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Religions, Volume 9, Issue 1 (January 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The article presents a new theodicy arguing that a good God would want to actualize many different [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview Psychiatry, a Secular Discipline in a Postsecular World? A Review
Religions 2018, 9(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010032
Received: 17 November 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
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Abstract
Postsecular theory is developing in academic circles, including the psychiatric field. By asking what the postsecular perspective might imply for the secular discipline of psychiatry, the aim of this study was to examine the postsecular perspective in relation to the secular nature of
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Postsecular theory is developing in academic circles, including the psychiatric field. By asking what the postsecular perspective might imply for the secular discipline of psychiatry, the aim of this study was to examine the postsecular perspective in relation to the secular nature of psychiatry, by way of a narrative review. In a systematic search for literature, relevant articles were identified and analyzed thematically. Thirteen articles were included, and three intertextual themes were identified, which represented ongoing international dialogues in relation to psychiatry and religion—such as intervention, integration, identity, the religious or irreligious psychiatrist, and the multicultural setting of the discipline. Furthermore, the postsecular perspective reveals a (potential) bias against the religious worldviews inherent in the secular. Postsecular theory can contribute to the ongoing discussions of how psychiatry, as a secular discipline, approaches the religious in the lives of patients and psychiatrists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Public Role of Religion)
Open AccessArticle Brazilian Validation of the Brief Scale for Spiritual/Religious Coping—SRCOPE-14
Religions 2018, 9(1), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010031
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
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Abstract
The concept of spiritual-religious coping gained attention in Brazil with the adaptation and validation of the RCOPE Scale (Panzini 2004; long version: 87 items and brief version: 49 items). The Brief RCOPE still contains a large number of items, so attempts to further
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The concept of spiritual-religious coping gained attention in Brazil with the adaptation and validation of the RCOPE Scale (Panzini 2004; long version: 87 items and brief version: 49 items). The Brief RCOPE still contains a large number of items, so attempts to further reduce the size of the measure are relevant. This study presents the validation process of the Brief SRCOPE scale (14 items) for use in the Brazilian context. Data were collected from the general population (N = 525) and subjected to exploratory factor analysis (EFA; n = 249) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA; n = 276). The EFA resulted in a two-factor solution: Positive Religious Coping (PRC) and Negative Religious Coping (NRC). All 14 items of the original scale were retained and correlated with the same factor as the original scale (KMO = 0.852; 58.15% of total variance explained; PRC Cronbach’s alpha = 0.884 and NRC Cronbach’s alpha = 0.845). The model tested through CFA showed adequate adjustment indices (χ2 = 146.809, DF = 70, χ2/DF = 2.097, NFI = 0.93, CFI = 0.962, GFI = 0.930, AGFI = 0.895, RMSEA = 0.063, PCLOSE = 0.065 and SRMR = 0.0735). The Brief SRCOPE Scale-14 has shown reliability for the studied sample and might be applicable to other contexts. It may ultimately prove useful to professionals and researchers interested in better knowing how people make use of religious coping to face stress and suffering. Full article
Open AccessEssay Christian Ethical Boundaries of Suicide Prevention
Religions 2018, 9(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010030
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Abstract
In Western countries the general rule is that caregivers do everything possible to prevent suicide. The aim of this essay is to critically reflect on that position along three questions: is there an unconditional obligation to live, how far does the duty reach
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In Western countries the general rule is that caregivers do everything possible to prevent suicide. The aim of this essay is to critically reflect on that position along three questions: is there an unconditional obligation to live, how far does the duty reach to safeguard life, and how does one deal with the tension between suicide prevention and euthanasia? The study material consists of Christian theological and ethical literature and relevant legislation, while the method is a religious ethical reflection, clarified by means of a case study. We consider suicide as an expression of an existential search for meaning and interwoven with psychiatric problems. After discussing the three ethical arguments against suicide, we conclude that the inviolability of life is a generally recognized and fundamental value, but that there is no unconditional obligation to live. Nevertheless, there is a legal duty to safeguard life. In practice however, restriction of freedom and coercion are counterproductive in the search for meaning and require a proportional assessment between inviolability of life and autonomy. Finally, the legal possibility of euthanasia in mental suffering or medically assisted suicide brings caregivers in a confusing situation. Good companionship of the euthanasia request may help finding a new life perspective and hence may contribute to suicide prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention, Religion and Spirituality)
