Northern Ireland

Eden,

I don’t know if I want to go into this in depth, but I have some marginal knowledge of the subject (many friends of my family are Ulster Protestants–as a child I knew a policeman who was badly wounded in an IRA ambush and a farmer who was blown up by a bomb; my dad was temporarily detained by the British army because he had foolishly taken a picture of a military installation; I visited Ulster several times and actually leved there for several months when I was six). I did not say that religion was the cause, but it certainly plays a role. Try to tell me that Ian Paisley is not a religious figure. The problem is that we have all been taught that religion and politics are something intrinsically separate from each other, so that a conflict is either religious or political. Which is historically nonsense. The Elizabethan colonization policies were part of the global Protestant-Catholic conflict of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Political/ethnic and religious issues simply can’t be separated with regards to Northern Ireland.

Edwin

(Contarini) People will often claim that the conflict in Ireland has “nothing to do with religion.” That’s total bunk. The conflict is not purely religious by any means, but it is indeed the last vestige of what was once a Europe-wide conflict between Protestants and Catholics.

“The conflict is often perceived as a religious one but theology is a relatively small component. It could be argued that the Church of Ireland’s theology is closer to the Catholics’ than to the Presbyterians’, for example. However, religion is “…the main signifier of ethnic difference in Ireland” and so contributes to division.” Are you asserting that the religions of the two groups contribute to the conflict because they disagree on “theology”? I am saying that the religious differences between the two groups became magnified not as a theological dispute but as a means of clearly delineating one from the other. The conflict between Catholics and Protestants is not rooted in theology; for instance, Catholics do not attack Protestants because they don’t accept the “Real Presence”. The reasons for the “Troubles” is much more complicated than that.

The history of the North is highly complicated and tragic :crying:, like many things in life you could study it full time for 30 years :nerd: and only skim the surface.

I’ll simply say this, it’s a highly emotive subject :mad: if you have any connection to this part of the world and always, in my experience, gets tempers frayed VERY quickly and I predict ‘the lock’ in a very short number of posts…

[quote=JGC]The history of the North is highly complicated and tragic :crying:, like many things in life you could study it full time for 30 years :nerd: and only skim the surface.

I’ll simply say this, it’s a highly emotive subject :mad: if you have any connection to this part of the world and always, in my experience, gets tempers frayed VERY quickly and I predict ‘the lock’ in a very short number of posts…
[/quote]

Thanks for the warning. Since this topic is very volatile and has the potential to become “locked”, I’ll post just one more time. I’ll finish my assertion by saying that religion - theology - was clearly the root cause of violence between Catholics and Protestants in Germany in the 1500s. There was no larger ethnic or colonial imbalance of power, etc. which is true of Northern Ireland. While the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland are largely understood on the surface to be “religious” because the two groups differentiate themselves as “Catholic” or “Protestant” the division runs much deeper.

Whom are you quoting there? I don’t agree that the C of I’s theology is closer to Catholicism than to Presbyterianism. The C of I is quite low-church. Perhaps such a claim could be made about ECUSA; far more dubiously about the C of E; but not, I think, about the C of I.

[quote=Eden]Are you asserting that the religions of the two groups contribute to the conflict because they disagree on “theology”?
[/quote]

I’m saying–in fact I said–that the conflict originated as a small part of a global conflict between Protestants and Catholics. Theology was and is part of that conflict. So were/are politics, economics, ethnicity, etc. You can’t isolate theology–most “Protestants” and “Catholics” in Ireland may not think about theology, but they still are who they are because of theology, among other things. And speaking just for the Protestants, I wouldn’t bet that they don’t think about theology–at least the followers of Paisley. Paisley clearly has strong theological as well as political commitments, and he blends the two without any embarrassment.

[quote=Eden] I am saying that the religious differences between the two groups became magnified not as a theological dispute but as a means of clearly delineating one from the other. The conflict between Catholics and Protestants is not rooted in theology; for instance, Catholics do not attack Protestants because they don’t accept the “Real Presence”. The reasons for the “Troubles” is much more complicated than that.
[/quote]

I never said they weren’t complicated. I said they were. I never isolated theology. Religion is not just about theology. It’s a matter of one’s whole identity. Religion is not simply the means of delineating the one from the other. It is one of the major reasons why the two groups came to see themselves as so radically different.

I did a paper on the Vietnam War in college. One of the things claimed by the scholarly literature I consulted was that to a great extent the North Vietnamese/Viet Cong were driven by nationalism rather than by Communist ideology. That may well be true. But that doesn’t mean that Communism has nothing to do with the conflict. It was still part of the larger Cold War, and is still an example of the deadliness of 20th-century ideological conflict.

Now please let’s not start another thread on the Vietnam War!

Edwin

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