Jan 12, 2018 in Analysis

Religion and Globalization

Globalization is the major trade of our epoch, which penetrates all spheres of human life and transforms even those institutions which remained little changed for centuries. Religion seems to be a less likely subject of globalization at first sight, but similarly to other aspects of society, it undergoes influence from the overall process of globalization worldwide. While economically and politically globalization is accompanied by formation of transnational institutions, religion does not stay aside of this process but is rather involved by taking advantage of this trend. Thus, transnational religious actors make most of the situation, as they exchange ideas and form structures that facilitate the influence of one or another organization worldwide.

The communities work cross borders and are no longer specifically split geography-wise or based on cultural difference. At the same time, globalization does not mean a closer unity between believers as decades ago. Instead, parallel religious communities exist at the same time, organized not according to a country but according to their message which is now able to be spread worldwide for each of them. Besides, the focus of religion has shifted because of globalization. Thus, as Splikard states, "Globalization highlights "religious" processes that extend far beyond church life.";On the contrary, Kinnvall believes that religion is an instrument that preserves national identity: "Religion shares many of the characteristics of nationalism, and religion and nationalism are often mixed"; In his turn, El Azzuri argues that globalization cannot go smoothly in religious societies as religion can be an obstacle "since it entails liberal values and norms, religion (particularly Islam) constitutes a challenge to it since its (Islam's) norms and values are incompatiblewith the liberal ones of globalization";

One of the aspects that experts cover when discussing globalization is secularization of society. Even though it might seem to be a threat to religion, this is not exactly the case. It is rather reconsidering and reshaping religious doctrines in order to let them survive, as they face the challenge of today's changed social reality. In this context, the significant arguments and conflicts between religions blur, thus, a hope for a universal religion becomes not very unrealistic. Yet, it is not going to happen soon according to the experts' prediction even if globalization brings about more secularization, it will not soon bring about one common, global worldview.

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