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April 25, 2018

Ethan’s Essay Selected in the ISRSA Competition

‘How can religious understanding bring about peace’?

An essay on how religion can resolve conflict in no more than 300 words.

‘A countless number of wars have been caused in just the last few thousand years because of religious tension and misunderstanding. For example, currently with terrorism and IS, the terror and violence is caused because of religion. This does not, however, imply that religion causes war. It shows that if people do not understand and accept religions and what they teach, peace will not come about.

Religious understanding does not mean studying religious texts and textbooks about religion, or just knowledge about religion, but real understanding of what it brings about in people who follow it, such as an increased desire to do good to others around you. 

Often people hear myths about a religion and take them as fact, motivating them to have a certain opinion on that religion which might last for the whole of their lives if they never research it and confirm or deny that myth. For example, many people think that all Muslims are violent and identify with terrorism. This is very untrue. In reality, all religions and all countries or sects have more peaceful people and more violent people, no matter what they teach. If people are hearing that all Muslims are terrorists and take it as fact, they will be less inclined to treat Muslims with respect, leading to tension between them. This lack of understanding inhibits peace from coming about.

In conclusion, I think that religious understanding can bring about peace by strengthening the relationship between people. However, if two religions had a major clash of beliefs, I think that there may still be war, because a simple understanding cannot change beliefs. In this day and age, though, wars are less focused on religious misunderstanding as they are about political clashes of ideology and such, so religious understanding is less relevant.’

– Ethan Dougall

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