Archive for the ‘Islam’ 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...]

As religious tensions cross borders, nativist fears fuel global hostilities, restrictions

When it comes to religious tensions, what happens in one part of the world does not necessarily stay in that part of the world. Influences from abroad in recent years were reported to have contributed to religious hostilities or government restrictions in more than six in 10 countries across the globe, according to a new study.

[Read Full Column...]

Investing in faith: Religion helps retirees stay mentally fit, studies indicate

Retirement planning is not all about money. It may be just as important for aging Baby Boomers to have invested in their spiritual lives as in their 401K plans, new research shows. The benefits of increased spiritual activity range from battling loneliness and depression through personal faith and church, synagogue and mosque attendance to reducing death anxiety through religious music, the studies indicate.

[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...]

Diversity rising: Census shows Mormons, nondenominational churches, Muslims spreading out across U.S.

The U.S. religious landscape is shifting, and no one may be more thankful than GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. The 2010 U.S. Religion Census, now available on the Association of Religion Data Archives, found that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gained the most regular members in the last 10 years. But the denomination is not the only one spreading its wings nationally in a time of increasing religious diversity
Taken together, nondenominational and independent churches may now be considered the third largest religious group in the country.

[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...]

Numbers vs. nurture: Predicting the future of religion

Date-setting for the end of the world has never worked out too well for biblical prophets. Some social scientists, however, say increasingly sophisticated demographic tools can provide vauable insight into the future of religion. Under one scenario for the U.S., Hispanic Catholics and non-Christian religions will be big winners, while predominantly white religious groups will lag behind. Other researchers, however, are skeptical of such attempts to predict the future.

[Read Full Column...]

Knowing your neighbor is powerful force for civility

Americans have long feared religious groups they do not know. Islam and Buddhism are among the least liked religious expressions in America today. New research, however, indicates it does not have to be this way. Getting to know evangelicals, atheists, Muslims and Buddhists as individuals leads to greater acceptance of people of diverse beliefs, Robert Putnam of Harvard University and David Campbell of the University of Notre Dame suggest in their new book “American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”

[Read Full Column...]