Religion and Conflict Resolution: An Introduction

Authored by: Lee Marsden

The Ashgate Research Companion to Religion and Conflict Resolution

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409410898
eBook ISBN: 9781315613505
Adobe ISBN: 9781317041832

10.4324/9781315613505.ch1

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Abstract

At first glance the term ‘religion and conflict resolution’ might seem an oxymoron and indeed to many social scientists it will remain so. It does not seem too long ago that the secularization thesis, which asserted that the significance of religion in a globalized world would diminish in direct relation to increases in education and prosperity, was common currency across the social sciences. The triumph of modernity could be linked to the separation of church and state, which secularized the public sphere while enabling religion to wither (Western Europe) or flourish (the United States) in the private sphere. The Iranian revolution in 1979, together with the role of the mujahedeen in driving Soviet forces from Afghanistan, signalled that what might be true of the ‘West’ was not true for the rest and that, secularization thesis notwithstanding, religion remained a significant and arguably increasing force in most of the world.

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