Posts Tagged ‘Volume 31 No. 4’

A Note from Rodney Stark, Co-Director of the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University

I have been a regular reader of Religion Watch since its earliest days. In fact, I found it so useful for helping me keep up with major religious events and trends, as well as research on religion, that many years ago I wrote a blurb to be used in soliciting subscribers. Even so, Religion Watch […]

Christian study centers extend evangelical presence at elite universities

A growing number of Christian study centers based around prestigious American universities are taking “advantage of their campuses’ multicultural marketplace of ideas,” even as evangelical groups have faced exclusion from these centers of education, writes Molly Worthen in the New York Times (Jan. 17). Christian study centers, which occupy private buildings off campus and exist […]

Crowdfunding—coming soon to a church near you

Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way to support new ventures in business and non-profits, and now new congregations and other religious organizations are investing in such campaigns as they seek to expand their ministries, according to the current issue of the Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet (No. 9). Such crowdfunding sites as […]

Canada’s unchurched capital draws innovation in ministry

Vancouver, long Canada’s most unchurched city, is showing that megachurches and other religious innovations can flourish there, even if their American origins are downplayed. The Christian Century (Jan. 6) notes that Vancouver “is known in religious circles for being a very secular city in a secular province in an unchurched part of the continent. According […]

Current Research: February 2016

Voters are less opposed to the idea of having a non-believer, even an atheist, as a presidential candidate, according to a survey by Pew Research. The survey, released January 27, shows that the share of Americans who said they would be less likely to vote for an atheist is down from 61 percent in 2007 […]

How Islamic is the Islamic State?

The nature of the Islamic State (IS) gives rise to various and often conflicting approaches among scholars and other observers monitoring its development. In an article published in Terrorism and Political Violence (Nov.-Dec. 2015), Jeffrey Kaplan (University of Wisconsin Oshkosh) and Christopher P. Costa (Department of the Navy) approach it as an instance of a […]

Zoroastrian women moving toward priesthood

For the past few years, women have started to serve as assistant priests for the Zoroastrian community in Iran, reports Giulia Bertoluzzi in the Swiss monthly Sept (Dec.-Jan.). Following the emigration of many Zoroastrians—including priests—after the Islamic Revolution, there has been a severe shortage of priests for performing the rituals of this very old, Persian-born […]

Jewish extremist youth violence fed by religion or disillusionment?

A spate of attacks on Palestinians and churches and mosques in Israel in the last year has put the spotlight on the growth of extremism among Jewish youths, reports a Religion News Service-based article in the Washington Post (Jan. 20). Both religious Zionists and secular Jews were shocked by reports of youths in the Zionist […]

Remnant of Ethiopian Jews making the move to Israel

The decision taken in November 2015 by the Israeli government to allow 9,000 Ethiopians previously not recognized as Jews to immigrate to Israel marks a last step in successive approaches to the issue, as reported by Bernard Dichek in the Jerusalem Report (Jan. 25). Some of those who had been allowed to come at the […]

Converts and their spouses diversifying Reform Judaism in Israel

Immigrants, largely from the Philippines, are converting to the Reform branch of Judaism and are bringing along their inactive Jewish spouses in the process, adding to Jewish diversity in Israel, reports Judy Maltz in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (Jan. 5). The new movement of converts are usually Filipino women who “converted to Judaism through the […]