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ANTH3021 Globalisation Conflict And Religion

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ANTH3021 Globalisation Conflict And Religion

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Course Code: ANTH3021
University: Macquarie University

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Country: Australia

Question:
What extent are ‘religious’ conflicts actually to do with religion? 
Answer:

Religion forms an integral part of the lives of the individuals and as a matter of fact it is seen that the behavior as well as the practices of the individuals are guided to a large extent by the religions that they follow (Isaacs, 2016). Brubaker (2015) is of the viewpoint that the machinery of religion contributes in a substantial manner towards the identity of an individual and also towards the formation of their values or beliefs. As opined by Larsson, (2017), since the traditional times the construct of religion has been used as a unifying factor for the amelioration or the unification of the different entities of a particular society. In this regard, it can be said that religion is a cohesive force and offers a plethora of benefits to the society and also the individuals. However, history has at the same time shown that religion is also one of the major reasons for numerous conflicts that the world and also the human beings have been facing since the traditional times (Lindgren, 2017). This essay will analyze the manner in which the religious conflicts are dictated to a large extent by the various religions of the world.
Isaacs (2016) is of the viewpoint that the various religious conflicts have dominated the history of the world since the ancient times and as a matter of fact that they have even changed the course of the world in a significant manner. In this regard, the Crusade Wars (1095 – 1291) which was fought by the members of the Roman Catholic Church for the suppression of paganism, Islamic religion and others becomes an important one to note (Hurd, 2017). As opined by Basedau, Pfeiffer and Vüllers (2016), it is true that these wars had other inherent political motives however their motive was to suppress the other forms of religion that the people of that time were resorting to. Another important example in this regard is the religious conflict that the two religions of Islam and Hinduism had been facing since the time of the Delhi Sultanate in the nation of India. Hurd (2017) has stated that the adverse effects of these conflicts are not just limited to the religious sects, which are involved in the process but extent to the lives of the common people who had to bear the repercussions of such conflicts.
Alles (2017) is of the viewpoint that one of the primary reasons for the various religious conflicts is the inherent differences in the beliefs as well as the practices that the different religions of the world demands its followers to practice. For example, in the particular context of Islam it is seen that the followers have the liberty to eat the meat of cows and buffaloes whereas these animals are considered to be sacred in the religion of Hinduism. This and other differences in the practices and the beliefs of these two religions had given rise to much conflict between the followers of these two religions. The movie “India Pakistan Partition Documentary BBC” made by BBC is an important one in this regard which tries to explore the major reasons for the religious conflicts that the nations of India and Pakistan experienced during the time of their partition in 1947 (PeaceMongerSoul, 2018).
The documentary clearly states the British India had more than 255 million Hindus in comparison to the 92 million Muslims who were mainly concentrated in the north-western part of the nation (PeaceMongerSoul, 2018). Furthermore, it was seen that these people used to live in a harmonious as well as congenial manner before the partition. However, it is pertinent to note that the inherent differences in the practices and customs of these two religions for the process of partition which inadvertently lead to the various conflicts that the two nations faced (PeaceMongerSoul, 2018). Larsson (2017) is of the viewpoint that the British rulers had not only used the religion of the people of India for ruling over them for such a long period of time (200 years) but also for the various conflicts which lead to the separation of the two nations in 1947. As opined by Brubaker (2015), despite the diplomatic role played by the British rulers in the conflicts and also the partition the role of religion in the same can in no way be denied. In this regard, mention also needs to be made about the various conflicts that the nation of India and Bangladesh faced because of religious factor during the time of their separation (Lindgren, 2017).
The conflicts that the people of the Irish capital of Belfast had faced can be attributed to the same factor of religion. Boal (2002) is of the viewpoint that the differences in the beliefs as well as the customs of the two religious divisions of Catholics and Protestants, which are pre-dominant in the city of Belfast has greatly contributed towards these conflicts. It is pertinent to note that there various differences between the customs and also the practices of the two religious sects of Christianity, namely, Catholics and Protestants. As opined by Hurd (2017), it is seen that Protestantism has the provision for divorce and other practices which are deemed to be completely sacrosanct by the Catholics. This is perhaps one of the major reasons for the religious conflicts between these two forms of Christianity since the time of formulation. Boal (2002) has argued that the conflicts that the city of Belfast had faced can be attributed to the impact that the processes of colonialism, immigration and others had not only on the city but also on the people of the nation as well. However, at the same time, it can be noted that the inherent differences in the two forms of Christianity which is being followed within the city can be seen as the motivating factor which in the first place ignited the conflicts between the followers or the practitioners of these forms of Christianity. In this regard, mention also needs to be made regarding the religious conflicts which occurred during the time of Queen Elizabeth in the 16th century because of the inherent differences between two forms of Christianity (Brubaker, 2015).
