Category : Globalization

(Pew RC) The Age Gap in Religion Around the World

In the United States, religious congregations have been graying for decades, and young adults are now much less religious than their elders. Recent surveys have found that younger adults are far less likely than older generations to identify with a religion, believe in God or engage in a variety of religious practices.

But this is not solely an American phenomenon: Lower religious observance among younger adults is common around the world, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in more than 100 countries and territories over the last decade.

Although the age gap in religious commitment is larger in some nations than in others, it occurs in many different economic and social contexts – in developing countries as well as advanced industrial economies, in Muslim-majority nations as well as predominantly Christian states, and in societies that are, overall, highly religious as well as those that are comparatively secular.

For example, adults younger than 40 are less likely than older adults to say religion is “very important” in their lives not only in wealthy and relatively secular countries such as Canada, Japan and Switzerland, but also in countries that are less affluent and more religious, such as Iran, Poland and Nigeria.

While this pattern is widespread, it is not universal.

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Posted in Globalization, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(CT) Philip Jenkins reviews Professor Brian Stanley’s new book on Christianity in the 20th Century

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of trends in modern Christianity will have opinions about what Stanley’s 15 key themes should be. We might disagree with the exact contents of his list, but few would question the reasonableness of including, for instance, “uneasy marriages between Christianity and nationalism”; the persecution of churches in different societies; ecumenism; the dilemmas of living as a Christian under Islamic rule; human rights, gender, and sexuality; the role of migrant churches; or the relationship between Christianity, ethnic hatred, and genocide.

But if the topics to some extent select themselves, Stanley then startles with his choice of specific examples. Yes, we know that Christians in different eras have exalted the notion of “Holy Nations,” but how many authors would think to examine this approach with a comparative study of Protestant nationalism in South Korea and Marian Catholic nationalism in Poland? Or to compare the churches’ response to genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda? One might easily point to the fundamental cultural differences between the nations placed under the microscope, especially when Catholic and Protestant traditions are juxtaposed. But overriding those forms of diversity is one key question. Each of these churches, sects, or movements claims to be Christian, regardless of its location and historical circumstances. So what exactly is the identifiable core of that Christian belief or understanding? How malleable is it?

Another strength of Stanley’s book is the serious attention paid to a wide diversity of traditions and denominations. A generation or so ago, a book giving adequate and fair coverage to both Catholics and (mainline) Protestants was laudable. Stanley certainly treats those two fully, but over and above that he offers a chapter on the Orthodox tradition, as viewed in the cases of Greece, Turkey, and even East Africa. Given his interest in Global South religion, he is very informative on Pentecostal worlds, as well as the African independent traditions represented by the Aladura and other healing churches.

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Posted in Books, Church History, Globalization

(JE) Esther Chung–What American Christians Can Learn From the Global Church

Christians all around the world create the body of the Church. Each has a different role and can build and challenge each other to further expand God’s kingdom. In a recent panel discussion hosted by Sojourners, speakers considered what American Christianity can learn from the global Church.

Panelists included Pastor Hana Kim, lead pastor of Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Seoul, South Korea, a megachurch with over 100,000 attendees, Jim Wallis, liberal activist and president of Sojourners, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, author of Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century, Casely Essamuah, Secretary of the Global Christian Forum, and Adelle Banks, a national correspondent at Religion News Service.

Most interestingly, Kim shared that “we don’t really think that we can teach the western church about anything. If you can learn from us that would be great, but I’m not here to teach anything. We’re just doing our job.”

“Lots of times we do wrong,” Kim shared. “One of the things that we do well is to bring people to church.” Kim explained the success to this phenomena is that “for people at MyungSung, going to church is not just a Sunday thing. But it’s a daily life.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Globalization, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) William Nye letter on same-sex marriage criticised as ‘perplexing’

‘Thank you for leading the way on this important issue. We are grateful that you have recognised that not all married couples can have children and that a gender-neutral approach will enable us to become a loving and inclusive Church for all. We still have a few problems to sort out over here with those who keep threatening to leave, but we know that your actions have given great hope to thousands and shown that the Church is not as homophobic as it can sometimes appear.’”

A footnote refers to a survey carried out by YouGov in 2016, in which 42 per cent of respondents who identified as Anglican said that same-sex marriage was “right” (39 per cent said that it was wrong). Both the survey and the letter were organised by Jayne Ozanne, an LGBT campaigner who represents the diocese of Oxford on the General Synod. It was “perplexing”, she said, that Mr Nye’s response “does not reflect the level of dissent shown by recent decisions taken by the General Synod”.

