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Religions, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2015), Pages 286-754

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Music and Spirituality—Introduction
Religions 2015, 6(2), 638-641; doi:10.3390/rel6020638
Received: 13 May 2015 / Accepted: 15 May 2015 / Published: 19 May 2015
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Abstract
Across time and geography people have known the power of music for evoking the gods and acquiring spiritual insight. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Printed Edition available

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Serenity Spirituality Sessions: A Descriptive Qualitative Exploration of a Christian Resource Designed to Foster Spiritual Well-Being among Older People in Nursing Homes in Ireland
Religions 2015, 6(2), 299-316; doi:10.3390/rel6020299
Received: 22 December 2014 / Revised: 15 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 March 2015 / Published: 27 March 2015
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Abstract
This paper reports on a descriptive qualitative study that explored the value and benefit of Serenity Spirituality Sessions programme for older nursing home residents. The research was carried out in six nursing homes in the Republic of Ireland. The facilitators of these sessions,
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This paper reports on a descriptive qualitative study that explored the value and benefit of Serenity Spirituality Sessions programme for older nursing home residents. The research was carried out in six nursing homes in the Republic of Ireland. The facilitators of these sessions, who worked in the nursing homes, were interviewed about their experiences of delivering the programme and their views on the impact that the programme had on resident participants. Emergent themes revealed benefits of the intervention for clients, including inducing a calming effect, increased sense of belonging and benefits of ritual use. The programme yielded positive results, and appears suited to the predominantly Christian population, and as such is deemed a useful adjunct to holistic and spiritual care in these settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Clinical Practice)
Open AccessArticle Deposito Diademate: Augustine’s Emperors
Religions 2015, 6(2), 317-327; doi:10.3390/rel6020317
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 12 February 2015 / Accepted: 15 February 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
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Abstract
To assist colleagues from other disciplines who teach Augustine’s texts in their core courses, this contribution to the Lilly Colloquium discusses Augustine’s assessments of Emperors Constantine and Theodosius. His presentations of their tenure in office and their virtues suggest that his position on
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To assist colleagues from other disciplines who teach Augustine’s texts in their core courses, this contribution to the Lilly Colloquium discusses Augustine’s assessments of Emperors Constantine and Theodosius. His presentations of their tenure in office and their virtues suggest that his position on political leadership corresponds with his general skepticism about political platforms and platitudes. Yet careful reading of his revision of Ambrose’s account of Emperor Theodosius’s public penance and reconsideration of the last five sections of his fifth book City of God—as well as a reappraisal of several of his sermons on the Psalms—suggest that he proposes a radical alternative to political conformity relevant to undergraduates’ conventional expectations of society’s progress and their parts in it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle Ethno-Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity: A Source of Solidarity & Multiculturalism in American Society
Religions 2015, 6(2), 328-349; doi:10.3390/rel6020328
Received: 2 August 2014 / Revised: 5 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
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Abstract
This study will analyze the processes of community organization implemented by Eastern Orthodox Christian ethno-religious groups, and Greek Orthodox Christian communities in particular, to establish themselves in American civil society. It will be argued that the symbiotic relationship formed between ethnicity and religion
[...] Read more.
