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Religions, Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Pentecostalism constitutes a genuine type of religion we can label as play. In order to identify [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Fighting Rage with Fear: The “Faces of Muhammad” and the Limits of Secular Rationality
Religions 2018, 9(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030089
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, a number of incidents have pitted Islam against secularism and liberal democracy. This essay examines the Danish publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons in order to examine the deployment of rationality as a litmus test for political membership. It argues
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In recent years, a number of incidents have pitted Islam against secularism and liberal democracy. This essay examines the Danish publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons in order to examine the deployment of rationality as a litmus test for political membership. It argues that Western media and political analysis of the protests surrounding the cartoons constructed Muslims as anti-rational and thus unfit for democratic citizenship. Such a deployment of rationality inhibits the possibility of and demands for political pluralism. The essay then looks to two disparate theorists of affective reason, Abdulkarim Soroush and William Connolly, to offer an alternative model of reason that encourages pluralist political engagement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti Muslim Racism and the Media)
Open AccessArticle Protocol for a Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Compare the “Taste & See” Programme—A Church-Based Programme to Develop a Healthy Relationship with Food—With a Wait-List Control
Religions 2018, 9(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030088
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 16 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract
(1) Background: Obesity is strongly associated with poor mental-health. Spiritual and religious wellbeing is associated with improved mental well-being and reduced emotional eating. “Taste & See”, a church based programme to help develop a healthy relationship with food has been successfully tested for
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(1) Background: Obesity is strongly associated with poor mental-health. Spiritual and religious wellbeing is associated with improved mental well-being and reduced emotional eating. “Taste & See”, a church based programme to help develop a healthy relationship with food has been successfully tested for feasibility in the UK but an adequately powered randomised controlled trial is needed to test efficacy. This paper reports on the protocol for such a trial; (2) Method: A cluster, randomised controlled trial where Christian churches (any denomination) are the unit of randomisation. 150 overweight adults will be recruited from approximately 15 churches (clusters) in the UK, each church (cluster) will recruit approximately 10 participants. Churches will be randomised 2:1 to either begin the “Taste & See” programme immediately or in 10 weeks’ time. Data on eating habits, mental and spiritual health will be collected online before and after the intervention and control period and follow-up will continue until 2 years; (3) Implication of Results: Should the programme prove effective it will provide strong clinical evidence of the role of churches in improving the health and well-being of those struggling with food and weight issues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Crossroads of Plastination and Pilgrimage
Religions 2018, 9(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030087
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 18 March 2018
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Abstract
At the Singapore Science Centre in 2010, I went to Body Worlds, an exhibit set up by the Institute for Plastination, founded by Gunther von Hagens. As I later learned, he pioneered plastination—the art, science, and technique of preserving entire bodies and body
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At the Singapore Science Centre in 2010, I went to Body Worlds, an exhibit set up by the Institute for Plastination, founded by Gunther von Hagens. As I later learned, he pioneered plastination—the art, science, and technique of preserving entire bodies and body parts for use in medical and anatomical research, exhibition, or both. A few months after, I made the decision to donate my body after death to the Institute under arrangements similar to that of a Living Will. In my visits to two other Body World exhibits in Germany and the Netherlands, I have seen organs perfectly preserved and had thoughts occur to me that one day, I may well be an exhibit specimen instead of an exhibit attendee. By establishing a connection with existing pilgrimage literature; and using a combination of thick description and pragmatic analyses; this paper puts forward the proposition that visits to these; and other similar; exhibits constitute a pilgrimage of and to the self. The paper also discusses the ethics and practical consequences of body donation; and evaluates the arguments for and against the body donation decision from the lenses of the person making the donation; the person’s significant others; and societal influencers. The paper concludes by suggesting take-off points in discussing the connection between plastination and pilgrimage; particularly in the contexts of intercultural communication and religious studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Journeys: Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage)
Open AccessReview Measuring Symptoms of Moral Injury in Veterans and Active Duty Military with PTSD
Religions 2018, 9(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030086
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 17 March 2018
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Abstract
The Moral Injury Symptom Scale-Military Version (MISS-M) is a 45-item measure of moral injury (MI) symptoms designed to use in Veterans and Active Duty Military with PTSD. This paper reviews the psychometric properties of the MISS-M identified in a previous report, discusses the
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The Moral Injury Symptom Scale-Military Version (MISS-M) is a 45-item measure of moral injury (MI) symptoms designed to use in Veterans and Active Duty Military with PTSD. This paper reviews the psychometric properties of the MISS-M identified in a previous report, discusses the rationale for the development of the scale, and explores its possible clinical and research applications. The MISS-M consists of 10 theoretically grounded subscales that assess the psychological and spiritual/religious symptoms of MI: guilt, shame, betrayal, moral concerns, loss of meaning/purpose, difficulty forgiving, loss of trust, self-condemnation, spiritual/religious struggles, and loss of religious faith/hope. The scale has high internal reliability, high test-retest reliability, and a factor structure that can be replicated. The MISS-M correlates strongly with PTSD severity, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms, indicating convergent validity, and is relatively weakly correlated with social, spiritual, and physical health constructs, suggesting discriminant validity. The MISS-M is the first multidimensional scale that measures both the psychological and spiritual/religious symptoms of MI and is a reliable and valid measure for assessing symptom severity in clinical practice and in conducting research that examines the efficacy of treatments for MI in Veterans and Active Duty Military personnel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity (2018))
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Open AccessArticle Filipino College Students’ Attitudes towards Religion: An Analysis of the Underlying Factors
Religions 2018, 9(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030085
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 17 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 17 March 2018
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Abstract
In the last 50 years, measures of religious constructs have been the subject of much scientific attention. Cross-cultural considerations necessitate that empirical claims on assessments about religion are validated by local data. While religion is typically viewed in terms of spirituality and religiosity,
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In the last 50 years, measures of religious constructs have been the subject of much scientific attention. Cross-cultural considerations necessitate that empirical claims on assessments about religion are validated by local data. While religion is typically viewed in terms of spirituality and religiosity, recent empirical studies indicate a shift in the interpretation of these dimensions in a more diffused and relaxed appreciation. Building up from these developments, in the present research, we develop and test the structure and reliability of a scale to assess students’ attitudes towards religion. Using a sample (n = 2733) of college students from two provincial universities in the Philippines, we employed data reduction techniques to understand the underlying factor structure. The results showed a three-factor measure of attitudes towards religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity (2018))
Open AccessArticle Emerging Adult Religiosity and Spirituality: Linking Beliefs, Values, and Ethical Decision-Making
Religions 2018, 9(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030084
Received: 23 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper challenges the “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) category as a methodological artifact caused by interacting two closed-ended survey items into binary combinations. Employing a theoretically rich approach, this study maps the multiple ways in which the religious and the spiritual combine
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This paper challenges the “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) category as a methodological artifact caused by interacting two closed-ended survey items into binary combinations. Employing a theoretically rich approach, this study maps the multiple ways in which the religious and the spiritual combine for emerging adults. Results indicate that most emerging adults have a tacit sense of morality, displaying limited cognitive access to how moral reasoning relates to religious and spiritual orientations. This longitudinal study investigates efforts to raise moral awareness through: exposure to diverse religious and spiritual orientations, personal reflection, and collective discussion. Relative to control groups, emerging adults in this study display increases in moral awareness. We combine the results of these studies to formulate a theoretical framework for the ways in which beliefs, values, and ethical decision-making connect in expressing plural combinations of religiosity and spirituality. The implication is that direct attention to religiosity and spirituality — not avoidance of — appears to facilitate ethical decision-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Theology: An Alternative to Religious Studies or Theology of Religions?
