We are likely to understand situations like the recent cairo protests more readily by examining the social and political pressures involved for both the protesters and the security forces, says Michael Marten - rather than seeking to make broad statements equating Christian and Muslim beliefs and practices.
There is little if anything that is straightforward or indeed ‘natural’ about the body, says Alison Jasper. It is a cultural canvas constructed through metaphors and a physical one preyed on by the idea that ‘more surgery will make me better somehow’.
The assumption that there is some essential distinction between 'religious' and 'non-religious' domains – which is still today a globalising discourse – is an ideological construct which takes on an appearance of naturalness and inevitability, says Timothy Fitzgerald. When such generalised assumptions are taken into the field of international relations they cause further difficulties.
Scholars from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany are exploring the “globalisation” of Christian churches through a research project focusing on inter-regional dynamics and their effect on churches, particularly from the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s to the development of the WCC Programme to Combat Racism and other social justice emphases through the 1970s. The project has culminated in an international conference on the theme at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute.
Certainty sells in both science and religion, says former priest Mark Vernon. It can also be enormously damaging. But as Thomas Aquinas realised, the best we can do when talking about God is to understand what God is not, and be open to what God might be, beyond our comprehension. It’s also known as faith.
A Michigan based pastor-author is stirring up a heated debate about hell among his fellow American evangelicals, says Martin Marty. In a curious way it shows that evangelicalism's theology as well as its politics can still attract a response from wider, often baffled, publics.
The colonial rule of the Spanish in the Andes was repressive, says Sabine Dedenbach-Salazar. But the contemporary worldview of the Quechua people shows that the decision of the European rulers to use the native languages to teach the indigenous peoples the new faith influenced how those people managed old and new concepts.
Cathedral ritual anchored in the agonies of the Christchurch earthquake tragedy, but sitting separate enough to allow pain to be touched and held. This is the place where the sacred, the mystery in our midst, may sometimes be glimpsed as creative inspiration for restoration, says Sande Ramage, writing from New Zealand.
Religious state and non-state authorities have entered into a discussion about the legitimacy of political resistance, says Malika Zeghal. Al-Azhar, through the presence of some of its members in Tahrir Square, has shown its relevance to the recent political mobilization and has asserted its role in shaping a narrative of hope against tyranny.
Specialised news agencies such as ENInews need financial empowerment to sustain editorial independence. They need more support from churches and religious-backed organizations, says Peter Kenny. More importantly, they need backing from the mainstream secular community as well.
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.