Skip to content

Does Peace Have a Chance?

Interview With Professor of University of Valencia

VALENCIA, Spain, AUG. 29, 2006 (Zenit) - Christianity is a religion of peace, says Jesús Ballesteros, author of the recently published "Rethinking Peace."

The professor of philosophy of law and political philosophy at the University of Valencia is an expert in human rights and intercultural dialogue.

In this interview with us, he comments on how world peace can be possible.

Q: You link family disintegration with the increase of violence. Is the world at war because the family has disintegrated?

Ballesteros: The uprooting of the family with the consequent loss of emotional bonds is the best breeding ground for the development of violence in its different forms, in as much as it eliminates the moral conscience, the conviction of obligations of life vis-ŕ-vis others, and facilitates the manipulation of different fanaticisms.

That is why all totalitarian ideologies have tried to reduce or do away with the family, insofar as ambit of formation of the personality.

However, we must take into account that the causes that lead to wars are related above all to the desire to control natural resources, to the profit motive and to eagerness for power.

Q: How do you replace the concept of "national security" with that of "human security" which you propose?

Ballesteros: We must be aware that by increasing our arms alone we don't produce a more secure society, given that the determinant factor for peace is the exclusion of hatred and of indifference to suffering of our neighbor.

It is a question of understanding that the problem of peace goes far beyond the demands of military defense.

It requires above all exertion to extend worthy conditions of life for all, eradicating poverty and protecting the environment.

Q: Is peace the way, as Gandhi suggested, or must we think of it as a goal?

Ballesteros: As Gandhi himself said, we cannot separate the means ("ahimsa," non-violence) from the end ("sathyagraha," strength of truth), given that "the means are like the seed and the end like the tree."

Peace must be in the means and the ends. Good ends, such as greater recognition of rights, can be perverted if there is recourse to violence to obtain them; on the other hand, peace cannot be attained by any means, for example, by paying a political price, denying legality, negotiating politically with terrorists, showing contempt for victims.

This would not be peace but abandonment of one's principles. And as Gandhi also said the coward is further away from true peace than the violent one.

Q: There still are conflicts which arise from misunderstandings between Christians, let us think of Northern Ireland. In what sense can Christianity eradicate the causes of violence?

Ballesteros: In general after the appearance of religious conflicts, conflicts are hidden which are based on economic and social inequalities, given that in principle religions are rather a factor of peace, in as much as they try to present the importance of trust in God and understanding of one's neighbor.

It is true that profound differences exist between religions. There are closed religions, which make every effort to achieve exclusively the internal solidarity of the group through social pressure, projecting guilt toward the exterior through recourse to scapegoats, always external to the group.

There are open religions, which propose universal love, without space-time limitations, as an exigency. Christianity is, undoubtedly, the paradigm of the open religion, given that it consists in the imitation of Christ, who takes on everyone's guilt, and forgives all.

Christianity therefore is perfect peace, total negation of violence. Another matter is the fact that, unfortunately, at times it has been lived ignoring its basic exigency.

Q: You criticize Islamic "Jihadism" and the excesses of the so-called "war on terrorism." How can this spiral of violence be counteracted which seems to be established in the world?

Ballesteros: The spiral of violence can only be stopped with the universal recognition of rights, which excludes in all cases the death of non-belligerents.

Human rights must be considered as something that has validity beyond the different cultures. It in turn must not be confused with ethno-centrism.

Institutions that arose in the West, such as the state of law, the distinction between religion and politics and representative democracy are important elements in the defense of those rights, but that does not mean that there are not also aspects to be corrected in the West, such as the lack of respect for human beings in their initial and final stage, and the indifference to conditions of poverty of millions of human beings.

The dialogue of cultures is indispensable, governed by the principle of reciprocity. It is all very well that mosques are built in the West, but one must demand that also in countries of Muslim majority, churches and cathedrals be opened.


Catholic Online CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Peace, War, Ballesteros, Rights, Freedom

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.