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.
So sudden have been the marked trends showing disaffection from organised religion that leaders have not internalised the evidence, says Martin Marty. They need to wake up. “Being spiritual” alone is not going to help keep the stories, the language of ethics, and the pool of volunteers embedded in religious bodies thriving.
The issue of book burning raised recently by a small church in Florida with its threats against the Qur'an touches sensitivities which are deeply felt by both religious and secular apprehensions, says Professor Chaiwat Satha-Anand. Unless we have the emotional and intellectual intelligence to understand what is at stake in this, we risk further fuelling deadly conflicts.
While many of us have been holidaying, hate-mongering employing religion and ideology for its purposes, has been all the rage, says Martin Marty. Here he deconstructs evangelist Franklin Graham's recent pronouncements on Muslim genetics, competition for souls, Islam as killer, and scriptures.