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Religions, Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2019) – 50 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In the context of increasing ethnic and religious diversity, Australia’s future prosperity may depend partly on the ability to maintain social cohesion. Drawing on the framework developed by the Scanlon Foundation Social Cohesion Research Program, this study examines data from two surveys conducted by NCLS Research to compare levels of social cohesion among Australian churchgoers and among the general population. Social cohesion metrics were stronger among churchgoers than the wider population across the domains of belonging, social justice, civic participation, acceptance of others and worth. The findings suggest that Christian groups play a positive role in the promotion of social cohesion by building social capital, but that these groups are unlikely to be a significant source of agitation to prevent some of the greatest contemporary threats to social cohesion. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Sculptures and Accessories: Domestic Piety in the Norwegian Parish around 1300
Religions 2019, 10(11), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110640 - 19 Nov 2019
Viewed by 786
Abstract
Eagerly venerated and able to perform miracles, medieval relics and religious artefacts in the Latin West would occasionally also be subject to sensorial and tactile devotional practices. Evidenced by various reports, artefacts were grasped and stroked, kissed and tasted, carried and pulled. For [...] Read more.
Eagerly venerated and able to perform miracles, medieval relics and religious artefacts in the Latin West would occasionally also be subject to sensorial and tactile devotional practices. Evidenced by various reports, artefacts were grasped and stroked, kissed and tasted, carried and pulled. For medieval Norway, however, there is very little documentary and/or physical evidence of such sensorial engagements with religious artefacts. Nevertheless, two church inventories for the parish churches in Hålandsdalen (1306) and Ylmheim (1321/1323) offer a small glimpse of what may have been a semi-domestic devotional practice related to sculpture, namely the embellishing of wooden sculptures in parish churches with silver bracelets and silver brooches. According to wills from England and the continent, jewellery was a common material gift donated to parishes by women. Such a practice is likely to have been taking place in Norway, too, yet the lack of coherent source material complicate the matter. Nonetheless, using a few preserved objects and archaeological finds as well as medieval sermons, homiletic texts and events recorded in Old Norse sagas, this article teases out more of the significances of the silver items mentioned in the two inventories by exploring the interfaces between devotional acts, decorative needs, and possibly gendered experiences, as well as object itineraries between the domestic and the religious space. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Presence and Absence: Constructions of Gender in Dasam Granth Exegesis
Religions 2019, 10(11), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110639 - 19 Nov 2019
Viewed by 779
Abstract
Controversy has swirled round the writings attributed to Guru Gobind Singh in the Dasam Granth, for not all Sikhs agree that he composed the entire text. Disputes about the Dasam Granth and its status have addressed the fact that many of the text’s [...] Read more.
Controversy has swirled round the writings attributed to Guru Gobind Singh in the Dasam Granth, for not all Sikhs agree that he composed the entire text. Disputes about the Dasam Granth and its status have addressed the fact that many of the text’s compositions are concerned with gender with respect to the nature of both divinity and humans, thus playing a key role in the ongoing construction of notions of gender in Sikhism. Female voices, however, have been largely absent from this discourse despite the presence of two key gender-related themes—the figure of the goddess/sword [bhagautī], a topic throughout the text, and the nature of women [triyā caritra], the subject of the longest composition in the Dasam Granth. Through analysis of the intersection of the presence of goddesses and women but the relative absence of female voices in Dasam Granth exegesis, this paper demonstrates that the ongoing reception of the Dasam Granth has been a site for both proclaiming idealized constructions of gender equality, but also instantiating constructions of femininity that run counter to this ideal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Gender and Sikh traditions)
Open AccessArticle
An Invitation to Suffer: Evangelicals and Sports Ministry in the U.S.
Religions 2019, 10(11), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110638 - 19 Nov 2019
Viewed by 620
Abstract
When American evangelicals sought to use the tools of sport for religious outreach in the mid-twentieth century, they began to wonder if the essential features of sport—competition and hierarchy—conflicted with their approach to salvation. For most evangelical Christians, salvation is an option for [...] Read more.
When American evangelicals sought to use the tools of sport for religious outreach in the mid-twentieth century, they began to wonder if the essential features of sport—competition and hierarchy—conflicted with their approach to salvation. For most evangelical Christians, salvation is an option for every human and each person must make an individual decision to accept or reject the salvific power of Jesus Christ. This is a worldview that relies heavily on separating believers from non-believers, but, importantly, the means of distinction is individual choice. There is not a competitive aspect to this framework; salvation is theoretically available for all. This article traces sports ministry’s struggle over time to unite the competitive world of sport with their vision of salvation. By illuminating different approaches to the ethical challenge of uniting evangelicalism and sport, we can see that sports ministry is a field of complexity that invites believers to grapple with intense theological dilemmas without offering easy solutions. I argue that the struggle to reconcile sport and evangelical theology can be meaningful religious work. I will show that the kinds of suffering that athletic competition entails can align with the evangelical theodicy that God uses suffering to communicate with humans. It may be this feature of sport, the opportunity to experience meaningful suffering, that continues to motivate evangelicals to attempt to unite their religion with sport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Sports in North America)
Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Different Measures of Religiousness and Spirituality: Implications for Neurotheological Research
Religions 2019, 10(11), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110637 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 601
Abstract
The neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual phenomena requires the development of methodologies that can target both the biological as well as the subjective dimensions of such phenomena. The purpose of the current study was to compare various subjective questionnaires evaluating neuropsychological dimensions [...] Read more.
The neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual phenomena requires the development of methodologies that can target both the biological as well as the subjective dimensions of such phenomena. The purpose of the current study was to compare various subjective questionnaires evaluating neuropsychological dimensions of religiosity. Many scales and questionnaires have been developed over the years, but they have rarely been compared to each other. As part of an online survey of peoples’ spiritual experiences, we had individuals complete several questionnaires including the Quest Scale, the Religiousness Measure, the INSPIRIT, the Death Anxiety Measure, and the Intrinsic Motivation Scale. Some of these scales also have subcomponents which can be evaluated separately. We compared these scales to each other, and also to a variety of demographic variables such as age, gender, religion, and socioeconomic status. Importantly, these scales have neurological correlates that can be the targets of future studies in the field of neurotheology. The evaluation of such qualitative data has important implications for methodological challenges in future neurotheological research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroscience and Religion)
Open AccessArticle
The Anuvrat Movement: A Case Study of Jain-inspired Ethical and Eco-conscious Living
Religions 2019, 10(11), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110636 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 808
Abstract
From proclaiming the equality of all life forms to the stringent emphasis placed upon nonviolent behavior (ahimsa), and once more to the pronounced intention for limiting one’s possessions (aparigraha), Jainism has often been pointed to for its admirably ecofriendly [...] Read more.
From proclaiming the equality of all life forms to the stringent emphasis placed upon nonviolent behavior (ahimsa), and once more to the pronounced intention for limiting one’s possessions (aparigraha), Jainism has often been pointed to for its admirably ecofriendly example. Incorporating some of this eco-friendliness into its design for ethical vow taking, the Jain-inspired Anuvrat Movement, founded in 1949 by Acharya Sri Tulsi, today offers some arguably vital relevance for the urgent modern task to live eco-consciously. While such relevance includes, most explicitly, Anuvrat’s final vow (vow eleven) which calls for practitioners to “refrain from such acts as are likely to cause pollution and harm the environment,” and to avoid the “cutting down of trees” and the “wasting of water,”1 it also includes several of Anuvrat’s other vows as well, which carry significance on a more implicit level. Hence, presenting some of the basic history and philosophy behind Anuvrat, this article also analyzes its potential for ensuring ethical (and eco-conscious) behavior via its hallmark mechanism of vow restriction—a modality of arguably potent strategic and motivational value. Altogether, while first providing a brief inventory of Jain ecological practice in general, the article will then turn its attention to Anuvrat, arguing that when it comes to the modern eco-conscious imperative to “live simply so that others may simply live” (as the popular adage has it), there is indeed much that Anuvrat has to offer. Full article
Open AccessArticle
French Salafists’ Economic Ethics: Between Election and New Forms of Politicization
Religions 2019, 10(11), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110635 - 18 Nov 2019
Viewed by 607
Abstract
This article sheds light on the way in which activities such as the production and consumption of wealth are conceptualized, interpreted and put into practice within quietist Salafist communities in France. Unlike their jihadi and politicized counterparts, quietist Salafis in lands where Islam [...] Read more.
This article sheds light on the way in which activities such as the production and consumption of wealth are conceptualized, interpreted and put into practice within quietist Salafist communities in France. Unlike their jihadi and politicized counterparts, quietist Salafis in lands where Islam is the minority religion are required to emigrate to where Islam is majoritarian. As this article highlights, however, migrating is not necessarily a physical process. What is interesting to underline is that most French Salafists do not perform the Hijra, and favor, for instance, economic strategies allowing them to break with the rest of French society and live in ‘isolation’ rather than leaving France for good. Although framed as a religious duty, physical migration has been rare among French Salafist communities, whereas other forms of social rupture are emerging. The article explores in detail such economic strategies on the basis of the acceptance of neo-liberal principles allowing for what one can call an internal process of migration/isolation from French society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Salafism in the West)
Open AccessReview
Whither Neurotheology?
Religions 2019, 10(11), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110634 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 714
Abstract
Human culture has modernized at a much faster pace than has theology and religion. We are at the point where many moderns apparently think that religion is losing relevance. Satisfying the need for relevance and ecumenical harmony requires more reasoned and mature approaches [...] Read more.
Human culture has modernized at a much faster pace than has theology and religion. We are at the point where many moderns apparently think that religion is losing relevance. Satisfying the need for relevance and ecumenical harmony requires more reasoned and mature approaches to religion. Science is one of those secular activities that seems to undermine religious faith for many people. Unlike the sciences that give us the Big Bang, relativity, quantum mechanics, and theories of evolution, neuroscience is the one science that applies in everyday life toward developing a faith that promotes nurturing of self and others. Modern neuroscience and the mental health understanding that it creates can contribute to satisfying this need. Neuroscience and religion have numerous shared areas of concern, and each worldview can and should inform and enrich the other. Neuroscience may help us understand why we believe certain religious ideas and not others. It helps to explain our behavior and might even help us live more righteous and fulfilled lives. Religion can show neuroscientists areas of religious debate that scientific research might help resolve. New educational initiatives at all levels (secondary, seminary, and secular college) can provide a way to integrate neuroscience and religion and lead to religious perspectives that are more reasoned, mature, satisfying, and beneficial at both individual and social levels. Neurotheology is an emerging academic discipline that seems to focus on integrating neuroscience and theology. About only 10 years old, neurotheology has not yet consolidated its definition, ideology, purpose, or scholarly or applied strategies. Acceptance by the scholarly community is problematic. This manuscript raises the question of whether neurotheology will survive as a viable discipline and, if so, what form that could take. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroscience and Religion)
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Open AccessArticle
Reviving the Dead: A Kierkegaardian Turn from the Self-Positing to the Theological Self
Religions 2019, 10(11), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110633 - 15 Nov 2019
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Kierkegaard scholars have traditionally chosen to read Kierkegaard as either a theologian or a philosopher. As a result, his corpus is bifurcated as theologians and philosophers lean on their preferred texts. Beneath this practice is an underlying assumption that philosophy and theology “make [...] Read more.
