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Globalisation and multifaith societies
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Anna HalafoffAnna Halafoff, P Hedges
We are living in increasingly mobile, multifaith, and secular societies, which has led to new opportunities and challenges. We live in religiously diverse cities and neighbourhoods offering a rich array of cultural, artistic, architectural, and culinary experiences that are widely appreciated. At the same time, Western societies are grappling with the reality that they can no longer be defined as Christian nations, and this has impacted national identity, values, and education. This increased diversity is viewed and felt differently in different places. Some have embraced it and viewed it as a strength and advantage while others are resisting what they perceive as a threat to their way of life. This article examines the development of religious diversity, focusing on the UK and Australia as examples of 'Old' and 'New' World societies but also including broader contexts. It then discusses the growth of multifaith awareness lo¬cally and globally, including the role of the multifaith movement in promoting interreligious understanding. Finally, we consider the social and political aspects of living in a multifaith society and theoretical frameworks pertaining to religion and governance. This article aims to inform and assist scholars, religious and non-religious organisations and state actors to better respond to the changing religious landscape in order to maximise social inclusion and minimise tensions within and between diverse groups and societies.