Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Jewish community negotiating secular, migration changes in Finland

Representing a rare continuation of Eastern European Ashkenazic Orthodoxy that survived the Shoah intact, the Jewish community in Finland now includes a significant number of Jews who have come from abroad and faces increasing secularization along with new influences. These changes “have led some members [to] opt for increasing adaptations to secular society and some […]

Between tradition and innovation, women ulama issuing fatwas in Indonesia

Women Islamic scholars in Java, Indonesia’s most populated island, are challenging male authority through fatwa-making, thus enriching Islamic jurisprudence, promoting inclusivity within Indonesian society, and marking a significant shift towards gender justice, writes Nor Ismah of Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Melbourne Asia Review (April 20). There has been a growing interest among scholars […]

Evangelicals dividing on the finer points of gender and sexuality

Although issues of sexuality and gender continue to roil most Christian churches, evangelical organizations are experiencing divisions less over LGBTQ behavior and more over identity and even terminology. Mary Jackson reports in World magazine (March 9) that even such a stalwart organization as Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) is facing criticism from its staff […]

Evangelicals and raunchy culture—a new affinity or reaction?

Evangelical culture has appeared to become more accepting of vulgarity and even profanity, though the sources of such a change are contested. In the New York Times (March 17), Ruth Graham reports on how conservative leaders and “influencers” in politics and the media have appealed to and been accepted by many evangelicals in vulgar and […]

Israel, Hamas, and AI’s religion problem?

Israel’s failure to understand the threat posed by Hamas, leading up to the October 7 attack, has been attributed to many factors, but the role of artificial intelligence and the technology’s blind spot toward Palestinian Islamic jihadism should not be discounted, writes Ofira Seliktar in the foreign policy journal Orbis (Spring). Israel’s leaders were of […]

Fasting reinvented in post-Catholic Austria and France

While the Catholic Church’s traditional prescriptions concerning bodily asceticism are largely ignored by the faithful, even in monasteries marked by “the progressive imposition of the prerogative of health over asceticism,” forms of voluntary reduction of consumption are appearing in secular society. This observation prompted sociologist Isabelle Jonveaux (University of Graz) to conduct research in Austria […]

Protestant-Catholic tensions grow even in post-Catholic Europe

There are growing tensions between Catholics and evangelicals in Europe, inflamed by remaining church-state disputes in areas where Catholicism is still dominant, reports Christianity Today (March). Concerns about growing secularism in Europe in recent years have led to more conciliatory attitudes and efforts between evangelical Protestants and Catholics. But although the Catholic Church no longer […]

Post-zero Covid China sees upsurge in spiritual seeking among young

Younger generations are increasingly turning to the supernatural to weather bad economic times in post-zero Covid China—from engaging in birth-chart readings, horoscopes and hexagrams to personalized advice from a psychic master—“all mediated, in true 21st-century fashion, by an app,” writes Aaron Sarin in the online publication Quillette (March 26), a publication covering free speech issues. […]

Wide range of conservative Christians take up the veil

There is a modest revival of conservative Christian women using veils and other head coverings during worship, reports Gottesdienst (February 27), a journal of Lutheran liturgy. While traditional Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox women have long taken up the veil during their liturgies, this practice is now spreading among conservative Lutherans, Reformed Church members, and […]

Women gaining entry to Sikh leadership in the U.S.

Women are increasingly taking up leadership roles in organized Sikhism in the U.S. and are challenging the norms and gender roles in male-dominated institutions, writes Komal Kaur in the journal Sikh Formations (online in February). Younger Sikhs have become increasingly activist in the religion in recent years, though more in society than organized Sikhism [see […]