The conflicts that the nation of Sudan had faced are another instance wherein the machinery of religion has promulgated conflicts between the followers of different religions. It is pertinent to note that the majority of the population of Sudan is composed of people belonging to the Islamic faith however in the recent times it is seen that various Christian missionaries are arriving in the nation (Isaacs, 2016). These missionaries see the native people of the nation as pagans and thus they main motive is to bring them into the manifold of Christianity. However, Basedau, Pfeiffer and Vüllers (2016) have argued that religion not only forms an important part of the identity of these people but at the same time a motivating factor for their actions as well. Thus, it is obvious that the people of the nation would try to resist this conversion that the Christian missionaries are trying to bring about in the religious framework of the concerned nation. This given rise to various kinds of conflicts in the nation wherein it is seen that the people are not trying to depend the religion and its practices that they have been used to following for a very long time but also to defend their very identity as well which has been formed on the basis of this religion (Brubaker, 2015). Thus, it can be said that the machinery of religion and its related aspects has been largely responsible for the various conflicts that the nation and its people had faced.
The conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia are another instance wherein religion has played a pivotal role in the conflicts. Vrcan (1994) is of the viewpoint that it is true that religion acts a cohesive force to unite the different people of a society however at the same time this can create social cleavages as well as segregations in the society as well. In this regard, it needs to be mentioned that since the traditional times religion has been used as a force to segregate the different sections or the people of the society on the basis of the religion that they follow and also the customs held by them. This becomes especially clear when an analysis of the nations of India, Yugoslavia and others are undertaken wherein it is seen that the society is being divided on the basis of the religion that the people follow (Lindgren, 2017). In the particular context of Yugoslavia it can be said that this segregation of society on the basis of religion in the recent times has given rise to various kinds of conflicts which in turn has given rise to a prolonged war in the concerned nation (Vrcan, 1994). Thus, it can be said that this example clearly proves the validity of the fact that the machinery of religion has to a large extent influenced the various religious conflicts.
As opined by Kong and Woods (2016), in addition to the different conflicts in the earlier ages the machinery of religion also wields a substantial influence on the contemporary society and also the various conflicts that the human society is facing currently. More importantly, unlike the earlier times it is seen that the entity of religion has penetrated much deeper into the mindset of the individuals and influencing the kind of things or activities that they perform (Hurd, 2017). In this regard, the notion of Jihad and other similar kind of religious terrorism conducted by the people of the Islamic nations becomes an important one to note (Larsson, 2017). In addition to this, mention also needs to be made about the various hate crimes like Islamophobia and others which are completely motivated by the entity of religion (Brubaker, 2015). Thus, it can be said that the construct of religion is an important factor which not only shapes the identity of the people but at the same time causes various kinds of conflicts as well.
To conclude, the machinery of religion has been in existence for a very long time and affects the lives of the people in a significant manner. It is pertinent to note that the factor of religion not only shapes the identity or the character of an individual but at the same time influences the course of action followed by them as well. Furthermore, it is also seen that the construct of religion is being used as a cohesive force by the different nations for the unification of society. However, at the same time, it is seen that religion has given rise to various kinds of conflicts, the root reasons of which lie in the differences between the customs and the practices followed by the people related to these religions. In this regard, the conflicts of 1947 in India, the prolonged wars in Yugoslavia, Sudan, Belfast and others are important ones to note. Thus, it can be said that the different religions play a vital role in shaping the different religious conflicts.
References
Alles, D. (2017). “Ethnic and religious violence.” In: Dunn Cavelty, M. and Balzacq, T. (eds) Routledge handbook of security studies (2nd ed). Routledge, pp. 193-203. 
Basedau, M., Pfeiffer, B., & Vüllers, J. (2016). Bad religion? Religion, collective action, and the onset of armed conflict in developing countries. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 60(2), 226-255.
Boal, F.W. (2002). “Belfast: Walls within,” Political Geography, 21(5), 687-694. 
Brubaker, R. (2015). Religious dimensions of political conflict and violence. Sociological Theory, 33(1), 1-19.
Hurd, E. S. (2017). Beyond religious freedom: The new global politics of religion. Princeton University Press.
Isaacs, M. (2016). Sacred violence or strategic faith? Disentangling the relationship between religion and violence in armed conflict. Journal of Peace Research, 53(2), 211-225.
Kong, L. and Woods, O. (2016) Religion and space: Competition, conflict and violence in the contemporary world. London: Bloomsbury. 
Larsson, J. P. (2017). Understanding religious violence: Thinking outside the box on terrorism. Routledge.
Lindgren, T. (2017). Why do people kill in the name of religion?: Evolutionary psychology, political process theory and the causes of religious conflicts. In IAPR Conference in Hamar.
PeaceMongerSoul. (2018). India Pakistan Partition Documentary BBC [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZS40U5yFpc
Vrcan, S. (1994) “The war in ex-Yugoslavia and religion,” Social Compass, 41(3), 413-422. 

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