Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Ethical Leadership, Religion and Personal Development in the Context of Global Crisis

Academic journal article Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies

Ethical Leadership, Religion and Personal Development in the Context of Global Crisis

Article excerpt

1.Leadership crisis and religious violence

There probably is no more current discussion than the one about leader crisis. In the Romanian public space, as well as worldwide, one talks about a leadership crisis. This feeds on a general perspective aiming at several crisis resources. Perhaps the most important of all is the one on the insecurity felt before successive waves of violence. As these occur in a network system, any possibility to set space limits to violence disappears. Particularly, the violence in religious communities, or that religiously motivated, has a special impact on the western world. Western society has experienced laicization with its positive effects at various levels of public life, including tolerance and eliminating violence based on religious principles and practices. One path to follow is to rethink the role of religious communities' leaders and the way communities think of themselves as promoters of their ideals in the context of rule of law and religious pluralism worldwide.

Western society helps overcome the crisis feeling by providing the framework of lay culture as a stage to assert religious diversity and religious freedom. The separation between state and church, religion and politics, the justice system and religion laws may add substance to a religious discourse integrated in the public debate that aims to solve spiritual problems rising in the religious community. Especially violence generating crises, or the ones diminishing the presence of violence need to be integrated in the tolerance discourse typical of religious communities. Interfaith and interreligious dialogue should be used as a common base to identity consolidation, faith and attitude clarification, and differentiation from dissident groups promoting religiously motivated violence. Such crises should not be solved on account of dogmas or utopian visions of faith. They may be solved only in a wider context of Western lay culture. In the cultural spaces beyond the Western one, where religious pluralism and multiculturalism are not construed, we ought to expect an increased role of religious communities in solving crises, especially in regard to the relation with the ecclesiastical, religious, ideological or cultural alterity. Religious community leaders should be the firm voice differentiating religious tradition from radical forms, from religious fundamentalism manifestations that may occur as a dissidence within the religion they represent. This way, in addition to the instruments that states have to control and eliminate violence, religious leadership should play a significant role in diminishing violence by cultivating tolerance and interreligious dialogue. Considering that Westernization is a major part of extremist groups' radical discourse, religious leadership should also act significantly to diminish tensions by manifesting a clear opening towards dialogue with the Western-type of lay culture and with the other cultures.

Against this general background of the global crisis appears the particular case of the savior mythology. Under the sign of a vulgarizing crisis philosophy, this mythology reveals an eschatological sense lacking any religious hope, following the idea that the present world can no longer generate a redeemer and neither can it enjoy the privilege of receiving a savior. Probably this best showcases the dynamic relationship between the ideological and the religious imaginary, with the interlap, recoil and revival manifested in late 20th century and early 21st century. Among others, we sense the prevailing preference for religious practices versus philosophical reflection, while applied ethics is part of this interplay of philosophy and ideology in contemporary man's life (Frunza et al. 2009, 129-149). This type of preference may be one of the reasons that make less evident the fact that in the contemporary world spiritual leadership crisis is a major source of religious violence.

Humanity today, more than any other time, seeks leaders that should keep together and balance wisdom, religion and ethics. …

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