Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

“Bishops vs. everyone else” overshadows right-left Catholic split

The decades-long split between liberal and conservative Catholics may be giving way to a stronger division between Catholic laity and their bishops in the wake of reports that members of the hierarchy covered up for priests and fellow bishops engaging in sexual abuse, writes John Allen on the Catholic website Crux (September 30). He asks: […]

Lay Scientologists take up apologetics, public relations

Although observers have predicted the near-demise of the Church of Scientology under the influence of Internet critics and activists who have targeted the leadership over scandals and abuses, the church has largely weathered these attacks, with its members increasingly involved in publicity efforts to spread the faith, writes Donald Westbrook in the journal Studies in […]

Occult practitioners build their brands on the Internet, with some struggles

Occult practitioners are moving from part-time avocational interest to professional work as they ply their trade in the spiritual marketplace on the Internet, writes Karen Gregory in American Behavioral Scientist (online in September). Gregory looks specifically at how Tarot card reading has shifted from being a face-to-face practice one might do for spiritual fulfillment alongside […]

Remnant Church emerges as bearer of Mormon restoration

With its headquarters close to the Independence Temple and the headquarters of the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or RLDS), the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has emerged as the most organized of the groups born out of opposition to developments within […]

Orthodox Church and culture sector clash over property restitution in Russia

Since the 2010 law allowing for the restoration of church property in Russia, competing interests continue to battle over just what its implementation means for the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). This can be seen in the recent request of the ROC to take ownership of the UNESCO-protected 12th-century Golden Gate in the city of Vladimir, […]

Ukrainian Orthodox Church autonomy likely to strain Orthodox, ecumenical relations

The move of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) toward granting autonomy (or autocephaly) to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will likely have global repercussions for Orthodox churches and beyond, according to recent reports. On September 7, an EP announcement stated that, “within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in […]

Hindu nationalism presents kinder, gentler face

The Hindu nationalist organization that helped bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to power is “attempting a makeover to soften its image ahead of next year’s national elections,” writes Joanna Slater in the Washington Post (September 21). The main Hindu nationalist group, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), recently held an unprecedented three-day event where its leader […]

Druze religion sees youth disaffection

The Druze religion is facing a pattern of defection and inactivity among its young people, according to The Economist magazine (September 21). The approximately one million members of the Druze are spread across Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, but the esoteric religion does not proselytize and only accepts members whose parents are both Druze. The faith […]

Judaism adjusting to multiracial congregations in Bay Area

A new generation of Jewish children in the Bay Area are being raised in multiracial households, according to the Portrait of Bay Area Jewish Life and Communities study released last February, which means that congregations will have to become accustomed to Jews who are black or have other backgrounds not usually associated with Judaism, writes […]

Noahides seen as useful allies for Zionists

The global growth of the Noahide movement, which consists of ex-Christians seeking to follow Jewish law and monotheism, has come to the attention of Jewish leaders who are trying to build support for world Zionism, but there are sharply differing views on how Jewish these new believers can be, writes Rachel Z. Feldman in the […]