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This Week in World Religion 2018–09–16


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/09/16

“Do you believe in God? Britons are more likely to answer “yes” when faced with their own mortality, as figures show that religious faith is far stronger among patients admitted to hospital than the general public.

More than half of Britons are happy to declare that they have “no religion”, according to the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, which found that 52 per cent of people have no religious affiliation. This figure drops to 15 per cent among NHS patients.”


“African pastors have recently become popular for all the wrong reasons. They are now more known for their extravagant and luxurious lifestyles than for preaching the word of God.

In their quest for this life, many have resorted to bizarre rituals of ‘healing’ and ‘luring’ more people to their churches. Just recently, news that a South African pastor, Prophet Rufus Phala, made his congregation drink Jik bleach has been going viral on social media. Six people have died as a result of this act.”


“BEIJING — The services at the Zion Church were different from usual on Sunday. A lot different.

Instead of having 1,300 or so congregants pack into their usual space in northern Beijing, the members of the church walked the streets in small groups, listening to a downloaded sermon on their cellphones.

Pastor Jin Mingri was forced to disseminate his sermon this way after the Chinese authorities shut down his church a week ago, declaring it illegal.”


“ A new Brazil-based religion is combing elements of Christianity, Judaism, Egyptian, and even Incan religions to form their own belief system, and they are gathering steam. Right now, there are 800,000 adherents of “Vale do Amanhecer” (Sunrise Valley), throughout the world, and their belief system is leading some to have a range of emotions. Some people believe the group is interesting while others believe that the religion is more cult-like. A Religion Based on Alien Reincarnation? TWEET THIS The issue that is most often raised with people in the Sunrise Valley religion is that their core belief is centered on something odd, that they are reincarnated aliens. Their beliefs include the notion that aliens had come to earth about 32,000 years ago with the lofty goal of helping to advance humanity towards better things. Over time, the aliens’ descendants reincarnated themselves until they have reached their present state which is now called “the Jaguars.” The entire religion was established beginning in 1959 when Aunt Neiva experienced psychic episodes and was later guided by Pai Seta Branca towards understanding her visions. The result has been a religion that is growing quickly, flashy, and interesting from the inside and the outside. In fact, the religion is one of the fastest growing in all of Brazil. There have been 600 temples developed in dedication of the Sunrise Valley religion around the world.”


“Last week saw the publication of the ‘Way Forward,’ the final report of the UK Commission for Religious Education (RE). The report was published in response to the increasing diversity of religious attitudes in Britain and concerns about the quality of RE teaching in British schools. As one commentator put it in a recent issue of Schools Week, religious education has become a subject that is “withering on the vine.”

At a time when the links between religion and politics are increasingly controversial one might ask, ‘so what?’ For many people religion carries associations of intolerance or extremism, and the school subject of RE has been seen as divisive and perhaps even anachronistic — the strange descendant of 1950s religious instruction and the state’s subsequent interest in community cohesion. However, there is much in this report that is fresh and challenging, especially its key recommendation that the curriculum be broadened to teach religions as one example of a range of different worldviews alongside non-religious frames such as atheism, agnosticism and humanism.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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