Religion must be viewed in the scope of modern discoveries – including science, medicine, and technology. Cultural issues from globalization to human rights affect religious groups and the spread of religion.¹ Finally, the growing trend of atheism, agnosticism, and the growth of irreligion and secular humanism affects the religious communities throughout the world.²
Studies show that religious belief has a positive influence on health and quality of life.¹ However, some religions have had a difficult relationship with scientific discoveries that appear to conflict with accepted religious knowledge. Colonisation, slavery, and other violence, perpetrated in the name of religion are concerns that religious groups must continue to contend with in modern times.
Human rights (including gender, sexual, and racial aspects) are also modern issues that religious communities must consider with regard to their texts and teachings.¹ Religious groups may practice inclusivism to encourage a more diverse community or exclusivism in order to protect the traditions and teachings of their past.¹
Agnosticism is the belief that it is not possible to know or prove whether a deity exists. Atheism rejects the idea of belief in one or more deity. Some modern religions are compatible with religion, as they do not have a specific god to worship (some forms of Buddhism, Jainism, pagan movements).²
Historically many areas of the world used either an indigenous or ethnic religion, or state religion.² In the modern age, atheism and agnosticism are increasing at a fast pace especially with the development of state atheism in several countries (the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China). Atheism has been linked to an increased level of education.²
1. SpringerLink. Religion, Heath, and the Psychology of Religion: How the Research on Religion and Health Helps Us Understand Religion. Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10943-004-4299-3
2. Zuckerman, Phil. (2009). Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of SOcial Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions. Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/Zuckerman_on_Atheism.pdf