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January 5, 2012 12:29 pm

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

avatar by Oleksandr Feldman

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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.

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