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Religions, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2014), Pages 334-521

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Research

Open AccessArticle At Home with Durga: The Goddess in a Palace and Corporeal Identity in Rituparno Ghosh’s Utsab
Religions 2014, 5(2), 334-360; doi:10.3390/rel5020334
Received: 6 January 2014 / Revised: 4 February 2014 / Accepted: 7 February 2014 / Published: 31 March 2014
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Abstract
In this article, I examine the representational strategies used to visualize the pratima (deity) of the Hindu goddess, Durga, as a paradigm of time, memory, and corporeal identity, in Rituparno Ghosh’s 2000 Bengali film Utsab. I analyze the body as a [...] Read more.
In this article, I examine the representational strategies used to visualize the pratima (deity) of the Hindu goddess, Durga, as a paradigm of time, memory, and corporeal identity, in Rituparno Ghosh’s 2000 Bengali film Utsab. I analyze the body as a dynamic site of memory-formation that shapes new histories in the sprawling colonial palace in which the film’s narrative unfolds with an ancestral Durga festival as its focal point. To this end, I look at how the body of the goddess produces and defines the transience of human experience, the fragility of material history, and the desire for historic relevance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body and Religion)
Open AccessArticle Can Music “Mirror” God? A Theological-Hermeneutical Exploration of Music in the Light of Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel
Religions 2014, 5(2), 361-384; doi:10.3390/rel5020361
Received: 1 January 2014 / Revised: 12 March 2014 / Accepted: 13 March 2014 / Published: 1 April 2014
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Abstract
A theological exploration of the potential of non-liturgical instrumental music for the transmission of religious Christian faith experience, based on a hermeneutical tool drawn from Jean-Jacques Nattiez as applied to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. The article explores musical composition, reception, as [...] Read more.
A theological exploration of the potential of non-liturgical instrumental music for the transmission of religious Christian faith experience, based on a hermeneutical tool drawn from Jean-Jacques Nattiez as applied to Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel. The article explores musical composition, reception, as well as the piece of music in itself, to discover common traits and keys to understanding its “meaning”, and relate it to current thought and development in theology; in particular to themes of creativity, theological aesthetics, the Ascension, the artistic vocation and meaning-making in contemporary culture, through music and films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle Dyadic Adjustment and Spiritual Activities in Parents of Children with Cystic Fibrosis
Religions 2014, 5(2), 385-401; doi:10.3390/rel5020385
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 6 February 2014 / Accepted: 31 March 2014 / Published: 11 April 2014
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Abstract
Children’s diseases can negatively impact marital adjustment and contribute to poorer child health outcomes. To cope with increased marital stress and childhood diseases severity, many people turn to spirituality. While most studies show a positive relationship between spirituality and marital adjustment, spirituality [...] Read more.
Children’s diseases can negatively impact marital adjustment and contribute to poorer child health outcomes. To cope with increased marital stress and childhood diseases severity, many people turn to spirituality. While most studies show a positive relationship between spirituality and marital adjustment, spirituality has typically been measured only in terms of individual behaviors. Using the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) and Daily Phone Diary data from a sample of 126 parents of children with cystic fibrosis as a context for increased marital stress, spiritual behavior of mother-father dyads and of whole families were used as predictors of marital adjustment. Frequency and duration of individual, dyadic and familial spiritual activities correlated positively with dyadic adjustment. Significant differences in spiritual activities existed between couples with marital adjustment scores above and below the cutoff for distress. The only significant factors in regressions of spiritual activities on marital adjustment scores were number of pulmonary exacerbations and parent age. Higher odds of maintaining a marital adjustment score greater than 100 were significantly associated with spending approximately twelve minutes per day in individual, but not conjugal or familial, spiritual activities. The Daily Phone Diary is a feasible tool to study conjugal and familial activities and their relationships with beliefs and attitudes, including spirituality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Spirituality, and Family Life)
Open AccessArticle Religion and Family Life: An Overview of Current Research and Suggestions for Future Research
Religions 2014, 5(2), 402-421; doi:10.3390/rel5020402
Received: 3 December 2013 / Revised: 21 March 2014 / Accepted: 8 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
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Abstract
The primary aim of this paper is to offer an overview of current research into the relationship between religion and family life and to offer suggestions for future research. In order to do this, the paper distinguishes between research in which religion [...] Read more.
