Beliefs in society: Religion in a global context


Globalisation leading to different cultures

Globalisation has led to different cultures and religions coming into closer contact than ever before.  According to Meyer this has led to religious diversity and has led to a deterritorializtionof religion -  a blurring of the connections between a religion, a specific society and a territory.  Due to IT improvements such as the internet individuals can pick and mix elements of different religions as opposed to being limited to the one found in their own society; a user orientated religious market.

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 HOWEVER, it is suggested that not all consequences are positive.  There is growing conflict between different groups, for example Islamic fundamentalists are increasingly coming into conflict with Christian based Western culture, but there is also growing conflict within groups, for example cashes between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland or between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in India. 

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God and globalisation in India

Globalisation has led to the rapid economic growth of India, leading to the creation of a huge prosperous, educated, urban middle class. Secularisation theorists argue that this group will be the first to abandon religion.  However, research has found that Indians are becoming more religious and that urban educated Indians are more religious than their rural uneducated counterparts.  Nanda believes that this may be because it is becoming fashionable to be religious, something that is supported by the rapid increase in religious tourism. 

In addition, Nanda argues that India’s success in the Global market is often attributed to the superiority of ‘Hindu values’.  It may be that Hinduism has become a ‘civil religion’, where worshipping Hindu Gods has become the same as worshipping the nation of India.  

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Pentecostalism has led to the spread of Christianity around the world.  Pentecostalism supports the Protestant work ethic which may bring economic growth to countries such as Latin America.  HOWEVER it also has the ability to preach Christian beliefs whilst incorporating local beliefs, for example, spirit possession.  Pentecostalism manages to create new local religious forms rather than replacing the old ones.  This ability to adapt itself means that it is very diverse depending on where you are in the world.  It has been successful in developing countries because it appeals to the poor who make up the majority of the population.


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