Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Compassionate Conflict Resolution

We, as animals, have two natural responses to conflict, fight and flight. As humans, we have another option, which is coping. But who among us is taught a system of conflict resolution? To be fully human we must retrain ourselves to seek peaceful co-existence.

What good does it do us to take all conflict to the courts where the opponents have to swear on a book that may or may not be sacred to the swearer? We claim to be a predominantly Judeo-Christian country, with the greatest emphasis on being Christian. I'd like to see a new vocation come out of all this claiming of Christianity in our country.

We could call it Compassionate Conflict Resolution. This would be a field that could intervene when folks of different faiths and value systems have issues that they want peacefully resolved. Whoever took up this profession would have to be willing to familiarize themselves with the values and belief systems that drive all parties involved in the conflict, sort of like our secretary of state must do on the world stage. The arbiter would also have to reveal to all parties the value system from which she or he hails.

We could run these "courts" sort of like the Supreme court, but with fewer "judges." Each party to the conflict could have one representative witness and an uninvolved resolution specialist would be the arbiter of the dispute. Witnesses could be called, if necessary. This, of course, entails the ability to articulate one's wants and needs. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we cared enough to do this?

If we want instruction for this system of conflict it's all laid out in the Torah, the New Testament Bible, and in the Koran. Why aren't we willing to use this system?