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Religions, Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2013), Pages 1-185

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Research

Open AccessArticle Flexible Catholicism, Religion and the Church: The Italian Case
Religions 2013, 4(1), 1-13; doi:10.3390/rel4010001
Received: 14 November 2012 / Revised: 13 December 2012 / Accepted: 14 December 2012 / Published: 21 December 2012
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Abstract
What is taking place in the religious field in some Western societies not only seems to reflect a crisis situation or irreversible decline in the church and dominant religious institutions. More than might be imagined, advanced modernity offers opportunities for traditional religions, [...] Read more.
What is taking place in the religious field in some Western societies not only seems to reflect a crisis situation or irreversible decline in the church and dominant religious institutions. More than might be imagined, advanced modernity offers opportunities for traditional religions, even within a context fraught with contradictions and ambivalence. An example of this is represented by Italy, which is still today characterized by widespread affiliation to Catholicism, despite the increase in religious pluralism and undisputed secularization in the customs of the population. Comparing surveys carried out in 1994 and 2007 on a sample of the Italian population, the paper presents a version of religious modernity that has emerged both on the individual religious front and in the way religion is considered in the public sphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Work on Catholicism)
Open AccessArticle When Institutions Collide: The Competing Forces of Hospitals Sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church
Religions 2013, 4(1), 14-29; doi:10.3390/rel4010014
Received: 29 October 2012 / Revised: 13 December 2012 / Accepted: 17 December 2012 / Published: 21 December 2012
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Abstract
For centuries, the Catholic Church has been a major social actor in the provision of health services, particularly health care delivered in hospitals. Through a confluence of powerful environmental forces at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the future of Catholic health [...] Read more.
For centuries, the Catholic Church has been a major social actor in the provision of health services, particularly health care delivered in hospitals. Through a confluence of powerful environmental forces at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the future of Catholic health care is threatened. Although United States Catholic hospitals are a separate case of private, nonprofit hospitals, they have experienced environmental pressures to compete with other hospital ownership types and, on some dimensions, Catholic hospitals are indistinguishable from other hospitals. This article conceptualizes United States Catholic hospitals as having competing institutional forces that are not always compatible. To keep pace with the changing demands of religion and the social role of the hospital, Catholic hospitals continue to redefine themselves. An adaptive framework is used to explain choices Catholic hospitals may need to make to justify their existence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Work on Catholicism)
Open AccessArticle Drama & Demigods: Kingship and Charisma in Shakespeare’s England
Religions 2013, 4(1), 30-50; doi:10.3390/rel4010030
Received: 3 December 2012 / Revised: 17 January 2013 / Accepted: 18 January 2013 / Published: 22 January 2013
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Abstract
Shakespearean charisma, with its medieval roots in both religion and politics, served as a precursor to Max Weber’s later understanding of the term. The on-stage portrayal of charismatic kingship in the twilight of the Tudor dynasty was not coincidental; facing the imminent [...] Read more.
Shakespearean charisma, with its medieval roots in both religion and politics, served as a precursor to Max Weber’s later understanding of the term. The on-stage portrayal of charismatic kingship in the twilight of the Tudor dynasty was not coincidental; facing the imminent death of a queen, the English nation was concerned about the future of the monarchy. Through the depiction of the production and deterioration of royal charisma, Shakespeare presents the anxiety of a population aware of the latent dangers of charismatic authority; while Elizabeth managed to perpetuate an unprecedented degree of long-term charismatic rule, there could be no certainty that her successor would be similarly capable. Shakespeare’s second tetralogy — known as the Henriad — examines this royal charisma as it appears both under crisis and in the process of what Weber would later characterize as routinization. While Henry IV (Bolingbroke) originally makes use of charisma to ensure his succession to Richard II’s throne, he loses his charismatic authority in the process. Henry V, by contrast, makes use of deliberate crisis — his claim to the French crown — in order to restore royal charisma. Henry V’s success, however, cannot last, and his son’s reign is a disastrous reminder that charisma is, as Weber will later argue, inherently unstable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Charisma, Medieval and Modern) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Charisma and Counterculture: Allen Ginsberg as a Prophet for a New Generation
Religions 2013, 4(1), 51-66; doi:10.3390/rel4010051
Received: 14 December 2012 / Revised: 7 January 2013 / Accepted: 16 January 2013 / Published: 25 January 2013
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Abstract
The cultural role of Allen Ginsberg does not fit a typical Weberian model of charisma. The avant-garde poet was an outstanding personality and possessed an unusual ability to affect people. He played a vital role in expanding the boundaries of personal freedom [...] Read more.
