The Top Religion News of 2014, Pope Francis: Humble Radical, and More

This week on Interfaith Voices:

The Stories That Mattered in 2014

The Islamic State declared a caliphate. A young woman exercised her right to die in Oregon. Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian school girls. The conflict in the holy land reached a new low. 2014 was a particularly somber year for the religion world, but there’s at least some uplifting news, too. In our annual tradition, two of our favorite religion news analysts reflect on the stories that mattered in the past year.

Pope Francis: The Great Reformer

What is it, really, that sets Pope Francis apart from the pontiffs that came before him? A new biography argues that it’s his completely new way of presenting the Catholic Church to the world–as a source for healing, not for doctrinal clarity. It’s church as “field hospital,” not dispenser of rules.

Soundscapes: Buddhism

In part five of the Soundscapes of Faith, we listen to the trance-like mantra which defines Soka Gakkai Buddhism, nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Its repeated invocation is often hypnotic, but as our guest says, “there’s nothing magical about it.” As the founder, Nichiren, has said, the very soul of their tradition is “nothing other than Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.”

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