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Religions, Volume 9, Issue 8 (August 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In the diaspora, Vietnamese refugees and their overseas-born descendants have transformed the [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle A Qualitative Examination of Continuing Bonds through Spiritual Experiences in Individuals Bereaved by Suicide
Religions 2018, 9(8), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080248
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
Introduction: Suicide is a public health problem worldwide, and spiritual experiences may be important positive experiences or coping mechanisms for difficulties associated with surviving a suicide loss. Studies have found that continuing bonds through spiritual experiences are common among individuals bereaved by suicide.
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Introduction: Suicide is a public health problem worldwide, and spiritual experiences may be important positive experiences or coping mechanisms for difficulties associated with surviving a suicide loss. Studies have found that continuing bonds through spiritual experiences are common among individuals bereaved by suicide. However, the literature lacks depth in understanding these experiences, such as sense of presence. Aims: The aim of this study was to qualitatively examine descriptions of continuing bonds through spiritual experiences after death by suicide. Method: A total of 1301 individuals bereaved by suicide provided 2443 free responses about their spiritual experiences based on four different prompts, which were analyzed using an inductive approach. Results: Nine common themes were identified, selected for interest, and reported: (1) a helpful sense of comfort; (2) a helpful sense of connection with the deceased; (3) intense sadness evoked by the spiritual experiences; (4) confusion regarding the spiritual experiences; (5) negative reminders of the deceased or negative meanings of spiritual experiences; (6) evidence of an afterlife; (7) general importance of the spiritual experiences’ meaning; (8) impact of and on religious beliefs; and (9) others’ responses to disclosure of suicide or spiritual experiences. Conclusion: For the overwhelming majority of participants, spiritual experiences such as a sense of presence have deep meaning and are often regarded as a positive source of healing and transformation after a suicide death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide Prevention, Religion and Spirituality)
Open AccessArticle Media Coverage of Muslim Devotion: A Four-Country Analysis of Newspaper Articles, 1996–2016
Religions 2018, 9(8), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080247
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
Scholars have identified Muslims’ religiosity and faith practices, often believed to be more intense than those of other religious groups, as a point of friction in liberal democracies. We use computer-assisted methods of lexical sentiment analysis and collocation analysis to assess more than
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Scholars have identified Muslims’ religiosity and faith practices, often believed to be more intense than those of other religious groups, as a point of friction in liberal democracies. We use computer-assisted methods of lexical sentiment analysis and collocation analysis to assess more than 800,000 articles between 1996 and 2016 in a range of British, American, Canadian, and Australian newspapers. We couple this approach with human coding of 100 randomly selected articles to investigate the tone of devotion-related themes when linked to Islam and Muslims. We show that articles touching on devotion are not as negative as articles about other aspects of Islam—and indeed that they are not negative at all, on average, when focused on a key subset of devotion-related articles. We thus offer a new perspective on the perception of Islamic religiosity in Western societies. Our findings also suggest that if newspapers strive to provide a more balanced portrayal of Muslims and Islam within their pages, they may seek opportunities to include more frequent mentions of Muslim devotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti Muslim Racism and the Media)
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Open AccessArticle Stigmatisation and Ritual: An Analysis of the Stigmatisation of Pentecostalism in Chile
Religions 2018, 9(8), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080246
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
Pentecostalism has been one of the most successful religious movements in Chile due to both its historical growth and its ascendancy in different spheres of society. Nevertheless, from its origins to the present day, it has also been the most stigmatised religious movement
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Pentecostalism has been one of the most successful religious movements in Chile due to both its historical growth and its ascendancy in different spheres of society. Nevertheless, from its origins to the present day, it has also been the most stigmatised religious movement in the country. Studies have explained this phenomenon by referring to variables of social class or religious rivalry. However, they have forgotten a factor that is key to this problem and to Pentecostalism: its ritual dimension. The aim of this article is to analyse the relationship between the stigmatisation of the movement and its unusual ritual life. It is concluded from the analysis of documentary sources that the principal contexts in which Pentecostalism is stigmatised are those that feature the staging of ritual, and that the stigmatisation mainly attacks and disparages the most distinctive ritual practices of the movement. Full article
