This paper seeks to find an interface that exists between globalization and religion. It proves that some of the world’s prime religions are under attack by people who are out to push the agenda of globalization. Most times the result is that it affects third world countries, in that funds, do not flow as easily as they ought. The impact of globalization on religion has been extremely tremendous, and its effects have been felt over the world. Some of them include; cyberculture, the transmogrification of belief systems and traditional religions. Also, it has affected patterns of work ethics, brought about social changes, among other factors. People have been lured into some religions as they have been given false promises. In turn, this has increased terrorist, fundamentalist and extremist tendencies among people living in countries known to be the third world.
Analysis of the relationship between Globalization and Religion
Globalization attracts the attention of various people as it affects them in various ways. Most times it is believed that cultural differences are flattened by globalization. In turn, it leads to the erosion of local beliefs and customs. Moreover, religion is threatened as secular notions are spread among people in a capitalist manner. Secondly, religion is often viewed as an obstacle to achieving globalization. The latter offers a tough stance as well as resistance in attaining globalization (Lechner & Boli, 2007). Power, which is subtle, is viewed with ambition among those who are advocates for globalization. This means that there are conflict and struggle between globalization and religion. The relationship that exists between the two is described as being antagonistic.
It is vital that people are aware of the fact that the relationship, which exists between globalization and religion, should have opposition. Furthermore, it can make people lose out on knowing the interaction, which exists, as well as the complexities involved. The world that is postmodern is the one, which is presently faced with this dilemma. Historical change is another aspect, which defines the partnership between globalization and religion. For a long time, the world was faced with tendencies that were manifested in religion. By looking at the Christian religion, the latter can easily be understood. Religion seeks to increase the number of followers it has through coming up with a global network. Christianity has the highest number of believers, and this is witnessed by its influence and growth patterns. It shows the link between existing economic and political regimes, as well as global ambitions, which exist. Other religions, which have shown, that they have historical patterns include; Islam and Buddhism, among other religions.
It is known that the third world is a captive of the developed world, and globalization is the main reason for this social phenomenon. Pervasive effects are being felt by countries, social groups and individuals due to the effects of globalization. For many centuries, society has been interested in matters concerning the functions and nature of religion. Approaches, which have been, used to understand these phenomena include; sociological, anthropological, theological and philosophical. Religion is meant to give people moral and spiritual sustenance. According to Emile Durkheim, a French sociologist, religion sustains and celebrates the integration of norms in society.
There is an enormous qualitative, difference between religious globalization in the past and the current times. Development, which takes place in a steady manner, is described as being globalization. The latter is also known as the greatest revolution to take place on earth. People’s customs and traditions are threatened by revolutions. Identities, safety, and security are threatened by revolutions. It is a pathetic and discouraging sight when one witnesses the effects globalization and especially on religion. Political and intellectual agendas are diverse in matters concerning globalization. Furthermore, it brings about the transformation of an economic and social nature. There will be drastic changes in religion due to globalization as this has been envisioned by Lechner and Boli. This means that religion will be linked with cultures and histories of ethnic groups as well as nations. This means that thinking will now not be done in a manner, which is conventional. Instead, there will be stiff competition towards achieving free competition. The latter is a characteristic of the various religious groups, which individuals follow (Lechner & Boli, 2007).
Historical religions face being transformed in terms of their diverse structures which are traditional, in nature. Survival powers are entitled to religion as it has been witnessed on many occasions. Major religions in the world have made their cultural and religious spheres be known all over the world. There is a connection between ethnic groups, the state and religion. In turn, the development of sects of a religious nature has sprung up in extremely high levels. An example is the development of Mahayana Buddhism in Japan and Korea. Despite the fact that the countries have social functions, which are different, they have a religion that is similar. It is now easy to come up with a map, which shows how religions are distributed all over the world. Furthermore, each of these religions in various countries has unique characteristics. This means that there are three facets to the process of religious globalization (Gilpin, 2006). Religious organizations have been transformed by circumstances, which are inevitable. There will be significant changes in practices, rituals and doctrines as they will all have new characteristics. Lastly, intellectual perspectives will be occurring as a result of globalization. People will only support religions, which they believe will benefit them in the long run.
The international community has for a long time being debating about religion as it affects politics in many ways. In the year 1978, In Iran, the Shiite revolution became a topic of debate all over the world. Moreover, the issues of Christian rights took place at the same time as the former event. People did not know that the protest movement could be mobilized by religion. They had underestimated that religion has the power of bringing and uniting people. The Middle East had many religious uprisings such as the Hezbollah, Gush Emunim and the Hamas. Almost all parts of the world have had their fair share of religious uprisings. The government of the United States has not been responding well to religious matters. In the year 1979, the formation of the Iranian Islamic republic took place, Americans viewed the latter as secular movements. It led to wrappings, which were pseudo-religious, as the protests were socio-economic in nature. The American, foreign policy was affected by these events, which were secular in nature. According to the former American Diplomacy index, the word religion did not exist. In fact, according to an American statesmanship encyclopedia account, by Henry Kissinger, the word did not exist (Gilpin, 2006). It does not even exist Paul Collier’s index in ‘The Bottom Billion’ book concerning poverty written by him. Developing countries are the one which is an easy target for religious conflicts.
Global affairs concerning religion were a force noticed by the world and the United States. Matters concerning security were at that time of vital concern to leaders of the various countries. They wanted to find an end to religious matters, which advocated for, destructive expressions. The need to get rid of religious terrorism was a priority to the world leaders. They forgot that they had to focus on more vital matters such as conflict resolution, integrity and community service. It is through events such as the terrorist attacks of September 2011 that the world became aware of religious movements. They became aware that globalization of religion had to recognized as a destabilizing and monolithic force.