This study will analyze the processes of community organization implemented by Eastern Orthodox Christian ethno-religious groups, and Greek Orthodox Christian communities in particular, to establish themselves in American civil society. It will be argued that the symbiotic relationship formed between ethnicity and religion in this tradition, as well as the democratized grassroots mode of community organization that American civil society fosters, contributes to a strong sense of belonging amongst members of the ethno-religious Orthodox Christian congregations. In turn, this sense of belonging has produced a multi-layered mechanism for solidarity-building in these communities. It will then be suggested that in addition to contributing to America’s religious diversity, the preservation of ethno-linguistic heritage by the various Orthodox Christian churches simultaneously contributes to America’s poly-ethnicity and linguistic diversity as well. Last, it will be argued that the continued survival of ethno-religiosity in American Orthodoxy can either lead to further isolation amongst the separate ethnic congregations, or it can alternatively open avenues for the cultivation of a form of Orthodox Christian multiculturalism that supports neither homogeneity nor isolationism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle The Seraphim above: Some Perspectives on the Theology of Orthodox Church Music
Religions 2015, 6(2), 350-364; doi:10.3390/rel6020350
Received: 5 March 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 24 March 2015 / Published: 2 April 2015
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Abstract
Some outstanding contributions notwithstanding, much recent scholarship in Western European languages concerning art and the sacred has been quite prolific but has generally avoided discussion of specifically liturgical music, a particular problem when dealing with the sacred music of the Orthodox Church. The
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Some outstanding contributions notwithstanding, much recent scholarship in Western European languages concerning art and the sacred has been quite prolific but has generally avoided discussion of specifically liturgical music, a particular problem when dealing with the sacred music of the Orthodox Church. The present discussion aims at establishing some bases for furthering this discussion, drawing not only on recent commentators but especially commentary on the question of liturgical singing by the Fathers of the Church. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle Distal and Proximal Religiosity as Protective Factors for Adolescent and Emerging Adult Alcohol Use
Religions 2015, 6(2), 365-384; doi:10.3390/rel6020365
Received: 7 January 2015 / Revised: 16 March 2015 / Accepted: 24 March 2015 / Published: 2 April 2015
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Abstract
Data from emerging adults (ages 18–29, N = 900) in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Study was used to examine the influence of childhood and emerging adult religiosity and religious-based decision-making, and childhood adversity, on alcohol use. Childhood religiosity was protective against early
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Data from emerging adults (ages 18–29, N = 900) in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Study was used to examine the influence of childhood and emerging adult religiosity and religious-based decision-making, and childhood adversity, on alcohol use. Childhood religiosity was protective against early alcohol use and progression to later abuse or dependence, but did not significantly offset the influence of childhood adversity on early patterns of heavy drinking in adjusted logistic regression models. Religiosity in emerging adulthood was negatively associated with alcohol use disorders. Protective associations for religiosity varied by gender, ethnicity and childhood adversity histories. Higher religiosity may be protective against early onset alcohol use and later development of alcohol problems, thus, should be considered in prevention programming for youth, particularly in faith-based settings. Mental health providers should allow for integration of clients’ religiosity and spirituality beliefs and practices in treatment settings if clients indicate such interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Teaching Augustine’s On the Teacher
Religions 2015, 6(2), 404-408; doi:10.3390/rel6020404
Received: 20 February 2015 / Revised: 26 March 2015 / Accepted: 31 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
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Abstract
This paper examines the merits of introducing undergraduates to the philosophical thought of Augustine by means of his short dialogue On the Teacher. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle The Justice Game: Augustine, Disordered Loves, and the Temptation to Change the World
Religions 2015, 6(2), 409-418; doi:10.3390/rel6020409
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 24 March 2015 / Accepted: 27 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
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Abstract
Augustine’s thought on justice offers enduring wisdom to today’s undergraduates as they grapple with the difficult questions that arise when they ponder what it means to change the world in the light of the reality of injustice in this world. By juxtaposing Augustine’s
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Augustine’s thought on justice offers enduring wisdom to today’s undergraduates as they grapple with the difficult questions that arise when they ponder what it means to change the world in the light of the reality of injustice in this world. By juxtaposing Augustine’s theological writings on the nature of justice and power within the earthly and heavenly cities with Augustine’s letters that demonstrate his public engagement with injustice, we learn how Augustine thought about justice and how his convictions intersected with his practice. Through exposure to Augustine’s life and thought, students can be encouraged to wrestle with the existence of injustice, their complicity in its existence, their understanding of justice, and what it takes to seek justice today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle Teaching Socrates, Aristotle, and Augustine on Akrasia