The cultural role of Allen Ginsberg does not fit a typical Weberian model of charisma. The avant-garde poet was an outstanding personality and possessed an unusual ability to affect people. He played a vital role in expanding the boundaries of personal freedom in America of the 1950s–1990s, blazing new paths for spiritual, communal and artistic expression. Serving as a father figure for the counterculture—a symbol of an alternative set of cultural norms, lifestyles and literary forms—Ginsberg was a charismatic counter-leader, with no clearly defined followers or movement. As a leader in a more liberated era, he offered energy, ideas, inspiration, and color, but no structure or authority. Instead he was a prophet of freedom, calling on people to express themselves openly, to expand and experiment. This role demanded charisma but of a different kind—one that was more spiritual and less organizational or hierarchical. This article follows Gary Dickson’s essay “Charisma, Medieval and Modern,” in offering a suggestive analysis of and supplement to Weber’s understanding of charisma. The article grapples with the concept of charisma in relation to a generation that resented rigid structures and authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Charisma, Medieval and Modern) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle A Contribution to Comparative Theology: Probing the Depth of Islamic Thought
Religions 2013, 4(1), 67-76; doi:10.3390/rel4010067
Received: 5 December 2012 / Revised: 25 January 2013 / Accepted: 28 January 2013 / Published: 31 January 2013
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Abstract
Muslim theologians, as much as ordinary Muslims, will immediately agree with the characterization of God as all compassionate. However, it remains rather opaque how God’s compassion can be fully explained in terms of comparative theology. How can Muslims relate to God’s compassion? [...] Read more.
Muslim theologians, as much as ordinary Muslims, will immediately agree with the characterization of God as all compassionate. However, it remains rather opaque how God’s compassion can be fully explained in terms of comparative theology. How can Muslims relate to God’s compassion? What role does God’s compassion precisely play in the Quranic revelation and the daily practice of Muslims? Full article
Open AccessArticle Antichrist as (Anti)Charisma: Reflections on Weber and the ‘Son of Perdition’
Religions 2013, 4(1), 77-95; doi:10.3390/rel4010077
Received: 20 December 2012 / Revised: 25 January 2013 / Accepted: 29 January 2013 / Published: 4 February 2013
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Abstract
The figure of Antichrist, linked in recent US apocalyptic thought to President Barack Obama, forms a central component of Christian end-times scenarios, both medieval and modern. Envisioned as a false-messiah, deceptive miracle-worker, and prophet of evil, Antichrist inversely embodies many of the [...] Read more.
The figure of Antichrist, linked in recent US apocalyptic thought to President Barack Obama, forms a central component of Christian end-times scenarios, both medieval and modern. Envisioned as a false-messiah, deceptive miracle-worker, and prophet of evil, Antichrist inversely embodies many of the qualities and characteristics associated with Max Weber’s concept of charisma. This essay explores early Christian, medieval, and contemporary depictions of Antichrist and the imagined political circumstances of his reign as manifesting the notion of (anti)charisma, compelling but misleading charismatic political and religious leadership oriented toward damnation rather than redemption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Charisma, Medieval and Modern) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle An Analysis of Foreign Diplomatic Aid to the Catholic Clergy during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)
Religions 2013, 4(1), 96-115; doi:10.3390/rel4010096
Received: 30 October 2012 / Revised: 17 January 2013 / Accepted: 21 January 2013 / Published: 5 February 2013
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Abstract
During the European crisis of the thirties of the twentieth century, the most significant persecution of the Catholic Church in the history of Spain was generated. With the ultimate goal of saving lives, the Foreign Diplomatic Corps provided many humanitarian services, the [...] Read more.
During the European crisis of the thirties of the twentieth century, the most significant persecution of the Catholic Church in the history of Spain was generated. With the ultimate goal of saving lives, the Foreign Diplomatic Corps provided many humanitarian services, the most important of those the massive granting of diplomatic and consular asylum to more than 11,000 people, including Catholics and clergy. This article analyzes the genesis and realization of this fact and its consequences, which were supposed to maintain and facilitate a clandestine Catholic cult in the Spain of Popular Front. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Work on Catholicism)
Open AccessArticle Majority versus Minority: ‘Governmentality’ and Muslims in Sweden
Religions 2013, 4(1), 116-131; doi:10.3390/rel4010116
Received: 27 November 2012 / Revised: 30 January 2013 / Accepted: 1 February 2013 / Published: 7 February 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (88 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article deals with the Muslim community in Sweden in view of the majority–minority dynamics with focus on how values, attitudes, behaviors, and practices of the Swedish majority influence Muslim minority communities and how majority society’s approach to Muslims and Islam influences [...] Read more.
