Next Issue
Volume 10, October
Previous Issue
Volume 10, August

Table of Contents

Religions, Volume 10, Issue 9 (September 2019)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story (view full-size image) According to a prophecy told in a small Native American community in the US South whose members [...] Read more.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle
Contested Histories, Multi-Religious Space and Conflict: A Case Study of Kantarodai in Northern Sri Lanka
Religions 2019, 10(9), 537; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090537 - 19 Sep 2019
Viewed by 100
Abstract
This article focuses on the archaeological site of Kantarodai (Tamil) or Kadurugoda (Sinhala) on the Jaffna peninsula at the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka to examine the power of spatially embodied, contested histories within postcolonial and post-war communities. The Sri Lankan military who [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the archaeological site of Kantarodai (Tamil) or Kadurugoda (Sinhala) on the Jaffna peninsula at the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka to examine the power of spatially embodied, contested histories within postcolonial and post-war communities. The Sri Lankan military who control Kantarodai view it simply as a Sinhala Buddhist site. However, when it is viewed through the lens of international archaeological scholarship, its multi-ethnic and multi-religious history becomes clear. Its present situation speaks of a failure to affirm the narratives connected with this history. In examining this case study, I first evoke the changing political and religious landscapes of the peninsula in the recent past, drawing on my own visits to Jaffna during Sri Lanka’s ethnic war. Second, I examine one dominant imaginary that is projected onto the peninsula, from the Sinhala Buddhist community, the most powerful community in the island. Thirdly, I move to Kantarodai, focussing on two recent representations of its history and the privileging of one of these in Sri Lanka’s post-war polity. I then assess the consequences for Sri Lanka of the failure to affirm multiplicity at Kantarodai, drawing out its wider relevance for the study of post-colonial and post-war societies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifaith Spaces in Global Perspective)
Open AccessArticle
On the Ālayavijñāna in the Awakening of Faith: Comparing and Contrasting Wŏnhyo and Fazang’s Views on Tathāgatagarbha and Ālayavijñāna
Religions 2019, 10(9), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090536 - 19 Sep 2019
Viewed by 119
Abstract
The Awakening of Faith, one of the most seminal treatises in East Asian Buddhism, is well-known for its synthesis of the two Mahāyāna concepts of tathāgatagarbha and ālayavijñāna. Unlike early Yogācāra texts, such as the Yogācārabhūmi, in which ālayavijñāna is described [...] Read more.
The Awakening of Faith, one of the most seminal treatises in East Asian Buddhism, is well-known for its synthesis of the two Mahāyāna concepts of tathāgatagarbha and ālayavijñāna. Unlike early Yogācāra texts, such as the Yogācārabhūmi, in which ālayavijñāna is described as a defiled consciousness, the Awakening of Faith explains it as a “synthetic” consciousness, in which tathāgatagarbha and the defiled mind are unified in a neither-identical-nor-different condition. East Asian Buddhist exegetes noted the innovative explanation of the Awakening of Faith and compiled the commentaries, among which Huayan master Fazang’s (643–712) commentary had a profound effect on the process of the establishment of the treatise as one of the most representative tathāgatagarbha texts in East Asia. However, as scholarly perceptions that the commentators’ interpretations do not always represent the Awakening of Faith’s tenets themselves have grown, the propriety of relying on Fazang’s commentary for understanding the treatise has also been questioned. What attracts our attention in this regard is that the Silla scholar-monk Wŏnhyo’s (617–686) commentaries, which are known to have significantly influenced Fazang’s, present very different views. This article demonstrates that two distinct interpretations existed in Wŏnhyo’s days for tathāgatagarbha and ālayavijñāna of the Awakening of Faith, by comparing Wŏnhyo and Fazang’s commentaries, and further considers the possibility that the Awakening of Faith’s doctrine of ālayavijñāna is not doctrinally incompatible with that of early Yogācāra on the basis of Wŏnhyo’s view on ālayavijñāna. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Gospel According to Marxism: Zhu Weizhi and the Making of Jesus the Proletarian (1950)
Religions 2019, 10(9), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090535 - 19 Sep 2019
Viewed by 103
Abstract
This article explores the integration of Marxism into the Gospel narratives of the Christian Bible in Zhu Weizhi’s Jesus the Proletarian (1950). It argues that Zhu in this Chinese Life of Jesus refashioned a Gospel according to Marxism, with a proletarian Jesus at [...] Read more.
