Religions2015, 6(1), 82-91; doi:10.3390/rel6010082 (registering DOI) - published 30 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Book I of Augustine’s work On Free Choice (De Libero Arbitrio) offers a helpful introduction to some of the most important themes of political philosophy. The paper makes a case for teaching this text in introductory courses on political thought, theology of social life, and similar topics, alongside or even in place of the more usually assigned excerpts from City of God. The text is written as a dialogue in which Augustine seeks to introduce a student of his to reflection on the ways in which our moral outlook is profoundly shaped by our political citizenship. It invites all of us, whether Christian or non-Christian citizens, to enter into the dialogue ourselves as Augustine’s students and so to reflect on the moral significance of our own citizenship.
Religions2015, 6(1), 58-81; doi:10.3390/rel6010058 - published 27 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: There is growing interest in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and other secular, spiritual, and religious frameworks of long-term addiction recovery. The present paper explores the varieties of spiritual experience within A.A., with particular reference to the growth of a wing of recovery spirituality promoted within A.A. It is suggested that the essence of secular spirituality is reflected in the experience of beyond (horizontal and vertical transcendence) and between (connection and mutuality) and in six facets of spirituality (Release, Gratitude, Humility, Tolerance, Forgiveness, and a Sense of Being-at-home) shared across religious, spiritual, and secular pathways of addiction recovery. The growing varieties of A.A. spirituality (spanning the “Christianizers” and “Seculizers”) reflect A.A.’s adaptation to the larger diversification of religious experience and the growing secularization of spirituality across the cultural contexts within which A.A. is nested.
Religions2015, 6(1), 42-57; doi:10.3390/rel6010042 - published 16 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Since the beginning of his mandate, Pope Francis has used the concept of periphery as a metaphor of social marginality. However, the notion of periphery also seems to target the asymmetries generated by the liberal version of globalization. Pope Francis’ narrative has to be read in the broader context of the relation between religions and globalization. That interaction is usually conceptualized in terms of religions capitalizing on global “vectors”, such as new information and communication technologies, processes of political and institutional integration, shared cultural patterns, transnational phenomena and organizations. An alternative way to analyze the role of religions consists in considering them as agencies defending the perspective of a universal community, putting into question the national political boundaries and contesting the existing global order. Understood in those terms, the concept of periphery reveals to be a powerful rhetoric device, insofar as it suggests that it is possible to get a wider perspective of the current state of the world looking form the edge rather than from the center.
Religions2015, 6(1), 24-39; doi:10.3390/rel6010024 - published 8 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In 1965, Gus Dinizulu, an African American percussionist, traveled to Ghana with the dance company he was leading. There, he took the trip as an opportunity to explore his African roots and met Nana Oparebea, the Ghanaian chief-priestess of the Akonedi Shrine, one of the most famous shrine houses north of Accra. At the Akonedi Shrine, Nana Oparebea performed for Dinizulu a divination, during which she explained that his enslaved ancestors were parts of the Akan people of Ghana and gave him the mission to search for other African Americans who, like him, were of Ghanaian ancestries. She also offered him a set of altars, containing the spiritual forces of the deities revered in the Akonedi Shrine and asked him to import in the United States what was then labelled the Akan religion. Based on research led both in Ghana and in the United States, the aim of this paper will be to describe the process of diffusion, importation, transnationalization and indigenization of the Akan religion between West Africa and the East Coast of the United States. Focusing on ethnographic data, we will argue that this process can only be understood if it is placed in the context of African American identity formations. Therefore, we will show how in the context of globalization, religion and identity constructions are walking hand-in-hand, creating new discourses on hybridity and authenticity.
Religions2015, 6(1), 14-23; doi:10.3390/rel6010014 - published 29 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Spiritual well-being is viewed as an essential component of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in the modernized biopsychosocial-spiritual model of health. Understanding spiritual well-being should lead to better treatment plans from the patients’ point of view, and improved patient adherence. There are numerous studies of traditional HRQOL, physical, mental, and social well-being; however, studies of spiritual well-being in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients are limited. Thus, this study compared spiritual well-being of chronic hemodialysis patients and pre-dialysis CKD patients. A total of 31 chronic hemodialysis and 63 pre-dialysis CKD patients were asked for consent and then interviewed for spiritual well-being using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–Spiritual Well-Being (FACIT-Sp). Analysis of covariance was applied to compare FACIT-Sp scores between pre-dialysis CKD and chronic hemodialysis groups that were adjusted by patient characteristics. The FACIT-Sp scores of pre-dialysis CKD patients were non-significantly greater than those of chronic hemodialysis patients after adjustment for gender, age, and marital status. However, all FACIT-Sp scores of males were significantly lower than those of females [FACIT Meaning −1.59 (p = 0.024), FACIT Peace −2.37 (p = 0.004), FACIT Faith −2.87 (p = 0.001), FACIT Total Score −6.83 (p = 0.001)]. The spiritual well-being did not significantly differ by stages of chronic kidney disease; however, patient gender was associated with spiritual well-being instead. To improve spiritual well-being, researchers should consider patient gender as a significant factor.