The primary aim of this paper is to offer an overview of current research into the relationship between religion and family life and to offer suggestions for future research. In order to do this, the paper distinguishes between research in which religion is a dependent variable, labelled as socialization research, and research in which religion is an independent variable, referred to as research into family functioning. With regard to these areas of research, the paper, first, offers an overview of the most important insights existing research has generated thus far, after which some important shortcomings are identified and suggestions for future research are proposed. Subsequently, the paper offers some reflections on methodology and points out some strengths and weaknesses of existing research and offers methodological advice for future research. The paper closes by discussing how research into the relationship between religion and family life may contribute to an overall understanding of religion as such. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Spirituality, and Family Life)
Open AccessArticle Buddhist Mind and Matter
Religions 2014, 5(2), 422-434; doi:10.3390/rel5020422
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2014 / Accepted: 10 April 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
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Abstract
Classic Buddhist thought understands the mind as arising in dependence on the body. This causal dependence may be fashioned as a kind of “Buddhist materialism”. However, this should not be confused with any variety of scientific materialism, in which ontological and/or causal [...] Read more.
Classic Buddhist thought understands the mind as arising in dependence on the body. This causal dependence may be fashioned as a kind of “Buddhist materialism”. However, this should not be confused with any variety of scientific materialism, in which ontological and/or causal reductions of mind to brain affirm matter as the fundamental entity or property. Buddhist materialism, in contrast, is a purely phenomenological description that rejects both “mind” and “matter” as entities possessing substance or essential natures. This view questions the presumption that matter is external, real, and scientifically accessible, whereas mind is internal, subjective, and harder to empirically observe. Instead, perceptions of mind and matter are understood to be different kinds of experiences of equal phenomenological reality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Religion: Buddhist and Hindu Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle Charisma, Diversity, and Religion in the American City— A Reflection
Religions 2014, 5(2), 435-443; doi:10.3390/rel5020435
Received: 21 March 2014 / Revised: 11 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 April 2014 / Published: 21 April 2014
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Abstract
The faith leaders of North American cities actively engage in the civic affairs of their urban communities. Religious leadership, charismatic preaching, and, possibly, reputation of prophetic powers, continue to play important roles especially in the African American civic leaders’ rise to public [...] Read more.
The faith leaders of North American cities actively engage in the civic affairs of their urban communities. Religious leadership, charismatic preaching, and, possibly, reputation of prophetic powers, continue to play important roles especially in the African American civic leaders’ rise to public authority. The article reflects on the twenty-first-century significance of Max Weber’s concept of “charisma” in interpreting the civic involvement of urban religious leaders in one city in particular, Baltimore. The article suggests that within the context of Baltimore’s dramatic challenges associated with urban poverty, violence, and racial and socio-economic health disparities, charismatic religious leadership continues as a recognized form of communal authority especially among the city’s African Americans. The article suggests that the gender dynamics of contemporary charismatic leadership appears strikingly similar to another time period and place, also analyzed by Weber—namely, medieval Europe. Just as an intense personal faith granted some medieval religious women authority and position they would not have had in the institutions reserved for men, so too the religious leadership and personal experiences of faith support the urban advocacy of African American women leaders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Charisma, Medieval and Modern) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle From Sadness to Madness: Tibetan Perspectives on the Causation and Treatment of Psychiatric Illness
Religions 2014, 5(2), 444-458; doi:10.3390/rel5020444
Received: 9 April 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 8 May 2014 / Published: 15 May 2014
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Abstract
Buddhist-derived “mindfulness” practices are currently enjoying popularity amongst both the lay population and health professionals in the West, especially in the treatment of psychiatric conditions such as depression. This popularity leads to questions regarding how people in diverse Buddhist communities might conceptualise [...] Read more.
