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Religions, Volume 8, Issue 3 (March 2017)

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Cover Story La Santísima Muerte, the patron of the marginalized and dispossessed, is especially favored by [...] Read more.
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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Religion and Nature in a Globalizing World
Religions 2017, 8(3), 32; doi:10.3390/rel8030032
Received: 8 February 2017 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Despite the recent series of electoral victories by populists seeking to capitalize on antipathy about globalization, our world remains radically interconnected.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Nature in a Globalizing World)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Living Joyfully after Losing Social Hope: Kierkegaard and Chrétien on Selfhood and Eschatological Expectation
Religions 2017, 8(3), 33; doi:10.3390/rel8030033
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
In this essay, I offer an existential-phenomenological consideration of what it might look like to live joyfully after losing social hope. Using the example of the widespread hopelessness that many are feeling in light of the election of Donald Trump, I suggest that
[...] Read more.
In this essay, I offer an existential-phenomenological consideration of what it might look like to live joyfully after losing social hope. Using the example of the widespread hopelessness that many are feeling in light of the election of Donald Trump, I suggest that the danger of losing hope is that we can also lose our selfhood in the process. In order to develop a conception of “eschatological hope” that would be resistant to the loss of such social and political expectations, I draw specifically on Søren Kierkegaard’s notion that “the expectancy of faith is victory,” and Jean-Louis Chrétien’s idea of “the unhoped for,” in order to develop a model of hope that remains when it seems like all other hope has been lost. Rather than being overcome by anxiety about the future, eschatological hope fosters joy in the present. Full article
Open AccessArticle Death, Resurrection, and Shrine Visitations: An Islamic Perspective
Religions 2017, 8(3), 34; doi:10.3390/rel8030034
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 25 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper discusses the concept of death, resurrection and shrine visitation from an Islamic point of view. It is divided into two integral parts. In the first part, we examine the Islamic eschatological concepts of death, resurrection, and the Day of Judgment. The
[...] Read more.
This paper discusses the concept of death, resurrection and shrine visitation from an Islamic point of view. It is divided into two integral parts. In the first part, we examine the Islamic eschatological concepts of death, resurrection, and the Day of Judgment. The second part deals with one of the most disputed topics in Islamic thought, those of graves and shrines and the cult of saints. We will be arguing that in spite of the fact that Muslims are not allowed (from a fundamentalist point of view) to construct ornamented tombs or shrines, the cult of saints is widespread in many parts of the Muslim world. We contend that this phenomenon stems from cultural rather than religious factors. In many cases, Muslims were unable to divest themselves of cultural aspects that interfered or were incompatible with their religious beliefs. We assert that the cult of saints is more common in Shia- than Sunni-dominated countries. In response to the ongoing recent attacks on shrines, the researchers suggest dialogue among Muslim sects. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Dialogue between Science and Religion: A Taxonomic Contribution
Religions 2017, 8(3), 35; doi:10.3390/rel8030035
Received: 3 August 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
Many present day scientists think that religion can never come to terms with science. In sharp contrast with this widespread opinion, this paper argues that, historically, scientific reasoning and religious belief joined hands in their effort to investigate and understand reality. In fact,
[...] Read more.
Many present day scientists think that religion can never come to terms with science. In sharp contrast with this widespread opinion, this paper argues that, historically, scientific reasoning and religious belief joined hands in their effort to investigate and understand reality. In fact, the present-day divorce between science and religion is nothing else than the final outcome of a gradual, long-term, and deliberately assumed process of the secularization of science. However, especially during the last two decades, we have all been equally confronted with the advance of a new concern that some contemporary scientists have, namely reviewing the sphere of problems specific to the domains of investigation in which they are involved while now facing themes that are usually addressed by theological thought. The paper describes this recent development as being captured by an emerging new field of investigation within the modern scientific epistemology, Science and Religion. Against this background, the purpose of this paper is two-fold: firstly, to briefly look over the large number of typologies that have been suggested to classify various ways of relating science and religion; and secondly, to highlight the dual taxonomical nature of the contemporary science and religion dialogue. Full article
Open AccessArticle “Santísima Muerte, Vístete de Negro, Santísima Muerte, Vístete de Blanco”: La Santa Muerte’s Illegal Marginalizations
Religions 2017, 8(3), 36; doi:10.3390/rel8030036
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 4 March 2017
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Abstract
La Santísima Muerte, the death saint patron of the marginalized and dispossessed in Mexico, the United States, and beyond, is especially favored by devotees who identify with her duality between dark and light, and good and evil. Most of Santa Muerte’s devotees understand
[...] Read more.
