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Free Content Editorial Introduction: Religion and World Order

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Less than two years after The Economist's 'fin de mill√©nnaire' publication of God's obituary, the events of September 11, 2001 catapulted discussions of religion back into the public sphere. There they have remained firmly planted, challenging long-held Western assumptions about religious decline in the face of modernity and calling for new debates about what role religion should and is likely to play in the new century. The question of whether it will play a role—a reasonable enquiry barely a decade before—no longer seems moot; dynamics between and within religious groups, as well as between religious groups and secularists, are clearly helping to shape the political and cultural landscape internationally. Far from being confined, as one sociologist predicted in 1968, to 'small enclaves and pockets,' religiosity is set to rise (according to data on religious affiliation), with as many as four in five people around the world expected to indentify themselves with Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism by 2050. In the words of American commentator David Brooks, 'We are living through one of the great periods of scientific progress and the creation of wealth. At the same time, we are in the midst of a religious boom.' ...

Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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