Posts Tagged ‘Volume 32 No. 1’

Christian nationalism—both gaining and losing ground?

There is much talk about the growth of “Christian nationalism” even as surveys and journalists report the decline of “white Christian America,” but several papers presented at the late October meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Atlanta suggest that any such phenomenon is far from a monolithic or accelerating force in society. Sociologists Andrew Whitehead and Christopher Scheitle presented a paper showing that while Christian nationalism, which they define as a position linking the importance of being Christian to being American, had shown growth between 1996 and 2004, the subsequent period up to 2014 had seen decline in this ideology. Using data from the General Social Survey in 1996, 2004, and 2014, the researchers found that 30 percent of Americans held this position in 1996, while 48 percent did in 2004, but then the rate dropped back to 33 percent in 2014. They looked at other variables that seek to maintain boundaries for true Americans, such as the importance of speaking English, and did find that this sentiment followed the same episodic pattern. Whitehead and Scheitle argue that the role of patriotism and attachment to America was stronger in 2004, which was closer to 9/11, than in the earlier and later periods. Although they didn’t have data for the last two years, they speculated that these rates may be increasing again. 01christian_nationalisma

Interactive and Virtual Bibles enhancing communal, experiential sides of faith

New advances in the digitalization of the Bible, especially through recent social media and virtual reality technologies, are likely to accent the experiential and group-based nature of Scripture reading, according to an article in the Jesuit magazine America (October 17). The development of virtual reality (VR) is already being adapted to experiencing the Bible in […]

Sunbirds and Midwesterners as the new Amish?

The rapid growth of Amish communities are leading Amish to settle in unusual places, though it seems more likely that they will be heading toward upper Midwestern states in the near future according to sociologists at the recent meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Atlanta, which RW attended. Cory Anderson […]

Cardinal appointments suggest leftward drift in American church leadership

The appointment of new U.S. cardinals by Pope Francis is likely to tilt the American church toward a more conciliatory stance on contested social issues reports America magazine (October 9). The decision by the pope to name Archbishop Blaise Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis could have significant impact on the church, […]

A segment of American Hindus lean toward Trump

Although roughly half of Indian-Americans are registered Democrats, a sizeable segment of the Hindu diaspora in the U.K. and U.S. have embraced much of Republican candidate Donald Trump’s agenda reports the online academic blog The Conversation (October 26). The Hindu right organization Hindu Sena (Hindu Army) in India went so far as to perform a […]

Alternative spiritualities and the rise of mobile leaders

The geographic and spiritual mobility of leaders of New Age and alternative religious groups as well as the hybridization of symbolic references are shaping the practices and discourses of such groups write Swiss researchers Manéli Farahmand and Sybille Rouiller in an article published in the newly-released issue of the online journal New Diversities (18:1), published […]

Current Research: November 2016

If an individual switches his or her denomination once in his or her early years, he or she is more likely to do so again according to a study by Buster Smith of Catawba College and Chris Scheitle of West Virginia University presented at the late October meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study […]

Despite restrictions, women gaining place in former Soviet Union churches

Women are gaining a new place in churches in the former Soviet Union, often because of a lack of men involved, according to the East–West Church & Ministry Report (Fall). Protestant churches in the former Soviet Union have been among the most conservative, traditionally restricting the roles of women and requiring head coverings and segregated […]

Taoist and Buddhist groups taking lead in environmental activism in Asia

In Asia, Buddhist and Taoist groups and movements have emerged as important actors in environmental protection, although they are drawing considerable opposition from governments in China and even India, according to historian Prasenjit Duara. In an interview with the New York Times (October 17), Duara says that in the last decade or two, Buddhist environmental […]

When a parody religion becomes the real thing

The spoof religion known as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was started to parody creationists and challenge establishment churches in Europe but is now taking on the shape of a religion itself reports the Atlantic (October). The parody religion, also known as the Pastafarians, started in the U.S. amidst the battle over teaching […]