God and Globalisation in India

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  • God and Globalisation in India
    • Globalisation has brought rapid economic growth and has seen India become a more important part of the world politically.
      • This has lead Indians to prosper and create an Indian middle class.
    • 85% of the Indian population are Hindu.
    • Hinduism and Consumerism
      • Nanda
        • Globalisation has created a huge and prosperous, scientifically educated, urban middle class in India.
          • Indians now work in the IT, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology closely tied into the global economy.
            • This is precisely whom secularisation theorists would suggest that would be the first to abandon their religious and supernatural beliefs.
              • However, a lot of these people still believe in the supernatural.
                • Study of Developing sciences (2007): Only 5% said that their religiosity had declined over the past five years whereas 30% said that it had increased.
                  • "Urban, educated, Indians are more religious than their rural and illiterate counterparts."
          • Increased interest in religion has also been reflected in a dramatic growth of religious tourism, such as visits to shrines and temples.
            • It is becoming fashionable to be religious.
        • She rejects poverty and existential security theory as an explanation, because the middle class aren't poor.
        • Rejects the idea that their religiosity is a defensive reaction to modernisation and Westernisation.
          • The Indian middle classes are optimistic about the opportunities that globalisation brings them.
        • Increasing religiosity among the Indian middle class is a result of their ambivalence (uncertainty) about their new found wealth.
          • This stems from a tension between the traditional Hindu belief in renunciation of materialism and worldly desires.
          • This is resolved by modern holy men who preach that desire is not bad, but rather a manifestation of divinity.
    • Hindu ultra-nationalism
      • Nanda
        • Examines the role of Hinduism in legitimating a triumphalist view of Indian nationalism.
          • For example: the Pew Global Attitude survey: 93% of Indians agreed with the statement "Our people are not perfect but our culture is superior to others.
            • This is higher than any other country.
        • India's success in the global market is increasingly attributed to the superiority of Hindu values.
          • This a view that is constantly promoted by the media and politicians along with the idea that Hinduism is the essence of Indian culture and identity.
        • The worship of Hindu gods has become the same as worshiping the nation of India.
        • Hinduism has become a "civil religion."
          • This is creating a wider gap between Hindus and non-Hindu minorities.
          • Hinduism has penetrated public life, so that the supposedly secular state is increasingly influenced by religion.
            • For example, in Indian universities, Hindu sciences such as Astrology are being taught because they are believed to be able to prevent natural disasters.
    • Capitalism in East Asia
      • In recent decades, the so-called "Eastern Asian tiger economies," such as South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, have successfully industrialised and become significant players in the global economy.
      • The development of Capitalism in East Asian countries has lead sociologists to argue that  religion has player a role similar to the one Calvinism played in the development of capitalism in the 16th and 17th century.
      • Redding: Sees East Asia's "post Confucian," values encouraging hard work, self-discipline, frugality and a commitment to education and self-improvement.
        • This has lead to economic productivity and the accumulation of capital.
    • Pentecostalism in Latin America
      • Berger: Pentecostalism in Latin America is the "functional equivalent," to Weber's protestant ethic.
        • This is done with an ethic of this-worldly asceticism.
        • He also underline Weber's point that religious ideas alone are not enough to produce economic development as natural resources are still needed.
          • For example: Whilst Pentecostalism has grown in Northern Brazil, the region lacks resources and remains backward. By contrast, the south, which is developing rapidly, has both a work ethic derived from Pentecostalism and the necessary resources.
      • As a result, In Chile and Southern Brazil, there is now a growing and prosperous middle Pentecostalist middle class leading a Capitalist development.
      • Pentecostalism: global and local
        • Christianity has globalised itself by expanding out of Europe, first into South America and then into Africa.
        • Lehman: distinguishes between two types of phases in this expansion.
          • 2. Over the last century or so, it has spread because it gained a popular following from below.
            • For example: By 2000 there were 80 million Pentecostalists in Brazil alone.
          • 1. Christianity accompanied colonisation and was imposed on the indigenous populations by conquest, often forcibly supressing local religions.
          • Attributes the success of Pentecostalism as a global religion in part to its ability to 'plug into,' and incorporate local beliefs.
            • It uses imagery and symbolism drawn from local cultures and existing religious beliefs, especially from spirit and possession cults.
              • Pentecostalists attack such cults as the devil, but their ministers will conduct exorcisms to rid people of evil spirits.
                • By doing so, they accept their existence and this validates local traditional beliefs, while at the same time claiming to give believers access to a greater power, that of a Christian Holy Spirit.
          • Pentecostalism has been successful in developing countries because it is able to appeal particularly to the poor who make up the vast majority of the population.
            • As it uses global communications media to spread its message, along with road shows and world tours by celebrity preachers.


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