Diversity in American Atheism

Yesterday’s post introduced the phenomenon of the new publicity of atheism and atheist organizations, as well as the issue of diversity. In today’s post, Stephen LeDrew discusses the particular case of atheism in America and the diversity that can be found in the American atheist movement, arguing that this diversity is directly related to the history …

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Is the ‘new’ religious engagement really all that new? The need for reflection on the underlying values and assumptions in the engagement with religion

In this post, Brenda Bartelink draws on her research on faith based development organisations in the Netherlands and Uganda, and Dutch initiatives to engage with religion to raise some critical points for reflection on the new US Office for Faith-Based Community Initiatives . Following on from last week’s post on this new office,  she points …

What does “engaging religion” mean for religion?

Last week, the US State Department made the much-anticipated announcement that it is establishing a new “Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives” whose mission, Secretary of State John Kerry said, is “to engage more closely with faith communities around the world, with the belief that we need to partner with them to solve global challenges.”[1] The …

Allergic Reaction to “The Religious Other” or just a Neurobiological Fact?

  Neurobiology, Social influence and its impact on our capacity to empathize. Today’s post shows Carine Nijenhuis’ reflection on the human (dis)ability to show empathy towards the religious unknown. An exploration of our lack of empathy from a neurological point of view sheds a completely different light on this cultural phenomenon.  Three years ago in June …

God Bless America: US Civil Religion and the President as Prophet, Priest and Martyr of the Nation

Ever noticed how nearly every time a US president makes a speech, it ends with “God Bless America”? Ever wondered why? Contrary to popular assumption, it’s not just because the United States is one of the most religious countries on earth, although this certainly plays a part. Several researchers have highlighted that the United States …