In this 5 session course, Pastor Larry explains how faith feeds into some of the world’s most intractable conflicts. The goal is to see how understanding the various belief systems can aid us in understanding the dynamics of these conflicts and in predicting probable behaviors. Each 90-minute conversation uses the tools of the Sociology of Religion academic discipline to focus on one current conflict. 


Ukraine. What makes Putin’s actions in the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine so wildly popular in Russia? How do people in the Ukraine believe current events will affect them? How are the various churches in the Ukraine affecting the conflict? This initial conversation will look at a framework for examining belief systems and then look at these questions and more.


Israel.  Why is a Middle East peace so elusive after so many years of trying? How do religious institutions and outside groups, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, affect this conflict? How does the story of Abraham play a crucial role in why this conflict is so hard to solve? This conversation will look at the Biblical roots of this conflict and how belief affects behavior in the Middle East.


Syria. Why is this such a bitter conflict when just about everyone shares the same faith… and that Islamic faith calls on all Muslims to act peacefully toward each other?  Is this a civil war with two sides, or have the beliefs moved it into a multi sided conflict? This conversation will look at the various groups and how their beliefs motivate them.


Iraq. How can an insurgent band suddenly take so much territory so fast? Who is ISIS and where did they come from? And how do their beliefs affect their actions and possibly their downfall? In this las session we focus on this “old Conflict in new clothes.”
Korea. Can there be an atheistic religion, and that explain the actions and behavior of the DPRK (North Korea)? How do the major faiths and beliefs in the ROK (South Korea) affect the conflict? Does the population of both Koreas really want reunification? This conversation will look at a non-theistic faith and how belief dynamics affect the ongoing struggle in Korea.