07 May 2014
THE Pew Research Centre’s latest study found that Singapore is the most religiously diverse country in the world. It topped the list of 232 countries involved in the study.
The study, released early last month, looks at the percentage of each country’s population that belongs to eight major religious groups. The closer a country comes to having an even distribution of the various religions in its population, the higher will be its religious diversity index. The eight groups or religions are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, folk religions, “other religions” and the religiously unaffiliated.
Following the report, an article appeared on April 4 in The Atlantic (www.theatlantic.com) that suggested there was an inverse relationship between religious diversity and religious hostility. It concluded that spiritual consensus that characterises homogeneous societies is not the key to peace. Instead, the countries that have high levels of religious violence are primarily countries dominated by a single faith. It may not be true everywhere, but religious plurality does appear to be compatible with peaceful societies.
… The writer is head of studies in inter-religious relations in plural societies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / SRP / Print
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