Religion: Peace through Non-Violence in Four Religious Traditions

  • Caron E. Gentry


The purpose of this chapter is to understand religious approaches to peace from four faith traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam (listed in order of chronological establishment). This chapter argues that the four faith traditions have much in common, and these commonalities can be witnessed in each faith’s emphasis on non-violence and the disciplines that sustain the commitment to non-violence. Peace in each tradition is connected to a metaphysical hermeneutic, one that cannot be separated from how followers demonstrate their faith through their care for other humans. Thus, an emphasis is placed on respect for human life that comes from and is sustained by a person of faith’s commitment to her/his religious practices, including love, reconciliation and benevolence. In order to demonstrate these commonalities, the chapter will elucidate how each religion defines peace and how this informs its pacifist approach. These commonalities also differentiate a religious approach to peace from the liberal peace, mainly in how the traditions define the source of peace and the spiritual connection with the said source. Finally, the chapter will look at the tensions in religious non-violence, mainly that each tradition also contains a strong ‘just war’ legacy.


Religious Tradition Golden Rule Moral Imagination Grand Rapid Structural Violence 
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© Caron E. Gentry 2016

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  • Caron E. Gentry

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