If we study the history of Christianity in the West, we see that it has been a source of strife rather than peace. Even today Catholics and Protestants are fighting each other in Ireland. Why is this?
Christianity no doubt has a serious aspect to it, where people are prepared to risk their lives for the sake of their beliefs. Some people say that this comes from the exclusivity of monotheism, which differs from other religions. I however do not see it that way. Christianity differs from monotheism in the strict sense of the word, as can be seen from the doctrine of the Trinity. More than the doctrines of the religion itself, that sort of a belligerent attitude may stem from the spirituality of the people embracing the religion.
Since Ireland has a very complex history, it would be rather naive on our part to view this merely as a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. This may resemble a bit the issue of mutual national sentiment between Japan and South Korea, which has recently become a hot topic. Sad to say public sentiments arising from the burdens of the past are not easy to reckon with, and when economic and religious factors are added to the issue, it becomes even more problematic.
Regardless of what the case may be, when viewed from the standpoint of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, conflicts and hatred should not arise between people who think differently, because of their Christian beliefs. Such a thing clearly contradicts the spirit of the Gospel. If in the past wars have been fought because of the Christian faith, it is because they have been based on an incorrect understanding of the faith. They are nothing other than the results of human sin.
When I hear of conflicts in the world, I recall the following prayer of Francis. I believe this should be the prayer of a Christian.
“Use me O Lord, as an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love; where there is strife, forgiveness; where there is division, unity; where there is doubt, faith; where there is error, truth; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sorrow, joy.”