Topics of Interest

Religion inspires, informs, enables, and sustains individuals' and communities' efforts for peace in many ways. Members of religious traditions have been major theoreticians of theologies and ethics of peace, architects of practical approaches to peace, and leading implementers of conflict prevention, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and reconciliation processes in conflicts past and present. They have often been at the forefront of addressing problems such as poverty, injustice, and limited access to education that pose challenges to sustainable peace.

Religious resources for peace include people, ideas, values, virtues, practices, institutions, and, for many, experience of a divine, transcendent, or all-encompassing reality. Religious approaches to peace tend to be holistic, engaging all dimensions of human “being”—spiritual, ethical, intellectual, physical, psychological, emotional, aesthetic, creative, and social. They are deployed and developed in complex ways in particular historical and cultural circumstances. They therefore invite multidisciplinary, contextualized study as well as theoretical and theological reflection.

We present here as a starting point a few of the many topics in religions and the practice of peace that would benefit from further study.

Insider Perspectives

  • Religious voices for peace, nonviolence, and social justice

Resources

  • Theologies and ethics of peace cultivation
  • Scriptures, narratives, and wisdom teachings
  • Interpretative approaches and modes of reasoning
  • Prayer, contemplation, meditation, devotion, and ritual
  • Practices of conscience and self-reflection
  • Virtues such as compassion, humility, integrity, good will, generosity, magnanimity, forgiveness, resilience, and cultivation of character
  • Teachings on spiritual-ethical formation and transformation
  • Traditions of neighborliness, service, charity, and impartial justice
  • Theories and practices of transformative leadership
  • Relationship-building approaches
  • Positive historical memory and precedents
  • Indigenous and wisdom traditions
  • Conflict prevention and transformation methods
  • Early warning and response networks
  • Religious institutions and education
  • Pastoral care, mentoring, and community support

Dimensions

  • Peace cultivation at individual, interpersonal, intracommunity, and intercommunity levels and their interrelationship
  • Roles of religious leaders, women, youth, the family, and grassroots actors
  • Cultural, social, economic, political, and psychological factors
  • Trauma and emotions in healing and reconciliation
  • Transmission and development of peace resources across time and place
  • Prosocial aspects of religion

Cases

  • Peacebuilding inspired, informed, enabled, or sustained by religious resources
  • Micro- and macro-level peace strategies in particular contexts
  • Positive intra- and interreligious engagement, ecumenism, and cosmopolitanism
  • Multireligious collaboration to address shared problems
  • Peace education and outreach within and across religious communities
  • Spiritual lives and journeys of bridge-builders and peacebuilders

Implications

  • Relevance to contemporary efforts to address local, regional, and global challenges
  • Potential contributions to the theory and practice of conflict transformation, peacebuilding, leadership, positive social change, and human ethical development
  • Roles for universities and divinity schools worldwide