Geography Education
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Geography Education
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The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse

The fate of religious freedom in the former USSR, 25 years after its collapse | Geography Education |
It's been 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. How has religious freedom fared in this part of the world?
Seth Dixon's insight:

The collapse of the former Soviet Union was one of the biggest political events of the 20th century with long-reaching cultural ramifications.  The generations of state-sponsored atheism followed by a variety of new political policies has meant that religious freedoms vary greatly in the regions that were once a part of the USSR.  This article gives a good breakdown of all the former SSR’s and the state of religious freedom today in each of them.    


Tags: religionChristianityIslam, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, AzerbaijanGeorgia, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan.      

David Stiger's curator insight, October 22, 2018 10:20 AM
For post-Soviet countries, power and fear might be freedom's greatest challenges. On one hand, there is a dominant religious institution -  Eastern Orthodox Christianity - seeking to grow its influence and power. This might be a goal for a religion that is not popular elsewhere around the world (many Americans only know of Protestants and Roman Catholics, completely oblivious to the third major branch). They may see their geographic location as especially important - serving as a home-base of spiritual operations to launch evangelical missions, build coalitions, and influence national policies that shape society in a way their particular brand of Christianity approves of. On the other hand is fear of extremist groups which have resorted to terrorism to achieve their objectives. Countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan have all placed restrictions on minority faiths, such as Muslims and Protestants, requiring these groups to register with the state. Geographically, the Islamic world, which is in a constant state of turmoil, lies directly south of the post-Soviet Union, making Islam a key focus as immigrants and ideas easily flow into the region. This need for state approval is a form of control which clearly hampers independence and freedom of expression.  The irony in all of this is that fear of extremism leads to more extreme measures of security. This toxic process will only sow discord, distrust, and animosity between sub-populations leading to civil unrest.  

Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 5:49 PM
It is not surprising to me as a history major that they is still suppression of religious freedom in many former soviet territories. The more westernized countries have less of an issue than the countries farther from the west. This is partially due to them wanting to join Nato which requires religious freedom for joining. The more Islamic countries to the south seem to have the most difficulties with religious freedoms (as do a majority of Islamic nations). Russia would also have some problems from years of atheism being forced by the communist party. Somehow the Eastern Orthodox religion was able to hold on through out it all, but they seem to be the only;y religion openly accepted in Russia.  
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 10:45 AM
After years and years of suppression under the Atheistic USSR, many would not be unreasonable to have believed that when the USSR fell they would be able to practice their religion however they would like. Unfortunately, nothing changes in a day and when fear is a tactic learned from their former occupiers. Many countries still use the growing terrorism in the region to suppress their own citizen's rights to religious freedom.  Countries such as Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are of great concern where Religious minorities, mainly Muslims, are rounded up and registered, monitored during religious practices or severely restricted. It is not a surprise that this is happening is former-USSR countries, but you must understand it takes time for deeply rooted behaviors to change. 
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Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires

Thousands Leave Norwegian Church as Online Registration Backfires | Geography Education |

"15,035 people have 'unsubscribed' from the church since Monday."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Europe, the most developed region in the world, is also the most secular region today.  During colonial times, Europeans were spreading Christianity across the globe, but now Christianity is becoming more a part of Europe's historical landscape.  Secularization can be seen as either the cause or the effect of several other European trends such as declining fertility rates.  Today Europeans have stopped attending mass en masse, and many cathedrals sit empty.  This example for Norway has an amusing twist, but it is rooted in a powerful cultural shift. 


Questions to Ponder: What are other signs of secularization on the cultural landscape?  What would you do with a former sacred site (and an architectural treasure) that is can't be maintained?


Tags: culturepopular culture, religion, ChristianityNorway, Europe.

David Stiger's curator insight, September 28, 2018 2:09 PM
Being raised Lutheran in the Mid-West, with Norwegian heritage, I can recall my relatives telling me that, unlike America, the "official church" of the Scandinavian countries is usually Lutheran. As a teen, it was always ironic to hear how irreligious, agnostic, and secular these European countries were despite having a state-sponsored religion. It's interesting to note that in 2012, the Lutheran church ceased to be the official national church of Norway - marking a trend that continues to grow. 

Interestingly enough, despite Europe's decline of Christianity, many of these states support robust welfare systems and social programs that include the powerless and vulnerable. What does this reality say about Christianity then? Can the message of Jesus - to love and serve the downtrodden -  be better achieved without Jesus the divine? 

Notably, Europe is the most advanced and developed region in the world and they are now the most secular region in the world. Perhaps the decrease in religiosity and traditional beliefs is tied to education, higher quality of life, technology, and better opportunity. It would be interesting to compare the most religious countries in the world (often Arab-Muslim and Latin American Roman Catholic) to determine if development has a strong correlation with declining religious participation.  
Olivia Campanella's curator insight, October 1, 2018 4:19 PM
Europe is one of the most developed regions in the world and is also the most secular region today. Christianity was spreading across the globe but now, it is becoming part of Europe's past. In this article a Norwegian church attempted to help people check their enrollment or to sign up  by creating a website, but, to their surprise 10,854 people clicked the unenroll option leaving the church with a net loss of 14,500 people.
Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 28, 2018 3:15 PM
Europe today lacks the religious aspect it once held so close. Attendance of church has dramatically declined as time went on leaving many church buildings abandoned. Europe stands today as one of the most developed regions in the world however, it is now the most secular region today. Which is very different from how Europe use to be. Christianity is now becoming part of Europe's past. In this article a Norwegian church tries to combat the lack of church attendance and practices. They do this in a very modern way that being using the internet. They attempted to create an website where people could sign up or check their enrollment in church. However, this modern idea backfired and the church lost around 14,500 people as they clicked the un-enroll option on the website. I believe this idea failed because people that attend church probably lean more towards old traditions. So they might have felt insulted by the church that they had to enroll on a modern (new tradition). The members probably wanted the church to remain untouched by modernity.
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Why the Catholic Church is losing Latin America, and how it’s trying to get it back

