The Global Future of Religion

Ninian Smart

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

 The Global Future of Religion

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  • Religion
  • Interfaith Relations


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The present state of the world—one of intense globalization—has its effect on religion. In a time when travel is almost instantaneous, and communications wholly so, and trade is conducted everywhere, all aspects of life are affected. One of the first aspects of globalization to develop in the modern era was in sea travel, which bore almost inevitably the tides of European colonialism. The non-Marxist colonial ideologies had been built on three central ideas: an expansive nationalism, democracy (at least up to a point), and capitalism. The European ideal of a global Christendom retreated as various forms of Asian values permeated Christianity, African varieties of Christianity emerged in the form of new religious movements, and everywhere indigenous themes were incorporated into Christian beliefs. This cultural interaction increased due to demographic shifts. Globalization and its preceding colonialism led to the proliferation of diasporas.

Keywords: Christianity; globalization; religion; diasporas; colonialism; religious movements; democracy; nationalism; capitalism

Article.  2833 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations

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