- Category: ipra
- Published: Monday, 07 December 2015 00:08
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International Peace Research Association (IPRA) – Freetown, Sierra Leone, 27th November –1st December 2016
Theme of the Conference: AGENDA FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster and Sustainable Development Debate
Religion, Spirituality, and Peace Commission
Religion is a set of beliefs, methods of worship, including social and cultural values defined by a community for peaceful functioning of society. As human beings diversified and settled in different parts of the world, they developed their own religious beliefs and methods of worship based on their local environments and customs. The world has consequently many religions and faiths – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and other smaller faiths. Religion plays a dominant role in the lives of most people whether at birth, death or marriage. The fervour shown by ordinary devotees on special occasions like Christmas, Id-ul-fitr, Krishna janamashtmi (Lord Krishna’s birth), when hundreds of thousands if not millions of people congregate is an amazing and unforgettable phenomenon.
Sometimes a person may not have belief in a specific faith and yet have qualities like amity, brotherhood and respect for and harmony with not only all human beings but also for the rich biodiversity that we see around us. Such a person would be called a spiritual person. Spiritual values or spirituality guide individuals with love and respect for all creation, and allow a person to be a sublime part of the whole universe. This spirituality is what may determine the inner transformation of an individual.
Despite religious diversity, followers of different religions and faiths have by and large learnt to co-exist peacefully with each other. They show understanding and even respect for many qualities of other religions while maintaining faith in their own religion.
However, there are occasional clashes and conflict at the level of organization of these religions and at the level of their leaders who succumb to narrow and self-centred interests on the basis of sectarian issues, egoism and power politics rather than at the level of philosophy of religions themselves which have common core values of love, compassion and unity.