Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, April 7 2017

An updated count on the world's religious population and where it's headed in the future. A consideration of the racial culture surrounding the Christian holiday of Lent in the United States. And a look at how America's Evangelical community perceives itself versus how it perceives others. It's Faithful Friday, our news segment on faiths and religious communities from around the world. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Last year we shared some information from Pew Research detailing data on religious communities around the world. Now, Pew has updated their data for 2017. The data, which you can give look at here, covers the existing distribution of different religious communities around the world as well as their expected growth or decline by 2060.

Recently, CNN aired a controversial documentary series called Believers, hosted by Reza Aslan and detailing several lesser known religious communities. It immediately drew controversy from Hindus for featuring the Aghoris, a minor Kali-worshiping sect, that many Hindus felt was unrepresentative of most Hindus. You can read one American Hindu's reaction here.

Christianity is not just a religion for white people: it was, after all, established by a Middle Eastern Jew and his followers (who were also predominantly Middle Eastern Jews). Nonetheless, in the West it has become very strongly associated with people of European descent, a presumption that sometimes carries over into the culture surrounding its rituals and holidays. At ProgressiveChristianity.Org, Anita Little explains why that can be problematic.

In addition to traditional Vietnamese folk religion (sometimes called Thanism), Buddhism, and Christianity, Vietnam also contains a number of followers belonging to a homegrown religious tradition known as Cao Dai. Little known in the West it's nonetheless important to Vietnamese culture, provoking strong sentiments among many Vietnamese. This news story covers an ongoing dispute regarding a temple of the religion where the removal of a statue portraying one of the religion's leaders has incited considerable debate.

It is sometimes said that American Christians have a "persecution complex," a tendency to regard their faith as constantly under attack when they are, in fact, the dominant religion in the country. While that may or may not hold true for the majority of Christians, new data suggests that many Evangelicals do in fact feel their way of life is under attack and, in fact, believe they're more persecuted than religious minorities such as Muslims.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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