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Religions, Volume 10, Issue 8 (August 2019) – 43 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In this essay, I argue that Psalm 23 serves as a thematic rubric through which to understand how Prospero’s machinations affect the progress of the redemption of King Alonso throughout the play. At the same time, however, recognizing Prospero’s moral complexities and deficiencies, I also argue that Prospero’s mercy toward and reconciliation with Alonso ultimately demonstrate the sovereign influence of a Providence beyond Prospero’s control—a Providence that works through charity and grace beyond Prospero’s initial intentions. This higher providential power, therefore, ought rightly to be seen as the ultimate shepherd of the play—one who works to affect not only Alonso’s but also Prospero’s spiritual restoration. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Pursuing Ethics by Building Bridges beyond the Northern Paradigm
Religions 2019, 10(8), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080490 - 20 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 660
Abstract
This essay narrates and explores the work of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) in developing a network that connects roughly 1500 Catholic ethicists around the world. It highlights the impact that CTEWC has had in encouraging Christian ethics to become [...] Read more.
This essay narrates and explores the work of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) in developing a network that connects roughly 1500 Catholic ethicists around the world. It highlights the impact that CTEWC has had in encouraging Christian ethics to become more inclusive, active, and mindful in advancing a network that builds bridges beyond the northern paradigm. In this narrative, we see how CTEWC planned and realized three major international conferences in Padua, Trento, and Sarajevo and six regional conferences in Manila, Nairobi, Berlin, Krakow, Bangalore, and Bogota. Together with its monthly newsletter, CTEWC has also sponsored a visiting scholars program in Bangalore, Manila, and Nairobi, a PhD scholarship program for eight women in Africa, and an international book series with eight volumes and over 200 contributors. Throughout, we respond to the challenge of pluralism by answering the call to dialogue from and beyond local culture. As it enters its second generation with new leadership, CTEWC pursues critical and emerging issues in theological ethics by engaging in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary conversations shaped by shared visions of hope, but always mindful that we must engage the Global South and go beyond the northern paradigm where most contemporary theological ethics occur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Christian Ethics) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Monasticism, Monotheism, and Monogamy: Past and Present Expressions of the Undivided Life
Religions 2019, 10(8), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080489 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 769
Abstract
Monasticism first appeared in Christian tradition in the late third and early fourth centuries as a way to practice true religion. Soon after, it also became a way of eschewing the Church’s embrace of political power and the divided loyalties which accompanied that [...] Read more.
Monasticism first appeared in Christian tradition in the late third and early fourth centuries as a way to practice true religion. Soon after, it also became a way of eschewing the Church’s embrace of political power and the divided loyalties which accompanied that union. Contemporary expressions of monasticism in the Protestant tradition (often identified as new monasticism) have interpreted the mono (singularity) not as celibacy or living in a cloistered community, but as abandoning cultural promiscuity in order to live out a monogamous spirituality. Though each monastic community has its own distinct characteristics and context, one can identify two common markers which unite both contemporary expressions of monasticism and historical monastic communities: (1) monotheism or a singular devotion to God which is separate from political, societal, and economic ambitions, and (2) monogamy or a commitment to a particular community, neighborhood, and mission. This article explores ancient and contemporary expressions of monasticism by examining their guiding documents and looking for evidence of monotheism and monogamous spirituality. By giving fresh articulation to the mono in monasticism, we are better able to identify the heart of the undivided (monastic) life and discern its presence in reimagined forms. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Negative Theological Critique of Postmodern Identity Politics
Religions 2019, 10(8), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080488 - 19 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 754
Abstract
This paper leverages the Christian tradition of negative theology (Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysius the Areopagite, Eriugena, Eckhart, Cusanus) in order to think past the impasses of identitarian politics and culture. It essentially bears on Christianity and on literary imagination by valorizing their focus [...] Read more.
This paper leverages the Christian tradition of negative theology (Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysius the Areopagite, Eriugena, Eckhart, Cusanus) in order to think past the impasses of identitarian politics and culture. It essentially bears on Christianity and on literary imagination by valorizing their focus on the mystery of who we are beyond all divisive identities and on how an orientation to negative-theological transcendence can save us from a toxic obsession with identities in a postmodern, postcolonial, post-gender society. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Israel and Zionism in the Eyes of Palestinian Christian Theologians
Religions 2019, 10(8), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080487 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 989
Abstract
Christian activism in the Arab–Israeli conflict and theological reflections on the Middle East have evolved around Palestinian liberation theology as a theological–political doctrine that scrutinizes Zionism, the existence of Israel and its policies, developing a biblical hermeneutics that reverses the biblical narrative, in [...] Read more.
