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Global Winds of Change: Religions’ Role in Today’s World

January 5, 2012 12:29 pm 1 comment

The Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Wayne McLean.

Perhaps at no point in modern history has our world found itself in such a state of uncertainty on a myriad of levels, as it is today. Economic, political and cultural changes are sweeping across the globe, forcing the question into households, schools, places of worship, and everywhere else where discussion is encouraged, of where we will find ourselves in five, ten and twenty years from now.

In centuries past, there is no disputing that the religious world maintained a far-reaching impact. Most notably, the Christian Church dictated the very course of European history and it is often cited that more people have died in the name of religion than for any other cause and challenges to religious leaders have historically been infrequent. Now many modern reforms and secularization allow for the flourishing of contemporary societies which protect religious freedom while seeking to defend the separation between “church and state.”

Today we are left with the question of how religion can continue to impact in a positive way on the course of political change, yet avoid the dangers which arise when religious extremists seek to impose their will on the broader society.

To address this issue, I have proposed the development of an historic gathering of religious and political leaders and commentators for an international conference to take place in March of this year called Global Winds of Change: Religions’ Role in Today’s World; The Challenges in Democracies and Secular Societies. I welcome your thoughts and feedback regarding relevant themes you deem important for discussion at this conference and I look forward to a significant and productive session.

1 Comment

  • >Perhaps at no point in modern history has our world found itself in such a state of uncertainty on a myriad of levels, as it is today.

    Nonsense. Or did you miss World War II, Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, the whole bunch of wars in the Middle East, the Cold War and the various recessions and economic meltdowns in-between?

    It’s truly bizarre when people think before was so much better than now.

    >In centuries past, there is no disputing that the religious world maintained a far-reaching impact.

    It sure did and things started to get better when that started to ease.

    That is not a coincidence.

    >Today we are left with the question of how religion can continue to impact in a positive way on the course of political change,

    It can’t. Religion within the context of politics is a benign tumour at best that will eventually turn malignant.

    Politics is about what is real, finding workable solutions to society’s inherent problems while maintaining order and balance.

    Religion is a nostrum wrapped in a placebo, it is unreal and thus fundamentally flawed and unusable in dealing with real world problems outside of comforting the individual or small groups. On that level it does some good and that’s why on that level it must remain.

    That’s not to say it can’t be done on larger scales in our modern world, Iran and Saudi Arabia certainly make it work but I don’t think anyone is going to suggest they make it work well or to the benefit of the majority.

    Why don’t you wait until all the Earth’s theists can agree on their god then have your meeting. After all how can Jews sit down with Christians and have an honest good faith dialogue with the later firmly believing that their god is going to torture the former forever and ever?

    And Jews must believe the Christians to be mad thinking the Messiah has not only returned but spurned most of Judaism’s most cherished beliefs.

    Not to mention the Muslims, caught in the middle and freaking out if anyone even makes a cartoon of their god.

    No, these sects will have to be far more rational before they could even begin to meet and if they were rational, well they wouldn’t be theists would they?

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