JIS XX 2008
Modernization, Culture and Religion

JIS XX 2008: 1-20


Oskar Gruenwald
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research

Globalization offers a comprehensive framework for addressing prospects for the peaceful evolution of people and societies in the Third Millennium. Global markets, trade and communications, along with science and technology, now drive social, economic, and political development, modernization, and cultural change. Globalization thus holds great promise of extending economic prosperity throughout the world. Paradoxically, globalization can also deepen the divisions between rich and poor nations, contribute to the revolution of rising expectations in the Third World, and exacerbate frustrations caused by the accelerated pace of socio-economic and political development and cultural change. The contemporary resurgence of religion reflects the crisis of modernity–the loss of traditional anchoring of social, cultural, and ethical mores, self- and group identification and meaning. The key to a peaceful, democratic globalization is a successful modernization strategy which seeks to reconcile and conjoin the best elements of modernity and tradition, the individual and community, freedom and order, secularism and religion, democracy and authority.

JIS XX 2008: 21-36


William A. Carden
Rhodes College

Increasing globalization in the form of greater international trade and immigration has both costs and benefits. Market institutions and secure private property rights are conducive to higher economic growth, but some point out that higher growth must be weighed against alleged social instability and, perhaps, cultural degeneration. However, globalization may increase stability and cultural output. Polling data suggest that anti-trade, anti-migration views pose a political challenge to economic and cultural exchange. People are skeptical of the rapidity of change coming with globalization, which leads to backlashes that slow the process. Negative effects of globalization include increases in prostitution, for example, and perceived alienation from the global culture. There are tensions between economic change and cultural vibrancy. Nonetheless, greater international integration and accompanying economic growth increase cultural diversity.

JIS XX 2008: 37-64


Joseph M. Dondelinger
Augustana College

“Soft power” proponents endorse it as the superior alternative to the exercise of “hard power.” This essay argues that the projection of soft power, culturally defined, has unintended negative consequences in relations with Islam in particular and traditional societies in general. Hostile reaction in the Muslim world is rooted in opposition to cultural modernization and Western-driven globalization, and in the specifics of Islamic religious foundational sources and subsequent interpretations. But Islam, too, projects soft power in its own globalization drive. And therein lies one of Islam’s yet to be fully understood and appreciated weaknesses as extreme interpretations of Islam, and theological homogenizing tendencies in particular, clash with the cultural diversity of Muslim societies. It is a weakness that can be leveraged for policy purposes.

JIS XX 2008: 65-86


Muhammad Mahroof Khan & Afshan Azam
University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan

Serious study of terrorism requires a proper understanding of why individuals turn to extremism and what motivates them to join terrorist organizations. This essay analyzes socio-economic, cultural, religious, and psychological dimensions in a comprehensive framework gauging the “root causes” of terrorism. The analysis is based on data collected from Pakistan-based organizations serving as allies of Al-Qaeda. The results indicate that almost all sample respondents involved in terrorism were unmarried males exposed to fundamentalist teachings of the Qur’an. All believed that if they sacrificed themselves for the sake of their religion, they would be blessed with paradise in life after death. The essay employs relevant models in order to identify empirically the effects of education, an individual’s age, household income, and rural or urban residence. The resulting evidence on the individual level suggests that both higher standards of living and education are negatively associated with participation in terrorist activities.

JIS XX 2008: 87-104


Sureyya Elif Aksoy
Bilkent University-Ankara, Turkey

Peyami Safa, a twentieth-century novelist, journalist and intellectual, and one of the major personalities of conservatism in Turkey, encouraged Muslim and Christian believers to search for common ground and shared values that would yield a happy, virtuous way of life. His novel, The Armchair of Mademoiselle Noraliya, features a character, Noraliya, who epitomizes the common ground between Islam and Christianity as a guide to peace of mind for individuals lost in the maze of modernity. Safa’s literary construct is rooted in both religious inclination and admiration for the modern mind. Drawing on the main elements of the novel, this essay focuses on those features that reflect Safa’s idea of a personal mysticism reached through religion, as well as interreligious dialogue. Safa’s approach exemplifies Turkey’s unique position in the Muslim world, inviting comparison and appreciation of the nuances among the historical manifestations of Islam.

JIS XX 2008: 105-119


Lee Anne Peck
University of Northern Colorado

Since the end of the Balkan conflict of the 1990s, Croatia has been in the process of becoming a new society. As part of this transition, the Croatian news media are aspiring to practice a more democratic and professional journalism promoting an open forum. As Croatia looks forward to joining the European Union, nationalism remains a challenge for objective news reporting. How can the Croatian news media help toward this new society and its need for more unity? The news media play a central role in presenting the debates, remembering there is no room for biased reporting or hate speech, and that all should be treated equally regardless of nationality, race, class or gender. This essay draws on John Stuart Mill’s concepts of freedom of the press, character building, and tolerance, and concludes that open-minded Croatian students who study and are trained in Western-style journalism that stresses independence and freedom of expression are the country’s best hope for transforming Croatian media via truthful, fair, and balanced news reporting in the future.

JIS XX 2008: 120-134


Martin N. Yina
National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul, Nigeria

Modern warfare has a devastating effect on the well-being of children, especially those described as child soldiers. These children are taken out of their safe environment, their rights are violated, and they are subjected by warlords to all forms of suffering that do not befit any stage of their life. Their experiences distort their personal development and disrupt family and community life. This essay explores the impact of war on children in a globalized world with particular focus on Sierra Leone and Uganda, two countries in Africa with prolonged wars. Efforts by various organizations and agencies to rehabilitate and reintegrate these children are commendable, but more preventive measures entailing political, economic, and cultural changes are needed that provide young people with productive opportunities. Contemporary means of communication sensitive to indigenous cultures are also needed to complement folk media and empower people to demobilize and reintegrate child soldiers as well as prevent child soldiering.

JIS XX 2008: 135-154


Stephen Craig Dilley
St. Edward’s University

An important intellectual challenge posed by globalization is how Enlightenment science interacts with traditional non-Western worldviews. This essay analyzes a key facet of this challenge: the union of Darwinism with traditional conservative values. Political scientist Larry Arnhart proposes that Darwinism provides a biological foundation for conservative notions of human nature, traditional morality, family values, private property, limited government, and the like. A foundation for his view is an Enlightenment claim that the laws of nature and material causes are sufficient to produce “emergent” human minds capable of the kind of free will consistent with moral responsibility. Yet Arnhart’s stance implies determinism of the mind and the disintegration of morality. As such, members of the global community who hold conservative values need to re-examine the parameters of Enlightenment science in light of a more traditional view, which has a richer understanding of the human mind, will, and moral responsibility.

JIS XX 2008: 155-170


Theodor Damian
Metropolitan College of New York

With its varied definitions, globalization evokes both skepticism and optimism. This essay explores how globalization relates to secularization and culture, in particular Christianity. It analyzes major aspects of this relationship: man as a globalizing being, communication and obedience, and the global village in its historic, contemporary, and eschatological dimensions. Christianity has many tools at its disposal that can be used to enhance co-habitation as an enriching experience in a globalizing world. Some of these tools may be found in the traditional rituals of the Christian Church, while others are embedded in Christian doctrines. St. Irenaeus’ doctrine of recapitulation is of special relevance for globalization. These tools need to be re-discovered, reassessed, and put to work. The essay proposes a type of globalization that enriches human life and dignity, and that integrates and builds unity and hope.

JIS XX 2008: 171-181


Ted Baehr
Christian Film and Television Commission

The United States and Western Europe are on the edge of a cultural collapse brought about to a large degree by the mass media of entertainment, along with public schools and other institutions of mass cultural diversion. USA Today notes that 70 percent of Americans are unable to name the Ten Commandments. In a culture where physical health is a higher priority than spiritual vitality, another survey found that more Americans are familiar with the specific ingredients in a McDonald’s hamburger than know the individual commands that comprise the Ten Commandments. Many Christian parents are concerned about the influence of media violence on their children, but do not know what to do about it. The good news is that there are effective ways to teach children to be media-wise. Specifically, there are five pillars of media wisdom that will help build the culture-wise family. Theodore Roosevelt said that if we educate a man’s mind but not his heart, we will get an educated barbarian. Cultural and media wisdom involves educating the heart so that it will make the right decisions.