As I browsed Tuesday’s readings, I was really surprised by the opposing changes occurring within Christianity and Islam as both interact with the globalizing world.
In Western media, Islam is often portrayed as a highly radical religion that clings to fundamental believes. Kurzman argued against this image and declared that Bin Laden and other Islamic groups are modern organizations that use modern tools and ideology to create a new vision of Islam instead of returning to the faith’s traditional values. In this way, these modern muslims are introducing a non-Western form of modernity.
Interestingly, as Jenkins points out, it might be Christianity that may soon return to its historical roots. Christianity is gaining popularity among cultures in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly among the people of Africa and Latin America. However, Jenkins notes that these cultures do not exactly agree with the Western picture of Christianity. For them, “prophecy is an everyday reality while faith-healing, exorcism, and dream visions are all basic components of religious sensibility” (Lechner and Boli 403). Thus, as these populations grow and come to represent the majority of Christianity, the whole faith will find itself gravitating toward its biblical origins.
Similarly, Oliver Roy comments about how the migration of Muslims around the globe has created a situation where Muslims are now surrounded by non-Muslims and often asked to explain their religious faith and identity. Thus, Muslims, he argues, are experiencing a dettitorialisation and are having to reinvent what it means it means to be Muslim. Islam is now not tied to any one culture.
Yates, on the other hand, notes that, as American Evangelicals spread Christianity to other non-Western cultures, they often work to mold Christianity in ways that fit the local culture, so that Christianity becomes more appealing to these new people. In fact, as the Campus Crusade for Christ Vice President notes, a significant portion of the organizations programs are implemented by local individuals. So, unlike Islam, as Christianity spreads into other cultures, it becomes deeply wedded to a specific cultural context.
So, it seems that, when it comes to globalization and religion, each religion will interact differently with globalization.