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...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.