Faith and Fragile States: Why the Development Community Needs Religion (Perspectives)
Harvard International Review 2009, Spring, 31, 1
Harvard International Review
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Once upon a time most social scientists assumed that the global march of political and economic modernization would relegate religion to a purely spiritual domain. Few, therefore, contemplated religion's ability to influence the ways in which societies evolve. The advent of theocrats in Iran, the mujahideen in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and Islamists in the skies of New York changed everything. Today social scientists, as well as almost everyone else, have opinions about how religion--in the forms of both spiritual faith and organized religion--shapes domestic and international politics. This surge of interest has focused chiefly on religion's capacity to inspire intolerance, extremism, and political violence--fuel the "clash of cultures" that influential scholars such as Samuel Huntington have been predicting and that the likes of Al Qaeda (and some voices in the West) have been doing their best to turn into reality. Largely neglected in the public debate over religion's newly acquired--or newly appreciated--political position has been its potential to play a constructive, not destructive, role. A number of clerics and scholars have done both theoretical and practical research on religion's ability to bridge social divides and heal political wounds, but very few people have explored in any depth religion's potential to make a positive contribution to such earthly and secular matters as economic development and state building.
- Category: Business & Personal Finance
- Published: Mar 22, 2009
- Publisher: Harvard International Relations Council, Inc.
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 13 Pages
- Language: English
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