Kierkegaard scholars have traditionally chosen to read Kierkegaard as either a theologian or a philosopher. As a result, his corpus is bifurcated as theologians and philosophers lean on their preferred texts. Beneath this practice is an underlying assumption that philosophy and theology “make two,” or should be kept in separate corners. However, a contemporary movement in philosophy known as New Phenomenology has challenged this dualistic maxim and instead finds it appropriate for phenomenology to draw from a theological archive. This article suggests that the possibilities New Phenomenology makes available help us retroactively better understand Kierkegaard’s text, Sickness unto Death. Fictional author, Anti-Climacus uses theology strategically to open up J. G. Fichte’s ontological monism and to move constructively beyond the dead end of his philosophy. Sickness unto Death effectively demonstrates New Phenomenologist, Emmanuel Falque’s claim that the more we theologize, the better we philosophize. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kierkegaard and Theology)
Open AccessArticle
Religion’s Ambivalent Relation with Violence: From Scott Appleby to Emmanuel Levinas
by
Religions 2019, 10(11), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110632 - 15 Nov 2019
Viewed by 541
Abstract
The recent debate on the relation between certain religious traditions and violence has offered us multiple perspectives on this issue. Some scholars accept the conflictual image of religion in the contemporary time projected by the media, seeking the reason for religion’s supposedly violent [...] Read more.
The recent debate on the relation between certain religious traditions and violence has offered us multiple perspectives on this issue. Some scholars accept the conflictual image of religion in the contemporary time projected by the media, seeking the reason for religion’s supposedly violent nature. Some scholars have completely rejected the association between violence and religion, defending religion against what they see as a myth. Faced with difficulty reaching any consensus, R. Scott Appleby addresses the complexity of the phenomenon through the notion of ambivalence. His approach accommodates the revolutionary moments of religion and offers us a comprehensive perspective on the violence used by religious actors. In this paper, however, I will argue that Appleby fails to distinguish between violence on an ontological level and violence as means to achieve justice. I will introduce the notion of ambivalence as it appears in Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy to construct an alternative theory about religion’s ambivalent attitude towards violence, where violence is limited to its role in justice but is yet transcended by religious infinite love. With this extended meaning of ambivalence, I will be able to confirm that the interhuman encounter implied in one’s relation to the sacred should be prioritised in addressing religious violence. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Developmental Implications of Children’s Early Religious and Spiritual Experiences in Context: A Sociocultural Perspective
Religions 2019, 10(11), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110631 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 952
Abstract
Religious and spiritual experiences have implications for many aspects of development across the lifespan, including during early childhood. A focus on religion and spirituality expands beyond a discrete domain of social science (e.g., cognitive development) and involves developmental, social-psychological, affective and emotional phenomena, [...] Read more.
Religious and spiritual experiences have implications for many aspects of development across the lifespan, including during early childhood. A focus on religion and spirituality expands beyond a discrete domain of social science (e.g., cognitive development) and involves developmental, social-psychological, affective and emotional phenomena, and personality. This conceptual paper contributes to the literature regarding the understudied role of religion and spirituality in the lives of young children and their families in order to contribute to a comprehensive study of human development. After a concise review of the literature on religious development, this paper draws from the sociocultural perspective and illustrative examples of lived experiences to frame young children’s religious participation and gives particular consideration to religious minorities. While the sociocultural perspective captures the range of children’s experiences, this manuscript introduces the understudied role of emotion as a motivator for children’s selection of experiences. The paper concludes with implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research, practice, and policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Open AccessArticle
Daoism and the Project of an Ecological Civilization or Shengtai Wenming 生态文明
Religions 2019, 10(11), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110630 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
For China today, environmentalism is central. The socialist doctrine of “Xi Jinping Thought” prioritizes transitioning to sustainability in the goal of building an “Ecological Civilization”. This creates unprecedented opportunities for Daoist practitioners to engage in state-coordinated activism (part 1). We show how the [...] Read more.
