The tenth assembly of the World Council of Churches, like many ecumenical gatherings, is facing strong opposition and criticism from fundamentalist-style Christian groups, notes Ekklesia co-director Simon Barrow. The answer this is not to adopt the mindset and rejectionism of our opponents, but to engage with with difference and “otherness” however difficult and challenging that might be.
Concerns about young people have made the news this week. There are fears of "sexualisation" and "radicalisation". Both words imply that young people cannot make choices themselves, but only passively accept what is imposed on them. And they distract attention from the policies of a government which is set to wreck the opportunities of countless young people.
Why do religious communities which for a long time strenuously resisted the new, the modern, the contemporary, now most successfully adapt their expressions and employ or even exploit the manifestations of 'the modern' which they once opposed? Martin E. Marty opens up an apparent conundrum.
Many Americans and Europeans are taken aback by the suggestion that collaborating with religious groups on matters of shared concern is a necessity for human flourishing in many parts of the world, says Scott Appleby. They shouldn't. Both bridge-building and bridge-burning wear many labels in today's world, secular and religious. Literacy and engagement are needed to distinguish the positive from the negative, not hardened ideology.
Disputes over truth are often presented as examples of a clash between religion and science. Galileo's conflict with the Roman Catholic Church is frequently talked about in this way, as are more recent controversies about evolution and creationionism. But an exploration of the details reveals that conflicts over truth are often closely tied to questions of politics and power.
When London Mayor Boris Johnson joined in a carol service last week at the ultra-conservative church Jesus House, he could be sure of one thing: that whatever the reaction, the media would not give him nearly as hard a time as if he had associated himself with a group of fundamentalist Muslims.
Try to imagine a world in which only things acceptable to pure reason are deemed legitimate, suggests Giles Fraser. It would be to imagine the most desperately impoverished cultural and emotional (let alone spiritual) desert.