Next Issue
Previous Issue

Table of Contents

Religions, Volume 8, Issue 8 (August 2017)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story Jogaṇī Mātā, a popular goddess in the state of Gujarat in northwest India, is notable for her [...] Read more.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-29
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Central European Jewish Émigrés and the Shaping of Postwar Culture: Studies in Memory of Lilian Furst (1931–2009)
Religions 2017, 8(8), 139; doi:10.3390/rel8080139
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
PDF Full-text (179 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This volume grew out of a conference on “Jewish Émigrés and the Shaping of Postwar Culture,” organized by the Triangle Intellectual History Seminar and the Duke-UNC Jewish Studies Seminar to commemorate the late Lilian Renée Furst (1931–2009), the Marcel Bataillon Professor of Comparative
[...] Read more.
This volume grew out of a conference on “Jewish Émigrés and the Shaping of Postwar Culture,” organized by the Triangle Intellectual History Seminar and the Duke-UNC Jewish Studies Seminar to commemorate the late Lilian Renée Furst (1931–2009), the Marcel Bataillon Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.[...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle A Transcendentalist Nature Religion
Religions 2017, 8(8), 130; doi:10.3390/rel8080130
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
PDF Full-text (230 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scholars of religion have often pointed to the Transcendentalists as progenitors of a distinct tradition of nature religion in the United States. Nevertheless, this work has not fully dealt with the problematic qualities of “nature” in light of growing concerns about the ethical
[...] Read more.
Scholars of religion have often pointed to the Transcendentalists as progenitors of a distinct tradition of nature religion in the United States. Nevertheless, this work has not fully dealt with the problematic qualities of “nature” in light of growing concerns about the ethical and socio-political implications of human powers in the Anthropocene. This paper presents a brief overview of “nature religion” while focusing on the often uneasy way that Ralph Waldo Emerson is treated in this work. By looking at how Emerson is viewed as a stepping stone to Henry David Thoreau, I argue that it is precisely what the tradition of nature religion finds problematic in Emerson—his strains of recurrent idealism—that allows him to have a more expansive notion of nature as the environments in which we live, while preserving the importance of human moral agency. What follows, then, is a more nuanced position in environmental ethics that is informed by an Emersonian sense of the irreducible tension between being created and being a creator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Orthodoxy in Engagement with the ‘Outer’ World. The Dynamic of the ‘Inward-Outward’ Cycle
Religions 2017, 8(8), 131; doi:10.3390/rel8080131
Received: 24 May 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
PDF Full-text (218 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study explores the tension between the centripetal and centrifugal forces informing the activity of the Orthodox Church—both with regard to its interaction with the secular world and the wider ecumenical scene. The Church is called to look inwardly as an essential connection
[...] Read more.
This study explores the tension between the centripetal and centrifugal forces informing the activity of the Orthodox Church—both with regard to its interaction with the secular world and the wider ecumenical scene. The Church is called to look inwardly as an essential connection with its intimate sacramental life. This contraction must be followed organically by a movement of expansion—a continuing sacramental interaction with the secular local context and the wider Christian world. This cyclical movement (inward-outward) informs all Christian life in a mutually perpetuating rotation. Although the reaction to any engagement with the ‘outer’ dimensions is often one of rejection, it is nevertheless crucial as it brings fullness and fulfils the vocation and identity of the Orthodox Church. Full article
Open AccessArticle Kept in His Care: The Role of Perceived Divine Control in Positive Reappraisal Coping
Religions 2017, 8(8), 133; doi:10.3390/rel8080133
Received: 10 June 2017 / Revised: 22 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (554 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A formidable body of literature suggests that numerous dimensions of religious involvement can facilitate productive coping. One common assumption in this field is that religious worldviews provide overarching frameworks of meaning by which to positively reinterpret stressors. The current study explicitly tests this
[...] Read more.
A formidable body of literature suggests that numerous dimensions of religious involvement can facilitate productive coping. One common assumption in this field is that religious worldviews provide overarching frameworks of meaning by which to positively reinterpret stressors. The current study explicitly tests this assumption by examining whether perceived divine control—i.e., the notion that God controls the course and direction of one’s life—buffers the adverse effects of recent traumatic life events on one’s capacity for positive reappraisal coping. We analyze cross-sectional survey data from Vanderbilt University’s Nashville Stress and Health Study (2011–2014), a probability sample of non-Hispanic black and white adults aged 22 to 69 living in Davidson County, Tennessee (n = 1252). Findings from multivariate regression models confirm: (1) there was an inverse association between past-year traumatic life events and positive reappraisals; but (2) perceived divine control significantly attenuated this inverse association. Substantively, our findings suggest that people who believe God controls their life outcomes are better suited for positively reinterpreting traumatic experiences. Implications, limitations, and avenues for future research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health Outcomes)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Do Religious Struggles Mediate the Association between Day-to-Day Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms?
