A conversation with Michael Emerson on race, humility and ways we can talk to one another

There are few people better able to offer perspective on the polarized state of the nation today than Michael Emerson. In an interview, Emerson, one of the foremost sociologists on race, religion and civility in the United States, offers incisive observations on how we got to where we are today, and what we can do to promote a more intellectually humble, respectful national dialogue.

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Is Trump capable of change? Not so far, humility scholars reflect

Shortly before the 2016 election, we asked three leading scholars to reflect on humility and the presidency. The hope held out then was that should Trump be successful, the demands of the job would tone down his divisive rhetoric and lead him to become more humble. So how is Trump doing? The consensus in follow-up conversations: Not so good.

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Faithful measures deepen understanding of religion

In a new book, “Faithful Measures: New Methods in the Measurement of Religion,” leading religion researchers across academic disciplines explore an array of evolving new tools and measures that can help deepen understanding of the role of religion in public and private lives today. They include ways to compare polls on factors from survey methodology to question wording for a clearer understanding of their value and potential bias.

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GlobalPlus: Religion and politics in India

One of the most important test cases of religious and political nationalism is unfolding in India, where a political party has risen from obscurity to the center of government in large part by exploiting fears of minority religions. A leading Indian journalist provides an in-depth overview of the political rise of Hindu nationalism, and what it means for the world's largest democracy.

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GlobalPlus: Sharia

For hundreds of millions of Muslims, Sharia is a way or a path to divine understanding that enables human beings to reach their full potential. So why does so much public conversation about "sharia" or "sharia law" focus on extreme interpretations grounded in intolerance and ignorance? The answers are complex, involving historical, political, cultural, regional and religious factors that need to be understood in context. Yet complexity and reason are often dangerously absent amid the emotion and politics attached to Sharia.

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GlobalPlus: The nonreligious in the world today

Who are the nonreligious? Depending on how they are counted, the nonreligious today may be considered the world's third largest 'religion,' trailing only Christianity and Islam. They exercise an increasingly influential voice on issues from the immigration crisis in Europe to secular-religious tensions in Asia Pacific. Now a developing body of research is shedding critical light on the diversity and complexity of this group in an age when the makeup and balance of religious and nonreligious populations, along with their shared history, matters in ways both small and large.

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About The Author
David Briggs, a former national writer for The Associated Press who holds a master's degree from Yale Divinity School, is consistently honored among the Top 10 secular religion writers and reporters in North America.