Christian activism in the Arab–Israeli conflict and theological reflections on the Middle East have evolved around Palestinian liberation theology as a theological–political doctrine that scrutinizes Zionism, the existence of Israel and its policies, developing a biblical hermeneutics that reverses the biblical narrative, in order to portray Israel as a wicked regime that operates in the name of a fallacious primitive god and that uses false interpretations of the scriptures. This article analyzes the theological political–theological views applied to the Arab–Israeli conflict developed by Geries Khoury, Naim Ateek, and Mitri Raheb—three influential authors and activists in different Christians denominations. Besides opposing Zionism and providing arguments for the boycott of Israel, such conceptualizations go far beyond the conflict, providing theological grounds for the denial of Jewish statehood echoing old anti-Jewish accusations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Redemption of ‘Fallen’ Hero-Athletes: Lance Armstrong, Isaiah, and Doing Good while Being Bad
Religions 2019, 10(8), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080486 - 19 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Lance Armstrong’s achievements in cycling will forever be overshadowed by his admittance of using unethical performance enhancing means to win. However, Armstrong’s positive social impact of raising awareness, hundreds of millions of dollars, and support for the cancer community are undeniably noteworthy. Clearly, [...] Read more.
Lance Armstrong’s achievements in cycling will forever be overshadowed by his admittance of using unethical performance enhancing means to win. However, Armstrong’s positive social impact of raising awareness, hundreds of millions of dollars, and support for the cancer community are undeniably noteworthy. Clearly, Armstrong’s hero-savior athlete depiction in the media prior to his ‘fall’ was related to the social ‘good’ he was equally known for. This good stands in stark contrast to his demonization since. This dichotomy of Armstrong’s profiling offers a unique opportunity to consider how his rise and fall reflect biblical themes of a sport celebrity. This paper explores the theme of redemption specifically presented in the book of Isaiah, as I explore Armstrong’s media rendering as a fallen hero-athlete following his public acknowledgement of cheating. This manuscript provides a contextual comparison of Armstrong’s story to the redemption of exiled Jews as detailed in Isaiah. Throughout the paper, I present how Armstrong has received a more profound, though less obvious or common redemption through his lifetime ban from sport. Ultimately, this article provides an analysis of a contemporary hero-athletes redemption who cycled for good, while being bad. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Slow Religion: Literary Journalism as a Tool for Interreligious Dialogue
Religions 2019, 10(8), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080485 - 18 Aug 2019
Viewed by 4327
Abstract
Intercultural and interfaith dialogue is one of the challenges faced by society. In a world marked by globalisation, digitisation, and migratory movements, the media is the agora for people of different faiths and beliefs. At the same time, the media is adapting to [...] Read more.
Intercultural and interfaith dialogue is one of the challenges faced by society. In a world marked by globalisation, digitisation, and migratory movements, the media is the agora for people of different faiths and beliefs. At the same time, the media is adapting to the online space. In this context, narrative journalism emerges, breaking the rules of technological immediacy and opting for a slow model based on the tradition of non-fiction journalism. With slow, background-based reporting and literary techniques, narrative journalism tells stories with all their aspects, giving voices to their protagonists. Is this genre a space in which to encounter the Other? Could narrative journalism be a tool for understanding? These are the questions that this research aims to investigate through the content analysis of 75 articles published in Jot Down, Gatopardo, and The New Yorker, along with 38 in-depth interviews with journalists associated to them. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reconstructing an Ethics of Credit in an Age of Neoliberalism
Religions 2019, 10(8), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080484 - 17 Aug 2019
Viewed by 662
Abstract
One of the most formidable socio-economic challenges which Christian communities are facing today is the growing dominance of neoliberalism. From wheat fields in Brazil to Wall Street in New York City, neoliberalism is marching on everywhere with its massive credit (or credit money). [...] Read more.