Open AccessErratum Erratum: Belief in Reincarnation and Some Unresolved Questions in Catholic Eschatology. Religions 2017, 8, 176
Religions 2018, 9(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010029
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle Building Coalitions with NGOs: Religion Scholars and Disability Justice Activism
Religions 2018, 9(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010028
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
The World Council of Churches (WCC), an organization of 348 member churches, is a model of coalition building particularly through its support of individuals, churches, and their ministries for the inclusion, participation, and contributions of people with disabilities in its ecumenical work. The
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The World Council of Churches (WCC), an organization of 348 member churches, is a model of coalition building particularly through its support of individuals, churches, and their ministries for the inclusion, participation, and contributions of people with disabilities in its ecumenical work. The Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) informs one of the initiatives of the WCC—faith in Jesus Christ and communion fellowship—in the journey toward visible unity and justice for people who were too often missing the banquet of a church of all and for all. EDAN and other international disability advocates have most recently embedded its agenda of inclusion into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations explicitly recognizes the Human Rights for persons with disabilities and, with the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), has raised protections against discrimination, exploitation, and abuse of people with disabilities to the level of international law. The World Health Organization works collaboratively in gathering data and local analyses of efforts to minimize preventable disability and maximize rehabilitation program availability with partners across the globe. These organizations, global in nature, have benefitted from the insights raised by people with disabilities and scholars working at the intersections of disability, religion, and justice. This essay examines the efficacy and opportunities of international coalitions available with these organizations so as to challenge the ethics of simple accommodations with a more robust social justice of affirmation and advocacy for people with disabilities: a new paradigm for our churches and our world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
Open AccessArticle Child Sexual Abuse in Protestant Christian Congregations: A Descriptive Analysis of Offense and Offender Characteristics
Religions 2018, 9(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010027
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
Utilizing data from 326 cases of alleged child sexual abuse that occurred at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian congregations, this study examines demographic and contextual characteristics of alleged child sexual abuse that took place within the most prevalent religious environment in
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Utilizing data from 326 cases of alleged child sexual abuse that occurred at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian congregations, this study examines demographic and contextual characteristics of alleged child sexual abuse that took place within the most prevalent religious environment in the United States. Research questions are addressed in this study. First, what type of child sexual abuse most commonly occurs at or through activities provided by Protestant Christian congregations? Second, where do such offenses physically take place? Third, who are the offenders and what role(s) do they assume in the congregations? We find that the overwhelming majority of offenses were contact offenses that occurred on church premises or at the offender’s home, and that most offenders were white male pastors or youth ministers who were approximately 40 years in age. We conclude with policy implications and recommendations for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Crime: Theory, Research, and Practice)
Open AccessArticle How is Chaplaincy Marginalised—By Our Faith Communities and by Our Institutions and Can We Change It?
Religions 2018, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010024
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
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Abstract
This paper reviews the issues confronting chaplaincy/spiritual care in the 21st century. It looks at how faith communities are changing their view of chaplaincy as well how institutions respond. The paper looks at two qualitative studies and what can be learned from them
[...] Read more.
