A new era of religion – OZY


Over the past two decades, we have seen a terminal decline of some of the world’s oldest religions. This is not unusual considering that there has always been a “growing belief that religion should become as rational as modern science”, as Karen Armstrong observes in her book. The battle for God. Yet there is a reason why ancient religions have survived, even thrived, in the face of wars, forced conversions, and mass persecution over the centuries. In today’s Daily Dose, we’ll explore the new era of religion – to understand how worshipers adapt when time and personal circumstances demand.

– According to the report by Pallabi Munsi

Figures to know

1 – Disappearance Act

The West has seen a decline in religious affiliations over the past two years. Writing recently in The Spectator, Catholic journalist Damian Thompson believes that “Anglicanism will disappear from Britain in 2033”, citing British Social Attitude Surveys, which suggest that the number of Anglicans in the UK “has increased from 40% of the population in 1983 to 29% in 2004 to 17% [in 2014]. “In the United States, meanwhile, according to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians fell from 78.4% to 70.6% between 2007 and 2014. “The decline in religious affiliation is particularly pronounced among young adults,” the study concludes. Pew.

2 – the boom

In contrast, religious faith is booming in Asia. For example, a Pew study in China found the number of Christians in the country to be 67 million in 2010 – a large increase from the roughly one million when the Communist regime was established in 1949. The increase in religious affiliation has been dramatic enough that Beijing, concerned about the perceived growing threat of organized religion, addressed the issue of faith as a major enemy. Elsewhere, the rise of religious fanaticism has been anything but benign. For example, in India religion has been a constant source of tension, with the ruling government pursuing pro-Hindu divisive agenda which puts persecuted minorities, especially Muslims, out of reach. Meanwhile, countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar have witnessed the rise of nationalist Buddhism – the one who even made the Rohingya Muslim community victims of persecution and massive displacement.

In the name of God

1 – Caught in the middle

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has, over the past five years, seen its Jewish population increase by around 10,000. And yet the community now finds itself caught in a battle between Nigerian security agencies and a revived secessionist movement – the indigenous people of Biafra – which has won the support of the community. Why is it so? The leader of IPOB – which seeks to create Biafra, which briefly existed as a separate nation in the 1960s – is an Anglo-Nigerian political activist who is Jewish and many of his supporters and peaceful protesters are also Jews. In response, there have been targeted attacks by Nigerian agencies, including raids on synagogues, although government officials insist they are fighting a terrorist organization and not engaging in religious persecution.

2 – The future of Islam

The dreams of the Islamic State of establishing a caliphate in Syria and Iraq could remain that – a dream. But another Islamic mainstream, which also believes in a caliphate, is growing rapidly – and this has nothing to do with and could not be more different from ISIS extremism. The Ahmadiyya sect, which follows a model of international proselytizing focused on charitable work, condemns extremist views and subordinates itself to local governments, is growing faster than the Shia and Sunni communities that have dominated the religion for centuries. Could Ahmadiyyas be the future of Islam?

3 – For happiness

India is where the Buddha achieved enlightenment, in turn giving birth to Buddhism. And yet, religion has gained little momentum and traction in a country dominated by Hinduism. In fact, of the 8 million Buddhists in India, most are lower caste Hindu parents who converted as recently as the 1950s. But now the religion is staging a comeback – all thanks to Japan. A new wave of Buddhism based on the philosophy of Nichiren Daishonin, a 13th century Japanese monk, attracts tens of thousands of people across India with its promise of happiness and a peaceful world. The membership is estimated to have exceeded 200,000, and Bharat Soka Gakkai – the Indian arm of the Japanese tradition – has groups in over 300 Indian cities that meet for regular group singing sessions.

4 – Catholic fan club

It may seem unreal, but a 2015 study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University found that the number of Catholics in Africa has increased by 238% since 2018. Meanwhile, in Europe, there was only a 6% increase. And that’s not all. The number of priests in Africa (and Asia) has also increased – it has more than doubled in the same period. This compares to a growth of less than 3% in the Americas and a decline of 23% in Europe, which translates to 56,830 priests less. We can conclude that the world Catholic population remains surprisingly stable – all thanks to Africa.

Actors of change

1 – The YouTuber Nun

Sister Vassa Larin might look like the traditional Russian Orthodox nun. But the polyglot with a doctorate. and more than 50 academic publications to his credit are anything but traditional. Also, don’t go looking for her in the abbey – instead click on his YouTube channel. At a time when religious congregations in several countries are shrinking in size, the 50-year-old is building her own group of worshipers through social media, where she runs a regular show called Coffee with sister Vassa.

2 – Iceland’s only rabbi

Iceland might not recognize Judaism as a religion – and perhaps that is why estimates of the country’s Jewish population range from zero to a few hundred people. But Rabbi Avi Feldman, a tall and lanky 28-year-old who became Iceland’s first and only rabbi since World War II, is aiming to increase the tally. Why is his move from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to Reykjavík important? This is a consequence of the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States, while installing a permanent rabbi in the only European capital without one.

3 – The driver in her

A year after making headlines in India in 2018 for being one of the most prominent faces among Indian nuns demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal – accused of raping a Missionaries of Jesus from Punjab – Lucy Kalapura, 56 years old. hit the headlines again. On August 5, 2019, the Clarist Franciscan congregation of the Kerala Catholic Church fired Kalapura, who dedicated 33 years of his life to church service, for “learning to drive, taking out a loan to buy a car and published a collection of poems. Kalapura refused to back down, attacking the Vatican. But his last appeal was rejected by Rome in March 2020.

Go further

What to read:

A story of God, by Karen Armstrong, explores how the three dominant monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have shaped and changed the conception of God.

The dance of time, by Michael Judge, provides a fascinating look at how our vacations, clocks and other timekeeping standards arose by identifying religious, historical, mythical and astronomical influences on the Western calendar.

What to watch:

In the name of God, by Anand Patwardhan, is a documentary that examines how politics juxtapose with religion and cause chaos.

Go clear, the 2015 film based on Lawrence Wright’s bestselling book of the same name, offers a comprehensive history of Scientology, a profile of its founder, and testimonials from former members about the abuse and exploitation they witnessed .

Pop Quiz

Did you pay attention? Let’s see! Send your answers to the quiz below to: ozycommunity@ozy.com

When should Anglicanism disappear from Britain?

  1. 2023
  2. 2031
  3. 2033

What percentage of Americans described themselves as Christians in 2014?

  1. 78.4%
  2. 70.6%
  3. 73.9%

What is the number of Christians in China calculated in 2010?

  1. 28 million
  2. 1 million
  3. 67 million

Which Islamic sect believes that it can become the future of Islam?

  1. Bohra
  2. Ahmadiyya
  3. Deobandi

How many Indians are estimated to have adopted Nichiren Buddhism?

  1. 200,000
  2. 50,000
  3. 100,000

The number of Catholics in Africa has increased by ____ percent since 2018.

  1. 238
  2. 6
  3. 67

Why are synagogues targeted in Nigeria?

  1. The leader of the secessionist movement for the creation of Biafra is Jewish.
  2. There has been a sudden decline in Nigeria’s Jewish population.
  3. They are seen as fronts for drug trafficking.

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