Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

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. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Opinion Perspectives on the Middle East and Islam (BOOK REVIEW)

    Perspectives on the Middle East and Islam (BOOK REVIEW)

    Nothing Abides: Perspectives on the Middle East and Islam, by Daniel Pipes. Transaction Publishers, 2015. More doggedly than any other expert on Middle East affairs Daniel Pipes has riveted his attention upon the threat that radical Islam poses to civilized life in nearly every corner of the globe. The Boston Globe was not indulging in hyperbole when it stated, “If Pipes’ admonitions had been heeded, there might never have been a 9/11.” He is the polar opposite to the willfully […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Home of Freud and…Pita? Israelis Make Culinary Mark in Vienna

    Home of Freud and…Pita? Israelis Make Culinary Mark in Vienna

    JNS.org – Several Viennese Jews have made a lasting impact on the world. Sigmund Freud’s investigations changed the face of modern psychology. Composer Arnold Schoenberg’s innovations in atonal music changed the face of music. These days, even more Jews — in particular, Israeli Jews — are changing the face of Vienna’s culinary scene with innovations in…the art of the pita. Freudians may find a psychoanalytic motive for the local appeal of the Israeli eateries popping up in the Austrian capital. Walk […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion In Iraqi Kurdistan, a Genocide Before Our Very Eyes

    In Iraqi Kurdistan, a Genocide Before Our Very Eyes

    The two bullet casings are already beginning to rust. Sheikh Nasser Pasha plucks them from the ground. “Look, one is from an AK-47, one from an American M-4.” The casings are strewn on the ground atop a long mound of dirt with a few bits of white sticks on it. It would appear unremarkable if one were walking by it. A closer look, however, reveals the white objects are pieces of human bone: arms, legs, and a single human skull. […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →