Religion in a global context - beliefs in society

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  • Created by: maxward
  • Created on: 21-03-16 11:10

Religion and development 

- More recently, sociologists have examined the role religion plays in development in today's globalising world. 

God and globalisation in India 

Globalisation has brought rapid economic growth in India and rising prosperity to a new midle class. 

Hinduism and consumerism 

Nanda argues that this increasing religiosity is the result of the middle class' ambivalence about their newfound wealth, stemming from a tension between their new prosperity and the traditional Hindu belief in renouncing materialism. 

- This is resolved by the modern holy men and tele-gurus who preach the message that desire is not bad, but a manifestation of divinity that motivates people to do things. 

- These business-friendly versions of Hinduism legitimate the position of the middle class and allow them to adjust to globalised consumer capitalism. 

- Hinduism also legitimates a triumphalist version of Indian nationalism. Politicians and the media constantly promote the view that India's success in the global market is due to the superiority of 'Hindu values'. 

Pentecostalism in Latin America 

Berger (2003) argues that Pentecostalism in Latin America encourages the development of capitalism in the same way as Calvinism did in 16th century.

- Like Calvinism, Pentecostalism demands an ascetic (seld-denying) way of life emphasising personal discipline and hard work. 

- For Berger, something like Protestantism is necessary to promote economic development and raise a society out of poverty. This can be led by an active minority with an ethnic of this-worldly asceticism, such as the Pentecostalists. 

Pentecostalism: global and work 

- Pentecostalism creates new local religious forms, incorporating existing local beliefs (e.g. spirit posession), rather than replacing them with ones imposed from outside. 

- In Africa, this has led to the 'Africanisation' of Christianity rather than the total dissapearance of indigenous religions. 

Religious fundamentalism


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