Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Korean American Christians, churches undergoing ethnic revival?

The ways that Korean churches have become Americanized and experienced divisions between
the immigrant and more assimilated second generations are giving way to a more conflicted
relationship between these churches and American culture, according to research presented at the
recent virtual meeting of the American Academy of Religion.

Pagans adopt apocalyptic tone in Trump era and beyond

American Pagans have increasingly been adopting an apocalyptic worldview and spirituality, especially during the Trump era, according to Sabina Magliocco of the University of British Columbia. Presenting a paper at the early December virtual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, attended by RW, Magliocco said that the apocalyptic narratives taken up by Pagan leaders and writers place Paganism closer to other new religious movements in the U.S.

Pentecostalism in Chile going mainstream and diversifying

From a stigmatized religion of marginal sectors in Chilean society (where it first appeared in the early 20th century), Pentecostalism is getting redefined as a more legitimate religion by a new generation of Pentecostals, writes Martin Lindhardt (University of Southern Denmark) in Religion (October).

Uncertain future for Russian Orthodox Church

Close ties to the current political regime and centralization of the church leadership under
Patriarch Kirill are likely to lead to a serious loss of influence for the Russian Orthodox Church
(ROC) in the long term, writes Oleg Kurzakov, a Russian journalist, teacher and former priest
from 2012 to 2017, in Religion und Gesellschaft in Ost und West(December). While the
religious freedom of the 1990s changed the situation for the church, it also allowed a variety of
religious groups to compete for Russian souls.

Banned new religious movement reappears in China

The new religious movement, Zhonggong, which was banned in China and supposedly extinguished four years ago, has made a comeback in the country to the consternation of government officials, according to the newsletter Bitter Winter (December 25). The movement was started in the 1980s by Zhang Hongbao and was based on Qigong healing and martial arts.

Holy See seeking stricter control over new Catholic communities

In an effort to reign in new Catholic communities and the concern about their potential abuses, the recognition of new institutes of consecrated life and new societies of apostolic life in Catholic dioceses will now first require the written approval of the Holy See, according to an Apostolic Letter (Motu proprio) titled Authenticum charismatis, published by Pope Francis on November 4. Canon 579 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law stated: “Diocesan bishops, each in his own territory, can erect institutes of consecrated life by formal decree, provided that the Apostolic See has been consulted.”

Significant numbers of young refugees converting to Christianity in Sweden

In Sweden, a country where the established church has been in decline, unexpected new members find their way to the Lutheran as well as other churches (e.g., Pentecostal), since thousands of young people with a Muslim background, who had arrived as unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs), have converted to the Christian faith, becoming active and engaged members of their congregations, writes Jonathan Morgan (Lund University) in The Review of Faith & International Affairs (Fall, 2020).

North Korean migrants convert through the ‘Christian passage’ and take up the missionary calling

Religion plays a significant role for North Korean refugees and migrants seeking a sense of belonging in their new homelands, a phenomenon that has been largely neglected by scholars, writes Jin-Heon Jung in the online journal Religions (October 9, 2020).  Jung writes that after being exposed to Protestant missionary networks while staying in Northeast China […]

Jihadist terrorism declines in Europe even as home-grown threats remain in sight

Although there has been a recent spate of terrorist attacks in Europe, jihadism on the continent has declined markedly, according to The Economist (November 3, 2020). The number of completed Islamist attacks fell every year from 2017 to 2019, while the number of failed or foiled ones rose, according to Europol, the EU’s law-enforcement agency. […]

State-approved Chinese Buddhism exported worldwide

China is exporting its own version of Buddhism throughout the world that is sympathetic to the Chinese government and the Communist party as way of spreading its “soft power,” according to Yoshiko Ashiwa of Hitotsubashi University and David L. Wank of Sophia University. Speaking at a webinar series on how religions are serving as a form of soft power by sponsoring nations (mainly looking at the Islamic world) at the Berkley Center for Religion and World Affairs of Georgetown University in mid-November, Ashiwa and Wank noted that China is using Buddhism to exert such international influence as it has previously done with Confucianism.