Tony Blair, once a British prime minister, formed a coalition between intergovernmental and governmental organizations. The changes were to take place starting from the grassroots. He sorts to improve the sectors of conflict prevention, education, development and healthcare. Moreover, NATO had the mandate of analyzing the existing ethnic and religious dimensions. It has the task of coming up with a policy to address religious issues (White, 2010). The United Nations General Assembly knew that it had to form meaningful relationships with religious communities and religions. George Bush did not involve himself a lot in matters concerning globalization and religion. On the other hand, President Obama is extremely aware that religion is a matter that urgently has to be addressed. If the latter takes place, it will lead to human excellence inspiration and even preventing social ills, which take place, in society. Also, it will promote constructive political and social behaviour. Bush has earlier described the religious terrorist groups as being army’s dealing in compassion.
It seems that Obama has been the most promising president with the ability to solve this problem. He has established various neighbourhood partnerships which are faith-based. He hopes that he will expand and extend the relationship that exists between the American government and religious groups. Obama has requested the help of some of his cabinet members in order to bring dialogue. In doing so, issues such as poverty, health care delivery and underdevelopment will be addressed. In the year 2009, Obama gave a speech in the city of Cairo. This event is extremely memorable as Islam would benefit from foreign policies initiated by the United States. Obama believes that, through attaining religious freedom, peace will prevail in the various nations (White, 2010).
The nature of religion is currently global as well as transnational. Migration and international travel have made religion reach the most remote parts of the world. It is now easy for people to communicate despite there being varying distances between them. In turn, culture, knowledge and space sharing have been the results of globalization. Characterization of religion has been effective due to globalization whereby various institutions and movements exist. Various regions are now well connected personally as well as electronically and this as enhanced the progress of religious organizations. Physical contact is not mandatory in matters concerning religious globalization due to technology.
Religious belonging and behaviour are fostered by globalised expressions and form of unprecedented plurality. This is possible due to the possibility of unlocking as well as evolution and adaptation that exists. The existing religious communities have always had their internal pluralism which has been revolutionized and adapted by its followers. Traditions and sacred texts are being interpreted, and in turn, it threatens authority, and historical practices. Technology is the main agent of globalization, and now many people have access to it. Regional and local religious actors are possessed by global consciousness (White, 2010). The latter can lead to destructive and constructive tendencies, which religion has proven that it has. The Roman Catholicism has proven that it indeed has a presence, which is global, due to its humanitarian practices. This started as early as the year 1990, where the Catholic Church becomes involved in various projects. It advocated for human rights, development, and peacebuilding. In turn, many people joined the church as they believed that they would benefit from refugee work, relief and charity. Currently, the Vatican recognizes religious movements that are involved in acts of charity. According to the Vatican, many young people are being recruited into religions which are practical. This is better as compared to religious communities, which still uphold religious values. Its followers have no freedom as they are deeply engrossed in matters concerning the church.
John Atherton is involved in researching the impact of globalization on religion. According to him, networks, which are faith-based, are new coalitions, which will affect the world. The capitalism of the free markets is being revolutionized due to the various religious movements (White, 2010). Modern economies have to be endorsed as its disadvantages are not harmful. In order for operations to be successful, there must be networks, norms, mutual obligations and trust among people. He agrees with research conducted by social psychologists concerning this matter. The latter believe that human fulfilment and happiness is not only achieved by consumer satisfaction and material things. Rather it is obtained from engaging in meaningful relationships. People should always be active participants while at the same time providing service that is mutually beneficial.
Catholics have teachings, which can easily relate to this matter. They believe that individuals are autonomous, are not isolated, and this notion is supported by utilitarianism. The community nurtures people who are born into society, as this is a natural aspect of human beings. According to Joseph Stiglitz (2002), it is possible for people to find ways to benefit from religion. Some people have used to further their criminal activities. The most terrorist claim that by murdering people who are innocent, they are working in God’s favour. Such religious ideologies should be done away with, in order to prevent the incidents from taking place.
Every human being needs to have aspirations that are fulfilling and attempt to achieve human kindness. Social capital is a repository of faith communities, and this is as a result of globalization. Ritual enactment and moral intuition are indispensable sources of religion. Moreover, they promote character formation, meditation and worship. This leads to having an experience that is transcendent of matters that are taking place. Public policy and politics are influenced indirectly and directly by religious movements, which are globalised. They also advocate for change in society, which brings about social change. The movements also seek to transform the cultures of various people. According to John Paul a Pope, social progress is brought about by culture and not economics or politics. He advocated against the evils of communism and capitalism, which destroyed the lives of many people. If people accommodate and retain their culture, they are assured of attaining human dignity and freedom. According to Lechner and Boli (2007), globalization is a development that will never cease. They believe that almost every human being has religious affiliations, and they cannot easily escape from its jaws. Many religious centres have mushroomed all over the world, and this is due to religious politics. Matters concerning devotion to religious activities have been ignored, so as to engage in communal politics. This should not be taking place in this modern time and era.
In conclusion, religion is indeed being affected by globalization in many ways. There are various aspects, which risk being threatened by religious globalization. They include aspects such as ethnic identity, youth cultures and social values. In turn, those in power should make decisions that will benefit society. Religious trends and global culture should be analyzed by policymakers in order to obtain valuable information. They will then engage in sectors of the economy such as genetic engineering, urban planning as well as military policy. Indeed, religion is an issue, which needs to be known and controlled. It has proven that is a lot of power thus to influence people. This will ensure that errant members of society do not justify evil deeds by the religion, which they follow.
Lechner, Frank. & Boli, John. (2007). The Globalization Reader. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
Stiglitz, Joseph. (2002). Globalization and Its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Gilpin, Robert (2006). The perspective of World Politics. London: Routledge.
White, Roger (2010). Migration and International Trade. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.
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