One of the most formidable socio-economic challenges which Christian communities are facing today is the growing dominance of neoliberalism. From wheat fields in Brazil to Wall Street in New York City, neoliberalism is marching on everywhere with its massive credit (or credit money). The purpose of this paper is to address a key structural injustice of neoliberalism—the deepening colonization of “social capital” by “financial capital.” Since the 1980s, a new economic process known as “financialization” has structurally changed the global economic system entailing an extreme income and wealth gap between the haves and the have nots. It has also rendered a countless number of ordinary people vulnerable to various types of debt entrapment while destroying the environment on a global scale. Behind all these forms of social and natural disintegration lies a crucial neoliberal apparatus fueled by credit. This paper engages in such problems by attempting to reconnect the lost link between social capital and financial capital. In doing so, it first analyzes the genealogical origin of the separation between financial capital and social capital. The author then comes up with ethical principles to re-anchor financial capital in social capital through a critical and interdisciplinary exploration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Christian Ethics) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
The Centrality of Anti-Semitism in the Islamic State’s Ideology and Its Connection to Anti-Shiism
Religions 2019, 10(8), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080483 - 16 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1549
Abstract
The Islamic State (ISIS) has repeatedly targeted Jews in terrorist attacks and incited against Jews in its propaganda. Anti-Semitism and the belief that Jews are engaged in a war against Islam has been central to Islamist thought since its inception. Islamist anti-Semitism exposes [...] Read more.
The Islamic State (ISIS) has repeatedly targeted Jews in terrorist attacks and incited against Jews in its propaganda. Anti-Semitism and the belief that Jews are engaged in a war against Islam has been central to Islamist thought since its inception. Islamist anti-Semitism exposes the influence of both Western conspiracy theories and Islamic traditions. This article studies the anti-Semitic themes propagated by ISIS and investigates their ideological foundations. It bases itself on an analysis of articles published in Dabiq, ISIS’ English language online magazine in the period 2014–2016. This study shows that ISIS’ relationship with Western-inspired anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is inconsistent, vacillating between rejection and acceptance. ISIS holds an apocalyptic, anti-Semitic worldview, which claims that the Shia denomination is a Jewish invention to sow disunity among Muslims and that Shia and Jews are working together to destroy Islam. ISIS’ anti-Semitism and anti-Shiism are thus inherently connected. It is vital to correctly assess the anti-Semitic ideological foundations of contemporary Islamism and Jihadism to best understand the movement. Learning about this will help lawmakers, scholars and practitioners develop strategies to deal with these movements and counter their message. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Teaching Democracy by Teaching Supernaturalism
Religions 2019, 10(8), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080482 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1043
Abstract
This paper analyzes critiques of the supernatural by John Dewey, a celebrated American philosopher. Dewey rejected the supernatural on scientific and cosmological grounds, but his most significant critique was made on political grounds. In A Common Faith and other writings, Dewey suggests that [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes critiques of the supernatural by John Dewey, a celebrated American philosopher. Dewey rejected the supernatural on scientific and cosmological grounds, but his most significant critique was made on political grounds. In A Common Faith and other writings, Dewey suggests that supernaturalism erodes democracy by promoting a dualism between religion and science which depreciates the social values that religion originally promoted. Dewey’s claims are contextualized and then tested with reference to teaching supernaturalism in a university classroom. The author explains how the study of magic and supernatural mythologies can address real-world issues, turning attention squarely towards (not away from) history. This paper thus presents a counter-possibility: Can appreciation of the supernatural operate as a catalyst for intercultural learning and social empathy? Examples are given. A discussion of the civic function of wonder follows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magic and Supernaturalism Today)
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Open AccessArticle
The Rise of Calvinist Christianity in Urbanising China
Religions 2019, 10(8), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080481 - 15 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1229
Abstract
Over the past decade, Reformed Christianity, broadly based on the theology of Calvinism, has spread widely in China, especially by appealing to Chinese ‘intellectuals’ who constitute most of the house church leaders in urban areas. It draws its moral guidance from a so-called [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, Reformed Christianity, broadly based on the theology of Calvinism, has spread widely in China, especially by appealing to Chinese ‘intellectuals’ who constitute most of the house church leaders in urban areas. It draws its moral guidance from a so-called rational or intellectual focus on biblical theology, reinforced by theological training in special seminaries. It consequently rejects the ‘heresy’ of the older Pentecostal Christianity, with its emphasis on charisma, miracles, and theology based on emotional ‘feeling’. This Reformed theology and its further elaboration have been introduced into China in two main ways. The first is through overseas Chinese, especially via theological seminaries in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. For instance, preachings of the famous Reformed pastor Stephen Tong (唐崇荣) have been widely disseminated online and among Chinese Christians. Second, Korean missionaries have established theological seminaries mainly in cities in northern China. This has resulted in more and more Chinese church leaders becoming advocates of Calvinism and converting their churches to Reformed status. This paper asks why Calvinism attracts Chinese Christians, what Calvinism means for the so-called house churches of a Christian community in a northern Chinese city, and what kinds of change the importation of Reformed theology has brought to Chinese house churches. Various significant accounts have addressed this development in China generally. My analysis complements these accounts by focusing on a small number of interconnected house churches in one city, and uses this case study to highlight interpersonal and organizational issues arising from the Calvinist approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Developments in Christianity in China) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Gordon Kaufman and a Theology for the Seeker
Religions 2019, 10(8), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080480 - 15 Aug 2019
Viewed by 640
Abstract
This article begins to develop a theology for the multi-worldview seeker, based on the constructive theological work of Gordon Kaufman. Seeking, as discussed in this article, is an attitude of life, characterized by interest in more than one theological, philosophical, or spiritual worldview, [...] Read more.