Open AccessArticle It’s Like Growing Roots inside Something Deeply Familiar: An Explorative Qualitative Study of Anthroposophic Mantra Practice and the Subsidiary Exercises
Religions 2018, 9(8), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080245
Received: 14 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
Anthroposophic meditation is unique in that it arises within a European context and emphasizes cognition, self-development, and sociocultural renewal. This article presents the perceived effects of two of the most common Anthroposophic meditation practices within the current sample (N = 30). The first,
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Anthroposophic meditation is unique in that it arises within a European context and emphasizes cognition, self-development, and sociocultural renewal. This article presents the perceived effects of two of the most common Anthroposophic meditation practices within the current sample (N = 30). The first, Anthroposophic mantra practice, seeks to connect the practitioner to a spiritual reality. The second, the so-called subsidiary exercises, focuses on developing clear thinking, willpower, and certain virtues that support meditative development, while also deepening the connection between the meditative and daily life of the practitioner. Additionally, the subsidiary exercises may represent a way of reducing negative effects or handling potential challenges arising from meditation. Some themes overlap with the findings of previous studies on meditation. Other themes, such as cognitive insights, the development of virtues through meditative or spiritual practice, and the potential for beneficial impact on one’s sociocultural environment, open up new avenues of study. Full article
Open AccessArticle Securing Security in Education: The Role of Public Theology and a Case Study in Global Jihadism
Religions 2018, 9(8), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080244
Received: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 August 2018 / Published: 16 August 2018
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Abstract
The article mounts an argument for public theology as an appropriate if not vital adjunct to contemporary education’s addressing of security issues in light of current world events with indisputable religious and arguably quasi-theological foundations. It will briefly expound on the history of
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The article mounts an argument for public theology as an appropriate if not vital adjunct to contemporary education’s addressing of security issues in light of current world events with indisputable religious and arguably quasi-theological foundations. It will briefly expound on the history of thought that has marginalized theology as a public discipline and then move to justify the counter view that the discipline, at least in the form of public theology, has potential to address matters of such public concern in a unique and helpful way. The article will culminate with an exploration of Global Jihadism as a case study that illustrates the usefulness of public theology in understanding it better and so allowing for a response with potential to be more informed and security-assured than is commonly effected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Education, Security)
Open AccessArticle The Experience of Victimisation among Muslim Adolescents in the UK: The Effect of Psychological and Religious Factors
Religions 2018, 9(8), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080243
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
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Abstract
This study set out to explore the levels of victimisation experienced by Muslim adolescents in the UK, the extent to which victimisation is conceptualised in religious terms, and the extent to which individual differences in the experience of victimisation is related to personal
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This study set out to explore the levels of victimisation experienced by Muslim adolescents in the UK, the extent to which victimisation is conceptualised in religious terms, and the extent to which individual differences in the experience of victimisation is related to personal factors, psychological factors and religious factors. Data provided by 335 13- to 15-year-old Muslim students from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales demonstrated that one in four Muslim students (25%) reported being bullied because of their religion. These students saw their religious identity as being a more important cause of their victimisation than their ethnicity, their colour, or their name. Male and female Muslim students were equally vulnerable to victimisation. Psychological and religious variables predicted individual differences in vulnerability to victimisation among Muslim students. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spiritual Struggles among Atheists: Links to Psychological Distress and Well-Being
Religions 2018, 9(8), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080242
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
Religious and spiritual struggles (R/S struggles)—tension or conflicts regarding religious or spiritual matters—have been robustly linked to greater psychological distress and lower well-being. Most research in this area has relied on samples consisting predominantly of participants who believe in god(s). Limited research has
