Commentators routinely remark on the sophisticated use of media by the organization that calls itself the Islamic State, but in the past few weeks many Muslims have been using the Twitter hashtag #NotInMyName to offer a counter-narrative about Islam. The campaign began earlier this month with a video released by the London-based Active Change Foundation, featuring British Muslims speaking out against the organization (variously known as ISIS and ISIL), which, they say, does “not represent Islam or any Muslim.” A recent tweet using the hashtag stated that, “ISIS is not a representation of Islam. My religion is based upon principles of respect, love and harmony.”Read the rest of In whose name? ISIS, Islam, and social media.
Richard Amesbury is Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Institute for Social Ethics at the University of Zurich. He is the author of Morality and Social Criticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and Faith and Human Rights (Fortress, 2008). Read Nathan Schneider's interview with Amesbury here, and read Richard Amesbury's contributions to Reflections on summer reading, Reflections on summer reading, Surveying religious knowledge, Religion and the midterm elections, After Sandy, and Values and violence: Thoughts on Charlie Hebdo.
Posts by Richard Amesbury:
How could a human invention hold such sway over us as a people? Garry Wills argues that the gun is, for most Americans, a sacred object.Read the rest of One nation under Gun?.
An influential thinker in the areas of Christology, eschatology, and the problem of evil, Hick will likely best be remembered for his “pluralistic hypothesis.”Read the rest of John Hick (1922 – 2012).
A Tennessee judge has upheld his earlier decision allowing the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to build a new mosque and community center.Read the rest of Islam: still a religion in Tennessee.
Mark Oppenheimer discusses Charles Taylor’s work and its reception in a wide-ranging essay in The Nation.Read the rest of Oppenheimer: the politics of authenticity?.
In the current issue of the New Yorker, James Wood reviews The Joy of Secularism: 11 Essays for How We Live Now (Princeton, 2011).Read the rest of Secularism and its discontents.
Julia Galef reports for Religion Dispatches on philosopher Keith Parsons’s decision to quit doing philosophy of religion. In September, Parsons, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, had announced on the The Secular Outpost.Read the rest of Adieu to philosophy of religion?.
A Florida church’s plans to burn copies of the Qur’an on September 11 have drawn widespread condemnation, including from the local fire department.Read the rest of What’s wrong with burning the Qur’an?.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, is drawing criticism for remarks made earlier this month in which he appears to question whether Islam is a religion. And the quetion may not be as straightforward as one would like to think. To be a religion is, in at least one important sense, to be acknowledged as such.Read the rest of Islam: not a religion?.
Since the publication of Robert Bellah’s 1967 article “Civil Religion in America,” discussions of the topic have tended to devolve into debates between those who find the very idea morally objectionable and those who regard some form of civil religion as sociologically necessary. … Yet, if there is a benign form of American civil religion in the making, it has been a long time coming. The problem is not simply the proclivity to idolize the nation or the state, but the apparent impossibility of articulating our social bonds without relegating significant segments of the population to second-class citizenship. Because the “imagined community” of a nation rarely maps neatly onto the actual citizenry of a state, the quest for unity, however minimal its basis, ironically issues in exclusions. This may make perfectly good sense from a sociological perspective, but it presents a profound challenge to liberal democratic claims about equality.Read the rest of Religion and the civic imagination.
Charles Taylor has argued that those of us living in North America and Europe are witnessing a shift in our social imaginary from a “Durkheimian” self-understanding, according to which political identity is tied to religious belonging, towards a “post-Durkheimian” view, in which the two are no longer seen as intrinsically linked. In the emerging dispensation, Taylor predicts, “it will be less and less common for people to be drawn into or kept within a faith by some strong political or group identity, or by the sense that they are sustaining a socially essential ethic.” Whatever its merits as an analysis of contemporary European self-understanding—and these are surely significant—Taylor’s reading strikes me as underdetermined by the American evidence…Read the rest of Multi-religious denominationalism and American identity.