Effects of Globalization You Overlooked

If you talk about the trickle-down effects of globalization, it is easy to see that it is all around us. Cell phones from China, Coca-Cola in India, sushi bars in Los Angeles, cotton from Egypt. Living different lives in other countries, we share a lot of similarities. But little is mentioned about religion. Today, about one-third of the world is under the denomination of Christianity–the largest being Catholicism, with about 1.09 million followers. The colonial missionaries of early America has been working silently throughout the centuries traveling to different continents from large cities to small native tribes spreading the ‘western idea’ of Christianity and its denominations, mostly Pentecostal. But from Yates article, it is easy to see why this idea of overlooked so commonly in the discussion of expanding globalization. “No longer will it be considered the religion of the North and West, but of the global South. Likewise, it will be increasingly a religion of non-white Africans, Latin Americans, and Asians.” (409). However, when the word Christian is mentioned, most times we imagine a white (anglo-saxon) western man or woman. But the article claims that “if we want to visualize a ‘typical’ contemporary Christian, we should think of a woman living in a village in Nigeria or in a Brazilian favela” (409). What we have been experiencing for decades now, is a transnational religious movement. But why has it been so commonly overlooked?

There are a few reasons. In his book Giddens mentions that globalization, or even modernity is still considered being a mostly Western idea when analyzed. “Globalization introduces new forms of world interdependence, in which, once again, there are no ‘others’. These create novel forms of risk and danger at the same time as they promote far-reaching possibilities of global security.” (175). The idea in this statement suggests that many people mistakenly attribute the sharing of ideas, products, and innovations with other countries as a distinctly ‘western’ thing, as though it were the West to ever begin to spread their ideas with others. But that idea itself if not reasonable, because globalization involves the connecting of different ideas shared among more than one group, and although Christianity tends to be a very western religion, it has been adopted by so many eastern, southern, and northern cultures. There is a shared line of community through the world of Christianity, which leads to the success of so many missionary projects and televised Christian programs such as Campus Crusade for Christ, TBN, World Vision, and Christian Broadcasting Network. Giddens also makes his own move of countering in his final statements, “There is nothing ‘Western’ about this commitment to such argumentation, as a means of resolving disputes, is forthcoming” (176). It is a similar idea to the “How Sushi Went Global” article, “The tuna trade is a prime example of the globalization of a regional industry, with intense international competition and thorny environmental regulations, centuries-old practices combined with high technology” (110).

So why is it that religion as a means of expanding globalization not something as commonly noted as food, music, or movies? There are many explanations. Possibly it is because ‘Western’ in this aspect may come with a negative connotation that western writers would rather not outspokenly represent, because there is a misrepresentation of those who follow the Muslim faith compared to those who follow Christianity, or that missionary work has been done for such as a long time it is no longer seen as ‘revolutionary’ as the invention of the iPhone. However, “globalization is more than a diffusion of Western institutions across the world, in which other cultures are crushed” (175). It is an inherent adoption, and incorporating of different ideas to create a larger melting pot for many different cultures to find a single community in.

4 thoughts on “Effects of Globalization You Overlooked

  1. Despite your measurement of the world Catholic population being 99.99% of, There are some redundancies such Christianity being the dominant religion of more and more Latin Americans. When it has been a historical fact, a better phrasing would have been more Latin Americans, more Christians and the increase of Christians in the Global South by population increases. The quote of “. But that idea itself if not reasonable, because globalization involves the connecting of different ideas shared among more than one group, and although Christianity tends to be a very western religion.” is something that you do well to refute, its a common misconception among many Christians to view their faith as Western when its history shows its varied many dimensions. And tying it into other forms of culture is important, but what is the reason why are the masses in the non-Western world are turning to the cross?

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  2. Your introduction was a great opening to your argument.
    You make a very strong point when you state that, “when the word Christian is mentioned, most times we imagine a white (anglo-saxon) western man or woman”. It seems that Christianity is most associated with “a white western… man or woman,” however, as the article (and you) pointed out, “we should think of a woman living in a village in Nigeria or in a Brazilian favela” when Christianity is brought up.

    I, too, question why this credit is given to the west when the whole world is in some way apart of globalization. It is possible that globalization is mistakenly called a “Western idea” because some people only associate globalization with technology, which is regularly used in the U.S.. Over time, do you think that Christianity will become seen as a religion from more diverse areas or will it continue to be seen as a western religion?

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  3. Kayla,

    You bring up an interesting point that other failed to acknowledge: the globalization of religion. I often wonder the origins of certain religions and how they connect to cultures. Other things, like food, music, and products are easy to track, like sushi from Japan, coco-cola from India, and cotton from Egypt, like you explained. However, where do our religions come from? I also find the number you threw out interesting: 1.09 mil seems low for the total count of Catholicism believers in the world. Anyway, it would be interesting to dig deeper into the origins of religions and understand how they have been globalized throughout the years.

    Liz

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  4. You brought up some very interesting points about the globalization of Religion. Christianity is increasingly becoming more and more globalized but for some reason, as you said, “when the word Christian is mentioned, most times we imagine a white (anglo-saxon) western man or woman”. You then went on to talk about how this is no longer the case though. Even though globalization has changed Christianity, in our minds we think of a non globalized Christianity, a religion which exists only in the western hemisphere for white men and women. What needs to be done to change our view of Christianity and every religion as that religion changes through globalization?

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