Karen L. King
This chapter considers the religious justifications for and against torture. It also describes the torturous narratives at Christianity's foundations, the notion of redemptive martyrdom, and the various ways in which Christian ideology has challenged as well as supported the torturous suffering of fellows and foes. Torture functions in the absence of the facts or against the facts. Despite legal censure, torture and claims of torture are omnipresent. The violence of torture depends on sex/gender differentiation for much of its public communication. Opposition to torture on religious grounds will not be efficient without addressing the fact that enculturated ways of thinking and structures of feeling cultivated in Christian stories, images, and theological discourses are entailed in a wide variety of attitudes and behaviors, both for and against torture.
A. Dirk Moses
A long tradition of scholarship has posited colonialism and ‘racial imperialism’ as an enabler of the genocide against European Jewry, though often in imprecise ways. In response, critics of this view have insisted that antisemitism and World War I were the salient enablers, and Germany's colonial experience was too ephemeral to have had serious causal importance. This article changes the terms of debate by presenting the murderous National Socialist program as a colonial and imperial project executed in Europe to compensate for the loss of Germany's empire abroad and in central Europe in 1919. It argues that the style of occupation and warfare Germany conducted in realizing this project was colonial in nature and inspiration, and the Holocaust of European Jewry can be understood in terms of colonial logics as well. At least in part, the Holocaust was, for the Nazis, the attempt of an indigenous people — the Germans — to cast off the perceived exploitative rule of a foreign people: Jews.
This chapter focuses on the role of the comparative study of ethics in peacebuilding. The argument proceeds as follows. First, comparative ethics is presented primarily as a hermeneutical discipline, in which the goal is to answer the question “what is going on?” in a particular context. Second, the chapter analyzes changes in Muslim discourse about war. These point to a deep political crisis. Third, the chapter turns to an analysis of the virtues necessary for those who undertake to build peace in such a context. The example of Dag Hammerskjold serves to make the point that, among other virtues, peacebulding requires the wisdom to identify “provisional solutions”, which at times will include a judicious use of military force. The chapter concludes with the suggestion that the vocabularies of jihad, just war, and other frameworks may yet play a constructive role in the building of peace.
Ron E. Hassner
This chapter argues that contested sacred sites pose indivisibility challenges which can drive even natural religious allies into violent conflict, and also outlines the multiple roots of conflicts over sacred sites based on the type of objective at stake: legitimacy, security, or profit. It then turns to investigate several aspects that characterize these disputes, regardless of cause. Sacred sites cannot be shared to the satisfaction of all parties involved. The characteristics of disputes over sacred places include cohesion, boundaries, and value. Leaders have pursued three primary strategies in order to avoid bloodshed: partition, scheduling, and exclusion. These approaches develop tensions that threaten to burst as soon as one of the claimants perceives a change in the balance of power. Religious leaders can introduce flexibility into the rules governing holy places and add a measure of harmony to contests over holy sites.
David H. Jones
This article assesses the aftereffects of the Holocaust on human rights law. Addressing the so-called ‘promise of Nuremberg’, which began in 1945 with the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, it argues that the Charter, partly as a response to the evil of the Holocaust, broke dramatically with traditional international law by mandating ‘individual responsibility’ for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed by the leaders of the Axis Powers. The Nuremberg Principles were codified into international law by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide followed in 1948. However, the promise of Nuremberg remains largely unfulfilled. None of these post-World War II documents included mechanisms for executive or judicial enforcement, the UN Security Council was stymied by the power of the veto held by its permanent members, and the UN became a community of bystander states that has allowed numerous genocides and mass killings to occur. Among the possibilities for making the world safer for human rights are reform of the Security Council, creation of an international Rapid Response Force, the spread of democracy, and a reduction of poverty in the underdeveloped world.
Heather M. DuBois and Janna Hunter-Bowman
This chapter argues that without explicit, theoretically robust, and practically grounded theological reflection, scholarship and practice tend to neglect significant dimensions of existing—and potential—peacebuilding. First, it explicates how theological method can help peacebuilders to counter positivist and secularist assumptions that often eclipse religious, spiritual, existential, psychic, and emotional experiences that are relevant to naming and healing violence. Second, it uses theological analysis to explore ways in which the Mennonite sociolinguistic community of peacebuilder John Paul Lederach contributes to social theory he developed in contradistinction to the liberal peace. Specifically, the chapter identifies eschatological influences in Lederach’s signature notions of “expansive time” and the “beckoning horizon.” Harnessing the strategic peacebuilding paradigm’s inclusion of multiple sociolinguistic communities, the chapter encourages more extensive conversation between peacebuilding and the discipline of theology.