Religions 2015, 6(2), 419-433; doi:10.3390/rel6020419
Received: 12 December 2014 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 31 March 2015 / Published: 9 April 2015
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Abstract
A long-standing debate among moral philosophers centers on the question of whether ignorance is always at the root of moral wrongdoing, or whether, in certain cases, wrongdoing stems from something else—namely akrasia. This paper is a discussion of how undergraduate core curriculum
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A long-standing debate among moral philosophers centers on the question of whether ignorance is always at the root of moral wrongdoing, or whether, in certain cases, wrongdoing stems from something else—namely akrasia. This paper is a discussion of how undergraduate core curriculum teachers can incorporate Augustine’s work into this debate. I begin by briefly reconstructing Socrates’ and Aristotle’s accounts of wrongdoing, and then I sketch an Augustinian approach to the issue. Socrates contends that ignorance is the fundamental source of all wrongdoing; hence, akrasia is illusory. Though Aristotle’s view can seem more roundabout than Socrates’, it, too, is plausibly interpreted as entailing that robust, open-eyed akrasia is impossible. For Augustine, prior to receiving the illumination that comes with God’s grace, an individual’s sinfulness can be characterized as being the result of ignorance concerning the proper focus of one’s love. However, after receiving this illuminating grace, sinful action can be characterized as an instance of akrasia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle A Jewish America and a Protestant Civil Religion: Will Herberg, Robert Bellah, and Mid-Twentieth Century American Religion
Religions 2015, 6(2), 434-450; doi:10.3390/rel6020434
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 24 March 2015 / Accepted: 31 March 2015 / Published: 13 April 2015
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Abstract
This essay reads Will Herberg’s Protestant-Catholic-Jew alongside Robert Bellah’s “Civil Religion in America” to illuminate how mid-century thinkers constructed, rather than merely observed, a vision of, and for, American religion. Placing Herberg in direct conversation with Bellah illuminates why Herberg’s religious triptych depiction
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This essay reads Will Herberg’s Protestant-Catholic-Jew alongside Robert Bellah’s “Civil Religion in America” to illuminate how mid-century thinkers constructed, rather than merely observed, a vision of, and for, American religion. Placing Herberg in direct conversation with Bellah illuminates why Herberg’s religious triptych depiction of America endured while his argument for an “American Way of Life”—the prototype for Bellah’s widely accepted idea of civil religion—flailed. Although Herberg’s “American Way of Life” and Bellah’s “Civil Religion” resemble one another as systems built on but distinct from faith traditions, they emerged from intellectual struggles with two distinct issues. Herberg’s work stemmed from the challenges wrought by ethnic and religious diversity in America, while Bellah wrote out of frustration with Cold War conformity. Both men used civil religion to critique American complacency, but Herberg agonized over trite formulations of faith while Bellah derided uncritical affirmations of patriotism. Bellah’s civil religion co-existed with and, more importantly, contained Herberg’s “Protestant-Catholic-Jew” triad and obscured the American Way of Life. In an increasingly diverse and divisive America, Bellah’s civil religion provided a more optimistic template for national self-critique, even as Herberg’s American Way of Life more accurately described the limits of national self-understanding. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Partisan Trajectory of the American Pro-Life Movement: How a Liberal Catholic Campaign Became a Conservative Evangelical Cause
Religions 2015, 6(2), 451-475; doi:10.3390/rel6020451
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 2 April 2015 / Accepted: 3 April 2015 / Published: 16 April 2015
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Abstract
This article employs a historical analysis of the religious composition of the pro-life movement to explain why the partisan identity of the movement shifted from the left to the right between the late 1960s and the 1980s. Many of the Catholics who formed
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This article employs a historical analysis of the religious composition of the pro-life movement to explain why the partisan identity of the movement shifted from the left to the right between the late 1960s and the 1980s. Many of the Catholics who formed the first anti-abortion organizations in the late 1960s were liberal Democrats who viewed their campaign to save the unborn as a rights-based movement that was fully in keeping with the principles of New Deal and Great Society liberalism, but when evangelical Protestants joined the movement in the late 1970s, they reframed the pro-life cause as a politically conservative campaign linked not to the ideology of human rights but to the politics of moral order and “family values.” This article explains why the Catholic effort to build a pro-life coalition of liberal Democrats failed after Roe v. Wade, why evangelicals became interested in the antiabortion movement, and why the evangelicals succeeded in their effort to rebrand the pro-life campaign as a conservative cause. Full article
Open AccessArticle Integrating Spirituality as a Key Component of Patient Care
Religions 2015, 6(2), 476-498; doi:10.3390/rel6020476