This article explores the integration of Marxism into the Gospel narratives of the Christian Bible in Zhu Weizhi’s Jesus the Proletarian (1950). It argues that Zhu in this Chinese Life of Jesus refashioned a Gospel according to Marxism, with a proletarian Jesus at its center, by creatively appropriating a wealth of global sources regarding historical Jesus and primitive Christianity. Zhu’s rewriting of Jesus can be appreciated as a precursor to the later Latin American liberation Christology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Literature in Chinese Contexts)
Open AccessArticle
‘Woman Seems to Be Given Her Proper Place’: Western Women’s Encounter with Sikh Women 1809–2012
Religions 2019, 10(9), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090534 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 219
Abstract
Over a period of two centuries, western women—travellers, army wives, administrators’ wives, missionaries, teachers, artists and novelists—have been portraying their Sikh counterparts. Commentary by over eighty European and north American ‘lay’ women on Sikh religion and society complements—and in most cases predates—publications on [...] Read more.
Over a period of two centuries, western women—travellers, army wives, administrators’ wives, missionaries, teachers, artists and novelists—have been portraying their Sikh counterparts. Commentary by over eighty European and north American ‘lay’ women on Sikh religion and society complements—and in most cases predates—publications on Sikhs by twentieth and twenty-first century academics, but this literature has not been discussed in the field of Sikh studies. This article looks at the women’s ‘wide spectrum of gazes’ encompassing Sikh women’s appearance, their status and, in a few cases, their character, and including their reactions to the ‘social evils’ of suttee and female infanticide. Key questions are, firstly, whether race outweighs gender in the western women’s account of their Sikh counterparts and, secondly, whether 1947 is a pivotal date in their changing attitudes. The women’s words illustrate their curious gaze as well as their varying judgements on the status of Sikh women and some women’s exercise of sympathetic imagination. They characterise Sikh women as, variously, helpless, deferential, courageous, resourceful and adaptive, as well as (in one case) ‘ambitious’ and ‘unprincipled’. Their commentary entails both implicit and explicit comparisons. In their range of social relationships with Sikh women, it appears that social class, Christian commitment, political stance and national origin tend to outweigh gender. At the same time, however, it is women’s gender that allows access to Sikh women and makes befriending—and ultimately friendship—possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Gender and Sikh traditions)
Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue “International Conference of Spirituality in Healthcare. Creating Space for Spirituality in Healthcare,”—Trinity College Dublin 2017
Religions 2019, 10(9), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090533 - 18 Sep 2019
Viewed by 125
Abstract
This is an editorial of a Special Issue pertaining to the “International Conference of Spirituality in Healthcare. Creating a Space for Spirituality in Healthcare” Trinity College Dublin 2017. This was the third International Spirituality in Healthcare Conference hosted by Trinity College Dublin, with [...] Read more.
This is an editorial of a Special Issue pertaining to the “International Conference of Spirituality in Healthcare. Creating a Space for Spirituality in Healthcare” Trinity College Dublin 2017. This was the third International Spirituality in Healthcare Conference hosted by Trinity College Dublin, with future annual conferences planned. This conference has provided a space to facilitate clinicians, healthcare practitioners and academics to present and debate current issues with this domain. This editorial summarises some of the papers that have been published arising from that conference. Full article
Open AccessArticle
One Religion, Two Tales: Religion and Happiness in Urban and Rural Areas of China
Religions 2019, 10(9), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090532 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 128
Abstract
Most previous studies performed in Western social contexts have revealed that religion can influence an individual’s sense of happiness. Few studies have sought to clarify the influence of religion in a Chinese social context, however, and there has been no study specifically about [...] Read more.