For China today, environmentalism is central. The socialist doctrine of “Xi Jinping Thought” prioritizes transitioning to sustainability in the goal of building an “Ecological Civilization”. This creates unprecedented opportunities for Daoist practitioners to engage in state-coordinated activism (part 1). We show how the science of the planetary crisis (part 2) resonates with Daoist values (part 3), how these values integrate in national policy goals (part 4), and how this religious environmental activism plays out in case studies (part 5). Full article
Open AccessArticle
Bewitching Power: The Virtuosity of Gender in Dekker and Massinger’s The Virgin Martyr
Religions 2019, 10(11), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110629 - 14 Nov 2019
Viewed by 612
Abstract
This paper examines the reversals of gender in Thomas Dekker and Philip Massinger’s play The Virgin Martyr (1622) in light of early modern scientific notions of the female body. Like well-known female martyrs from the period, such as Anne Askew, the protagonist, Dorothea, [...] Read more.
This paper examines the reversals of gender in Thomas Dekker and Philip Massinger’s play The Virgin Martyr (1622) in light of early modern scientific notions of the female body. Like well-known female martyrs from the period, such as Anne Askew, the protagonist, Dorothea, takes on characteristically male attributes: she assumes the role of the soldier and defies scientific understanding of the female gender by sealing her phlegmatic “leaky” body and exuding divine heat that defies her cold, wet “nature”. These gender reversals, from Dorothea and other characters, illustrate how the act of martyrdom could be interpreted not only as a miraculous performance, a “witness” to the divine, but one built on sensational, seemingly impossible performances of gender. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Theatrical Drama)
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Open AccessArticle
The Samaritans during the Hasmonean Period: The Affirmation of a Discrete Identity?
Religions 2019, 10(11), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110628 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 569
Abstract
The Hasmonean period (167–63 BCE) is increasingly seen in current scholarship as formative for Samaritan identity and, in particular, as the moment when the Samaritans emerged as a self-contained group separate from the Jews. The first aim of this paper is to give [...] Read more.
The Hasmonean period (167–63 BCE) is increasingly seen in current scholarship as formative for Samaritan identity and, in particular, as the moment when the Samaritans emerged as a self-contained group separate from the Jews. The first aim of this paper is to give an overview of the condition of the Samaritans during this period. In largely chronological order, the first part of the article discusses the situation of the Samaritans on the eve of the Hasmonean revolt, at the outbreak of the uprising, and under the rule of the first Hasmoneans. The second aim is to review the commonly held causes of the emergence, at this time, of the Samaritans as a discrete community, such as, for instance, the destruction of the Samaritan temple, the production of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the appearance of anti-Samaritan polemics in Jewish literature. The paper concludes that the Hasmoneans’ attitude toward the Samaritans cannot simply be seen as one of hatred and rejection as is generally assumed. Besides; although some of the historical processes beginning in the Hasmonean period had far-reaching implications for the parting of the ways between Jews and Samaritans; their immediate effects should not be overstated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Samaritanism)
Open AccessArticle
Appropriation of Caste Spaces in Pakistan: The Theo-Politics of Short Stories in Sindhi Progressive Literature
Religions 2019, 10(11), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110627 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2062
Abstract
This paper is an attempt to understand the appropriation of spaces of Dalits by Sindhi progressive activists and short story writers in Pakistan as they construct, or rather undermine, caste at the anvil of religion and gender to reframe their own theo-political agenda [...] Read more.
This paper is an attempt to understand the appropriation of spaces of Dalits by Sindhi progressive activists and short story writers in Pakistan as they construct, or rather undermine, caste at the anvil of religion and gender to reframe their own theo-political agenda premised on political Sufism or Sufi nationalism. I specifically discuss the narratives emergent of the three popular short stories that are reframed as having exceptional emancipatory potential for the Dalits. Assessing the emancipatory limits of the Sindhi progressive narrative, I argue that while the short stories purport to give fuller expression to religious, gender-based, and class dimensions of the problem, it elides the problem of casteism and the subsequent existential demand of Dalit emancipation. Given the hegemonic influence of local Ashrafia class, the internal caste frictions are glossed over through political Sufism or Sindhi nationalism. This gloss of politicized Sufism hampers Dalit agency and rather facilitates the appropriation of Dalit spaces by the Ashrafia class. This leads to the conclusion that the seemingly progressive literary-political narratives framed in theo-political idiom may offer to the oppressed no more than token sympathy, compassion, self-pity, and false pride in legends. Instead, they allow the appropriation of spaces and events of the oppressed, and the objectification of oppressed bodies by the oppressor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dalits and Religion: Ambiguity, Tension, Diversity and Vitality)
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Open AccessArticle
‘Can’t Hide from God’: On Forgiveness and the Unarmed Black Man
Religions 2019, 10(11), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110626 - 12 Nov 2019
Viewed by 819
Abstract
The recent deaths of unarmed black people, especially at the hands of law enforcement, have generated a troubling new ritual, in which the media publically asks family members if they will forgive their loved ones’ killers. The first task of this paper is [...] Read more.
The recent deaths of unarmed black people, especially at the hands of law enforcement, have generated a troubling new ritual, in which the media publically asks family members if they will forgive their loved ones’ killers. The first task of this paper is to cast these petitions for forgiveness as ritual. The second task is to show that black responses to the question of forgiveness challenge this ritual. Esaw Garner, Audrey DuBose, and Allison Jean disrupt the ritual and call white audiences to repentance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
“What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes”: Relational Theology and Ways of Seeing in Blade Runner
Religions 2019, 10(11), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110625 - 12 Nov 2019
Viewed by 749
Abstract
This paper examines the theme of relational theology in the Blade Runner science fiction franchise by exploring the symbolism of eyes and sight in the films. Using the work of ecofeminist theologian Sallie McFague, we explore the contrast between the arrogant, detached eye [...] Read more.
