Can Abraham bring peace? The relationship between acknowledging shared religious roots and intergroup conflict

Jonas R. Kunst, Sasha Y. Kimel, Maor Shani, Ramzi Alayan, Lotte Thomsen

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Abstract

Although the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict is rooted in contesting ethno-national narratives, it is often also framed and perceived in religious terms. While all 3 groups who consider the region a holy land, namely Jews, Muslims and Christians, have theological roots in common, the potential of emphasizing such commonalities among more than 2 groups and-most importantly-whether acknowledging such shared Abrahamic lineage generally may be an asset for actual peacemaking in the region remains unknown. Focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we aimed to fill this gap by using diverse groups and contexts. In Study 1, American Jews acknowledging their shared Abrahamic lineage with Muslims were more supportive of aid to, and peacemaking with, Palestinians. Next, we broadened this categorization to also include Christians. In Study 2, the more American Jews acknowledged this extended categorization including all 3 groups, the less biased they were toward Muslims and Christians and the more they supported political and territorial conflict solutions. We then took the paradigm to the Middle East. In Study 3, Israeli Jews acknowledging the Abrahamic category showed less bias toward Muslims and Christians and were more supportive of peacemaking, intergroup contact and the two-state solution. Finally, in Study 4, Palestinian-Muslims living in the Palestinian Territories who acknowledged this shared religious lineage showed less bias toward Jews, yet more bias toward Christians. In all studies, findings held when controlling for political orientation or social dominance orientation. Implications for using religious and Abrahamic categorizations for conflict resolution and intergroup relations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Volume11
Issue4
Pages (from-to)417-432
Number of pages16
ISSN1941-1022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Abraham
  • Christians
  • Israel-Palestine conflict
  • Jews
  • Muslims
  • AUTHORITARIANISM
  • COLLECTIVE GUILT
  • IDENTITY
  • DISTINCTIVENESS
  • INGROUP
  • NEEDS-BASED MODEL
  • EMOTIONAL NEEDS
  • MINORITY-GROUP
  • SOCIAL-DOMINANCE ORIENTATION
  • MIDDLE-EAST

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