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Date Posted: 07:15
Author: ketch-4Jun02
Subject: Re: India/Pakistan
In reply to: Eponymous4Jun02 's message, "Re: India/Pakistan" on 07:13

I will agree that the third criteria, that of religious leaders encouraging conflict is a bad one. There will always be those who wish to use an unrelated conflict for their own ends. A better criteria would probably be if the conflict has come about purely, or largely as a result of pressure from religious leaders.

"As to the first: Why would a "religious" conflict need to be confined or even based upon religious matters?"

For reasons which I would have thought were fairly obvious. If the dispute is not about religious matters then it is not a religious conflict.

If you are arguing that religion is the real cause even though there are other superficial causes, that seems to make a number of psychological assumptions which need to be proved. Specifically it needs to be shown that the leaders of both sides who are preparing for war are motivated, either consciously or otherwise by religious issues.

"If two parties A and B have a dispute about a parcel of land that otherwise would be trivial, and their religious differences eventually drive them to lob grenades at each other, the dispute is effectively religious, even though the dispute has its origins in a trivial piece of real estate. Thus, e.g., the dispute between Israel and Palestine is over small areas of land, but religous ideology invests that land with a meaning both parties find worth killing and dying for. By my lights, it is therefore a religious dispute."

Without going into the details of that conflict, the Palestinians have lost their country, hardly a trivial piece of real estate regardless of its religious significance. How can this be regarded as primarily a religious conflict?

As for a parcel of land being insignificant, history suggests that countries rarely look upon their land in this manner. In recent history for example Britain and Argentina were prepared to fight a war over the Falkland Islands. It would be hard to imagine a more God-forsaken bunch of islands.

The India/Pakistan dispute is over Kashmir. To determine if religion is the real cause of the conflict, rather than land, then two reasonable questions might be:

Would India defend Kashmir if it were to be invaded by the Hindu Nepalese?

Would Pakistan defend its Kashmiri territories from invasion by an Islamic country?

If India and Pakistan could be reasonably expected to defend their territory against their co-religionists then the dispute should not be regarded as essentially religious.

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