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Question 231:

All religions preach peace and speak of doing good and avoiding evil. And yet they fight each other everywhere? Why?

 

Answer:

It is not religions that fight each other but individuals and groups of people who may belong to this or the other religion. Religions strive towards making people, as individuals and in groups, to instruments of peace. This means:

“Love that recognises the other as brother or sister exceeds one’s own and others legal claims; it breaks through aggression and enmity; it seeks to solve conflict and confrontation with peaceful means and to convince others of the ideas of peace and reconciliation. A first consequence is practising peaceful views and actions in today’s world: in the family, at school, at work, among friends, in groups and organisations, in Church:

- The willingness to look at others without prejudice, to get to know other groups and peoples and to accept them in their otherness;

- Being considerate regarding others needs and clarifying ones own;

- Resolving prejudice and images of others as enemies;

- Modification of opinions and actions that endanger peace;

- Ability to work together cooperatively and to compromise;

- Being on the side of the disadvantaged, also with respect of the need in the developing countries;

- Participation in overcoming injustices. (Katholischer Erwachsenen –Katechismus, Vol. 2, p. 327)

In as far as the doctrines of the various religions preach those ideals to their members, support education and are effectively represented in the private and the public sphere, they can rightfully considered to be promoting peace. This also implies that not all ethical doctrines of the various faiths can be considered to be promoting faith, simply because this is part of their doctrines and rules.

We experience our era as a time of wars, as a time of conflict-ridden absence of war, as a time of civil war, revolutionary uprisings and social unrest. Where tension and conflict becomes the rule we hesitate to speak of true peace, even if there is no war.

As Christians we are convinced despite these experiences that peace is possible because God’s covenanted loyalty accompanies humanity since Abraham and in the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15) we were already given the beginnings of God’s peace which passes all understanding (Phil 4:7). We therefore think of peace from the position of the greater, more comprehensive peace that is grounded in God’s promise, has already begun in Jesus Christ and which at the end of time will be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God. This peace is the foundation and the condition of peace with ourselves and peace among men.

Earthly peace is a reflection and a fruit of the peace of Christ... Through his blood spilt on the cross he did away with enmity..., reconciled humanity with God and made his Church into a sign and instrument of the unity of humanity and its unity with God” (Katholischer Erwachsenen–Katechismus, Band 2: Leben aus dem Glauben , p. 317; see also: Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos.2302-2306.)

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