Religions Hard and Soft

Authored by: Johan Galtung

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


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A suitable point of departure for discussing ‘religion and peace’ 3 would be the word ‘religion’ itself. It means re-ligio, which can be interpreted as meaning relinking. The word evidently stands for some kind of union or ‘integration’ as social scientists would say. But with what? With the one God, the Abrahamic adherents would say, Yahweh, God, or Allah. With Brahman, the Hindus would say when in a monistic mode; with Vishnu and Shiva when in a quasi-monotheistic mode; with the whole pantheon when polytheistically inclined; or with the great soul atman when taking a pantheistic stance. This is the advantage of walking on many legs with many modes. The last aspect they share with the Buddhists – that which is, is in us, around us and above us, past, present and future. But then there is also the answer of the Taoists; with tao, with that which is and is not, 4 in other words, the yin/yang opposition, taking the contradiction as the anchoring point. The answers are many, and diverse, indeed.

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