Received: 30 January 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 17 April 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (287 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Patient care frequently focuses on physical aspects of disease management, with variable attention given to spiritual needs. And yet, patients indicate that spiritual suffering adds to distress associated with illness. Spirituality, broadly defined as that which gives meaning and purpose to a person’s
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Patient care frequently focuses on physical aspects of disease management, with variable attention given to spiritual needs. And yet, patients indicate that spiritual suffering adds to distress associated with illness. Spirituality, broadly defined as that which gives meaning and purpose to a person’s life and connectedness to the significant or sacred, often becomes a central issue for patients. Growing evidence demonstrates that spirituality is important in patient care. Yet healthcare professionals (HCPs) do not always feel prepared to engage with patients about spiritual issues. In this project, HCPs attended an educational session focused on using the FICA Spiritual History Tool to integrate spirituality into patient care. Later, they incorporated the tool when caring for patients participating in the study. This research (1) explored the value of including spiritual history taking in clinical practice; (2) identified facilitators and barriers to incorporating spirituality into person-centred care; and (3) determined ways in which HCPs can effectively utilize spiritual history taking. Data were collected using focus groups and chart reviews. Findings indicate positive impacts at organizational, clinical/unit, professional/personal and patient levels when HCPs include spirituality in patient care. Recommendations are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Clinical Practice)
Open AccessArticle Spirituality and Creativity in Coping, Their Association and Transformative Effect: A Qualitative Enquiry
Religions 2015, 6(2), 499-526; doi:10.3390/rel6020499
Received: 27 January 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2015 / Accepted: 8 April 2015 / Published: 17 April 2015
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Abstract
While the beneficial effects on mental health of spirituality and creativity as separate entities have been well documented, little attention has been given to the interactive effect of the two constructs in coping. Recently, the theory of transformative coping and associated Transformative Coping
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While the beneficial effects on mental health of spirituality and creativity as separate entities have been well documented, little attention has been given to the interactive effect of the two constructs in coping. Recently, the theory of transformative coping and associated Transformative Coping Model have been developed and examined from both theoretical and quantitative perspectives. To extend this work, the present study critically examined the theory of transformative coping and associated Transformative Coping Model from a qualitative perspective. Ten interviews were conducted among Northern Irish and Irish artists, contemplative prayer group members, and mental health service users. Data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The results showed that the majority of participants had experienced stress and trauma, and have suffered mental ill-health as a consequence. Most defined themselves as both creative and spiritual, and resorted to a spiritual attitude along with creative expression in order to cope with traumatic events and ongoing stressful situations. Most participants believed that their creativity was rooted in their spirituality and that the application of both helped them to transform negative emotional states into positive ones. This, in turn, gave them increased resilience to and a different perspective of stressful events, which aided and improved their coping skills throughout the lifespan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Clinical Practice)
Open AccessArticle Fitnah: The Afterlife of a Religious Term in Recent Political Protest
Religions 2015, 6(2), 527-542; doi:10.3390/rel6020527
Received: 6 November 2014 / Accepted: 16 March 2015 / Published: 20 April 2015
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Abstract
The phenomenon of fitnah could be traced throughout history in different regions and cultures. The Arab spring events of 2011–2012 are not an exception in this context. The next outburst of protest activity occurred where it was not expected in the near future—in
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The phenomenon of fitnah could be traced throughout history in different regions and cultures. The Arab spring events of 2011–2012 are not an exception in this context. The next outburst of protest activity occurred where it was not expected in the near future—in Ukraine. If we compare the events in the Arab countries in 2011 and Ukraine in 2013–2014, it can be concluded that in essence they fit the characteristics of fitnah very well, which are attributed to it by the Arabic political culture. In both cases, the fitnah acquired permanent character turning into anarchy and chaos (“fouda”). The government/the ruling power found itself unprepared for such manifestations of fitnah and miscalculated the threat posed by the protesters. From our perspective, in the modern world this phenomenon can be explained by the rapid development of Internet technologies that gives the opposition an opportunity to prepare a protest virtually, in an area not totally controlled by the government. Full article
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Open AccessArticle “There Is a Higher Height in the Lord”: Music, Worship, and Communication with God
Religions 2015, 6(2), 543-565; doi:10.3390/rel6020543
Received: 17 December 2014 / Revised: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 29 April 2015
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Abstract
Music is so vital in the services of African American Baptist churches that there are few moments in the service when music—either congregational or choral singing, or instrumental music of some sort—is not being performed. Sustained as an auditory or imagined presence, music