This article begins to develop a theology for the multi-worldview seeker, based on the constructive theological work of Gordon Kaufman. Seeking, as discussed in this article, is an attitude of life, characterized by interest in more than one theological, philosophical, or spiritual worldview, without any short or mid-term intention to commit oneself to one of them. In the United States, the Unitarian Universalist Association is a denomination that houses many theological seekers. The principles and sources of faith of that denomination offer an interesting foundation for the attitude of seeking. Constructing a theology for the seeker based on these principles should include a coherent account of concepts such as truth, God, spiritual growth, and ethics as they might follow from those principles. This article identifies possible incoherencies in the use of these concepts by seekers and proposes ways to escape them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unitarian Universalism and Religious Liberalism)
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Employee and Customer Religious Beliefs on Business Operating Decisions
Religions 2019, 10(8), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080479 - 15 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
Business operating decisions and procedures can differ depending on the religious beliefs of either employees or customers. We provide examples of religion affecting operations in the topical areas of location, layout, shift scheduling, and operational compliance, among others. These issues are especially salient [...] Read more.
Business operating decisions and procedures can differ depending on the religious beliefs of either employees or customers. We provide examples of religion affecting operations in the topical areas of location, layout, shift scheduling, and operational compliance, among others. These issues are especially salient for global corporations extending operations overseas utilizing expatriate management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integration of Religion in Workplace)
Open AccessArticle
Immigration and Multiculturalism in Italy: The Religious Experience of the Peruvian Community in the Eternal City
Religions 2019, 10(8), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080478 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 965
Abstract
The present study on the religious experience of the Peruvian community in Rome belongs to the area of studies on immigration, multiculturalism, and religion in Italy. In this article, I analyze the devotion of the Peruvian community in Rome to “the Lord of [...] Read more.
The present study on the religious experience of the Peruvian community in Rome belongs to the area of studies on immigration, multiculturalism, and religion in Italy. In this article, I analyze the devotion of the Peruvian community in Rome to “the Lord of Miracles”. This pious tradition, which venerates the image of Christ crucified—painted by an Angolan slave—began in 1651 in Lima, during the Viceroyalty of Peru. Today, the sacred image is venerated in countries all over the world that host Peruvian immigrant communities that have set up branches of the Confraternity of the Lord of Miracles. I examine, in particular, the cult of el Señor de los Milagros in Rome in terms of Peruvian popular religiosity and national identity experienced within a transnational context. This essay serves two purposes: The first is to analyze the significance that this religious experience acquires in a foreign environment while maintaining links with its country of origin and its cultural traditions in a multilocal environment. The second aim is to examine the integration of the Peruvian community into Italian society, beginning with religious practice, in this case Roman Catholicism. This kind of religiosity seems not only to favor the encounter between the two cultures but also to render Italian Roman Catholicism multicultural. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion in Latin America, and among Latinos abroad.)
Open AccessArticle
An Augustinian Meditation on the Saeculum
Religions 2019, 10(8), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080477 - 14 Aug 2019
Viewed by 683
Abstract
Augustine’s account of the saeculum brings together his theological anthropology, ecclesiology, and Christology in establishing the church as the body of Christ—as the place wherein the restless and sinful soul finds renewal through the grace of the incarnation. Such a model of the [...] Read more.
Augustine’s account of the saeculum brings together his theological anthropology, ecclesiology, and Christology in establishing the church as the body of Christ—as the place wherein the restless and sinful soul finds renewal through the grace of the incarnation. Such a model of the saeculum pushes back against various contemporary appropriations of Augustine, including those of Milbank, Markus, and Taylor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
Hope in Exile: In Conversation with Ezekiel
Religions 2019, 10(8), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080476 - 14 Aug 2019
Viewed by 847
Abstract
The question of hope in dark times, though topical, is not new. The Babylonian Exile (597/587–539 BCE) is commonly recognised as perhaps the most profound, yet also most fruitful crisis in biblical (Old Testament) times. It involved the total breakdown of all religious [...] Read more.
