World Peace

While held as a universally-sought value by virtually every religious and philosophical system, this term connotes and implies very different things - especially when it comes to what is seen as preventing this from happening and what is needed to arrive at this goal.  

For religious conservatives, the great threat to world peace is individual and collective rebellion from God’s ways (aka sin) - something seen as underlying all forms of violence and aggression the world.  From this vantage point, a growing influence of faith in the world, coupled with some kind of intervention from the divine hand, will be necessary to usher in a time of world peace.  For secular voices, threats to world peace reside in individual or institutional patterns, with social and political influences seen as underlying the violence and aggression of the world.  Very often, it is religious conservative tradition itself that is often seen as responsible for violence - with a diminishing influence of the orthodox Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions (among other things) often held as central to achieving greater global peace.  

Some view the emphasis on world peace as cover for concerning attempts to work towards a single “(one) world government.”

Separately there is a well-known strand of thought led by evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker that the world is steadily becoming more peaceful.  Pinker’s work complements that of economists showing that economic freedom leads to reductions in violence.  Thus many market-oriented economists see increased economic freedom around the world steadily leading to greater prosperity and opportunity for all, and thus the possibility of steadily continuing reductions in violence.

Conversation Catalysts: 

Strong, “Peace through Access to Entrepreneurial Capitalism for All,” Journal of Business Ethics, 2009.


Michael Strong

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