Globalization, Neo-Humanism and Religious Diversity

Mervyn F Bendle


This paper proposes that the challenge of religious diversity must be seen in terms of globalization and the emergence of the postmetaphysical challenge within the crisis of humanist culture of the West. After outlining the dynamics of globalization and their implications for understanding cultural and religious diversity, the paper outlines the weaknesses of the dominant approach to religious diversity and sketches a new postmetaphysical perspective. This approach has two components: (1) a deconstructive stream, which emphasizes difference and deferral as disruptive forces in the ongoing discourse on diversity and the construction of religious identities; and, (2) the paradigm of desire, which emphasizes the dimensions of corporeality, desire and transgression in religious commitment. Overall, the postmetaphysical perspective suggests that religious diversity may best be comprehended via the encounter of religions in the here-and-now of concrete life-world situations. This reorientation can be conceptualized in terms of a shift from an ontotheological perspective to an ethical one.

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