The question of hope in dark times, though topical, is not new. The Babylonian Exile (597/587–539 BCE) is commonly recognised as perhaps the most profound, yet also most fruitful crisis in biblical (Old Testament) times. It involved the total breakdown of all religious and political structures and institutions that previously had provided meaning and protection, yet it led to significant theological progress, laying the foundations for both Judaism and Christianity. Today the metaphor of exile is sometimes used with reference to the present; however, the connection is usually not further explored. This article examines a biblical exilic voice, the book of Ezekiel, which offers an initial prophetic response to the theological, political and identity crisis of the early Babylonian Exile. While resisting both optimism and despair, Ezekiel arrives at an original, if peculiar, imagination of hope, founded solely on theological conviction. The article outlines this process by discussing select texts of the book as examples, and opens it up to conversation with the present. The logic of Ezekiel’s theocentric hope is bound to ultimately remain foreign to modern thinking. However, while it cannot be directly transferred into our times, the article aims to demonstrate that theological reflection on Ezekiel still yields valuable and transferable impulses for thought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hope in Dark Times)
Open AccessArticle
Animals in the Public Debate: Welfare, Rights, and Conservationism in India
Religions 2019, 10(8), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080475 - 13 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1050
Abstract
This paper proposes a survey of the many ways in which people look at and deal with animals in contemporary India. On the basis of ethnographic research and of multiple written sources (judgments, newspapers, websites, legal files, activist pamphlets, etc.), I present some [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a survey of the many ways in which people look at and deal with animals in contemporary India. On the basis of ethnographic research and of multiple written sources (judgments, newspapers, websites, legal files, activist pamphlets, etc.), I present some of the actors involved in the animal debate—animal activists, environmental lawyers, judges, and hunter-conservationists—who adopt different, though sometimes interconnected, approaches to animals. Some of them look at animals as victims that need to be rescued and treated in the field, others fight for animals in Parliament or in Court so that they can be entitled to certain rights, others are concerned with the issue of species survival, where the interest of the group prevails on the protection of individual animals. In the context of a predominantly secularist background of the people engaged in such debates, I also examine the role that religion may, in certain cases, play for some of them: whether as a way of constructing a Hindu or Buddhist cultural or political identity, or as a strategic argument in a legal battle in order to obtain public attention. Lastly, I raise the question of the role played by animals themselves in these different situations—as intellectual principles to be fought for (or to be voiced) in their absence, or as real individuals to interact with and whose encounter may produce different kinds of sometimes conflicting emotions. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Four Religious Education Teachers: Four Retrospective Career Trajectories
Religions 2019, 10(8), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080474 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
This article examines the career paths of Finnish Religious Education (RE) teachers who were born in the 1930s, through a retrospective, self-autobiographical life history approach. The material reported here is a part of wider data of mainly written narratives (N = 62) from [...] Read more.
This article examines the career paths of Finnish Religious Education (RE) teachers who were born in the 1930s, through a retrospective, self-autobiographical life history approach. The material reported here is a part of wider data of mainly written narratives (N = 62) from RE teachers who recount their career trajectories. In these career-focused life histories, the teachers outline their own professionalism as embedded in changing sociohistorical contexts, where to a great extent they tell about the active development of the school and the teaching of their particular subject to answer to the changing needs and challenges. Some teachers have, along with their teaching, also been actively involved in different communities or associations. Many of the Religious Education teachers here reflect on their career paths in relation to their profession as a teacher and often also with double qualifications as pastor trained theologians. At times, this constructs a possibility for tension between the roles of a teacher and that of a pastor, and in the perceptions of RE as a school subject and as something “preached” in the pulpit—some see their professionalism above all in relation to their religious life. This also includes a notable gender divide in the data, as at the time when these teachers gained their professional qualifications, it was only possible for men to be ordained in the Finnish Lutheran Church. Succeeding this, the male teachers in these data commonly have pastorhood as their first profession. For the purpose of this article, the career accounts of four teachers have been selected for further analysis, as they were perceived as telling examples of the wider material in terms of more or less typical career paths. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sporting Space, Sacred Space: A Theology of Sporting Place
Religions 2019, 10(8), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080473 - 10 Aug 2019
Viewed by 829
Abstract
Religion often designates locations that are considered sacred, marked off from ordinary space. Sporting venues also take on a significance for players and supporters that is seldom adequately explained in solely sporting terms. Can theological understandings of place illuminate the way in which [...] Read more.
