• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In a world plagued by religious conflict, how can the various religious and secular traditions coexist peacefully on the planet? And, what role does sociology play in helping us understand the state of religious life in a globalizing world? In the Fourth Edition of Gods in the Global Village, author Lester Kurtz continues to address these questions. This text is an engaging, thought-provoking examination of the relationships among the major faith traditions that inform the thinking and ethical standards of most people in the emerging global social order. Thoroughly updated to reflect recent events, the book discusses the role of religion in our daily lives and global politics, and the ways in which religion is both an agent of, and barrier to, social change.

Indigenous Religions
Indigenous Religions
Bonnie L. Mitchell-GreenLester R. Kurtz

While the majority of the world’s population might identify with one of the “cosmopolitan” world religions, many of them also have beliefs and rituals rooted in indigenous traditions that persist, sometimes openly and sometimes hidden beneath or synthesized into the dominant traditions. Indeed, since those major traditions began as indigenous faiths, it is more accurate to map humanity’s beliefs as a tapestry of various traditions woven together over the centuries rather than the oversimplified pie chart at the beginning of our sociological tour (see Figure 2.1). Moreover, many in the Western Hemisphere, for example, have become nominal Christians in order to gain social status or to avoid social stigma, discrimination, or even persecution, sometimes “incorporating” indigenous ...

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