Across the Developed World, People Report That the Pandemic Has Strengthened Their Faith

Feb. 17 2021

Last month, the Pew Research Center released a study on the effects of the coronavirus on religiosity, drawing on survey data from the U.S., Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and several European countries. Jeremy Weber writes:

[A]s the coronavirus closed churches worldwide, a global survey of more than 14,000 people has found that few lost faith while many of the most faithful gained [more]. . . . Americans were [the most] likely to report that their religious faith had become stronger due to the pandemic. . . . Next came Spaniards and Italians, whose nations were two of the worst hit during the coronavirus’s deadly outbreak in the spring. . . . Meanwhile, Koreans were [most] likely to report that their religious faith had become weaker due to the pandemic.

[Moreover], of respondents who said religion was “very important” in their lives, a far larger share reported strengthened faith. This included 49 percent of faithful Spaniards, 45 percent of Americans, 44 percent of Italians, and 40 percent of Canadians. The global median was 33 percent.

Among all Americans, 24 percent said their faith had been strengthened in April, compared to the 28 percent in the summer. . . . About a third of Americans believe the pandemic offers a lesson for humanity sent by God (35 percent), according to a prior Pew survey. A similar share (37 percent) believes there is a lesson to learn but it was not sent by God.

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Read more at Christianity Today

More about: American Religion, Christianity, Coronavirus, Religion

 

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform