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Religious Leadership and Conflict Resolution

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By azure
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SIXTY DAYS AFTER CORPORATE LEADERSHIP MODULE-THE ROLE OF RELIGIOUS LEADERSHIP IN CONFLICT PREVENTION AND RESOLUTION

INTRODUCTION

One day, a gentleman came to my office and in the course of our conversation he sought to convince me to become an Adventist. When I asked if he would like to become a Catholic instead, he immediately responded in the negative without assigning any serious doctrinal reasons. What was even more interesting was that he attended Catholic schools from the basic to the high school level. Next, to elicit his sociological reactions, I asked him to read a book by Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher. The book is titled WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN. Without bothering to read even the first page of the book, he dismissively responded, “I don’t read such books; they are satanic.” I recognized immediately that he was in a state of dissonance, a state of conflict for he was sweating profusely in spite of the chilling temperature in my air-conditioned office: his psychological posture was that as an academic and a budding sociologist, he was supposed to read as widely as possible but reading books that would challenged the basis of his faith was asking for too much.

So, the questions are: Why is religion such an emotive and volatile phenomenon? Why do people kill in the name of religion which often carries the message of peace, love and reconciliation? Why do people engage in apparently irrational behaviours in the name of religion? The answer is simple: religion is beyond logic and science; it is a matter for the heart and not for the head. In fact religion may be defined as a source of conflict in many places. Yes, to the extent that we all profess one religious faith or another and are prepared to fanatically defend the tenets of our religion against others, we constitute a threat, a potential source of conflict in our communities. Since...

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