Posts Tagged ‘Volume 31 No. 6’

Churches fine tune message, methods to draw in skeptics

The more public presence of atheists and agnostics in U.S. society has compelled churches of all kinds to create new ministries catering to the questions and doubts of such skeptics, reports the New York Times (March 4). Both the growing assertiveness of atheists, as shown by the “new atheism,” and the growing rate of non-affiliated […]

What is the ‘Trump effect’ on evangelicals

The significant evangelical support for Donald Trump has thrown pollsters, pundits, professors, and professing evangelicals themselves into spasms of introspection and bewilderment. Trump’s significant lead among evangelicals compared with more sympathetic candidates, such as Ted Cruz and John Kasich, has been the most puzzling. Writing in Politico magazine (March 13), Boston University religion professor Stephen […]

Seattle—ground zero for church planting?

Although the Seattle area has been billed as the most secular city and region in the U.S., its reputation for technological innovation has carried over to church planting, writes Kathryn Robinson in Seattle Met magazine (March 23). She cites the research of Christopher James of Dubuque Theological Seminary, who realized “between spin-offs, branches of multisite […]

The de-churching of black political activism

Black church leaders have been largely supportive of the Black Lives Matters movement, but many young African-American activists are not necessarily returning the respect, reports Emma Green in The Atlantic (March 22). While the black church has long been foundational in civil rights and social justice efforts in the African-American community, it has not been […]

Demographers take on the ‘big questions’ beyond birth and death

A late March conference on religious demography at the Pew Research Center in Washington, attended by RW, suggests that this field is expanding and finally engaging secular-minded demographers. Demography as a discipline has largely focused on tracking the changes surrounding fertility rates and patterns of migration and mortality throughout the world, but a glance at […]

Current Research: April 2016

A high rate of suicide in states with significant Mormon populations has led researchers to speculate that there may be a connection between Mormon attitudes about homosexuality and such a phenomenon. There have been anecdotal claims that the Latter Day Saints’ strict teachings against homosexuality could have a role in suicidal behavior, but in the […]

Media shapes the message on religion in Europe

It comes as little surprise that recent research conducted in several European countries shows that Islam holds by far the top position when it comes to the amount of secular media reports dealing with religion: media attention is naturally drawn toward conflicts and tensions. Besides confirming such trends through quantitative research, a recent international conference […]

Waldensians face new challenges in pluralistic and ecumenical Italy

The Waldensian Church, considered the oldest Protestant body in the world, is facing a mixed picture of growing urban churches and declining rural ones in its home country of Italy. The Waldensians started out as a perfectionist and egalitarian sect in the Middle Ages that merged with the Reformation in the 15th century, becoming first […]

Church taxes in Germany generate considerable income and mainline decline

Since 2010, the number of people leaving mainline churches in Germany has continued to rise, writes Sylvie Toscer-Angot in Eurel (Feb.), an academic website based in Strasbourg, France, that provides updates on sociological and legal developments in the field of religion in European countries. Leaving one of the mainline churches represents a purely administrative move […]

The ‘French connection’ in rising Sunni Islamic militancy

The terrorist attacks in Paris and more recently in Brussels are leading investigators to look at the Francophone factor in the spread of Sunni Islamic extremism in the world, write William McCants and Christopher Meserole in the Brookings Institution blog Order from Chaos (March 25). The researchers looked at the number of Sunni foreign fighters […]