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In some parts of our world, religion is on the wane, losing its thrust of doctrinal authority and communal bonds. In other regions, it is gaining public significance as a powerful social, cultural and political force. Secularization theories are less successful in accounting for these differences in religion’s role. Other theories describe religion in terms of social capital to be invested whenever it offers certain personal, social or political benefits and market opportunities allow smart choices. Still other theories simply hold that religion corresponds to an inborn need or stable disposition that guarantees a culture’s identity and reflects a natural equilibrium of social cohesion. There are also critical theories that point to the intrinsic relationship of religion with power and identify it as a major cause of tension and conflict. In this book distinguished scholars reflect on these questions and present empirical research about religious identity and national heritage.
In: Human Rights and the Impact of Religion
In: Religious Identity and National Heritage


During the past six decades, there has been an ever-growing awareness of the global ecological crisis threatening human survival. Concern for the future of human life has led to the necessity of upholding environmental rights and sustainable development. As in the case of other human rights, obligations of the state that derive from these need to be complemented by civic engagements, and sustained by shared values in the societal sphere. The question that we raise is if religions can play a significant role in favouring environmental rights, civil engagements and environmental care, given that in varied ways religious traditions appeal to the interdependence of divine-human-cosmic realities. The empirical research that we undertook in the multi-religious context of Tamil Nadu, India, seeks to verify if the religious identity of the senior secondary school students and college students has some influence on their attitude towards environmental obligations, engagements and care. The results show that senior school students are highly sensitive to state’s obligations and civil engagements, but their religious affiliation does not seem to influence it. Instead, college students manifest strong agreement to environmental care, with Hindus displaying higher sensitivity. Besides, variables such as transformative function of religion, religious pluralism, human dignity, and empathy have favourable association with environmental care for Christians, Muslims and Hindus. We conclude with a discussion on the implications of the predictors for eco-education.

In: Journal of Empirical Theology
In: Religious Identity and National Heritage
In: Religious Identity and National Heritage
In: Religious Identity and National Heritage