This summer, Patheos has been hosting a 12-week series of conversations on the topic of "current religious trends." Each of the first eleven weeks has been dedicated to a trending topic or question in one of the communities represented by our Faith Channels (see the full schedule and topics here).
As much as ever, the world is deeply enmeshed in the matters of religion. During this final week of the series, some of our regular contributors to identify and comment on the issue of greatest import as they understand it. What is most critical in the various traditions? What is most culturally relevant in the larger arena of religion in the world today? What single issue seems to be most pressing?
Marcus Borg, Author; Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
What is at stake is what might be called "the soul" or "heart of Christianity." Is it about my doing well in this life and/or the next? Or about so much more? For me, it is about so much more.
Adam Lee, Author; Activist; Atheist Blogger, "Daylight Atheism"
The most important, and paradoxically most underappreciated, trend in American religion today is the long-term, across-the-board decline of Christianity and the corresponding rise of atheism.
Greg Forster, Program Director, Faith, Work and Economics, Kern Family Foundation
The emerging challenge is the breakdown of relationships among the poor. The most important of these are family and work relationships, which are the central determining factors in the shape of people’s lives.
Marcus Goodyear, Editor of "The High Calling"; Director of Digital Media for the H. E. Butt Foundation
Eventually, my son's toys will become his tools. Then his tools will shape his daily life at home and at work. They will even shape his faith. They may become his idols. New technologies are the greatest challenge and opportunity for people of faith.
Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director; The Center for Inquiry; Atheist Blogger, "iMortal"
Never in human history have supernaturally based belief systems, so specific in their proscriptions for behavior and thought, been so open to scrutiny and criticism, and on such a mass scale.
As the trend toward devaluing human life and the human person increases, suicide and euthanasia risk being treated as just another life choice.
Neil Carter, Teacher; Atheist Blogger, "Godless in Dixie"
We need skeptics writing, painting, singing, dancing, and acting out stories about every other aspect of life from their own individual perspective.
John Beckett, Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans; Pagan Blogger, "Under the Ancient Oaks"
As our society continues to struggle with social, political, and environmental problems, polytheism has some distinct advantages to offer its followers and the wider world.
Chris Armstrong, Author; Director, Institute for Faith and Vocation, Wheaton College; Senior Editor, Christian History magazine
If our work as Christians it is to truly make a difference in our country and our world, we need to get our own houses of worship in order.
Robert Hunt, Director of Global Theological Education at Perkins School of Theology, SMU
The most critical witness we bear will be the firm reassertion of the cult that ever redirects human energy toward the praise of God.
Ben Conroy, Columnist with The Irish Catholic; Intern at the Iona Institute
We have to find a way—or a new version of the old way—of being in the world but not of it.
Padma Kuppa, Activist; Blogger, "Seeking Shanti"
I asked the Mennonite pastor why there is no similar public uproar over the plight of Hindus in India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh, as there is over the plight of the Palestinians.
James Faulconer, Author; Professor; Academic Director of BYU's London Centre
Like every religion, especially in the West we face the issue of how to deal with our increasingly secular world, not just legally, but in the way that all of us understand our relationships to each other and to everything else.
Pia de Solenni, Blogger, "Pia de Solenni"
The demonstrated lack of unity among Catholics illustrates the need for education and evangelization in our own Church first.