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Religious and spiritual struggles (R/S struggles)—tension or conflicts regarding religious or spiritual matters—have been robustly linked to greater psychological distress and lower well-being. Most research in this area has relied on samples consisting predominantly of participants who believe in god(s). Limited research has examined R/S struggles among atheists, generally conflating them with agnostics and other nontheists. This study investigated the prevalence of R/S struggles among atheists and compared atheists to theists in two samples (3978 undergraduates, 1048 Internet workers). Results of a multilevel model showed that atheists experience less demonic, doubt, divine, moral, and overall R/S struggles than theists, but similar levels of interpersonal and ultimate meaning struggles. Correlation and regression analyses among atheists demonstrated links between moral, ultimate meaning, and overall R/S struggles and greater distress (depression and anxiety symptoms) as well as lower well-being (life satisfaction and meaning in life). Even after controlling neuroticism, ultimate meaning struggles continued to predict lower well-being and higher distress across samples; moral struggles also predicted distress independently. This study demonstrates the relevance of R/S struggles to atheists and reinforces the applicability of previous results to atheist samples, but also highlights substantial differences between atheists and theists in certain R/S struggles. Full article
Open AccessArticle “Holiness, War, and Peace”: Ancient Jewish Traditions Concerning the Landscape and Ecology of Jerusalem and Its Environs in the Second Temple Period
Religions 2018, 9(8), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080241
Received: 4 July 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
The Second Temple period is considered both a pinnacle and a low point in the history of Jerusalem. One manifestation of the sharp fluctuations in Jerusalem’s status is its flora and ecology. The current study aims to address the historical events and the
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The Second Temple period is considered both a pinnacle and a low point in the history of Jerusalem. One manifestation of the sharp fluctuations in Jerusalem’s status is its flora and ecology. The current study aims to address the historical events and the Talmudic traditions concerning the flora and landscape of Jerusalem. In the city’s zenith, the Jewish sages introduced special ecological regulations pertaining to its overall urban landscape. One of them was a prohibition against growing plants within the city in order to prevent undesirable odors or litter and thus maintain the city’s respectable image. The prohibition against growing plants within the city did not apply to rose gardens, maybe because of ecological reasons, i.e., their contribution to aesthetics and to improving bad odors in a crowded city. In the city’s decline, its agricultural crops and natural vegetation were destroyed when the beleaguered inhabitants were defeated by Titus’ army. One Talmudic tradition voices hope for the rehabilitation of the flora (“shitim”) around the city of Jerusalem. Haggadic-Talmudic tradition tries to endow Jerusalem with a metaphysical uniqueness by describing fantastic plants that allegedly grew in it in the past but disappeared as a result of its destruction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Writing a Moral Code: Algorithms for Ethical Reasoning by Humans and Machines
Religions 2018, 9(8), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080240
Received: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
The moral and ethical challenges of living in community pertain not only to the intersection of human beings one with another, but also our interactions with our machine creations. This article explores the philosophical and theological framework for reasoning and decision-making through the
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The moral and ethical challenges of living in community pertain not only to the intersection of human beings one with another, but also our interactions with our machine creations. This article explores the philosophical and theological framework for reasoning and decision-making through the lens of science fiction, religion, and artificial intelligence (both real and imagined). In comparing the programming of autonomous machines with human ethical deliberation, we discover that both depend on a concrete ordering of priorities derived from a clearly defined value system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue So Say We All: Religion and Society in Science Fiction)
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Open AccessArticle Liberation through Seeing: Screening The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Religions 2018, 9(8), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080239
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
The text known in English as The Tibetan Book of the Dead is arguably the principle source for popular understandings of Tibetan Buddhist conceptions of death. First translated into English in 1927, subsequent translations have read it according to a number of interpretive
