After reading my classmates’ responses and considering my initial response in Part 1 of this research assignment on “The Case for Contamination” by Kwame Anthony Appiah, I revisited the following questions; “What roles do religions play in Appiah’s analysis? Do I agree or disagree to his approach towards religion? How does it differ from my individual approach towards religion?”
In response to the first question, “What roles do religions play in Appiah’s analysis?” In “The Case for Contamination”, Kwame Anthony Appiah discusses how cultures and religions can be positively and negatively affected by globalization. As we have studied in this course, religion forms our culture, traditions, values, etc. In his article, Appiah says that both religions and societies contaminate each other. These “contaminants” can have both negative and positive effects on cultures. He also states that, “Societies without change aren’t authentic; their just dead. (Appiah, 2006). For some people in a society, their religious culture is so strong that there is no influence from the western world or any other society can affect their beliefs and traditions. As I wrote in my discussion post, in regards to the Zulu man Sipho by watching the show “Days of Our Lives”, he was able to learn about western culture. He realized that he should speak more to his father and that his father can be not only his father but also his friend (Appiah, 2006). The show also taught him things that his culture wouldn’t let him adopt. For example, Appiah writes, “In terms of our culture, a girl is expected to enter into relationships when she is about 20. In the Western culture, a girl can be exposed to a relationship as early as 15 or 16. That one we shouldn’t adopt in our culture.” (Appiah, 2006) Therefore, in this example, religious culture was preserved and globalization has a positive role in contamination by acknowledging the customs and cultures of the western world, but staying true to his beliefs. Globalization can have a negative roles on religion and can be a threat to homogeneity. At times, foreign ideas are imposed on a culture and lead to changes in culture. Appiah states that the role of religion is to create a global society, that is not divided along cultural ties. Also known as “Cosmopolitanism”. In cosmopolitanism all humanity is embraced. The people in these communities are in relationships of mutual respect despite their different beliefs, whether it be religious or political, etc. These communities allows everyone with different socioeconomic backgrounds to be equal and status no longer exist when it is in terms of religious faith.
Like Appiah, I would definitely have to agree with him on the analysis on the roles of religion. Religion is considered a social institution. Religion allows people from all walks of life to have and enjoy a common culture, where no one can be identified by a culture, but by faith. Everyone in society should bring peace and respect the others beliefs, no matter the differences may be. Religion shouldn’t be generalized. In his article Appiah talks about Muslims. Appiah talks about the group “ummah”. The group is a “global community of Muslims, and it is open to all who share their faith.” In Islam, while a select few that have been radicalized, rendering evil to the people who oppose their way of life, but it doesn’t mean that the entire Islamic faith is a threat to the world. Like in the case of Marxist and people like Osama Bin Laden. Where they live in a world that they believe that their way is the only way. That if you are not with them you are against them and they will stop and nothing to achieve a counter-cosmopolitan society. I also agree with his statement on what John Stuart Mill said, ” If it were only that people have diversities of taste, that is reason enough for not attempting to shape them all after one model. But different persons also require different conditions for their spiritual development; and can no more exist healthily in the same moral, than all the variety of plants can exist in the same physical, atmosphere and climate, the same things which are helps to one persons towards the cultivation of his higher nature, are hindrances to another… Unless there is a corresponding ficersity in their modes of life, they neither obtain their fair share of happiness, nor grow up to the mental, moral, and aesthetic stature of which their nature is capable” (Appiah 2006). People are entitled to their own opinions, and not everyone in a community will conform to one way of thinking or believing, as most cities are culturally diverse.
In reality, Appiah’s article doesn’t really differ from my individual approach to religion because I too feel that in multicultural cities or countries such as the United States or even Miami, that people should live in peace. That cosmopolitanism isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We should be able to live in a society with respect to people’s different beliefs be it religion, political views, gender, cultural. I do think some religions and cultures need some adaptations to the times that we live in as things that worked during the time that Jesus was alive doesn’t really work with the way our lives, technology and society are today. Even though with the adaptations made to each religion and culture, no one should lose the moral and fundamental ideas of such religion.
In conclusion, in Kwame anthony Appiah’s article “The Case for Contamination”, he talks about how religions and cultures can be contaminated by globalization. As far as my opinion in what Kwame Anthony Appiah says in the article, I have to agree with the majority of what he says. As a multicultural society we have to live in harmony with respect to our neighbors culture, religion, political views, etc. We should all be treated equally, no matter if we are Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, black , white, male, female, gay or straight. If we do not live in such harmony, then we will always be at war.