The Future of Religious Freedom: Global Challenges

The Future of Religious Freedom: Global Challenges

The Future of Religious Freedom: Global Challenges

The Future of Religious Freedom: Global Challenges

Synopsis

What is the status of religious freedom in the world today? What barriers does it face? What are the realistic prospects for improvement, and why does this matter?The Future of Religious Freedomaddresses these critical questions by assembling in one volume some of the best forward-thinking and empirical research on religious liberty, international legal trends, and societal dynamics. Top scholars from law, political science, diplomacy, sociology, and religion explore the status, value, and challenges of religious liberty around the world - with illustrations from a wide range of historical situations, contemporary contexts, and constitutional regimes.

With a thematic focus on the nature of religious markets and statecraft, the book surveys conditions in different regions, from the Muslim arc to Asia to Eastern Europe. It probes dynamics in both established and emerging democracies. It features up-to-date treatments of such pivotal nations as China, Russia, and Turkey, as well as illuminating new threats to conscience and religious autonomy in the United States and in kin countries of the English speaking world. Finally, it demonstrates the vital contribution of religious freedom to inter-religious harmony, thriving societies, and global security, and applies these findings to the momentous issue of advancing freedom and democracy in Islamic cultures.

Excerpt

What is the status of religious liberty in the world today? How do different governments and societies restrict, promote, or regulate religious life? What patterns do we find in different regions, political systems, and religious traditions? What are the different constitutional models that govern the relationship between religious communities and the state? What are the emerging threats to the freedom of conscience and belief, and how do they shape the frontiers of law? In what ways does a culture of peaceful religious competition contribute to thriving societies? What is the link between religious liberty and other human goods, including international peace and security? What are the challenges and resources in Islam for advancing religious freedom, democracy, and human rights?

Based on a landmark symposium in Istanbul sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, this book engages these questions by bringing together eminent scholars from around the world to offer some of the best forward thinking and empirical research on religious liberty, constitutionalism, and flourishing societies. The book focuses on ways to constitute a future in which diverse religious communities demonstrate mutual respect and freely contribute to tolerant societies. Multidisciplinary chapters explore the value and challenges of ordered religious liberty, with illustrations from a wide range of historical situations, religions, regions, and constitutional models.

This volume addresses a profound paradox of our age: at the very time that the value of religious freedom is mounting, the international consensus behind it is weakening, assaulted by authoritarian regimes, attacked by theocratic movements, violated by aggressive secular policies, and undermined by growing elite hostility or ignorance. Indeed we see not only widespread violations around the world, but looming threats in the West that jeopardize previous gains.

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