Religious Emotions and Forgiveness in the Context of the Peace Process in Colombia

  • Sandra M. Rios Oyola
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)


This chapter analyzes the role of religious emotions in the mediation of forgiveness in the Colombian peace process, with particular attention to the victims of the massacre of Bojayá in relation to the demobilized FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) guerrilla members. The public role of forgiveness in post-conflict societies has been increasingly recognized as a step toward social peace. It involves a variated set of emotions such as the remorse of perpetrators and the optimism to believe in such remorse. The role of religion, and particularly of Christianity, in the construction of notions of forgiveness (and in supporting the possibility of forgiveness altogether), has often been criticized for adding an extra weight on the shoulders of victims and for its contentious effects on maintaining situations of injustice. However, from the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) in South Africa that openly emphasized forgiveness not only as the preferred path for the transformation of society but as a goal to the very recent peace process in Colombia, the rhetoric of forgiveness continues to influence the politics of transitional justice and reconciliation. This is a rhetoric that is permeated by emotions and religion but that has rarely been simultaneously studied from the perspective of religious emotions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra M. Rios Oyola
    • 1
  1. 1.Leiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands

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