Most previous studies performed in Western social contexts have revealed that religion can influence an individual’s sense of happiness. Few studies have sought to clarify the influence of religion in a Chinese social context, however, and there has been no study specifically about the potential differences in the dichotomous social environments of urban and rural areas in China. Via the nationwide survey data of the 2007 Spiritual Life Study of Chinese Residents (SLSC), this study examines the association between religion and happiness among urban and rural residents of China. The results reveal that there is a generally positive association between religion and happiness among those with religious affiliations in China. Regardless of affiliation with Buddhism or Protestantism, there is a strong positive association among rural respondents, an insignificant association among urban respondents, and mixed results among town residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Religiosity and Mental Health)
Open AccessArticle
Gods, Gurus, Prophets and the Poor: Exploring Informal, Interfaith Exchanges among Working Class Female Workers in an Indian City
Religions 2019, 10(9), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090531 - 17 Sep 2019
Viewed by 146
Abstract
This article revolves around the narratives of Sabita (Muslim), Radha (Hindu) and Sharleen (Christian), migrant women in their mid-forties, who have been working as maids, cooks and cleaners in middle-class housing colonies in Kolkata, a city in eastern India. Informal understandings of gendered [...] Read more.
This article revolves around the narratives of Sabita (Muslim), Radha (Hindu) and Sharleen (Christian), migrant women in their mid-forties, who have been working as maids, cooks and cleaners in middle-class housing colonies in Kolkata, a city in eastern India. Informal understandings of gendered oppressions across religious traditions often dominate the conversations of the three working-class women. Like many labourers from slums and lower-class neighbourhoods, they meet and debate religious concerns in informal ‘resting places’ (under a tree, on a park bench, at a tea stall, on a train, at a corner of a railway platform). These anonymous spaces are usually devoid of religious symbols, as well as any moral surveillance of women’s colloquial abuse of male dominance in society. I show how the anecdotes of struggle, culled across multiple religious practices, intersect with the shared existential realities of these urban workers. They temporarily empower female members of the informal workforce in the city, to create loosely defined gendered solidarities in the face of patriarchal authority, and reflect on daily discrimination against economically marginalised migrant women. I argue that these fleeting urban rituals underline the more vital role of (what I describe as) poor people’s ‘casual philosophies’, in enhancing empathy and dialogue between communities that are characterised by political tensions in India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Arguing over the Buddhist Pedigree of Tibetan Medicine: A Case Study of Empirical Observation and Traditional Learning in 16th- and 17th-Century Tibet
Religions 2019, 10(9), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090530 - 16 Sep 2019
Viewed by 206
Abstract
This article examines the relationship between the practice and theory of medicine and Buddhism in premodern Tibet. It considers a polemical text composed by the 16th–17th-century Tibetan physician and tantric Buddhist expert Sokdokpa Lodrö Gyeltsen, intending to prove the Buddhist canonical status of [...] Read more.
This article examines the relationship between the practice and theory of medicine and Buddhism in premodern Tibet. It considers a polemical text composed by the 16th–17th-century Tibetan physician and tantric Buddhist expert Sokdokpa Lodrö Gyeltsen, intending to prove the Buddhist canonical status of the Four Medical Tantras, the foundational text of the Tibetan medical tradition. While presenting and analyzing Sokdokpa’s polemical writing in the context of the broader debate over the Buddhist pedigree of the Four Tantras that took place during his time, this discussion situates Sokdokpa’s reflections on the topic in terms of his broader career as both a practicing physician and a tantric Buddhist ritual and contemplative specialist. It suggests that by virtue of Sokdokpa’s tightly interwoven activities in the spheres of medicine and Buddhism, his contribution to this debate gives voice to a sensibility in which empiricist, historicist, and Buddhist ritual and contemplative inflections intermingle in ways that resist easy disentanglement and classification. In this it argues that Sokdokpa’s reflections form an important counterpoint to the perspectives considered thus far in the scholarly study of this debate. It also questions if Sokdokpa’s style of argumentation might call for a recalibration of how scholars currently construe the roles of tantric Buddhist practice in the appeal by premodern Tibetan physicians to critical and probative criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Medicine in India, Tibet, and Mongolia)
Open AccessArticle
Being Christian through External Giving
Religions 2019, 10(9), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090529 - 13 Sep 2019
Viewed by 205
Abstract
This study examines how Christian informants understand and practice external (charitable) giving outside of their church, both in terms of money and volunteering time and effort. While existing quantitative researches have informed us primarily about the determinants of giving in the West, we [...] Read more.
This study examines how Christian informants understand and practice external (charitable) giving outside of their church, both in terms of money and volunteering time and effort. While existing quantitative researches have informed us primarily about the determinants of giving in the West, we carry out a small case study in a church in an Asian city of Hong Kong to explore how local Christians understand and practice external giving. It is found that external giving is not just an obligatory religious code of conduct that the Christians are obliged to follow. More essentially, drawing reference from the concept of technology of the self, we argue that giving is an integral part of the making of the Christian self. Through giving, individual Christians redefine, transform, and enact their sacred selves in relation to God and others in the community of the faithful. At a collective level, external giving contributes to the construction of a sacred moral economy, which places Christian givers and the needy recipients in a transcendent social relationship. In this state of transcendent social relationship, the givers and recipients are all children of God, hence of equal status. As such, the secular social distinction and material hierarchy distinction between these two groups pales into insignificance. Furthermore, we argue that while secular considerations of economic rationality colour how Christians select the recipients of their giving, these practical concerns are also spiritualized and incorporated into their logic of Christian morality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Developments in Christianity in China)
Open AccessArticle
Payback, Forgiveness, Accountability: Exercising Responsible Agency in the Midst of Structured Racial Harm
Religions 2019, 10(9), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090528 - 13 Sep 2019
Viewed by 171
Abstract
In a context of political conflict, the practice of vengeance, the paying back of harm in exchange for harm suffered, is obviously an ethical problem. The practice of forgiveness is equally though differently problematic when applied to political conflict despite the fact that [...] Read more.
In a context of political conflict, the practice of vengeance, the paying back of harm in exchange for harm suffered, is obviously an ethical problem. The practice of forgiveness is equally though differently problematic when applied to political conflict despite the fact that it is a moral ideal. A third approach, the practice of moral accountability, is more ethically justifiable, yet it remains unclear what it is conceptually and what it would involve practically in a particular context. In this essay, the author develops a conceptual framework for moral accountability, grounded in a broader understanding of justice as responsibility to conflictual and unchosen relationships. Drawing on contemporary sources in Christian ethics, as well as insights from anti-racism community organizing, the author argues that practices of moral accountability restructure the pattern of these relationships, such that perpetrators and guilty bystanders are more likely to assume, rather than avoid, responsibility for causing structured racial harm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Beliefs and the Morality of Payback)
Open AccessArticle
Religiosity, Religious Practice, and Antisemitism in Present-Day Hungary
Religions 2019, 10(9), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090527 - 13 Sep 2019
Viewed by 224
Abstract
Since 1995, Surveys on antisemitism using national representative samples have been regularly carried out in Hungary. In this article, we used data from the 2011 and 2017 surveys to explore the relationship between three types of antisemitism, namely religious, secular, and emotional. Moreover, [...] Read more.
Since 1995, Surveys on antisemitism using national representative samples have been regularly carried out in Hungary. In this article, we used data from the 2011 and 2017 surveys to explore the relationship between three types of antisemitism, namely religious, secular, and emotional. Moreover, we scrutinized how different religiosity indicators can be used as explanatory variables for the different types of antisemitism. We found a slight increase in religious and secular antisemitism between 2011 and 2017, while emotional antisemitism remained almost the same. Religious anti-Judaism significantly correlated with both secular and emotional antisemitism, however, its relationship was much stronger with the former. When analyzing the relationship between different types of antisemitism and religiosity indicators, we found that while in 2011, all the indicators were connected to religious, and most of them to secular and emotional antisemitism, in 2017, only the variables measuring subjective self-classification remained significant. The results show that the relationship between religion and antisemitism underwent some substantial changes between 2011 and 2017. While in 2011, personal religiosity was a significant predictor of the strength of antisemitism, in 2017, religion serving as a cultural identity marker took over this function. The hypothetical explanatory factor for the change is the rebirth of the “Christian-national” idea appearing as the foundational element of the new Hungarian constitution, according to which Christian culture is the ultimate unifying force of the nation, giving the inner essence and meaning of the state. In this discourse, being Christian is equated with being Hungarian. Self-declared and self-defined Christian religiosity plays the role of a symbolic marker for accepting the national-conservative identity discourse and belonging to the “Christian-national” cultural-political camp where antisemitic prejudices occur more frequently than in other segments of the society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Gender and Folk-Religion in Western China: A Case Study of the Tu of Qinghai
Religions 2019, 10(9), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090526 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 177
Abstract
This paper deals with analysis of gender issues in an ethnic religious system in Western China, the religion of the Tu ethnic group. We focused on gender in Tu religion, which entailed documenting gender dynamics in three major ethnographic domains that have been [...] Read more.