La Santísima Muerte, the death saint patron of the marginalized and dispossessed in Mexico, the United States, and beyond, is especially favored by devotees who identify with her duality between dark and light, and good and evil. Most of Santa Muerte’s devotees understand that good and evil coexist in her, and they often simultaneously appeal to both. At the same time, illegality and marginalization, which are generally associated with the saint’s “dark” or “evil” sides, take on multiple, diverse forms, encompassing criminalized activity such as narcotrafficking, religious transgressions that reflect unorthodox spiritual practices such as witchcraft, and most contentiously of all, the very conditions of poverty and racialization in Mexico. Nevertheless, cultural representations of Santa Muerte often resist such diversity and persist in opposing her dark and light sides. Films such as Eva Aridjis’s La Santa Muerte and Pável Valenzuela Arámburo’s La Santísima Muerte aim to represent all Santa Muerte in all of her multiplicity and to correct stereotypical representations of the death saint in general. But perhaps inadvertently, Aridjis’s film reinforces the contrast, rather than the intersections, between “light” and “dark”. However, in La Santísima Muerte, Valenzuela Arámburo deliberately embraces the saint’s contradictory duality to provide a different perspective on illegality and criminality, simultaneously accepting such illegality as a dark menace in the vein of Santa Muerte’s typical detractors, and rearticulating it as a necessary aspect of the saint’s holy works. Valenzuela Arámburo’s film not only emphasizes that the very same devotees invoke Santa Muerte for her powers of “good” as well as for those of “evil”, it demonstrates that these devotees incorporate the saint’s dark side as they see fit not as a consequence of their marginalized status, but as a means to resist it. Thus, while both films underscore that marginalized populations are just as nuanced and contradictory as their patroness of death is, Valenzuela Arámburo’s film grounds itself in Santa Muerte’s duality in order to demonstrate how her seemingly contradictory aspects construct and shape each other. As such, the film combats the representation of marginalization and criminality in Mexico and beyond, highlighting the extent to which her devotees appeal to both her dark and light sides precisely because they are simultaneously victims of marginalization and agents of resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Death in the New World: The Rise of Santa Muerte)
Open AccessArticle Transcendence, Taxis, Trust: Richard Kearney and Jacques Derrida
Religions 2017, 8(3), 37; doi:10.3390/rel8030037
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 26 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Whatever else it takes to drive a taxi, it takes trust. Day after day, the driver has to decide whether the other is or is not trustworthy. I take the taxi as a test case to analyze and assess Richard Kearney’s diacritical hermeneutics
[...] Read more.
Whatever else it takes to drive a taxi, it takes trust. Day after day, the driver has to decide whether the other is or is not trustworthy. I take the taxi as a test case to analyze and assess Richard Kearney’s diacritical hermeneutics of the other. I argue that Kearney functionalizes the concept of transcendence in order to connect the transcendence of the finite other to the transcendence of the infinite other. However, in his central critique of the deconstructionists following Jacques Derrida, Kearney counters his connection. While Kearney’s critique of Derrida’s account of absolute alterity is correct and compelling, I argue that Derrida’s critique of a distinction between the trustworthy other and the non-trustworthy other might be more crucial than Kearney contends. Insisting on openness to the other’s otherness, Derrida provokes any hermeneutic of the other to trust in transcendence. The taxi is taken as a test to illustrate the implications which diacritical and deconstructive drivers might have for evaluating the entanglement of ethics and eschatology—inside and outside the taxi. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Division of the Roman Catholic Church in Mainland China: History and Challenges
Religions 2017, 8(3), 39; doi:10.3390/rel8030039
Received: 19 October 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract
The paper offers a historical perspective on the division within the Roman Catholic Church in mainland China, focusing on the appointment of bishops, the constitution of ecclesial provinces and dioceses, and the problematic establishment of the national church organization. The current state of
[...] Read more.
The paper offers a historical perspective on the division within the Roman Catholic Church in mainland China, focusing on the appointment of bishops, the constitution of ecclesial provinces and dioceses, and the problematic establishment of the national church organization. The current state of Sino-Vatican relations both reflects this division and serves as a precondition to positive steps that might heal the division. An initial concordat on the appointment of bishops may serve as a primary step, but a larger challenge confronts the Chinese church in its movement toward reconciliation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christianity and China in the 21st Century)
Open AccessArticle Constituting Canon and Community in Eleventh Century Tibet: The Extant Writings of Rongzom and His Charter of Mantrins (sngags pa’i bca’ yig)
Religions 2017, 8(3), 40; doi:10.3390/rel8030040
Received: 2 September 2016 / Revised: 26 February 2017 / Accepted: 1 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
This paper explores some of the work of Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo (hereafter Rongzom) and attempts to situate his pedagogical influence within the “Old School” or Nyingma (rnying ma) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.1 A survey of Rongzom’s extant writings indicates that
[...] Read more.