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Music is so vital in the services of African American Baptist churches that there are few moments in the service when music—either congregational or choral singing, or instrumental music of some sort—is not being performed. Sustained as an auditory or imagined presence, music acts almost as a timbral membrane for the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the service. The Holy Spirit is physically manifested (inspiration by the Holy Spirit) in the church membership, predominantly (if not exclusively) in a musical context. In order to ground the general in the particular, I will give detailed consideration to two musical instances or events from the Sunday morning service at Clear Creek Missionary Baptist Church on 4 November 2012, contextualising those within a broader context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music and Spirituality) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle Syariah as Heterotopia: Responses from Muslim Women in Aceh, Indonesia
Religions 2015, 6(2), 566-593; doi:10.3390/rel6020566
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 19 April 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 5 May 2015
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Abstract
In this paper, I argue that the implementation of syariah is best understood as a heterotopia by women in Aceh, Indonesia. The current debates over the role of syariah for women in Acehnese society focus on either a secular human rights critique of
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In this paper, I argue that the implementation of syariah is best understood as a heterotopia by women in Aceh, Indonesia. The current debates over the role of syariah for women in Acehnese society focus on either a secular human rights critique of non-liberal norms that restrict the rights and freedom of women or a religiously prescribed defense of communal norms that protect women and society. Based on interviews, I identify three variants of how women conceive of and inhabit syariah in Aceh. Two of these variants are underrepresented in the current academic literature on syariah in Aceh. Two key distinctions are drawn between blueprint and iconoclastic utopian thought and state-centric and non-state-centric models of political legitimacy. Rethinking syariah as a “socio-spatial dialectic” allows for all three variants of syariah existing simultaneously as a heterotopia in Acehnese society. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sin and Addiction: Conceptual Enemies or Fellow Travelers?
Religions 2015, 6(2), 614-625; doi:10.3390/rel6020614
Received: 26 December 2014 / Revised: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 11 May 2015
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Abstract
The addiction recovery metaphor of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the sin/salvation metaphor of Protestant heritage have a lot more in common than people realize. On the surface, of course, it seems that the addiction recovery process is quite the opposite of what is
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The addiction recovery metaphor of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the sin/salvation metaphor of Protestant heritage have a lot more in common than people realize. On the surface, of course, it seems that the addiction recovery process is quite the opposite of what is assumed to be a religious approach to addiction. Many assume that religion takes a moralistic or judgmental attitude to addiction, focusing on intentional wrong-doing, lack of will power, or sin, i.e., offending God, self and others. Instead, from a theological perspective, sin and addiction are not the opposites generally assumed. The identification of alienation from God, and the focus on spirituality and healing are core issues for both concepts. Understanding this congruence can facilitate a very productive conversation between theologians, religious believers, and recovering persons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle An Islamic Perspective in Managing Religious Diversity
Religions 2015, 6(2), 642-656; doi:10.3390/rel6020642
Received: 23 September 2014 / Accepted: 12 May 2015 / Published: 21 May 2015
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Abstract
This paper examines the concept of “diversity” as mentioned in the Qur’an and how commonalities in diverse religions may be used as a model for civilizational dialogue towards achieving harmony. This study reveals that religious and cultural diversity are laws of nature which
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This paper examines the concept of “diversity” as mentioned in the Qur’an and how commonalities in diverse religions may be used as a model for civilizational dialogue towards achieving harmony. This study reveals that religious and cultural diversity are laws of nature which cannot be changed while the concept of “identity” is a contested issue in modern discourse. Results also show that peace may be established among diverse religions through their commonalities and the best way to exploit these commonalities and to reduce the religious divide is through civilizational dialogue. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and other methods for changing the nature of religious differences and reaching a consensus—thus arriving at a peaceful co-existence—are also discussed. It was found that people are often misguided or divided in the name of religion and culture, despite the fact that the philosophy of every religion is based on peace and harmony. Full article
Open AccessArticle Religion, Culture, and Tax Evasion: Evidence from the Czech Republic
Religions 2015, 6(2), 657-669; doi:10.3390/rel6020657
Received: 13 March 2015 / Revised: 7 May 2015 / Accepted: 25 May 2015 / Published: 2 June 2015
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Abstract
Our paper analyzes the impact of culture and religion on tax evasions in the Czech Republic, which represents one of the most atheistic countries in Europe, and a very interesting example of attitudes to the church and religion, as well as the influence
