“The conflict and violence caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in, at the moment principally Syria and Iraq, is the best and most current example of religious-based conflict. Why? Because ISIS are a heterogeneous group of people, from many countries, who are over-emphasizing their social, cultural and (principally) religious differences with all others, are categorically against all beliefs other than their own, and are using conflict and violence to further that ideology.”
The Center Update (Fall 2014 edition)
is to reduce and substantially eliminate religious-based conflict in the world by
• first by sensitizing the peoples of the world to the very real problem of religious-based conflict in the world, its causes and its costs, and
• second by education – particularly of the children but also of adults – about the problem and by offering a new, unique and realistic long-term approach to it, and
• third by promulgating a practical, long-term solution which goes beyond tolerance – which is the current view as the solution to religious-based conflict – and by demonstrating how to practically and realistically achieve the goal of reducing religious-based conflict in the world.
We are unique in the world in these pursuits!
The Center distributes a free quarterly newsletter, various brochures and other materials as well as provides speakers for seminars and symposiums on request.
The Center became a reality only after long and searching investigation by its founder and current director, Terry O. Trowbridge. But its seeds became embedded in his soul while he was living and working in Italy in 1978. It was during an early weekend afternoon on a beautiful summer day while he was following the delightful local custom of taking a siesta, and reading an article about the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Protestants and Roman Catholics. Pondering that article the question came to mind: why were there such problems in the world? Why hadn’t, during the ages, man or the religions themselves, been able to solve the problem of “religious-based conflict”? Why the dichotomy of these conflicts, continuing and even expanding in an otherwise increasingly more civilized world?
Those seeds germinated through the years – during a half year’s legal project in Israel in 1979 observing first-hand the religious-based conflict in that part of the world; and later while continuously questioning why we (principally the religions themselves) had been unable to solve the problem. Why could we not become tolerant enough to live with each other in peace? Like so many others, Mr. Trowbridge believed that if we could just become more universally tolerant, we could solve the problem. Tolerance, like Space in Jean Luc Picard’s travels through the universe on the spaceship Enterprise, was in the opinion of so many, “the final frontier”, the solution to all problems of conflict – religious-based and otherwise. But, he soon learned that this was not the case.
Continuing with his practice of international law where disputes are resolved amicably, rather than as they are in the USA, where they are more often than not, resolved in the courts, Mr. Trowbridge realized that tolerance alone could never work. Tolerance was not after all, as so many had for so long thought, the “final frontier”. This became an obsession, and he wondered why no one had come to this conclusion before, and proposed what appeared to him to be the logical next step past tolerance. Why did the world apparently remain in limbo about this problem?
So in 1999 Mr. Trowbridge founded the Center – beginning the process of sensitizing the people to the problem and offering a practical, realistic, unique approach through which they themselves could substantially reduce this conflict.
The history of the human race is one of conflict, brutality, violence and wars, interspersed with periods of peace, creativity and technical growth. Today is no different. Otherwise, why would we now have police, military, intelligence services and other such protectors? Currently, there are at least 19 hotspots of religious-based conflict in the world – some new, some very old. And, as we all know, religious-based conflict is itself nothing new. Why is this so?
From time immemorial conflicts have arisen because one did not like or agree with what another was doing or planning to do. Or, because he wanted to change what the other was doing or the way he was living. This scenario has been repeated millions of times in our history. But, we haven’t learned from it. It’s still happening today – all over the world. Why? Because we don’t profit from history, though it begs us to learn. We haven’t accepted why these things happen or what we must do to change them.
In the final analysis, history is nothing more than philosophy teaching by examples. And here, what we are talking about is a philosophy of life and of living together on a highly populated planet. Too many in the world are taught – either by their parents, their school, their country or by custom or religion – to hang on their differences with others. Examples abound. Men and women easily see differences between themselves, but with more difficulty find their similarities. Racial problems and turbulence are based on one or both races placing too much emphasis on their differences. Ethnic differences can bring the same result. Different political approaches to governing where one kind of government attempts to impose its approach to governing on other states can bring a similar result. And it is so with religions as well. Each religion is based on the concept that it has the answer to the mystery of life and death. And since there is only one solution to any mystery, that means that when “my religion has the answer, all other answers are wrong”. Thus, a major difference. Overemphasis of this difference, over a long period of time, will bring in too many instances conflict; and continued conflict can and often does bring violence, with its ensuing tragic results. We see it every day. But we are no closer to solving the problem now than we were hundreds of years ago.
The Center For Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict was formed to fill this void – to sensitize, educate the people to the terrible costs of religious-based conflict, to explain why this is so; and to offer long-term solutions currently not being exercised in the world.
The Center does not solve this problem. You do! We need your help in bringing our message to the peoples of the world so that we can begin to reduce and eventually eliminate religious-based conflict in the world.
“What we do for ourselves dies with us: what we do for others remains and is immortal.”
WHO ARE WE?
We are a US charitable organization, tax exempt under US laws, dedicated to the reduction of religious-based conflict throughout the world through publicizing existing conflicts, their significance to all of us, and their causes as well as providing realistic long-term solutions. We do not seek to substitute or duplicate initiatives of religions or other organizations, but rather to compliment them. In our analysis of religious-based conflict we place no blame on any religion or church, preferring to simply objectively relate the circumstances and situation as they evolve.
The Center has initiated a unique, far-reaching, long-term activity – filling, what we think, is a void in the world today. For centuries, the world has seen a cornucopia of religious-based conflict, as yet unabated, though all religions work – to the best of their ability – to eradicate it. Our new and unique approach is an effort fill this void heretofore left barren. Won’t you join us in our enterprise? Are you afraid of “going too far”?
The Center exists and functions solely through donations from people like you. Though we do not solicit funds on this web site, voluntary contributions are welcome and tax-deductible in the United States.
“We make a living by what we get,
But we make a life by what we give.”
Center For Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict
649 Fifth Avenue South, Suite 201
Naples, Florida 34102-6601
Fax: (239) 263-2824
Tel: (239) 821-4850
Copyright © 1999-2014, Center For Reduction of Religious-Based Conflict.
All rights reserved.