Religion often designates locations that are considered sacred, marked off from ordinary space. Sporting venues also take on a significance for players and supporters that is seldom adequately explained in solely sporting terms. Can theological understandings of place illuminate the way in which players and spectators relate to the ‘sacred space’ of their sporting endeavors? In this paper, I explore and assess the theological and religious significance of sporting space by reflecting upon descriptions of both religious and sporting special places. I use a range of types of descriptions of experiences of such spaces together with theological ideas and concepts, including Christian notions of incarnation, sacrament, and Trinity, which are found to be useful resources, undermining a strict binary of ‘sacred’ and ‘profane’ space. I then build upon previous theological and empirical work with sports participants to explore a theological understanding of special sporting places and the experiences of those who play and support sporting endeavors in them. Full article
Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Jasper, David. Seeking Christian Theology in Modern Chinese Fiction: An Exercise for Sino-Christian Theology. Religions 10 (2019): 422
Religions 2019, 10(8), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080472 - 08 Aug 2019
Viewed by 837
Abstract
The author wants to make the following corrections to the paper (Jasper 2019): [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Furnishing Piety: Beds in High Medieval Jewish Domestic Devotion
Religions 2019, 10(8), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080471 - 07 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 887
Abstract
In recent years, pre-modern beds have generated extensive scholarly interest. Their social, religious, and economic importance has been rightfully highlighted in the study of domestic piety. Yet, concern has primarily focused on beds in late medieval English homes. This essay uses Hebrew texts [...] Read more.
In recent years, pre-modern beds have generated extensive scholarly interest. Their social, religious, and economic importance has been rightfully highlighted in the study of domestic piety. Yet, concern has primarily focused on beds in late medieval English homes. This essay uses Hebrew texts from thirteenth-century Southern Germany, primarily Sefer Hasidim, to further this analysis of the role of the bed in shaping medieval domestic devotion. Jewish notions about the social, moral, and sexual significance of the bed reflect those identified in late medieval Christian culture. These ideas inspired numerous rituals practiced in Jewish homes. Yet, the bed and the remnants of sex assumed to be found in it also frustrated Jewish attempts to perform domestic devotion. These findings highlight the complicated nature of the home and how medieval people had to navigate both its opportunities and challenges in order to foster a rich culture of domestic devotion. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Pray the White Way: Religious Expression in the NFL in Black and White
Religions 2019, 10(8), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080470 - 06 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1045
Abstract
Athletes, particularly players in the National Football League, have repeatedly invoked God in order to glorify, praise, or even credit the divine with success on the field. This essay examines the ways in which different types of religious language used to bring God [...] Read more.
Athletes, particularly players in the National Football League, have repeatedly invoked God in order to glorify, praise, or even credit the divine with success on the field. This essay examines the ways in which different types of religious language used to bring God onto the gridiron are received and evaluated along racial lines. I seek to show that speech by athletes, in particular black football players, that communicates a God who is partisan and intervenes in action on the field is routinely dismissed by fellow players, the media, and religious authorities who favor a God who either intervenes softly and generally or is above the game altogether. I contend that a double standard is applied to this theological debate due to a disregard of historical African American theology and to hegemonic white evangelical norms that police such discourse. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Decolonizing the Intercultural: A Call for Decolonizing Consciousness in Settler-Colonial Australia
Religions 2019, 10(8), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080469 - 06 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1167
Abstract
Throughout this article I make a case for decolonizing consciousness as a reflexive orientation that reforms the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous life-worlds are navigated and mutually apprehended in a settler colonial context. I consider how through decolonizing dominant habits of thought [...] Read more.
