Across the world, billions of worshippers this weekend will be going to mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship hearing messages declaring that the choices they make in this life can affect their eternal destiny. How each of them, and secular individuals, face the great existential question of the meaning of life in the face of mortality can make a major difference in areas from mental health to preventing terrorism and promoting more generous, compassionate societies less likely to experience civil strife, new research shows.
Covering large spiritual gatherings and religious events and reporting outside your native region carries many challenges. Among these is knowing how to handle yourself appropriately and improve your odds for getting the best story that you can. The IARJ is offering this occasional series on how to work in lands and cover events that you may not be familiar with. Journalist Bhavya Srivastava, the author of this report, is a founding member of the IARJ and a resident of India.
Religious fashion matters. It matters to individuals who view wearing head scarves, kippas and turbans as a positive expression of faith, and it matters to societies increasingly setting restrictions on religious attire in response to concerns ranging from security to the belief that increasing diversity represents a threat to the essential character of their nations. So how, in the face of intense political and social pressures, can nations balance issues of religious freedom, tolerance and national identity? A developing body of research sheds some light on the debate.