Religions 2017, 8(8), 134; doi:10.3390/rel8080134
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
PDF Full-text (646 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although numerous studies have shown that discrimination contributes to poorer mental health, the precise mechanisms underlying this association are not well understood. In this paper, we consider the possibility that the association between day-to-day discrimination (being disrespected, insulted, and harassed) and depressive symptoms
[...] Read more.
Although numerous studies have shown that discrimination contributes to poorer mental health, the precise mechanisms underlying this association are not well understood. In this paper, we consider the possibility that the association between day-to-day discrimination (being disrespected, insulted, and harassed) and depressive symptoms is partially mediated by religious struggles (religious doubts and negative religious coping). To test our mediation model, we use data collected from the 2011 Miami-Dade Health Survey (n = 444) to estimate a series of multiple regression models assessing associations among day-to-day discrimination, religious struggles, and depressive symptoms. We find that day-to-day discrimination is positively associated with religious struggles and depressive symptoms, net of adjustments for general religious involvement, age, gender, race, ethnicity, immigrant status, interview language, education, employment, household income, financial strain, and marital status. We also observe that religious struggles are positively associated with depressive symptoms. Our mediation analyses confirm that day-to-day discrimination can contribute to depressive symptoms by stirring religious struggles. Our key finding is that religious struggles may serve as a maladaptive coping response to discrimination. Our analyses extend previous work by bridging research in the areas of discrimination, religious struggles, and mental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health Outcomes)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Linguistic Decipherment of the Lettering on the (Original) Carving of the Virgin of Candelaria from Tenerife (Canary Islands)
Religions 2017, 8(8), 135; doi:10.3390/rel8080135
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 30 July 2017
PDF Full-text (4120 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The wooden carving of Our Lady of Candelaria, discovered in the municipality of the same name on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands) during the first half of the fifteenth century, had nearly two hundred letters of the Latin alphabet inscribed on her
[...] Read more.
The wooden carving of Our Lady of Candelaria, discovered in the municipality of the same name on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands) during the first half of the fifteenth century, had nearly two hundred letters of the Latin alphabet inscribed on her garments. Unfortunately the original carving disappeared after the storm that took place in 1826. Once the original letters on the first image were discovered by means of analysing both textual and artistic documentation and sources, we conclude that the text is archaic-Berber language used by the islanders, Insular-Amazigh, which no longer exists in the present day. Having discussed lexical, morphological, syntactic and phonetic aspects of this archaic language, as well as conducted a semantic analysis of the carving both from the native aboriginal perspective and the Christian one, we expound here our proposal of the meaning of the letters engraved on the Marian carving of Candelaria from its lexical voices and roots of their Berber and Insular-Amazigh languages, with the previous proposed solutions. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Prudential Versus Probative Arguments for Religious Faith: Descartes and Pascal on Reason and Faith
Religions 2017, 8(8), 136; doi:10.3390/rel8080136
Received: 12 May 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
PDF Full-text (240 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this article, I show that Pascal’s prudential agenda, centered on the Wager, more successfully overcomes the restrictions of Pyrrhonic skepticism expressed by Montaigne than Descartes’ probative philosophy, which was based on his “ontological argument” for God’s existence. Descartes’ attempt to base natural
[...] Read more.
In this article, I show that Pascal’s prudential agenda, centered on the Wager, more successfully overcomes the restrictions of Pyrrhonic skepticism expressed by Montaigne than Descartes’ probative philosophy, which was based on his “ontological argument” for God’s existence. Descartes’ attempt to base natural science on the metaphysical certainty of a non-deceiving God fails because he cannot prove that a non-deceiving Perfect Being is a “clear and distinct” idea. Pascal’s attempt to base the knowledge of God upon the “reasons of the heart” accepts the epistemological restrictions of skepticism but provides a reason to develop passionate faith, thereby overcoming skepticism. I also show that Descartes and Pascal had different assumptions about the workings of the mind; Descartes relied on a model of the mind as a “theater,” which hindered his agenda, and Pascal upon a “holistic” model, which enabled him to make a prudential argument which was cognitively convincing. Full article
Open AccessArticle Exploring Professional Help Seeking in Practicing Muslim Women with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Washing Subtype in Australia
Religions 2017, 8(8), 137; doi:10.3390/rel8080137
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Religion and religious practices can affect Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptom expression and influence the way that people with OCD seek advice or treatment. This study investigated the expression of OCD symptoms and help seeking for religious OCD symptoms among practicing Muslim women.
[...] Read more.
