Western stereotypes frequently cast Muslims as either "good" (quietist) or "bad" political, with Sufis wholly identified with the former camp, says Omid Safi. This dichotomy ignores a third group of Muslims: Those who, whether mystically inclined or not, want to neither destroy the world nor acquiesce to the wishes of the Empire, but rather seek to redeem the world by speaking truth to power.
Since it was established in 1970 the Church of Scotland’s Society, Religion and Technology (SRT) Project has made a significant contribution not just to the life of one particular church and its capacity to comment on demanding issues in society, but also to public debates about science, technology and ethics generally, says Mary Anson.
Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is a huge and valuable theologically-rooted ethical resource, says Simon Barrow, reporting on a new CST website. Despite areas of significant debate / disagreement in the bio-ethical sphere, and necessarily tough questions about the Church's performance and stance in a number of areas, CST is a huge contribution to human social understanding and moral discourse, both within and well beyond Catholic institutions.
Natividad Llanquileo is a young woman from the Mapuche people, an indigenous group that makes up some four per cent of the Chilean population. She is also the youngest representative of the Mapuche political prisoners in Concepción. Alberto Dufey hears her story, and that of her people.
The long-awaited new book on American religion and its impact from Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell introduces us to complexities and contradictions which often get overlooked public debate, says Martin Marty. Does religion unite or divide? Experience says 'both'. But exactly where, how and why remains important for a rounded view.
Party conferences, at least for the 'big three', have become an elaborate ritual for the faithful, says Simon Barrow. But their well-spun manoeuvres have little to do with the 'new politics', let alone the harsh word of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
The recent Pew Forum report on religious literacy, or the lack of it, in the United States contains some new and some not-so-new trends, says Martin E. Marty. Above all, it is is a wake-up call for those who value belief seeking understanding.