Globalization and the "Rise" of Religion

These sources examine the changing role of religion in contemporary global political-economy.

Globalization and the Rise of Religion
Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet, American Public Radio
Air date: October 12, 2006

"Experts once predicted that as the world grew more modern, religion would decline. Precisely the opposite has proven true; religious movements are surging and driving "alternative globalizations" across the world." [From:]

Program guests:
Peter Burg, Boston University and Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School

Links to audio:

Religious Perspectives on Globalization
Talk of the Nation
Air date: May 16, 2005

" Globalization is often talked about in economic or political terms, or in the spread of pop culture. But for religious leaders, our shrinking globe presents a challenge, and an opportunity." [From:]

In God's name: A Special Report on Religion and Public Life
Economist, 00130613, 11/3/2007, Vol. 385, Issue 8553

Abstract: The article, part of a special report on religion and public life, discusses the role of religion in world politics in the 21st century, especially in view of 20th century antecedents. Secular triumphalism has been shown to be premature, as religious fundamentalism increased before the turn of the millennium and then assumed primary importance after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

By the end of the 1970s this counter-revolution was in full swing. America had elected its first proudly born-again Christian, Jimmy Carter; Jerry Falwell had founded the Moral Majority; Iran had replaced the worldly shah with Ayatollah Khomeini; Zia ul Haq was busy Islamising Pakistan; Buddhism had been formally granted the foremost place in Sri Lanka's constitution; and an anti-communist Pole had become head of the Catholic church.
What caused this shift? Believers inevitably see a populist revolt against the overreach of elitist secularism--be it America's Supreme Court legalising pornography or Indira Gandhi harrying Hindus. From a more secular viewpoint, John Lewis Gaddis, a Yale historian, points out that much religious politics dates back to the 1970s, a time when more worldly "isms" seemed to fail. By then, the Soviet Union's evils had made a mockery of Marxism, and capitalism had also hit some buffers (the oil shocks, hyperinflation). More generally, politicians' ability to solve problems such as crime or unemployment was questioned: faith in government tumbled just about everywhere in the 1970s--and has stayed low since.
But why has religion's power seemed to keep on increasing? The first reason is a series of reactions and counter-reactions. Fundamentalist Islam, for instance, has helped spur radical Judaism and Hinduism, which in turn have reinforced the mullahs' fervour. Hamas owes much to Israel's settlers. Without Falwell, Messrs Hitchens and Dawkins would have smaller royalties.
Second, the latest form of modernity--globalisation--has propelled religion forward. For traditionalists, faith has acted as a barrier against change. For prosperous suburbanites, faith has become something of a lifestyle coach. It is no accident that America's bestselling religious book is called "The Purpose Driven Life".