Religious Imaginations

Religious Imaginations


How Narratives of Faith are Shaping Today’s World

edited by James Walters

Format: Royal Hardback
Published: December 2018
Pages: 282
ISBN: 9781909942202

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‘The intersection of religion and the dynamic affairs of our world is, rightly, receiving increasing attention from political scientists, politicians and theologians alike. This edition is a significant contribution to a necessary contemporary debate: thoughtful, incisive and thorough. I highly recommend it.’
— Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

‘This book affirms the place of religion in human living: in public as in private life; in the 21st century as in any other. The notion of “religious imagination” helps us to understand this better – goals are envisioned alongside strategies to reach them. These are rich resources to use for good or ill. Either is possible, but I welcome the positive thinking discovered in these pages.’
— Grace Davie, Professor Emeritus, University of Exeter

‘Religion has become a resurgent critical dimension of international politics. This can challenge diplomats and politicians especially those from Western countries where religion has become less prominent in public life. However, those involved in international affairs globally cannot expect to engage effectively without skills, understanding and knowledge of religion. This book is timely and relevant. It provides both a general framework of how to navigate the religious dimensions of global affairs, and it includes excellent case studies that illustrate the challenges religion raises and the potential solutions religious perspectives can provide.’
— Francis Campbell, Vice Chancellor, St Mary’s University

Religious Imaginations contains many challenging essays that suggest how vital it is for the world’s religious and faith communities to involve themselves with the world in deep and abiding ways, while respecting diversity and humanity as key principles.’
— Daniel F. Pigg, Journal of Interreligious Studies

“It is crucial that the blind spot of the significance of religion for how people imagine the world is addressed. Religious Imaginations: How Narratives of Faith Are Shaping Today’s World succeeds in addressing it.”

— Ulrich Schmiedel, Journal of Church and State


As market globalisation, technology, climate change and post-colonial political forces are all forging a new world, religious narratives, once thought to be dying, are galvanising peoples and reimagining political and social order. Some are repressive, fundamentalist imaginations. Others could be described as post-religious, such as the evolution of universal human rights out of the European Christian tradition. But the question of the compatibility of these religious world views is perhaps the most pressing issue in global stability today. What scope for dialogue exists between the Jewish, Muslim and Christian ways of imagining the future? How can we engage with these multiple imaginations to create a shared peaceful future? This interdisciplinary volume, with contributions from both emerging and well-known scholars, explores how religious narratives interact with the contemporary geopolitical climate.

The Revd Canon Dr James Walters is Founding Director of the LSE Faith Centre which works to promote religious understanding and interfaith leadership among LSE’s global student body and in government. He is also a Senior Lecturer in the LSE Marshall Institute, an affiliate of the Department for International Development and Chaplain to the School.


Table of Contents:

James Walters – Introduction

Engaging the Religious Imagination
Craig Calhoun – Religious Imaginations in a Changing World
Mona Siddiqui – Imagination and the Ethics of Religious Narratives
Anba Angaelos – Christian Imagination in an Age of Terror
Ophir Yarden – The Balfour Declaration: From Imagining a State to Re-imagining
Majority-Minority Relations in Jewish Thought and the Jewish State
John Casson – Diplomacy and the Religious Imagination
Mena Mark Hanna – The Musical Imagination in Religious Worship

Crossing Religious Imaginations
Mohammed Gamal Abdelnour – Muhammad abu Zahra’s Muslim Theology of Religions
John Fahy – The Field of Interfaith in the Middle East

Re-imagining Belief
Kamran Bashir – Reimagining the Formative Moments of Islam: The Case of Pakistani
Scholar, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, and his New Narrative of Early Islam
Abby Day – Lived Belief in Cross-Cultural Comparison
Eileen Barker – New Religious Movements as Resources in a Changing World
Jenna Reinbold – Human Rights as a Narrative of Faith
Thahir Jamal – Interpretation of Islamic Principles: Muslim Movements and Ethical
Social Imaginary in South India

Religion and Sustainability
Caleb Gordon – The Relationship of Ecological Science to the Christian Narrative
Khushwant Singh – Gurmat – The Art of Spiritual Wisdom: How Peace from Mind through Knowledge of the Soul can Help Overcoming the Challenges
of Humankind
Emmanuel Karagiannis – Understanding the Islamic Perspective on Environment: Doctrine and Ethics

From Imagination to Religious Practice
Megan Shore – Religious Leadership in Conflict Transformation: The Case of Christian
Leadership in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Catriona Robertson – Who Do You Trust? Enabling Cross-Religious Involvement in
Public Life for a Peaceful and Equitable Future

Additional information


Religion & Philosophy


Edited by James Walters