Current Issue: Volume 34, No. 11

How the mainline factor still shapes civic and international landscape

While mainline denominations and many congregations continue to decline, new research suggests that the distinctive cultures, beliefs, and practices of these mainstream Christian bodies are still playing an important social function—in the U.S. and abroad—especially in the areas of civic life and international development. This mainline effect was seen in a study of volunteering and […]

CURRENT RESEARCH – September 2019

⚫ Among alumni of evangelical schools and homeschooling there appear to be elements of Christian nationalism but also a reluctance to engage in politics, according to research by David Sikkink of the University of Notre Dame. Sikkink analyzed the 2019 Cardus Education Survey of alumni between the ages of 24 and 39 from 1,905 private […]

Post-Brexit drive for Irish unity may face new religious “troubles”

The likelihood of Brexit becoming a reality is leading to new hopes of Irish unity, although religious factors quite different from the ones that have marked Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for over a century may complicate things. In the social science magazine Society (July–August), John Rodden writes that with the Republic of […]

Outreach to Russia’s intellectuals growing in Orthodox heartland

Russian Orthodoxy and its relation to Russia’s intellectual and cultural life is often seen through the prism of the church hierarchy and its conservative and nationalist sympathies, but on the parish level one finds a pattern of innovation in social ministry and theology, writes Wallace Daniel in the Journal of Church and State (online in […]

Scandinavia’s silent rooms go from religious accommodation to privatized spirituality

“Quiet rooms” established in public institutions in Scandinavia to accommodate religions in increasingly pluralistic and secular societies have taken on more private uses, revealing a shift from collective religion to a more individualistic spirituality, according to a study published in the journal  Sociology of Religion (Online in August). A team of researchers studied these “rooms of […]

The “Izala effect” and the decline of Salafi Islam in West Africa and Southeast Asia

Not only have recent Salafist political projects failed to materialize, but Salafis themselves are gaining less of a hearing and less influence among Muslims in a wide range of Islamic countries and contexts, write Muhammad Sani Umar and Mark Woodward in the journal Contemporary Islam (online August). While the campaigns of jihadic Salafist coalitions in Iraq, […]

Church of Almighty God members facing repression from Chinese government and obstacles in gaining asylum

The quasi-Christian group, the Church of Almighty God (CAG), has become the most outlawed religion in China, while its members face obstacles in gaining asylum in the West, according to one presentation at a session on the movement that was held at this year’s conference of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in New […]

Findings & Footnotes – September 2019

The phenomenon of the non-affiliated or “nones” has been prodded and probed from every available angle, although most often by social scientists and religious professionals concerned about what the rising tide of nones means for the future of institutional religion. Public Discourse, the electronic weekly newsletter of the conservative Witherspoon Institute, devoted its August 18 […]

On/File: A Continuing Record of People, Groups, Movements, and Events Impacting Contemporary Religion

1. Charis, short for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service, is the new office for charismatic renewal in the Catholic Church established by Pope Francis to coordinate this often unwieldy movement and bring it more into line with his papacy’s emphases on ecumenism and social justice. The charismatic movement had formerly had two liaison offices […]