Religion and religious practices can affect Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptom expression and influence the way that people with OCD seek advice or treatment. This study investigated the expression of OCD symptoms and help seeking for religious OCD symptoms among practicing Muslim women. Method: Five practicing Muslim women aged 33 to 45 years who had immigrated to Australia from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with OCD washing subtype (OCD-W) took part in semi-structured interviews. Data Analysis: Thematic Analysis within a scientific realist framework was employed. Results: The most common compulsions reported by participants were performing excessive washing and repeating rituals before prayer, and these behaviours were carried out to prevent being punished by God. All participants had sought help for their OCD symptoms from an Imam before seeking help from a mental health professional, and the delay between symptom onset and OCD diagnosis by a psychiatrist ranged from 5 to 13 years. Conclusion: Effective evidence-based interventions for OCD are available and increasing awareness of OCD symptoms and treatment among Imams has the potential to reduce the delay between symptom onset and access to treatment for practicing Muslims who seek help and support. Full article
Open AccessArticle Muslim Work Ethics: Relationships with Religious Orientations and the “Perfect Man” (Ensān-e Kāmel) in Managers and Staff in Iran
Religions 2017, 8(8), 138; doi:10.3390/rel8080138
Received: 25 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 29 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
PDF Full-text (242 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Weber’s association of a work ethic with Protestantism has been extended to religions, including Islam, more generally. Managers and staff in a bank and department store in Tehran responded to Muslim religiousness measures along with the multidimensional work ethics profile (MWEP). The MWEP
[...] Read more.
Weber’s association of a work ethic with Protestantism has been extended to religions, including Islam, more generally. Managers and staff in a bank and department store in Tehran responded to Muslim religiousness measures along with the multidimensional work ethics profile (MWEP). The MWEP is a 7-factor instrument that records Weber’s interpretation of work ethics. Intrinsic, extrinsic personal, and extrinsic cultural religious orientations predicted a higher work ethic. Two extrinsic cultural religious orientation factors exhibited especially strong connections with MWEP factors. The morality/ethics MWEP factor most consistently predicted Muslim commitments. Integrative self-knowledge and self-control served as empirical markers of an Iranian Muslim spiritual ideal called ensān-e kāmel or the “perfect man.” Both correlated positively with morality/ethics and with three of the four extrinsic cultural religious orientations. Managers scored higher than staff on morality/ethics, on the two characteristics of the “perfect man”, and on the three of four extrinsic cultural religious orientation factors. These data supported the existence of a Muslim work ethic. Full article
Open AccessArticle Glocalization and Religious Communication in the Roman Empire: Two Case Studies to Reconsider the Local and the Global in Religious Material Culture
Religions 2017, 8(8), 140; doi:10.3390/rel8080140
Received: 18 July 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
PDF Full-text (959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the period in which the ancient Roman empire grew to its greatest extent, religion in the provinces underwent change. In this article, the author argues that glocalization as an explicit modern conceptual framework has added value to the analysis of religious material
[...] Read more.
Over the period in which the ancient Roman empire grew to its greatest extent, religion in the provinces underwent change. In this article, the author argues that glocalization as an explicit modern conceptual framework has added value to the analysis of religious material culture. First, the glocalization model is discussed in the context of a wider debate on the biased concept of Romanization. Second, a rationale is presented for interpreting Roman religious change with a glocalization perspective. Third, two concrete bodies of archaeological source material are re-interpreted within the glocalization framework: first the little studied rural sanctuary of Dhronecken near ancient Trier and second a particular form of religious gifts that appeared on an empire-wide scale as a ritual with respect to the salus, the well-being of the emperor. Based on the application of the glocalization framework to these sources, the author concludes that religious material culture in these cases can be seen as a process in which new forms of religious communication were created out of an interrelated and ongoing process of local and global cultural expressions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glocal Religions)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Economic Inequality: An Ethical Response
Religions 2017, 8(8), 141; doi:10.3390/rel8080141
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
PDF Full-text (207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This essay will inquire into the nature of economic inequality from the perspectives of Catholic social teaching and that of a theologian living and working in a developing country. My initial comments will discuss inequality within the context of economic globalization and the
[...] Read more.
This essay will inquire into the nature of economic inequality from the perspectives of Catholic social teaching and that of a theologian living and working in a developing country. My initial comments will discuss inequality within the context of economic globalization and the neo-liberal paradigm that dominates it. After commenting on the way that development is seen within that paradigm, I will show the impact upon the poor that has occurred as a result of neo-liberal economic policies in nations such as India. Following this exposition of what development according to the neo-liberal model looks like, I will offer another perspective on development drawn from the insights of Catholic social teaching. From that perspective, the importance of solidarity and its influence in shaping a more just and humane approach to development will be considered. The essay will conclude with a number of policy proposals that move away from the present and inadequate view of development to one inspired by a concern for solidarity with the least well off in our world. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Can Tantra Make a Mātā Middle-Class?: Jogaṇī Mātā, a Uniquely Gujarati Chinnamastā
Religions 2017, 8(8), 142; doi:10.3390/rel8080142
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 8 August 2017
PDF Full-text (7730 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Gujarati mātās, village goddesses traditionally popular among scheduled castes and often worshipped through rites of possession and animal sacrifice, have recently acquired Sanskritic Tantric resonances. The contemporary iconography of the goddess Jogaṇī Mātā, for instance, is virtually identical to that of
[...] Read more.
