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The cultural and religious character of world society

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Chapter Summary

Globalization within world culture presents opportunities and challenges for religions. Religious beliefs and practices in world society take the form of explicit collective action that engages global rationalism. The cultural and religious character of the world is important in understanding the place of religion and religious movements within it. This chapter develops a conceptual framework for understanding the cultural nature of globalization and world society. It traces different sources of world culture in world society, interpreting world culture as global rationalism. The chapter identifies global rationalism’s underlying tensions with religions and interprets this as an immanent, salvation religion. It analyses how religious movements throughout the world across religious traditions engage this global rationalism. The chapter describes how global rationalism is rooted in economic, political-legal, and civil society spheres and how they comprise a secular project in tension with religions.

Keywords: global rationalism; political conflicts; religious tradition; world culture; world society



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