Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Religious streaming services expand during pandemic

The shutdowns during the pandemic has also “expanded an already flourishing industry of faith-based streaming services,” reports the Economist. “At a time when trust in the mainstream Media is low, America’s faith-oriented entertainment industry is thriving. FaithTV and Godify both offer “entertaining Christian content to a diverse following” – Among the throng of denominational streaming services are Pure Flix and Crossflix, designed for evangelical audiences, and TN Saints, the “official” streaming service of the Mormon Church of Latter-day Saints.

American Muslims rethinking Islamic ban on adoption

With many Muslim children orphaned in the context of humanitarian crises, Muslim voices advocating not only for care of orphans, but also for their adoption into Muslim families are starting to be heard, writes Nermeen Mouftah (Butler University, Indianapolis) in an article titled “The Muslim Orphan Paradox,” to be published in a coming issue of Contemporary Islam and already available as preprint (March, 2020).

Santa Muerte—a folk saint for both sides in the drug wars

Both narcos and those who fight against them actually turn to the skeleton saint known as Santa Muerte for spiritual favors and protection, writes Kate Kingsbury and Andrew Chesnut in the International Journal of Latin American Religions (June 2020). In over ten years of observation in Mexico and abroad, the researchers found that the growing cult of Santa Muerte extends beyond the narco subculture (see RW, Nov. 2017).

Export of Afro-Brazilian religions producing different syntheses for different audiences

Afro-Brazilian religions abroad do not only serve the religious needs of Brazilian diasporas, but also encounter the religious searches of diverse audiences for spiritual practices of Brazil, giving rise to new experiences and religious groups operating according to different logics, writes Amurabi Oliveira (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil) in the International Journal of Latin American Religions (June 2020).

Anglicans divided over shape of post-pandemic church life and ministry

The Church of England and the wider Anglican world are experiencing “accelerated changes” from the pandemic which may have serious consequences for “brick-and-mortar” church life after this crisis, according to reports. The Economist (June 4, 2020) reports that “Empty pews in the Church of England have been replaced by packed-out virtual congregations. A quarter of Britons have attended an online religious service since lockdown began, providing a boost to a faith that has seen dwindling church attendance.”

Muslim-background intellectuals find place in European far-right

While much of the far-right targets Islam as a foreign and undesirable religion, Muslims and ex-Muslims are “increasingly prominent” in the West European far right groups, bringing a new spirituality to this often secular movement, writes Julian Gopffarth and Esra Ozyurek in the journal Ethnicities (online in June, 2020).

Russian Orthodox Church sees the Internet as a crucial tool for outreach

The Russian Orthodox presence online has been strongly developed after initial skepticism, especially as a way to attract young people and to show the Church as intellectually vibrant, and its significance is bound to increase as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Jacob Lassin (Davies Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University) in the monthly magazine Religion & Gesellschaft in Ost und West (June 2020).

Hindu deities drafted as ‘celestial epidemiologists’ in war against COVID-19

COVID-19 has “increased the goddesses’ workload,” as deities are being repurposed from other causes by Hindus to help fight the virus, reports The Conversation (June 15, 2020). Anthropologist Tulasi Srinivas writes that there have historically been several goddesses that have been delayed during many deadly pandemics in India from ancient to modern times.

The Wenzou model fostering the rise of Chinese Christian nationalism?

Business-friendly evangelical churches originating in the Wenzhou region of China are expanding globally, serving as a new model of missions, but may also be spreading Chinese nationalism, according to two reports. In the evangelical Hong Kong-based journal China Source (June 8, 2020), Brad Fulton looks at how Chinese Christians from Wenzhou—considered China’s Bible belt—have pioneered in a model of missions where church planting networks follow the circuit of business entrepreneurs and their overseas contacts and opportunities.

‘Prophecy voters’ forming core of Trump’s evangelical base

Much of Donald Trump’s evangelical base of support comes not from “value voters” or nostalgic “white Christian nationalists” as much as “prophecy voters,” those charismatics who see the president as an anointed leader who will have a part in bringing God’s kingdom to earth. This group is likely to continue to influence and reshape the Christian right during the 2020 elections and beyond, writes Damon Berry in Nova Religio (May 11), a journal on new religious movements.