Archive for the ‘General Articles’ Category

Worldwide Church of God dissolves, leaving replica splinter groups in its wake

While the Worldwide Church of God no longer exists after the schisms and scandals this new religious movement experienced in the 1980s and ’90s, its offshoots continue to preserve important features of the movement and show some growth, writes J. Gordon Melton in the Journal of CESNUR (September/October), published by the Center on New Religions […]

Hamas attacks pushing ultra-Orthodox Jews closer to mainstream Israeli society?

A growing number of Haredi men are volunteering for the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) following the outbreak of the war against Hamas, which might signal that the “modern Haredi” phenomenon is developing into a real movement, writes Eliyahu Berkovits of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel Program on the website of the Israel Democracy Institute (October 26). […]

Romanian Orthodox Church retains influential place in society

The second-largest national Orthodox church with 25 million members, autocephalous since 1885 and under its own Patriarch since 1925, the Romanian Orthodox Church (ROC) has played an important role in Romanian society and national identity, and has managed to preserve a high level of social acceptance throughout regime changes over the past century, writes Mihai-D. […]

Boko Haram increasingly turning on fellow Muslims in Nigeria

Boko Haram, known for its Islamic jihadist terrorism in Nigeria, has slowly evolved from an organization under siege by the government to one estranged from its Muslim rivals and now actively targeting fellow Muslims with violence, writes Abubakar Abubakar Usman of the Asia Middle East Centre for Research and Dialogue (Malaysia). Writing in the journal […]

Jewish chaplaincy provides new settings and roles for Judaism

Just as Christian chaplains are filling in for the roles that traditional congregations and clergy used to play, a new breed of Jewish chaplains is meeting spiritual needs that synagogues once catered to, write Bethamie Horowitz, Wendy Cadge, and Joseph Weisberg in Contemporary Jewry (online in September). The researchers also find that Jewish chaplains are […]

Dealing with the Soviet past and democracy in the Russian Orthodox Church

Besides ambiguities in the Russian Orthodox assessment of the Soviet regime, even its rejection of the Soviet past has rarely translated into an engagement with a democratic agenda, writes Alexander Agadjanian (Yerevan State University, Armenia) in the current issue of the Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies (5:2, dated 2022, but just published). Agadjanian starts by […]

Ukrainian Muslims feeling destruction and rifts from the war

With the war impacting all religious groups in the country, it has also affected Ukrainian Muslims, who have responded with humanitarian initiatives, the development of the military chaplaincy, and calls for help to foreign Islamic organizations, writes Oleg Yarosh (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) in Religion & Gesellschaft in Ost und West (September). Before […]

New Christian hybrid schools growing and competing in post-pandemic landscape

Christian “micro-schools” have been started across the country, “offering a hybrid in-class and at-home education to keep costs down and the odds of survival up in an increasingly competitive K-12 sector,” writes Vince Bielski on the Real Clear Investigations website (August 17). After years of stagnation, many long-established Christian schools are also increasing their enrollment. […]

Clergy shortage in Zen Buddhist communities challenging Buddhist transmission in America

There is a clergy shortage in Zen Buddhist communities in the U.S., leading to new roles for the laity but also greater bureaucracy in some cases and a looming crisis in transmission as teaching and rituals are scaled back, according to sociologist Rebecca S. K. Li of the College of New Jersey. Li presented her […]

A new spring for Basic Ecclesial Communities among Brazil’s Catholics?

After years of decline, Basic Ecclesial Communities are sensing that the time might be ripe for growth again thanks to support from Pope Francis, reports journalist Eduardo Campos Lima in La Croix International (July 28). Associated with Liberation Theology as a theoretical foundation, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (abbreviated as CEBs in Portuguese and Spanish) accordingly […]