Religion changes and mutates. Some of these religious mutations can be positively harmful in a changing Middle East. But other religious innovations can help religion accommodate itself to modernity, says Ahmad Sadri. It doesn’t matter whether a society has or does not have religion per se. What is important is what kind of religion or irreligion pervades in that society.
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.
Today and tomorrow, 27 & 28 October, are key dates in Christian history. Constantine's 'vision of the Cross' in 312, and his attribution of military victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge the next day to God, was the beginning of Christendom in Europe - an era which mixed civilisation with bloodshed, saints with militarism, and faith with often brutal sacralised-secular power.
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.
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.