This paper reviews the issues confronting chaplaincy/spiritual care in the 21st century. It looks at how faith communities are changing their view of chaplaincy as well how institutions respond. The paper looks at two qualitative studies and what can be learned from them in confronting the questions raised at the beginning. It concludes with the question of how the evidence base can be expanded to make chaplaincy/spiritual care more relevant over the next few years. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust
Religions 2018, 9(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010026
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 12 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
There is, in principle, a fundamental difference between Nazi racial antisemitism and the traditional anti-Judaism of Christianity. The church’s official view has been that conversion transforms a Jew into a Christian, whereas the Nazi view was that a Jewish convert to Christianity remained
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There is, in principle, a fundamental difference between Nazi racial antisemitism and the traditional anti-Judaism of Christianity. The church’s official view has been that conversion transforms a Jew into a Christian, whereas the Nazi view was that a Jewish convert to Christianity remained a Jew. Nevertheless, the distinction between racial and religious antisemitism has often been less clear-cut than is often claimed by those who claim that Christian churches bear no responsibility for the Holocaust. That is not to say that it is illusory, just that it has often been less clear-cut than is often claimed. During the Holocaust and the decades that preceded it, Christian clergy often stressed the same themes as the Nazis, notably with respect to the Jews being “parasitic” capitalists exploiting Christians, as well as communists seeking to overthrow the governments and traditional Christian values of Europe (Passelecq and Suchecky 1997, pp. 123–36). We shall see that these clerics often also spoke of Jews in racial, as well as religious terms. Conversely, the Nazis often exploited traditional Christian themes, such as the diabolical nature of the Jew, the image of the Jew as “Christ-killer,” and the contrast between “carnal” (materialistic) Judaism and spiritual Christianity. In other words, the Nazis effectively exploited two millennia of Christian demonization of the Jew. Most scholars who have studied the role of the Christian churches during the Holocaust are well aware of most of these facts (Barnett 1992; Bergen 1996; Ericksen and Heschel 1999a; Kertzer 2001). Yet many comparative studies of religion and violence ignore the role played by Christian churches during the Holocaust—apparently on the assumption that the most horrific mass murder in human history was a purely secular phenomenon. In fact, some prominent scholars, including the best-selling authors Karen Armstrong and—incredibly—Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, go so far as to attribute the Shoah to the demise of religious values in Europe (Armstrong 2014; Sacks 2015)! This article is an attempt to correct these mistaken assumptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Genocide)
Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Religions in 2017
Religions 2018, 9(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010025
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 16 January 2018
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Abstract
Peer review is an essential part in the publication process, ensuring that Religions maintains high quality standards for its published papers.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle One Philosopher’s Bug Can Be Another’s Feature: Reply to Almeida’s “Multiverse and Divine Creation”
Religions 2018, 9(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010023
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
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Abstract
Michael Almeida once told me that he thought we were just a couple of hours of conversation away from reaching deep agreement about some important topics in the philosophy of religion pertaining to God, multiverses, and modality. This paper represents my attempt to
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Michael Almeida once told me that he thought we were just a couple of hours of conversation away from reaching deep agreement about some important topics in the philosophy of religion pertaining to God, multiverses, and modality. This paper represents my attempt to move this conversation forward and to seek this common ground. Specifically, I respond to Almeida’s paper entitled “The Multiverse and Divine Creation”. In the first four sections, I record my disagreement with him concerning some smaller matters. In Section 5, I try to persuade him that what he considers a ‘bug’ in the theistic multiverse is actually a feature—and a desirable one at that. In Section 6, I close by identifying some points at which our views seem to converge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theodicy)
Open AccessArticle Diversity without Pluralism: Religious Landscape in Mainland China
Religions 2018, 9(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010022
Received: 3 October 2017 / Revised: 6 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
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Abstract
The paper explores religious diversity and pluralism in the religioscape of mainland China with three examples. While religious diversity is de facto practice, “religious pluralism” is not socially recognised, culturally legitimised, or discursively institutionalised. On the one hand, state co-option of religious groups
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The paper explores religious diversity and pluralism in the religioscape of mainland China with three examples. While religious diversity is de facto practice, “religious pluralism” is not socially recognised, culturally legitimised, or discursively institutionalised. On the one hand, state co-option of religious groups is achieved through particular definition of “religion” without the conceptualisation of pluralism, leaving undefined religious activities to cultural policy or national security measures. On the other hand, practices that might be identified as religious elsewhere does not usually self-identified as such, not to say seek for the right of religious freedom. To explain the absence of articulated/institutionalised “religious pluralism” in China, the paper provides three examples—civil activism against tomb-levelling campaign, “the Society of Disciples” (mentuhui), and a ritual service provider. The paper argues that the religioscape of mainland China is one with de facto religious diversity without the ideology of religious pluralism, because the diverse religious practices do not make a conscious reference to pluralism, remain non-institutional, disinterested in religious freedom, and, most important of all, below the state’s radar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Diversity in a Pluralistic Society)
Open AccessArticle Rescue US: Birth, Django, and the Violence of Racial Redemption
Religions 2018, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010021
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
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Abstract
In this article, I show how the relationship between race, violence, and redemption is articulated and visualized through film. By juxtaposing DW Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, I contend that the latter inverts the logic of
[...] Read more.
