The Religion and Ethics in the Making of War and Peace Project aims to foster sustained cooperation between experts, decision-makers and religious practitioners committed to understanding and addressing the ethical problems thrown up by armed conflicts. The Programme, in addition to promoting a high level of academic exchange, engages with partners involved in ongoing conflicts and in conflict resolution, with three aims: creating models for difficult dialogue across conflicts, developing resources for public education, information, and training, and advancing the ongoing reflections on war and peace related issues within religious communities.
When and in what ways does religion cause armed conflict? Are there types of religious thought or organization which are particularly prone to war? Are some religious actors more likely to encourage lawful behaviour in armed combat? Which religious resources are particularly useful in preventing killing, or in promoting coexistence and conflict resolution, and are they recognized by adherents of apparently fundamentalist, extremist, or apocalyptic traditions? Does the resurgence of apparently religious wars make drawing lessons from religious wars of past centuries imperative? By careful study and systematically drawing comparisons across religions, geographical areas, and time periods, the academic core of the Project is designed to move beyond shallow and partisan generalizations about the importance of peace for particular religions, or the warlike practices of apparently hostile religious institutions.
The work supported by the Project explores approaches advanced within each community or tradition to civilian protection in international humanitarian and human rights law – encompassing the general questions of principle and utility raised by secular law, and specific questions from the nature of non-combatant immunity to the use and spread of illegal types of weapons and tactics in conflicts around the world.
Modelling: high quality scholarship as well as the frameworks and skills required for difficult dialogues crossing conflicts, religions, and divergent approaches to the legitimacy of armed force.
Deepening public understanding of: the ethics of war and peace-making; the obstacles to limiting modern war, and particularly for civilian protection, and of means proposed to increase civilian protection; the roles played by religion in armed conflict and peace-making.
Fostering: ongoing relations between interested and specialist partners across religious, professional and
disciplinary divides; serious reflection on the relationship between professional ethicists in the military, in academia, and in religious bodies, with the aim of identifying the causes and consequences of the practices through which they approach war and peace.
Creation of: publicly-accessible resources for both specialists and a lay public seeking either comparison across religious traditions or comment from unfamiliar alternative perspectives.