News You Really Need To See: “Countries With Less Religious Diversity Have More Faith-Based Violence”

“Countries With Less Religious Diversity Have More Faith-Based Violence”

The Atlantic, April 4, 2014

“On Friday, the Pew Research Center released a report on the countries with the most and least religious diversity, and the results—at least at first glance—are what you might expect. … What’s more surprising, though, is that some of the least religiously diverse countries also experience some of the most religious violence.  According to Pew’s recent analysis of religion-related social hostilities, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Somalia, and Israel top the list of countries with the most conflicts motivated by faith, which include ‘armed conflict or terrorism, mob or sectarian violence, harassment over attire for religious reasons, or other religion-related intimidation or abuse.’  In terms of religious diversity, Afghanistan and Somalia are among the 10 least-diverse countries in the world, and Pakistan was also given a rating of ‘low’ diversity.  Israel and India are both considered only moderately diverse. … This trend seems to be the most prevalent in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.  Countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand have among the lowest levels of religious diversity and highest levels of religious hostilities in the world.  Similarly, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen rank at the bottom of the global diversity ranking but at the top of the religious hostilities list. … The diversity study doesn’t account for different denominations within religions, like Sunnis and Shiites in Muslim countries or Protestants and Catholics in Christian countries; apparently it was too difficult to gather enough data to make those distinctions.  It’s also impossible to make conclusions about cause and effect: Pluralism itself might help reduce violence, or countries that tolerate high levels of diversity might attract people less inclined to violence.”

Quickie analysis:  Apparently, for the lion to lie down with the lamb, the lion and the lamb have to live in the same community for a while first.

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