Posted by: bklunk | November 5, 2006

Clash of Civilizations

mmullen queries whether religious differences may sometimes raise insuperable barriers between certain groups of people, maybe between India and Pakistan.  If she is correct, where are the faultlines between irreconcilable religious groups?


Charles calls for peace, reworks tour

URL: Charles calls for peace, reworks tour
This article describes how Prince Charles visited Pakistan. Specifically, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited the Fatimah Jinnah University in Rawalpindi. Prince Charles gave a speech in which he called for an increase in the amount of interfaith dialogue. In his speech, Prince Charles professed his belief that he did not understand why some people believe there is some sort of “inevitable conflict between faiths and civilisations.” Although he did concede that in regards to this conflict “the temptation is there, it always has been, but there is no obligation to succumb to it”. I believe in a perfect world what Prince Charles is saying would be true; however, we live in reality and so this is not the case. In this reality there exist religions that simply cannot coexist with the rest of society. Thomas L. Friedman in his book The World is Flat professed his belief that there are certain religions which can in a sense, stop the flattening process. These religions, which in many cases are radical branches of the Islamic tradition, force their members to only accept information that supports their point of view; they refuse to even look at the other side. Of course not all Islamic traditions or other religions for that matter are this strict. However, the small number of religious that hold onto these strict restrictions will continue to be an obstacle to Prince Charles’ “perfect world.”

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  1. I think this question about religion is extremely important. I can’t help but look at the incidences of religion casuing wars. It seems that many religions, even the ones that preach peace and forgiveness, can end up killing people in the name of their God. The Crusades are the most poignant example of religious wars and killing, simply because someone else did not believe the same things.Did the religious world learn from its mistakes in the Crusades? Or is religion simply destined to cause wars. Is there a fundamental difference between someone who believes in the Christian God, or Allah, or Buddha? Is God someone or something to kill over? I would say no. I think there is little inherent difference in the religions of the world. Their purpose, no matter where they originated, was to provide people with some kind of comfort. The comfort might be that you will go to Heaven when you die. It might be that you are reincarnated. No matter what, the same rules apply, and therefore, there should be no reason to kill in the name of God. There should be no reason to think that one person is different from another just because of their belief system.

  2. Pope Benedict, in his much maligned but seldom read speech where he commented on Islam, commented on the dangers posed when religion becomes seperated from reason. It is when this happens that religion can become a source of much violence. Fanaticism and the violence that springs from it arises when reason and the truths that can be known through it are ignored.
    One other point: religion ought never be the source of violence and one ought to critique harshly any religion who embraces it. Yet, I think the basic instinct that religion does matter, that religion is something to fight over (peaceably, of course), is a right one. Violence ought to be wholeheartedly rejected, but so too ought the notion that religious differences make no difference.
    One other point: The reaction of Muslim’s against the West can in large part be attributed to what can be called the west’s religion of gross excesses of all sorts. The West has embraced a neo-paganism of self-centeredness and I do not fault devout Muslims for recoiling against it, though I do fault those who have embraced violence.

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