01: The July issue of The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science is devoted to the issue of the new pluralism in American religion.
The issue, guest edited by Wade Clark Roof, is divided into sections on general history and theory, region and religion, minority and immigrant experiences, and institutional patterns (such as interfaith relations between religious groups). Particularly noteworthy is the article by Mark Silk, which looks at the interaction between region and religion based on the research project he has supervised in this area. Silk concludes that the Midwest may be the most conducive region for a new pluralist society since it places less emphasis on an ethnic ascribed identity and makes room for the evangelical voice while encouraging community values.
Other articles look at the role of segmented assimilation (partial and selective assimilation among immigrants), the rise and significance of interfaith families (finding that evangelicals are the most likely to live in such households), and the role of the “Emergent“ (or postmodern) Christian and Jewish congregations (as expressed in the Synagogue 3000 movement) in forging new interfaith relations. For more information and a synopsis of the issue, visit the website:http://ann.sagepub.com.
02: The Spring/Summer issue of the Harvard Divinity Bulletin features a special section on “God and Evolution.” While that topic has been well-covered in most publications, the articles are of interest because they suggest how liberal theologians are appropriating evolution in a somewhat different way than that of traditional Darwinism.
The articles stress the concept of a “theology of cooperation” (and are drawn from a Harvard research project by that name), which challenges the traditional Darwinian touchstones of competition and sexual selection. It is particularly on the matter of gender where the new divide is evident. In one article, Biologist Joan Roughgarden of Stanford University argues that Darwin and his successor’s concept of sexual selection, which holds that males are naturally aggressive and females passive, has little empirical basis.
For more information on this issue, write: Harvard Divinity Bulletin, 45 Francis Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138.