RELIGIOUS REVIVAL: WORLD TREND?

Jun 18, 2007 at 7:04 pm Leave a comment

There is no denying that the influence of the religious right is taking hold in this country, and there’s no arguing that the Bush administration has been the major force in emphasizing Christian values in nearly everything it does.

A recent New York Times article reports that the Justice Department during the Bush administration has focused on religion related cases rather than racial issues, which has historically been the Department’s main concern. Additionally, the article says that the department now hires lawyers based on his or her Christian ties, including hiring a high percentage from religious affiliated universities.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/washington/14discrim.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1182193353-WmbeU5UpB+KwaeCN5s3Ahg

Though this issue is an indicator of the Bush administration’s policies, the strengthening religious right in the US is just one part in a global trend towards religious revival. Back in 1996 Samuel P. Huntingdon, a professor at Harvard University and former director of the National Security Council during Carter’s administration, wrote in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order that a religious revival began in the second half of the twentieth century and has since reshaped the relations between peoples and nations. Historically, Western nations have maintained their superpower status, which affected all other nations throughout the world into aligning themselves with a particular power or trying to remain neutral. This structure of world politics ended with the Cold War, the last decades in which two superpowers fought against each other.

Since the Cold War, Huntingdon argues, Western nations’ power throughout the world is declining, and non-Western nations are choosing to align themselves with other countries with similar culture. Huntingdon reasons that the religious revival is facilitating this new structuring of the world’s nations.

Huntingdon’s book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” explains his thesis that includes these five major points, quoted here:

” 1: For the first time in history global politics is both mulipolar and multicivilizational; modernization is distince from Westernization and is producing neither a universal civilization in any meaningful sense nor the Westernization of non-Western societies.

2: The balance of power among civilizations is shifting; the West is declining in relative influence; Asian civilizations are expanding their economic, military, and political strength; Islam is exploding demographically with destabilizing consequences for Muslim countries and their neighbors; and non-Western civilizations generally are reaffirming the value of their own cultures.

3: A civilization-based world order is emerging: societies sharing cultural affinities cooperate with each other; efforts to shift societies from one civilization to another are unsuccessful; and countries group themselves around the lead or core states of their civilization.

4: The West’s universalist pretensions increasingly bring it into conflict with other civilizations, most seriously with Islam and China; at the local level fault line wars, largely between Muslims and non-Muslims, generate ‘kin-country rallying,’ the threat of broader escalation, and hence efforts by core sates to halt these wars.

5: The survival of the West depends on American reaffirming their Western identity and Westerners accepting their civilization as unique not universal and uniting to renew and preserve it against challenges from non-Western societies. Avoidance of a global war of civilizations depends on world leaders accepting and cooperating to maintain the multicivilizational character of global politics.”

Though written in 1996, Huntingdon’s predictions are still relevant and surprisingly accurate for today’s world. For those interested in world politics and how the world is becoming completely different than the world of our parents, read this book.

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