Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Satanism alive and well but cloven between “theists” and “rationalists”

While Satanism still exists, a gap between “rationalist’” and “occultist” or “theistic” groups “largely defines the global Satanist scene,” writes Massimo Introvigne in his newsletter Bitter Winter (May 24). Seeing Satan as more of a symbol of power and the priority of the self than a sentient being, rationalists eschew the supernaturalism of the occultist […]

Church in Northern Macedonia finds recognition in a redrawn Orthodox map

In a rapid succession of events during the month of May, the Orthodox Church in Northern Macedonia, which had been separated from other Orthodox churches for 55 years due to an unresolved conflict with the Serbian Patriarchate, was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) of Constantinople and also restored into communion with the Serbian Orthodox […]

Orthodox churches escape Moscow Patriarchate’s long shadow?

The Orthodox landscape in Ukraine continues to shift quickly as the war intensifies, with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) recently announcing it will cut its ties with Moscow. The church had been losing members, clergy, and parishes as well as facing severe legal restrictions, according to a report in The Pillar […]

New Age’s rebound in China takes a Sinicist turn

New Age concepts, teachings, and practices from the West are increasingly being “psychologized” and used as a way of controlling the population as they are popularized and translated in China, writes Anna Iskra in the journal Nova Religio (25:4). What is called the Body-Mind-Spirit (shen xin ling) movement has expanded throughout China since the early […]

Drawing lessons from Hillsong’s controversies and decline

That Hillsong will be gone in a few years cannot be ruled out, says Sébastien Fath, a French historian and leading scholar on evangelicalism, in a long interview with Youna Rivallain published in the French Catholic weekly La Vie (April 27). The fate of the global megachurch based in Australia after recent leadership and sexual […]

Shaker values, if not rituals, find a following in the creative class

While Shakerism has dwindled to a handful of members (with the sole remaining Shaker colony in Maine having only two members, one 65 and the other in her 80s), at least the “spirit” of the American-born religion is inspiring a new breed of artists, designers and restauranteurs drawn by its simplicity and egalitarianism, reports the […]

Evangelicals in Ukraine drift from pacifist ways in the face of Russian aggression

The war in Ukraine has challenged the unique pacifistic stance held by many Ukrainian evangelicals, writes Jayson Casper in Christianity Today (April 20). Because of the history of oppression in the Soviet Union, a mixture of state compliance and pacifism marked much of the evangelical revival in Ukraine and Russia during the past few decades. […]

Despite improvements, Egypt faces continuing church-building conflicts

Cases of violence against the Christian community in Upper Egypt are often rooted in hostility over the construction or renovation of Christian places of worship, reports La Croix International (April 26). There have been improvements under the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with a new kind of discourse and a law, ratified by […]

Muslim social media influencers intensifying religious individualism in Islamic societies?

The influence of social media in the Islamic world is producing a new kind of Muslim social influencer who is encouraging greater religious individualism among young Muslims, according to an article in the open-access journal Religions (April 8). Social media platforms have become popular among Muslim millennials in the Gulf countries, the Arab world, and […]

Pentecostalism in Southeast Asia: growing and adjusting to local environments

Economic development in Southeast Asia over the last three decades has been accompanied by a growth of Christianity, with Pentecostalism proving uniquely successful, write Terence Chong (ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute) and Daniel Goh (National University of Singapore) in the Newsletter of the International Institute for Asian Studies (Spring). Based on research conducted since 2017 in Malaysia, […]