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Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

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.

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.

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.

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.”

New insights into HIV prevention, Christian music and women in Islam

Common sense says one size does not fit all in approaches to human relationships. This may be particularly true in the more subjective experiences of the transcendent. Yet whether it is the emotionally charged subject of human sexuality or the culturally charged subject of women in Islam, there is a reluctance to give ground on our own social and political views to allow for different approaches and ways of understanding. Three recent studies provide insights into diverse data on subjects from AIDS education in Africa to teens’ response to Christian music to the reasons U.S. women convert to Islam. Some of the results may surprise you.

Understanding Islam requires historical, social scientific data

True or false?
1. Islam and Christianity share a similar history of connections between religion and violence.
2. Muslims in countries where they are the majority want more political participation, freedoms and rule of law.
3. Forbidding female students from wearing head coverings in public schools lowers the possibility of religious violence.
If you answered true, true and false, congratulations. You agree with some of the top scholars in religion offering their perspectives in a timely effort by the Association of Religion Data Archives to widen access to the best of international religion scholarship.

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