Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

GlobalPlus: Can the Catholic Church change?

Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, was charged in his own way with opening the windows of the Catholic Church to the modern world with his election in 2013. But such a change was not going to happen without resistance from powerful forces within the ancient institution. Follow the successes and challenges of his papacy through this overview from the celebrated global religion journalist who has known Jorge Bergoglio intimately since their days together in Argentina.

[Read Full Column...]

GlobalPlus: Thy Neighbor’s Faith

Human beings may be hard-wired since evolution to separate into tribes in response to fear and uncertainty. But science also shows we are capable of working together for the common good when we leave our tribal cocoons and get to know our neighbors in ways that promote understanding. It starts with listening to one another.

[Read Full Column...]

GlobalPlus: Religion and fashion

Fashion is often viewed as frivolous. But the rise of modest fashion shows another side of the industry, the ability of a major social and economic engine to influence cultural change. Today, stylish women of many faiths that encourage modesty have embraced coverings or other relevant adaptions of dress and behavior as signs of fashion and faith. In so doing, this largely women-led movement is breaking down legal and social barriers to religious freedom. Movement luminaries also are engaging the world’s leading religions with the rights of women to interpret religious texts and religious practices in everyday life in ways informed by their own conscience and authority.

[Read Full Column...]

GlobalPlus: Religion and Humor

Humor can be offensive and divisive, especially jokes about sensitive issues, such as race and religion. But research is showing religious humor also can have a big upside, one that can help us move past religious stereotypes that divide communities, nations and regions. If humor works, then a key question becomes: Will we choose to laugh together?

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

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.

[Read Full Column...]

GlobalPlus: Religion and death

Across the world, billions of worshippers this weekend will be going to mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship hearing messages declaring that the choices they make in this life can affect their eternal destiny. How each of them, and secular individuals, face the great existential question of the meaning of life in the face of mortality can make a major difference in areas from mental health to preventing terrorism and promoting more generous, compassionate societies less likely to experience civil strife, new research shows.

[Read Full Column...]

GlobalPlus: Humility

In a series of scientific advances, researchers are developing a body of evidence challenging old stereotypes of humility as the province of weak-willed, stoop-shouldered individuals of low self-worth. The reality, research shows, is that it takes a strong will and courage to celebrate the gifts of others, while being honest about one’s own shortcomings. But it pays off. Just as a lack of humility can lead to a downward spiral of suspicion, distrust and violence, so, too, can the practice of humility reinforce other virtues and contribute to a more generous, inclusive, caring society.

[Read Full Column...]

GlobalPlus: Religion and science

We live in an age when a presumed irrevocable gulf between science and religion is perpetuated in the public sphere. But new evidence is emerging that reveals a far more complex picture of the relationship between these powerful social forces. One eight-region study of Religion among Scientists in International Context found a majority of scientists consider themselves either religious or spiritual, or both, in all regions except the United States, United Kingdom and France. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to address long-held animosities. On both sides.

[Read Full Column...]