Chapter

Why Religion? Why Now?

J. Bryan Hehir

in Rethinking Religion and World Affairs

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827978
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933020 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827978.003.0002
Why Religion? Why Now?

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This chapter discusses the paradox embodied by the main theme of this volume: religion and world politics. The text in this book, explicitly or implicitly, refers to the emergence or resurgence of religion in international affairs. Yet, the paradox is that the scholars in this volume and in other sources who speak of a return or a resurgence of religion have a valid point. In reality religion has never been absent from international affairs. But the study of world politics—particularly the formal discipline of international relations—and the practice of world politics—particularly formal interstate diplomacy—have both treated religion as inconsequential, a reality which could be ignored by scholars or diplomats without any diminishment of their understanding of the world. Sorting out the paradox of this volume requires a determination of why religion has been marginalized in the past, what factors have brought about its “resurgence” in fact and in theory, and how the relationship of religion and international affairs should be pursued in theory and practice.

Keywords: religion; world politics; international affairs; paradox; international relations; interstate diplomacy

Chapter.  5098 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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