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?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.