Throughout this article I make a case for decolonizing consciousness as a reflexive orientation that reforms the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous life-worlds are navigated and mutually apprehended in a settler colonial context. I consider how through decolonizing dominant habits of thought and action an intercultural dialogue responsive of diverse and mutually informing realities may be cultivated. This article aims to first introduce the key characteristics of ‘decolonizing consciousness’, this being reflexivity, deep listening, and border thinking. Using the Darling River in New South Wales, Australia, as a backdrop, I consider how place and environment are agents and facilitators of a contested intercultural dialogue where Indigenous and non-Indigenous ontologies, epistemologies, and axiologies often come to head. Drawing on fieldwork conducted with Aboriginal residents in far western New South Wales, as well as literature on decolonizing theory and Indigenous knowledge systems from different socio-cultural contexts, I argue that intercultural dialogue begins with reflexive contemplation of how one’s lived experiences is embedded in the realities of others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
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Open AccessArticle
Do Thor and Odin Have Bodies? Superperception and Divine Intervention among the Old Norse Gods
Religions 2019, 10(8), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080468 - 06 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1840
Abstract
In Old Norse mythology, gods like Freyja, Odin, and Thor are usually characterized as human-like creatures: they walk and ride animals, eat, grow old, and even die. Was there more to conceptions of Old Norse gods than those anthropomorphic representations? This article presents [...] Read more.
In Old Norse mythology, gods like Freyja, Odin, and Thor are usually characterized as human-like creatures: they walk and ride animals, eat, grow old, and even die. Was there more to conceptions of Old Norse gods than those anthropomorphic representations? This article presents evidence that the gods of early Scandinavia were sometimes thought of as superperceiving and able to act in ways that defied the limitations of a physical body. It engages with and challenges theological correctness, a prominent theory in the Cognitive Science of Religion, to elucidate the sources of Old Norse religion and the cognitive and contextual foundations of the representations of gods encountered there. Following an examination of the mechanisms through which Old Norse gods’ superperception and disembodied action were narrativized and rationalized, the article concludes with a discussion of the consequences of non-anthropomorphic representations of the gods for understanding Scandinavian worshippers’ everyday religious life. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Christian Education and the Construction of Female Gentility in Modern East Asia
Religions 2019, 10(8), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080467 - 06 Aug 2019
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Abstract
This study explores the relationship between Christian education and the construction of female gentility in East Asia around the turn of the twentieth century. Because American missionary schools played an important role in the region, notions of female gentility were greatly influenced by [...] Read more.
This study explores the relationship between Christian education and the construction of female gentility in East Asia around the turn of the twentieth century. Because American missionary schools played an important role in the region, notions of female gentility were greatly influenced by the cultural values of the American middle class and, more specifically, American liberal arts colleges. The notion of the “new gentlewoman” helps to illuminate modern Protestant womanhood’s ambiguous relationship with feminism and nationalism. Recognizing that the Protestant notion of “female gentility” was internally racialized, in this study, I also pay attention to the question of race. While the scope of my research spans East Asia, in this paper, I examine Christian education in China, focusing specifically on Yenching Women’s College. I compare the college’s educational goals and curricula to the pedagogy at the male college of Yenching, the governmental women’s college, and other female colleges in Japan and Korea. In this study, I approach East Asia as a whole for several reasons: first, because a broader view of the region helps put the Chinese case into perspective; second, because the region was often dealt with together in missionary work; and lastly, because national differences cannot be assumed to be more substantial than other differences, such as those based on gender, class, generation, period, and province. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sustainable International Relations. Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’ and the Planetary Implications of “Integral Ecology”
Religions 2019, 10(8), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080466 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1338
Abstract
This paper analyzes the theoretical and pragmatic implications for international relations and world politics of the new holistic approach to climate change articulated by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato Si’, particularly through the notion of “integral ecology”. It is not my [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the theoretical and pragmatic implications for international relations and world politics of the new holistic approach to climate change articulated by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato Si’, particularly through the notion of “integral ecology”. It is not my intention to offer an exegesis of the Papal document. I will rather try to illustrate and discuss its planetary hermeneutics. I emphasize that the Encyclical’s perspective is not exclusively normative, and that, within the dynamic interplay between social structure and human agency, it can also be considered as a call to action. In this context, I suggest that both International Relations Theory and global politics have much to learn from the fundamental claims of contemporary religions in relation to climate disruption. In particular, Pope Francis’ document, far from being just a new chapter in the unfolding process of the “greening” of religions, raises the issue of the sustainability of the present world system. Therefore, I contend that the perspective of the Encyclical calls for a radical transformation of international relations, since it emphasizes the deep implications of environmental issues on the entire spectrum of security, development, economic and ethical challenges of contemporary world politics. Against this backdrop, my objective is to connect the main tenets of the Encyclical to the environmental turn in International Relations Theory and to the new epistemological challenges related to the paradigm shift induced by the new planetary condition of the Anthropocene and the relevant questions arising for a justice encompassing the humanity-earth system. The Encyclical seems to suggest that practicing sustainable international relations means exiting the logic of power or hegemony, while simultaneously operationalizing the concept of care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Engagement with Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle
Rhetorica and Exemplum: The Genesis of Christian Literature in Late Imperial China
Religions 2019, 10(8), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080465 - 05 Aug 2019
Viewed by 808
Abstract
This paper offers a survey of how European rhetoric reached China in the transitional period between the Ming and the Qing dynasties. The focus of my paper is how a verbal ars is transformed into the written ars, thus inaugurating the Christian [...] Read more.
