19 Mar 2015

Need to counter myth that religions lead to global conflicts - Bishop Leahy


Need to counter myth that religions lead to global conflicts – Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy states at Three Faiths Forum

Religious leaders need to stand side by side in showing how religion can provide a lead in resolving conflict, Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy stated at Three Faiths Forum gathering in the Mansion House tonight.

Speaking at the event titled ‘Religions and Global Conflict’, Bishop Leahy said that while religion has been in some cases “hijacked” by forces intent only on personal profit of one kind or another, it is not the cause of conflicts.

“A superficial reading of religions and global conflict bring some to view religions as only a negative influence in our world. I know and acknowledge that there can be what the American professor Scott Appleby describes as the ‘ambivalence of the Sacred’. There are deviant forms of religion. It does happen that religions find themselves taken up into conflict issues of identity, in many cases hijacked by forces intent only on personal profit of one kind or another.

“When aligned to various political currents that promote a logic of enmity, religions can become vehicles of mutual exclusion through the absolutizing of some of their texts or institutions.”

Bishop Leahy said that the 1986 Assisi meeting of religions for peace, which he attended, was an example of how various faiths can come together in the name of peace. However, today we need to be careful not to fall into the myth, born often out of a Western ideological stance, that religions are generally sources of the conflicts of civilisation.

“Religion is not usually the sole or even primary cause of conflict. In short, while religions are not the causes of conflict they have a very valuable role to play in the transformation of conflict.

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