The Gujarati mātās, village goddesses traditionally popular among scheduled castes and often worshipped through rites of possession and animal sacrifice, have recently acquired Sanskritic Tantric resonances. The contemporary iconography of the goddess Jogaṇī Mātā, for instance, is virtually identical to that of the Mahāvidyā Chinnamastā. Yantra and mantra also feature prominently in Jogaṇī worship, which has begun to attract upwardly mobile urban middle-class devotees. Drawing on ethnography from three Jogaṇī sites in and around Ahmedabad, this paper identifies a tendency among worshippers and pūjārīs to acknowledge Jogaṇī’s tantric associations only to the extent that they instantiate a safe, Sanskritic, and Brahmanically-oriented Tantra. The appeal of these temples and shrines nonetheless remains the immediacy with which Jogaṇī can solve problems that are this-worldly, reminiscent of the link identified by Philip Lutgendorf between Tantra and modern Indians’ desire for ‘quick-fix’ religion. This research not only documents a rare regional iteration of Chinnamastā, but also speaks to the cachet that Tantra increasingly wields, consciously or unconsciously, within the burgeoning Gujarati and Indian urban middle-classes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Christian Churches and the Boko Haram Insurgency in Cameroon: Dilemmas and Responses
Religions 2017, 8(8), 143; doi:10.3390/rel8080143
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
PDF Full-text (239 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The spillover of the terrorist activities of Boko Haram, a Nigerian jihadi group, into Cameroon’s north has resulted in security challenges and humanitarian activity opportunities for Christian churches. The insurgents have attacked and destroyed churches, abducted Christians, worsened Muslim-Christian relations, and caused a
[...] Read more.
The spillover of the terrorist activities of Boko Haram, a Nigerian jihadi group, into Cameroon’s north has resulted in security challenges and humanitarian activity opportunities for Christian churches. The insurgents have attacked and destroyed churches, abducted Christians, worsened Muslim-Christian relations, and caused a humanitarian crisis. These ensuing phenomena have adversely affected Christian churches in this region, triggering an aura of responses: coping strategies, humanitarian work among refugees, and inter-faith dialogue. These responses are predicated on Christianity’s potential as a resource for peace, compassion, and love. In this study we emphasize the role of Christian churches in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency. It opens with a presentation of the religious configuration of Cameroon, followed by a contextualization of Boko Haram insurgency in Cameroon’s north. The paper further examines the brutality meted out on Christians and church property. The final section is an examination of the spiritual, humanitarian, and relief services provided by churches. The paper argues that although Christian churches have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram insurgents, they have engaged in various beneficial responses underpinned by the Christian values of peace and love. Full article
Open AccessArticle Studies on Bhartṛhari and the Pratyabhijñā: The Case of svasavedana
Religions 2017, 8(8), 145; doi:10.3390/rel8080145
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
PDF Full-text (334 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The article addresses a critical problem in the history of South Asian philosophy, namely the nature of the ‘knowledge of knowledge’ (svasaṃvedana). In particular, it investigates how the Śaiva tantric school of the Pratyabhijñā (10th–11th c. CE) used the notion as an argument
[...] Read more.
The article addresses a critical problem in the history of South Asian philosophy, namely the nature of the ‘knowledge of knowledge’ (svasaṃvedana). In particular, it investigates how the Śaiva tantric school of the Pratyabhijñā (10th–11th c. CE) used the notion as an argument against the Buddhists’ ideas on the nature of the self. The paper then considers the possibility that the source of the Śaivas’ discussion was the work of the philosopher/grammarian Bhartṛhari (5th c. CE). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Open AccessArticle Revolution in the Afterlife
Religions 2017, 8(8), 146; doi:10.3390/rel8080146
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 9 August 2017
PDF Full-text (195 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The idea of an afterlife is formative of modern social scientific enquiry into the normative fabrics of human sociality. The idea also indicates how societies come to terms with their destructive past. Focusing on the legacies of the Vietnam War, this essay explores
[...] Read more.
The idea of an afterlife is formative of modern social scientific enquiry into the normative fabrics of human sociality. The idea also indicates how societies come to terms with their destructive past. Focusing on the legacies of the Vietnam War, this essay explores how the historical experience of generalized loss and displacement can radically change the traditional conception of an afterlife. Full article
Open AccessArticle Auguste Comte and Consensus Formation in American Religious Thought—Part 1: The Creation of Consensus
Religions 2017, 8(8), 147; doi:10.3390/rel8080147
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 10 August 2017
PDF Full-text (271 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
French intellectual Auguste Comte was the most influential sociologist and philosopher of science in the Nineteenth Century. This first of two articles summarizes his complex life’s works and details reactions to them by Transcendentalists and Unitarians, from its American introduction in 1837 until
[...] Read more.
