In early December 2019, the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria facilitated an interfaith dialogue on the issue of religion and violence, sponsored by the Argentine Embassy in South Africa. Hosted in the Merensky Library auditorium, the event brought together diplomats and scholars from around the world, and officially got underway with an opening address from Prof Jerry Pillay, Dean of the Faculty.
A panel discussion followed thereafter, which included Moulana Ebrahim Bham, Pauline Naidoo, Wendy Khan and Brian Makaketa, representatives from the private and public sectors that provided insights from the major spiritual traditions embraced by many citizens of this great nation. Before the morning was complete, Prof Jaco Beyers from UP's Department of Religion Studies delivered a keynote address, his opening line included below:
“Humans are beings capable of immense violence. This is self-evident and surely needs no proof. Violence is innately part of human nature but simultaneously it is an acquired skill, something that can be learned. What role does religions play in this violent world we are living in? Are religions teaching people to be violent? Violence is a complex matter.”
Please find the full text of the speech available for download here, and if you would like to be a part of the conversation going forward, feel free to contact Prof Beyers and his Department in the Faculty of Theology and Religion by emailing [email protected] for further information.