Conflict Theory and the Analysis of Religious Experience

  • BAC Obiefuna


This paper is a theoretical presentation of religious experience as the
fundamental element of religion and in the study of religion(s). It states that religion or religiousness is a characteristic of human beings who have an attraction to an objective reality outside of humans but considered Ultimate, Divine, and Sacred in essence and action. Humans generally consider themselves dependent on this Ultimate Reality for their being and sustenance. This Reality is considered to be in communication with humans who nonetheless respond in diverse ritual forms. This communication is a form of experience that, like other experiences, is a source of knowledge not equally given to all. The experience takes many shapes. Whatever shape it takes is subject to interpretation. Both the experience and the way it is interpreted can, and most of the times, lead to conflict and violence. One of the appropriate theoretical approaches to explaining, understanding, and resolving religious related conflicts and violence is the conflict theory with micro (psycho-spiritual) and macro (socio-cultural) features germane to analyzing internal and external conflicts generated by religious humans. It is appropriate in interpreting psychological and sociological conflicts associated with religious experience. It is argued, therefore, that there is a matrix between religious experience and the use of conflict theory in the interpretation of conflicts (intrapersonal and interpersonal) arising from religious experience.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057