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The text known in English as The Tibetan Book of the Dead is arguably the principle source for popular understandings of Tibetan Buddhist conceptions of death. First translated into English in 1927, subsequent translations have read it according to a number of interpretive frameworks. This paper examines two recent films that take The Tibetan Book of the Dead as their inspiration: Bruce Joel Rubin’s Jacob’s Ladder (1990) and Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void (2009). Neither of these films overtly claim to be depicting The Tibetan Book of the Dead, but the directors of both have acknowledged that the text was an influence on their films, and both are undeniably about the moment of death and what follows. The analysis begins with the question of how, and to what degree, each of the films departs from the meaning and purpose of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, before moving on to examine the reasons, both practical and ideological, for these changes. Buddhist writer Bruce Joel Rubin wrote a film that sought to depict the death experience from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, but ultimately audience expectation and studio pressure transformed the film into a story at odds with Tibetan Buddhism. Gaspar Noé wrote and directed a film that is based on a secular worldview, yet can be seen to be largely consistent with a Tibetan Buddhist reading. Finally, I consider if, and to what extent, these films function to express or cultivate an experiential engagement with Tibetan Buddhist truths and realization, concluding that Jacob’s Ladder does not, while Enter the Void largely succeeds, despite the intention of its creator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practicing Buddhism through Film)
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Open AccessArticle Their Fault, Not Mine: Religious Commitment, Theological Conservatism, and Americans’ Retrospective Reasons for Divorce
Religions 2018, 9(8), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080238
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
How does religion influence the ways divorcées frame their divorce experience? Building on Mills’s “vocabularies of motive” concept, I theorize that Americans who are more religious or affiliated with a conservative Protestant tradition will be more likely to emphasize their former spouse’s role
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How does religion influence the ways divorcées frame their divorce experience? Building on Mills’s “vocabularies of motive” concept, I theorize that Americans who are more religious or affiliated with a conservative Protestant tradition will be more likely to emphasize their former spouse’s role in the divorce while minimizing their own. Data are taken from a large, representative sample of divorced Americans in the 2014 Relationships in America survey. Analyses affirm that divorced Americans who attend worship services more frequently are more likely to say that their former spouse wanted the divorce more than they did. Looking at 17 specific reasons for divorce, those who feel religion is more important to them are consistently more likely to select reasons that put blame on their former spouse or circumstances, while frequent attendees are less likely to cite their own behaviors or intentions. Though less consistent, notable patterns also emerged for conservative Protestants. Given the stigma against divorce in many religious communities, I argue that divorcées in such communities likely feel internal pressure to account for their divorce in ways that deflect blame. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Family Life)
Open AccessArticle Jews in Church: Rethinking Jewish-Christian Relations in Nineteenth-Century America
Religions 2018, 9(8), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080237
Received: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Studies of Jewish-Christian relations in the nineteenth century have largely centered on anti-Semitism, missionary endeavors, and processes of Protestantization. In this literature, Jews and Judaism are presented as radically separate from Christians and Christianity, which threaten them, either by reinforcing their difference or
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Studies of Jewish-Christian relations in the nineteenth century have largely centered on anti-Semitism, missionary endeavors, and processes of Protestantization. In this literature, Jews and Judaism are presented as radically separate from Christians and Christianity, which threaten them, either by reinforcing their difference or by diminishing it, whether as a deliberate project or as an unconscious outcome of pressure or attraction. And yet, Jews and Christians interacted with one another’s religious traditions not only through literature and discussion, but also within worship spaces. This paper will focus on the practice of churchgoing by Jewish individuals, with some attention to Christian synagogue-going. Most Jews went to church because of curiosity, sociability, or experimentation. Within churches, they became familiar with their neighbors and with Christian beliefs but also further clarified and even strengthened their own understandings and identities. For Jews, as for other Americans, the relationship between identification and spatial presence, belief and knowledge, worship and entertainment, were complicated and religious boundaries often unclear. The forgotten practice of Jewish churchgoing sheds light on the intimacies and complexities of Jewish-Christian relations in American history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Jewish Experience in America)
Open AccessArticle Islam in the Syrian War: Spotting the Various Dimensions of Religion in Conflict
Religions 2018, 9(8), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080236
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Religion has been a determining factor in the recent Syrian war since its beginnings, as a prominent identity marker as well as a motivational aspect on the path of jihad. This paper seeks to contribute to a more thorough understanding of the conflict
