Topic 3: Peace and Conflict
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3.1 Why do wars occur?
- Causes of war can include; fear, self-defence, economics or natural resources, national pride, fighting against aggression and injustice, long-standing racial or ethnic hatred and protecting people from persecution and exploitation.
- The war in Darfur, 2003-2007 and ongoing, the Sudanese and Janjaweed are on one side and the other side comprises of different groups, like the Sudan Liberation Movement.
- Approximately over 2.5 million have been affected, The Sudanese have been accused of mass killings and violations of Human Rights.
- Factor 1: Economic/environment: drought forced farmers south, where people were already struggling, land becomes infertile.
- Factor 2: Long-standing ethnic hatred: Divided by religion and ethnicity (Arabs V non-Arbabs)
- Factor 3: National Pride: Sudan wanted to be one country, not have Darfur as another one.
- Factor 4: Remote Location: Poor transport links, took longer for outside world to see problem.
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3.2 The United Nations and world peace
- The United Nations (UN) works for world peace in many ways, by using conflict resolution and reconciliation.
- They use techniques like; Arms control and disarmament, Trade restriction, Peacekeeping forces and Militay action.
- They have generally been successful (2 out of 3 peacekeeping attempts) and a fewer Human Rights abuses.
- The UN were unsuccessful in preventing mass killings in Darfur, 2003.
- The UN attempted to help Darfur by;
- Negotiation: breakthrough in 2004 and since then there have been various peace treaties signed by both sides.
- Threat of sanctions: some countries refused to trade with Sudan, Not enough votes within UN to put trading sanctions on Sudan, threats have been successful however.
- Peacekeeping Forces: 300 from African Union allowed into Darfur, 2004. In 2007 26,000 troops and police sent in, but came under attack.
- The UN has only met with limited success in bringing peace to Darfur.
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3.3 Religious organisations and peace
- Christian Organisations:
- World Council of Churches (WCC) brings together world Christians, aim for talking to acheive reconcilliation, Supports Churches involved in worldwide struggles, worked for peace against racism in South Africa.
- Pax Christi, latin for "peace of Christ" internation Catholic organisation, aim to solve disputes through discussion. "Our vision is of a world where people can live without fear of violence in all its forms. We believe in the power of prayer, reconciliation, forgiveness, justice and non-violence and the right to live in a culture which promotes these values and treats the whole of God's creation in a respectful and just manner."
- Islamic Organisations:
- Islamic Relief, first Muslim agency in Europe to help victems of war, recently has worked in Iraq.
- Muslim Peace Fellowship, works to promote peace, work against justice and bring world peace.
- Both Central to Islamic principles "Whoever saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind." (Surah 5:32)
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3.4 Just war theory
- Just war: a war that is fought for the right reasons and in the right way.
- A Just war has conditions, it must;
- Have a reasonable likeliness for success
- Be fought with the aim of peace
- Be a last resort, after negotiation
- Not target civilians
- Have a just reason to fight (e.g. injustice)
- Use fair and reasonable methods
- However both sides can claim that their side is just.
- The theory can be manipulated by leaders (e.g. George Bush described enemies of the USA as the "axis of evil", and the USA as a force of good.)
- Some Christians believe the theory is supported by biblical teachings.
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3.5 Christian Attitudes to war
- Bible has messages of peace and Jesus was the "Prince of Peace" some of his famous teachings are:
- "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" (Matthew 5:9)
- "For all who draw the sword will die by the sword" (Mattheew 26:52)
- Some Chistans are pacifists but to different extents, for example, some are absolute pacifists.
- There are four main reasons for pacifism; the decalogue, The golden rule, Jesus stopped his own followers from using violence and weapons of mass destruction are devastating.