Religions 2018, 9(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030083
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 16 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines the relationship between Comparative Theology, Religious Studies and Theology of Religions and questions whether Comparative Theology is an alternative to the last two. Comparative Theology, a faith seeking understanding practice, may be viewed as an alternative to the Enlightenment ideal
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This paper examines the relationship between Comparative Theology, Religious Studies and Theology of Religions and questions whether Comparative Theology is an alternative to the last two. Comparative Theology, a faith seeking understanding practice, may be viewed as an alternative to the Enlightenment ideal of Religious Studies, which seeks “impartiality” and “scientific objectivity” in contrast to Comparative Theology’s enquiry into “truth” and “meaning.” I suggest, however, that the comparative method employed by both Religious Studies and Comparative Theology is not a neutral space. Hence, the new comparativism in Religious Studies reinstates its search for understanding and its political stand, which blurs the boundaries between Comparative Theology and Religious Studies. Likewise, while Comparative Theology is distinct from the Theology of Religions, it does not pose an alternative to it because Comparative Theology, too, often embodies either a pluralist or an inclusivist approach. Full article
Open AccessArticle Walking Meditation: Being Present and Being Pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago
Religions 2018, 9(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030082
Received: 7 March 2018 / Revised: 10 March 2018 / Accepted: 12 March 2018 / Published: 15 March 2018
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Abstract
The Camino de Santiago has witnessed an unprecedented number of walkers in recent years. Traditionalists feel that the Camino is suffering from excess—too many visitors and too much strain on the infrastructure, accompanied by an ignorance of what it means to be an
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The Camino de Santiago has witnessed an unprecedented number of walkers in recent years. Traditionalists feel that the Camino is suffering from excess—too many visitors and too much strain on the infrastructure, accompanied by an ignorance of what it means to be an “authentic” pilgrim. Contemporary pilgrims often use ancillary services to transport their bags, approaching the Camino as an athletic event or a holiday excursion. For scholars and people of faith, these superficial attitudes to the ancient pilgrimage route are disturbing. How can serious pilgrims make peace with those who have neither the historical nor the religious background to understand the magnitude of their endeavor? Vietnamese Zen master and peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn offers us the practice of walking meditation as a means of being present. I believe that pilgrims can benefit from studying the principles of walking meditation as it is observed in the Buddhist tradition. Pilgrims of all faiths and backgrounds can make use of Thich Nhat Hahn’s practice to enhance their experience. Travelers who incorporate the custom of walking meditation may find common ground. Certainly, those who choose to do walking meditation while on pilgrimage will be more mindful of their journey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Journeys: Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage)
Open AccessArticle A Day in the Life of an Aesthetic Tāntrika: From Synaesthetic Garden to Lucid Dreaming and Spaciousness
Religions 2018, 9(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030081
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
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Abstract
This essay addresses the question of the relationship between Aesthetics and Tantra, in the world-view and life-world of Hindu Tantric visionary Abhinavagupta (ca. 975–1025 C.E.) and his tradition. I respond to a classic work on Abhinavagupta’s understanding of aesthetic experience and religious experience
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This essay addresses the question of the relationship between Aesthetics and Tantra, in the world-view and life-world of Hindu Tantric visionary Abhinavagupta (ca. 975–1025 C.E.) and his tradition. I respond to a classic work on Abhinavagupta’s understanding of aesthetic experience and religious experience by shifting the focus from ultimate experience to the life of a liberated being. I argue that Abhinavagupta’s blending of Aesthetics and Tantra naturally follows from his view of liberation, which re-integrates the body and senses into the religious life, and affirms the reality of the material world in which the liberated being is embedded. I recover the very humanness and boundedness of Abhinavagupta as an additional way of understanding liberation. I draw on hymns of praise, descriptions of ritual, thoughts on hermeneutics of Being, and complex metaphors, from Abhinavagupta’s tradition, and engage with various thinkers, including Performance Theorist Richard Schechner and neurologist James Austin, to flesh out complex metaphors depicting the relationship between consciousness and the world. I conclude by reflecting on similarities between the Trika model of Self, as interpreted by Abhinavagupta’s student Kṣemarāja, and lucid dreaming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Open AccessArticle Religion as Play: Pentecostalism as a Theological Type
Religions 2018, 9(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030080
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 9 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
This article suggests that Pentecostalism constitutes a genuine type of religion we can label as play. In order to identify the particular elements of this type, the article makes use of Erving Goffman’s frame analysis to organize Pentecostal theological activity. This methodological starting
[...] Read more.
This article suggests that Pentecostalism constitutes a genuine type of religion we can label as play. In order to identify the particular elements of this type, the article makes use of Erving Goffman’s frame analysis to organize Pentecostal theological activity. This methodological starting point is followed by an overview of existing interpretations of Pentecostalism as a form of play. The main portion of this essay then constructs from an analysis of everyday experiences visible in Pentecostalism a primary framework of activities oriented around the transformative encounter with the Holy Spirit. The sequence of activity involves a primary and overlapping pattern of Pentecostal spirituality, experience, narrative, affections, practices, and embodiment. Demonstrating that play is not exclusive to Pentecostalism, but that Pentecostals manifest a particularly visible form, demands that greater attention is paid both to Pentecostalism as a religious tradition and to play as a theological model. Full article
Open AccessArticle Kairos and Carnival: Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rhetorical and Ethical Christian Vision
Religions 2018, 9(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030079
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
The term kairos has been used to mean, alternatively, right timing or proportion in Ancient Greek rhetoric, by Jesus to refer to the Christian eschaton and by Paul Tillich and modern liberation theologians to refer to the breakthrough of the divine into human
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The term kairos has been used to mean, alternatively, right timing or proportion in Ancient Greek rhetoric, by Jesus to refer to the Christian eschaton and by Paul Tillich and modern liberation theologians to refer to the breakthrough of the divine into human history. Kairos, unlike chronos, is an intrinsically qualitative time and implies a consciousness of the present as well as the need for responsive action. This emphasis on action provides the link between kairos and virtue, the particular virtue in question being that of prudence (phronesis in Greek). The aim of this article is twofold: to highlight and make explicit the connections between the notion of kairos and the Russian literary-theorist and philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin’s rhetorical and ethical world, with particular emphasis on his notion of carnival; secondly, to further support a Christian reading of Bakthin’s work by making explicit the connections between his carnivalesque vision and a Christian reading of the ethical importance of kairos and its links with incarnation. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Invisible Path of Karma in a Himalayan Purificatory Rite
Religions 2018, 9(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030078
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
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Abstract
Indic rites of purification aim to negate the law of karma by removing the residues of malignant past actions from their patrons. This principle is exemplified in the Kahika Mela, a rarely studied religious festival of the West Himalayan highlands (Himachal Pradesh, India),
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Indic rites of purification aim to negate the law of karma by removing the residues of malignant past actions from their patrons. This principle is exemplified in the Kahika Mela, a rarely studied religious festival of the West Himalayan highlands (Himachal Pradesh, India), wherein a ritual specialist assumes karmic residues from large publics and then sacrificed to their presiding deity. British officials who had ‘discovered’ this purificatory rite at the turn of the twentieth century interpreted it as a variant of the universal ‘scapegoat’ rituals that were then being popularized by James Frazer and found it loosely connected to ancient Tantric practises. The However, observing a recent performance of the ritual significantly complicated this view. This paper proposes a novel reading of the Kahika Mela through the prism of karmic transference. Tracing the path of karmas from participants to ritual specialist and beyond, it delineates the logic behind the rite, revealing that the culminating act of human sacrifice is, in fact, secondary to the mysterious force that impels its acceptance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
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Open AccessEditorial Introduction: Methodical Aspects of Comparison
Religions 2018, 9(3), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030077
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 11 March 2018
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Abstract
Much ink has been spilled over the significance, the risks and benefits, and even the very possibility of comparison in the study of religion, but few scholars have reflected on how comparison actually works. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodical Aspects of Comparison)
Open AccessArticle Teaching Widowed Women, Community, and Devotion in Quattrocento Florence with Lucrezia Tornabuoni and Antonia Tanini Pulci
Religions 2018, 9(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030076
Received: 23 November 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract
In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, a woman’s social identity changed when her husband died. She became both a symbol of his loss, and a living monument to his legacy—an ambassador between the living and the dead. Responsible not only
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In the Middle Ages and the early modern period, a woman’s social identity changed when her husband died. She became both a symbol of his loss, and a living monument to his legacy—an ambassador between the living and the dead. Responsible not only for preserving his memory on earth, a widow was also expected to pray on behalf of her husband’s soul, to work to rescue him from the torments of Purgatory through her dutiful appeals. Widows were at once asked to pray quietly alone, and tasked with work central to society: the salvation of souls after death. This dual identity—sometimes isolated, yet of fundamental importance—makes the widow an opportune subject for students of early modern conceptions of the relationship between religion and gender. In this essay, I look at widows in Lucrezia Tornabuoni’s Judith, Hebrew Widow and Antonia Tanini Pulci’s The Destruction of Saul and the Lament of David. Taught side-by-side, these texts provide students with multiple, interconnected ports of entry into the early modern world, encouraging an investigation of how the two women writers worked to place widows at the center of their respective stories, rather than relegated to the margins. Full article
Open AccessArticle How to Communicate Lateran IV in 13th Century Ireland: Lessons from the Liber Exemplorum (c.1275)
Religions 2018, 9(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030075
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
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Abstract
The Liber Exemplorum, a collection of preachers’ tales, was compiled c.1275 by an English Franciscan working in Ireland, and is the earliest Franciscan example of its type. Out of 213 exempla which survive in this manuscript, some 26 of these are found in
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The Liber Exemplorum, a collection of preachers’ tales, was compiled c.1275 by an English Franciscan working in Ireland, and is the earliest Franciscan example of its type. Out of 213 exempla which survive in this manuscript, some 26 of these are found in no other source, and are drawn either from the compiler’s own experience or from his having heard of them second hand; these often mention Irish place names and feature Irish Christians as the main protagonists. The collection was compiled some 60 years after the calling of the Fourth Lateran Council, whose decrees would significantly shape the lives of medieval Christians for centuries. This article examines the manner in which some of the principal concerns of Lateran IV appear prominently as themes in this collection of preachers’ tales, and, furthermore, how such tales played a crucial role in the popular dissemination of the reforms envisaged by the council fathers. The tales themselves also offer a unique window on popular religious practice and ideas, both real and imagined, in late-13th-century Ireland. Full article
Open AccessArticle Marx, the Praxis of Liberation Theology, and the Bane of Religious Epistemology
Religions 2018, 9(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030074
Received: 4 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
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Abstract
Can religious epistemology aid in the transformation of the world to the same effect as Marxist Theory? Utilizing an approach derived from Louis Althusser’s isolation of the radical implications of the epistemological break of Karl Marx, from his Feuerbachain theological thought to a
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Can religious epistemology aid in the transformation of the world to the same effect as Marxist Theory? Utilizing an approach derived from Louis Althusser’s isolation of the radical implications of the epistemological break of Karl Marx, from his Feuerbachain theological thought to a materialist epistemological tradition, we probe the relationship between the mystical intent of Christian theology and the appearance of praxis as a category derived from the Marxist lexicon, within the modus cogitans of Latin American theology of liberation. We problematise the transcendentalism that liberation theology places on social practice, in its retention of a spiritualist Weltanschauung as the preeminent framework for the critique of socio-historical reality. Far from being a materialist-transformative “epistemological break” from orthodox theology, this putative theology of revolution is thus exposed as being a brand of a Hegelian theosophy, which is discontinuous with the dialectical understanding of the socio-material basis of human relations that emerges around Marxist Theory, namely praxis. Our leitmotif is therefore a claim that political theology, qua theology in general, and the Latin American Theology of Liberation in particular, have a limited efficacy as a theoretical tool for socio-political transformation, due to its inherent transcendentalist and rationalistic orientation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Imagery and Religious Conversion. The Symbolic Function of Jonah 1:13
Religions 2018, 9(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030073
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
Jonah 1:13 has a delaying function in the narrative, introducing a pause between Jonah’s demand to be thrown in the sea (1:12) and the event’s occurrence (1:15). Most commentators discuss only the events of 1:13 and their causes. In this article, I suggest
