The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a renowned center of knowledge, research, and discovery. It is also a hub of multicultural traditions and a driving force for socioeconomic development. As such, it is no surprise that the city of San Antonio has become a popular tourist destination for its historic places of worship. But how has globalization impacted the practice of religion in this city?
Dr. Laurie Schreiner, professor of higher education at Azusa Pacific University and author of Thriving Quotient, opened the UTSA Thrive initiative workshop with an insightful speech. She noted that the rise of many different religious groups in San Antonio can be attributed to the city's industries attracting immigrants from all over the world. Additionally, universities and military bases have also played a role in bringing new cultural and religious groups to the city. One example of this is Temple Beth-El, a synagogue founded in 1874. It is one of the oldest preserved places of worship in San Antonio and serves as a reminder of the city's growing religious diversity during that period. Rabbi Mara Nathan of the Beth-El Temple noted that this attitude of cooperation and religious acceptance has created an environment that continues to facilitate diverse religious groups to establish their own faith communities in San Antonio. Globalization has allowed religions that were once isolated from each other to now have regular contact.
This has enabled people to recover a sense of certainty by turning to religion for explanations about what is happening in the world. However, religions must use communication technology to focus more on humane and pluralistic forms of their teachings as a way to manage religious diversity and avoid violence. The UTSA Department of Sociology has taken steps to promote religious understanding by recruiting speakers from diverse religious traditions to speak with the university and San Antonio communities on topics such as Catholicism in a changing world, religion in a pluralistic society, and faith in areas such as art and science. In conclusion, globalization has had both positive and negative impacts on the practice of religion in San Antonio. On one hand, it has allowed religions that were once isolated from each other to now have regular contact. On the other hand, it has also created an environment where religions must use communication technology to focus more on humane and pluralistic forms of their teachings as a way to manage religious diversity and avoid violence.
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