Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Buddhists compete under “traditional religion” status in Russia’s religious economy

Even though Buddhism has been recognized as a “traditional religion” in Russia, Buddhist groups are increasingly divided, with an ethnic denomination that is highly loyal to Vladimir Putin appearing to have the brightest future in the country, writes J. Eugene Clay in the Journal of Church and State (online in February). As with other religions, […]

Iran’s repression discrediting Shiite Islam among the population

In a country where the regime uses religion to ensure its legitimacy, the repression of the protest movements in Iran that began last September, after the death of a 22-year-old student following her arrest by the religious police, has created negative impressions of Islam in the minds of a part of the population, said Cyrus […]

Mali’s religious leaders aspire to a stronger role for Islam

While Mali is a majority Muslim country that inherited the principle of a secular state from the French colonial period, some religious leaders are going as far as calling for an end to secularism and a transition to an Islamic state, write Boubacar Haidara (French Institute of Political Studies, Bordeaux) and Bokar Sangaré in an […]

New Apostolic Church’s embrace of women’s ordination leads to schism in Africa

Following the New Apostolic Church’s decision to accept the ordination of women, fervent protest movements have emerged in Africa, especially in Congo, where one of the 350 or so apostles, Christophe Kabongo Kantu, has placed himself at the head of a dissident church. Protestant theologian Kai Funkschmidt writes in the Zeitschrift für Religion und Weltanschauung […]

“Lutherpalians” become a reality after years of ecumenical engagement

More than two decades after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church became full communion partners, congregations from both denominations are joining forces in arrangements that many see as the wave of the future for mainline churches, according to Living Lutheran magazine (January 19). Since the ELCA and the Episcopal Church […]

“Manifesting”: spiritual practice or virtual positive thinking?

The practice of “manifestation,” based on the idea that one can will their ideal reality into existence, is making the rounds on the internet, specifically TikTok, but observers are divided on whether it is an alternative spiritual self-help strategy or just a technological version of positive thinking. In The Tablet magazine (January 25), Katherine Dee […]

Virtual hajj addressing global Islam and alienation from Saudi control

While what is called the “virtual hajj” became a necessity during the pandemic, it will likely assume a greater place in world Islam due to quota limitations on pilgrims and the globalization of the faith, writes Song Niu in the journal Contemporary Islam (online in January). Virtual hajj refers to several kinds of participation in […]

New legal framework for Morocco’s Jewish community

Reflecting both the normalization of relations between Israel and Morocco and an interest in Jewish culture in that country, a royal decree issued on November 3, 2022 provides the Jewish population of Morocco with a new legal framework, reports Lamia El Fehaim (French Institute of Geopolitics, University of Paris VIII) in the Observatoire Pharos (January […]

Congolese branch of Islamic State targeting Christians for world attention

Recent attacks on churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the Islamic State suggest a new strategy of targeting Christians to gain world attention, according to the Terrorism Monitor newsletter (January 20). On January 14, the Congolese branch of the Islamic State (IS) bombed a church in Kasindi, killing 10 people and injuring […]

Africa experiences vibrant Christianity but shows ecumenical deficit

While successive waves of missionaries from different Christian denominations over centuries have divided African converts among the different branches of Christianity (leaving aside the impact of African Initiated Churches independent from missionary denominations), ecumenical institutional initiatives remain “generally unknown in parishes, Christian groups and families,” writes Josée Ngalula in La Croix International (January 24). Ngalula, […]