French intellectual Auguste Comte was the most influential sociologist and philosopher of science in the Nineteenth Century. This first of two articles summarizes his complex life’s works and details reactions to them by Transcendentalists and Unitarians, from its American introduction in 1837 until just after the Civil War. Using public speeches and published essays, the article analyzes the ways in which intellectuals supported and criticized Comte’s theories. Because he wrote in such abstract and difficult French, criticisms centered not on the nuances of his work, but more superficially on his alleged atheism. These attacks occur because of a variety of consequences of the Civil War that had little to do directly with Comte’s philosophy. Instead, Comte was a convenient vehicle for expressing anxiety over a modernism that included an accelerated threat against religion posed by technology and science and the emerging dominance of that secular knowledge in universities. The second article will analyze Comte’s influence on later Transcendentalists and other post-Unitarian thinkers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Rebirth According to the Bhagavad gītā; Epistemology, Ontology and Ethics
Religions 2017, 8(8), 148; doi:10.3390/rel8080148
Received: 22 July 2017 / Revised: 7 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 14 August 2017
PDF Full-text (184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper is engaged with the topic of reincarnation in the Bhagavad gītā, better termed “rebirth”. It first looks into the epistemological aspects of rebirth, and highlights the type of knowledge or terminology underlying the vision of rebirth, as opposed to a different
[...] Read more.
This paper is engaged with the topic of reincarnation in the Bhagavad gītā, better termed “rebirth”. It first looks into the epistemological aspects of rebirth, and highlights the type of knowledge or terminology underlying the vision of rebirth, as opposed to a different type of knowledge that is not suitable for this purpose, and which leads to a different vision of reality. It then looks into the ontological aspects of rebirth, and having highlighted some Upaniṣadic sources, it highlights major Bhagavad gītā sections describing the soul and rebirth. Finally, it looks into the ethics derived from the concept of rebirth; it first characterizes these as “ethics of equanimity”, and then expands these into the “ethics of enlightened action”, which refer to action grounded in the idea of rebirth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle From the Sacred Sound of the Conch Shell to the Cemetery Dance: Reimagining an Africana Festival Created in a Southern Appalachian City
Religions 2017, 8(8), 149; doi:10.3390/rel8080149
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 14 August 2017
PDF Full-text (319 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To contemplate African American experience and its many racialized contours is to invoke a tensive quandary concerning the reconstruction of African American cultural identity in a dynamic network of historically assailed African diasporas. Utilizing a transdisciplinary approach that deploys historical analysis as well
[...] Read more.
To contemplate African American experience and its many racialized contours is to invoke a tensive quandary concerning the reconstruction of African American cultural identity in a dynamic network of historically assailed African diasporas. Utilizing a transdisciplinary approach that deploys historical analysis as well as cross-cultural and epistemological reflection, this article gestures in such a reconstructive direction from the local vantage point of Asheville, North Carolina’s “African and Caribbean” Goombay Festival. One detects in the festival an exotifying, ambiguously celebratory quality that deprioritizes Affrilachian cultural memory in southern Appalachia in favor of consumable public entertainment. The ensuing argument culminates in a preliminary epistemological reimagining of the Asheville Goombay Festival by way of constructive intercourse with the ancestral spirit-based African Jamaican ritual institution of Gumbay Play, an institution that facilitates processes of identity formation through mnemonically engaged ritual performance. Further, it is argued that this reimagining can amplify the ancestral mnemonic potential of Goombay in Asheville to incorporate more fully the varied Affrilachian lifeworlds of western North Carolina, thereby making possible a reexamination of African American cultural identity in Asheville capable of producing substantive responses to the epistemological challenge of Affrilachian cultural identity formation within western North Carolina’s greater social landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race and Religion: New Approaches to African American Religions)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Auguste Comte and Consensus Formation in American Religious Thought—Part 2: Twilight of New England Comtism
Religions 2017, 8(8), 151; doi:10.3390/rel8080151
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Auguste Comte was the most influential sociologist and philosopher of science in the Nineteenth Century. Part 1 summarized his works and analyzed reactions to them by Transcendentalists and Unitarians from 1837 until just after the Civil War. Part 2 examines in detail the
[...] Read more.
Auguste Comte was the most influential sociologist and philosopher of science in the Nineteenth Century. Part 1 summarized his works and analyzed reactions to them by Transcendentalists and Unitarians from 1837 until just after the Civil War. Part 2 examines in detail the post-war Transcendentalist and liberal Unitarian institutions of the Free Religious Association and the Radical Club and their different approaches to spiritual faith based on intuitionalism and reliance on scientific proof. In the background to their disputes is the positivism of Auguste Comte, who served as an easy source of common criticism. But at the same time as they wrote against positivism, both intuitionalists and those who relied on science were significantly influenced by Comte. Once again, as in part 1, a community of discourse was formed through the need to create social bonds at the expense of careful evaluation of the philosophy they criticized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Translating Carlyle: Ruminating on the Models of Metafiction at the Emergence of an Emersonian Vernacular
Religions 2017, 8(8), 152; doi:10.3390/rel8080152
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Given the exemplary studies of Thomas Carlyle’s influence on the Boston intelligentsia of the 1830s and 1840s, for instance by Robert D. Richardson and Barbara L. Packer, we may wonder if there are other questions to ask on the subject—and then, not so
[...] Read more.
