Religion and Development: Tromsoe Debate

A full community house in Tromsoe made for a good reception of the debate about Religion and Conflict.

The debaters:
Hans Kristian Amundsen, Prime Ministers office
Roald E Kristiansen, professor in history of religion
Usman Rana, social commentator
Per Oskar Kjolaas, Bishop
Iselin Frydenlund, historian in religion

– Those who reject all knowledge must be met with discussion and debate, said Hans Kristian Amundsen in the induction. -This is our best agent in fighting the extremism and violence.

All the debaters agreed on that the event of 22nd July could have happened without the influence of religion. it is however impossible to dismiss the perpetrators islamophobic attitudes and his recognition of himself as being a Christian. Bishop Per Oskar Kjolaas stresses that the actions of Breivik have nothing to do with Christian values. This is an attitude that most religious leaders would agree on when someone perform violence in the name of God.
Professor in history of religion, Roald E Kristiansen believes that one can gather ideological means from several places, religion is not in a unique position.
Usman Rana points out that erroneous interpretations can help to legitimize these attitudes. -Theologians have to take greater responsibility to guide the apostates, it is the intellectual fight that has to be won.

It is possible that this type of discussion wouldn’t have taken place if the perpetrator was of another origin, but it is difficult to say what the consequences would be.
Iselin Frydenlund highlighted that we have to look for acts of terrorism outside religion as well. She referred to Sri Lanka where over 400 suicide actions have been executed by separatist groups that don’ t have any affiliations with religion. -The first suicide bombings were made by liberal arabs that wanted to push Americans out of Lebanon. It is not the religion that explains the avtion, the divide must be made between those who take the right to harm others, and those who don’t.

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