation processes aiming at cohabitation between worlds (this was missing in the case of Waco , and is missing in dealing with political Islam). In our contemporary world, says Lindbeck, "what is needed is a religious orthodoxy committed to a liberal polity".
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