Given the exemplary studies of Thomas Carlyle’s influence on the Boston intelligentsia of the 1830s and 1840s, for instance by Robert D. Richardson and Barbara L. Packer, we may wonder if there are other questions to ask on the subject—and then, not so much as a point of disagreement or divergence, but rather in a spirit of seeking what may come to light given that so many elemental aspects have been so well digested by others. Avoiding a rehearsal of expert observations, much less a rote re-treading of key insights, I wish to focalize the present investigation by asking how, in particular, a single book—Sartor Resartus—affected Emerson’s conception of what might be possible for him to think about literary, religious, and philosophical expression in terms of humor, satire, genre, and translation (specifically cultural translation); thus, I am asking about the interaction between form and content, and specifically how the form and content of Sartor Resartus makes itself known and available to Emerson. Borrowing from George Eliot, the foregoing notes resolve themselves into the query that guides the present investigation: how was reading Sartor Resartus an “epoch in the history of” Emerson’s mind? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Somatic Energies and Emotional Traumas: A Qualitative Study of Practice-Related Challenges Reported by Vajrayāna Buddhists
Religions 2017, 8(8), 153; doi:10.3390/rel8080153
Received: 23 June 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 15 August 2017 / Published: 18 August 2017
PDF Full-text (243 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A qualitative study of Western practitioners of Buddhist meditation investigated unexpected, challenging, difficult, and distressing experiences. This paper reports on a subset of 12 practitioners within Tibetan Vajrayāna lineages who described energy flowing through their body, knots of pain, pressure or tension, and/or
[...] Read more.
A qualitative study of Western practitioners of Buddhist meditation investigated unexpected, challenging, difficult, and distressing experiences. This paper reports on a subset of 12 practitioners within Tibetan Vajrayāna lineages who described energy flowing through their body, knots of pain, pressure or tension, and/or concurrent emotional changes. In some cases, somatic changes were appraised as practice-related transient states, and in other cases practitioners were given a Tibetan medical diagnosis of rlung disorder. Releases of tension in the body or subtle body also sometimes coincided with an upwelling of emotionally charged content. Practitioners reported emotional upwelling during subtle body practices as well as during other Vajrayāna practices, such as visualizations. While some practitioners viewed these experiences in relation to a normative Tantric soteriology of purification, almost all practitioners with a trauma history reported traumatic re-experiencing and tended not to adopt a purification framework. These practitioners were also more likely to seek additional psychotherapeutic or medical treatment to help resolve their practice-related challenges. The manner in which somatic and affective experiences manifest, how they are appraised, and how they affect the practitioner’s ability to engage in the Vajrayāna path depends upon many individual, interpersonal, and cultural factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Job Status of Women Head Clergy: Findings from the National Congregations Study, 1998, 2006, and 2012
Religions 2017, 8(8), 154; doi:10.3390/rel8080154
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 19 August 2017
PDF Full-text (217 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper investigates occupational gender inequality among head clergy in U.S. religious congregations. Prior research emphasized the stratification of the clergy occupational structure and the under-representation of women in head clergy positions. This paper focuses on women who are leading congregations. Data are
[...] Read more.
This paper investigates occupational gender inequality among head clergy in U.S. religious congregations. Prior research emphasized the stratification of the clergy occupational structure and the under-representation of women in head clergy positions. This paper focuses on women who are leading congregations. Data are from the National Congregations Study (1998, 2006, and 2012). I review the representation of women among head clergy, investigate the differences in congregational characteristics between those led by men and women, and explore whether men or women are more likely to have positions with non-standard employment forms. Findings show a mixed picture regarding equality for women clergy. By 2012, while women are still less likely than men to be head clergy, among head clergy there is not a significant difference between women and men in the likelihood of being a senior pastor (supervising other clergy). Also, there are no significant differences related to non-standard employment. The only significant congregational member characteristic is that women are more likely to lead predominantly white congregations. However, in 1998, 2006, and 2012, women were consistently significantly more likely than men to lead smaller congregations. While there may be few other differences between men and women head clergy job statuses, congregation size is arguably what matters most. Women’s lack of representation in larger congregations suggests continued gender inequality among head clergy. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Science’s Big Problem, Reincarnation’s Big Potential, and Buddhists’ Profound Embarrassment
Religions 2017, 8(8), 155; doi:10.3390/rel8080155
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 14 August 2017 / Published: 19 August 2017
PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Scientific materialism is the largely unquestioned basis for modern science’s understanding of life. It also holds enormous sway beyond science and thus has increasingly marginalized religious perspectives. Yet it is easy to find behavioral phenomena from the accepted literature that seriously challenge materialism.
[...] Read more.
