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Friday, January 10, 2014

It's Not About Religion

by Dawne Davis
Representatives from each side of The Troubles, Protestant, Catholic, Nationalist, Loyalist and British soldiers have shared their stories.  While the stories are difficult to hear, one can see that these are decent people who were caught up in an unimaginable situation.  No doubt The Troubles tested a person's faith in God and man. However, we have learned that the conflict "is not about religion."  The gain of power or land is not to fulfill some promised covenant.

Notably, in our discussions with our facilitators, tour guides and presenters, most have admitted to not being very religious any longer.  It is difficult to not view The Troubles as a significant contributor to their straying from the churches that were a prominent part of their early lives.  Another person interviewed stated that there was a decline in religion within Northern Ireland in general.

So what is at play here?  Is it truly the times of The Troubles that have influenced this downward trend or other factors?  Despite faith in God or religious beliefs appearing to be another casualty of The Troubles, the hope for the future appears to be strong.  And in this hope the space for dialogue, leading to peace, resides.

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