A Church House spokesperson said that Mr Nye had replied to the consultation “as Provincial Secretary of the Church of England”, and had “consulted both Archbishops. It was concluded that, as there was not time for full consultation of the House of Bishops — which meets only twice a year — a reply should be sent at staff level. Church House staff therefore produced a reply, in consultation with the Archbishops and the Bishop of Coventry, the chairman of the Faith and Order Commission.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Christian Today) Religious freedoms deteriorating, American federal watchdog finds – but there are glimmers of hope

While many countries are increasingly denying religious freedoms, especially bad acts of religious persecution are more likely to draw global protest 20 years after the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, a US federal watchdog commission has reported.

Delivering a mixed picture, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2018 annual report on 2017 religious freedom violations in 28 countries.

‘Sadly, religious freedom conditions deteriorated in many countries in 2017, often due to increasing authoritarianism or under the guise of countering terrorism,’ USCIRF chairman Daniel Mark said.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

The File of Responses from member provinces in the Anglican Communion in response to TEC’s proposal, including that of William Nye in the previous post

Read them carefully and read them all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(The Economist) Trends in Burial and Cremation are Changing Around the World

In religious countries, burial is still the norm; Ireland buries 82% of its dead, Italy 77%. But over half of Americans are cremated, up from less than 4% in 1960, and this is expected to rise to 79% by 2035. In Japan, where the practice is seen as purification for the next life, it is nearly universal. Cremation, direct or otherwise, is not the only rival to old-fashioned burial. A study in 2015 found that over 60% of Americans in their 40s and older would consider a “green” burial, with no embalming and a biodegradable casket, if any. Five years before the proportion was just over 40%.

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Globalization, Religion & Culture

(Guardian) Traditional Antisemitism is back, global study finds

Feelings of insecurity are widespread among European Jews as a result of the resurgence of the extreme right, a heated anti-Zionist discourse on the left and radical Islam, according to a global study of antisemitism.

Last year the number of recorded violent antisemitic incidents fell by about 9% compared to 2016 – and by almost 50% compared with the 2006-14 average – but there was a notable increase in harassment and abuse, according to a survey published by the Kantor Center.

The report highlights a strengthening of the extreme right in some European counties, “accompanied by slogans and symbols reminiscent of the 1930s” and “the intensity of the anti-Jewish sentiments expressed in a variety of ways […] especially on street demonstrations”. It says this may explain a discrepancy between the levels of fear among European Jews and the actual number of incidents.

“Expressions of classic traditional antisemitism are back and, for example, the term ‘Jew’ has become a swear word,” it says.

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Judaism, Religion & Culture

(CT) Why Christian High Schools Are Filling with Atheist Students from around the Globe

For most of Wheaton Academy’s 165-year history, it was a boarding school. Boarding was ended in the 1980s, then brought back—structured as host families—in 2006.

“China had just started its student visas a year or two before,” said Brenda Vishanoff, vice principal for student services and student learning. The first year, the Christian high school near Chicago had two international students—one from China and one from the Central African Republic. In later years, the number jumped to 8, then 16, then 37.

Soon, Wheaton Academy had more international students than it could take, so it opened a network to place them with other Christian schools. Most of those students—including 45 of the 60 enrolled there this year—have been from China.

The growth reflects a national trend. From 2004 to 2016, the number of international high school students in the United States more than tripled, according to a recent report by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Nearly three-quarters of international students enrolled on an F-1 visa (good until graduation) in 2016; of those, more than half were Chinese (58%).

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Education, Globalization, Teens / Youth, Theology

Stephen Noll–What is the Global Anglican Communion?

The term “Global Anglican Communion” is aspirational. It is a vision of things to come; it looks to a future entity that fulfils God’s providential guidance for worldwide Anglicanism. It is not of course the New Jerusalem but a communion that takes shape imperfectly under the mercy of God, affected by the contingencies of history and the flawed character of even well-intentioned men and women.

At the same time, the Global Anglican Communion is already here. At the first GAFCON in Jerusalem, we asked arriving participants this question: “Are you leaving the Anglican Communion?” The answer came back strong and clear: “No, we are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the Anglican Communion.” This may seem to some a semantic sleight of hand, but in my view it represents a new consciousness and confidence arising in the Global South.

As for the so-called “Instruments of Unity” – the Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates’ Meeting, Anglican Consulative Council, and Lambeth Conference – the sad “fact” stated in the Jerusalem Statement is that they have signally failed to unify. Indeed, they have promoted disunity by colluding to give a pass to clear violation of Holy Scripture. Therefore let me put the state of affairs boldly: Lambeth 1998 was the last true conference of Anglican bishops, and the Primates’ Meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007 was the last true meeting of Anglican Primates to gather under the aegis of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The true heirs of these “Instruments” were the subsequent Global Anglican Future Conferences in Jerusalem and Nairobi and Global South “Trumpet” meetings in Singapore and Cairo.

