The role of religion in generating violent conflict and peace is a major topic in public, political and scholarly debates. However, despite a burgeoning field of literature, this relationship remains inadequately explained. In general, social and religious studies tend to focus on macro-analyses, resulting in essentialist and even ethnocentric notions of religion, violent conflict and peace. By using the Bougainville crisis as a case study, this article argues that as long as we disregard people's ‘lived religion’, local realities remain intangible and, furthermore, no insight is gained into the actual processes by which religion may generate conflict and peace. In particular, I show how the Bougainville crisis was conceptualised as a Holy War, revealing how Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, inspired people to fight against oppression and for peace at the same time.
- Marian devotion