Features

  • 19 Sep 2011

    Creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not scientific theories, but they are portrayed as such by some religious fundamentalists who attempt to have their views promoted in publicly-funded schools. There should be enforceable statutory guidance that they may not be presented as scientific theories in any publicly-funded school of whatever type, say a group of eminent scientists and science educators. They include an Anglican priest and they are backed by five organisations: three scientific, one secular humanist and one Christian.

  • 13 Sep 2011

    Whether in Iraq, Israel and Palestine, Egypt, Syria or Lebanon, Christians who were once the bellwethers of healthy Middle Eastern societies are feeling exposed, menaced and insecure. Their churches are being burnt down, relatives or friends are at times being killed, beaten up or abducted, voices are being snuffed out, job opportunities are being denied them and they are almost facing a dhimmitude that had become defunct with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Harry Hagopian asks what response is appropriate, starting from a personal exploration of the issues from a European perspective.

  • 13 Sep 2011

    Classifying communities and their practices and values as ‘religious’ often has the effect of marginalising them from the mainstream of public debates on justice and the proper ends of the good life, says scholar Timothy Fitzgerald. Such classification has the effect of clothing secular reason with the misleading aura of neutral objectivity, he suggests.

  • 11 Sep 2011

    Over the past ten years we have witnessed the birth of the neologism '9/11' and the horrid and inaccurate phrase 'global war on terror'. Some of what happened in those ten intervening years is now history, says Harry Hagopian. But much of it continues to resonate across the globe, calling us to a change of outlook and action. Revolutions and popular revolts across the Middle East and North Africa region vindicate the standpoint that real changes should come from within and do not necessarily get imposed militarily upon a whole people anymore.

  • 11 Sep 2011

    What are the principal lessons of the ten years of war since the 11 September 2001 attacks? Paul Rogers, professor in the department of peace studies at Bradford University, gives some crisp answers. He has played a prominent role in the Oxford Research Group, has written extensively on related global and regional issues, and his first openDemocracy column was published a few days after 9/11.

  • 2 Sep 2011

    Events in Syria, though making headlines across the globe, and impacting the lives of everyone inside the country have left the Church in Lebanon tongue-tied it appears. Aline Sara, news editor of NOW Lebanon reflects on the political, religious, social and cultural issues which have led many Lebanese and Syrian Christians to refrain from criticising the regime for its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

  • 2 Sep 2011

    The recent disturbances in England show that fundamental issues concerning the legitimation of government, social justice, and societal stability need to be addressed ever more urgently, says Professor Richard Roberts. He argues that scholars of religion should not simply remain reluctant but paid tools of an industrialised system of defective socialisation that initiates students into informed passivity, but rather the source of a truly critical discourse that broadens the imagination and enhances personal agency.

  • 30 Aug 2011

    What started in Tunisia simply cannot stop now in Libya, says Harry Hagopian. It should not only grow but also improve incrementally so that we all stop talking romantically about a one-season 'Arab Spring' and think more pragmatically in terms of an Arab Awakening from a long slumber - a stubborn challenge against those rulers and elites who would prefer their co-citizens to remain dormant.

  • 22 Aug 2011

    The visit to Britain of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, from the Cordoba Initiative in New York, resonates not just with our reflections on the impending tenth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, but with the continuing quest for interreligious understanding in a conflictual world, says Professor Hugh Goddard.

  • 16 Aug 2011

    If we can take anything positive from the days of destruction and division in England recently, says Chris Bain, perhaps it should be a dedication to tackle fear and exclusion wherever it exists around the world, and to stand by the women and children in the poorest countries who currently stand afraid on their own.