This paper examines the theme of relational theology in the Blade Runner science fiction franchise by exploring the symbolism of eyes and sight in the films. Using the work of ecofeminist theologian Sallie McFague, we explore the contrast between the arrogant, detached eye of surveillance (what we call the “gods’ eye view”) which interprets the other-than-human world as instrumental object, and the possibility of the loving eye of awareness and attention (the “God’s eye view”) which views the other-than-human world as an equal subject with intrinsic value. How the films wrestle with what is “real” and how the other-than-human is regarded has implications for our present time as we face enormous upheavals due to climate disruption and migration and the accompanying justice issues therein. We make the case that the films are extended metaphors that provide a window on our own dystopian present which present us with choices as to how we will see the world and respond to the ecological and humanitarian crises already upon us. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue This and Other Worlds: Religion and Science Fiction)
Open AccessArticle
Training for the “Unknown and Unknowable”: CrossFit and Evangelical Temporality
Religions 2019, 10(11), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110624 - 11 Nov 2019
Viewed by 715
Abstract
This article looks at the relationship between the U.S. military and CrossFit, a functional fitness training method and sport, and focuses on how their affinities coalesce around the idea of preparedness. CrossFit makes a sport and spectacle out of preparing for the “unknown [...] Read more.
This article looks at the relationship between the U.S. military and CrossFit, a functional fitness training method and sport, and focuses on how their affinities coalesce around the idea of preparedness. CrossFit makes a sport and spectacle out of preparing for the “unknown and unknowable” challenges of life. This approach to life and fitness is attractive to service members, first responders, and average citizens alike who live in an age of constant anticipation, awaiting unknown threats. This article draws from fieldwork observations, interviews, CrossFit videos and articles, social media posts, and discussion board threads to argue that CrossFit, with its emphasis on preparedness, exhibits an evangelical temporality that is particularly symbiotic with American militarism. This article introduces two new terms, “evangelical temporality” and “generic evangelicalism,” to discuss a disposition towards time marked by a sense of expectation; by the anticipation of rupture and change that necessitates a state of constant preparedness; and by a firm conviction that time is running out. In three acts, this article explores how CrossFit, as a militaristic sport and a lifestyle centered on preparedness, benefits from and adds to the prevailing sense of uncertainty, expectation, and preparation that characterizes evangelical temporality in America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Sports in North America)
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Assessing Muslim Higher Education and Training Institutions (METIs) and Islamic Studies Provision in Universities in Britain: An Analysis of Training Provision for Muslim Religious Leadership after 9/11
Religions 2019, 10(11), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110623 - 11 Nov 2019
Viewed by 1207
Abstract
The training of Imams and Muslim religious leaders has received much interest in the post-9/11 era, resulting in a vast amount of research and publications on the topic. The present work explores this literature with the aim of analysing key debates found therein. [...] Read more.
The training of Imams and Muslim religious leaders has received much interest in the post-9/11 era, resulting in a vast amount of research and publications on the topic. The present work explores this literature with the aim of analysing key debates found therein. It finds that throughout the literature there is a pervasive demand for reform of the training and education provided by Muslim higher education and training institutions (METIs) and Islamic studies programmes at universities in the shape of a synthesis of the two pedagogic models. Such demands are founded on the claim that each is lacking in the appositeness of its provision apropos of the British Muslim population. This article calls for an alternative approach to the issue, namely, that the university and the METI each be accorded independence and freedom in its pedagogic ethos and practice (or else risk losing its identity), and a combined education from both instead be promoted as a holistic training model for Muslim religious leadership. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Silencing and Oblivion of Psychological Trauma, Its Unconscious Aspects, and Their Impact on the Inflation of Vajrayāna. An Analysis of Cross-Group Dynamics and Recent Developments in Buddhist Groups Based on Qualitative Data
Religions 2019, 10(11), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110622 - 10 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3313
Abstract
The commercialization of Buddhist philosophy has led to decontextualization and indoctrinating issues across groups, as well as abuse and trauma in that context. Methodologically, from an interdisciplinary approach, based on the current situation in international Buddhist groups and citations of victims from the [...] Read more.
The commercialization of Buddhist philosophy has led to decontextualization and indoctrinating issues across groups, as well as abuse and trauma in that context. Methodologically, from an interdisciplinary approach, based on the current situation in international Buddhist groups and citations of victims from the ongoing research, the psychological mechanisms of rationalizing and silencing trauma were analyzed. The results show how supposedly Buddhist terminology and concepts are used to rationalize and justify economic, psychological and physical abuse. This is discussed against the background of psychological mechanisms of silencing trauma and the impact of ignoring the unconscious in that particular context. Inadequate consideration regarding the teacher–student relationship, combined with an unreflective use of Tibetan honorary titles and distorted conceptualizations of methods, such as the constant merging prescribed in so-called 'guru yoga', resulted in giving up self-responsibility and enhanced dependency. These new concepts, commercialized as 'karma purification' and 'pure view', have served to rationalize and conceal abuse, as well as to isolate the victims. Therefore, we are facing societal challenges, in terms of providing health and economic care to the victims and implementing preventive measures. This use of language also impacts on scientific discourse and Vajrayāna itself, and will affect many future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhism in Modernity: Thriving or Threatened?)
