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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Work, Faith, and Islamists

Here are the abstracts from a couple of interesting columns ("Take This Job and Love It" and "The Power of Language: Does the Term Islamist Increase Understanding or Promote Prejudice?") by David Briggs.

First, the article on work and faith ("Take This Job and Love It"):

Pay. Benefits. Opportunities for advancement. These are some of the major considerations people take into account in choosing where to work. Now, employers can add another factor: Faith. An increasing body of research suggests that faith plays a major role in the workplace, from being an indicator of how long employees will stay at one company to how well they do their jobs.
Next, the article on the use of the term Islamist ("The Power of Language: Does the Term Islamist Increase Understanding or Promote Prejudice?"):
One rarely hears activists from religious traditions other than Islam identified in a shorthand term emphasizing their faith. What American and western audiences are increasingly hearing, however, since the political and social upheaval that accompanied the Arab spring, is the term Islamist. Now there is growing concern that the label that was once welcomed by some as an alternative to more pejorative terms such as Islamic fundamentalist may itself be more a source of stereotyping than understanding.

As I've noted in previous posts, Briggs's column (Ahead of the Trend) is a regular feature of the Association of Religion Data Archives (the ARDA), which is probably the best source for data on and answers about religious belief and behavior. It was originally designed with the hope that journalists would use it so that they would avoid misreporting religious facts. It has since grown into the largest repository of data from various studies of religion from around the world.

It is much more than a data repository however. It also houses a research hub where a number of research papers by leading scholars are posted. It also has a learning center, which many people of faith would find interesting. For example, it contains
Finally, it hosts a congregational resource center that provides online resources for congregations, such as GIS maps and reports and congregational membership reports (by zip code), congregational quick stats, a community profile builder, as well as relevant links to some of the items mentioned above.

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