The effects of religion on domestic conflicts

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Religion has four basic functions in politics, society and conflict: To provide a value-laden worldview; to supply rules and standards of behavior based on that worldview; to organize adherents through institutions; and to legitimate actors, actions and institutions. Although these functions have remained constant for most of recorded history, the nature of religious worldviews have changed over time. The magnitude and extent of their impact on intra-state conflicts vary according to their social context. Modem phenomena have much affected the nexus between religion and society. Ethnic issues, especially national self-determination, have become intertwined with religious issues. Democratization has provided a new environment in which religious movements must find their place. Fundamentalist demands for a return to first sources as a way of life are, to a great extent, a reaction to two modern phenomena: serious social dislocations caused by modernization and societies in which secular ideologies now fill the social functions which were once the purview of religion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-63
Number of pages21
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1998


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