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Jonah 1:13 has a delaying function in the narrative, introducing a pause between Jonah’s demand to be thrown in the sea (1:12) and the event’s occurrence (1:15). Most commentators discuss only the events of 1:13 and their causes. In this article, I suggest an interpretation of Jonah 1:13 based on the imagery of the narrative. An analysis of the use of metaphors and symbols does not replace the message of the verse; such an analysis simply augments it with motives of the seamen’s conversion. Beside the narrative level, there is a hidden level suggesting a deeper understanding of the story where symbols and metaphors have a consolidating function. Distance, directions, and movement in Jonah 1 describe acts with religious connotation. At the same time, the physical action of rowing is a symbolic anticipation of the seamen’s conversion. It contains a message about the inner itinerary that leads to the transformation of the sailors. Thereby, I suggest that Jonah 1:13 not only reveals YHWH’s plan with Jonah but it also focuses on the sailors and their conversion. Full article
Open AccessArticle Religious Beliefs and Environmental Behaviors in China
Religions 2018, 9(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030072
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
The role of religion in the environment has yet to be empirically investigated in the country with the largest atheist population across the globe. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey 2013, we examined the effects of religious beliefs on environmental behaviors
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The role of religion in the environment has yet to be empirically investigated in the country with the largest atheist population across the globe. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey 2013, we examined the effects of religious beliefs on environmental behaviors in China. Dependent variables of private and public environmental behaviors were identified by factor analysis. The estimation revealed a contradictory result that most religious beliefs had negative effects on private environmental behaviors while having positive effects on public environmental behaviors. The findings suggest a religion–politics interactive mechanism to enhance pro-environmental behavior in China. Full article
Open AccessReview Why Are Suicides So Widespread in Catholic Lithuania?
Religions 2018, 9(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030071
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
Religion as a protective factor against suicide was introduced in Durkheim’s theory of suicide and analysed from various perspectives in multiple studies. The Lithuanian case is intriguing because before WWII, along with Catholic Poland, it showed much lower suicide rates than its Protestant
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Religion as a protective factor against suicide was introduced in Durkheim’s theory of suicide and analysed from various perspectives in multiple studies. The Lithuanian case is intriguing because before WWII, along with Catholic Poland, it showed much lower suicide rates than its Protestant neighbours Latvia and Estonia. However, today Lithuania is among the leading countries in terms of the prevalence of suicide. Interestingly, not much has changed in Lithuania in terms of religious denomination—about 80% of population call themselves Catholic. The aim of this article was to explore which factors might have affected religions’ protective function against suicide during radical historical processes. The method of study consists of an analysis of historical sources, and of recent studies in suicidology and sociology of religion about suicide and religion in Lithuania. The results of this analysis show that two factors seem to be most important—heroicizing resistance suicides and experiencing long-term politics of atheisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention, Religion and Spirituality)
Open AccessReview Measuring Spirituality and Religiosity in Clinical Settings: A Scoping Review of Available Instruments
Religions 2018, 9(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030070
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 4 March 2018
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Abstract
Aims: Numerous measures exist that assess dimensions of spirituality and religiosity in health, theological and social settings. In this review, we aim to identify and evaluate measures assessing factors relating to spirituality and religiosity in clinical settings. Methods: A systematic literature search was
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Aims: Numerous measures exist that assess dimensions of spirituality and religiosity in health, theological and social settings. In this review, we aim to identify and evaluate measures assessing factors relating to spirituality and religiosity in clinical settings. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using PubMed, EMBASE and PsycINFO databases with search terms relating to spirituality, religiosity that also included well-being, needs, distress and beliefs used in self-reporting and clinician-administered measures. Only articles relating to the validation and subsequent administration of measures used in clinical settings were eligible for review. Results: Of 75 measures selected for initial screening, 25 had been validated and used in clinical settings and were reviewed for this study. Most measures were validated in oncological and palliative care settings where the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Spiritual Well-being (FACIT-Sp12) and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Spiritual, Religious and Personal Beliefs (WHOQOL-SRPB) were most validated and frequently used. Only six measures were found that assessed spiritual distress and/or the needs of which only two had been investigated more than twice. Two measures assessing spirituality and religious beliefs in healthcare staff were also reviewed. Conclusions: This review provides a current summary of measures evaluating several dimensions of spirituality and religiosity used in clinical settings. Currently there is a lack of reliable measures evaluating spiritual needs and distress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity (2018))
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Open AccessArticle Conventual Writing and Context: The Case of Port-Royal
Religions 2018, 9(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030069
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
Many of the spiritual texts produced in the early modern period were written by nuns. To teach these texts adequately, it is not sufficient to study the work itself or the biography of the author. Effective exegesis of the texts requires detailed attention
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Many of the spiritual texts produced in the early modern period were written by nuns. To teach these texts adequately, it is not sufficient to study the work itself or the biography of the author. Effective exegesis of the texts requires detailed attention to the conventual culture in which these works were written, since this culture is foreign to the vast majority of contemporary students and readers. This contextual analysis operates on three levels. The first level introduces the students to the general nature of the convent and the life of a nun: the evangelical vows, the rule/constitution of the order, and the different types of religious orders. The second level focuses on the specific culture of the convent where the texts were composed. This involves analysis of the convent’s particular spirituality, apostolate, literary genres of communication, and relationship to broader ecclesiastical and political movements of the times. The third level studies the gendered nature of the nuns’ writings. This contextualist-cultural method of teaching écriture couventuelle is illustrated through analysis of the writings of the prolific Port-Royal abbess, Angélique de Saint-Jean Arnauld d’Andilly. Full article
Open AccessBrief Report ‘Something Drew Me In’: The Professional and Personal Impact of Working with Spirituality in Addiction Recovery
Religions 2018, 9(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030068
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
This research addresses the impact of working with spirituality from the perspective of the addiction worker with five separate interviews conducted with people who have been working in the area of addiction for ten years or more. Interview transcripts were analysed using qualitative
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This research addresses the impact of working with spirituality from the perspective of the addiction worker with five separate interviews conducted with people who have been working in the area of addiction for ten years or more. Interview transcripts were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. Three themes emerged, the findings of which indicate that there is an impact on the addiction worker when spirituality is part of the recovery process. The themes that emerged are (A) Being Constructive (B) Productivity and (C) Managing Therapeutic Ruptures. The findings pose important implications for training and supervision of people involved in addiction work in that there needs to be an openness and awareness around spirituality whether the worker believes in it or not. The findings show that when spirituality is part of the recovery process, it enables the addiction worker to deal with and manage all issues that arise with the person with the addiction, as well as enhancing the work and life of the worker. Most striking across the five participant’s transcripts was their ability to engage in the difficult work of addiction along with the opportunity that the participants have for personal and professional growth in their work and in their own spiritual life. Full article
Open AccessArticle “To Sey or Thinke Otherwise”: Ordinary Theology and Facing Death in Late Medieval Norfolk
Religions 2018, 9(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030067
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
This article explores how Jeff Astley’s work on ordinary theology can enrich historical study of late medieval lay religion. Ordinary theology provides scholars with a new set of vocabulary and methodological approaches for accessing the religious discourses of “everyday” Christians and allows medievalists
