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Religion, source of conflict or of peace?

Is religion largely a force for peace in the world, or does it often cause war and conflict?

Religion has always been one of the most influential forces in the world. It has been seen as a force for peace and harmony, but it has also served as a cause, if not a genuine reason, for some of the greatest wars.

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Asked by LanaisSky96 at 3:13 PM on Apr. 25, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 16 (2,820 Credits)
Answers (27)
  • I agree! I am pentecostal charismatic (christian) and have some very strong beliefs, I will discuss them, but would never force them on anyone. So many people try and that is where most religions get its bad rep. I agree that it does cause conflict. but it is the people and their own "beliefs" that make it that way. Religion is about finding and serving a higher power than yourself. not about who's "God" is better, or forcing him on people who dont believe.

    Answer by sarahlu at 3:29 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • That depends on your personal experiences, or knowledge. But then, the same could be said about anything. . .sex, money, parenting.

    Answer by dullscissors at 3:39 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • depends on the person and whether they want the Word and Traditions of God to dictate their lives or they want to use the Words and Tradition to affirm their beliefs

    Answer by adnilm at 3:44 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • On a large sale it is nothing but a source of conflict.  It cannot be a source of peace or harmony because that only comes with conversion and not everyone wants to be converted.


    Answer by beeky at 3:46 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • That should be scale. That will teach me for not wearing my glasses lol.

    Answer by beeky at 3:47 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • Beeky, even with 100% willing conversion, it still won't work. Just look at Christianity in America. There are so many different denominations here that can't even agree with what's written in the exact same holy book they use that there's just no way we are all going to live peacefully - even if we all believed in the same "God". If religion didn't exist, we'd probably all be fighting over politics. I used to think that without religion, there would be less extremists, but then the "Tea Party" developed, and it became blindingly obvious that stupid people will latch on to anything - religion, politics, conspiracy theories, anything.

    Answer by Eek_a_Geek at 4:01 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • It is both, depending on how different people use and apply it...

    I think it's important to consider, though, all of the violence that is given a religious mask that is really NOT based on religious issues. Religion is a powerful motivator, and people know that, so they'll abuse faith in the name of geopolitical or economic, etc, reasons, and it's important to remember that, deep down, a lot of the conflict isn't really about religion at all, but merely rallied around religion, if that makes sense... This is especially true in our times, today, but there is also some truth to it when we look at the dynamics of conflicts in the past. A lot of the times it isn't as black and white as merely being a religious conflict. Usually there is something else that really compounds the situation and amplifies the religious differences, extorting them for conflict, you could say...

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 4:03 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • That being said, religion is just one system of many - like nationalism, patriotism, etc, etc - that can be used and abused in this way, because it is something that people identify with and are so passionate about, because that identification means that many people feel as though it is a very part of who they are, which personalizes the issues, if that makes sense. It's not the systems' fault, its the fault of those abusing and manipulating them, since systems like this, ideals and the like, like religion, have no real power of themselves and are only what we each make of them.

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 4:05 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • It's been BOTH, I think. In general, I guess I think it's more of a source of conflict, but there are religions that have not had a lot of conflict and wars and are generally more inclusive, while there are other religions that have very bloody histories. I think it could be a source of peace if people made more of an effort to respect and understand others and their beliefs--respecting differences doesn't necessarily mean accepting a belief for yourself, just accepting differences more. I also think religion has been used by those in power to have control over people for centuries, so religions that are more coercive or forceful about their beliefs or motivate primarily by fear are more likely to have wars over their beliefs and even disagree a lot within their own religion.

    Answer by pam19 at 4:14 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

  • Both--for many, on an individual level, it is a source of peace, but on the grander scale, it has historically been, and continues to be, a source of conflict.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 4:26 PM on Apr. 25, 2011

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