Reconcilers or Warmongers: On the Peace Potential of Religions
“Reconcilers or warmongers? On the Peace Potential of Religions”. Under this title, the German Christian news portal “katholisch.de” has published an article by Moritz Findeisen (German only). In it, the author examines the current situation – the war in Ukraine – and asks whether religions are more likely to stir up conflicts or to bring about peace.
Findeisen raises the question of whether Pope Francis should position himself more decisively against the war and the Russian president, as some are demanding of him. Or whether, precisely through his restraint, he is not leaving open a decisive room for maneuver in which peacemaking talks are still possible.
According to Tübingen-based peace and conflict researcher Markus Weingardt, this is precisely one of religion’s strengths: “Secular forces – whether politicians or non-governmental organizations – are usually exposed to considerable distrust of their true, perhaps hidden, interests, especially if the peace actors come from abroad or are financed by them. A religious motivation for peacemaking, on the other hand, inspires confidence in many.”
The extent of the peacemaking potential of religions was also recognized by the German Foreign Office in 2018, which set up a separate unit called “Religion and Foreign Policy.” At the time, for example, the justification stated, “Religious communities are the largest transnational civil society actors in the world, with 84 percent of the world’s population professing a religion.” This unit has made financially possible the three multifaith peace conferences jointly organized by the New York-based NGO Religions for Peace and the Lindau Peace Dialogue Foundation in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
Moritz Findeisen’s search for clues also focuses on how Moscow Patriarch Cyril I is behaving in the current situation. You can read the full article by clicking on this link to katholisch.de.