In the eyes of many, religion is inherently conflictual, but this is not necessarily so. There are some aspects of religion that make it vulnerable to being a latent source of conflict. All religions have their accepted belief, or articles of belief, that follower must accept without question. This can lead to inflexibility and intolerance in the face of other beliefs. At the same time, scripture and view are often vague and open to interpretation. Therefore, conflict can arise over whose interpretation is the correct one, a conflict that ultimately cannot be solved because there is no judge, leading to disunity and riots. Religious extremists can contribute to conflict escalation. They see fundamental measures as necessary to fulfilling God's wishes. Any sign of moderation can be decried as selling out, more importantly, of abandoning God's will. Religious revivalism is powerful in that it can provide a sense of pride and purpose, so me religious groups consider violence to be a ‘duty'. Those who call for violence see themselves as divinely directed and therefore obstacles must be eliminated. In virtually every heterogeneous society, religious difference serves as a source of potential conflict. Because individuals are often ignorant of other faiths, there is some potential tension but it does not necessarily mean conflict will result.
The solution is to promote a heightened awareness of the positive peace building and reconciliatory role religion has played in many conflict situations. Where silence and misunderstanding are all too common, learning about other religions would be a powerful step forward. Being educated about other religions does not mean conversion but may facilitate understanding and respect for other faiths. Communicating in a spirit of humility and engaging in self-criticism would also be helpful in building a strong society.
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