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Religion has been a determining factor in the recent Syrian war since its beginnings, as a prominent identity marker as well as a motivational aspect on the path of jihad. This paper seeks to contribute to a more thorough understanding of the conflict dynamics in Syria by adequately describing the role of religion in the war. Its comprehensive approach takes into account various ontological manifestations of religion: as an identity, a discourse, in its doctrinal aspect as a set of teachings, and in its significance for the individual believer. In doing so, the paper will focus on Sunni Islam as the focal point of the most crucial intersections of religion and conflict in Syria. Finally, religion will be described as a resource for reconciliation in Syria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Muslim Ethics in the Global Medina)
Open AccessArticle A Prelude to Civil War: The Religious Nonprofit Sector as a Civil Means of Debate over Slavery, Christian Higher Education, and Religious Philanthropy in the Stone-Campbell Movement
Religions 2018, 9(8), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080235
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 26 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines the role of Christian higher education and religious philanthropy in the debate over slavery prior to the Civil War. Competing religious views regarding slavery led to the founding of Indiana’s abolitionist Butler University. The school’s decision to brazenly support the
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This paper examines the role of Christian higher education and religious philanthropy in the debate over slavery prior to the Civil War. Competing religious views regarding slavery led to the founding of Indiana’s abolitionist Butler University. The school’s decision to brazenly support the cause of abolition directly conflicted with the leadership of The Disciples of Christ and mired the Indianapolis school in one of the most impassioned debates about the role of religious practice in civic life in the nineteenth century. In this case, the religious nonprofit sector functioned as battlefield upon which competing forces engaged in a form of civil conflict. An examination of the role of Butler University’s philanthropic action provides fresh insight into the debate over slavery brewing on the eve of Civil War and the way individuals use philanthropic institutions, especially religious institutions, as a means to assert their values within society. Research for this study has employed primary archival research of documents held at Butler University, Christian Theological Seminary, and The Indiana Historical Society. The author has consulted period specific newspapers, journals, and handwritten documents. The author has also employed a host of secondary resources ranging from academic journals and religious histories to personal interviews and literature on the State of Indiana. Full article
Open AccessArticle “We Are Doing Everything That Our Resources Will Allow”: The Black Church and Foundation Philanthropy, 1959–1979
Religions 2018, 9(8), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080234
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 1 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
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Abstract
Contemporary wealth inequality has prompted a renewed and increased interest in the role that external funding plays in civil society. While observers frequently consider how big philanthropy influences education, politics, and social services, few historical treatments of the postwar era have addressed the
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Contemporary wealth inequality has prompted a renewed and increased interest in the role that external funding plays in civil society. While observers frequently consider how big philanthropy influences education, politics, and social services, few historical treatments of the postwar era have addressed the interaction between foundation philanthropy and American religion. Black Christianity stands as one clear example of this oversight. Numerous studies of black life in the twentieth-century have engaged the tensions between internal prerogatives and external influences without applying those questions to black churches. This article begins that exploration by focusing on Lilly Endowment, Inc.—the most consistent twentieth-century source of foundation support for religion—and analyzing its interactions with a series of summer seminars for black ministers hosted at Virginia Union University. Though contextual changes in the latter twentieth century altered the nature of Lilly Endowment’s relationship with its recipients, two decades of collaboration reveal how black Christians exerted substantial influence over the trajectory of Lilly Endowment’s growing program in religious giving. Full article
Open AccessArticle Holy Mothers in the Vietnamese Diaspora: Refugees, Community, and Nation
Religions 2018, 9(8), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080233
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
Holy mothers, specifically the Vietnamese-looking Our Lady of Lavang and Caodai Mother Goddess, are the crucibles of faith for many Vietnamese Catholics and Caodaists. Based on ethnographic data collected in California, which has the largest overseas Vietnamese population, I argue that Vietnamese refugees
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Holy mothers, specifically the Vietnamese-looking Our Lady of Lavang and Caodai Mother Goddess, are the crucibles of faith for many Vietnamese Catholics and Caodaists. Based on ethnographic data collected in California, which has the largest overseas Vietnamese population, I argue that Vietnamese refugees and their US-reared descendants have been able to re-centralize their fragmented communities through the innovative adaptation of holy mother worship. In particular, Vietnamese Catholics in the US have transformed the European image of Our Lady of Lavang into a Vietnamese woman and exported it to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, Vietnamese American Caodaists have revived traditional religious rituals for the Caodai Mother Goddess which were repressed and prohibited for many years under communism in Vietnam. Through their shared devotion to holy mothers, these Vietnamese American faithful have also rebuilt relations with co-ethnic co-religionists living throughout the world. For both the Vietnamese Catholic and Caodai groups, holy mothers have emerged as emblems of their deterritorialized nation in the diaspora. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Dōgen and the Feminine Presence: Taking a Fresh Look into His Sermons and Other Writings
Religions 2018, 9(8), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080232
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
Dōgen’s gender-egalitarian stance on women to attain awakening in their zazen practice is well known. At the same time, a nagging suspicion lingers on among some scholars that he grew increasingly misogynistic in his old age. In this present study, which focuses on
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Dōgen’s gender-egalitarian stance on women to attain awakening in their zazen practice is well known. At the same time, a nagging suspicion lingers on among some scholars that he grew increasingly misogynistic in his old age. In this present study, which focuses on Dōgen’s sermons compiled in the Record of Eihei (Eihei kōroku), the Shōbōgenzō, and other writings related to women, we find that even after Dōgen moved to Eiheiji, his stance on women remained consistent. Not only did he readily respond to his female disciples’ requests to give special sermons in memory of their parents, but also positively saw women’s presence in the development of the Buddhist tradition. Through this study it also becomes clear that Dōgen came to embrace a more flexible view on filial piety in his later years, as he deepened his reflection on this matter—the sense of gratitude one feels for one’s parents is concomitant with nurturing one’s compassion. The aspect of compassion that sustained Dōgen’s life of teaching begins to loom large. It was his Chinese master Nyojō (Rujing) who emphasized compassion as the pillar of the zazen practice. Two sermons Dōgen delivered on the anniversary of his father’s death, moreover, have given the scholars new information concerning his parentage. The focus on the aspect of "feminine presence” in Dōgen inadvertently (or naturally?) leads to the heart of Dōgen’s own identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Buddhism)
Open AccessEditorial Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific—Editor’s Introduction
Religions 2018, 9(8), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080231
Received: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle Intercultural Struggle and the Targeting of Noncombatants: The Case of the Islamic State
Religions 2018, 9(8), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080230
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
The prohibition against targeting noncombatants is a long-held commitment in both Muslim and Western military ethics. Nevertheless, some militant Muslim groups, and particularly the Islamic State, have created ever-widening space for attacking those traditionally considered immune from targeting in military operations. Our essay
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The prohibition against targeting noncombatants is a long-held commitment in both Muslim and Western military ethics. Nevertheless, some militant Muslim groups, and particularly the Islamic State, have created ever-widening space for attacking those traditionally considered immune from targeting in military operations. Our essay uses two theoretical apparatuses developed in social psychology—cultural cognition and moral foundations theory—to explain how certain aspects of post-9/11 tactics on the part of the United States and its allies have contributed to this phenomenon. We also use these same tools to show that similar dynamics work to contribute to the rightwing backlash against Muslims in the United States. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Muslim Ethics in the Global Medina)
Open AccessArticle Clemency, A Neglected Aspect of Early Christian Philanthropy
Religions 2018, 9(8), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080229
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 27 June 2018 / Published: 26 July 2018
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Abstract
In classical and early Christian usage the concept of philanthropia (philanthropy) rarely just meant “love for one’s fellow human beings” or generosity towards people whom one did not personally know. Classicists have pointed out that in both of these ancient traditions it was