It will come as no surprise when I say that the powers that be in Canterbury do not see the future this way. Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office (and its financial backers in New York) are working diligently to create division in the Global South, to discredit the coming Conference in Jerusalem, and to promote Lambeth 2020 as the true heir. If they succeed – and they might – they will not in fact restore a true Anglican communion of churches but rather construct a Potemkin village of serfs under one colonial baron. To catch this vision of the future, look at the charade called a Primates’ Meeting in October 2017, where the Primates were paraded around Canterbury Cathedral and treated to days of meaningless indaba followed up with a harsh unsigned Communiqué condemning Gafcon for “border-crossing” and disowning the Anglican Church in North America as an Anglican body.

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Posted in - Anglican: Analysis, Ecclesiology, Globalization, Theology

BBC News – In pictures: Christians celebrate Easter around the world

Posted in Easter, Globalization, Photos/Photography

(Newsweek) Christian Persecution and Genocide Is Worse Now Than “Any Time in History,” a new Report Says

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history,” and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.

The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times.

“Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution,” the report said.

The report examined the plight of Christians in China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Turkey over the period lasting from 2015 until 2017. The research showed that in that time, Christians suffered crimes against humanity, and some were hanged or crucified. The report found that Saudi Arabia was the only country where the situation for Christians did not get worse, and that was only because the situation couldn’t get any worse than it already was.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized, Violence

(Church Times) Standing down the ghosts of the past–why the spectre of paternalism still haunts mission

A reminder of the stark inequality between the dominant voices of the Western Churches and the hugely under-represented younger Churches can be found by looking at the first World Missionary Conference, held in Edinburgh in 2010. Among more than 1200 Western delegates were just 17 Asians, and even these were registered as representing British and American organisations, ignoring the fact that some of them, such as V. S. Azariah — consecrated the first Indian Anglican bishop just two years later — could have represented their own Churches or missionary societies.

That Asians were consulted at all was at the insistence of the YMCA’s John R. Mott, in the face of strong opposition. It was he who, knowing what he was letting the conference in for, encouraged the initially hesitant Azariah to speak freely and frankly on the sensitive issue of failures in the relationships between foreign and indigenous workers. So, “the first shot in the campaign against missionary imperialism”. as it came to be known, was fired

Taking heart, Azariah told the assembled conference: “We shall learn to walk only by walking — perchance only by falling and learning from our mistakes, but never by being kept in leading strings until we arrive at maturity.”

He called to mind the quality of the relationships that Christ had established with his disciples, and made the impassioned plea: “Give us friends!” It was the clarion call for a radically new relationship, based on equality, mutual respect, and mutual support.

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Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Missions, Stewardship, Theology

(Atlantic) A New Generation Redefines What It Means to Be a Missionary

Christianity is shrinking and aging in the West, but it’s growing in the Global South, where most Christians are now located. With this demographic shift has come the beginning of another shift, in a practice some Christians from various denominations embrace as a theological requirement. There are hundreds of thousands of missionaries around the world, who believe scripture compels them to spread Christianity to others, but what’s changing is where they’re coming from, where they’re going, and why.

The model of an earlier era more typically involved Christian groups in Western countries sending people to evangelize in Africa or Asia. In the colonial era of the 19th and early 20th centuries in particular, missionaries from numerous countries in Europe, for example, traveled to countries like Congo and India and started to build religious infrastructures of churches, schools, and hospitals. And while many presented their work in humanitarian terms of educating local populations or assisting with disaster relief, in practice it often meant leading people away from their indigenous spiritual practices and facilitating colonial regimes in their takeover of land. Kenya’s first post-colonial president Jomo Kenyatta described the activities of British missionaries in his country this way: “When the missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”

Yet as many states achieved independence from colonial powers following World War II, the numbers of Christian missionaries kept increasing. In 1970, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, there were 240,000 foreign Christian missionaries worldwide. In 2000, that number had grown to 440,000. And by 2013, the center was discussing in a report the trend of “reverse mission, where younger churches in the Global South are sending missionaries to Europe,” even as the numbers being sent from the Global North were “declining significantly.” The report noted that nearly half of the top 20 mission-sending countries in 2010 were in the Global South, including Brazil, India, the Philippines, and Mexico.

As the center of gravity of mission work shifts, the profile of a typical Christian missionary is changing—and so is the definition of their mission workwhich historically tended to center on the explicit goal of converting people to Christianity.

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Posted in Church History, Globalization, History, Missions, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(Guardian) Vatican hosts first hackathon to tackle global issues

The Vatican is to host its first hackathon this week, harnessing the technological skills and creativity of students from more than 50 universities around the world to tackle issues identified as priorities by Pope Francis.

About 120 students and 35 mentors will gather in Rome over three days to focus on social inclusion, migrants and refugees, and interfaith dialogue.

“The aim is to bring people with backgrounds in technology, business, civil society and the humanities together to bring new perspectives to key global issues,” said Father Eric Salobir, a Catholic priest and president of the research and innovation network Optic.

The VHacks event is being organised in partnership with some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Google and Microsoft.

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology