What happens when well-known speakers are brought together to fill an auditorium to discuss the compatibility of religion and science? Too often a circus in which performers with extremist views entertain an audience by affirming their prejudices, and widening a perilous gulf. What happens when you bring together respected social scientists who for many years have gathered significant data on the relationship between science and religion? A humble dialogue offering new pathways to cooperative efforts on issues from evolution and climate change to eradicating disease.
In this news-analysis, IARJ co-founder David Briggs explores the crucial issue of Islam and democracy—the global debate over whether these two traditions, one religious and one political, can co-exist peacefully and constructively in the world. In his overview, Briggs draws on expert voices raised at a panel discussion during the IARJ’s recent conference of Asian journalists in Jakarta, Indonesia. Then, he adds background (including some helpful web links), pointing toward related news events, research data and conclusions from other experts. This article includes links to video of the Jakarta panel discussion.
Peggy Fletcher Stack, religion writer for The Salt Lake Tribune and a founding member of the International Association of Religion Journalists, was part of the investigative team at the Tribune that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on rapes at Utah colleges. In this new IARJ@work column, Peggy writes about the challenges she faces—and the importance of reporting on religion in a fair and balanced way.
As he marks his third anniversary on the job, Pope Francis is providing encouragement, renewed optimism and a new energy to many of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. It is an appeal that extends beyond Catholics as the humble leader addresses issues from the refugee crisis to the environment. But can one person, even someone as charismatic as Francis, bring about lasting change?
Lifting up the virtue of humility may seem anachronistic in an age that extols self-adulation. But for Tomas Halik, a Czech priest and philosopher who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, the willingness of religious and secular individuals to engage in dialogue and learn from one another is essential to a civil society. “We must learn to share public space,” Halik declares.