Religion and the Emerging World Order: Toward Reconciliation Between the God Pole and the World Pole

Dr. Samir N. Saliba,
Dr. Robert Chamberlain
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It is possible to view global history in terms of a balance of power between the God Pole and the World Pole, or between the secular and sacral. For the past five hundred years, since the treaties at Westphalia, the World Pole has been dominant. Over the past three decades, however, religion has reemerged as a social and political reality everywhere in the contemporary world, signalling perhaps a shift in the balance of power toward the God Pole. The proposed project seeks to answer the questions "What is the nature of the shift from the World Pole to the God Pole?", "Why is the shift occurring at this point in time?", "What are the implications of this transformation?", and "How do we reconcile these two apparent opposites for the benefit of humanity?" The two presentations in this project employ the concept of encounter between the sacred and the secular to address the nature and extent of these changes, to assess their significance, and to chart potential and effective responses both intellectual and cultural. These two presentations represent a dialog and complement to one another, not a separation and dissection. The secular and the sacral, represented best by reason and faith, offer the possibility of both emancipation and oppression. However, brought together, each may revitalize the other in such a way as to bring forth the liberating and emancipatory ideals of both and to bring about a "more humane global governance". As Harold J. Berman suggests in "The Interaction of Law and Religion", the dualistic thinking of "either-or" must give way to "both-and".

Keywords: Balance of Power, God Pole and World Pole, Sacral and Secular, Dualism and Reconciliation, Dualism to Synthesis, God Pole vs. World Pole, Emancipatory Role of Religion, Universal Church vs. Universal State
Stream: Globalisation, Religion, Spirituality
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in
Paper: Religion and the Emerging World Order

Dr. Samir N. Saliba

Professor of Political Science, Geraldine A. Meyung-Dr Clyde Alley Chair in International Studies, Center for International Studies, Emory & Henry College

One of Emory & Henry's longest-serving professors, Dr Saliba has been honored with numerous awards in recognition of his teaching excellence and contributions to society, including Virginia's 1997 Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2001 Outstanding Educator Award from the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. During his many years at Emory & Henry, Dr Saliba was instrumental in the establishment of the college internship program, its Pre-Law program, its Mass Communications Department and its International Studies program. He has been widely published on topics related to his main interests, which include international studies and international law, and he is widely recognized as an expert on Middle Eastern issues.

Dr. Robert Chamberlain

Documentation Specialist, Documentation, TEDS, Inc.

Specializing in the Enlightenment literature, Robert Chamberlain earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His interest in the development of, first, mercantilism and, later, capitalism and the corporate structure during and in the period following this era eventually prompted him to earn an M.B.A. from Virginia Polytechnic University and State University. As an educator, Dr Chamberlain was always involved in the practical applications of academic training. He developed an interest in the application of strategies for teaching composition using computer systems very shortly after the personal computer became widely available in the early 1980s. After working in the traditional university setting for a decade, he became involved in private industry with the development of software that manages employee training in a business setting. Currently, he works as a documentation specialist for a company that provides employee training and career development systems for Fortune 500 companies throughout the world.

Ref: H05P0503