Impacts of Globalization on Religion

Religion and globalisation have always shared a relation of struggle and conflict. Globalisation has generally been linked with economic and political interdependence which ultimately has brought people closer and effect of no event is isolated but is felt in far-off places too. It has shifted the cultural build up of the world and led to formation of a ‘global culture’- a common minimum which is accepted by all.

Globalisation stands for increased and daily contact while religions are becoming more self-conscious for themselves as being the world religions. The basic tenets of globalisation stand against religious parochialism. By diminishing the barriers between different cultures, globalisation lands religion in a quagmire of conflicts which reinforce social identities as some do not accept the new realities and turn to religion to rediscover their own identity. Religion provides a sense of belongingness to a group in the world. Religion has stood the complexities and onslaught of the modern world and is seen to be further intensified under the conditions of contemporary development.

Although some groups have made religion as a weapon to both integrate and terrorise masses, generally people have become more tolerant of other religious beliefs and practices and have come to associate all acts of terror as anti-religious.

In third world nations, where the vulnerable sections find themselves more marginalised by the forces of globalisation, religion takes a prime welfare role and acts as a cultural protector for these sections. Religion thus plays a social role by helping in social causes and successfully gets greater recognition. Here it presents a direct challenge to globalisation.

India is home to a massive rural population to whom the benefits of globalisation will take time to reach. In this fast pace life, religion acts as ‘home’ for personal peace and gives a message of peace in times of crisis. Urbanisation has attracted many rural youth and continues to bring them to cities for better life. Religion can use the new possibilities presented by the global forces to reach to more people and also rediscover the essence of other religions. All religions have fixed texts but none has fixed beliefs. Religions can come together and stand for increased peace in the world with mutual tolerance and respect.

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