Why the Catholic Church is losing Latin America, and how it’s trying to get it back | Geography Education |

"A religious revolution is underway in Latin America. Between 1900 and 1960, 90% of Latin Americans were Catholics. But in the last fifty years, that figure has slumped to 69%, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center (from which most of the data in this article are taken). The continent may still be home to 425 million Catholics—40% of the world’s total—but the Vatican’s grip is slipping."


Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

Nicole Canova's curator insight, February 10, 2018 7:04 PM
Despite being home to a huge amount of the world's Roman Catholics, membership in the Church is dropping throughout South America in favor of other religious options, from various Protestant sects to New Age beliefs to African diaspora religions.  The Pentacostal church in particular is highly favored all over the region, predominantly because it puts a bigger emphasis on a relationship with God and faith healing.  It has also adapted much better to Latin American culture than the Catholic church.  Most Pentacostal priests are from the region, while most Catholic clergy are outsiders, and Pentacostal churches use more Latin American music and dance.  The Catholic church has, however, had some limited success in the region with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which has adopted many aspects of Pentacostal church services while retaining the traditional church hierarchy and reverence for the Virgin Mary and the saints.  However, the Catholic church would systemic reform to slow or even reverse the the trend in South America, which would make the church unappealing to more conservative Catholic communities in Africa and Asia.  This touches on a variety of cultural differences between these regions, and poses an impossible dilemma to the church in which it must pick and choose which region or regions are more important.
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How Islam Created Europe

How Islam Created Europe | Geography Education |

"For centuries in early and middle antiquity, Europe meant the world surrounding the Mediterranean. It included North Africa, but the swift advance of Islam across North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries virtually extinguished Christianity there, thus severing the Mediterranean region into two civilizational halves, with the 'Middle Sea' a hard border between them rather than a unifying force. Islam is now helping to undo what it once helped to create. A classical geography is organically reasserting itself, as the forces of terrorism and human migration reunite the Mediterranean Basin, including North Africa and the Levant, with Europe." 

Seth Dixon's insight:

The title is a bit overstated (aren't they all in this click-bait driven media age?), but the article shows nicely how regions are cultural constructs that change over time. 


Tags: op-edregions, Europe, historical, Islamreligionhistorical, culture, Christianity.

association concert urbain's curator insight, September 22, 2016 9:06 AM


The Atlantic


Politics, culture, business, science, technology, health, education, global affairs, more. Tweets by @CaitlinFrazier

Washington, D.C.

Violaine Maelbrancke's curator insight, December 3, 2016 12:06 PM
Dans sa cartographie, l'Europe a souvent intégré le nord africain qu'elle a pourtant colonisé et soumis. Bien que ce nord africain ait gagné son indépendance il a conservé une relation Nord-Sud privilégiée avec l'Europe. Le terrorisme permet aujourd'hui de reconstruire une Europe bien délimitée en détruisant ce que le nord africain avait dessiné.
L'auteur critique ici une volonté européenne d'intégrer d'autres pays dont la méthode est calquée sur la méthode romaine de constitution d'un empire. L' Europe doit aujourd'hui trouver un autre moyen d'intégrer de nouveaux pays pleinement. Pour l'exemple du nord africain elle doit apprendre à pleinement intégrer l'islam en abandonnant un peu la logique législative catégorisante. Il faudrait alors construire un système où ces grandes lois deviennent des valeurs universelles qui prennent en considération les individus et leurs droits selon une hiérarchie des besoins.
David Stiger's curator insight, September 28, 2018 3:35 PM
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe was a disparate and disorganized collection of ethnically similar Christian tribes and kingdoms. Without Rome, there was no driving force to unify these proto-European entities. Bickering, feuding, and divisiveness dominated Christendom. 

An Islamic threat from the south, coming up through North Africa, eventually united Europeans against an "other". By sizing up to Arabic and African Muslims, Europeans saw their common ethnic and religious threads more clearly. This development culminated during the Crusades. Arguably, Islam defined and shaped the final product of Europe. 

Europe believed itself superior to the Islamic world and colonized it. Despite acknowledging the breathtaking accomplishments and advancements of their Muslim counterparts, Europeans saw themselves as something better. During the post-colonialization, 
Europe's excessive exploitation left  these old possessions in shambles without a foundation to build healthy democracies that could support human rights. Seeing itself as democratic and morally sophisticated, Europeans once again defined themselves against an Islamic backdrop.

Times are changing and Europe cannot pursue its old system of defining its civilization. Because of the geographic situation, Europe is poised to absorb the brunt of migration waves from the Islamic world. Failed states, inhumane governments, civil war, and economic collapse have propelled mass waves of North African and Arab immigrants to the shores of Europe. Cultures are mixing and the strict boundaries the old civilizations are disappearing in a more interconnected world. Europe must figure out a way to navigate these turbulent waters of change or risk giving into nationalistic extremist movements that are highly xenophobic and Islamophobic.  
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2015 Saw a Decrease in Global Religious Freedom

2015 Saw a Decrease in Global Religious Freedom | Geography Education |

The global refugee crisis, political strife and economic dislocation all contributed to a worldwide deterioration of religious freedom in 2015 and an increase in societal intolerance, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is one of the sad results of the many global conflicts today and increase in reactionary political movements that scapegoat religious minorities.  The image above is a map/wordle of the 18th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."  


Tags: religion, ChristianityIslamBuddhismHinduismJudaism, podcastconflict, refugees.

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In Russia, Epiphany Comes With A Shockingly Cold Swim

In Russia, Epiphany Comes With A Shockingly Cold Swim | Geography Education |

"Thousands of members of the Russian Orthodox Church marked Epiphany in January with a dip in freezing waters blessed by a cleric. Epiphany is a celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ and the revelation of God as a human being in his form. Much like a baptism, the icy plunge is considered a purifying act of faith."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the photography and photo galleries of this cultural event are breathtaking--literally for those taking the plunge.  Russians cut the ice in the shape of a cross and bath in water that is blessed and considered holy as explained in this NPR podcast.  This religious tradition is particularly well-suited to the environmental conditions of the religious adherents (since the extreme climate plays a critical role in the activity).  Part of the practice involves sacrifice; the colder the swim, the greater the manifestation of religious devotion.    


Tags: Russia, religionChristianity, culture

othni lindor's curator insight, October 20, 2018 12:39 PM
This article talks about epiphany. Epiphany is a holiday in the Russian Orthodox Church. It celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Believers are baptized in freezing water through holes cut in the ice. Big cities like Moscow set up their own stations while smaller cities have a more do-it-yourself approach. The churches are decorated with a Christmas tree and it densely packed with people. The service for Epiphany can last for as many as four hours.    
Matt Danielson's curator insight, October 22, 2018 5:58 PM
This is similar to a baptism done in both Catholic and protestant religious but with an added twist. As in often times and found through out history a regions religion is influenced by the environment( check Norse religion of Vikings or Christianity effects on the Irish for example) and the Eastern Orthodox religion in Russia is no different. Using the harsh environment in part of there religious rituals making the baptism more of a sense of acceptance and will, they do it in extremely cold waters to prove their allegiance to the religion and their determination to follow it. This must be a powerful experience full of emotion, pain, and afterwards group acceptance. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, November 1, 2018 11:19 AM
Epiphany must be an unbelievable experience for those who believe in the Russian Orthodox Church. In celebration of the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, Russian Orthodox members dip into the freezing waters blessed by clerics. The participants claim to feel cleansed after the whole experience. With hundreds of participants and many young people as well it is a testament to their faith in Russia Orthodox Church. 
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Dropping water levels reveal hidden church

Dropping water levels reveal hidden church | Geography Education |
A 16th century church has emerged from the receding waters of the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. This is the second time water levels have dropped low enough to reveal the church since the reservoir was completed in 1966.

Tags: drought, Mexico, water, environment, religion, culture, Christianity,  colonialism, architecture, landscape.

Kelsey McIntosh's curator insight, February 13, 2018 9:13 PM
In the Chiapas, Mexico there is a 16th century church that has been revealed due to the decrease in a reservoirs water level. This brief article is accompanied by pictures of the church that was abandoned in the 1770's do to the plague. According to the article, this is the second time the place of worship has been seen since 2002. 
Olivia Campanella's curator insight, September 19, 2018 10:53 AM
This 16th century church first emerged from the waters of the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir in the Southern Mexican state of the Chiapas. And since the reservoir was completed in 1966 with the waters dropping low enough to reveal the church for the 2nd time. The waters have dropped low enough in 2002 for people to actually walk inside and stand on.
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 2018 11:53 PM
"You go in the cage, cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Churches in the water, our church." At least I am pretty sure that's how the line from Steven Speilberg's 1975 thriller "Churches". This 16th-century church just emerged from the nezahualcoyotl reservoir in Mexico which hasn't occurred since 2002. The temple of Santiago was built by monks who came to Mexico around the late 16th century, but it was ultimately abandoned after being hit by the plague in 1773-1776. The drought in the area caused the water level to drop 82 feet. This being the second time water levels have revealed the church, in 2002 visitors were able to walk into the temple itself. 
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Prayer in Various Global Faiths

Prayer in Various Global Faiths | Geography Education |
Seth Dixon's insight:

See how people around the world examples of prayer and the cultural/spiritual significance are shown highlighting Buddhists, Mormons, and Sikhs.  Place is very important component to prayer for many and the 4th example shows how some use a labyrinth as a tool to commune with the divine.

Tags: religion, culture, Christianity, Buddhism.