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In classical and early Christian usage the concept of philanthropia (philanthropy) rarely just meant “love for one’s fellow human beings” or generosity towards people whom one did not personally know. Classicists have pointed out that in both of these ancient traditions it was most synonymous with the Latin term clementia. As such, it had a concessive facet and a universalizing force: showing kindness to humans, even if doing so went against one’s natural or justified reluctance; being merciful, despite the fact that beneficiaries might not seem worthy of it. These observations have not informed prior scholarship on early Christian philanthropy. Based on a comprehensive survey of how the word philanthropia is used in church histories, hagiographies, monastic literature and church sermons written in the Greek language from the fourth to seventh centuries, this paper argues that the classical notion of philanthropy as clemency prevailed among Christian authors throughout late antiquity, and was fundamentally important in the early Christian promotion of universal almsgiving. Full article
Open AccessArticle Blindness, Blinking and Boredom: Seeing and Being in Buddhism and Film
Religions 2018, 9(8), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080228
Received: 7 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
This essay takes up a paradoxical problem articulated by Buddhist philosopher, Nishitani Keiji: the eye does not see the eye itself. It argues that film has a therapeutic function by virtue of its ability to draw our attention to this precise aspect of
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This essay takes up a paradoxical problem articulated by Buddhist philosopher, Nishitani Keiji: the eye does not see the eye itself. It argues that film has a therapeutic function by virtue of its ability to draw our attention to this precise aspect of our existential situation; namely, that we alternate between being in our experience and perceiving ourselves in our experience. Or, to borrow Nishitani’s terms, we alternate between the act of seeing and the quest to see the eye itself. The essay explores this theme with reference to specific elements of formal cinematic language. Rather than focus on a particular film or set of films for analysis, we focus instead on how the grammar of cinematic language draws our attention to aspects of our existential situation that ordinarily escape our awareness. Insofar as this may also be a goal of Buddhist practice—that is, to expand one’s ability to perceive reality for what it is, beginning with one’s own experience of it—this essay highlights a few of the salient ways that perennial aspects of the human condition have been articulated through the languages of both Buddhism and film. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practicing Buddhism through Film)
Open AccessArticle Quaker Prophetic Language in the Seventeenth Century: A Cross-Disciplinary Case Study
Religions 2018, 9(8), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080227
Received: 10 July 2018 / Revised: 21 July 2018 / Accepted: 22 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper explores three themes: (i) a short, empirical research account of the linguistic realization of seventeenth-century Quaker prophecy using digital corpus-based tools; (ii) a practical description of how those tools can be used in interdisciplinary research such as the prophecy study; and
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This paper explores three themes: (i) a short, empirical research account of the linguistic realization of seventeenth-century Quaker prophecy using digital corpus-based tools; (ii) a practical description of how those tools can be used in interdisciplinary research such as the prophecy study; and (iii) a reflective section that considers the advantages, potential richness but also challenges of embarking on an integrated piece of research that straddles established academic disciplines. The ‘prophecy’ analysis comments on the nature of prophecy from a linguistic perspective. It includes positive and negative connotations observed in the data contrasted with non-Quaker texts (including the Bible), and also how Quaker prophetic style changed during the second half of the seventeenth century. The secondary purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the value of departing from traditional, well-established approaches in a discipline such as religion. Quaker studies scholars are familiar with the exercise of grappling with unfamiliar approaches, concepts and specialist vocabulary in order to learn about new insights that they might not otherwise encounter. The present quantitative-based study of Quaker prophesying is a fresh attempt to bring new life to this aspect of historical Quaker writings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Quaker Studies)
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Open AccessArticle Illicit Money in Contemporary Islamic Ethics
Religions 2018, 9(8), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080226
Received: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 July 2018 / Published: 25 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper discusses the question of the acquisition and the use of illicit money, māl ḥarām from the perspective of Islamic ethics. It first addresses five fatwas by Markaz al-fatwā on different cases of illicit money. Subsequently, the paper engages in an ethical
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This paper discusses the question of the acquisition and the use of illicit money, māl ḥarām from the perspective of Islamic ethics. It first addresses five fatwas by Markaz al-fatwā on different cases of illicit money. Subsequently, the paper engages in an ethical analysis of the responses and the arguments that Markaz al-fatwā provides to justify certain positions on the issue of illicit money. The discussion ends with an investigation of the difficulties of legalistic Islamic ethics in adapting to the Western contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Muslim Ethics in the Global Medina)
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