This article deals with the Muslim community in Sweden in view of the majority–minority dynamics with focus on how values, attitudes, behaviors, and practices of the Swedish majority influence Muslim minority communities and how majority society’s approach to Muslims and Islam influences both the relationship Muslims have with non-Muslims and the understandings that Muslims have of Islam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Role of the Meaning of Life and Religious Experience of God’s Presence and God's Absence Amongst Students with Different Levels of Conscience Sensitivity
Religions 2013, 4(1), 132-144; doi:10.3390/rel4010132
Received: 23 January 2013 / Revised: 17 February 2013 / Accepted: 26 February 2013 / Published: 26 February 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the author's own research was: (a) defining the level of meaning in life and the level of religious experience (God's presence and God's absence) in groups of students with high and low levels of conscience sensitivity and (b) showing [...] Read more.
The aim of the author's own research was: (a) defining the level of meaning in life and the level of religious experience (God's presence and God's absence) in groups of students with high and low levels of conscience sensitivity and (b) showing the connection between meaning in life and the level of religious experience (God's presence and God's absence) in groups of students with high and low levels of conscience sensitivity. The study was conducted in 2009–2010 among university students in Kraków. The subject group consisted of students of several non-Catholic public and state universities. All participants were Polish born, culturally homogeneous, and stemmed from families of average affluence. The age of the respondents ranged from 21 to 25. Two-hundred and forty sets of correctly completed questionnaires were used for the results analysis. Full article
Open AccessArticle Globalization and Religion in Historical Perspective: A Paradoxical Relationship
Religions 2013, 4(1), 145-165; doi:10.3390/rel4010145
Received: 20 December 2012 / Revised: 5 February 2013 / Accepted: 4 March 2013 / Published: 12 March 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (159 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Religion has long been a driving force in the process of globalization. This idea is not controversial or novel thinking, nor is it meant to be. However, the dominant reasoning on the subject of globalization, expressed by authors like Thomas Friedman, places [...] Read more.
Religion has long been a driving force in the process of globalization. This idea is not controversial or novel thinking, nor is it meant to be. However, the dominant reasoning on the subject of globalization, expressed by authors like Thomas Friedman, places economics at the center of analysis, skewing focus from the ideational factors at work in this process. By expanding the definition of globalization to accommodate ideational factors and cultural exchange, religion’s agency in the process can be enabled. Interestingly, the story of religion and globalization is in some ways the history of globalization, but it is riddled with paradoxes, including the agent-opponent paradox, the subject of this article. Religion and globalization have a co-constitutive relationship, but religious actors are both agents of globalization and principals in its backlash. While some actors might benefit from a mutually reinforcing relationship with globalization, others are marginalized in some way or another, so it is necessary to expose the links and wedges that allow for such a paradox. To that end, the concepts of globalization and religious actors must be defined, and the history of the agent-opponent paradox, from the Buddhists of the Silk Road to the Jubilee campaign of 2000, must be elucidated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Globalization)
Open AccessArticle Determinants of Disaffiliation: An International Study
Religions 2013, 4(1), 166-185; doi:10.3390/rel4010166
Received: 29 January 2013 / Revised: 21 February 2013 / Accepted: 7 March 2013 / Published: 15 March 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using a dataset of 15,000 subjects from 32 Western countries, the current study examines individuals who were raised in a certain religion and, at some stage of their lives, left it. Currently, they define their religious affiliation as ‘no religion’. A battery [...] Read more.
Using a dataset of 15,000 subjects from 32 Western countries, the current study examines individuals who were raised in a certain religion and, at some stage of their lives, left it. Currently, they define their religious affiliation as ‘no religion’. A battery of explanatory variables (country-specific, personal attributes and marriage variables) was employed to test for determinants of this decision. It was found that the tendency of individuals to leave their religion—the most extreme symptom of secularization—is strongly correlated with their liberal beliefs and with parental and spousal religious characteristics. Moreover, country characteristics, as well as personal socio-demographic features seem to be much less relevant, except for the religious diversity of the country that has a positive effect on disaffiliation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Work on Catholicism)

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