A globalized God: Religion's growing influence in international politics

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Abstract

It is now more widely recognized than ever before that religion is on the rise around the world, from the southern United States to the Middle East. What does this mean for the West, and especially for US foreign policy? How is the global resurgence of religion to be interpreted?
The religious resurgence religion is accompanying ‘the rise of the rest’ (the global South), and it is sometimes argued that the spread of Christianity in the global South is good for US foreign policy. However, Christianity is increasingly a non-Western religion dominated by the cultures, peoples, and languages of the developing world. Contrary to both its advocates, and the fears of its critics, who foresee the US culture wars going global, there is no necessary links between US foreign policy and global evangelicalism (which may be more supportive of international law and organizations than most American evangelicals). At the same time, the politics of religious demography, and Christian, as well as Muslim, immigration from the global South means that there will be a return to religious practice in Europe by mid-century, and this means debates about religion, secularism, immigration, and European identity will not be going away any time soon. This is why ‘postsecular society’ is such a concern of European scholars and policy makers. For US foreign policy, the religious resurgence offers a tremendous opportunity. If the United States recognizes and utilizes the worldwide religious resurgence, it can harness its power to improve international security and better the lives of millions. But if it does not, the potential for religiously motivated violence may increase dramatically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalForeign Affairs
Volume89
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

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