Scientific materialism is the largely unquestioned basis for modern science’s understanding of life. It also holds enormous sway beyond science and thus has increasingly marginalized religious perspectives. Yet it is easy to find behavioral phenomena from the accepted literature that seriously challenge materialism. A number of these phenomena are very suggestive of reincarnation. The larger test for science’s paradigm, though, as well as for any potential general import from reincarnation, is the DNA (or genetics)-based model of heredity. If that conception-beget, DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)-carried model can be confirmed at the individual level then in a very substantial way we would be confirmed as material-only creatures. In particular, can behavioral genetics and personal genomics confirm their DNA-based presumptions? During the last decade enormous efforts have been made to find the DNA origins for a number of health and behavioral tendencies. These efforts have been an “absolutely beyond belief” failure and it is here that the scientific vision faces its biggest challenge. The common pre-modern reincarnation understanding, on the other hand, fits well on a number of specific conundrums and offers a broad coherence across this unfolding missing heritability mystery. For people trying to make sense of a religious perspective or simply questioning materialism, you should be looking at the missing heritability problem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Depression and Spiritual Distress in Adult Palliative Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study
Religions 2017, 8(8), 156; doi:10.3390/rel8080156
Received: 9 June 2017 / Revised: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 19 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (919 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Palliative care patients have been associated with a high probability of having depression and spiritual distress. However, there is a gap in research about the clinical indicators that can promote an effective differential diagnosis of depression and spiritual distress. This study aimed to
[...] Read more.
Palliative care patients have been associated with a high probability of having depression and spiritual distress. However, there is a gap in research about the clinical indicators that can promote an effective differential diagnosis of depression and spiritual distress. This study aimed to identify the prevalence and the clinical indicators of depression and spiritual distress in palliative patients in primary care. An observational and cross-sectional study was conducted in 2016 in a Portuguese primary care unit. From a General Practitioners patients’ file of 1457 adult patients, a sample of 30 palliative patients was recruited throughout two steps: (1) selection of patients with chronic disease criteria; (2) selection of patients with Prognostic Indicator Guidance criteria. Exclusion criteria included cognitive impairment and psychotic disorders. Participants completed the self-assessment Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy—Spiritual Well-Being Scale (FACIT-Sp12) scales, which were sealed in opaque envelopes. Clinical data collection used semi-structured interviews for the diagnosis of depression and spiritual distress. The prevalence of depression was 23% (n = 7), while the prevalence of spiritual distress was 23% (n = 7). Four patients (13%) fulfilled both the depression and the spiritual distress criteria. Depression and spiritual distress seem to be both linked to the spiritual dimensions of the human being, but seem to differ in the dimensions of suffering and pharmacologic treatment. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Where the Heroes and Sky-Goers Gather: A Study of the Sauraṭa Pilgrimage
Religions 2017, 8(8), 157; doi:10.3390/rel8080157
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 21 August 2017
PDF Full-text (19616 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tibetan and Himālayan Buddhist doctrine and meditative traditions have been extensively studied and are well-known even to non-scholars, but pilgrimage and other non-elite practices have received far less attention. Pilgrimage is one of the most important practices for Tibetan and Himālayan Buddhists, whether
[...] Read more.
Tibetan and Himālayan Buddhist doctrine and meditative traditions have been extensively studied and are well-known even to non-scholars, but pilgrimage and other non-elite practices have received far less attention. Pilgrimage is one of the most important practices for Tibetan and Himālayan Buddhists, whether traditional scholars, ordinary monks, lay yogis, or Buddhist laypeople. Scholarship on pilgrimage has increased significantly since the 1990s, and has tended to focus on territories within the political boundaries of the Tibetan provinces of the People’s Republic of China. This study looks at a pilgrimage in what was once the far western end of the Tibetan empire, but is now within the political boundaries of India. Being outside of the People’s Republic of China, this pilgrimage escaped the disruption of such practices that occurred within the PRC during the Cultural Revolution and after. Having interviewed people in the region, and performed the pilgrimage myself, this study shows that this pilgrimage possesses features common to Tibetan pilgrimage to sites of tantric power, but also has its own unique qualities. This study provides new data that contributes to the growing body of knowledge of Tibetan pilgrimage and to our understanding of such practices among the Buddhists of Himālayan India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Patient or Physician Centered Care?: Structural Implications for Clinical Interactions and the Overlooked Patient
Religions 2017, 8(8), 158; doi:10.3390/rel8080158
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 22 August 2017
PDF Full-text (249 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Patient-centered care is widely supported by physicians, but this wide-spread support potentially obscures the social patterning of clinical interactions. We know that patients often want religious/spiritual conversations in the context of medical care but the provision is infrequent. As there is regional variance
[...] Read more.
