Religion and Modernity Worldwide

Robert W. Hefner

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588961
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

Religion and Modernity Worldwide

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This article presents reflections on religion and modernity in three religious traditions, the centres of gravity of which lie in the non-Western world. The three traditions are Pentecostal Christianity, resurgent Islam, and Hindu nationalism. Several things stand out from this overview. The first is that religious change worldwide bears the imprint of, not a unitary secularisation, but each tradition's engagement with the world-building powers of our age. The historic, or ‘world’, religions are the most long lasting of civilizational institutions. Among the world-building powers shaping the course of modern religious change are capitalism, the nation-state, new modes of knowledge and communications, and non-religious ideologies such as liberalism and secular nationalism. The second point is that, contrary to some earlier forecasts, the impact of these world-building forces on religion has been heterogeneous rather than homogenising.

Keywords: Pentecostal Christianity; resurgent Islam; Hindu nationalism; religious change; secular nationalism; capitalism

Article.  8261 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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