Religion, Conflict, and Peacemaking

An Interdisciplinary Conversation

Discussions of the relationship between religion and violence have been on the rise since 9/11. Conversations have also focused on how religion can mediate conflict and help build peace. This volume offers a diversity of approaches to the subject, gathering essays from a cross-section of prominent scholars studying the role of religion in peacemaking.

Contributors from varied backgrounds share perspectives and insights gleaned from history, theory, practice, and case studies. While the authors acknowledge the role of religion in generating conflict, they emphasize the part religion can play in conflict resolution. Addressing the centrality of conflict to the human condition, they recognize the consequent difficulty in teasing out the exact role of religion. Overall, the authors assert the necessity of frank, knowledgeable dialogue to understanding sources of, finding grounds for resolving, and managing conflict. Many of the essayists offer creative solutions for building peace. Employing examples and viewpoints drawn from diverse faith traditions, academic traditions, and cultural backgrounds, contributors seek to foster respectful dialogue and debate by exploring the complex dynamic that interconnects religion, violence, and peace. 

Trained as a theologian and Protestant minister in Switzerland, Muriel Schmid founded and directed the program in religious studies at the University of Utah and taught there from 2004 to 2014. Since then, she has been directing programs for faith-based nonprofit organizations.

Table of Contents:
Foreword by Thomas N. Maloney
1. Religion’s Long Shadow: A Brief Overview of the Conversation
Muriel Schmid
Part 1: Religions in Dialogue
2. Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Leaders in the Israeli-Palestinian Context: Needs and Limitations
Mohammed Abu-Nimer
3. The Use of Dialogue in Transforming Religious Conflict
David Derezotes
Part 2: Religious Identity and American Perspectives
4. The American Way of Religion and Violence?
John D. Carlson
5. Confronting Historic Injustice
Elaine Enns and Ched Myers
Part 3: Religion and the Defense of Human Rights
6. From Amnesty International to Right to Nonviolence: Theory and Practice in the Arab Spring Context
Chibli Mallat
7. Partnering in Nonviolent Resistance: The Evolution of Christian Peacemaker Teams
Kathleen Kern and Tim Nafziger
Part 4: Christian and Muslim Discussions
8. John Paul II and the “Just War” Doctrine: “Make Peace through Justice and Forgiveness, Not War”
James L. Heft
9. Peace, Conflict, and Conflict Transformation in the Islamic Tradition
Abbas Aroua
10. In the Beginning Was Conflict: Creation
John Paul Lederach
Part 5: Religion and Personal Conflict
11. Contact, Connection, and Community: Religion and Peacemaking
Laura M. Bennett-Murphy
List of Contributors

Praise and Reviews:
“A valuable mix of historical, theoretical, and case study narrative.”
—Michael Minch, director, Peace and Justice Studies Program, Utah Valley University 

“Each chapter is very interesting and readable, and the overall result is a diverse, interdisciplinary, and stimulating collection.”
—Catherine Morris, adjunct professor, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria 

“Each essay is enriching and compelling in its own right and helps provide a sense of well-roundedness to the volume. … Readers will find in this volume a diverse collection of perspectives and disciplinary approaches to some of the most important and fundamental questions surrounding religion, violence, and peacemaking.”
Reading Religion