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Ariela Keysar and Sergio DellaPergola

The mutual relationship between demography and religion is explored in this paper through a comparison of the two largest Jewish populations worldwide: the U.S. and Israel. Special attention is devoted to the younger adult population – the Millennials – operationalized here as ages 18 to 29 and divided into three sub age groups. Data come from the Pew Research Center’s surveys of Jewish Americans in 2013 and of Israelis in 2015. After a short review of the main demographic differences between the two Jewish populations, the paper focuses on the multiple possible meanings and contents of Jewishness. The paper explores age-related differences regarding indicators of contemporary Jewish identity: religiosity, peoplehood and nationalism. We discover that young Jewish adults – the Millennials – in Israel and in the U.S., especially those 18–21 years old, are more likely than their elders to view their Jewishness mainly as a matter of religion rather than as a culture or ethnicity. Emerging similarities and differentials between Jews in Israel and in the U.S. are interpreted in the light of general theories of demographic change and religious identification, and are related to specific events and developments that have affected Jews in the two countries and their mutual relationships.

M. Moinuddin Haider, Mizanur Rahman and Nahid Kamal

The Hindu population in Bangladesh declined from 22% to 9% from 1951–2011. This paper analyses longitudinal data from the Matlab Health and Demographic Surveillance System for 1989–2016 to quantify the role of fertility, mortality, and international migration in explaining differential growth rates between Muslims and Hindus. The Hindu population has been growing at a slower rate than adherents of other religions, resulting in a decline in their relative share in the national population. Hindus have lower fertility, higher mortality and higher international out-migration rates than Muslims. According to this analysis, between 1989 and 2016, 54% of lower Hindu growth may be attributable to international out-migration; 41% is attributable to lower fertility, and 5% is attributable to higher mortality. The contribution of migration has declined over time and in last 20 years, lower fertility of Hindus was the primary contributing factor (over 70%) to their declining share of the country’s population.

Noryamin Aini, Ariane Utomo and Peter McDonald

Indonesia – home to the world’s largest Muslim population – is an ethnically diverse archipelago with sizeable non-Muslim communities. There is a dearth of demographic study on how religions shape patterns of marriage partnerships in Indonesia. We use full enumeration data from the 2010 Indonesian Population Census to examine the incidence, regional variation, pairing patterns, and socio-demographic correlates of interreligious marriage (irm). We derived a subset of over 47 million co-resident heads of household and their spouses from the 2010 Census. About 228,778 couples (0.5%) were enumerated as having different faiths at the time of the Census. Rates of irm are higher in ethnically diverse provinces. Such findings are likely to underestimate the prevalence of interreligious marriage due to existing regulations and norms that effectively discourage irm, and the associated practice of pre-marital conversions. Our multivariate analysis focused on three provinces with the highest rates of irm: Jakarta, North Sumatra, and West Kalimantan. In Jakarta and North Sumatra, the likelihood of irm is higher among non-Muslims and among those at the higher end of the education spectrum. In these provinces, the likelihood of irm is lower among younger birth cohorts, supporting speculation about stronger institutional barriers against irm over time. This is the first study attempting to derive national and regional estimates of patterns of irm in Indonesia. Given the increasing polemics related to irm and the Indonesian Marriage Law, setting out this research is an important initial step for further study of this issue.

Conrad Hackett, Marcin Stonawski, Michaela Potančoková, Phillip Connor, Anne Fengyan Shi, Stephanie Kramer and Joey Marshall

We present estimates of how Muslim populations in Europe increased between 2010 and 2016 and projections of how they will continue to grow under three migration scenarios. If all migration were to immediately and permanently stop – a “zero migration” scenario – the Muslim population of Europe still would be expected to rise from the current level of 4.9% to 7.4% by the year 2050 because Muslims are younger (by 13 years, on average) and have higher fertility (one child more per woman, on average) than other Europeans. A second, “medium” migration scenario assumes all refugee flows stopped as of mid-2016 but that recent levels of “regular” migration to Europe will continue. Under these conditions, Muslims could reach 11.2% of Europe’s population in 2050. Finally, a “high” migration scenario projects the record flow of refugees into Europe between 2014 and 2016 to continue indefinitely into the future with the same religious composition (i.e., mostly made up of Muslims) in addition to the typical annual flow of regular migrants. In this scenario, Muslims could make up 14% of Europe’s population by 2050. Refugee flows around 2015, however, were extremely high and already have begun to decline as the European Union and many of its member states have made refugee policy changes.

Todd Johnson and Peter F. Crossing

The following tables represent the results of analysis of data on religion for all of the countries of the world which appear in the World Religion Database (Johnson and Grim 2008). These data are collected at the national level from a number of sources including censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and others.

Comparative Theology

A Critical and Methodological Perspective

Series:

Paul Hedges

Abstract

The nature and field of comparative theology is mapped with particular attention to the tradition associated with Francis Clooney but noting the global and wider context of theology in a comparative mode. There are four main parts. Firstly, mapping the current field and exploring its methodological and theological aspects, with particular attention to global and intercultural theologies, comparative religion, and the theology of religions. Secondly, considering what the deconstruction of religion means for comparative theology and how the term “religion” may be deployed and understood after this. It also takes into consideration turns to lived and material religion. Thirdly, issues of power, representation, and the subaltern are considered, including the place of feminist and queer theory in comparative theology. Finally, an original and constructive discussion on philosophical hermeneutics, as well as the way certain hermeneutical lenses can bring issues into focus for the comparative theologian, is offered. The text notes key trends, develops original models of practice and method, and picks out and discusses critical issues and lacunae within the field.