This paper explores some of the work of Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo (hereafter Rongzom) and attempts to situate his pedagogical influence within the “Old School” or Nyingma (rnying ma) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.1 A survey of Rongzom’s extant writings indicates that he was a seminal exegete and a particularly important philosopher and interpreter of Buddhism in Tibet. He was an influential intellectual flourishing in a period of cultural rebirth, when there was immense skepticism about Tibetan compositions. His work is thereby a source of insight into the indigenous Tibetan response to the transformations of a renaissance-era in which Indian provenance became the sine qua none of religious authority. Rongzom’s “charter” (bca’ yig), the primary focus of the essay, is an important document for our understanding of Old School communities of learning. While we know very little of the social realities of Old School communities in Rongzom’s time, we do know that they were a source of concern for the emerging political and religious authorities in Western Tibet. As such, the review below argues that the production of the charter should be seen, inter alia, as an effort at maintaining autonomy in the face of a rising political power. The analysis also provides insights into the nature of the social obligations operant within Rongzom’s community—constituted as it was by a combination of ritually embodied and discursive philosophical modes of learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pedagogy and Performance in Tibetan Buddhism)
Open AccessArticle Dirk Philips’ Letter and Spirit: An Anabaptist Contribution to Reformation Hermeneutics
Religions 2017, 8(3), 41; doi:10.3390/rel8030041
Received: 28 January 2017 / Revised: 11 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
Dirk Philips provides an explanation of how a Christian should interpret Scripture in his Enchiridion. Such chapters as “The Sending of Preachers and Teachers,” “The Tabernacle of Moses,” and “Of Spiritual Restitution” provide the clearest picture for students of this Anabaptist hermeneutic,
[...] Read more.
Dirk Philips provides an explanation of how a Christian should interpret Scripture in his Enchiridion. Such chapters as “The Sending of Preachers and Teachers,” “The Tabernacle of Moses,” and “Of Spiritual Restitution” provide the clearest picture for students of this Anabaptist hermeneutic, a hermeneutic which interprets all of Scripture through the dichotomy of the letter and the Spirit, united in their central theme, Christ and the Church, a reading that can only be found through a hermeneutic of obedience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching the Reformations)
Open AccessArticle Time Out of Joint and Future-Oriented Memory: Engaging Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the Search for a Way to Deal Responsibly with the Ghosts of the Past
Religions 2017, 8(3), 42; doi:10.3390/rel8030042
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article explores in conversation with some of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer the question of how the experience of the dislocation of time and the visitation of “the ghosts of the past” (also in contexts marked by historical injustices) is related to
[...] Read more.
This article explores in conversation with some of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer the question of how the experience of the dislocation of time and the visitation of “the ghosts of the past” (also in contexts marked by historical injustices) is related to responsible ethical action. The question is also posed as to how the reconfiguration of the relationship of past, present and future functions on an implicit and explicit level in this regard. In the process, the article affirms the eschatological horizon of Bonhoeffer’s ethics and points to the importance of what is referred to as “future-oriented memory” in the search for responsible and hopeful action. The article acknowledges the dilemmas in relating thought and action (with reference to the so-called “Hamlet doctrine”) and points to the way in which “the future” marks and determines Bonhoeffer’s understanding of ethical action amidst the haunting presence of the past and the experience of the present time as a “time out of joint.” Full article
Open AccessArticle Fragmented, Messianic, Paradoxical, Antinomian, Revolutionary, Secular: The Hermeneutics of Eschatology
Religions 2017, 8(3), 44; doi:10.3390/rel8030044
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 23 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
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Abstract
Multiple philosophical-theological efforts in the last century, from W. Benjamin to J. Caputo, have been centered on a messianic opposition to normative structures, a challenge that invokes a long history in the West of breaking down the codes of ordered, civilized and religious society.
[...] Read more.
