Religion in a global context

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Characteristics of religious fundamentalism:
A literal interpretation of religious texts: they believe what's written in sacred texts is the actual truth, not a story.
A belief that their view is the only view: i.e a monopoly of the truth. They reject any alternative view that claim to be the truth.
Resistance to change: Fundamentalists desire a return to the basics of their faith and resist religious and social change becuase they can threaten their way of life.
Avoidance to those who disagree with them: their views are justified by sacred texts rather than rational debate;consequently they avoid or limit contact of those of a different belief
A reliance on guardians of tradition such as vlergy or religious elders to interpret texts and create rules followers must adhere to.

Giddens: fundamentalism is a reaction to globalisation- undermines trad. norms about the family, gender, sexuality etc. In a late modern society-characterised by change, choice, risk+uncertainty.
Bauman: similar view of fundamentalism in a pomo society-deals with the risk+uncertainty by offering certainty+absolute truth. Giddens sees fundamentalism as the opposite of cosmopolitan.

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Criticisms of fundamentalism

Beckford- Argues Giddens fails to distinguish between different types of fundamentalism- ignores how globalisation is influencing +changing non-fundamentalist versions of religion such as Catholicism.

Bruce agrees with Giddens- fundamentalism is largely the result of global threats to religious beliefs and lifestyle. But fundamentalism only occurs within monotheistic religions- based on a single version of the truth.

Bruce identifies different causes of fundamentalism around the world. Emerges in the West due to changes in society. Emerges in third world nations because of change imposed from outside- Islamic fundamentalism in Iran developed in response to the ‘westernisation’ of Iranian culture.

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Religion and development in India

Globalisation has led to rapid economic develop in India. Created wealthy new MC- educated+working in industries such as IT, pharmaceuticals+biotechnology. Least religious- scientific backgrounds mean religion is undermined by rationalisation.

Nanda- these people becoming more religious.- Cannot be due to existential security- financially well off. Religious due to their uncertainty as Hinduism rejects materialism but new MC are becoming wealthy.

Hinduism rejects materialism- problem for this group. Allow the wealthy to balance their guilt by paying for expensive rituals- legitimates the wealth of the new MC and allows them to adjust to global capitalism.

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Pentecostalism in Latin America

Becker- same thing happening in Latin America. Latin American Pentecostalism has a strong work ethic+self discipline based on an ascetic (self-denying) way of life.

Berger agrees with Weber- religious beliefs alone can’t bring about capitalism- must be natural resources to allow for economic development. In northern Brazil Pentecostalism is v. Strong but lack of natural resources= little economic development. South Brazil has the natural resources and Pentecostalism=economic development and prosperity.

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Religion and cultural defence

Religion can act as a means of cultural defence by uniting a community against external threat. Symbolise collective identity + unite the group to resist the external threat.

Catholic church acted as a means of cultural defence in Poland during communist rule. Maintain Polish identity to resist communism.

Islam in Iran served as a means of cultural defence. ‘Westernisation’ – veil banned, calendar replaced, western curriculum introduced and secular laws imposed. Islam served as a means of resistance to these western changes- revolution.

Haynes- Iran was unusual in Middle Eastern politics as the revolution was led by religious leaders. Religion in other middle eastern countries is more closely connected to those in power.

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Religion and the 'clash of civilisations'

Religion at the centre of global conflicts- terrorist attacks.

Huntington- due to ‘clash of civilisations’. Identified seven civilisations: Western, Latin America, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu, Islamic and Slavic-Orthodox. Each has common cultural identity and closely linked to one of the major world religions. Created tension between civilisations- intensified due to globalisation.

Tension caused by various factors- globalisation has led to mass movement of people- civilisations are in greater conflict with each other. Religious differences are harder to resolve as their firmly fixed with culture.

Casanova- argues Huntington ignores conflict within civilisations. Armstrong  argues much conflict is the result of western foreign policy in the middle east.

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