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Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale

Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale | Geography Education |
Hundreds of churches around Europe have closed or are threatened by plunging membership, posing a question for communities: What to do with the once-holy, now-empty buildings?
Seth Dixon's insight:

Europe, the most developed region in the world, is also the most secular region today.  During colonial times, Europeans were spreading Christianity across the globe, but now Christianity is becoming more a part of Europe's historical landscape.  Secularization can be seen as either the cause or the effect of several other European trends such as declining fertility rates.  Today Europe is filled with historic cathedrals, but there is no one to fill them.

Questions to Ponder: What are other signs of secularization on the cultural landscape?  What would you do with a former sacred site (and an architectural treasure) that is can't be maintained?


Tags: culturereligion, Christianity, regions, landscape, Europe.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, February 26, 2015 8:09 PM

Europe’s Empty churches going on sale is not upsetting to me, unless they are being used as skateboard parks. The main reason to the church’s closings are a rise in secular beliefs. With less people attending and making tributes to the churches they are given no choice but to shut down. These are buildings of great archaic integrity and I think that they should be sold to museums or to state governments as holy sites or something to that effect. These buildings should be preserved because they are a giant standing living history of this world. But as of now skate ramps and parks occupy these churches and may be damaging them. 

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, March 7, 2015 9:25 PM

Empty buildings now turned into just churches used for fun, or by the picture skateboarding. Europe is always known as the power house especially during their colonial period, when they colonized Africa and brought some of their religious beliefs towards the Africans. Europe is filled with big catholic traditions tracing back to the past, but now with this going on its a very sad state seeing something so significant in history in the European community go to waste..

Stevie-Rae Wood's curator insight, October 28, 2018 3:02 PM
Europe back in the day used to be highly religious. Everyone went to church and participated in religious ceremonies. Europe was so heavily populated at one point that to accommodate to all the people many churches were built. However, in todays world religion is on the decline in this once secular society. With all these empty churches they are using up valuable space. So these churches are being sold off and converted into useful buildings in the eyes of modern society's. An example of what these buildings of worship are being converted into are skate parks, because it related to todays youth. I think it is sad that these churches are being sold and converted into new modern buildings. However, there structures are being kept in tacked. This means that what the church stood for is still staying alive in our destructive modern world.
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Mapping World Religions

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video mapping the historical diffusion of major world religions is obviously an over-simplification but that is part of its value for students.  

Tags: historical, culturereligion, diffusion, mapping, visualization.

Elle Reagan's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:17 PM

This was a nice video of good length that allowed me to see how the world is broke up into different regions. I know that religion is a main factor of how places are divided and so I thought this video was a nice visualization of that. The map with the timeline was nice to have and I liked how it gave us an estimate of how many people are following each religion today. The video also helped me see how religion can be a main factor in defining world regions.

Jacqueline Garcia pd1's curator insight, March 22, 2015 3:26 PM

In this video we are able to see the growth and fall of religions. It was quite fascinating to see the number of people in each religion and where in the world the spread. I thought it was helpful to see the dates of events that either caused spread or destruction of religions . For example the birth of Muhammad and the Crusades. THis shows the spatial distribution of religion. 

Ryan Tibari's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:58 AM

This video puts world religions in a more basic form. Shows the patterns that religions take on a global scale, outlining the most prominent and least prominent throughout the world. 

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Topography of Religion

Topography of Religion | Geography Education |

"The Pew survey sorts people into major groupings--Christians; other religions, including Jewish and Muslim; and 'unaffiliated,' which includes atheist, agnostic and 'nothing in particular.'  Roll your cursor over the map to see how faiths and traditions break down by state."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is a particularly useful interactive map with a lot of teaching applications.  It is a nice visual aid to process the religious data in the United States.  

Questions to Ponder: What patterns do you notice?  Are there religious regions that could be drawn based on this data?   What geographic factors have created the differences in the religious geographies of the United States?

Tags: culturereligion, Christianity, USA. regions, diffusion, mapping.

Ignacio Quintana's curator insight, December 1, 2014 6:56 PM

Even though this is just an info-graphic, this is very interesting. What we can see from this map is the spatial organization of religion specifically in the U.S. It's interesting to see how protestant makes up the majority (but apparently not according to the article above this from Haak's page) and how drastically these views can change from coast to coast, and state to state. What I find particularly interesting is that you can clearly find hearths of many of these religions, for example, Utah has an extremely out-numbering amount of Mormons. For obvious reasons that is, but still very educational to see the centers of many of the big religions in the United States.

Joshua Mason's curator insight, January 28, 2015 8:46 PM

Looking at the map, it looks like the Northeast is predominately Catholic while the further South you go along the Eastern coast, you find more Protestants, mostly Evangelical, especially in the from Confederate States. The Mid and Northwest seems to hold a healthy mix of all the Christian denominations while places in the Southwest have a higher Catholic percentage, my guess would be from immigration from Mexico. The one odd ball out in the Southwest is Utah with its 58% of Mormons.

Molly McComb's curator insight, March 21, 2015 4:04 PM

Different cultural religions and senses of place in America. This graph shows the diversity of religion around the united states as it varies from place to place. 

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Religious Geographies

Religious Geographies | Geography Education |
Seth Dixon's insight:

I recently got my hands on a fabulous atlas entitled Mapping Mormonism which shows the historical geographies of this particular Christian denomination (see a review here).  I'll briefly share just this one cartogram above that is from the atlas; it displays territory not by the size of the landmass but by the LDS population living within the given territory.  While we would expect to see Utah to be very large on this cartogram, are there other pockets of large LDS populations that are surprising to you?  What explains the small spatial distribution patterns of limited diffusion that you see?  The LDS church is well-known for its missionary program and proselytizing efforts—does that play a role in this map?

On a related side note I found a curious political/religious map of the United States (a map that is partially explained by understanding some of the patterns on the map above).  The most typical religious maps show where particular religions are pre-dominant.  This map shows territories marked not by the faith of the residents but by the religion of the local congressmen.  This make me wonder:  Is this map religious or political? Is there valuable information to glean from this maps or is it simply a fun curiosity?  How does the religious geography of the United States impact political geography (or vice versa)?    

Tags: religion, culture, diffusion, mapping, historical, cartography.

Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, August 27, 2013 12:43 PM

This map conveys the population of Mormons in each state. The sizes of the states are presented as corresponding the the Mormon population in each. The map links to more than what it shows. When you ask why are so many Mormons in Utah you can look into the past of Utah and the past of Mormons and you will find that Mormons settled in Utah following one of their leaders. You can then even ask the question why are Mormons still migrating to Utah or the question why did they stay there. Human geography can help us find the answers to these questions. A shared ideaology among the community. A lack of repurcussion for being open about their belief. A sense of belonging. Family connections. Human Geography help us unravel these mysteries which were brought to our attention by a simple map.

MelissaRossman's curator insight, August 30, 2013 10:24 AM
Sid McIntyre-DeLaMelena's curator insight, May 29, 2014 12:30 AM

This map conveys the population of Mormons in each state. The sizes of the states are presented as corresponding the the Mormon population in each. The map links to more than what it shows. When you ask why are so many Mormons in Utah you can look into the past of Utah and the past of Mormons and you will find that Mormons settled in Utah following one of their leaders. You can then even ask the question why are Mormons still migrating to Utah or the question why did they stay there. Human geography can help us find the answers to these questions. A shared ideology among the community. A lack of repercussion for being open about their belief. A sense of belonging. Family connections. Human Geography help us unravel these mysteries which were brought to our attention by a simple map.

Regional spaces of Mormon's (such as the rather Formal region of Utah) are shown through the map and show the distribution of Mormonism throughout the world.

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Geographic Imagination in the English Anthem 'Jerusalem'

Geographic Imagination in the English Anthem 'Jerusalem' | Geography Education |

"I first learned to appreciate this anthem as a child watching the movie Chariots of Fire with my father.  My father was an avid runner in the early 80's and still continues to run to this day; he also is a devout Christian who seeks to earnestly honor the Sabbath Day.  Clearly the movie Chariots of Fire would resonate deeply with him and become a Dixon family classic to be watched over and over."

Seth Dixon's insight:

I greatly enjoyed writing this article about the geographic imaginations and yearnings that are embedded in the great nationalistic anthem 'Jerusalem.'  The audio, lyrics and analysis are all available here.

Tags: UKlandscape, culturereligion, Christianity, music.

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Why America’s ‘nones’ left religion behind

Why America’s ‘nones’ left religion behind | Geography Education |
With the percentage of U.S. adults who do not identify with a religious group growing, we asked these people to explain, in their own words, why they left.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The United States' population is becoming increasingly secularized.  The U.S. used to be predominantly a white, Christian country but that is no longer the case.  As religion becomes less of a factor in the lives of many individuals, it also has larger cultural ramifications. 


Tags: culturereligionUSA, Christianity.

Alanna Thompson's curator insight, April 6, 2017 1:09 PM
Many people in America don't identify with a religious group for many reasons but most of them have one reason in common which is science. This topic is interesting to me because I sometimes feel the same way and with parents pressuring us to be religious when we grow older we decide to choose our own way without being forced to be apart of a religious group.
jessica benton's curator insight, April 7, 2017 12:55 PM
This relates to what we were learning about last week because informs us about why some don't believe in God or part of a religions group. Honestly, this is very informative about why people come to the decision about not worshiping God(s). For example the scientist who states"I am a scientist now, and I don't believe in miracles." Also it shows great insight as to why many leave behind everything they once knew about the religion they worshiped through their childhood years.
Morgan Manier's curator insight, April 10, 2017 6:44 PM
This article relates to our class by talking about religion and how people have the right to not believe in a certain religion and the reasons for that. In my opinion, I think that if people don't want to believe in God, then that's their choice and I have nothing against it. 
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The Vatican’s Gallery of Maps Comes Back to Life

The Vatican’s Gallery of Maps Comes Back to Life | Geography Education |
In the 16th century, Pope Gregory assigned the monk and geographer Ignazio Danti to carry out the project. In turn, Danti hired several artistic stars of the day and up-and-comers as well to illustrate the maps, including Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia and the Flemish brothers Matthijs and Paul Bril. The Brils excelled at landscape paintings—an essential skill for the work.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This 4-year restoration project is a great cultural revival, but it also reveals the importance of geographic information.  The Vatican was a great medieval seat of both religious authority and political power.  This attracted prominent visitors from all over Europe and the map gallery served to convey geographic information about the Italian peninsula.  


