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This volume is about the impact of religion (beliefs and practices) on attitudes towards human rights of the first, second and third generation. The first four papers about the impact of Lutheranism, Calvinism, Catholicism and Islam are historical and theoretical of character. The six other papers are based on empirical research in England and Wales, Germany, Turkey, India, Norway and on comparative empirical research in six North-West European countries. From both groups of articles it appears that ‘the’ impact of religion does not exist. In varying historical periods and contexts various religions, c.q. religious denominations, have various effects on attitudes towards human rights, i.e. positive effects (+), ambivalent effects (±), no effects (0), and negative effects (−).

Contributors include: Francis-Vincent Anthony, Pal Ketil Botvar, Selim Eren, Leslie Francis, Üzejir Ok, Ruud Peters, Marion Reindl, Mandy Robbins, Rik Torfs, Johannes (Hans) van der Ven, John Witte Jr., Hans-Georg Ziebertz
Faith-based Organizing in the USA
Despite shifts in the religious landscape in North America--reflected in the significant increase in those with no religious affiliation and emptier pews across the religious spectrum--there has also been a rise in participation in faith-based grassroots organizations. People of faith are increasingly joining broad-based organizing efforts to seek social change in their communities, regions and country.
This unique volume brings together the most current thinking on faith-based organizing from the perspective of theologians, social researchers and practitioners. The current state of faith based organizing is critically presented, as it has evolved from its roots in the mid-twentieth century into a context which raises new questions for its philosophical assumptions, methodology, and very future.

Originally published as issue 4 of Volume 6 (2012) of Brill's International Journal of Public Theology.
Empirical-Theological Perspectives
In some parts of our world, religion is on the wane, losing its thrust of doctrinal authority and communal bonds. In other regions, it is gaining public significance as a powerful social, cultural and political force. Secularization theories are less successful in accounting for these differences in religion’s role. Other theories describe religion in terms of social capital to be invested whenever it offers certain personal, social or political benefits and market opportunities allow smart choices. Still other theories simply hold that religion corresponds to an inborn need or stable disposition that guarantees a culture’s identity and reflects a natural equilibrium of social cohesion. There are also critical theories that point to the intrinsic relationship of religion with power and identify it as a major cause of tension and conflict. In this book distinguished scholars reflect on these questions and present empirical research about religious identity and national heritage.
This volume contains theoretical and empirical articles on tensions within and between religion and human rights. There are conflicts in the past histories of Christianity and Islam in regard to human rights, but also in contemporary history. There are also tensions in the sphere of human rights, like the relation between natural law and human rights, morality and law, liberty and equality, civil rights and socio-economic rights, and more specific ones, like the rights of humans and citizens, religious freedom and the separation of church and state, religious freedom and freedom of speech, and the state and religion on social welfare provisions. The volume aims at theoretical clarification and empirical exploration on data from 14 countries.