This paper deals with analysis of gender issues in an ethnic religious system in Western China, the religion of the Tu ethnic group. We focused on gender in Tu religion, which entailed documenting gender dynamics in three major ethnographic domains that have been present in religious systems around the world and through time: spirit beliefs, rituals, and specialists. Though examined gender dynamics as they occur among the Tu in all three of these niches, we found that in the Tu spirit world, there are major male and female spirits who are viewed as having equal status and equal power over the weather. However, in the domain of ritual specialists, the gender situation changes. As for gender-differentiation in rituals, we found practices that excluded women from entering temples and from participating in public emergency rituals associated with weather crises. In addition, we have attempted to identify the multiple causal factors that that may have affected the evolution of Tu. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Taking Children’s Moral Lives Seriously: Creativity as Ethical Response Offline and Online
Religions 2019, 10(9), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090525 - 12 Sep 2019
Viewed by 178
Abstract
Core Christian ethics concepts are affected by assumptions related to the primary subject or moral agent and the social context in which moral encounters take place. This article asks: Are children full moral agents? If so, what can Christian ethics, which predominantly focuses [...] Read more.
Core Christian ethics concepts are affected by assumptions related to the primary subject or moral agent and the social context in which moral encounters take place. This article asks: Are children full moral agents? If so, what can Christian ethics, which predominantly focuses on adult subjects, learn from a focus on children? A small group of Christian ethicists has asked this very question in conversation with psychologists, child development theorists, educators, theologians, and philosophers. Centering children requires attention to age and ability differences and inclusion of their voices. Children as ethical subjects focus attention on issues of particularity, a decentering of rational individualism, and debunking linear moral developmental assumptions. The research on children’s moral lives points toward ethics as creativity in forms of play or improvisation. Given children’s digitally saturated lives, their creative use of critical digital literacies also helps Christian ethics begin to map a response to the impact of digital technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Christian Ethics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The West Nickel Mines Amish School Murders and the Cultural Fetishization of “Amish Forgiveness”
Religions 2019, 10(9), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090524 - 11 Sep 2019
Viewed by 133
Abstract
In the days and weeks following the West Nickel Mines Amish school murders, hegemonic U.S. cultural discourse largely fetishized the Amish response of forgiveness in revealing ways. Within this discourse, the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 were referenced in articles and commentaries [...] Read more.
In the days and weeks following the West Nickel Mines Amish school murders, hegemonic U.S. cultural discourse largely fetishized the Amish response of forgiveness in revealing ways. Within this discourse, the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 were referenced in articles and commentaries which sought to weigh the moral value of forgiveness in response to extreme violence. In this way, understandings of Amish forgiveness were largely “strip-mined” from the Nickel Mines community and “transported wholesale” to other counter-cultural settings. In dominant U.S. capitalistic and consumeristic culture, Amish forgiveness quickly became a fluctuating material commodity that was fetishized in ways which revealed the destabilized moral consciousness of a nation. Dominant cultural discourse exposed this destabilization while it also worked to interrogate it. I conclude that the fetishization of forgiveness following the Amish school murders reflected collective concerns that reached far beyond the immediate context of the Nickel Mines Amish community. The U.S. cultural fetishization of forgiveness revealed, instead, a cultural consciousness that desperately sought relief from the chaos and confusion of what it means to be a citizen of nation that exists in and by the normativity of extreme violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Beliefs and the Morality of Payback)
Open AccessArticle
Online Martyrs: Virtual Tours of the Miguel Agustín Pro Museum, and the José Simeón Cañas Central American University Martyrs
Religions 2019, 10(9), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090523 - 10 Sep 2019
Viewed by 163
Abstract
This article examines two commemorative projects on 20th-century Jesuit martyrs turned into Internet tours. A comparison between the official online tour of the Father Pro Museum in Mexico City, and two unofficial tours through the Martyrs Memorial Hall at the José Simeón Cañas [...] Read more.
