This article and movement was initiated around the same time as the December 21st 2012 “Mayan calendar end of the world scare.” This 2012 Unify movement was an initiative to join religions in prayer/reflection for peace around the world at this time. “Religious and spiritual leaders from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Druze faiths will join together with their communities in a synchronized prayer for peace at sacred sites throughout the old city of Jerusalem through unify Jerusalem.” It seems as though this movement is a great example of how religious faiths can come together in times of stress or need. Though differences occur among nations with different faith systems, at the global scale: unified prayer and meditation can occur for a common purpose or goal.
Is this not the same type of processes that take place in the event of a disastrous situation? Picture a natural disaster or scare, almost always people unify for a common purpose to pray for direction and understanding. Students will reflect on how varying religions can come together in reflection for common good regardless of differences.
As we begin discussing examples of religious conflict or division, keep in mind how regardless of these harsh religious physical and social wars, faith organizations still manage to come together in unity through global interactions.
A big story already coming out of the 2013 calendar year, is the newly elected pope: Jorge Mario Bergoglio or now Pope Francis. Newly appointed pope Francis, is the first non-European Pope in 1,300 years, hailing from Buenos Aires Argentina. Perhaps, this alone is a testament to how religion can serve as a cross continental unifier, bridging Catholic hierarchy from Europe to South America. Certainly Pope Francis has built social religious bridges between continents. Pope Francis has certainly unified Catholicism, showing its leadership not just in Europe but throughout the world.
Not only has this indoctrination bridged two continents but also hasn’t the symbol of a Pope always been a source of unification among Christian believers. Moreover Francis has more unified the Catholic Church between different countries, but his appointment has also been a foundation for celebration among Christian believers. This celebration of a new leader to look over a dominant religious force throughout the globe has brought people of faith closer.
Pope Francis unification factor does not stop at connecting religion between continents or excitement of Christian people. Francis is bringing a new message of religious union. “Pope Francis urged members of all religions and those belonging to no church on Wednesday to unite to defend justice, peace and the environment and not allow the value of a person to be reduced to “what he produces and what he consumes.” His poor appointment has served as a unifier among countries, believers, while his message reflects the same. Pope Francis is most certainly a unifying force among believers, countries, also crossing religious faiths.
Knowing previously that Europe is strong Christian union, how much might the Pope/Vatican’s location in Europe influence this? Could this be seen as a source of collaboration?
http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/node/695 Attached is an article that discusses the significance or importance of having Christian belief at the hearth of the European Union (E.U.). In 2007, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was at the forefront of putting God into the E.U. constitution. This idea is seemingly widely supported amongst the vast amounts of “Christian” nations. Jacques Delore, Former president of the European commission states, “The appeal to the unifying power of religion is no surprise.” Delores goes on to discuss the “unifying power” of Christianity among European nations. Maybe Merkel and Delores are right to say Christianity should be the unifying force for a stronger European alliance. Take a look at the map below, which may help reiterate their point.
As we can see the masses of countries that make up the E.U. is some denomination of Christianity. Then in a geographical sense wouldn’t it be fair to say that religion (Christianity) has already being playing a unifying role in European nations? Virtually all the mass populations of Europe are of Christian belief systems. So how is Christianity playing a unifying role in Europe in regards to the E.U.? Perhaps it is stated best in the article itself, “Churches together with their related organizations and agencies are ready to be partners of the European political institutions.” Thus stating that Christian belief can bridge political establishments to unify European nations under the E.U.
In looking at Europe from a religious perspective we can see how Christianity has been responsible for much of the formation of the E.U., or the further unification of Europe as a whole.
Throughout the history of our world’s cultures and nations, religion has consistently been a source of either bringing people and or nations together or pulling them apart. There are many examples where religious beliefs have formed/grouped people into culture groups or even formed new nations because of their common belief. On the contrary there has been numerous occasions that religion has been the source of splitting communities and nations apart, many times even the outcome is full-fledged war. Take the Middle East for example; with varying belief systems, it has been an area of religious conflict. Borders have been drawn, wars have been started/ended, political parties initiated, and towns have been formed because of common or differing religious beliefs. Religion can serve as both a unifying and a division force, socially and physically. Religion can bring cultures/nations together or completely disengage them.
First I will discuss and give examples of religion as a uniter, which will be the following three blogs. Following the initial three unifying blogs will come three example and discussions over religion as a divider.
Religious belief is not something that takes place at an overarching political level but rather it is something that many individuals hold near to their identity. Because it faith starts at individual’s cores, religion takes place at a micro and macro level. Our local communities can be formed along religious lines. Take a look at your own town or city; is there not a “norm” of belief? Expand this thinking to the state level, generally there is a consensus of beliefs under the masses. This same concept can be applied throughout a national level and even with foreign relations. For instance, it is well known that the U.S. is a Christian nation, but what about the majority of our allies? Although we have contact and are allied with known Christian nations the majority of our allies are from the same religious origins as we are. From our small communities all the way to global interactions, religion is a source of grouping or dividing. For this exact reason, it is important that students study and understand how religion can serve as justification for separation and coming together. Perhaps this will entice them to reconsider their thinking’s or interactions with others who come from different religious backgrounds, to become more unified. Or maybe they will just better understand how religious force can construct itself in different ways, in a community sense and at a foreign relations level. Either way, religion is hardly discussed in school social studies curricula. But in fact religion has been a driving force of human thoughts, actions, and interactions since the roots of humanity. Thus it is important that students engage in thinking about religions push and pull factors as it applies to divisions and groupings of societies and nations.
Religion is something that has bridged humanities interactions stretching from some of our first records of human life all the way to the present day. It has been a way that people have united to group and classify themselves for a common good. But religious belief has not just been responsible for the bringing together of societies and nations. It has also taken the role as a divider. Varying belief systems stretching across lands has been a source of conflict. Physical boundaries have been drawn, social structures have been set, and even violent conflicts have occurred; all in the name of god.
This blog will look at how Religion can both unite and divide cultures, people, and nations.