“Far from stamping out religion,” write experts Timothy Samuel Shah and Monica Duffy Toft in Foreign Policy magazine (free registration req’d), “modernization has spawned a new generation of savvy and technologically adept religious movements.”
This change “was reflected in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Shia revival and religious strife in postwar [sic] Iraq, and Hamas’s recent victory in Palestine. But not all the thunderbolts have been hurled by Allah. The struggle against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s and early 1990s was strengthened by prominent Christian leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Hindu nationalists in India stunned the international community when they unseated India’s ruling party in 1998 and then tested nuclear weapons. American evangelicals continue to surprise the U.S. foreign-policy establishment with their activism and influence on issues such as religious freedom, sex trafficking, Sudan, and AIDS in Africa.”
Even as the number of free countries grows, and the percentage of people living on less than a dollar a day declines, the number of religious people (and the number of the devout among them) increases.
But what exactly is shared by Opus Dei, Salafist Islam, Latin pentecostalism, Hindu nationalism, and Pat Robertson? Other than mostly despising one another?