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.
In this interview in our Journalism Spotlight series, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Albert Ken Dapatem talks about the challenges of covering religion in such a diverse nation. He also talks about the rise of Pentecostalism in his region of Africa and discusses the challenges he faces between his personal and professional roles in religion and spirituality.
Atsoutse Tossou is a researcher with a special interest in religion in today’s world. Originally from Togo in West Africa, Atsoutse Tossou is co-founder of the Africa and Religions project. Initiated by students from various African universities, the project aims to provide legal and sociological information on religion in Africa. In this interview he describes his project and share ideas on how journalists and scholars can work together for excellence in religion journalism.
IARJ Co-managing Director Larbi Megari reports on the Africa-wide conference for journalists and scholars recently held in Ghana, including some of the emerging challenges: How to connect more effectively with scholars studying religious trends; how to deal with forces that seem to work against accurate coverage of religious diversity; and the challenge of finding more effective professional networks with colleagues.
International Association of Religion Journalists founding member Prince Charles Dickson shares the wide range of topics discussed at the IARJ conference in Ghana, highlighting the great complexity of covering religion in Africa. From trying to cover religious extremism to trying to balance government involvement in religion, or lack of government interest in religion, the professional challenges are enormous, Dickson argues.
IARJ Co-managing Director and Web Editor Elisa Di Benedetto shares her perspective on this year’s conference in Ghana, including a key insight: While everyone who attended was aware of Africa’s religious diversity, the conference also illustrated a diversity in approaches to journalism by reporters across the continent.
We live in an age when a presumed irrevocable gulf between science and religion is perpetuated in the public sphere. But new evidence is emerging that reveals a far more complex picture of the relationship between these powerful social forces. One eight-region study of Religion among Scientists in International Context found a majority of scientists consider themselves either religious or spiritual, or both, in all regions except the United States, United Kingdom and France. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to address long-held animosities. On both sides.
China finds itself in the midst of a religious revival that is reshaping the global religious landscape in profound ways in the Third Millennium of the Christian era. From confounding expectations that sometime this century Islam may become the world’s largest religion to challenging Western theories of economic growth leading to the obsolescence of faith, China is in the midst of a great awakening that is transforming what once appeared to be the most secular nation on Earth to the leading edge of Christian expansion in the 21st century.
The global refugee crisis represents a potential transformational moment in world history. Nations from Africa to Asia to Europe to North America with troubled pasts of ethnic conflict and of putting political and economic self-interest above humanitarian needs have an opportunity to write new chapters in their national stories. Religion is playing and will play a critical role.
The transition to more religiously and ethnically diverse societies is rarely a smooth one. An economic downturn and heightened security fears have made it particularly challenging for countries throughout Europe. Amid the turmoil, many governments have forgone efforts at social integration in favor of legislation restricting religious freedom. But research indicates such efforts only increase conflict.[