There’s nothing new about “world religions.” All the great religions are global, with followers across the continents. This has been true for centuries, millennia, even. And yet there is something new in the Internet Age: the ability of individuals to sample religions from wherever they are–to have access to online sources and communities from right where they sit. This new sort of globalization will no doubt influence religion. Whether it will increase the influence of global religions, as they take advantage of communications technology to forge communities across the planet, or decrease it, as people use the Internet to create niche religions for fewer and fewer followers, remains to be seen.
A new volume from Palgrave, Religions, Nations, and Transnationalism in Multiple Modernities, edited, among others, by Patrick Michel of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, addresses the new globalization. Here’s the description from the publisher’s website:
This edited book explores the impact of globalisation on the relationship between religion and politics, religion and nation, religion and nationalism, and the impact that transnationalism has on religious groups. In a post-Westphalian and transnational world, with increased international communication and transportation, a plethora of new religious recompositions now take part in a network society that cuts across borders. This collection, through its analysis of historical and contemporary case studies, explores the growth of both national and transnational religious movements and their dealings with the various versions of modernity that they encounter. It considers trends of religious revitalisation and secularisation, and processes of nationalism and transnationalism through the prism of the theory of multiple modernities, acknowledging both its pluralist worldview but also the argument that its definition of modernity is often so inclusive as to lose coherence. Providing a cutting edge take on 21st century religion and globalization, this volume is a key read for all scholars of religion, secularisation and transnationalism.