Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

January 24th, 2014

Engaging the “spiritual but not religious” vote

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In an essay published at the Atlantic online, TIF editor-at-large Steven Barrie-Anthony urges politicians and pundits to pay closer attention to “spiritual but not religious” voters as a potentially influential bloc.

March 7th, 2013

Are some ‘nones’ combinative religionists?

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Over at the Huffington Post, Sean McCloud reflects on the continued attention given to religious disaffiliation in the American media.

March 5th, 2013

Prayer, imagination, and the voice of God—in global perspective

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Tanya Marie Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist and a Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. Her work explores how people come to experience nonmaterial objects such as God as present and real, and how different understandings of the mind affect mental experience. She is the author, most recently, of When God Talks Back (Knopf, 2012), which The New York Times Book Review called “the most insightful study of evangelical religion in many years,” and of other books including Of Two Minds (Knopf, 2000), The Good Parsi (Harvard, 1996), and Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft (Harvard, 1989). Her latest project, supported by the SSRC’s New Directions in the Study of Prayer initiative, builds on and extends her research for When God Talks Back, taking her to India and Africa. On a recent rainy afternoon in Palo Alto, I spoke with Luhrmann about her work and its new directions.

January 16th, 2013

A return to the original agenda of Christ

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I am one of those evangelicals who, in Professor Marcia Pally’s words, have “left the right.” As a former President-elect of the Christian Coalition of America, I resigned that position and all other positions that would box me into ideologies that were becoming insidiously narrow and negative. As a 64-year-old pastor, I may not yet be representative of my generation or profession in my political openness, but I am one of a growing number of white evangelicals who are making biblically-based decisions on an issue-by-issue basis, in a wider circle of conversations than ever. We are put off by the “hardening of the categories” that is stifling not only intellectually, but also spiritually.

November 15th, 2012

Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon

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The Los Angeles Review of Books recently reviewed TIF editor-at-large Kathryn Lofton’s book Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.

October 25th, 2012

Secularization and disenchantment

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Over the past decade, scholarly inquiry into contemporary religion has moved from an understanding of religion as waning in the face of ongoing secularization toward a focus on the mutual constitution and interaction of religious and secular that underpins both the ideology of secularism and modern religiosity. This has produced pathbreaking research into the dynamics of religious transformation and generated deeper insights into the relation between religion and modernity. Importantly, these insights yield a new theoretical standpoint that transcends secularist ideologies according to which religion is bound to disappear—or at least to retreat into the private sphere—yet at the same time makes these ideologies subject to investigation. The fact that public debates about the so-called resurgence of religion often affirm the fault lines between “religious” and “secular” positions testifies to the fruitfulness of this new standpoint.

October 18th, 2012

Subjects, spirituality, and smoking: An interview with Hubert Knoblauch

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After discussing the general contours of the sociology of religion in Germany today (see part 1), I had a chance to ask Hubert Knoblauch about some of his own research. In recent years, Knoblauch, who works in the phenomenological tradition started by Alfred Schütz, has been preoccupied with spirituality, popular religion, and near-death experiences.

October 10th, 2012

What does spirituality mean in America today?

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But why, first of all, is this subject a significant one? And why does it appear especially pertinent at precisely the present moment? To begin with, growing numbers of “religious nones,” that is, people who have limited or no religious affiliation yet still claim to believe in some kind of divinity, signal an unprecedented shift in the American religious landscape, and many scholars who have sought to understand this phenomenon have indicated that something like “spirituality” might capture an important aspect of their outlook, if not their “identity.” We, for our part, certainly agree that this is a socially significant shift. Yet we also note that much of the interpretation and ensuing discussion about the “religious nones” draws upon and continues to assert uninvestigated understandings of religion and spirituality, where we would argue that the shifts underway should elicit some reconsideration of the terms that are deployed to analyze and interpret this allegedly “new” phenomenon.

October 4th, 2012

Spiritualism and visual romanticism

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TIF editor at large, John Lardas Modern, reviews Charles Colbert’s recent publication, Haunted Visions: Spiritualism and American Art.

September 6th, 2012

The Post-Secular in Question and What Matters? reviewed

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Over at The Revealer, James S. Bielo reviews What Matters? Ethnographies of Value in a Not So Secular Age and The Post-Secular in Question: Religion in Contemporary Society, jointly published with the SSRC by Columbia University Press and New York University Press respectively.