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Global Moral, Political, and Religious Values Answers/Discussion
1. Buddhist: 6% Non-Religious: 16% Hinduism: 14% Islam: 21% Christianity: 33%
2. 1973:54% 2008:78%.
See the chart at http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/fow08/CountryStatusAndRatingsOverview1973-2008.pdf.
Remember that the question asks for the rating either free or partly free. Add the entries in the appropriate columns.
Note that this is only one organization's rating. "Free" is a concept that may be defined and interpreted many ways. You will use another rating system later in the course. But all systems agree: the global trend over the last 30-40 years towards democracy and freedom is clear. It is also worth noting that the FULL measure of human freedoms, as defined by Franklin Roosevelt, has not yet been achieved by ANY country. This point is a point discussed in the continuation of this course, G102.
3. Difficult to say. And it depends on the degree of freedom. When there is total freedom of speech and religion, there is likely to be disagreement on many values. However, the values of freedom of speech and freedom of religion themselves will nearly always be defended -- and stridently -- by the vast majority of people in contemporary free societies. Because there is so much disagreement about other values -- gender, politics, religion, etc. -- many people in developed, free, countries adopt a postmodern attitude about values in general. In these countries, values are often embraced provisionally, cynically, or playfully as part of an optional experiment in living. Such ambiguity about values is likely to be reflected in the educational systems of many developed countries, particularly if they have ethnically and religiously diverse populations. This ambiguity in values, a result of postmodernism, is one of the elements of contemporary world culture that causes many people to fear Globalization. In cultures that have not experienced freedom, a fear of freedom sometimes develops because allowing certain kinds of freedoms can be thought to simply invite cultural and political persecution by a global monoculture.
4. Very unlikely. There is no probably no single detailed view about religion or politics that could gain wide support. However, there is likely to be agreement about the general content of moral and political guidelines. In his book The World's Religions, Huston Smith argues that all the world's religions agree on three fundamental values: truthfulness, charity, and humility. Promoting these values in a non-contentious manner is likely to win wide support.
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