Religion and Conflict


How Can Good Relationships Be Developed?

  • Shared Interests/Values
  • Oppenness
  • Trust
  • Honesty
  • Tolerance
  • Harmony
  • Giving and Taking
  • Friendship 
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Religious Teachings about Peace


  • Retaliation when wronged is not helpful: praying for those who are against you ia better. 
  • Showing love, compassion and Kindness towards others is following the example of Jesus.
  • Jesus called on people to be 'Peacemakers'


  • A Jewish greeting is the word 'Shalom', whihc means peace
  • In the Talmud, it states that there are three things that keep the world safe: Peace, Truth and Judgement. 
  • Peace is the ideal state, and something to be hoped and worked for. 
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Peace Organisations- The Quakers:


A religious group inspired by the Bible and the life teachings of Jesus.


They teach the need for peace and equality, in areas that especially need it. They are Pacifists.


Peace-workers are sent to areas where there is unrest among communities. They offer advice and support on how to create and maintain peace.


In Britain, they are promoting the 'peace tax', which is where tax money is used for peace instead of war. They also offer courses for adults and children on how to resolve issues of conflict. 

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Peace Organisations- Neve Shalom:

Who And What?

'Oasis of Peace', They are a cooperative village founded by Israeli Jews and Israeali Arabs, to show that different people can live side by side peacefully.


Midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


Half of the inhabitants are Jewish Israelis, the rest are Muslim and Christian Arabs. Around 300 Jewish and Arab families are on the waiting list to move into the community. 

Their wish- "We had in mind a small village composed of inhabitants from different communities in the country. Jews, Christians and Muslims would live there in peace, each one faithful to his own faith and traditions, while respecting those of others."

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A Christian View On Suffering

  • Some Christians argue that the world is 'corrupt' or 'fallen' and that there is an evil power in existence- Lucifer or Satan. 
  • Suffering is a result of the original Sin- because of the fall of Man, every human inherits a flawed nature in need of rebirth, and the tendancy to sin. 
  • There is also the view that suffering is in existance in order to help people understand what good is. 
  • Suffering is a result of free-will, and can help an individual to grow morally or spiritually. 
  • Some believe it is a test of faith, or a consequence of choosing right over wrong.
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A Jewish View on Suffering

  • Suffering is a result of free-will: God gave humanity free-will, and, in doing so, the right to choose between good and evil. As a result, suffering comes from God too as he can use it as a sense of discipline, or as a form of punishment. 
  • Jews beliee it is wrong to question God's decisions because he is Just, Merciful and Holy.
  • Throughout history, many Jews have been persecuted for their beliefs. 
  • Many Jews believe the sould lives on after death. They believe God is the judge, and evil will be punished.
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How Can Those Suffering Be Helped?

Christians respond to suffering  by:

  • Prayer
  • Reading the Bible
  • Studying the lives of others who have suffered
  • Through a belief in the afterlife (things will get better)
  • By believing suffering is part of God's plan
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Religious Teachings On Forgiveness


  • Teaches the example of Jesus
  • He forgave his executioners when on the cross
  • In the Lords prayer, Forgiveness is important
  • Examples of Christians forgiving include Martink Luther King, Corrymeela.


  • Judaism teaches forgiveness and this can be found in the Tenakh
  • Emphasis is placed on repentance
  • Rosh Hashanah is the New Year time, where people are expected to say sorry, forgive others and put themselves right with God.
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Just War

  • Some People say that religion is one of the causes of war and violence. They would give examples of: Roman Catholics And Protestants (Northern Island), Christian and Muslims (Lebanon) and Buddhists and Hindus (Sri-Lanka)
  • However, it is not always just religion that causes conflict- other factors such as politics, disputes over resources or rights or repsonding to oppression and prejudice can also be involved.
  • Many religions actually teach that violence or war is usually wrong. Some also teach that there are certain circumstances when believers have to 'take up weapons', because not doing so could result in even worse suffering or injustice.
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Judaism and War

Jews regard peace as the 'ideal state', so when warfare happens, it is then important to treat those captured justly. 

Jewish tradition is clear to state that before any war is declared, or battle entered, there must have first been attempts at making peace. 

There have been 3 types of war that may be encountered:

  • Obligatory Wars- Wars that Jews have been commanded to participate in by God.
  • Defensive Wars- Wars where Jews defend themselves against attacks made on them or their state
  • Optional Wars- Wars where fighting may be undertaken for very good reasons, and where negotiations of peace are not possible. 
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Conscientious Objectors

These are People who, on religious, moral, or ethical grounds, refuse to fight in a war, or in certain cases, to take on any role that would support fighting forces.

Their arguments are:

  • Killing or harming another human can never be justified
  • War is a waste of resources, and goes against the ideas of stewardship- given to humans by God
  • War causes too much suffering, especially of the innocent.
  • War and ared fighting only encourage the less desirable instincts in humans, such as prejudice, hatred, greed and selfishness.
  • If a person is forced into fighting, this is a denial of their personal freedom, and forces them to go against their consicence, principles and belief.
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Pacifism is when:

  • Someone is opposed to war or violence as a means of settling disputes.
  • A pacifist could be against war or violence because of their religious beliefs.
  • For example, Quakers believe that violence and war go against Christian teachings
  • They actively campaign for non-violence in the world.
  • People who do not have religious beliefs may also choose to be pacifists 
  • They may feel violence is morally wrong.
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Attitudes to non-Violent protest

Non Violent protest is taking some action to stand up against and resist oppression, injustice or to bring about change.

Often Non violent protestors are more willing to take in suffering themselves in order to make their stand clear and to bring about the change they feel is needed.

Examples of Non-Violent protests:

Strikes, Boycotts, Demonstrations, Banners, Marches, Writing letters of protest, Hunger strikes, Wearing badges, Leaflets. 

An example of a peacful protestor was Martin Luther King. 

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