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Our paper analyzes the impact of culture and religion on tax evasions in the Czech Republic, which represents one of the most atheistic countries in Europe, and a very interesting example of attitudes to the church and religion, as well as the influence of religion on the social and economic aspects of everyday life. Our results suggest that, in the Czech Republic, religion plays the role of tax compliance, but only through a positive effect of visiting the church. National pride supports tax morality while trust in government institutions and attitudes towards government are not associated with tax compliance. These results suggest that the Czech Republic is no different from other countries regarding the relationship between religion and tax compliance. Moreover, the role of government as the authority for improving tax compliance is different from what is observed in other countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle “I Heard the Voice. I Felt the Presence”: Prayer, Health and Implications for Clinical Practice
Religions 2015, 6(2), 670-685; doi:10.3390/rel6020670
Received: 7 April 2015 / Revised: 28 May 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 11 June 2015
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Abstract
Research concerning the relation between physical health and prayer typically employs an outcome oriented paradigm and results are inconsistent. This is not surprising since prayer per se is not governed by physiological principles. More revealing and logically compelling, but more rare, is literature
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Research concerning the relation between physical health and prayer typically employs an outcome oriented paradigm and results are inconsistent. This is not surprising since prayer per se is not governed by physiological principles. More revealing and logically compelling, but more rare, is literature examining health and prayer from the perspective of the participants. The present study examines the health–prayer experience of 104 Christians in the United States. Data were collected through recorded video interviews and analyzed by means of content analysis. Results show that prayer is used as a context nuanced spiritual tool for: dealing with physical suffering (spiritual-religious coping); sustaining hope and spirituality via a sacred dimension; personal empowerment; self-transcendence. These findings demonstrate that practitioners primarily engage prayer at a spiritual rather than a physical level, underscoring the limitations of a biomedical or “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” perspective that conceptualizes prayer as a mechanism for intentionally improving physical health. In clinical practice, regarding the medical, psychotherapeutic, or pastoral, the challenge is to understand prayer through the framework of the practitioner, in order to affirm its potential in healthcare processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Clinical Practice)
Open AccessArticle Responses by White Christians to Recent Latino Immigration in the Rural U.S. Midwest
Religions 2015, 6(2), 686-711; doi:10.3390/rel6020686
Received: 3 February 2015 / Revised: 31 May 2015 / Accepted: 8 June 2015 / Published: 15 June 2015
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Abstract
Over the last twenty-five years, the rural U.S. Midwest has undergone dramatic demographic changes as the population of white people decreased in many areas and the number of Latinos surged. These shifts are especially noteworthy in areas that had stable, relatively homogeneous populations
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Over the last twenty-five years, the rural U.S. Midwest has undergone dramatic demographic changes as the population of white people decreased in many areas and the number of Latinos surged. These shifts are especially noteworthy in areas that had stable, relatively homogeneous populations over at least the last half-century. Many Christian churches, both Protestant and Catholic, are responding by reaching out to new residents. Such efforts have sometimes led to tension as Anglo Christians seek to reconcile the moral claims of their faith communities with the prejudices and fears they have of Latino immigrants. This article describes how Anglo-majority mainline Protestant congregations and Catholic parishes are responding to these demographic changes, notes key differences between the two groups’ responses, and then sketches several possible explanations for the differences, including the underlying theology of their efforts, the prior religious affiliation of Latino newcomers, the organizational structure of church bodies, and varying impetuses for action. The paper concludes with observations about the future of Christian communities in the rural Midwest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle Psychometric Characteristics of Croatian Version of the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale
Religions 2015, 6(2), 712-723; doi:10.3390/rel6020712
Received: 12 March 2015 / Revised: 7 June 2015 / Accepted: 11 June 2015 / Published: 17 June 2015
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Abstract
Background: The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES) has been developed through extensive and qualitative research. Numerous studies have confirmed the reliability and validity of the DSES among different populations. Most of the studies have shown association of the DSES with physical and psychological