- Some Christians are willing to fight in a just war because;
- Jesus said people should follow the law of government "Give to caesar what is caesaer's and to God what is God's" (Mark 12:17)
- Jesus taught disciples "if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one" (Luke 22:36)
- War is the lesser of two evils
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3.6 Muslim Attitudes to war
- The greater jihad mans the struggle within Muslims to make them better believers. This involves;
- Fighting against greed and envy
- Helping the poor and needy
- Being a good friend and neighbour
- Doing good deeds
- The lesser jihad means physical struggle or war. "Fight in the case of God those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits; for God loves not the transgressors" (Surah 1:190)
- The Qur'an tecahes muslims must fight if attacked
- Muhammad himself fought in wars
- Some muslims are against war because:
- Peace and reconciliation is at the heart of Islam
- Modern weapons would kill innocent civilians
- Violence only leads to more violence.
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3.7 Christain attitudes to bullying
- One of the main types of personal conflict is bullying.
- Bullying means intimidating/ frightening people weaker than yourself.
- It often includes, name calling, telling lies, racial prejudiced, beating or physical harm.
- Bullys can be people who are insecure, have problems at home or have been bullied themselves.
- Bulliying can lead to depression, self-harming, suicide, deteriorating grades and eating disorders.
- Bullying is against all Christian principles because it has no just cause.
- Bullying is damaging another one of God's creations.
- Jesus said "Do to others as what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12).
- Judgement day
- The Samaritans are a well-knonwn UK charity who offer telephone support to bullying victems.
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3.8 Muslim attitudes to bullying
- Muslims oppose ALL bullying and the Qur'an teaches "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoying what is right, and forbidding all that is wrong." (Surah 3:104)
- Bullying has no just cause.
- Wrong to abuse Allah's creations.
- Islam says muslims must put an end to bullying.
- Judgement day.
- Since Terrorist attaks, islamic children have had increase in bullying attacks.
- Childline is a 24 hour bullying helpline that people can call for advice.
- They try to get schools involved to stop bullying, which can include by putting up posters, using assemblies, peer counsiling schemes, extra staff at breaktimes and lunchtimes.
- Kidscape aims to teach children about how to deal with bullying and other difficult situations.
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Religious conflicts within families
- Family conflicts are inevitable and some family conflicts can be caused by; money, grades, sibling rivaly, divorce, friends or boyfriends/girlfriends.
- Children often question beliefs and religion, which can also casue problems, as can changing faiths or becoming religious.
- Different generations can have different views on religion as well, and how children deal with it. For example how children are raised, having a relationship with someone from a different faith, drinking and even careers.
- Religion teaches relationships between parents and children should be based on mutual love
- Christianity teaches children should "Honour thy parents" (Exodus 20:21) and parents should not "provoke your child to anger." (Ephesians 6:4)
- Islam tecahes no child should cause harm to their parents and no parents should cause harm to their child.
- Children should obey their parents even into adulthood as parents are wise.
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Christian teachings on forgiveness and reconciliat
- Christians believe the way to resolve conflict is through forgiveness and reconciliation.
- The bible teaches that people should forgive all those who they have had conflict with.
- "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27) "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us" (Luke 11:4)
- Jesus died on the cross to bring forgiveness and reconciliation between God and humanity.
- "For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16)
- Many Christians believe that, with the love of God, everything is forgivable.
- "Forgiveness is the fundamentional condition of the reconciliation of the chidren of God with their Father and of men with one another" (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
- Some believe if the conflict is agaisnt Christian belief then the offender cannot be reconclied.
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Muslim teachings on forgiveness and reconciliation
- Islam teaches conflicts should be resolved by forgiveness and reconciliation.
- One of the names of God is "Allah the compassionate and merciful"
- Judgement day
- The prophet Muhammad taught to forgive.
- The Qur'an teaches; "If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God" (Surah 42:40) "Live as fellow brothers and sisters, as Allah has commanded you." (Hadith)
- Hajj (the pilgrimage) takes muslims to a sacred praying place where they believe that Allah will forgive their sins.
- Denying Muslim principles and denying Islam is unforgivable; "On that day, the wrongdoer will bite at his hands and say: "O that I had takenthe straight path! Woe is me! Would that I had never taken such a one for a friend. He led me astray."" (Surah 25:27-30)
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