This article examines two commemorative projects on 20th-century Jesuit martyrs turned into Internet tours. A comparison between the official online tour of the Father Pro Museum in Mexico City, and two unofficial tours through the Martyrs Memorial Hall at the José Simeón Cañas Central American University in San Salvador, El Salvador, suggests paradoxes regarding a museum’s online representation and ways in which violence and martyrdom are represented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion in Latin America, and among Latinos abroad.)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Protestant Political Theology and Pluralism: From a Politics of Refusal to Tending and Organizing for Common Goods
Religions 2019, 10(9), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090522 - 10 Sep 2019
Viewed by 148
Abstract
Protestant perspectives on pluralism in political theology are predictably plural. While prevalent narratives of modern decline bemoan Protestant pluralism and its ostensive side-effects, others celebrate pluralism as a good in its own right. One aim of this essay is to display the diverse [...] Read more.
Protestant perspectives on pluralism in political theology are predictably plural. While prevalent narratives of modern decline bemoan Protestant pluralism and its ostensive side-effects, others celebrate pluralism as a good in its own right. One aim of this essay is to display the diverse perspectives in Protestant political theology regarding political theology itself, pluralism, secularism, and democracy, while clarifying and refining these terms. I do so by considering each theme in turn. Finally, I consider the ways that religious dissenters of the 1790s defy prominent depictions of Protestantism, even as they exemplify the plurality at its core. The dissenters wed an ancient legacy of reflection on theological virtues such as charity to appeals for human and women’s rights, and suggest that love of country, neighbor, alien and God is central to protestant political theology. Given the plurality inherent in Protestantism, Christianity, and modern democratic societies alike, we have good reasons, I argue, to turn from a politics of refusal to one of tending and organizing for goods shared in common. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
Buddhist Integration of Forest and Farm in Northern Thailand
Religions 2019, 10(9), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090521 - 10 Sep 2019
Viewed by 380
Abstract
Usually seen as incompatible, forests and farms are integrated by Buddhist environmental activists in Thailand. Monks engaged in environmental conservation see the conditions of farmers’ lives as related to how they treat the forests surrounding their farms. If farmers seek their livelihood through [...] Read more.
Usually seen as incompatible, forests and farms are integrated by Buddhist environmental activists in Thailand. Monks engaged in environmental conservation see the conditions of farmers’ lives as related to how they treat the forests surrounding their farms. If farmers seek their livelihood through cash-cropping and contract farming, they see the forest as a material resource in terms of land for future farms. This attitude contributes to the rapid deforestation occurring across northern Thailand’s mountainous region and a cycle of environmental degradation and economic struggle. Buddhist monks work with non-governmental organizations and sometimes state agents to encourage farmers to shift to integrated agriculture, growing a mix of food crops and raising animals mimicking ecological relations. The monks teach that the forest is part of this eco-system, as it supplies water and other natural resources and must be protected. This paper examines the work of Phrakhru Somkit Jaranathammo, a monk in Nan Province, Thailand, who promotes dhammic agriculture and engages a new interpretation of Right Livelihood, a basic Buddhist principle, to support and protect the well-being of both the forest and farmers. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Catwalk Catholicism: On the Ongoing Significance of Federico Fellini’s Ecclesiastical Fashion Show
Religions 2019, 10(9), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090520 - 09 Sep 2019
Viewed by 194
Abstract
In Fellini-Roma (1972), the film director Federico Fellini includes a sequence about an imaginary ecclesiastical fashion show, a display of ever more outlandish clerical clothing designs. Fellini brought together various elements that, in conventional cultural coding, do not seem to fit together: secular [...] Read more.