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Background: The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES) has been developed through extensive and qualitative research. Numerous studies have confirmed the reliability and validity of the DSES among different populations. Most of the studies have shown association of the DSES with physical and psychological well-being. Purpose: The current study aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties of the DSES in the Croatian population. Method: The 16-item scale was translated through standard translation/back-translation procedures. The scale was afterwards applied to a sample of 535 test subjects (49% men and 51% women), mean age 42.6 years. Results: The coefficient of reliability (Cronbach alpha = 0.945) is very high. The coefficients of discriminant validity were satisfactory for 15 items, whereas only one item (14) has a coefficient of less than 0.30. The factor analysis after oblique rotation resulted in two related factors: the relationship with God and relationship with others. Using these two factors explained the 66.1% of the variance. Conclusion: Based on the data, it can be concluded that DSES has satisfactory psychometric characteristics and can be applied to the Croatian population, but its correlation with other religious and non-religious constructs should be verified in further research. Full article
Open AccessArticle How to Survive the Anthropocene: Adaptive Atheism and the Evolution of Homo deiparensis
Religions 2015, 6(2), 724-741; doi:10.3390/rel6020724
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 25 May 2015 / Accepted: 4 June 2015 / Published: 17 June 2015
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Abstract
Why is it so easy to ignore the ecological and economic crises of the Anthropocene? This article unveils some of the religious biases whose covert operation facilitates the repression or rejection of warnings about the consequences of extreme climate change and excessive capitalist
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Why is it so easy to ignore the ecological and economic crises of the Anthropocene? This article unveils some of the religious biases whose covert operation facilitates the repression or rejection of warnings about the consequences of extreme climate change and excessive capitalist consumption. The evolved defaults that are most relevant for our purposes here have to do with mental credulity toward religious content (beliefs about supernatural agents) and with social congruity in religious contexts (behaviors shaped by supernatural rituals). Learning how to contest these phylogenetically inherited and culturally fortified biases may be a necessary condition for adapting to and altering our current natural and social environments in ways that will enhance the chances for the survival (and flourishing) of Homo sapiens and other sentient species. I outline a conceptual framework, derived from empirical findings and theoretical developments in the bio-cultural sciences of religion, which can help clarify why and how gods are imaginatively conceived and nurtured by ritually engaged believers. Finally, I discuss the role that “adaptive atheism” might play in responding to the crises of the Anthropocene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle Climate Weirding and Queering Nature: Getting Beyond the Anthropocene
Religions 2015, 6(2), 742-754; doi:10.3390/rel6020742
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 31 May 2015 / Accepted: 5 June 2015 / Published: 23 June 2015
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Abstract
Though many scientists and scholars of the environmental humanities are referring to the current geological era as the anthropocene, this article argues that there are some problems with this trope and the narrative that emerges from it. First, responsibility for the current era
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Though many scientists and scholars of the environmental humanities are referring to the current geological era as the anthropocene, this article argues that there are some problems with this trope and the narrative that emerges from it. First, responsibility for the current era of climate weirding is not shared equally, some humans are way more responsible than others. Second, the claim of the anthropocene works rhetorically to maintain a sense of human exceptionalism from the rest of the evolution of life on the planet. Third and finally, the suggestion that this geological era be named the anthropocene suggests that the problem and the solution to our ecological crisis lie with Homo sapiens. Does this not re-create the sense of mastery that has fueled contemporary planetary ills in the first place? This paper argues that the idea of agency must be reconfigured and redistributed throughout the planetary community in order to deal with the wicked problems arising from climate weirding and an uncertain future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene)

Review

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Open AccessReview Spirituality and Quaker Approaches to Substance Use and Addiction
Religions 2015, 6(2), 385-403; doi:10.3390/rel6020385
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 30 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
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Abstract
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has held a consistent testimony of abstinence and moderation regarding alcohol and other substances. This paper outlines the historical background, and describes modern Quaker understandings of moderation. It then outlines hitherto unpublished results regarding spirituality from the
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The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has held a consistent testimony of abstinence and moderation regarding alcohol and other substances. This paper outlines the historical background, and describes modern Quaker understandings of moderation. It then outlines hitherto unpublished results regarding spirituality from the only study to date about Quaker behaviour and atttitudes regarding substance use. The association between low substance use and religiosity is established in the literature, but the role of spirituality is less defined. This study methodology allowed an unusually detailed analysis of different aspects of spirituality. Results generally support Miller’s suggestion that idiographic spirituality may have a role in resilience to higher substance use. However, spiritual practice through prayer/meditation emerges as having a more consistent role in the Quaker sample—a finding that is of interest and potential significance in considerations of resilience and recovery. The community dimension of shared spiritual attitudes towards substance use, and the spiritual values that underlie the interpretation of testimony, are also explored. The congruence that some Quakers find with the spiritual approaches of Alcoholics Anonymous is also discussed. It is concluded that spirituality is a significant factor in a Quaker balance that can mitigate immoderate use and support recovery from addiction, without, in general, excluding those who use at higher levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)