Open AccessArticle
Religion and Sex as Factors of Individual Differences of Reification in an Intercultural-Community-Based Society
Religions 2019, 10(11), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110621 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 643
Abstract
The objective of this study was to analyze individual differences of reification in an intercultural-community-based society while considering the variables of religion and sex in a sample of 1120 Spanish individuals: 810 women (72.5%) and 310 men (27.5%). Of these, 66.10% were Christian [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to analyze individual differences of reification in an intercultural-community-based society while considering the variables of religion and sex in a sample of 1120 Spanish individuals: 810 women (72.5%) and 310 men (27.5%). Of these, 66.10% were Christian and 25% were Muslim, with reported ages ranging between 17 and 26 years old (mean age 19.84 years old). Once the quality parameters of the instrument (reification in community-based intercultural questionnaire) were determined, we confirmed the reliability and through confirmatory factor analysis using structural equation modeling methodology, data collection was initiated. The general results indicate that 87.50% of the respondents had been whistled at while walking along the street on at least one occasion. The ANOVA results indicate significant differences in sex and religion; women in the sample suffered greater feelings of reification in an intercultural-community-based society than men, with Muslim women specifically reporting the strongest results. The results demonstrate that women suffer more reification issues in their daily lives, with this sometimes due to their partners. Addressing this barrier to achieving equality between men and women is obligatory, so public and private institutions still have considerable work to do to achieve this goal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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“Beautiful and New”: The Logic of Complementarity in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Religions 2019, 10(11), 620; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110620 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 584
Abstract
This article suggests that reading John Cameron Mitchell’s musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch as a religious classic undermines the logic of complementarity within Catholic theological anthropology, particularly the Theology of the Body of John Paul II. A religious classic, a term coined [...] Read more.
This article suggests that reading John Cameron Mitchell’s musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch as a religious classic undermines the logic of complementarity within Catholic theological anthropology, particularly the Theology of the Body of John Paul II. A religious classic, a term coined by theologian David Tracy, describes a work with an “excess of meaning” that offers hope and resistance against a normative social structure. Hedwig resists the hegemonic structure of sexual dimorphism, as represented by the logic of complementarity operative within the Theology of the Body. This theological anthropology proposes a normative framework for human beings as gendered and sexual agents who “complete” each other through heterosexual and monogamous marital acts, reinforcing heterosexist and transphobic bodily norms. The work of Judith Butler helps illuminate the embodied performance of gender that the musical so brilliantly subverts. Hedwig, while toying with gender norms, also undermines the idea of the logic of complementarity—namely, that each person has another “half” that will cause completion, bringing human flourishing. In the title character not finding a version of “completeness” by the end of the show, the musical, thus, offers hope for those who cannot fit into gendered bodily norms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Theatrical Drama)
Open AccessArticle
Living the Bhagavad Gita at Gandhi’s Ashrams
Religions 2019, 10(11), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110619 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 574
Abstract
The Bhagavad Gita is a philosophical Hindu scripture in which the god Krishna imparts lessons to the warrior prince Arjuna about sacred duty (dharma) and the path to spiritual liberation (moksha). This classical scripture has had a long and [...] Read more.
The Bhagavad Gita is a philosophical Hindu scripture in which the god Krishna imparts lessons to the warrior prince Arjuna about sacred duty (dharma) and the path to spiritual liberation (moksha). This classical scripture has had a long and active interpretive life, and by the 19th century it had come to be regarded as a core text, if not the core text, of Hinduism. During the colonial period, interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita considered the relevance of Krishna’s lessons to Arjuna in the context of British colonial rule. While some Indians read a call to arms into their interpretation of this scripture and urged their fellow Indians to rise up in armed resistance, Gandhi famously read a nonviolent message into it. This article argues that equally as important as Gandhi’s hermeneutics of nonviolence is his commitment to enacting the lessons of the Bhagavad Gita as he interpreted them in the daily life of his intentional communities. When explored through the lens of daily life in these intentional communities (which Gandhi called ashrams), we see that Gandhi’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita emphasized not just nonviolence but also disciplined action, including self-sacrifice for the greater good. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Texts and Interpretations)
Open AccessArticle
Rethinking Anger as a Desire for Payback: A Modified Thomistic View
Religions 2019, 10(11), 618; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110618 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 637
Abstract
This essay takes a fresh approach to a traditional Western philosophical account of anger, according to which anger is best defined as a desire for payback, namely, a desire to make an offender pay a price, in the currency of unwanted pain, for [...] Read more.
This essay takes a fresh approach to a traditional Western philosophical account of anger, according to which anger is best defined as a desire for payback, namely, a desire to make an offender pay a price, in the currency of unwanted pain, for the pain he caused someone else. The essay focuses more specifically on the work of Thomas Aquinas, whose account of anger is often thought to center on a desire for ‘just vengeance.’ It analyzes and extends aspects of Aquinas’s account that have previously been treated too narrowly. It distinguishes three forms of anger, each of which has important features in common, which justify characterizing it as anger. Only one of these forms involves a desire to make an offender suffer for what he did. Even as this essay argues for articulating different forms of anger, it emphasizes the fluidity of anger’s forms, features, and relationships to other emotions. It briefly engages philosophical, psychological, and neuroscientific perspectives while working principally in the domain of religious ethics and moral psychology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Beliefs and the Morality of Payback)
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Open AccessArticle
Participation of Pakistani Female Students in Physical Activities: Religious, Cultural, and Socioeconomic Factors
Religions 2019, 10(11), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110617 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
In sports literature, women’s participation in physical activities has always been characterized as “problematic.” Muslim women’s participation is often considered to be limited by their culture and religion, which also affects their attitude toward physical activities. The purpose of this study is to [...] Read more.
