April 26, 2015 / published by WSJ
Religion has been waning in influence for several centuries, especially in Europe and North America. There have been a few brief and local revivals, but in recent years the pace of decline has accelerated.
Today one of the largest categories of religious affiliation in the world—with more than a billion people—is no religion at all, the “Nones.” One out of six Americans is already a None; by 2050, the figure will be one out of four, according to a new Pew Research Center study. Churches are being closed by the hundreds, deconsecrated and rehabilitated as housing, offices, restaurants and the like, or just abandoned.
If this trend continues, religion largely will evaporate, at least in the West. Pockets of intense religious activity may continue, made up of people who will be more sharply differentiated from most of society in attitudes and customs, a likely source of growing tension and conflict.
Conchita Wurst is responsible for the flooding in the Balkans that left over 50 people dead, according to church leaders
Conchita Wurst is responsible for flooding that left over 50 people dead earlier this month, church leaders in the Balkans have claimed.
The Austrian drag artist, whose real name is Thomas Neuwirth, seized international attention after winning Eurovision 2014 with his hit Rise Like a Phoenix.
However, several church leaders have now claimed the recent devastating flooding across the Balkans, which was the worst in a century and left over 50 people dead, was "divine punishment" for Conchita's victory.
Germany is beginning to grant Muslims the sort of entitlements given to Christians and Jews, including having their religion taught in schools and universities – something that could be key for fighting radical Islam.
According to Yahoo News, a half hour away from the shimmering banks of the Main river, Timur Kumlu has just read 20-odd second-graders a chapter from the Quran, about Abraham looking for Allah, but finding him neither in the sun, the wind, nor the moon.
Who is Abraham? One boy with piercing dark eyes jumps in. “He trusted Allah!”
Among the 26 most populous countries, Brazil has the highest levels of religious freedom, higher, in fact, than the United States, where government restrictions on religious freedom have been rising.
According to The Weekly Number, Brazil - the world's fifth most populous nation - not only out performs other countries of is size, the Brazilian government has the best record on religious freedom worldwide, placing virtually no measurable restrictions on religious freedom, scoring 0.2 out of a maximum of 10.0 on the Government Restrictions on Religion index, recently published by the Pew Research Center.
Among the 26 most populous nations, seven have governments that are very highly restrictive of religious freedom (see chart): China (scoring 9.1 out of 10.0), Indonesia (8.5), Iran (8.3), Egypt (8.2), Burma/Myanmar (7.7), Russia (7.4), Turkey (7.4), according to the Pew index. Six arehighly restrictive: Pakistan (6.4), Vietnam (6.1), Bangladesh (5.2), India (5.0), Ethiopia (4.6), and Germany (4.5). Five are moderately restrictive: Thailand (4.4), France (4.2), Nigeria (4.1), Mexico (3.4), and the United States (3.0). And eight have low government restrictions on religious freedom: South Korea (2.0), Italy (2.0), United Kingdom (1.7), D.R. Congo (1.1), Japan (1.1), Philippines (1.0), South Africa (0.7), Brazil (0.2).
For more details please check The Weekly Numbers
Reuters, Russian lawmakers have introduced to parliament a draft bill to support Islamic finance, aiming to attract capital inflows at a time when an economic slowdown is intensifying and Western sanctions show no sign of being lifted.
The draft law, sent to parliament's lower house, the State Duma, this week, proposes allowing banks to engage in trade activities, a concept central to many of the structures used in sharia-compliant financial products.
On April 1, AAI's newest affiliate group, the Atheist Alliance in Iraq, was accepted as AAI's 48th affiliate group, and the first in the state of Iraq.
Organized byAmmar Adnan on Facebook, the group already has over 300 members since being constituted only a month earlier.
Ammar Adnan says that religious strife in Iraq is constant, with Sunnis and Shi'a holding strong sectarian views and more often than not considering the other side as 'infidels'. Being an atheist is even tougher: Although places like Baghdad are relatively secular and people in general are more tolerant of different faith views, the smaller towns and rural provinces are rife with sectarianism and tribal intolerance. But Ammar sees Iraq, after more than two decades of economic sanctions and war, as reaching a new stage where the ideals of freedom of conscience and secularism have their best chance of taking root in a long time.
The Atheist Alliance of Iraq is a group to give voice to those ideals, and to provide a way for similarly-minded Iraqis to find and support each other.