Other

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Open AccessConference Report Seeking the Place of Conscience in Higher Education: An Augustinian View
Religions 2015, 6(2), 286-298; doi:10.3390/rel6020286
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 12 March 2015 / Published: 24 March 2015
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Abstract
This article explores the place of conscience in higher education. It begins by reconstructing the place of conscience in Augustine’s thought, drawing on Augustine’s reading of Genesis 3, the Psalms, and his own spiritual journey. Its basic aim is to clarify Augustine’s account
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This article explores the place of conscience in higher education. It begins by reconstructing the place of conscience in Augustine’s thought, drawing on Augustine’s reading of Genesis 3, the Psalms, and his own spiritual journey. Its basic aim is to clarify Augustine’s account of conscience as self-judgment, identifying the conditions under which self-judgment occurs. After identifying these conditions it addresses the question: does conscience still have a place in modern higher education? It acknowledges the real limitations and obstacles to moral education when pursued in the context of the modern research university. However, it also argues that moral education proceeds in stages, and that educators can anticipate and clear a way for the place of conscience—though not, of course, without reliance on the movement of grace. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available
Open AccessConference Report Spiritual Care Education of Health Care Professionals
Religions 2015, 6(2), 594-613; doi:10.3390/rel6020594
Received: 2 February 2015 / Revised: 7 April 2015 / Accepted: 16 April 2015 / Published: 8 May 2015
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Abstract
Nurses and health care professionals should have an active role in meeting the spiritual needs of patients in collaboration with the family and the chaplain. Literature criticizes the impaired holistic care because the spiritual dimension is often overlooked by health care professionals. This
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Nurses and health care professionals should have an active role in meeting the spiritual needs of patients in collaboration with the family and the chaplain. Literature criticizes the impaired holistic care because the spiritual dimension is often overlooked by health care professionals. This could be due to feelings of incompetence due to lack of education on spiritual care; lack of inter-professional education (IPE); work overload; lack of time; different cultures; lack of attention to personal spirituality; ethical issues and unwillingness to deliver spiritual care. Literature defines spiritual care as recognizing, respecting, and meeting patients’ spiritual needs; facilitating participation in religious rituals; communicating through listening and talking with clients; being with the patient by caring, supporting, and showing empathy; promoting a sense of well-being by helping them to find meaning and purpose in their illness and overall life; and referring them to other professionals, including the chaplain/pastor. This paper outlines the systematic mode of intra-professional theoretical education on spiritual care and its integration into their clinical practice; supported by role modeling. Examples will be given from the author’s creative and innovative ways of teaching spiritual care to undergraduate and post-graduate students. The essence of spiritual care is being in doing whereby personal spirituality and therapeutic use of self contribute towards effective holistic care. While taking into consideration the factors that may inhibit and enhance the delivery of spiritual care, recommendations are proposed to the education, clinical, and management sectors for further research and personal spirituality to ameliorate patient holistic care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Clinical Practice)
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Open AccessConference Report Modern Restlessness, from Hobbes to Augustine
Religions 2015, 6(2), 626-637; doi:10.3390/rel6020626
Received: 24 March 2015 / Revised: 23 April 2015 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 11 May 2015
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Abstract
Only with difficulty do modern readers grasp the full import of Augustine’s confession, “Restless is our heart, until it rests in you”, or seriously consider that it might be true. An unexpected remedy is to be found in reading Thomas Hobbes, who introduces
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Only with difficulty do modern readers grasp the full import of Augustine’s confession, “Restless is our heart, until it rests in you”, or seriously consider that it might be true. An unexpected remedy is to be found in reading Thomas Hobbes, who introduces and defends the view of happiness that is now commonly accepted without argument. According to Hobbes, human beings find their happiness not in a single, supreme good but in many objects, the securing of which requires a lifelong quest for power. But this teaching, influential and revealing though it is, fails to satisfy. Meditating on that dissatisfaction is a first step towards more serious engagement with Augustine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available

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