Contributors include: Jean-Pierre Wils, Piet Hein van Kempen, Mathias Rohe, Johannes (Hans) van der Ven, Anders Sjöborg, Raymond J. Webb, Jack Curran, Marion Reindl, Leo W.J.M. van der Tuin, Clement D. Fumbo, and Hans-Georg Ziebertz.
This book reflects on the idea that religion represents a force in the public realms of society. The empirical evidence reveals a regained relevance for and commitment to religion re-emerging in secularized countries, but also that it does so in a new form: unexpected, foreign, and maybe even dangerous. If religion regains public significance in social debates, what are its characteristics in terms of topics and interests, actors and parties? How is this experienced and evaluated by different groups in society? What are the motives of religious groups and churches to re-enter the public domain and are they effective?
What is the importance of religious groups claiming participation (consulting, steering, and dominating) in public debates? How do different religious and nonreligious groups evaluate the impact of religion on the public environment, and under which conditions can it be regarded to be functional or dysfunctional? Scholars who address these questions do so from a theological or a religious studies’ perspective. They reflect on the phrase ‘public significance’ of a religion in its political, cultural, and typical religious dimension. The book points out what tendencies can be observed when different religions profile themselves competitively in public debate, and to what extent ethnic and national identities intervene in this interreligious interaction.
An Empirical-theological Study
Previous studies reveal that religion, despite its ideal of solidarity, hospitality and compassion, has been the primary origin of ethnocentrism. However, other researches dispute this sweeping claim by indicating several other factors that affect this complex relationship. This empirical-theological study is an endeavour to dig deeper into these factors by examining the extent to which a number of religious images which are culled from five religious themes, namely, God, Jesus, Spirit, salvation and church, contribute to ethnocentrism. It situates these religious attitudes within the framework of the Dutch civil religion, and the different reactions to it by contemporary Dutch catholic believers.
An Empirical-Theological Exploration among Italian Catholics
Many academic disciplines have contributed to the study of popular religiosity, but the definition of this phenomenon and of its relation with official religion still remains a problematic topic. This book offers an empirical-theological investigation of popular religiosity by exploring among Italian Catholics the relation between popular religious participation (processions, pilgrimages, vows, et cetera) and religious beliefs. The investigated beliefs are beliefs about God, about human suffering in relation to God, about Jesus Christ, and about the church. The results indicate that popular religious participation influences some of these beliefs. This study contributes to an empirically based picture of a complementary relation between popular religiosity and official religion within the Catholic Church in Italy.
Qualitative, Quantitative and Comparative Perspectives
Empirical theology offers fresh and stimulating insights into the concerns of both the Church and the Academy. It does this by accessing relevant empirical evidence using the tools of the social sciences, and placing this evidence in the context of theological critique and contemporary debate.

In this pioneering collection of focused essays, leading experts of empirical theology illustrate key perspectives within this rapidly expanding discipline.

The first section of the book explores theoretical issues underpinning the main methods of obtaining empirical data, and the use of these data within theology. The other two sections display the role both of qualitative studies, and of the analysis of quantitative data, in exploring a range of theological beliefs and religious, social and educational concerns.
This book represents a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem of the Jews and the German Reformation. The contributions come from both senior and emerging scholars, from North America, Israel, and Europe, to ensure a breadth in perspective. The essays in this volume are arranged under four broad headings: 1. The Road to the Reformation (late medieval theology and the humanists and the Jews), 2. The Reformers and the Jews (essays on Luther, Melanchthon, Bucer, Zwingli, Calvin, Osiander, the Catholic Reformers, and the Radical Reformers), 3. Representations of Jews and Judaism (the portrayal of Judaism as a religion, images of the Jews in the visual arts, and in sixteenth-century German literature), and 4. Jewish Responses to the Reformation.

Contributors include: Dean Phillip Bell, Jay Berkovitz, Robert Bireley, Stephen G. Burnett, Elisheva Carlebach, Achim Detmers, Yaacov Deutsch, Maria Diemling, Michael Driedger, R. Gerald Hobbs, Joy Kammerling, Thomas Kaufmann, Hans-Martin Kirn, Christopher Ocker, Erika Rummel, Petra Schöner, Timothy J. Wengert, and Edith Wenzel.
The multi-cultural society is under enormous pressure. Paradoxically, the globalization plans of modernity have resulted in a more fragmented world and ensuing violence. Instead of becoming uniform, individual character and differences have become more strongly emphasized. How can people live together and at the same time preserve their differences? How can variety be valued in a theological manner? These questions form the theme of this collection that consists of three sections. The South African reflections (Simon, Louw and Koopman) that consider living in the variety of a rainbow nation are followed by European experiences of Moluccan Christians in the Netherlands (Pattikayhatu), Western Muslims (van Bommel) and the Belgian modus vivendi (Van der Borght). The collection is completed by the theological reflections about the concept communio sanctorum (Le Bruyns), the Enlightenment's ideal of equality (van de Beek) and the unity of the church (Theron).