Digest of terms

Israel/Palestine

One of the most corrosive areas of international conflict. Mutual hostilities and present distress are fed by historical sentiments on the part of Palestinians (Christians, Druzes and Muslims) that they have been dispossessed of land where they have lived for centuries and on the part of Israelis (not only Jews but individuals of other faiths as well) many of whom have family experiences of the Holocaust or Eastern European anti-semitism.

The conflict also highlights the dangerous impact which different ways of holding religious beliefs can have on moral judgement. The widely read Leon Uris novel (and film) Exodus is a vivid endorsement of the claim that the re-establishment of the State of Israel is in direct fulfilment of the Biblical gift of the Promised Land to the Chosen People of Israel. Such a conviction, whether or not influenced by the Uris story, is especially common amongst those Christians and Jews who think of the Old Testament and Hebrew Bible literally as divinely inspired. Enemies of Israel can therefore take on the identity as enemies of God - and potentially deserving of punishing opposition. Other Christians and Jews who read their scriptures in a way that uses what they regard as God-given critical intelligence come to understandably different conclusions.

Religious beliefs often have ethical consequences. Moral Education which does not give attention to religion is likely to be defective. No less defective will be Religious Education which is not attentive to ethics.

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