Multiple philosophical-theological efforts in the last century, from W. Benjamin to J. Caputo, have been centered on a messianic opposition to normative structures, a challenge that invokes a long history in the West of breaking down the codes of ordered, civilized and religious society. That such an apocalyptic fervor is nothing new to the history of theology should not surprise us. What should surprise us, however, is how infrequently we are able to see the larger pattern behind these particular movements. Taking up the recent emergence of ‘queer theology’ as the current manifestation of such a trend, I want to isolate and clarify the theological implications of comprehending the existence of humanity as a state of constantly ‘being between’. What I argue is that developing a hermeneutics of eschatology that takes such tensions as foundational rather than merely heterodox indicates that the opposition of grace and law is to be understood not as a dualism to be overcome but as the structure of history itself. The question I am posing is this: to what degree does the queering or subversion of theological normativity, or the development of a ‘theology against itself’, allow us to subvert identitarian politics and to challenge the social and religious institutions that we are a part of? It is through the lens of ‘queer theology’ and its questioning of the existence of normativity itself that we are simultaneously returned to the basic structures that guide human life, while, at the same time, propelled forward into new configurations of resistance to just such structures. By firmly placing ourselves within this ‘queer critique’ we see the ‘already-not yet’ tension of eschatological thought not simply in religious terms, but in ones that reorient our relationship to the political and social orders of this world, calling for a permanent re-envisioning of norms as the individual—and the church—are found to be perpetually—and edifyingly—‘against themselves’. Full article

Other

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Open AccessConference Report Hidden Suffering and the Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences
Religions 2017, 8(3), 31; doi:10.3390/rel8030031
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
To understand suffering is to understand what it means to be human. Suffering focuses our attention on our vulnerability, which we would rather ignore or deny. As health care professionals (HCP) we need to be able to listen, to attune and be empathic
[...] Read more.
To understand suffering is to understand what it means to be human. Suffering focuses our attention on our vulnerability, which we would rather ignore or deny. As health care professionals (HCP) we need to be able to listen, to attune and be empathic to the suffering patient. If we act as an “enlightened witness” we provide a safe place for a suffering patient to grieve their loss and be vulnerable. This is skilled and demanding work, it is also important to tend to our own needs through a practice of self-care and reflection to prevent burn-out and compassion fatigue. The topic of adverse childhood experiences (ACE), which are common in the general population, are addressed in the second part of this paper. Their effects are profound, and increase with the degree of maltreatment. The maltreatment and suffering of these children usually remains hidden into adulthood beneath years of shame and denial. One aspect of our job in health care is to help patients acknowledge, experience, and bear the reality of life with all its pleasures and heartache. In order to do this well, we need to keep in touch with our own humanity, but also continue to take care of ourselves. Full article
Open AccessConference Report Spiritual Vulnerability, Spiritual Risk and Spiritual Safety—In Answer to a Question: ‘Why Is Spirituality Important within Health and Social Care?’ at the ‘Second International Spirituality in Healthcare Conference 2016—Nurturing the Spirit.’ Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin
Religions 2017, 8(3), 38; doi:10.3390/rel8030038
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 March 2017 / Published: 11 March 2017
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Abstract
In offering an answer to the question, ‘Why is spirituality important within health and social care?’ this paper articulates views on the concepts ‘Spiritual Vulnerability,’ ‘Spiritual Risk’ and ‘Spiritual Safety’ and argues for the centrality of spirituality within holistic, person-centred professional health and
[...] Read more.
In offering an answer to the question, ‘Why is spirituality important within health and social care?’ this paper articulates views on the concepts ‘Spiritual Vulnerability,’ ‘Spiritual Risk’ and ‘Spiritual Safety’ and argues for the centrality of spirituality within holistic, person-centred professional health and social care. It proceeds to offer a definition of Spiritual Safety and then goes on to highlight how the patient being and feeling spiritually safe and how professional carers enabling spiritual safety can reduce spiritual vulnerability and spiritual risk; and may be seen as essential aspects of professional holistic care. Full article
Open AccessEssay An Economy of Grace
Religions 2017, 8(3), 43; doi:10.3390/rel8030043
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
This essay is adapted from a plenary talk the author gave at the “Growing Apart: The Implications of Economic Inequality” interdisciplinary conference at Boston College on 9 April 2016, as well as portions of his book Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless in an
[...] Read more.
This essay is adapted from a plenary talk the author gave at the “Growing Apart: The Implications of Economic Inequality” interdisciplinary conference at Boston College on 9 April 2016, as well as portions of his book Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless in an Unfair Economy, a sociological ethnography based on interviews and observations of unemployed autoworkers in Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Canada, during and after the Great Recession. The essay discusses four themes from this research. First, it provides a sociological understanding of how long-term unemployment and economic inequality are experienced by today’s less advantaged workers. Second, it illustrates how social policy can improve their circumstances. Third, it examines the limits of policy, and how dealing with inequality also requires changing the broader culture. Fourth, it makes the case for one possible approach to bring about that cultural change: a morality of grace. Full article
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