Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 29, No 1 (2010)

Think Globally, Pray Locally

James N. Rosenau
Issued Date: 8 Nov 2010


Religious beliefs have become increasingly global in scope, as new technologies reduce distance between places and people. However, this heightened interconnectedness does not supplant local concerns, be they family, jobs, or communities, rather it reinforces tensions between local and global forces that have become a central feature of our time. These tensions, between the “proximate” and the “distant,” have two contrary tendencies: one, integration, and the other, fragmentation. The first points to prospect for world order whereas the second signals dangers of world disorder. Using the concept of “fragmegration”- the interactive dynamics between these two tendencies- this article examines how, on the one hand, the global spread of religious forces breeds religious fundamentalism while on the other encourages tolerance between disparate beliefs. It suggests that religious beliefs will be an important part of world order if equilibrium is maintained between the forces of integration and fragmentation. When such a balance is maintained, the devotees of world religions will think globally even as they pray locally, their beliefs will be a source of order not just for their ‘world’, but for the globe as a whole.

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DOI: 10.1558/rsth.v29i1.25


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