There exist lots of folks who opine on religion and public life. There are few who read and think critically enough to know what they are talking about. With a sharp theory on why God is winning, Dr. Timothy Shah shares some facts that get beyond the old memes about fundamentalism, religion and politics.
Dr. Shah holds an A.B. in government, magna cum laude, and a Ph.D. in political science, both from Harvard University. His doctoral thesis on religion and the origins of liberal political thought in early modern Europe was awarded the prestigious Aaron Wildavsky Award for Best Dissertation in Religion and Politics by the American Political Science Association in 2003.
He recently participated in a Q & A for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
For much of the 20th century, social scientists and policymakers argued that democratization and modernity would render religion insignificant and irrelevant. They were wrong, says Timothy Shah, senior Pew Forum fellow in religion and world affairs, who contends religion is booming in many countries and democracy has given religious leaders a growing political influence, spawning "prophetic political movements."
He points out: ". . .there does seem to be a worldwide trend across all major religious groups, in which God-based and faith-based movements in general are experiencing increasing confidence and influence vis-à-vis secular movements and ideologies. In other words, it is not just Islam that is resurgent or radicalizing, which is often what is claimed. Rather, what is happening within Islam must be understood in the wider context of what is happening within other religious communities. Only then will we have a proper understanding of the causes and consequences of what is, in fact, a global trend toward more politically influential religious movements."
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4506