In sports literature, women’s participation in physical activities has always been characterized as “problematic.” Muslim women’s participation is often considered to be limited by their culture and religion, which also affects their attitude toward physical activities. The purpose of this study is to explore the participation and perceived constraints of Pakistani female students in physical activities, using a feminism-in-sports approach. Semi-structured and informant-style interviews with female students from Larkana, Pakistan, were conducted. The results show that participants either do not practice or participate very little, due to the limitations of socioeconomic factors, religious values, and culture. By exploring the diverse ways in which 20 female students talk about their participation in sports activities, we provide different narratives for sports decision-makers (at the school and government level), parents, and community practitioners (political and religious) to consider and draw upon in their curriculum and policy design, as well as daily practices, to support women’s participation in sport activities. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Contempt and Labour: An Exploration through Muslim Barbers of South Asia
Religions 2019, 10(11), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110616 - 06 Nov 2019
Viewed by 1117
Abstract
This article explores historical shifts in the ways the Muslim barbers of South Asia are viewed and the intertwined ways they are conceptualised. Tracing various concepts, such as caste identity, and their multiple links to contempt, labour and Islamic ethical discourses and practices, [...] Read more.
This article explores historical shifts in the ways the Muslim barbers of South Asia are viewed and the intertwined ways they are conceptualised. Tracing various concepts, such as caste identity, and their multiple links to contempt, labour and Islamic ethical discourses and practices, this article demonstrates shifting meanings of these concepts and ways in which the Muslim barbers of Malabar (in southwest India) negotiate religious and social histories as well as status in everyday life. The aim was to link legal and social realms by considering how bodily comportment of barbers and pious Muslims intersect and diverge. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork among Muslim barbers of Malabar and their oral histories, it becomes apparent that status is negotiated in a fluid community where professional contempt, multiple attitudes about modernity and piety crosscut one another to inform local perceptions of themselves or others. This paper seeks to avoid the presentation of a teleology of past to present, binaries distinguishing professionals from quacks, and the pious from the scorned. The argument instead is that opposition between caste/caste-like practices and Islamic ethics is more complex than an essentialised dichotomy would convey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dalits and Religion: Ambiguity, Tension, Diversity and Vitality)
Open AccessArticle
Disney’s Reel Doubling of Violent Desire in J. J. Abrams’ Mimetic The Force Awakens
Religions 2019, 10(11), 615; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110615 - 06 Nov 2019
Viewed by 560
Abstract
Abrams’ spectacularly distended infantilising manipulation of the saga embeds a form of cognitive resonance with a state of perpetual war and a politically thanatising mythos fitted out as a politically containing moment within what cultural commentators are referring to as “post-9/11 American cinema”, [...] Read more.
Abrams’ spectacularly distended infantilising manipulation of the saga embeds a form of cognitive resonance with a state of perpetual war and a politically thanatising mythos fitted out as a politically containing moment within what cultural commentators are referring to as “post-9/11 American cinema”, a form of cinema reacting to a cultural trauma and that normalises a hegemonic political reactivity in a perceived ‘clash of civilizations’ in “the social embodied” in an age marked by what Terry Eagleton describes as “holy terror”. As cultural philosopher Douglas Kellner argues, movies of apocalyptic or catastrophe cinema can “be read as allegories of the disintegration of social life and civil society, and the emergence of a Darwinian nightmare where the struggle for survival occurs in a Hobbesian world where life is nasty, brutish, and short.” The contention is that if George Lucas developed Star Wars to struggle with, among other things, an America that had elected Richard Nixon and engaged in the culturally traumatic Vietnam War, Abrams and his co-writer Lawrence Kazdan have relocated the franchise in a context marked as “post 9/11 cinema”. It is unclear quite how The Force Awakens could offer a distinctively interrogatory function for conceiving political subjectivity in the contemporary fractured and self-assertive space of global geopolitics, expressing, as it does, the classificatory coding that figures innocent selfhood in a conflictual relation with the evil terrorist other. Abrams’ movie, accordingly, is ill equipped to refuse to naturalise the innocence of the politically regulative messianic monomyth of the exceptionalist nation that instils a sensitivity conducive to violence against the foreigner when it is perceived to be under threat. It is, in other words, ill-equipped to resist being captured by the Girardian framing of myth within an identification of “sacred violence”. Consequently, The Force Awakens provides a resource for the critic’s reflections on the cultural difficulties of learning about our learning, of the disciplining of desire through monomythic intensification, and of sustaining reaction to cultural trauma through the hostility of sacrificial disposal of the other that requires the instrumentalised rationality of the self-secure national subject. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Re-framing and Re-focusing Religion and Film in America)
Open AccessArticle
Yah’s Exemplary Soldiers: African Hebrew Israelites in the Israel Defense Forces
Religions 2019, 10(11), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110614 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1677
Abstract
This article considers the process of identity formation among soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who were born into the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (AHIJ), more commonly known as the Black Hebrews. The AHIJ are a sect of African Americans who [...] Read more.
