Does Religion Matter In Building Peace?

Good news. Of nearly 40 armed conflicts across the world, only 5 had religious elements. And that’s the way it should be. The best of religions is so positive, pure, and inspiring!

So what caused these conflicts? According to the Peace and Religion Report from the Institute for Economics & Peace, people rose up against governments for reasons that related to political issues, injustice, lack of economic opportunity, or the social structure of a country. And interestingly enought the report noted that “the desire for identity and self-government was a part of 60% of conflicts.”

We all need a voice.

To be unique, heard, loved. To live free lives.

So here’s what we face, according to the report:

Main findings:

  • Corruption, economic inequality and political instability have a greater impact on countries’ likelihood of conflict than religious differences.

We need to be able to provide for ourselves,

  • Many Muslim-majority countries with Sunni and Shia demographic mixes are relatively peaceful.

Super!! Let’s stop generalizing.

  • Only 14% of conflicts in 2013 were motivated by religion alone

We can use religion as a vehicle for good, for compassion…

  • More peaceful countries tend to have fewer restrictions on religious behaviour and less hostility towards religion.

Be open…. accepting… loving…

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The Peace and Religion report shows that religion, civic involvement, more social groups, and a sense of community will make a country stronger. People are more resilient if they feel they have likeminded souls around them. They can make change for the better, together. It’s an uplifting power!

“Although the violence being perpetrated by ISIL in Iraq and Syria is motivated by religious extremism, this broader analysis highlights that many other factors are also driving conflict. There is a need to recognise these other factors and to formulate policies that address exclusion, inequity and governance to create the underlying foundations for lasting peace.”

-Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman, Institute for Economics and Peace.

***

Thank you Steve for your devotion and insights to peacebuilding!

Bio: Steve Killelea is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace. He created the Global Peace Index in 2007 as part of a study that sought to quantify measures of peace and rank the world’s nations and regions. He is also Australia’s largest donor of oversea aid.

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