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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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Christianity

The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse

It’s been 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. How has religious freedom fared in this part of the world?

Source: www.deseretnews.com

The collapse of the former Soviet Union was one of the biggest political events of the 20th century with long-reaching cultural ramifications.  The generations of state-sponsored atheism followed by a variety of new political policies has meant that religious freedoms vary greatly in the regions that were once a part of the USSR.  This article gives a good breakdown of all the former SSR’s and the state of religious freedom today in each of them.    

 

Tags: religionChristianityIslam, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, AzerbaijanGeorgia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan.      

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Why America’s ‘nones’ left religion behind

With the percentage of U.S. adults who do not identify with a religious group growing, we asked these people to explain, in their own words, why they left.

Source: www.pewresearch.org

The United States’ population is becoming increasingly secularized.  The U.S. used to be predominantly a white, Christian country but that is no longer the case.  As religion becomes less of a factor in the lives of many individuals, it also has larger cultural ramifications. 

 

Tags: culturereligionUSA, Christianity.

Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires

“15,035 people have ‘unsubscribed’ from the church since Monday.”

Source: www.atlasobscura.com

Europe, the most developed region in the world, is also the most secular region today.  During colonial times, Europeans were spreading Christianity across the globe, but now Christianity is becoming more a part of Europe’s historical landscape.  Secularization can be seen as either the cause or the effect of several other European trends such as declining fertility rates.  Today Europeans have stopped attending mass en masse, and many cathedrals sit empty.  This example for Norway has an amusing twist, but it is rooted in a powerful cultural shift. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What are other signs of secularization on the cultural landscape?  What would you do with a former sacred site (and an architectural treasure) that is can’t be maintained?

 

Tags: culturepopular culture, religion, ChristianityNorway, Europe.

The Vatican’s Gallery of Maps Comes Back to Life

In the 16th century, Pope Gregory assigned the monk and geographer Ignazio Danti to carry out the project. In turn, Danti hired several artistic stars of the day and up-and-comers as well to illustrate the maps, including Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia and the Flemish brothers Matthijs and Paul Bril. The Brils excelled at landscape paintings—an essential skill for the work.

Source: www.wsj.com

This 4-year restoration project is a great cultural revival, but it also reveals the importance of geographic information.  The Vatican was a great medieval seat of both religious authority and political power.  This attracted prominent visitors from all over Europe and the map gallery served to convey geographic information about the Italian peninsula.  

 

Tagsart, Italy, historical, Europe, religiontourism, Christianity.

Why the Catholic Church is losing Latin America, and how it’s trying to get it back

“A religious revolution is underway in Latin America. Between 1900 and 1960, 90% of Latin Americans were Catholics. But in the last fifty years, that figure has slumped to 69%, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center (from which most of the data in this article are taken). The continent may still be home to 425 million Catholics—40% of the world’s total—but the Vatican’s grip is slipping.”

 

Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

Source: qz.com

Projected Religious Population Changes in Sub-Saharan Africa

“The total population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster pace than in any other region in the decades ahead, more than doubling from 823 million in 2010 to 1.9 billion in 2050. As a result, the two dominant religions in the region – Christianity and Islam – both are expected to have more than twice as many adherents in 2050 as in 2010.”

Source: www.pewforum.org

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions of the world. While the economy is growing, the rate at which poverty is falling is less than the population growth rate.  Nearly all of the population growth in Africa between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.  As the population grows, the religious dynamics of Sub-Saharan Africa will change.  The share of residents practicing Christianity, the majority religion of the region, is expected to decline from 2010 to 2050 while the share of Muslims is expected to increase in the same time frame.  The changes in religious demographics is occurring alongside the region’s youth bulge (click here for a population pyramid).  Understanding religious demographics is key to understanding the challenges faced by the African people.   

 

Question to Ponder: What impact are the region’s two fastest-growing religions having on Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall fertility rate?    

 

Tagsreligionpopulation, ChristianityIslam, Africa.

How Islam Created Europe

“For centuries in early and middle antiquity, Europe meant the world surrounding the Mediterranean. It included North Africa, but the swift advance of Islam across North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries virtually extinguished Christianity there, thus severing the Mediterranean region into two civilizational halves, with the ‘Middle Sea’ a hard border between them rather than a unifying force. Islam is now helping to undo what it once helped to create. A classical geography is organically reasserting itself, as the forces of terrorism and human migration reunite the Mediterranean Basin, including North Africa and the Levant, with Europe.” 

Source: www.theatlantic.com

The title is a bit overstated (aren’t they all in this click-bait driven media age?), but the article shows nicely how regions are cultural constructs that change over time. 

 

Tags: op-edregions, Europe, historical, Islamreligionhistorical, culture, Christianity.

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