Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Type Book Section - Religious Competition
Title Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia and the Pacific
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 231-245
Publisher Springer
Country/State Netherlands
The idea of competition between religious groups may seem awkward or even disrespectful of religion. However, like commercial organisations, biological organisms and sports teams, religious groups operate in environments where they compete to survive, consolidate and adapt to change. Competitive action by religious groups can include public criticism of rival groups and aggressive recruiting among their members. It also includes less direct forms such as the setting up of schools and worship centres; or the establishment of special relations with government (Iannaccone 1992). The qualities and conditions of religious competition indicate the nature of social cohesion in the religious dimension of any society. An examination of religious competition will explain why some countries have significantly different levels of religious freedom and proclivities to religious tension.

The chapter’s first section considers the nature of religious competition and clarifies its dimensions. Next is a consideration of the general fields of competition among the nations of this volume. The final section examines two major social forces pressuring religious competition and social cohesion: Islamic revitalisation and Christian Renewal or ‘Renewalism’.

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