Buddhist-derived “mindfulness” practices are currently enjoying popularity amongst both the lay population and health professionals in the West, especially in the treatment of psychiatric conditions such as depression. This popularity leads to questions regarding how people in diverse Buddhist communities might conceptualise psychiatric illness and healing. This paper explores perspectives on psychiatric illness within a Tibetan Buddhist community in North India, focusing on the role of “emotions” in causation and treatment which was frequently discussed by informants. Comparisons between biomedical perspectives on emotional “disturbance” as a symptom of psychiatric illness and Tibetan conceptions of emotions as causal or contributory factors in a number of psychiatric illnesses are discussed. Three case studies are described to illustrate some of these common perspectives, examine how they are reflected in health-seeking behavior, and consider comparisons between the two systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Science and Religion: Buddhist and Hindu Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle Frequency of Spiritual/Religious Practices in Polish Patients with Chronic Diseases: Validation of the Polish Version of the SpREUK-P Questionnaire
Religions 2014, 5(2), 459-476; doi:10.3390/rel5020459
Received: 10 April 2014 / Revised: 6 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 May 2014 / Published: 16 May 2014
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Abstract
In order to measure a wide spectrum of organized and private religious, spiritual, existential and philosophical practices, the SpREUK-P (SpREUK is the German language acronym of “Spirituality/Religiosity and Coping with Illness”) questionnaire was developed as a generic instrument. To account for the [...] Read more.
In order to measure a wide spectrum of organized and private religious, spiritual, existential and philosophical practices, the SpREUK-P (SpREUK is the German language acronym of “Spirituality/Religiosity and Coping with Illness”) questionnaire was developed as a generic instrument. To account for the fact that institutional religiosity declines, not only in Europe, and to explore the alternative use of various existing esoteric and spiritual resources, the instrument also addresses non-religious forms of spiritual practices. Previously, it was tested in a more secular context and was found to be of relevance for atheistic/agnostic individuals. Now we intended to apply the instrument to 275 Polish individuals with chronic diseases (100% Catholics, 74% women, mean age 56 ± 16 years). The factorial structure of the SpREUK-P’s Polish version was similar to the primary version, but lacked an exclusive “spiritual (mind-body) practices” subscale. Factor analysis revealed four main factors, which would explain 67% of the variance, i.e., religious practices (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.90), humanistic practices (alpha = 0.87), existentialistic practices (alpha = 0.80) and gratitude/awe (alpha = 0.80). The correlation pattern underlines construct validity. Interestingly, in Polish individuals, existentialistic practices did not significantly differ between religious and non-religious individuals (nor between men and women), while all other forms of spiritual practices did differ significantly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity)
Open AccessArticle Post-9/11: Making Islam an American Religion
Religions 2014, 5(2), 477-501; doi:10.3390/rel5020477
Received: 3 January 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (225 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article explores several key events in the last 12 years that led to periods of heightened suspicion about Islam and Muslims in the United States. It provides a brief overview of the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment known as “Islamophobia”, [...] Read more.
This article explores several key events in the last 12 years that led to periods of heightened suspicion about Islam and Muslims in the United States. It provides a brief overview of the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment known as “Islamophobia”, and it investigates claims that American Muslims cannot be trusted to be loyal to the United States because of their religion. This research examines American Muslim perspectives on national security discourse regarding terrorism and radicalization, both domestic and foreign, after 9/11. The article argues that it is important to highlight developments, both progressive and conservative, in Muslim communities in the United States over the last 12 years that belie suspicions of widespread anti-American sentiment among Muslims or questions about the loyalty of American Muslims. The article concludes with a discussion of important shifts from a Muslim identity politics that disassociated from American identity and ‘American exceptionalism’ to a position of integration and cultural assimilation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity) Print Edition available
Open AccessArticle A Biblical Poetics for Filmmakers
Religions 2014, 5(2), 502-521; doi:10.3390/rel5020502
Received: 13 December 2013 / Revised: 18 May 2014 / Accepted: 6 June 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
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Abstract
In this paper, we present a poetics, or guide manual, for making narrative films that resemble biblical narratives. It is similar to Aristotle’s Poetics, only his was for creating drama (though it is of course often used for film now) and was [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a poetics, or guide manual, for making narrative films that resemble biblical narratives. It is similar to Aristotle’s Poetics, only his was for creating drama (though it is of course often used for film now) and was based on Greek dramas and epics. Our poetics is specifically for making films and is based on an even more ancient body of narratives—the Hebrew Bible. In articulating a biblical poetics for filmmakers, we draw heavily on the work of a few of the many biblical-narrative scholars of the last half-century, who draw in turn from the even more extensive research that has been done on narrative theory in general. Our project is one that Aristotle might have undertaken if he had read the Bible and its commentators and known about film. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Film, Methodology)

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