Religion and Conflict

August 6, 2006


Over the last year I have had the occasional exchange on the subject of religion, wars and suffering, the most recent one with Euan and Katheryn. I have taken the general line that religion reflects the human condition, and thus mirrors the culture and values of its time.

I have also argued that it is too easy to ascribe blame to religious differences when conflict occurs. I also think that religion is pretty important to humans and our evolution. It was probably linked to the way in which we developed language (from our abstractions of the world) and to social evolution: think of the way in which monasteries provided hospitality and hospitals, the two words being clearly linked. The Irish also with some legitimacy claim to have saved civilisation through their monasteries, although probably not through their Rugby Team .

Of course the philosophy of religion is a part of my background, and the Theology of Liberation provided a defining moment or two. In this connection one person todate has spotted the influence of Karl Rahner on my work and his Hearers of the Word remains to my mind one of the seminal works of Philosophy in the last century and one of the main thinkers behind Vatican II. Religion for good or for ill is a part of what we are.

Either way this cartoon struck me as apt and if you follow the first referenced thread you will find some interesting statistics on suicide bombers. Enjoy …..

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