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Questions on Global Issues - Essay Example

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However, with the developments brought about by globalization and technological advance, religious extremists have been empowered in executing their endeavors. Given the rising power of…
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The Rise of Religion and the Demise of the Nation Since time immemorial, numerous wars and conflicts have been fought for the sake of religion.However, with the developments brought about by globalization and technological advance, religious extremists have been empowered in executing their endeavors. Given the rising power of religious groups and their growing aggression towards Western modernity, this begs us to ask, what will become of the nation-state in the face of religious opposition? As this essay will argue, trends in international relations, which indicate the demise of the nation-state’s legitimacy as a source of national identity, will open doors for other mediums such as religion and culture to fill the void for nationalism and further threaten the state.
This struggle is reminiscent of what Samuel Huntington wrote in his book The Clash of Civilization, he notes that in the post-Cold War era, wars and conflicts will be fought not because of economic or ideological reasons, but because of cultural phenomenon brought about by clashes among civilizations. He argues that Western instruments of modernity will create conflicts with the non-Western world due to the isolation and aggression that it will create. With globalization bringing nations and cultures together, non-Western cultures may feel isolated and threatened. In order to protect themselves, and with no apparent formal channel to do so under the nation-state, religion –being inextricably linked and identified with culture, becomes a crucial refuge and a powerful tool to fight back.
However, due to the changes in today’s world – deeper integration between nations and economies, rapid developments in communications and technology (including instruments of war), blurring of national borders, and a growing animosity towards the Western world due to the spread of information among different nations and cultures; conflict, including those propelled by religious beliefs, have taken a new and more complicated face. Religious warfare, unlike the traditional conduct of war, has become more complicated to address because, as Mark Juergensmeyer notes, religious struggle (1) gives the moral authority for extremists to embark on “catastrophic acts with biblical proportions,” (2) takes generations to succeed, and (3) provide both a personal and symbolic redemption for its perpetrators. By elevating their struggles to a cosmic war, religious extremists not only elevate their fight to be one of good against evil, they also impact public consciousness, bringing awareness, and at times sympathy, to their cause.
It is no surprise that religious warfare today has become so complicated because in addition to the aforementioned reasons, the players involved in the war are no longer states, which could be easily identified and reached, but individuals with no clear identifiable role in international relations.
Aside from the increasing difficulty of addressing religious warfare, the state’s problems are also compounded by its decreasing ability to provide its people with a legitimate source of nationhood and protection against threats to its sovereignty in the international arena. Globalization can be blamed for this. According to Juergensmeyer, globalization has crippled nationalism and the nation-state through: (1) weakening them economically, (2) eroding their sense of national identity and unity, and (3) exploiting their local leaders. Globalization, by democratizing information and improving the means of communication, has empowered the individual at the risk of state.
It is no question that the world is ever-changing. And with that comes the transformation of religious warfare in the face of a diminished state. Hence, this begs us to ask numerous questions crucial regarding our knowledge of religion and the state and re-evaluate our knowledge to ensure that the state does not further diminish in the face of globalization and to avoid further destruction caused by religious warfare.
References
Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1996.
Juergensmeyer, Mark. “Holy Orders: Opposition to Modern States.” Harvard
International Review 25. 2004. Read More
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