Religion in contemporary world politics Essay

This chapter talks about the widespread interaction between religion and politics, which a is predominant feature of contemporary world politics.

The author brings many example to illustrate how the impact of religion is taking place even in the states that have long undergone secular principles, and to show that religion is on the top of political agenda in nearly every country of the world. In 1990s the civil war in Bosnia- Herzegovina among Croats, Serbs and Bosnians became a religious conflict. The conflict in Kosovo bet.

Ethnic Albanians and Serbs could be defined as a conflict bet. Muslims and Christians. In Russia, the Orthodox Church became major social and political actor after the communism.

An so on.Religion and GlobalizationIt is widely accepted that globalization and the rebirth of religion in the world politics are strongly connected. Held states that although global interconnections have existed for centuries their impact in the past has been comparatively minor.Undoubtedly, religion did have political consequences in the past: Christianity and Islam grew to become world religions though conquest, colonization and the expansion of the global trade. But the rise of European empires put end to Islam as a cultural force and European influence became widespread across the globe.Fascism and communism did not survive either. It is believed that the fall of Soviet Union was due, in part, to globalization, which facilitated available methods of communication such as telegraph, telephone and Internet. Communication gave rise to the development of transnational in conjunction with national religious communities.

Rudolph and Piscatori state that ” links bet. Religious and political actors both in and bet countries have multiplied due to the ease of communication.Religion in contemporary world politics.Religion as aspect of cultural behavior is one of the issues on agenda for international relations. Acc to Haynes it can be understood in two analytically distinct, yet related ways. First, in a spiritual sense that provides a model for social and individual behavior. Second, in a more material sense-religion is defined by religious groups and movements.

These movements can be divided into politically conservative organizations like the Roman Catholic body, socially conservative that work to alter the political scene like India’s Hindu chauvinist groups, American Christian fundamentalist organizations, groups with strong developmental focus that are entirely concerned with domestic issues like Christian Base Communities. And groups that support the status quo by reinforcing the country’s authoritarian political structure like Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals.Why has religion appeared as is an issue on the world agenda?The predictions of analysts who thought that all societies would secularize as they modernized, and that over time religion would lose much of its social and political importance have proven erroneous. Haynes tries to explain the widespread phenomenon of ” unsecularization” as identified by George Weigel. Although it is difficult to find a single theoretical explanation that covers every case, but modernization stands for one of reasons. In the states where secular ideologies such as communism and socialism declined as a result of modernization, people were left with sense of loss rather than achievement. This is because modernization weakens traditional values and allocates opportunities to people in highly unequal way -both within and bet. Nations.

As a result, many people begun to search for a new sense of identity to give their lives purpose and meaning.Are hostile religious and cultural actors a threat to the West’s security”?Two opposing views are worth mentioning concerning this issue. Bartley advocated the ” optimistic ” view that the dominant flow of historical forces in the 21st century could lead to more widespread economic development and to growing demands for democracy and individual autonomy which authoritarian governments will be forced to grant as a result of popular and international pressure. Instant worldwide communications will reduce the power of oppressive governments and the growth in numbers of democratic countries will diminish any potential inter-state conflict.A second, more influential and pessimistic view is related to the works of Samuel Huntington and Francis Fukuyama. Their see the non-western religious and cultural sources as a serious threat to global order. Huntington states that Middle Eastern Islam, East Asian Confucianism and Asian values pose a major threat to the West’s Security. He identifies the West, in cultural and religious terms, as democratic political culture prone to tolerance, modernization and consensus, and non-Western as not valuing such concepts and believes.

Israel is considered to be allay of the West, while Hinduism and Buddhism are anti-democratic, although probably irrelevant to the battle.Francis Fukuayama supported Huntington’s concerns. His work published in 1989 is full of optimism. For him , the triumph of liberal democracy and capitalism over communism marked ” the end of the history”. End of the history means victory of economic and political liberalism, which the final form of human government, and the end- point of humankind’s ideological evolution.

He calls ” fly in the ointment” those who are culturally different from Western values, and argues that the western way of life is a pattern of universal validity and should be aspired for both Western and non-Western societies. In the Third World there would be minor internal conflicts, which remain in history, but in the long run they will follow the path of political and economic liberalism.In his next book The End of the History and the Last Man 1992, he is more pessimistic in his prospects for liberal global order.

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