I did not have Greek homework last weekend and was able to read an interesting Foreign Policy article entitled Why God is Winning; you will have to register, with Foreign Policy, to read the article but I think it is worth the read. Below is a brief synopsis of the article and some of my thoughts about it. On a similar note Foreign Policy just began a blog, to which I have provided link in my blog section, incase anyone cares.
The article begins:
Religion was supposed to fade away as globalization and freedom spread. Instead, it’s booming around the world, often deciding who gets elected. And the divine intervention is just beginning. Democracy is giving people a voice, and more and more, they want to talk about God.
The article begins on a somewhat jovial note, which quickly sours.
The spread of democracy, far from checking the power of militant religious activists, will probably only enhance the reach of prophetic political movements, many of which will emerge from democratic processes more organized, more popular, and more legitimate than before—but quite possibly no less violent.
Then, beginning with Time’s April 1966 cover story, “Is God Dead?” they recount “god’s comeback.” To the point where 64% of the world’s population would consider themselves Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, or Hindu, at the dawn of the 21st century; up 14% from the previous century. They go on to note that since 2000, nearly half of all civil wars have been religious in nature and that religion is the motivation for most transnational terrorist attacks.
The article closes with the following statement.
As a framework for explaining and predicting the course of global politics, secularism is increasingly unsound. God is winning in global politics. And modernization, democratization, and globalization have only made him stronger.
What does all of this mean? What is a Biblical response to this article?
Do not let the statistics above fool you; the world is no more religious now than it was 2000 years ago. Everyone is religious; whether it is one of the four major religions listed above, some obscure cult or religious sect, agnosticism, or postmodernism. What that statistic tells us is that the major world religions are slowly, yet effectively, drawing individuals away from their belief systems and into one of these four categories.
While globalization has served to legitimize, organize, and intensify prophetic political movements, it has also served to expand their realm of influence as never before. We live in a world that is connected as never before; modern means of communication, travel, and mass technological growth, within all spheres of life, have served to diminish boundaries both nationally and trans-nationally (I will return to this later in my post). While this presents us with an unparalleled opportunity to present the Gospel, we must not forget that the same opportunity has been presented to individuals of every ideological viewpoint around the globe. Indeed modern technological advances, while providing this unparalleled opportunity, have in no way made the task of worldwide gospel proclamation any easier.
This article makes an obvious, yet easily ignored, statement that Christians would do well to note and that statement is, surprisingly enough, found in the first sentence; “Religion was supposed to fade away as globalization and freedom spread.” Here we find both the reason for the writing of this article and the source of our concern. The article was written because, contrary to popular belief, religion is not fading in proportion to the spread of globalization. This should drive us to two main concerns; what, inherent within globalization, would lead to the conclusion that globalization causes religious decline and is it possible that, contrary to current trends, globalization will eventually lead to religious decline?
First, in order to understand why globalization would cause religious decline we must understand what globalization is and what it does. Globalization is the increasing economic interdependence, between states, resulting from the advent of modern means of communication, travel, and mass technological growth, within all spheres of life; which have diminish boundaries both nationally and trans-nationally. Globalization facilitates the exchange, movement, creation, and implementation of ideologies, material resources, and human resources both nationally and trans-nationally.
Second, the inherent danger within globalization is not that it promises global economic prosperity, but that is represents the global exchange, movement, creation, and implementation of ideologies. The exportation of American culture and thought is frequently referred to as Americanization. America’s ruthless assimilation of other cultures should serve as a prophetic warning; cautioning us against the inevitable aftermath of globalization, a global monoculture. This is clearly heard in the European Union’s slogan, “Europe: many tongues one voice.” The unavoidable result of globalization is a single, homogeneous culture without diversity or dissension; rest assured, when the world has one voice it will be a voice unified in rebellion against God and His Word.
As Christians we live in an age of unparalled Gospel opportunity and must be resolved to live missional Gospel driven lives; knowing that this is but a season and the calm before the coming storm.