In this article, I show how the relationship between race, violence, and redemption is articulated and visualized through film. By juxtaposing DW Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, I contend that the latter inverts the logic of the former. While Birth sacrifices black bodies and explains away anti-black violence for the sake of restoring white sovereignty (or rescuing the nation from threatening forms of blackness), Django adopts a rescue narrative in order to show the excessive violence that structured slavery and the emergence of the nation-state. As an immanent break within the rescue narrative, Tarantino’s film works to “rescue” images and sounds of anguish from forgetful versions of history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race and Religion: New Approaches to African American Religions)
Open AccessArticle God, Evil, and Infinite Value
Religions 2018, 9(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010020
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 17 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
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Abstract
Prominent approaches to the problems of evil assume that even if the Anselmian God exists, some worlds are better than others, all else being equal. But the assumptions that the Anselmian God exists and that some worlds are better than others cannot be
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Prominent approaches to the problems of evil assume that even if the Anselmian God exists, some worlds are better than others, all else being equal. But the assumptions that the Anselmian God exists and that some worlds are better than others cannot be true together. One description, by Mark Johnston and Georg Cantor, values God’s existence as exceeding any transfinite cardinal value. For any finite or infinite amount of goodness in any possible world, God’s value infinitely exceeds that amount. This conception is not obviously inconsistent with the Anselmian God. As a result, the prominent approaches to the problems of evil are mistaken. The elimination of evil does not, in fact, improve the value of any world as commonly thought. Permitting evil does not, in fact, diminish the value of any world as commonly thought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theodicy)
Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue of Religions—“The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics”
Religions 2018, 9(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010019
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 19 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 10 January 2018
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Abstract
If the past is said to be a foreign country, then the future must be even less native.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics) Printed Edition available
Open AccessEssay Romantism, Amazement, Imagination—A trias religiosa
Religions 2018, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010018
Received: 14 November 2017 / Revised: 28 December 2017 / Accepted: 2 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
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Abstract
To wonder is a gift of the romanticist in particular. Wonder seeks explanation. If reason doesn’t provide that, imagination provides a way out. One imagines a transcendental world of which the God-idea may become the central point and the explanatory model of that
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To wonder is a gift of the romanticist in particular. Wonder seeks explanation. If reason doesn’t provide that, imagination provides a way out. One imagines a transcendental world of which the God-idea may become the central point and the explanatory model of that that invoked wonder. The God-idea implies wonder, wonder that live exists, that things exist at all. Wonder promotes religiosity—i.c., the need to provide life with a vertical dimension—and religiosity facilitates, in its turn, wonder. Thus the circle is closed: romanticism, wonder, imagination, religiosity, wonder. A circle providing life with an important bonus, i.e., sense, meaning with a supernatural signature. This augments the chance that hope will be preserved, even as dark clouds begin to hover above one’s life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention, Religion and Spirituality)
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