Can Religion and Politics Co-exist without Conflict?

September 26, 2014

What’s the relationship among religion, politics and conflict in a globalized world? Three challenging words form a challenging question. But Founding Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture Professor Miroslav Volf examines and contextualizes the relationship among religion, politics and conflict.

In an interview with the Religion and Geopolitics Project of the Tony Blair Foundation, Professor Volf highlights that “almost no matter what the precepts of religion are, once religion is identified with politics, it almost inevitably ends up being an instrument of conflict.”

Volf nevertheless contends that the state and religion can exist harmoniously. He says “once religion sees itself as a distinct separate system from the state, the possibilities of peaceful co-existence emerge.”

While acknowledging the commitment of secular democracy to the separation of church and state, Volf cautions that secular democracy should be amicable to faith rather than dismissive. Accordingly, faith should be friendly to pluralistic democracy.