Volume 1. Issue 2, Spring 2008

Resisting Terrorism

From Collective Trauma to Nonviolent Response
Cynthia Hess

The field of trauma studies offers a lens through which to analyze the psychological effects of terrorism and the character of a nonviolent response. Part of what makes terrorism so powerful is its ability to collectively traumatize communities and nations, such that the violence of terrorism becomes part of people’s psyches. A nonviolent response to terrorism involves drawing on narratives and practices that enable us to move beyond our collective traumatization and form ourselves as nonviolent people who refuse to act out of a space of trauma, either individually or through our foreign policy. Martin Luther King’s life and work point to an understanding of nonviolence that draws on specific narratives and practices to resist traumatization and to transform violence that becomes embedded within people’s psyches over time.

Religion and Peacebuilding

Heather Dubois

Religious peacebuilding is as an important specialization within the field of conflict resolution. This essay contrasts past marginalization of religion in international relations with contemporary evidence of religion’s global, socio-political importance. It uses the social theory of Alasdair MacIntyre to explore the socio-philosophical compatibility of religion and peacebuilding. It then describes academic and policy definitions of peacebuilding before offering a typology of religious peacebuilding and a brief listing of its strengths and challenges. Within a framework that acknowledges its ambivalence, religion can make positive and sometimes unique contributions to peacebuilding.

Between Dogmatism and Relativism

Duane L. Cady

One feature of religious identification is the strength with which it is held. For some, the faith is so central to their identity they cannot think of themselves aside from their religion. They are what I call dogmatists. They cannot think of their religion except as the one and only true religion. Only their religion can put humans right with the divine. On the other hand, the contemporary cultural upheaval that results from more frequent contact among people with very different perspectives, values, and practices sometimes leads to a too broad acceptance of difference: “I’m right, and if we disagree, you’re right too, from your point of view,” which I call “relativism.” My interest is in finding a way between dogmatism and relativism, in finding a third way to understand and even embrace religion, a way that avoids the problems of both dogmatism and relativism.

A Proposal For Grace

Mary C. Moorman

Modern theologians of the West have described ecumenical concern as a receding issue in a milieu of weariness over the ecumenical agenda. However, it is not the case that Christians in developing nations can afford such ennui in the face of political divisions that have fallen along religious divides and have hindered development. In modern Uganda critical tensions dividing north from south may be traceable to historical tensions between the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant/Anglican denominations. This paper calls for Catholic-Protestant reconciliation in modern Uganda by drawing attention to a neglected historical connection between Ugandan religious tensions and current regional conflicts. Having acknowledged the damages that denominational divisions imported by the Christian West have inflicted in this developing nation, Ugandan Christians are poised for the possibility of resolving their historical conflicts with grace.

Anger, Grief, and the Art of Peacemaking

Michael True

The challenge of living a commitment to peacemaking, while sustaining ourselves in a violent culture, encourages us to look closely at the relationship between peacemaking and healing—that is, between peace within and without, between personal transformation and nonviolent social change. This approach to peacemaking may be familiar to anyone knowledgeable about the history of nonviolence, as well as about the relatively “new” inter-discipline of peace and conflict studies.

Fundamentalist Rights

Joseph Liechty

For brief but thoughtful comment on current issues in religion and society in the United States—and sometimes further afield—it’s hard to beat Sightings, reflections sent out by email twice weekly by the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago. Each week, Marty writes one piece and someone else the other.

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Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace. Copyright © 2013.
Published by Plowshares: a Peace Studies Collaborative of Earlham and Goshen Colleges and Manchester University. Supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.
Readers may duplicate articles and quote from the journal without permission, provided no changes are made in the text and full credit is given to the author.