We live in a world that is more connected than it ever has been. From the speed and ease of air travel to tweets that make uncovered news accessible. Cultures, ideas, and goods are traded throughout the world. As we interact with and learn more about each other, the religious diversity of the global village also becomes apparent.
For a long time it has generally been thought that the global trend would be towards more secular society. The advancement of technology and scientific explanations would make religious beliefs unnecessary and the pursuit of growth and development would make economics the common framework. In addition, within a cosmopolitan society religion would become more muted to uphold tolerance and peace.
In some ways there have been shifts in these directions, however, this article (http://aje.me/YK01rP) argues that religion still has a dominant role in personal values, political activities and global affairs as a whole. And indeed, the approach to religious diversity that has been employed over the last few decades is flawed – a significant shift is needed to move successfully forward as a global community.
Religion provides the principle framework through which the majority of people in the world develop their values, norms, guidance, and identity. In this way, it also serves as a major identifier across people groups from various countries and ethnicities. In a multi-cultural, multi-national, diverse world, religious affiliation forms the largest common collection of people.
It is therefore critical that healthy discourse and mutual understanding between religions is fostered to build an effective and cooperative global community. Especially since religious beliefs extend influence far from personal convictions; they impact family life, civic society, and have implications in human rights issues, socioeconomic issues, and political action.
If religion has such a powerful influence on the world, and it doesn’t appear to be abandoned in the modern world, then we cannot afford to ignore it. One only has to read the articles on this blog site to appreciate the myriad ways religion impacts society.
Most people agree that religion is an important aspect of global affairs, however, this article suggests that the treatment of religious diversity has been damaging for the global community as a whole. A focus on the differences and foreignness of others’ beliefs has led to divisiveness where all sides are battling to assert claims to truth and disregard to other beliefs.
If we re-examine the way we view religious differences, can we find a new view that celebrates the common ground of shared spiritual value? Can the global community come to a place that incorporates religious diversity while navigating the fields of homogenization/domination on one side and dissension/division on the other given that most religions claim a single path to truth?
Tweet: “Beyond tolerance: re-evaluating religious diversity http://aje.me/YK01rP #worldrels”