This article considers the process of identity formation among soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who were born into the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem (AHIJ), more commonly known as the Black Hebrews. The AHIJ are a sect of African Americans who began settling in Israel in 1969 and who identify as direct descendants of the Biblical Israelites. Due to the group’s insular nature, the IDF is the primary state institution in which they fully participate, and their mandatory service is a source of both pride and consternation for community members and leaders. Considering the personal experiences of 14 African Hebrew soldiers who enlisted between 2009 and 2010, the article argues that while the soldiers by and large maintain their distinctive identity during the course of their service, they also internalize some of the language, attitudes, and cultural touchstones of the majority Israeli Jewish population. As a result, they experience a kind of “double consciousness”, the feeling of dislocation first described by the African American scholar W. E. B. Du Bois at the turn of the twentieth century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Black Israelite Religions: Chosen Peoples of African Descent)
Open AccessArticle
Multidimensionality of Spirituality: A Qualitative Study among Secular Individuals
Religions 2019, 10(11), 613; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110613 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1086
Abstract
This study examines the multidimensionality of spirituality by comparing the applicability of two models—the five-dimensional model of religiosity by Huber that we have extended with a sixth dimension of ethics and the three-dimensional spirituality model by Bucher. This qualitative study applied a semi-structured [...] Read more.
This study examines the multidimensionality of spirituality by comparing the applicability of two models—the five-dimensional model of religiosity by Huber that we have extended with a sixth dimension of ethics and the three-dimensional spirituality model by Bucher. This qualitative study applied a semi-structured interview guideline of spirituality to a stratified sample of N = 48 secular individuals in Switzerland. To test these two models, frequency, valence, and contingency analysis of Mayring’s qualitative content analysis were used. It could be shown that Bucher’s three-dimensional model covers only about half of the spirituality codes in the interviews; it is especially applicable for implicit and salient spiritual aspects in general, as well as for spiritual experience in specific. In contrast, the extended six-dimensional model by Huber could be applied to almost all of the spirituality-relevant codes. Therefore, in principle, the scope of this six-dimensional model can be expanded to spirituality. The results are discussed in the context of future development of a multidimensional spirituality scale that is based on Huber’s Centrality of Religiosity by extending the religiosity concept to spirituality without mutually excluding these concepts from each other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research with the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS))
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Giovan Battista Codronchi’s De morbis Veneficis ac Veneficiis (1595). Medicine, Exorcism and Inquisition in Counter-Reformation Italy
Religions 2019, 10(11), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110612 - 04 Nov 2019
Viewed by 712
Abstract
The physician Giovan Battista Codronchi (1547–1628) is a key figure of sixteenth-century medicine. A study of his main work De morbis veneficis ac veneficiis (1595) and his letters sent to the Congregation of the Index in Rome (1597) can teach us much about [...] Read more.
The physician Giovan Battista Codronchi (1547–1628) is a key figure of sixteenth-century medicine. A study of his main work De morbis veneficis ac veneficiis (1595) and his letters sent to the Congregation of the Index in Rome (1597) can teach us much about the interrelation between medicine and religion in Counter-Reformation Italy. Using Codronchi as a prism, this article uncovers a complex picture in which themes such as the production of demonological texts at the height of the European witch-hunt, the related debate about the roles of physicians and exorcists, and the influence of physicians on the development of the Index of Forbidden Books are interrelated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
“When You Live Here, That’s What You Get”: Other-, Ex-, and Non-Religious Outsiders in the Norwegian Bible Belt
Religions 2019, 10(11), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110611 - 04 Nov 2019
Viewed by 892
Abstract
This article presents data from our investigations in Kristiansand, the largest city in Southern Norway, an area sometimes called Norway’s ‘Bible belt’. We investigate how social media is reshaping social relations in the city, looking especially at how social order is generated, reinforced, [...] Read more.
This article presents data from our investigations in Kristiansand, the largest city in Southern Norway, an area sometimes called Norway’s ‘Bible belt’. We investigate how social media is reshaping social relations in the city, looking especially at how social order is generated, reinforced, and challenged on social media platforms. Drawing on the figurational sociology of Norbert Elias, as well as findings from research conducted among Muslim immigrants in Scandinavian cities and their response to what they perceive as the dominant media frame, we focus this article on a less visible group of outsiders in the local social figuration: young ex- and non-religious persons. The mediated and enacted performances of this loosely defined group and their interactions with more influential others provide a case study in how non-religious identities and networked communities are construed not (only) based on explicit rejection of religion but also in negotiation with a social order that happens to carry locally specific ‘religious’ overtones. With respect to the mediatization of religion we extend empirical investigation of the theory to social media, arguing that what while religious content is shaped by social media forms, in cases where religious identifiers already convey prestige in local social networks, social media may increase the influence of these networks, thus deepening processes of social inclusion for those in dominant groups and the exclusion of outsiders. In this way, platforms which are in principle open and in practice provide space for minorities to self-organise, also routinely reinforce existing power relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mediatisation in Global Perspective)
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