Patient-centered care is widely supported by physicians, but this wide-spread support potentially obscures the social patterning of clinical interactions. We know that patients often want religious/spiritual conversations in the context of medical care but the provision is infrequent. As there is regional variance in religiosity, a gap in the literature exists regarding whether patient populations’ religiosity is connected to physicians’ self-reported religious/spiritual interactions. Using a national sample of U.S. physicians linked to county-level measures, the author test whether both physicians’ background and patient population characteristics are related to religious/spiritual interactions. Specifically, do physicians in more religious locations report more frequent religious interactions and is this dependent on whether the physician is also religious? Or does the religiosity of patient populations fail to explain variance in the frequency of inclusion? Logistic regressions with spatial lag terms highlight the importance of physicians’ background for inclusion of religiosity/spirituality. County-level variance of religious concentration is largely unrelated to the inclusion of religiosity/spirituality. The provision of patient-centered care is complicated. The inclusion of something patient-specific, such as religious/spiritual content, may not depend on the characteristics of the patient population, but those of the physician they see. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transcendentalism and Chinese Perceptions of Western Individualism and Spirituality
Religions 2017, 8(8), 159; doi:10.3390/rel8080159
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 22 August 2017
PDF Full-text (355 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The article presents essential aspects of the intellectual debates in China over the theoretical achievement of Transcendentalism to generate a conception of individualism that bears the mark of Confucian and Daoist influences. The peculiar profile of the Transcendentalist individual avoids western dimensions that
[...] Read more.
The article presents essential aspects of the intellectual debates in China over the theoretical achievement of Transcendentalism to generate a conception of individualism that bears the mark of Confucian and Daoist influences. The peculiar profile of the Transcendentalist individual avoids western dimensions that have been perceived in China as overindividualistic. Therefore, the inquiry over Transcendentalism opens up the intellectual debates on how traditional Confucian and Daoist teachings may be used also in China to bring about a renewed conception of the self and the individual’s life in social relationships that would be closer to a modern understanding of individualism. The Chinese problematization of the value of the individual in Chinese traditional culture sheds light on the non-western debates regarding cultural renewal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

Open AccessReview The Qur’an’s Message on Spirituality and Martyrdom: A Literary and Rhetorical Analysis
Religions 2017, 8(8), 144; doi:10.3390/rel8080144
Received: 11 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
PDF Full-text (362 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Is the Qur’an a spiritual text that links human existence to divine benevolence? Or does the Qur’an advocate martyrdom and justify violence against non-believers? This debate acquired new urgency with the rise of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam in the later
[...] Read more.
Is the Qur’an a spiritual text that links human existence to divine benevolence? Or does the Qur’an advocate martyrdom and justify violence against non-believers? This debate acquired new urgency with the rise of terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam in the later decades of the twentieth century. On the one hand, the Qur’an provides spiritual guidance to millions of Muslims around the world. On the other, Islamic terrorist organizations draw inspiration from the Qur’an. Some Western experts also cite Qur’anic passages as supporting violence and terrorism. This paper interprets the Qur’an in the tradition of Arab scholars of the early medieval period (eighth century CE) who began al-balāgha, a study of literary devices used in the rhetorical expression of the Qur’an. The paper analyzes how literary and rhetorical elements in the Qur’an have shaped its message on man’s relationship with the divine, as well as two key theological concepts in Islam: requital and final judgment. The paper demonstrates how an appreciation of the Qur’an’s literary and rhetorical elements is critical to understanding its spiritual message, as well as its stance on violence and martyrdom. Full article
Open AccessReview Religious Beliefs and Their Relevance for Treatment Adherence in Mental Illness: A Review
Religions 2017, 8(8), 150; doi:10.3390/rel8080150
Received: 6 July 2017 / Revised: 7 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 14 August 2017
PDF Full-text (642 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Approximately 50% of patients do not adhere to medical therapy. Religious and spiritual factors may play an important role in determining medication compliance in mental illness. The aim of this paper is to review published evidence documenting a relationship between religion/spirituality (R/S) and
[...] Read more.
Approximately 50% of patients do not adhere to medical therapy. Religious and spiritual factors may play an important role in determining medication compliance in mental illness. The aim of this paper is to review published evidence documenting a relationship between religion/spirituality (R/S) and treatment adherence in mental illness, in particular in schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse. This review summarizes, categorizes and defines the role of religious beliefs as a factor improving medication compliance in mental illness. Randomized controlled trials and observational studies were eligible for the review if they were published in December 2015 or earlier, analyzed the effects of religious beliefs or spirituality on medication compliance, or adherence to other therapeutic interventions in mental illness. The vast majority of published studies analyzed the effects of religion on medication compliance in schizophrenia and addiction. In schizophrenia patients, religious beliefs turned out to be a predictor of worse treatment adherence. However, spiritual orientation was shown to play an important role in the recovery from addiction, and to improve adherence in patients with this condition. Furthermore, better treatment adherence was observed in more religious patients diagnosed with depression. While religious beliefs and spirituality may represent an important source of hope and meaning, they often interfere with treatment adherence. Therefore, psychiatrists should consider religious and spiritual beliefs of their patients, and verify if and to what extent they improve their medication compliance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Religion and Spirituality into Clinical Practice)
Figures

Figure 1

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Religions Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
E-Mail: 
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Religions Edit a special issue Review for Religions
logo
loading...
Back to Top