Many people, including religious people, believe that religion is the source of conflicts we see around the world. However, what most people do not realize is that there is one thing that all conflicts have in common. And that one thing is not religion but human beings.
It is not religion but human ignorance that causes conflicts, be it at a family level or world level. It is the ignorance that people have with regard to the value of human life, God’s nature, His will, His word, His desires, His intentions, and His plans. This ignorance translates into people’s misunderstanding of the preciousness of human life, God’s nature, His will, His word, His desires, His intentions, and His plans.
Take the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine for instance. Which of the two involved religions is the source of the conflict? Is it Judaism? Is it Islam? It is actually neither. It is rather the believers of those religions who have caused and fueled the said conflict through their misunderstanding of the teachings of their religions.
Yet, when we look at around the world, we can see that believers of both religions can live peacefully as neighbors when in other parts of the world. Case in point, when you go to some parts of Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York, you find Jews and Muslims (as well as other people) roaming the streets, visiting the same bank, and living as neighbors without any conflict. If religion really was the source of conflicts, shouldn’t the war between Jews and Muslims extend to wherever they lived, be it in Europe or the United States? How come this conflict prevails only in Palestine and nowhere else? Is religion really the source of this conflict or is it the people?
A few days ago, on Tuesday, November 23rd, the North and South Korea exchanged gunfire. Was religion the source of this exchange? Is religion even the source of conflict between North Korea and South Korea? If we claim that religion is the source, then we will have to answer the following questions: Which religion is the source of the Korean conflict? Is it Buddhism? Is it Christianity?
We know that South Korea is a very religious country. As such, South Koreans try their best to avoid conflict with their northern counterpart for they believe that they are all but one people. By contrast, it is a well known fact that North Korea is not a religious country. Now, if religion was the source of world problems and conflicts, shouldn’t South Korea be the aggressor between the two countries? It would have supported the belief that religion is the source of world conflicts because, between the two countries, South Korea is the one where religion is prevalent. Why are therefore the South Koreans not the instigators? Instead, it is those without religion, the North Koreans, who are the instigators. Can those who claim that religion is the source of world conflicts do so with certainty?
If religion, belief in a deity, were the source of conflicts, wouldn’t there be war in every nation all over the world? Religion brings peace and balance in human society. Given that there has been conflict even where religion has not been prevalent, we cannot say for certain that religion is the source of conflicts we see around the world. It is humanity rather than religion that is the source of conflicts.
I am in no way ignoring the fact that people have used religion to start and fuel conflicts. My point is that those who have done so acted on their misunderstanding which was caused by their ignorance of their own value, the value of others, and the nature of God, His will, His word, His desires, His intentions, and His plans.
Religion is not the source of world conflicts; people are.
Enjoy your holidays!