Gods in the Global Village : The World's Religions in Sociological Perspective

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-12-01
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc
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In an era plagued by religious conflict, the Third Edition of Gods in the Global Village directly responds to issues of social problems prevalent in the world today. Using an engaging, thought-provoking style, author Lester R. Kurtz focuses on the relationship among the major faith traditions that inform the thinking and ethical standards of most people in the emerging global social order. This book focuses on a central aspect of that common crisis. A major assumption of this book is that all knowledge is shaped by the social context of the knower; therefore, both religious traditions and our studies of them are shaped by the context in which we construct them. The author argues that religious pluralism will be a necessary precondition of the global village for the foreseeable future. The question that faces us as a human community is not "Which religious tradition is true?" or even "Is any religious tradition true?" but rather "How can we enable the various religious and secular traditions to coexist peacefully on the planet?" The text supports the belief that the sociology of religion-itself a pluralistic discipline-can provide invaluable insight into the most pressing problems of our time.

Table of Contents

About the Authorp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Religious Life in the Global Villagep. 1
Religion and the Globalization of Social Lifep. 4
Religion and the Sociological Traditionp. 6
Tools of the Tradep. 9
Major Themes in the Sociology of Religionp. 42
A Sociological Tour: Turning Eastp. 45
Types of Religious Traditionsp. 47
Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharmap. 53
Buddhismp. 68
Religious Life in China and East Asiap. 76
The Tour: Judaism, Christianity, and Islamp. 89
Judaismp. 89
Christianityp. 97
Islamp. 106
Tribal Continuities in Judaism and Islamp. 112
The Social Construction of Religious Traditionsp. 115
The Elementary Forms of Religious Lifep. 121
Indigenous Religionsp. 125
Indigenous Beliefsp. 128
Indigenous Ritualsp. 136
Indigenous Institutionsp. 141
Indigenous Environmentalismp. 142
The Religious Ethosp. 145
Constructing a Religious Ethosp. 145
Religion and Identity Constructionp. 149
Religion and Stratificationp. 158
Religious Taboo Lines and Ethical Systemsp. 164
Religion and Sexualityp. 182
Religion and Politicsp. 191
The Ethos of the Global Villagep. 202
Modernism and Multiculturalismp. 205
From Local to Cosmopolitanp. 206
The Challenge of Modernismp. 208
Historical Outcomes of the Modernist Crisisp. 215
The Modernist Crisis and the Twenty-First Centuryp. 221
The Crisis of Multiculturalismp. 223
Religious Movements for a New Centuryp. 245
Civil Religion and Nationalismp. 245
Religious Syncretism and Alternative Religious Movementsp. 249
New Forms of Religiosityp. 265
Women's Movementsp. 266
Environmental Movementsp. 274
Constructing and Reconstructing Religious Lifep. 276
Religion and Social Conflictp. 279
A Theory of Religious Conflictp. 281
Religion and the Problem of Violencep. 283
Religious Contributions to Nonviolencep. 291
Islam and Nonviolencep. 300
Chaos or Community?p. 311
Notesp. 319
Referencesp. 323
Glossary/Indexp. 345
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