Tagsart, Italy, historical, Europe, religiontourism, Christianity.

Loreto Vargas's curator insight, August 6, 2016 6:30 PM
Wonderful and amazing
Corey Rogers's curator insight, December 15, 2018 1:20 AM
The geography paintings show depict how the 16th century artist saw their country. It is really an amazing feature to have this inside on their walls to show everyone how they feel their nation looks on topical scale. they give the mountains a 3-D look almost to show how deep they are. 
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Projected Religious Population Changes in Sub-Saharan Africa

Projected Religious Population Changes in Sub-Saharan Africa | Geography Education |

"The total population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster pace than in any other region in the decades ahead, more than doubling from 823 million in 2010 to 1.9 billion in 2050. As a result, the two dominant religions in the region – Christianity and Islam – both are expected to have more than twice as many adherents in 2050 as in 2010."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions of the world. While the economy is growing, the rate at which poverty is falling is less than the population growth rate.  Nearly all of the population growth in Africa between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.  As the population grows, the religious dynamics of Sub-Saharan Africa will change.  The share of residents practicing Christianity, the majority religion of the region, is expected to decline from 2010 to 2050 while the share of Muslims is expected to increase in the same time frame.  The changes in religious demographics is occurring alongside the region’s youth bulge (click here for a population pyramid).  Understanding religious demographics is key to understanding the challenges faced by the African people.   


Question to Ponder: What impact are the region’s two fastest-growing religions having on Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall fertility rate?    


Tagsreligionpopulation, ChristianityIslam, Africa.

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Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity

Latin America Is Losing Its Catholic Identity | Geography Education |
The Roman Catholic Church’s claim on the region is lessening as a younger generation turns to Protestantism, a Pew study found.
Seth Dixon's insight:

The Catholic Church was a main governing force in colonial times and was a significant political force in rallying support for independence movements throughout the Americas.  In the early twentieth century over 90% of Latin American were Catholic, but recently polls now show that the Catholic population is under 70%.  The Catholic Church is responding; in addition to a charismatic renewal to mass services appealing to younger audiences, the first non-European pope (Pope Francis) is from Latin America.      


Tags: culture, religionChristianityMiddle America, South America.

Douglas Vance's curator insight, February 2, 2018 4:28 PM
The shift away from Catholacism towards protestantism within Latin America poses significant implications for the political and social makeup of these countries. The shift towards a more socially conservative Protestant belief system poses an obstacle to any efforts to legalize same sex marriages or make abortion legal. Should this shift continue, Latin America will be primed for significant change in the future.
David Stiger's curator insight, September 23, 2018 9:14 PM
As this article points out, the term 'Latin America' was practically synonymous with 'Roman Catholicism'. Pew researchers have revealed that this religious trend is now changing. Catholicism, with its rigid liturgy and stiff hierarchies, may not be feeding the spiritual needs of the people in Latin America. Perhaps communities are realizing that it is okay to worship God differently. As Pew found out, it is not as if the region is turning secular as Evangelical Protestantism is growing. 

Interestingly, there is a similar trend occurring within the United States. Many Americans are dropping out of Catholicism (as well as mainline Protestant denominations) and either joining the 'none' category - shorthand for non-affiliated - or are flocking to mega churches, Pentecostalism, and other non-denominational branches of Evangelicalism. The latter three options represent alternative forms of Christianity which still stress the importance of traditionalism and scripture while offering more direct experiences with the divine. 

In an age where traditional modes of living and thinking are breaking down, with the rise of individualism over the community, where materialism reigns supreme, and when people assume science has all the answers, institutions offering communal ways to engage the divine and exercise spiritual transcendence may be more appealing. Another possibility is that Catholicism is shrinking while Protestantism is growing is because believers crave certainty in a world that is constantly changing and becoming more ambiguous. The erosion of traditionalism can be unsettling. Protestantism, via the new evangelical movements, not only offers traditionalism with a new coat of paint but it also offers non-negotiable answers about the purpose of life and how to achieve paradise - a feeling that everything in the end is going to be okay. That is an idea which no geographic barrier can stop. 
Kelvis Hernandez's curator insight, September 29, 2018 9:21 PM
Roman Catholicism was a product of the missionaries and conquerors who first traveled to Latin America. They would bring their religion and impose it on the natives through different types of conversion methods whether it was outlawing the old religions or combining aspects of the old to create the new. Today fewer people in Latin America are Catholic and many are turning to other forms of Christianity.  It is very interesting as Christianity and Catholicism in Latin America could very well be used interchangeably for a long time. In Guatemala, one of the most famous sites is in the city of Esquipulas, the Basilica del Senor de Esquipulas. A towering white cathedral right in the heart of Middle America it still attracts pilgrims from all over the world to see the Black Christ statue, where you walk out backwards as to not turn your back on the Lord. It is an interesting experience seeing peoples level of devotion to the Catholic church and the Catholic faith. 
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Pope Francis, Russian Orthodox patriarch to meet in Cuba

Pope Francis, Russian Orthodox patriarch to meet in Cuba | Geography Education |

"After a split of more than 1,000 years, the persecution of Christian by extremists in the Middle East and Africa have brought the two churches closer."


Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a first-ever encounter between the heads of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches since the Great Schism of 1054.


Tags: religionChristianity.

Seth Dixon's insight:

This isn't just about religion though...a meeting of this magnitude has geopolitical significance

Megan Mattei GIS's curator insight, February 7, 2016 11:41 AM

This meeting is very monumental for the Christian faith and all its sectors because the two heads of each faith have not met in 962 years. Hopefully this meeting will only bring positive outcomes especially for the Christians being persecuted in the Middle East. It will be interesting to see if the two leaders continue to meet and make actions towards peace in the Middle East together. If the people of both faiths truly believe and carry out what their faith teaches, there will not be any problems with this meeting or continued action among the Christian faiths. 

Phil LAUGRAND's curator insight, February 8, 2016 6:37 AM

alleluia !

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Skellig Michael: An Island Far, Far Away

Skellig Michael: An Island Far, Far Away | Geography Education |

"Star Wars Epiosde VII was filmed on Skellig Michael island in Ireland. What better place to depict an ancient, mystical, martial asceticism in a galaxy far, far away than an actual ancient eremitic settlement, dripping with stone-cold monastic austerity, located at what was for centuries the very ends of the earth, seven miles off the very tip of a western Irish peninsula?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

This island is dripping with geologic, biogeographical, and religious intrigue that makes this world heritage site a place that is shrouded in mystery.  This article from JSTOR Daily is a great introduction to the island for the incurably curious.  The already vibrant tourism industry is bound to increase after Star Wars used this incredible location in the recent film (much like New Zealand experienced a huge spike in tourism after the Lord the Rings films).  Filmmakers understand the power of place to deepen the narrative; they frequently situate their stories in a geographic context that will heighten the emotional impact of the story.  For more on the dramatic locations of Star Wars filming sites, see this article by National Geographic


Tags: geologybiogeography, religionChristianityplaceIreland, tourism.

J. Mark Schwanz's curator insight, January 4, 2016 10:33 AM

Skellig Michael is sure to become a more common geographical interest since the success of Star Wars. 

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How religion(s) spread across the world

How religion(s) spread across the world | Geography Education |
VIDEO: 5,000 years of religious history in two minutes.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Short, sweet and to the point--this video is a great way to show the historical geographies of major world religions.  What are the cultural barriers to the diffusion of one of these particular religions?  What geographic factors helped to facilitate the expansion of one of these world religions?   

Tags: religiondiffusion, culture, ChristianityIslamBuddhismHinduismJudaism,
unit 3 culture.

Alexis Michelle's curator insight, April 4, 2016 10:11 AM

Short, sweet and to the point--this video is a great way to show the historical geographies of major world religions. Each of these religions have been "born" somewhere and have grown to different countries. Everyone has a religion well most of everyone and I believe it is very important to know the history of the religion that you are or fit into.

Tags: religion, diffusion, culture, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism,
unit 3 culture.

Blake Bass's curator insight, April 7, 2017 10:05 AM
This article is very excellent at explaining where religions are and why they are there,this article relates to human geography and what we are learning because it explains the most practiced religions and where they are.
Taylor Doonan's curator insight, May 3, 2018 12:23 PM
The five major religions all growing throughout the world, rather quickly, with the exception of Judaism. Hinduism spread when it was established but quickly stopped spreading and does not span much of the world. Buddhism followed a similar path of Hinduism spreading but not going much beyond the continent of Asia, Buddhism is the largest religion in Asia and is also seen as a lifestyle and not just a religion. 
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Christianity faces sharp decline as Americans are becoming even less affiliated with religion

Christianity faces sharp decline as Americans are becoming even less affiliated with religion | Geography Education |
There are more religiously unaffiliated Americans than Catholic Americans or mainline Protestant Americans.

Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers. The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years to about 71 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Tags: religion, culture, Christianity, USA.

Shane C Cook's curator insight, May 27, 2015 4:23 AM

It is a shame that millennials are declining religion more. Religion is one of the bases of culture. If you take away a base from a house it crumbles. The more we deny our religion, values, and culture in general the more we will become plain, and no longer culturally diverse.

MsPerry's curator insight, May 27, 2015 9:35 AM

Religion-Christianity in USA

Bradley Blocher's curator insight, April 4, 2017 1:18 PM
This article is related to our AP Human Geography due to the fact religion often plays an important role in the cultural make-up of a country or society. With Christianity declining in America, America will soon have  more problems with trials they may face since faith in God to help us as a nation get through things will no longer be a part of many people.
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Proportion of Catholics in Latin America has dropped 25% since 1970

Proportion of Catholics in Latin America has dropped 25% since 1970 | Geography Education |

"A new report released by the Pew Research Centre has found that the proportion of Catholics in Latin America has dropped 25% since 1970. One of the primary drivers for the rise in the numbers leaving the Catholic Church? Conversion to Protestantism."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an important cultural and demographic shift that is redefining how we think about Latin America.  It also represents a major shift in the geography of the Catholic Church.   

Tags: culturereligion, Christianity.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, January 28, 2015 5:00 PM

I've watched Passion of the Christ and one thing that I've learned was that the language that was spoken in Jerusalem was Latin. Regardless of whether someone was raised Catholic or Protestant, they still practiced the Christianity faith. Also based on one scoop that I looked up, Christianity was spread overseas from Europe to Latin America (South America).

