Religion, Intergroup Relations, and Social Change in South Africa

Overview

A complex and unpredictable factor in the explosive South African conflict, the Christian churches will almost certainly play a key role in its ultimate resolution. This book, which is based on a four-year research project, explores the possible dimensions of that role through a systematic examination of the connections between religion and the social, political, and economic life of the nation. Focusing on critical issues in the current debate, the authors look at how religion and religious attitudes function in...

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Overview

A complex and unpredictable factor in the explosive South African conflict, the Christian churches will almost certainly play a key role in its ultimate resolution. This book, which is based on a four-year research project, explores the possible dimensions of that role through a systematic examination of the connections between religion and the social, political, and economic life of the nation. Focusing on critical issues in the current debate, the authors look at how religion and religious attitudes function in facilitating or restraining social change and what consequences this may hold for South Africa's future.

The authors begin by describing the social role fo religion in South Africa, together with the particular issues that have drawn churches into the debate. They provide comprehensive profiles of the patterns of religious affiliation and attitudes that characterize contemporary South Africa. Next they assess the social impact of various denominations and movements, including Afrikaner civil religion, the Black indigenous churches, and pietistic religious groups. Ongoing theological debates on human rights, racial equality, the power structure of society, and the question of violence are considered in detail. The concluding chapter integrates the findings of the study and considers religious values as an instrument for developing social consciousness and a commitment to universal justice. This authoritative analysis of the broader dimensions of religion in South Africa makes a significant contribution to our understanding of religion as a factor in contemporary social and political processes. It will be of interest to students and specialists in African studies and to scholars concerned with the role of religion in the modern world.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

G. C. OOSTHUIZEN is a member of NERMIC (New Religious Movements and Independent/Indigenous Churches) at the University of Zululand.

J. K. COETZEE is Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology and Industrial Sociology at Rhodes University.

J. W. DE GRUCHY is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town.

J. H. HOFMEYR is lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, the University of Cape Town.

B. C. LATEGAN is Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Stellenbosch.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Leonard W. Doob

Introduction

The Patterns of Religious Affiliation and Expectation in South Africa

Conflicting Perspectives: Religion in a Heterogeneous Society

Burning Issues in the Contemporary Debate

Findings and Recommendations

Addendum I: Religion and Social Change

Addendum II: Data Obtained by Means of the Multipurpose Surveys

Addendum III: Religion, the Integrated Expression of Social Change

Addendum IV: Summary of the Report: Religion and Intergroup Relations in Metropolitan Durban

Addendum V: Selected Bibliography of South African Publications on Intergroup Relations

Abbreviations

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