This paper offers a survey of how European rhetoric reached China in the transitional period between the Ming and the Qing dynasties. The focus of my paper is how a verbal ars is transformed into the written ars, thus inaugurating the Christian literature in late imperial China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Literature in Chinese Contexts) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Haiti’s Pact with the Devil?: Bwa Kayiman, Haitian Protestant Views of Vodou, and the Future of Haiti
Religions 2019, 10(8), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080464 - 05 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1474
Abstract
This essay uses ethnographic research conducted among Haitian Protestants in the Bahamas in 2005 and 2012 plus internet resources to document the belief among Haitian Protestants (Haitians who practice Protestant forms of Christianity) that Haiti supposedly made a pact with the Devil (Satan) [...] Read more.
This essay uses ethnographic research conducted among Haitian Protestants in the Bahamas in 2005 and 2012 plus internet resources to document the belief among Haitian Protestants (Haitians who practice Protestant forms of Christianity) that Haiti supposedly made a pact with the Devil (Satan) as the result of Bwa Kayiman, a Vodou ceremony that launched the Haitian Revolution (1791–1803). Vodou is the syncretized religion indigenous to Haiti. I argue that this interpretation of Bwa Kayiman is an extension of the negative effects of the globalization of American Fundamentalist Christianity in Haiti and, by extension, peoples of African descent and the Global South. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Mediatized Catholicism—Minority Voices and Religious Authority in the Digital Sphere
Religions 2019, 10(8), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080463 - 03 Aug 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
Over the last decade, many scholars have explored the thesis of the mediatization of religion proposed by Hjarvard and how mediatization has impacted religious authority. While some scholars have underlined the increasing opportunities for marginalized religious actors to make their voices heard, others [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, many scholars have explored the thesis of the mediatization of religion proposed by Hjarvard and how mediatization has impacted religious authority. While some scholars have underlined the increasing opportunities for marginalized religious actors to make their voices heard, others have explored how mediatization can also result in the enhancement of traditional religious authority or change the logic of religious authority. Against this background, in this paper, I focus on Christian LGBT+ digital voices in Italy to explore how they discursively engage with the official religious authority of the Catholic Church. The analysis adopts Campbell typology of religious authority. It highlights the complex balance between challenging and reaffirming traditional religious authority, and points out the role of the type of digital community in exploring the effects of the mediatization of religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mediatisation in Global Perspective)
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Open AccessArticle
The “Original Position” as Public Performance: Liberalism, Pluralism, and Asceticism
Religions 2019, 10(8), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080462 - 03 Aug 2019
Viewed by 792
Abstract
John Rawls’ well-known device of representation (his terminology) that he names the “original position” is put into play by the veil of ignorance. This imaginative device, found in both his early and late works, is often dismissed because it is misunderstood as an [...] Read more.
John Rawls’ well-known device of representation (his terminology) that he names the “original position” is put into play by the veil of ignorance. This imaginative device, found in both his early and late works, is often dismissed because it is misunderstood as an exercise in moral geometry. This essay discusses in more detail the subjective mechanics of the original position; while sympathetic of Rawls’ application of the veil of ignorance, I distinguish between a thick and thin veil, whereby I promote the latter. The final section makes a connection between the simulation of the original position and the religious practice of asceticism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
The Veiling Issue in 20th Century Iran in Fashion and Society, Religion, and Government
Religions 2019, 10(8), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080461 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1277
Abstract
This essay focuses on the Iranian woman’s veil from various perspectives including cultural, social, religious, aesthetic, as well as political to better understand this object of clothing with multiple interpretive meanings. The veil and veiling are uniquely imbued with layers of meanings serving [...] Read more.
This essay focuses on the Iranian woman’s veil from various perspectives including cultural, social, religious, aesthetic, as well as political to better understand this object of clothing with multiple interpretive meanings. The veil and veiling are uniquely imbued with layers of meanings serving multiple agendas. Sometimes the function of veiling is contradictory in that it can serve equally opposing political agendas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fashion/Religion Interfaces)
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