Currently, religion and globalization seem to be working towards opposite ends. As Mark Juergensmeyer has noted, while religiously invoked terrorism fragments society, the Internet, cell phones and the media industry foster the formation of an increasingly global social fabric. But religion is not a single faceted phenomenon. As much as there are prophets of violence such as Osama bin Laden, there are prophets of peace and reconciliation such as Bishop Desmond Tutu. How a civil society might be configured in relation to the inherent ambiguity surrounding religious traditions remains difficult to discern. How might Christian traditions make a positive contribution to this context? To answer this question I will articulate a dialogue between Jürgen Habermas's theory of civil society and the politico-ethical theology of Karl Barth.
- civil society