THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN PEACE AND CONFLICT
Religious tolerance among believers from different confessions, mutual understanding, respect of the differences, mutual dialog and non-discrimination of people on a religious basis and affiliation are the essential components of religious pluralism. Religious pluralism should be considered a mosaic of our cultural wealth, of civilization achievements, the customs, traditions and all this should serve as a basis for progress rather than a motivation for non-tolerance, discrimination, mutual conflict and mutual destroying. On one hand, it is very peculiar how so many people today, in contemporary society, are prepared to lose their lives for the sake of their religion and on the other hand, they are not prepared to live in accordance to the principles and values of other religions. Basically, the principles implicated by different religions, are not as contradicted as they may seem. According to the aspect of the development of the civil society, there is an absolute necessity for institutionalizing the pastor care for the peace, human values as well as interreligious and intercultural respect. Civil society can find an answer for these issues with aid from dialogues between different religions and cultures.
Tolerance is the model of behavior that allows for validity of other principles. Tolerance means patience, relevance and it allows for people to step back from the usual rule. Interpreted in a sociological manner, tolerance is patience, respecting the beliefs of others, enabling other principles to be valid, which are not our own and which still must be respected in the spirit of civil freedom and the public opinion. Briefly, tolerance can allow for a person to step back from his or hers own beliefs and the best method to introduce religious and ethnic tolerance is through civic society, which is a supra-national society. In the frames of this type of society basic human values become more general. Generalization of the values and norms goes towards the level of creation of universal human rights and values. With this, inherited ethnic rights and linked habits, moral and legal norms drop. Universal values and norms followed by human rights and freedom are wider than the values of special ethnic communities. However, the system of norms and values has to rise on an universal level, as there is separation of the state and church there is also separation of state identity from national identity.
One of the key issues that contemporary sociology is faced with are what the roles of different religions are when conflicts emerge between civilizations, ethnic groups and states. How do religious individuals and groups use their power in spreading either peace or conflict? Sociological, philosophical, anthropological, historical, psychological and theological approaches will be considered during this conference so as to attempt to answer these issues. During this conference we will discuss and elaborate the relationship between state and religion in modern Europe. Throughout this conference we will also search to answer whether: wider Orthodox churches, Catholic churches, Islamic religious community’s etc. have weakened or sharpened ethnic conflicts and problems? Since they are separated from the state, it is clear that they cannot carry the primary guilt for inter-ethnic problems in Europe. But, they are not completely free of responsibility as well. If they are not responsible for what they say, they are responsible for concealing some matters. It gives the impression that religious organizations in Europe do not have enough power to speak in their own religious language, but in certain social-political moments speak in a somewhat collective language, where ethnocentrism becomes ideology of modern time.
This conference will try to answer the following crucial questions, if global and local relationship is to be contemplated:
– Is religious tolerance in Europe a consequence of the influence of global processes?
– Does the role of religion, as a strong keeper of the national identity in Europe, lead
towards localism thus preventing penetration of globalism?
– Do Christianity and Islam, major religious communities in Europe, carry spiritual and
cultural globalization through the idea of ecumenism?
– Is the process of ethno-religious mobilization taking place in Europe?
– Why does religious fundamentalism in Europe reject the practical implementation of the
principles of secularization and religious tolerance?
– Does the process of religious universalism in Europe take place through the ideas of
ecumenism and neo-ecumenism and if so, to what extent?
– To what degree do religious organizations practically implement the principles of
religious tolerance in Europe?
The First European Conference on Religious Dialogue and Cooperation will provide scientific analyses of these global challenges and will pay particular attention to their interconnections and to possible solutions. We encourage authors to submit paper proposals based on the results of their scientific studies as well as the methodological and theoretical aspects of the study of religion in Europe.