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Global Commentary
Saturday, 11 September 2004
Religion retains strong hold on societies
Topic: Society
Religion continues to play an important role in modern societies. And I am not just talking about Islamic fundamentalism.

True, the latter continues to be a source of religious militancy, not just in the Middle East but in South-east Asia as well -- witness the recent bombing near the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia that has so far left nine dead and well over a hundred injured.

However, religion remains important even in Christian Europe.

Recently, Serbia's education minister, Ljiljana Colic, ordered schools to stop teaching the theory of evolution, saying that in future Charles Darwin's theory would only be taught alongside creationism, the Bible's account of God's creation of the world. Ms Colic said the two theories were equally dogmatic.

The newspaper Glas Javnosti quoted biologist Nikola Tucic as describing the ruling as "outrageous", and showing that Serbia's Orthodox Church was interfering in politics.

"We are slowly turning into a theocratic state and in the 21st Century we are going back to the Book of Revelations," he told the newspaper. "There were attempts like this in several US states, but they were rejected. It turns out that our fundamentalists are much more successful."

However, after protests from scientists, teachers and opposition parties, the Serbian government has decided to drop the move.

The secular tradition remains strong in Europe, but at the same time, religious fundamentalism also retains a strong presence in most societies.

Posted by lim_cs at 11:44 AM JST | post your comment (0) | link to this post

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