Posts Tagged ‘Volume 36 No. 3’

Biden era signals a liberal Catholic moment and more tension with U.S. church leaders

While the election of Joe Biden as U.S. president seems to be ushering in a new era of liberal Catholic (and, in general, liberal religious) influence, by closely aligning themselves with the Democratic administration, liberal Catholic activists and leaders run the risk of being perceived to be as partisan as evangelicals were under the Trump […]

Failed Trump prophesies create new divisions in charismatic and Pentecostal churches

There is new division and conflict between charismatic and Pentecostal leaders and their followers over their failed prophecies concerning the reelection of President Donald Trump, particularly after the riots and attempted insurrection of January 6.

Northern Idaho hailed as promised land for religious and political conservatives

In the face of social and political polarization as well as the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, a segment of religious conservatives are pulling up stakes and moving to northern Idaho, a deep “red” state that is considered friendly to religion and traditional values, writes Tracy Simmons on the website Religion Unplugged (December 29).

UFO research’s bid for legitimacy complicating science-religion relationship?

The orthodox scientific view that has ruled out the existence of UFOs is coming into question—
raising new dilemmas and prospects for the relationship between science and religion writes University of Chicago anthropologist Hussein Ali Agrama in the science and religion journal Zygon (December). In the last few years, there have been a series of disclosures of military programs and research involving UFOs that claim encounters with these alleged phenomena.

Christian Science fending off obituaries through worldly adaptations

Increased financial capital and growth in the global South (mostly in several African countries)
have allowed the Church of Christian Science to cope with a declining number of churches, societies and practitioners, ensuring its continuing existence in the foreseeable future, writes independent scholar Elise Wolff in the Journal of Contemporary Religion (October 2020).

Post-pandemic church forecasts eye struggle and ministry innovation

Among other trends, the post-pandemic future of American churches is likely to include significant growth in convocational ministry, smaller satellite congregations, the continued use of digital church strategies to complement live services, and a new emphasis on healthy churches “adopting” and fostering weaker ones, according to church growth researcher Thom Rainer in a blog post on his website Church Answers (December 21).


While religious attendance is negatively associated with women’s egalitarian attitudes toward gender, this relationship depends on a country’s rate of gender inequality and religious affiliation, according to an analysis of survey data from 37 countries. The study, published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (online in January), is based on a survey of gender roles by the International Social Survey Program that measured women’s religiosity and attitudes on gender.

Growth of solstice ceremonies suggests rituals without religion in Denmark

The new presence of atheists and humanists in Denmark during the past two decades has led to a growth of winter solstice celebrations that appeal to a diverse secular and religious public, according to an article in the journal Religions (12:74). Astrid Krabbe Troll writes that since 2010, there has been a marked increase in these rituals, which are often based on local traditions and natural surroundings.

Belarus protests involve believers and divide religious leaders

The mass protests against the presidency of Alexander Lukashenko that have rocked Belarus since last summer have involved the country’s Orthodox and Catholic churches, although the Orthodox hierarchy has been more divided on the issue, while Protestants and other religious groups have remained neutral.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews wield growing influence in Israeli politics

With the ultra-Orthodox community (Haredim) having tripled from 4 to 12 percent of the Israeli population since 1980 and projected to grow to over 20 percent by 2040, the culture war over issues related to the identity of the “Jewish state” will become even more significant as the Haredim aspire to shape public affairs.