How will these resources help you?

What influence does religion have on social change? Wars are fought in its name, so how can religion be good? On the other hand, where would society be without the people who are inspired by their faith to work to make lives, communities and society better for others? These resources aim to help teachers guide students through these questions and to help them understand the power and influence that religion has in the world.

A chronological account of religion and its involvement in war

Encyclopaedia of Religion and War

by Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, published by Routledge, (2004), 9780415942461

This reference book is a brilliant, straightforward way to look up examples of wars and find out about the roles that religion has had to play. The book examines the complex nature of the relationship between religion and war throughout the world, spanning the centuries. The articles are written by a variety of scholars and experts, examining historical and global issues such as the conflict in Northern Ireland, religious feminism and war, pacifism and many more. It would be a good resource to have in a classroom, especially for GCSE and A-level students.

Religion and its promotion of peace

Religion and Peace: Global Perspectives and Possibilities

by Nukhet A. Sandal and Ingo Trauschweizer, published by Ohio University Press, (2022), 9780821424834

This collection of essays examines opportunities to promote peace through religion. In an era when perspectives of religion have focused on the links between religion and conflict and terrorism, this book helps to promote the positive effect that religion plays in society. The book is an honest and thought-provoking look at the past, present and the future of religion and its role in peace and conflict transformation. The examples are diverse and would be good to use with A-level students as case studies and wider reading.

Young people who have made a difference

Young, Fearless, Awesome: 25 Young People Who Changed the World

by Stella Caldwell, published by Welbeck Publishing, (2020), 9781783125258

A must-have for every classroom, this inspiring book offers 25 stories about young people who have changed the world. Greta Thunberg, Felix Finkbeiner, Thandiwe Chama and Emma González, plus heroes from recent history, such as Anne Frank and Claudette Colvin are just a few of the examples of the young people included. Though not all of these young people are motivated by religious belief, many of the stories can be connected to learning in Religious Studies, especially when it comes to social change. There is a wonderful section at the end of each profile that gives students practical suggestions about how they can make a difference in their own lives. This accessible book is suitable for KS3 and GCSE students looking for examples of people who have made a difference. 

Peacemakers in action

Peacemakers in Action: Profiles of Religion in Conflict Resolution

by Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, edited by David Little, published by Cambridge University Press, (2010), 9780521618946

This book tells the stories of peacemakers who use their faith and put it into action across the globe, working to create and maintain peace in areas affected by war and conflict. These compelling but little-known stories offer a great resource, packed with brilliant examples to refer to in lessons on this topic. There is also a second volume, which has follow-up stories and informative techniques for organising community action and bringing hope.

Audiovisual clip

Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life - Religion, rules, and responsibility

published by Channel 4, (2012)

One man thinks religion provides guidance on the right way to live, another man expresses that this is possible without the principles of any religion.

Further materials

The Forgiveness Project Visit this website
This Land Is Mine by Nina Paley Access this resource
The mothers who found forgiveness, friendship by Aicha el-Wafi and Phyllis Rodriguez, published by TEDWomen, (2010) Watch this video
One day of peace by Jeremy Gilley, published by TEDGlobal, (2011) Watch this video
Alison McMillan is the Curriculum Tutor for RE trainee teachers at the University of Sussex and leads the Religion and Philosophy department at a secondary school in West Sussex. Alison has extensive experience in teaching as well as examining A-level and GCSE Religious Education. 

Text © Alison McMillan, 2023.