Archive for the ‘Hindu’ Category

Religion and economic growth: Drive to succeed in business crosses faith traditions

The idea of a Protestant or Puritan work ethic, that individuals work harder, save more and seek economic success as signs of a diligent faith, has worked its way into national lore. But in looking at the religious engines of economic growth, new research indicates it may be just as helpful to talk about an Islamic ethic or a Jewish ethic or a Buddhist ethic.

[Read Full Column...]

Amid violent protests and provocative films, religion journalists create global path to understanding

The recent upheaval associated with the release of a crude, anti-Islamic film shows how issues relating to faith can cross borders with startling speed and consequences. Now is the time for the type of knowledgeable, on-the-ground reporting that provides careful international perspective regarding the complex motives behind these events. Yet too often, limited by cultural biases, this broader understanding gets lost at home and abroad amid advocacy journalism and pack reporting that reinforce popular misconceptions or fears of religious minorities and religion in public life. But here is the great news. Change is coming with the new International Association of Religion Journalists.

[Read Full Column...]

The power of language: Does the term Islamist increase understanding or promote prejudice?

One rarely hears activists from religious traditions other than Islam identified in a shorthand term emphasizing their faith. What American and western audiences are increasingly hearing, however, since the political and social upheaval that accompanied the Arab spring, is the term Islamist. Now there is growing concern that the label that was once welcomed by some as an alternative to more pejorative terms such as Islamic fundamentalist may itself be more a source of stereotyping than understanding.

[Read Full Column...]

Experiencing is believing: Odyssey into the heart of American religion punctures stereotypes

Forget the popular cultural images from shows such as HBO’s “Big Love” that revive stereotypes linking Mormonism with polygamy or the ubiquitous images in the news associating Islam with terrorism. Look past the cultural crossfire that lumps religious liberals and conservatives into separate boxes defined by extremist political and social agendas. The reality, as presented in a new book by two respected scholars, is that if you walk into a mosque, synagogue, temple or church next weekend, you will most likely find groups of believers in prayer and meditation seeking spiritual growth.

[Read Full Column...]

East or West: Talk is cheap when it comes to religious freedoms

When it comes to guaranteeing freedom of religion, the lesson from extensive global research is that it matters much less what nations say in their constitutions than what they are prepared to do to enforce those laws. As new leaders in Egypt and Libya seek to protect hard-won freedoms, and governments from France to the United States struggle with religious diversity, two studies presented at the recent annual meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in Las Vegas illustrate the challenges ahead. One sign of hope: Even if you do not start out loving them, getting to know your neighbor goes a long way to limiting prejudice, research shows.

[Read Full Column...]

First Hindu census reveals quiet growth in U.S.

The days of the Beatles and pop stars like Donovan making highly publicized trips to India to study with popular spiritual leaders are over. But Hinduism never needed the buzz, or large numbers of Western converts, to make it in America. What is propelling Hinduism in the United States into a role as one of the nation’s largest minority religions is a steady stream of Indian immigrants who have built hundreds of temples across the nation, according to a comprehensive new Hindu census.

[Read Full Column...]

Muslim-majority nations more likely to deny religious freedom

Amid widespread international disregard for religious freedom, one group of countries stands out: Muslim-majority nations. “Religious persecution is not only more prevalent among Muslim-majority countries, but it also generally occurs at more severe levels,” Brian Grim of the Pew Research Center and Roger Finke of Pennsylvania State University report in a new book, “The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century.”

[Read Full Column...]

Not everyone wins, but all faiths grow in competitive marketplace

The more competition, the better for American religion. Major immigration from Asia, the growth into the thousands of religious movements within and outside the church and an active and influential secular community have not stopped the growth of the nation’s largest faith — Christianity. Instead, the expanding religion marketplace is proving to be a win-win situation for all faiths, according to J. Gordon Melton, founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, Calif.

[Read Full Column...]

America is not No. 1 in religious diversity

Forgive President Obama his misstatement that America has one of the world’s largest populations of Muslims. He was only reflecting a larger lack of knowledge of world religion that has allowed some in the fields of religion, academics and the media to promote the ethnocentric idea that the United States is the most religiously diverse nation in the world. The problem is, like many other claims of American triumphalism from the left or the right, it is just not true.

[Read Full Column...]