Monday, April 23, 2007

Religion in a Globalizing World

Pew Forum's biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life was held in Key West, Florida on December 2006.

Peter Berger, professor emeritus of religion, sociology and theology at Boston University, examined the globalization of religious pluralism and how the peaceful coexistence of different racial, ethnic and religious groups has become a global phenomenon. He argues that pluralism – not secularization – and the resulting emergence of religious choice is the best model for understanding religion in a globalizing world. A question-and-answer session followed his presentation.

i found the transcript of the scholarly discussion and few of the points discussed very interesting. just quoting a few highlighted areas. the complete transcripts link is at the end.

"We live in an age of overwhelming religious globalization"

"... what is happening with the globalization of religion is a globalization of pluralism. Pluralism, which was a much more geographically, much more limited phenomenon 150 or 200 years ago, has become a global phenomenon, and that has enormous implications ...

I would also argue that in terms of the effect on religion, pluralism is about the most important global fact to look at – not secularization.

The idea was very simple: the more modernity, the less religion. Modernization means a decline in religion. I think it was wrong. And I, along with most people in the field, changed my mind about 25 or so years ago, not for some philosophical or theological reason, but simply because the empirical evidence made it impossible to adhere to this theory.

.. one reason why secularization theory just collapses under its own weight is the United States, a strongly religious country, and if modernity is the key variable, are you going to seriously argue that the United States is less modern than Stockholm?"

One of the prominent scholarly mind of our contemporary time, Peter Berger takes on subjects such as what is pluralism, modernity, secularity, denomination. The whole discussion transcript can be read here.

:: About The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life | Launched in 2001, the forum seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs.

The Forum pursues its mission by delivering timely, impartial information to national opinion leaders, including government officials and journalists. As a nonpartisan, non-advocacy organization, the Forum does not take positions on policy debates. read more
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