1st Edition

Exploring Religious Diversity and Covenantal Pluralism in Asia Volume I, East & Southeast Asia

Edited By Dennis R. Hoover Copyright 2023

    This book examines the growing diversity of religions and worldviews across East & Southeast Asia, and the factors affecting prospects for 'covenantal pluralism' in these regions.

    According to the Pew Religious Diversity Index, half of the world’s most religiously diverse countries are in Asia. The presence of deep religious/worldview difference is often seen as a potential threat to socio-political cohesion or even as a source of violent conflict. Yet in Asia (as elsewhere) the degree of this diversity is not consistently associated with socio-political problems. Indeed, while religious difference is implicated in some social challenges, there are also many instances of respectful multi-faith engagement, practical collaboration, and peaceful debate.

    Whether or not religious/worldview difference is part of a positive pluralism depends on a complex array of legal and cultural conditions. This book explores these dynamics and contingencies in Asia, structuring the inquiry according to the theory of 'covenantal pluralism'. Covenantal pluralist theory calls for (a) a constitutional order characterized by freedom of religion/conscience and equality of rights and responsibilities, combined with (b) a culture of practical religious literacy and virtues of mutual respect and protection.

    Volume I offers a pioneering exploration of the prospects for this robust and non-relativistic type of pluralism in East & Southeast Asia. (Volume II examines South & Central Asia.) The chapters in these volumes originally appeared as research articles in a series on covenantal pluralism published by The Review of Faith & International Affairs.

    Lessons from Asia in How—and How Not—to Live with Deep Diversity: An Introduction to Volume I

    Dennis R. Hoover


    1. Covenantal Pluralism In "Homogenous" Japan: Finding A Space for Religious Pluralism

    Ernils Larsson

    2. Religious Diversity and Religious Governance in South Korea: From Nominal to Covenantal Pluralism

    Kwangsuk Yoo and Dong-Uhn Suh

    3. Taiwan’s Covenantal Pluralism

    André Laliberté

    4. Multi-faith Dynamics in Hong Kong: From Pluralism to Politicization

    Kim-kwong Chan

    5. Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism in the People's Republic of China: A Reflection on State Policy and Muslim Minorities

    Yuting Wang

    6. Chinese Protestantism, Cyber Public Space, and the Possibility of Covenantal Pluralism

    Li Ma and Jin Li


    7. Islam and Covenantal Pluralism in Indonesia: A Critical Juncture Analysis

    Robert Hefner

    8. Malaysia’s Creeping Islamization—and Dimming Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism

    Joseph Chinyong Liow

    9. Religious Diversity and Covenantal Pluralism in the Philippines

    Jayeel Cornelio and Prince Kennex Aldama

    10. Regulating Pluralism: Laws on Religious Harmony and Possibilities for Robust Pluralism in Singapore

    Jaclyn Neo

    11. Buddhist Protectionism, Political Imaginaries of Belonging, and Prospects for Covenantal Pluralism in Myanmar

    Alexander Horstmann

    12. The Ambiguous Allure of Ashoka: Buddhist Kingship as Precedent, Potentiality, and Pitfall for Covenantal Pluralism in Thailand

    Tomas Larsson

    13. Controlled Religious Plurality: Possibilities for Covenantal Pluralism in Vietnam

    Edyta Roszko

    14. Covenantal Pluralism: Resonances and Dissonances in Cambodia

    Alexandra Kent

    15. Cultural Congruency and Covenantal Pluralism in the Lao PDR

    Stephen Bailey


    Dennis R. Hoover (D.Phil., Oxford) is Editor of The Review of Faith & International Affairs, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement, and an advisor to the Templeton Religion Trust. His recent books include The Routledge Handbook of Religious Literacy, Pluralism, and Global Engagement, co-edited with Chris Seiple.