International Colloquium “Religion, War and Peace”

Research – International Colloquium

International Colloquium “Religion, War and Peace”

This symposium brings together researchers from around the world who study the links between religions and violence. October 13 and 14, 2022, Jean Borde room at the MSH Bordeaux.

The project was born from the partnership between Bordeaux Montaigne University and theMoscow Peoples Friendship University, who wished that Bernadette Rigal Cellard (Bernadette.Rigal-Cellard @ (professor emeritus in American Studies – CLIMAS research unit) directs a comparative work between the Russian and Western European areas on the links between States and religions following the major attacks committed by members of Islamist movements.
The question “religion and terrorist violence” and in particular “Islam and violence” having been much analysed, Bernadette Rigal-Cellard decided to examine the links between religion and violence maintainedin the past and especially today, by a wide variety of religious groups, sometimes little known to the public.
The communications relate to three major axes which make it possible to verify what Émile Durkheim called “the dynamogenic influence of religion”: beliefs never remain at the symbolic level but stimulate forces that push believers to act in and on the world.

The three axes

The instrumentalization of religions to promote and reinforce the thirst for power of political leaders, leaders, military or not, ethnic groups…

These can justify their attacks and their territorial conquests by references to sacred texts, prophecies… We will thus see how President Putin relies on the spiritual power of the Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill to justify the invasion of Ukraine and how the patriarch himself imagines benefit from his blessing of troops and tanks.
This subject is all the more relevant because it is the reason why no Russian colleague can participate in the colloquium. The violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and its competitors in Nigeria will be studied, as well as the use of religion in Japan during the wars of the twentieth century, in Vietnam against French colonization, and in the United States on January 6, 2021 during the Attack on the Capitol.
As for France, it will be its religious violence in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that will be analysed, as well as the crises caused by the separation of Church and State.

Religions victims of violence: religious persecution is far from a crime of the past

Will be explored here those suffered by several religious groups, especially in Chinaa domain of which Remi Castets (remi.castets @ is one of the great international specialists, as is Massimo Introvigne, director of a daily newspaper, Bitter Winterwhich informs about the persecutions of religious groups in Asia and around the world.
It is quite obvious that religions can also perpetrate acts of intense violence. The thirst for power of certain religious leaders as well as the abuses that can thus be imposed will be discussed. Two of the best experts on minority religions will talk about violence that they suffer but can also cause both within themselves and towards the outside society.

Religions as actors of pacification

Even if some of their own members incite violence, religious groups like to proclaim apostles of peace. How do they put this requirement into practice, in words only or in concrete actions?
Will be presented the rituals invented by several religious groups to bring about or preserve peace, in Taiwan and South Korea as well. The intercession of religious leaders to resolve social, political or military conflicts (thus the nuclear issue) will finally be addressed.

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International Colloquium “Religion, War and Peace”