Holy Conflict: The Intersection of Religion and Mediation


Conflicts involving religion create exceptional environments where both unique barriers and resolution strategies emerge. Regardless of whether religion exists as the source of conflict, ingrained cultural and religious beliefs have the ability to substantially affect both the process and outcome of dispute resolutions. Relying upon various case studies, this paper investigates the intersection of religion and mediation, focusing discussion on the challenges religious parties bring to mediations, how religion can be used as a strategy in mediation proceedings, and the impact a religious mediator has on the mediation process and outcome. While there is no definitive conclusion presented with regard to whether disputes involving religion create a more intractable conflict or whether a religious mediator increases the likelihood of reaching a peaceful settlement, this paper does succeed in identifying opportunities for including religion in the mediation process and explores various characteristics from which religious mediators are able to draw in order to affect the mediation process. Ultimately this paper seeks to provide a starting point from which continued research into the diverse roles religion and religious actors can play in the dispute resolution process. It suggests that as religion’s role in both intra and inter-state conflict continues to persist, and in some cases even heighten, mediators are charged with reevaluating how religion can be used to countermand this trend in order to both address conflict and positively impact the overall dispute resolution process. Indeed because this paper argues that religion possesses a unique power to promote peace, it is necessary that the dispute resolution community dedicates substantial research resources toward understanding the extent to which religion can positively influence conflict resolution outcomes and strategies. In the end, this paper hopes to provide justification for continued research with the ultimate aim of creating a valid model of dispute resolution that can be replicated in conflicts across the world.

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Hurst, Jamie L (2014). Holy Conflict: The Intersection of Religion and Mediation

Journal of Living Together, 1 (1), pp. 32-38, 2014, ISSN: 2373-6615 (Print); 2373-6631 (Online).

Title = {Holy Conflict: The Intersection of Religion and Mediation }
Author = {Jamie L. Hurst}
Url = {https://icermediation.org/religion-and-mediation/}
ISSN = {2373-6615 (Print); 2373-6631 (Online)}
Year = {2014}
Date = {2014-09-18}
IssueTitle = {The Role of Religion and Ethnicity in Contemporary Conflict: Related Emerging Tactics, Strategies and Methodologies of Mediation and Resolution}
Journal = {Journal of Living Together}
Volume = {1}
Number = {1}
Pages = {32-38}
Publisher = {International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation}
Address = {Mount Vernon, New York}
Edition = {2014}.


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