THE PROBLEM AND ITS SETTING
The research study discusses the perceptions of criminology students on the role of religion in crime resolution. This study critically examines criminologist Michael R.; Charles R.; and Pete, Thomas, (2010), application of liberation theology to the quest for a resolution to the crime problem. The principal thesis of this study is that religion manifests a dialectical potential. It is potentially both an institution that may contribute to social change and to liberation from crime and an institution that may be employed to impede social change or to maintain the status quo. More importantly, with regard to the latter, religion may not only exacerbate crime, it may itself be criminogenic. Religion, in this study refers to a belief based on faith in a divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshipped as the creator and ruler of the universe. Conventional wisdom suggests that as an indirect cause of crime, religion is not of much consequence. It is assumed that whatever indirect influence it has on criminal behavior is offset by its direct role in the socialization process. Despite some improvement in law and order, crime remained a major problem through the end of the 1980s. Police attributed the country's chronic crime problems to a variety of social and cultural factors. Widespread poverty and rapid population growth were frequently cited. Population pressures and a shortage of land and jobs in rural areas had produced a steady internal migration to the cities. This urbanization of a traditionally agrarian society was commonly mentioned as cause for increased crime rates. In particular, police pointed to the rapid growth of urban slum and squatter areas; more than 25 percent of the population of Metro Manila were thought to be squatters in the late 1980s (Michael R.; Charles R.; and Pete, Thomas, 2010).
According to the police, the incidence of serious crime escalated through the early 1980s, from approximately 250 crimes per 100,000 population in 1979, to a sustained level of around 310 during 1984 through 1987, then declined in 1988 and 1989. In 1988 the crime rate dipped below 300 crimes per 100,000 people, then fell dramatically in 1989 to 251 crimes per 100,000 citizens. Because of differing reporting practices and degrees of coverage, it was difficult to compare Philippine crime rates to those of other countries.
Government officials attributed the decrease in crime to improved police work, but economic conditions appeared to be as important. The deterioration in law and order during the early and mid-1980s accompanied a steadily worsening economy, whereas the improvement in the late 1980s paralleled renewed economic growth under Aquino. Not surprisingly, crime rates were highest in major urban areas, where unemployment was the highest. Regionally, peninsular southern Luzon, the western Visayan islands, and portions of Mindanao--impoverished rural areas where insurgents were active--had the most criminal activity in the mid-1980s (Marasigan, R., 2009).
Religion is a controversial issue in world affairs. Especially in the Philippines, religion has been at the heart of much of the contemporary crime and conflicts. Religion is often depicted as a trigger factor in many crime and conflicts. Religion is also often being blamed as a tool to mobilize people during crime and conflicts. In many parts of the world people from different religions live in peace and coexist without any crime and conflict. Then why is religion such a great cause of crime and conflict in other parts of the world? People are sensitive about religion because religion forms part of an individuals’ identity. Religion is not only an integrated part of individual identities, but it is also important for group identity religion and nationalism goes hand in hand.
The Filipinos all at some time argued that they are “Gods people”. Religion is...