What part does religion have to play in politics?
How is religion used today to influence for the good and bad?
Throughout history religion has been an important aspect to not all but many lives. Faith is seen as not only a way of life to some but also as the values they hold dearly. Religion has not only been the reason for war but has also been the reason for peace. Religion has been used by the few in power and/or with influence to insert dominance over not only political issues but also over their society’s customs. This is the reason why it can be argued that it is not necessarily religion itself which fuels conflict but it is the people who abuse the power religion holds within people’s hearts for their own gain and agendas.
Due to scriptures in religions being open to many different types of interpretations, it’s the interpretation of those with the more extreme views that can be tremendously troubling. By using these scriptures and interpreting them in a more extreme manner, at times of conflict this can be seen as a dangerous thing due to it not only fuelling conflict but it can severely radicalise and secularise multi-ethnic/multi-religious societies, which can lead to conflict or even war.
Hijacking of scripture by those who are on the more extreme spectrum of religions and of the political scale; has been how religious and political leaders have been able to achieve their agendas and promote wars and attacks. It’s those who are in power which abuse the power they have in order to either hang on to power or push forward their propaganda. They use religion as a tool in order to achieve this because throughout history religion has been the key factor which brings people together and a way for people to identify themselves, therefore religion can really be used to capture the hearts and the ears of societies. Religion bringing people of the same religion together is a positive; however it can also be used negatively due to the separation it may cause with the people from different religions; that separation is what extremists prey upon.
Seeing as religious scripture can be open to interpretation, many can argue that even the most extreme of followers cannot deny that at least a portion of religion promotes peace and tranquillity. However to those who are on the more moderate spectrum of religion will argue that religion is all about peace and co-existence therefore it can be said that religion can be used as a tool to resolve conflict. Thus when religious leaders from around the world witness wars and atrocities being committed they have the power to appeal to the public with scripture and remind them that God promotes peace not war, life and not death.
In conclusion, it is important for members of religions to protect their identity, faith and values which is why leaders have always been able to manipulate populations into wars and conflicts. They have been able to do this by spreading ‘them and us’ propaganda along with fear-mongering. Members of all faith communities must not allow this, and understand that humans are all in the same.