Lena Minassian's curator insight, February 4, 2015 7:11 PM

This article was interesting to read because it shows a different aspect of Latin America and touches on religion. It states that the portion of the area that is Catholic has dropped 25% since 1970 because the Protestant percentage has gone up and reached 19%. The reason that the Protestant percentage has risen is because many of those individuals have converted when the majority of them have been raised Catholic. These individuals all have different reasons as to why they converted over but this jump is more recent and continues to grow. 

Norka McAlister's curator insight, February 14, 2015 7:45 PM

The rate of people who religiously identify as Catholics has decreased sharply in the last forty years. In Latin America, where majority of population exhibit strong beliefs in Catholicism, citizens are rapidly shifting to different religions such as Protestant, or denouncing their religion all together. New generations are skeptical to believe in God. However, the new century has also brought about different issues, where practicing Catholics are reportedly victims of sexual abuse, sometimes by their parish priest. Furthermore, younger generations are more open minded and accepting of controversial topics such as gay marriage, homosexuality, and lesbianism. Demographic patterns have shifted these large communities and suffered a decrease of numbers equal to approximately 20%. With new innovations, technologies, and different patterns of living, the Catholic Church is being overlooked by more communities as a preferred religion.

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Comparing the five major world religions

"It's perfectly human to grapple with questions, like 'Where do we come from?' and 'How do I live a life of meaning?' These existential questions are central to the five major world religions -- and that's not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This TED ED Lesson outlines the basics of five major world religions which in turn have profoundly reshaped the cultural geographies we see today.  While the narration in the video might be a bit dry, the visuals immerse the viewer into the cultural context from which these religions emerged.   

Tags: religion, culture, TEDChristianity, Islam, unit 3 culture.

mary jane james's curator insight, April 7, 2017 2:55 PM
This video relates to my subject on religion by showing the five main religions and how they're changing the world and prospective of how people see themselves on earth.
 My opinion on the video is that is good to see that all of the religions are somewhat related by where and how they were created, and also what is shown in them.
Hailey Austin's curator insight, May 11, 2017 9:53 PM
This article relates to are class because it is talking about different religions. It states that we all have different beliefs, but we believe in a higher power. This article was interesting because it shows you how different your beliefs are to other religions. They all have a story they believe is true.
Mr Mac's curator insight, June 13, 2017 10:27 AM
Unit 3 - Religion
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Fertility Rates in Gapminder

Fertility Rates in Gapminder | Geography Education |

"CATHOLIC Argentina, Mexico & Phillippines have more babies born per woman than MUSLIM Indonesia, Iran & Turkey."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Gapminder is a tremendous resource that I've shared in the past and total fertility rates is an ideal metric to see in this data visualization tool.  As Hans Rosling said in one of his TED talks using Gapminder, religion and total fertility rates are not as connected as previously thought.  In this particular mode, you can see how three predominantly Catholic countries (Philippines, Argentina and Mexico) compare in Total Fertility Rates to three predominantly Muslim countries (Indonesia, Turkey and Iran).  

Questions to Ponder: Historically many have assumed that Catholic and Muslim populations would have higher birth rates; why is this changing?  How important a factor is religion in changing fertility rates?  What are other factors impact a society's fertility rate?

Tags: population, demographicsvisualization, religion.

Mathijs Booden's comment, September 28, 2013 3:03 PM
Any mention of Gapminder gets an upvote from me. One of the best resources in and outside of the classroom, period.
Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 2, 2014 6:15 PM

When watching the video it was apparetnt that for Iran during the 1950-early1970's there was an increase in fertility and then decreased to almost 1.32% in 2010. These facts were very interseting to see and the way that we as historians/ georgraphers can predict the future with the past facts.

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The World Religions Tree

The World Religions Tree | Geography Education |

Dynamic infographic on world religions (don't be intimidated by the page being in Russian... The graphic is not).

Seth Dixon's insight:

Religious traditions are interconnected and often share common roots and ancestries.  This stunning infographic is an attempt to visually reconcile these disparate strands of faith into one cohesive whole (the image above is far too small to do it justice, but I tried to show the image at various scales).

Tags: perspectiveculture, religion, culture, infographic, diffusion.

Abby Laybourn's curator insight, December 10, 2014 1:25 PM

Although this was kind of hard to read it was interesting to see how different religions are related and where they stem from. 

Marita Viitanen's curator insight, January 31, 2015 6:48 PM

Tämä puu jotakuinkin hämmentää...

Emma Conde's curator insight, May 26, 2015 9:16 PM

Unit 1 Geography: Its nature and perspectives

Although the article relating to this diagram is in Russian, the diagram is not, and I found it to be a very interesting visual to not only show world religions developing on a time scale, but also because it does a very good job of showing just how many little divisions of each religion they are, and how they are all intertwined. Zooming in on the diagram, you are able to see each divide, each new branch, and each date for hundreds of sets of information.


This illustrates the theme of identification of major world religions because it simply shows the mass amounts of tiny divisions that occur in the major world religions in a simple format. This is very helpful because this would be pages of writing if you tried to write it all out.