ReligionWatch Archives

For ReligionWatch archives prior to February 2016, CLICK HERE or please contact Richard Cimino at relwatch1@msn.com

The rise and fall of “big-name spirituality” and its substitutes

The era of big-name spiritual leaders who packed stadiums in North American cities—figures like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Rhonda Byrne, and Desmond Tutu—is fast fading, writes Douglas Todd in the Vancouver Sun (March 31). “There is not nearly as much mass-culture focus on trend-setting spiritual figures as there was […]

Judaism’s belated entry into online worship brings big dividends

While many congregations have been struggling to manage the challenges of meeting in-person while retaining an online presence, the online Jewish magazine Tablet (April 6) reports that synagogues have been particularly adept at such a balancing act. Ron Wolfson and Steven Windmueller write that there has been a revolution in synagogues since the Covid pandemic, […]

Drawing lessons from Hillsong’s controversies and decline

That Hillsong will be gone in a few years cannot be ruled out, says Sébastien Fath, a French historian and leading scholar on evangelicalism, in a long interview with Youna Rivallain published in the French Catholic weekly La Vie (April 27). The fate of the global megachurch based in Australia after recent leadership and sexual […]

Shaker values, if not rituals, find a following in the creative class

While Shakerism has dwindled to a handful of members (with the sole remaining Shaker colony in Maine having only two members, one 65 and the other in her 80s), at least the “spirit” of the American-born religion is inspiring a new breed of artists, designers and restauranteurs drawn by its simplicity and egalitarianism, reports the […]

CURRENT RESEARCH

The American Bible Society’s annual State of the Bible report finds that approximately 26 million people have mostly or completely stopped reading the Bible in the last year. Christianity Today magazine (April 20) reports on the survey, which in 2021 had found about 50 percent of Americans saying they read the Bible on their own at least […]

Evangelicals in Ukraine drift from pacifist ways in the face of Russian aggression

The war in Ukraine has challenged the unique pacifistic stance held by many Ukrainian evangelicals, writes Jayson Casper in Christianity Today (April 20). Because of the history of oppression in the Soviet Union, a mixture of state compliance and pacifism marked much of the evangelical revival in Ukraine and Russia during the past few decades. […]

Despite improvements, Egypt faces continuing church-building conflicts

Cases of violence against the Christian community in Upper Egypt are often rooted in hostility over the construction or renovation of Christian places of worship, reports La Croix International (April 26). There have been improvements under the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with a new kind of discourse and a law, ratified by […]

Muslim social media influencers intensifying religious individualism in Islamic societies?

The influence of social media in the Islamic world is producing a new kind of Muslim social influencer who is encouraging greater religious individualism among young Muslims, according to an article in the open-access journal Religions (April 8). Social media platforms have become popular among Muslim millennials in the Gulf countries, the Arab world, and […]

Pentecostalism in Southeast Asia: growing and adjusting to local environments

Economic development in Southeast Asia over the last three decades has been accompanied by a growth of Christianity, with Pentecostalism proving uniquely successful, write Terence Chong (ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute) and Daniel Goh (National University of Singapore) in the Newsletter of the International Institute for Asian Studies (Spring). Based on research conducted since 2017 in Malaysia, […]

Findings & Footnotes

■  The Muslim World devotes its current (Winter) issue to social welfare efforts among Muslim individuals, organizations, and countries, often comparing them to their Western counterparts. That there are different forms of charity and giving in Islam, some more obligatory and “religious” than others, complicates the issue. Some organizations chafe at the “Islamic” title applied […]