Introduction: The Meeting of Gender, Language and Religion
Understanding the role of religions in the world is not at all a matter of reading about exotic people and places or coming to some conclusions regarding versions of truth as expressed in various communities. In today’s global pluralism, almost any faith can be found anywhere, both as a presence and as an option of faith. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam (religions originating in the East) are found all over the West, and the various representations of the West’s Judaism and Christianity are now well established throughout the world. A glance at any newspaper or any TV newscast reminds us of how current events are embedded in religious communities and how expressions of religion deeply affect the concepts of diversity and globalization — or our resistance to such concepts. No comprehension of world affairs or the larger human condition is possible today without some understanding of the role of religion and how religion influences human behaviour. Most of us in the course of our lives will come into contact with people from a wide range of religious experiences, while at the same time our own religious experiences will influence others and our views of the world and the people who surround us. This book searches for a range of language experiences within religious communities beginning with a recognition of liturgy on to the working out of individual identity within religious groups.
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