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Augustana College

Publication Date

Fall 2010

Program Name

Uganda and Rwanda: Post Conflict Transformation

Abstract

If we are to study reconciliation in Rwanda, we cannot avoid studying the influence on religion, specifically Christianity. This paper will assess the reality of the Church’s influence in the genocide and in the overall reconciliation effort, using the theological foundations upon which the reconciliation movement is founded. After discerning which theological principles are most relevant to reconciliation as a whole, this paper will evaluate which methods employed as a result of those principles are most effectively making a positive impact on Rwandan society. It will assess how faith-based reconciliatory efforts are influenced by Rwanda’s past and by the larger global Christian community and will evaluate how best to focus those influences into constructive solutions for the country.

By viewing reconciliation in Rwanda through the lenses of the three of the most commonly practiced Christian denominations in the country, Catholicism, Adventism, and Pentecostalism, the paper will assess the theological framework that has created the existing climate of reconciliation. Through interviews with members of those congregations as well as with people who work within organizations existing solely for the purpose of aiding reconciliation, the paper will paint a picture of what reconciliation space is like in Rwanda in a practical sense, and will thereby identify flaws in the system which could be improved.

The paper will argue that because of the political space created by a history of hierarchical influences and religious expectations, social norms and expectations of forgiveness and reconciliation are incomplete in their effectiveness. A space for honesty and for forgiveness philosophy innovation needs to be endorsed by the government in order for the reconciliation process in post-genocide Rwanda to be complete.

Disciplines

Peace and Conflict Studies | Religion

 

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