Original author: Olusoga Sofolahan, Nigeria
For all these Interfaith challenges there are even more reasons why religious leaders can be effective as emissaries for peace.
OPPORTUNITIES IN RELIGION AND WORLD PEACE BUILDING
Consider the following:
1. Interfaith dialogue and other forms of religious peacemaking revealed that religion is not a primary cause of conflict, even if it has been purported to be.
2. In most societies, there is a general expectation that religion can and should contribute to peacemaking, an expectation that often helps open doors for religious peacemakers.
3. Within most religious traditions, peacemaking is considered a sacred duty, and the peacemaker holds an exalted position. Appealing to these traditions, various methodologies, including interfaith dialogue and religiously inspired third-party efforts, have been developed to ameliorate conflict and advance reconciliation. Religious leaders can be great role models.
4. Religions often have pre-existing structures and processes to resolve conflict and promote peace. As Renee Garfinkel notes, "Most religions are committed to working for justice and peace, and have well-established structures and processes for doing so." Religious traditions typically have guidelines or rituals for reconciling relationships, and these may have application across religious boundaries.
5. Religious traditions and beliefs tend to encourage adherents to look beyond self-interest to a greater good, a tendency that can encourage conflicting parties to seek common ground.
6. In some cases, different faiths or sects share sacred texts. For example, Islam, Judaism and Christianity share certain sacred texts, and the study of them can be particularly helpful in understanding and identifying shared values.
7. Interfaith dialogue carries with it the benefits of other types of dialogue, but as Smock states, it also "has the potential for deeper and more meaningful engagement because of the possibility for spiritual encounter. This in turn may enhance the participants' commitment to peace work and social change.
Progress made in interfaith dialogue can have implications in the wider society. In Smock's words, it is sometimes "more productive for religious leaders to consider emotionally divisive issues than for them to be debated in secular/political contexts." This may be particularly true in societies where there is an officially sanctioned faith commitment, even if the faiths themselves differ.
Arif Bagas Adi Satria, Indonesia
Froiland Sampiano, Philippines
this is very inspirational.
phoyda rymbai, India