Posts Tagged ‘Volume 35 No. 7’

Pandemic spreads conspiracies far and wide among a range of believers

Conspiracies seem to be a byproduct of a global crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic, and recent reports suggest they are not limited to any one religion or spirituality. What is known as the QAnon movement, which holds to conspiratorial ideas about the existence of a “deep state” seeking to bring down the presidency of Donald Trump, has found a home in a segment of the Christian right, writes Marc Andre Argentino in the online magazine The Conversation (May 18, 2020).

‘Prophecy voters’ forming core of Trump’s evangelical base

Much of Donald Trump’s evangelical base of support comes not from “value voters” or nostalgic “white Christian nationalists” as much as “prophecy voters,” those charismatics who see the president as an anointed leader who will have a part in bringing God’s kingdom to earth. This group is likely to continue to influence and reshape the Christian right during the 2020 elections and beyond, writes Damon Berry in Nova Religio (May 11), a journal on new religious movements.

The pandemic as a driver for change and ritual adjustments in religion

According to Italian journalist Iacopo Scaramuzzi (writing on his Facebook page), the coronavirus epidemic has succeeded in pushing reforms into the Catholic Church in a way nothing else has—with laypeople organizing their own domestic liturgical life and a variety of creative responses to an unexpected situation preventing the gathering of faithful in places of worship.

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ find new interest through online innovations

While the Jehovah’s Witnesses have not assigned a unique prophetic significance to the coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic has confirmed their end-times beliefs, created new interest in the religion’s teachings, and strengthened its online presence and innovations, writes George D. Chryssides on the blog CennSam (April 30, 2020) of the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements.

Rising role of chaplains revealed during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed that the sources of religious support for many Americans are less focused on clergy and more on chaplains and more unconventional spiritual-care providers, according to sociologist Wendy Cadge writing in the Atlantic magazine (May 17, 2020).

Current Research

A community’s greater degree of social capital, as generated by congregations and other voluntary organizations, is likely to lessen the severity of the coronavirus as well as help in recovery from the crisis, according to research by Christos Andreas Makridis.

Islam and the pandemic in Belgium—crisis as a step toward more integration?

The restriction of various Muslim practices dictated by the coronavirus pandemic may have long-term effects in the Islamic community in Belgium, according to several papers written by scholars associated with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Islam in the Contemporary World (Catholic University of Louvain).

Pandemic driving wedge between Russian state and church?

The spread of the coronavirus in Russia has provoked a mood of apocalypticism as well as resistance to shut down orders in the Russian Orthodox Church, according to several reports. The New York Times (May 5, 2020) reports that the “clash between faith and public health has been particularly divisive in Russia, where memories of religious persecution in the Soviet Union have made priests and their flocks highly sensitive to any limits on their rituals.”

Pandemic in Japan shows supply and demand for healing rituals

The coronavirus pandemic in Japan has highlighted the differences between traditional and new religions and has also shown the strong hold that healing rituals still have in a secular society, according to a special report published in the Asia-Pacific Journal (May 1, 2020). Japan did not take the early precautions against the spread of the virus, but among the groups responding the earliest were new religious movements.

Pandemic adding to stigmatization of Muslims in India by Hindu nationalists

Indian Muslims are facing a new wave of discrimination and stigmatization as the coronavirus has spread throughout India. The German newspaper Deutsche Welle (May 14, 2020) reports that “After the Indian government linked hundreds of coronavirus cases to a Muslim gathering in March, social media users began spreading angry messages and sharing fake news articles purporting that Muslims were conspiring to spread the virus.”