19 February 2014
Hostilities involving religion have significantly increased globally. While religion is not the problem, people of religion have made it problematic. Government intervention is needed to reduce hostilities, but the onus of redeeming the good image of religion falls on the shoulders of people of religion.
PEW RESEARCH Centre recently released the findings of their study on religion. Social hostilities involving religion reached a six-year peak in 2012. One third of the 198 countries studied had very high or high Social Hostilities Index (SHI), up from 20% six years ago, in 2007. This is bad news for religion. Has religion turned evil? Has it become bad?
In spite of its rare achievement to be an oasis of religious harmony in a troubled world, a cohesive multi-religious society and a functioning secular nation-state for the last 50 years, Singapore’s fear about the social and political divisiveness of religion has not receded. Its religious diversity is often associated with the danger of social fragmentation. A religious controversy like the tudung issue had been cited as a possible threat to good inter-religious relations due to a possible push back from other faith communities. Should religion then be feared?
… Mohammad Alami Musa is Head of Studies on Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. This article has also appeared in The Straits Times.
RSIS / SRP / Online
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