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This article explores how Jeff Astley’s work on ordinary theology can enrich historical study of late medieval lay religion. Ordinary theology provides scholars with a new set of vocabulary and methodological approaches for accessing the religious discourses of “everyday” Christians and allows medievalists in particular to reach beyond contested labels for lay belief. The article begins with a discussion of the promises and limitations of Astley’s theories for historians of religion and concludes with a test case of how they might guide future research, through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 152 wills from fifteenth-century Norfolk. The results highlight the diversity of beliefs about the afterlife and associated doctrines among medieval laypeople even as they demonstrated commitment to orthodox Christianity and their local parishes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Religiosity and the Wish of Older Adults for Physician-Assisted Suicide
Religions 2018, 9(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030066
Received: 17 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
In industrialized countries, population ageing is associated with intense discussions on the issue of dying with dignity. Some countries have legalized assisted suicide and authorized physicians to provide the knowledge and/or means for suffering patients to end their life. The goal of this
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In industrialized countries, population ageing is associated with intense discussions on the issue of dying with dignity. Some countries have legalized assisted suicide and authorized physicians to provide the knowledge and/or means for suffering patients to end their life. The goal of this study was to ascertain if religiosity could be a predicting factor of older adults’ wish for physician-assisted suicide (PAS). A sample of 216 men and women over 60 years (M = 72.5) answered the following question: “Would you disagree or agree with assisted suicide for yourself if you were very sick and would die in the near future?” They also completed questionnaires on religiosity, ageism and death anxiety. A regression analysis showed that religiosity explained a significant (F(1211) = 19.62; p < 0.001) proportion (7.7%) of the variance in the wish for PAS (full model R2 = 0.17). Religiosity seems to reduce the likelihood that older adults would ask for PAS if they had a terminal illness, while ageism and death anxiety seemed to have the opposite effect. Health professionals and legislators must be aware that psychosocial and spiritual variables have an important influence on the wish for PAS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention, Religion and Spirituality)
Open AccessArticle “In The End, God Helped Me Defeat Myself”: Autobiographical Writings by Camilla Battista da Varano1
Religions 2018, 9(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9030065
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 20 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 25 February 2018
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Abstract
Camilla Battista da Varano (1458–1524), a mystic and Franciscan nun, spent most of her life in Camerino in east-central Italy. Now a saint—since 17 October 2010—she composed two autobiographical treatises across a ten-year period mid-way through a literary career that spanned the end
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Camilla Battista da Varano (1458–1524), a mystic and Franciscan nun, spent most of her life in Camerino in east-central Italy. Now a saint—since 17 October 2010—she composed two autobiographical treatises across a ten-year period mid-way through a literary career that spanned the end of the fifteenth and the early part of the sixteenth centuries. In one, La vita spirituale (My spiritual life, 1491), she delivered a complete spiritual life story, tracing her religious devotion from the ages of eight to thirty-three. She described her relationship with a number of men, including her father and several clerics who—to one degree or another—inspired and guided her devotional life. By the time she wrote, she had been a professed Franciscan nun for seven years. She presented herself at that point as one who had undergone visionary, mystical experiences and as a woman who had both benefitted and suffered under the control of men like her father and her spiritual directors. In the other, Istruzioni al discepolo (Instructions to a disciple, 1501), she told the story of her affectionate relationship with a male disciple she was directing spiritually but used a literary conceit to hide her own identity. She wrote about the spiritual director the male disciple loved and admired in the third person, apparently in a self-deprecating manner inspired by humility but thinly veiling her obvious self-confidence. In these texts, and in other of her devotional treatises, she claimed the ability to provide spiritual direction of her own and wrote in bold imagery, creatively manipulating scripture at times. She exercised a do-it-yourself approach to discernment of God’s will and even to the process of confession. She criticized inattentive spiritual directors and asserted that both her visions and the impetus for her devotional writings came directly, unmediated, from God. But Camilla also exhibited deferential attitudes and strong connections to traditional Franciscan theology while including female authors in that tradition she apparently admired, like Caterina da Bologna (1413–1463). She also wrote at times with vivid expressions of obedience to the variety of men who held some authority over her. She was, apparently, not an individual easily understood through the standard images usually associated with late medieval and early modern women. A fuller portrait of Camilla is emerging as scholars today seek to recover her original voice. Full article
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