Questioning the coherence of the newly-initiated World Interfaith Harmony Week, Michael Marten says that if neither 'faith' nor 'religion' really serve as useful comparative or relational concepts, it is perhaps intellectually more honest, and practically more fruitful, to abandon the pretence of ‘interfaith’ dialogue in favour of simple ‘interhuman’ dialogue.
Is reconciliation realistic? Is it possible to reconcile groups with diverse or contradictory experiences and understanding of the world? The answer to this question depends on what we accept as “realistic”, says Andrew Suderman What is the true story that is being told? The Christian message is that it is ultimately God who reconciles, not us. Our task is to align ourselves with God's action in this respect.
In different ways, Religious Studies and theology, says Professor Richard H. Roberts, have the capacity to make intelligently accessible ways of doing things that are as ancient and as important to humankind as the making of music.
That senior US politician Newt Gingrich tried to be forgiven for his infidelities while using “patriotism” and “overworking” excuses is what leads many to see a usually serious act turning out to have been rather comic, says Martin Marty, reporting on the media response in North America.
Currently on display at the Chicago Cultural Center are Vivian Maier’s street photographs, which are generating enormous excitement not only in Chicago, but internationally. Jeremy Biles explores their aesthetic, meaning, and significance in terms of Evelyn Underhill's mysticism.
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.