Miroslav Volf, Yale Theological Conversation, Yale Divinity School, February 2006; Photograph: Virgil Vaduva

“In my estimation, rather than the character of the Christian faith itself, a better explanation of why Christian churches are either impotent in the face of violent conflicts or actively participate in them derives from the proclivities of its adherents which are at odds with the character of the Christian faith. One way to describe these pernicious proclivities is to speak of confusion of loyalty. Though explicitly giving ultimate allegiance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, many Christians in fact seem to have an overriding commitment to their respective cultures and ethnic groups. Hence in conflict situations they tend to fight on the side of their cultural group and employ faith as a weapon in struggle.” Miroslav Volf, The Social Meaning of Reconciliation