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Abstract

This article engages the condition of religious apathy in western secular society, drawing on the apparent pessimism of secularization as a creative catalyst for re-imagining the scope of public mission. It first highlights the reality of religious apathy as observed sociologically, and briefly surveys varied missiological responses to western church decline. An alternative response, ‘Radical Inculturated Proclamation’ is then offered, embodying the inherently paradoxical nature of the Gospel as both drastically distinct and culturally embedded within the religiously apathetic western context. This concept is further explored with a nuanced reflection on the intentionally ‘absurd’ idea of self-aware street preaching and the possible implications for creative interruption of contemporary public spaces. Incorporating the perceived inappropriateness of such practices is deliberate, enabling active embodiment of the Gospel’s inculturated radicality within a public sphere with no apparent ears to hear. Such a proposal contributes to public theological engagement by reconstructing the cultural and theological limitations of contemporary kerygmatic expression within a post-Christendom context.

In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

The article argues that Richard Rorty’s idea of edification should be adopted as the central approach of public theology. It begins by outlining Rorty’s definition of edification before exploring the argument in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature which led to this definition. Various critical responses are then explored, especially the critique by Roy Bhaskar that Rorty’s approach is politically frivolous. It is suggested, however, that the criticism that Rorty is either relativist or unconcerned with ethical agency is unfair. Instead, rather than being concerned with different types of speaking Truth to power, public theologians should be focused on producing novel, unique and eye-catching redescriptions of social and political phenomena.

In: International Journal of Public Theology

Abstract

Some important thinkers have treated Liberation Theology and “Barthian” Theology as incompatible, understanding the latter as an impediment to self-consciously contextual theological approaches. But some proponents of Barth’s theology argue that it is contextual in important ways, and therefore a helpful resource for doing public theology. One way to redescribe the common complaint at the core of all these criticisms, and a way that relates those criticisms to liberation theology more generally, is by saying that they all pertain to the relationship between theory and praxis. The purpose of this article then is to address the relation between theory and praxis in the theologies of two significant practitioners of theology ‘after’ Karl Barth—Helmut Gollwitzer and Eberhard Jüngel—in part by examining their understanding of the relationship between Christianity and socialism.

In: International Journal of Public Theology

We analyze cohort fertility by religion and education in Latin America from periods previous to the general decline in period fertility in 1950s. We reconstruct cohort fertility and parity progression ratios of women born in 1930–1970 in a number of countries in the region, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. Our main aim is to understand the past developments of cohort fertility in the course of fertility transition in Latin America and to assess the role of religious affiliation, as well as to understand these developments controlling for a number of socioeconomic characteristics. We also seek to grasp if religion becomes more or less important with rising school levels and human capital over time.

In: Journal of Religion and Demography
In: Journal of Religion and Demography

In most European countries more religious people have more children than the secular and are less likely to remain childless. However, in some ex-communist states this association is subdued or even inverted. This study investigates not only fertility and partnering outcomes, but also differences in the level of desire for a child. Four contrasting countries are compared: Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Georgia. We found the more religious had higher expectations that a child would bring joy into their life than the non-religious. The religious ‘nones’ tend to be very worried about the financial impact of a(nother) child and negative effect on their sex life; these concerns are much less prevalent among active Christians. In Georgia, where highly educated young people are more religious than the old, differentials by religiosity are small. History and context cause the impact of personal religiosity on fertility behavior and attitudes to be potentially divergent.

In: Journal of Religion and Demography

This article offers analysis of religious affiliation for 18 categories of religion for the globe and six continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Northern America, and Oceania. Estimates of religious affilia¬tion are made for four dates, 1970, 2000, 2018, and projections for 2030. Annual average growth rates are provided for two 30-year periods, 1970–2000 and 2000–2030. These global and continen¬tal tables are aggregated from country data in the World Religion Database.

In: Journal of Religion and Demography

In this paper we focus on the top 10% of income earners, and within those at the individuals with more than 1 and 50 million in assets worldwide and their religion. This is a group of people with an inherent global outlook on their activities and social lives, who often share more interests in common with people along the same scale of wealth than with many of their fellow country-people at lower levels of income. The perception of political power gained by wealthy individuals punctually observed, has been found by research to be buttressed by the more active political participation by people in the upper ranges of income distribution and increased inequality is found to increase unequal political outcomes.

The social behaviour of this group of people at the top of the global income scale drives social policy, as these citizens tend to be better educated, connected, travelled and economically and politically active than the parts of the population that are worse off.

Religion, or the lack thereof, is a global social marker that influences behaviour on many levels, often at subconscious levels shared by whole societies, such as the perception of fairness and retribution, redistribution of resources and the wider relationship of society to economic resources.

Contemplated from a global perspective, religion as a shared cultural trait across nations may be a powerful unifier of interests and driver of political and economic action to tackle global problems such as climate change, environmental degradation, global poverty alleviation and other type of global externalities. Understanding the religious make-up of the group of people most active in shaping economic and cultural decisions globally should help in finding platforms for global cooperation.

In: Journal of Religion and Demography

In recent years the Catholic Church has been encouraging its members to engage with the Bible and a variety of resources have been produced to facilitate this. However, national surveys in Britain show that Catholics are some of the Christians least likely to engage with the Bible outside of a church setting. A small focus group of ordinary Catholics spent a year using five different resources to ascertain what ways of engaging with the Scriptures they found most helpful. Six ways were identified: reading the Bible in community; drawing on secondary expertise; valuing the literal and spiritual sense of Scripture; focusing on the Old Testament and the Bible’s unity; using accessible formats; and using a variety of resources. These are presented and discussed in the context of the Church’s recent teaching and instruction on the role of the Bible in the life of the believer.

In: Ecclesial Practices