Laurie L. Levenson
This chapter explores Jewish criminal justice, first discussing the rationales that make punishment moral and not just an exercise of sovereign power. It then addresses capital punishment, decreed for thirty-six different offenses in the Torah but made virtually inoperative by the Rabbis. Next, the chapter turns to what makes a defendant criminally liable, describing the conceptions of causation, joint offenders, criminal intent, and defences in Jewish law; with that as a foundation, it asks whether there is anything like a victimless crime in Jewish law. Finally, it describes the lessons that Western criminal justice can learn from both the content and the processes of Jewish criminal law.
This chapter offers an older notion of just war, particularly as it developed in relation to the changing place of Christianity in Europe and North America. The just war idea presents a way of thinking in which war itself is a kind of restraint. The norms of positive international law are determined with the hope that an appropriate set of institutions might transcend and thus govern the behavior of sovereign states, imposing the rule of law in cases where sovereign states (and their rulers) violate those norms intended “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” The universality of norms is a project to be obtained by means of negotiation among sovereign states. The outline of just war presented reveals that the idea is a moving target, in which changes reflect the dynamic nature of social and political institutions.
Eric D. Weitz
National Socialism sought a radical restructuring of the European population. The drive to assert German domination over the continent entailed not only territorial conquest and political dictatorship but also demographic engineering, in which the annihilation of the Jews was the core aspiration. This article shows that a program of this sort was one possible outcome of nationalism, since that idea and race thinking are closely linked. Both forms of understanding human diversity and defining community developed from the 15th and especially the 18th century onward in the western world. National Socialism provided particularly intertwined and vicious definitions of nation and race that reveal in stark terms how nationalism, which always carries an exclusionary component, was a necessary enabling condition for the Holocaust.
This chapter challenges the alleged differences between liberal peace and religious peacebuilding. The seeming division between the two arises in part from the lack of acknowledgment of religious conflict analysis and conflict resolution, both in and out of government, which has harmed the global capacity to respond constructively to destructive conflicts. It is also due to historical and personal Western tendencies to see secularity and religiosity as bifurcated realities. Some practitioners and analysts of conflict resolution can remedy this problem by examining their own experience with combinations of secular and religious motivations and practices, and the challenges they have faced as a result. This chapter examines in particular the attempts of one practitioner to engage in a creative tension of critiquing religion, advocating attention to it, and experimenting with forms of conflict resolution that draw on both religious and secular Western legacies.
R. Scott Appleby
This chapter compares the fields of development and peacebuilding, with an eye to exploring affinities as well as areas of resistance to collaboration. It identifies the following points of convergence: 1) a focus on the local community; 2) an emerging consensus regarding the “rules of engagement”; and 3) a growing recognition that the criteria for “authentic” human development must be articulated on a case-by-case basis. Religious actors and institutions are already located, indeed long established, at this nexus, and frequently provide the fundamental social infrastructure within which peacebuilders and development workers alike must operate. Accordingly, the chapter argues, first, that peacebuilders and development professionals should collaborate systematically, creating an alliance that would help address structural challenges currently plaguing both fields. Second, religious actors and institutions must be welcomed more deliberately into regional as well as local projects and planning, thereby making the “liberal peace” model more elicitive, holistic, and effective.
S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana
This chapter argues that effective peacebuilding strategies in Muslim contexts should engage Islamic conceptions of peace and justice, and work together with credible agents of peace, including religious leaders. It elaborates on Islamic principles of peace and focuses on religious actors as important agents of change in Islamic contexts. Muslim religious actors often have more legitimacy than secular peacebuilders in their communities; local communities respect them as religious leaders who know their religious tradition and history well. The chapter also discusses various challenges practitioners face. Finally, it explores ways to empower agents of peace to respond to these challenges constructively within their unique historical, social, and political contexts.
W. Cole Durham Jr. and Elizabeth A. Clark
This chapter analyzes the role that the fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief plays in ending or averting religious warfare, and in providing necessary footings for crystallizing peace out of conflict. After stressing that there is a tendency to lay exaggerated blame for many conflicts on religion, the chapter explores the Lockean insight that under certain circumstances, religious pluralism can serve as a stabilizing factor in society if states protect the right to religious diversity instead of imposing homogeneity. International limitation clauses on the scope of religious liberty play an important filtering role in promoting the positive contributions religion makes to society, while constraining negative religious effects. The analysis argues that secularity, understood as a framework welcoming religious pluralism, rather than secularism, as an ideology advocating secularization as an end in itself, is most conducive to the peacebuilding potential of religious freedom.
