Religions2015, 6(2), 527-542; doi:10.3390/rel6020527 - published 20 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The phenomenon of fitnah could be traced throughout history in different regions and cultures. The Arab spring events of 2011–2012 are not an exception in this context. The next outburst of protest activity occurred where it was not expected in the near future—in Ukraine. If we compare the events in the Arab countries in 2011 and Ukraine in 2013–2014, it can be concluded that in essence they fit the characteristics of fitnah very well, which are attributed to it by the Arabic political culture. In both cases, the fitnah acquired permanent character turning into anarchy and chaos (“fouda”). The government/the ruling power found itself unprepared for such manifestations of fitnah and miscalculated the threat posed by the protesters. From our perspective, in the modern world this phenomenon can be explained by the rapid development of Internet technologies that gives the opposition an opportunity to prepare a protest virtually, in an area not totally controlled by the government.
Religions2015, 6(2), 499-526; doi:10.3390/rel6020499 - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: While the beneficial effects on mental health of spirituality and creativity as separate entities have been well documented, little attention has been given to the interactive effect of the two constructs in coping. Recently, the theory of transformative coping and associated Transformative Coping Modelhave been developed and examined from both theoretical and quantitative perspectives. To extend this work, the present study critically examined the theory of transformative coping and associated Transformative Coping Model from a qualitative perspective. Ten interviews were conducted among Northern Irish and Irish artists, contemplative prayer group members, and mental health service users. Data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The results showed that the majority of participants had experienced stress and trauma, and have suffered mental ill-health as a consequence. Most defined themselves as both creative and spiritual, and resorted to a spiritual attitude along with creative expression in order to cope with traumatic events and ongoing stressful situations. Most participants believed that their creativity was rooted in their spirituality and that the application of both helped them to transform negative emotional states into positive ones. This, in turn, gave them increased resilience to and a different perspective of stressful events, which aided and improved their coping skills throughout the lifespan.
Religions2015, 6(2), 476-498; doi:10.3390/rel6020476 - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Patient care frequently focuses on physical aspects of disease management, with variable attention given to spiritual needs. And yet, patients indicate that spiritual suffering adds to distress associated with illness. Spirituality, broadly defined as that which gives meaning and purpose to a person’s life and connectedness to the significant or sacred, often becomes a central issue for patients. Growing evidence demonstrates that spirituality is important in patient care. Yet healthcare professionals (HCPs) do not always feel prepared to engage with patients about spiritual issues. In this project, HCPs attended an educational session focused on using the FICA Spiritual History Tool to integrate spirituality into patient care. Later, they incorporated the tool when caring for patients participating in the study. This research (1) explored the value of including spiritual history taking in clinical practice; (2) identified facilitators and barriers to incorporating spirituality into person-centred care; and (3) determined ways in which HCPs can effectively utilize spiritual history taking. Data were collected using focus groups and chart reviews. Findings indicate positive impacts at organizational, clinical/unit, professional/personal and patient levels when HCPs include spirituality in patient care. Recommendations are offered.
Religions2015, 6(2), 451-475; doi:10.3390/rel6020451 - published 16 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article employs a historical analysis of the religious composition of the pro-life movement to explain why the partisan identity of the movement shifted from the left to the right between the late 1960s and the 1980s. Many of the Catholics who formed the first anti-abortion organizations in the late 1960s were liberal Democrats who viewed their campaign to save the unborn as a rights-based movement that was fully in keeping with the principles of New Deal and Great Society liberalism, but when evangelical Protestants joined the movement in the late 1970s, they reframed the pro-life cause as a politically conservative campaign linked not to the ideology of human rights but to the politics of moral order and “family values.” This article explains why the Catholic effort to build a pro-life coalition of liberal Democrats failed after Roe v. Wade, why evangelicals became interested in the antiabortion movement, and why the evangelicals succeeded in their effort to rebrand the pro-life campaign as a conservative cause.
Religions2015, 6(2), 434-450; doi:10.3390/rel6020434 - published 13 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This essay reads Will Herberg’s Protestant-Catholic-Jew alongside Robert Bellah’s “Civil Religion in America” to illuminate how mid-century thinkers constructed, rather than merely observed, a vision of, and for, American religion. Placing Herberg in direct conversation with Bellah illuminates why Herberg’s religious triptych depiction of America endured while his argument for an “American Way of Life”—the prototype for Bellah’s widely accepted idea of civil religion—flailed. Although Herberg’s “American Way of Life” and Bellah’s “Civil Religion” resemble one another as systems built on but distinct from faith traditions, they emerged from intellectual struggles with two distinct issues. Herberg’s work stemmed from the challenges wrought by ethnic and religious diversity in America, while Bellah wrote out of frustration with Cold War conformity. Both men used civil religion to critique American complacency, but Herberg agonized over trite formulations of faith while Bellah derided uncritical affirmations of patriotism. Bellah’s civil religion co-existed with and, more importantly, contained Herberg’s “Protestant-Catholic-Jew” triad and obscured the American Way of Life. In an increasingly diverse and divisive America, Bellah’s civil religion provided a more optimistic template for national self-critique, even as Herberg’s American Way of Life more accurately described the limits of national self-understanding.
Religions2015, 6(2), 419-433; doi:10.3390/rel6020419 - published 9 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A long-standing debate among moral philosophers centers on the question of whether ignorance is always at the root of moral wrongdoing, or whether, in certain cases, wrongdoing stems from something else—namely akrasia. This paper is a discussion of how undergraduate core curriculum teachers can incorporate Augustine’s work into this debate. I begin by briefly reconstructing Socrates’ and Aristotle’s accounts of wrongdoing, and then I sketch an Augustinian approach to the issue. Socrates contends that ignorance is the fundamental source of all wrongdoing; hence, akrasia is illusory. Though Aristotle’s view can seem more roundabout than Socrates’, it, too, is plausibly interpreted as entailing that robust, open-eyed akrasia is impossible. For Augustine, prior to receiving the illumination that comes with God’s grace, an individual’s sinfulness can be characterized as being the result of ignorance concerning the proper focus of one’s love. However, after receiving this illuminating grace, sinful action can be characterized as an instance of akrasia.