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Religion & Violence?

Social and cultural norms can be liberative or oppressive.

Some are designed to provide space for positive change; some are designed to protect the status quo and those whose interests are invested in that status quo.  Religion is one of those that falls into both categories. Historically, religion/faith traditions have organised for both education, health care, human rights and the promotion of scientific enquiry – and to oppress and repress, to burn books and arrest poets, to curtail the thriving of human beings in the service of the maintenance, protection and promotion of structures of power and wealth.  Hence, the trainings’ invitation to probe through the dual lenses of ‘What drives violence?’ and ‘What makes for peace?’

As our paper on Partera and Religion suggests, we take religion seriously.  ‘To do otherwise is to remove from our toolbox a tool that has the potential to add immeasurably to the strength and resilience of peacemaking communities of practice. To enter into trainings with people of profound, ancient and diverse faith traditions without a consciousness and knowledge of that aspect of their being and its expression in cultic, linguistic, social, cultural and even political norms and practices would debilitate the training, strain our credibility and compromise the results.’

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