Religion in Global Perspective

Martin Riesebrodt

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Religion in Global Perspective


In recent decades, the dramatic global resurgence of religious movements—many of them fundamentalist in character—has caught many people by surprise. Most of us believed that such a resurgence of religion was not possible, since, according to our modernization myth, we were to expect a continuous universal trend toward the secularization and privatization of religion. Certainly, very few people expected religion to totally disappear. But few were prepared for the global resurgence of religion as a public force and a powerful shaper of religious subjects. The attempts of social theorists to cope with their own cognitive dissonance have been nearly as interesting as this surprising return of religion itself. The two most typical reactions were denial and instant conversion. Wherever religious pluralism and competition have predominated, such as in the United States, secularization has not taken place. This article discusses religion in a global perspective and considers a theory of religion, the logic of religious practices, religious and profane dimensions of culture, and the logic of religious institutions.

Keywords: religious movements; modernization; religion; secularization; conversion; pluralism; religious practices; religious institutions; culture

Article.  5180 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations

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