Purpose

Because there is no end to the justification for violence, we are participating in a movement for dialogue by bringing together counselors, psychologists and other experts from different traditions (American, African, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.) to address conflict resolution. Perspectives and experiences of persons from diverse religious, national and cultural backgrounds are essential to hear the issues each group/nation feels important. Visions in Conflict volumes provide a means to encourage dialogue in light of pressing realities.

Threefold Purpose

“Visions in Conflict” has a threefold purpose. The first of these is to express much of the good work being done in the field of conflict resolution and peace building around the world. This is especially relevant in the arenas of: acknowledgement and understanding of the “other” (including interfaith dialogue); communication through conflict and forgiveness. Second, this compilation aims to open up the field in order to invite dialogue with other practitioners engaged in similar work. Finally, the book is presented as a means of illustrating practical, 'in vivo'/in the field operations and processes that have worked so that others working in such arenas may be more effective in the creation and building of peace and understanding within and between the diversity of peoples.

Audience

The “Visions in Conflict” edited volume represents a concrete strategy to encourage dialogue through educational venues like high schools, colleges and universities, as well as book clubs and book fairs. The intended audience for this book spans a variety of disciplines and occupational interests. A generally educated audience interested in exploring ways to contribute to reducing tensions between groups in a multicultural, multi-religious, multinational world is the audience for whom the book will be written.

Fundamentally, though, it is addressed toward all those religious and community leaders who would bravely venture forth into building harmony between the faiths. It is for those who would engage creative conflict resolution proactively between all groups that live in geographic proximities which necessitate a meeting of the minds and a mutual honoring of a disparity of values and lifestyles – all individuals respecting the law and the spirit of democracy. Professionals would also be interested, who wish to expand their narrow 'expert training' frameworks and willingly work to embrace a broader view encompassing all peoples of the world sharing common needs and aims as human beings. The book will benefit these individuals not only by analyzing the concept of ‘otherness', but also by familiarizing the reader with a philosophy behind and practical methods of helping achieve reconciliation between individuals and groups.

Theoretical basis

Conflict, even of the life and death sort, is apparently inevitable in this world. The real issue, therefore, is how to shift the methodology of conflict from a military standpoint to political, persuasive, and, maybe, economic standpoints that strive to find areas of cooperation and collusion rather than violence and coercion. Doing that requires a shift of theological or at least philosophical perspective. The source of much of this conflict is conveyed through religion in its tendency to teach its followers that they belong to specific epistemological and ontological categories. Not being able to differentiate between the truth and the frame in which they are placed in their culture, inter-religious dialogue is often approached from a naïve perspective. We either emphasize our differences or our agreements. These are generally placed along one of three fundamental issues: scriptural literalism, determining when to use force and differing answers to the Euthyphro dilemma. In this latter issue, it can be seen that the Christians defined the ultimate virtue as love, the Hindus defined it as karma, Muslims understand it to be obedience and Jews believe it to be justice.