A curious finding in sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund’s national study on the religious beliefs and practices of American scientists is that nearly one in five atheist parents participate in religious institutions.Read the rest of Why some atheist scientists participate in religious institutions.
Brandon Vaidyanathan is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and a graduate research fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. His dissertation looks at how religious institutions and practices both shape and are shaped by new forms of capitalism in rapidly-globalizing cities such as Dubai and Bangalore. His other research has examined volunteers in Canada and Italy; call center workers in India; religious practices of American young adults; philanthropy in the US; and causality in American sociology.
Posts by Brandon Vaidyanathan:
he Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue is currently hosting its ninth annual conference on interfaith dialogue from October 24-26.Read the rest of Qatar hosts interfaith dialogue conference.
The Guardian has been hosting a series of posts on the question of whether faith is necessary in order to appreciate religious art. A post by Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin highlights the recent work of atheist artist David Mach to contest the assumption that religious art is necessarily made by believersRead the rest of Atheism and religious art.
Should religious discourse be welcomed in the public sphere, or should we require that it first be translated into secular terms? Part of the concern in the debate is that such translation would be demeaning to religiously-committed people, and that they would be unwilling to do this. But in something like the Rimini Meeting it seems that the opposite is the case—translation into secular idiom may in fact be an attractive prospect to religious groups: an attempt to retain a freshness of content by changing the form, a way to express their way of life in a public forum that might invite those who might otherwise steer clear.Read the rest of Understanding resacralization (part 3).
The Rimini Meeting is run almost entirely by unpaid volunteers. Everything from the physical construction and take-down of the arena, to its cleaning staff, to the various literary, scientific and artistic exhibits, to food services, is the prerogative of around 4,000 unpaid volunteers who give up their vacation time and pay money (covering their own travel and lodging costs) to work at this event. [...] I interviewed nearly 100 of these volunteers, including university students, factory workers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, housewives, and retirees. Among the questions I asked them was whether they would consider the Meeting a “religious” event. Nearly half of them immediately replied “no.” A handful replied “yes” right away, and the rest couched with “it depends.” But regardless of the initial answer, they all offered very much the same explanation.Read the rest of Understanding resacralization (part 2).
When I set out to examine the lifestyle changes of employees working night shifts in India’s call centers, I was surprised to discover how outsourcing highlights some of the important tensions between new modes of secularity and new religious modernities emerging around the world.Read the rest of Religion in the call center.
Dominant accounts of the religion-modernity relationship, at least among sociologists of religion in the US, have tended to focus mainly on what falls into these categories of decline, capitulation, withdrawal, or confrontation. But the Rimini Meeting and its offshoots are among a host of new phenomena that really don’t fit into the above, and seem to warrant a different category.Read the rest of Understanding resacralization (part 1).