Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Around the Horn - News that Didn't Make the News

Behind the Veil – A court case in Canada is being closely watched because of the religion of the accuser. The woman who filed sexual assault chargers is a conservative Muslim, following the prescriptions which require her to cover her face. The judge has, however, ordered that when she takes the stand she must remove the veil. Because there is no former record of any case involving veiled women, the question of precedent is involved. Canada is home to at least 600,000 Muslims.

It Doesn't Work Except When It Works – Even though studies have shown that the door-to-door recruitment tactics of the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons is a massive strategic failure, expending enormous amounts of money and people resources for little return, nonetheless this practice has contributed significantly to their rise as world religions. The paper presented by researchers at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Lousville called the phenomenon “the logic of long shots.” Each Jehovah's witness faces a 95% chance of failing to convert any given stranger in any given year. This is to say, conversions almost never happen by these tactics, but these groups apply these tactics in such an extreme that, over time, five out of every one hundred doors knocked on brings a new member into their religion.

Source: The Fellowship of St. James, www.touchstonemag.com

Leaving Churches – A study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 59% of US adults have changed their religion at least once in their life time. While some cite spiritual needs or moral changes in belief, there were other more pressing reasons listed. Doctrine was rarely mentioned. Rather, moving to a new town or marrying someone were the most likely cause. 36% mentioned bureaucracies, practices and people they more or less didn't like. Hypocrisy, focus on rules, power and money were also mentioned. For those who went nowhere, it wasn't that the appeal of secularism or atheism was so great. It was the the reasons to stay were so weak. Switches occurred before age 36, and only one in ten who leave their childhood religion returned.
Source: Modern Reformation, www.modernreformation.org

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