This chapter reports on a twenty-year experiment in “scriptural reasoning,” a type of inter-religious dialogue that emerges from places of maximal warmth and potential fire—“hearths”—within each participating religious community. It also explores how this dialogue is being adapted for peacebuilding efforts in regions of inter-religious violence. The goal of scriptural reasoning (SR) is to nurture “hearth-to-hearth” dialogue that summons the warmth of each hearth as a resource for conflict reduction, without at the same time stoking the fire. This is potentially the most dangerous form of inter-religious dialogue. This chapter argues, however, that it is also the one that, when handled properly, is most likely to contribute to long-term conflict transformation.
This chapter articulates reconciliation as an ethic of peacebuilding and demonstrates how it is rooted in religious traditions. It shows how the texts and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam support this ethic, though it might well be grounded in other traditions as well. It then applies the ethic to the political sphere and situates it in the context of transitional justice, describing the practices that make up the ethic. The chapter shows how reconciliation both overlaps and contrasts with the liberal peace, the globally dominant paradigm of justice in the wake of massive violence. Finally, it suggests that forgiveness, the practice that most stands in tension with the liberal peace and is most emblematic of religious reconciliation, is a promising avenue for future research in this area.
Peter van der Veer, Tam Ngo, and Dan Smyer Yu
This chapter argues that non-Christian Asian traditions contribute perspectives on peacebuilding that are different from those offered by major Western traditions. Peacebuilding, like reconciliation, refers to a specific set of practices, informed by theory, designed to alleviate human suffering and create the conditions for human flourishing. Much of the theoretical apparatus of peacebuilding and reconciliation seems to build on elements of the Christian tradition; however, other traditions also have much to offer. A major idea about peace and reconciliation that one can find in Asian religious traditions is that a person seeking a superior moral life and liberation from suffering should focus on renunciation and self-cultivation. Such a person provides a moral exemplar to be followed by others that would create world peace, tolerance, and reconciliation. This chapter discusses three major figures who exemplify this tradition: Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Monica Duffy Toft
This chapter, which describes why religion is resurging in the political sphere and the conditions under which religion is most likely to cause troubling violence, also places the source of the problem at the intersection of local politics and three global trends: modernization, democratization, and globalization. The urbanization that accompanied modernization is largely an artifact of the increasing industrialization of production, including especially agricultural production. A greater voice for religion and religious actors is assisted by the global movement toward greater democratization. When globalization accelerated, religious actors are in a position to harness its associated technologies. In the current era, the transnational dimensions of religion, and in particular Islam, explain why religious civil wars have the character of starting out local and then becoming more global. Solving religiously inspired violence demands the combination of religious authority with a better idea.
This chapter presents an account for religious violence, and also evaluates institutional independence and political theology more carefully. Then, it uses these two factors to elaborate forms of religious violence: communal conflict and terrorism. Political theology and institutional independence are far from the only factors that explain religious violence, but it is proposed that they can account for communal conflict and terrorism. The analysis of Monica Duffy Toft's cases shows that nine of the twenty one religious civil wars in which religion has shaped ends have involved opposition groups with an integrationist political theology, all of them Muslim. Moreover, the analysis of the Terrorism Knowledge Base exhibits a positive link between authoritarian regimes and the site where religious terrorists work. It is noted that religious violence is least likely to occur in settings of consensual independence, which are found most commonly in religion-friendly liberal democracies.
This article examines the roles of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church in Croatia, and the Islamic religious authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1991–1995 war inWestern Balkans. Religion in this case has been instrumental as a factor for galvanizing conflict and rationalizing its outcomes. The article also notes religious activities aimed at preventing violence and healing postconflict societies. The public influence of these religions began during the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia. Through the war and afterward, religions continued rebuilding resources and increasing influence. Traditional religion was blended with the new national ideologies carried out by ethnic nationalist parties allied with the ethnic majority churches established as state religions. Two decades after the Balkan war, the growing influence of these religions in public sphere coincides with the post-Yugoslav new ethnic nations’ failures in state building and democratic transition.
This synthetic chapter describes the contributions to the Oxford Handbook on Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding, putting them in tension with one another through a consideration of larger orienting themes. One such theme is the tension between the liberal peace and justpeace paradigms. Another orienting thread in this synthesis is a more expansive interpretation of violence and the relevance of not only direct and acute violence but also structural and cultural modes of violence to the analysis of religion, conflict, and peacebuilding. A related dimension of an expansive interpretation of religion and violence invites a discussion of the tool of discursive critique and scrutiny of the conventional categories informing theorizing about religion and political violence. Finally, the chapter discusses some of the tension emerging in the field between theory and practice as well as between global and local meanings, agendas, and theories of change. The synthesis proceeds with a careful effort to locate the contributions within a broader landscape of debates about modernism, secularism, and the so-called resurgence of religion.