In Fellini-Roma (1972), the film director Federico Fellini includes a sequence about an imaginary ecclesiastical fashion show, a display of ever more outlandish clerical clothing designs. Fellini brought together various elements that, in conventional cultural coding, do not seem to fit together: secular fashion design and catwalks, and Catholic practice and ceremonial. The sequence juxtaposes and intermingles these apparent incompatibles. Surprisingly little scholarly attention has been paid to the nature and significance of this sequence. Yet it is complex, being simultaneously satirical and empathetic, as well as camp and carnivalesque. The paper reaches back in time, reviewing the history of Catholic vestments, to show that the sequence also dramatizes the fact that sartorial fashion and Church garb have overlapped and informed each other historically. The appeal of the sequence for various types of audience has been enhanced in the internet age, and the paper considers how it has become an increasingly ubiquitous reference-point for the fashion industry, bloggers, and cultural critics, especially when the latter want to thematize controversies about male homosexuality in the Church today. Fellini’s presentation of catwalk Catholicism is both a rich object of scholarship, and a multivalent vehicle used by actors for various contemporary purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fashion/Religion Interfaces)
Open AccessArticle
Cults, Crosses, and Crescents: Religion and Healing from Colonial Violence in Tanzania
Religions 2019, 10(9), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090519 - 08 Sep 2019
Viewed by 291
Abstract
More often than not, Africans employed local religion and the seemingly antagonistic faith of Christianity and Islam, to respond to colonial exploitation, cruelty, and violence. Southern Tanzanians’ reaction during the Majimaji resistance presents a case in point where the application of local religion, [...] Read more.
More often than not, Africans employed local religion and the seemingly antagonistic faith of Christianity and Islam, to respond to colonial exploitation, cruelty, and violence. Southern Tanzanians’ reaction during the Majimaji resistance presents a case in point where the application of local religion, Christianity, and Islam for both individual and community spiritual solace were vivid. Kinjekitile Ngwale—the prominent war ritualist—prophesied that a concoction (Maji) would turn the German’s bullets to water, which in turn would be the defeat of the colonial government. Equally, Christian and Islamic doctrines were used to motivate the resistance. How religion is used in the post-colonial context as a cure for maladies of early 20th-century colonialism and how local religion can inspire political change is the focus of this paper. The paper suggests that religion, as propagated by the Majimaji people for the restoration of social justice to the descendant’s communities, is a form of cultural heritage playing a social role of remedying colonial violence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Vernacular “Fiction” and Celestial Script: A Daoist Manual for the Use of Water Margin
Religions 2019, 10(9), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090518 - 06 Sep 2019
Viewed by 257
Abstract
This article maps out a sphere of ritual practice that recognizably serves as a framework for the famous Ming dynasty (1368–1644) vernacular narrative Water Margin (水滸傳 Shuihu zhuan). By establishing a set of primary referents that are ritual in nature, I question [...] Read more.
This article maps out a sphere of ritual practice that recognizably serves as a framework for the famous Ming dynasty (1368–1644) vernacular narrative Water Margin (水滸傳 Shuihu zhuan). By establishing a set of primary referents that are ritual in nature, I question the habit of applying the modern category of “literary fiction” in a universalizing, secular way, marginalizing or metaphorizing Daoist elements. I argue that literary analysis can only be fruitful if it is done within the parameters of ritual. Although I tie the story’s ritual framework to specific Daoist procedures for imprisoning demonic spirits throughout the article, my initial focus is on a genre of revelatory writing known as “celestial script” (天書 tianshu). This type of script is given much attention at important moments in the story and it is simultaneously known from Daoist ritual texts. I show a firm link between Water Margin and the uses of “celestial script” by presenting a nineteenth century Daoist ordination manual that contains “celestial script” for each of Water Margin’s 108 heroic protagonists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Chinese Literature)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Go and Sin No More: The Afterlife as Moral Teaching in Italian Catholic Educational Theatre
Religions 2019, 10(9), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090517 - 06 Sep 2019
Viewed by 186
Abstract
Catholic religious orders that have education as part of their mission have often used visions of the afterlife in theatre productions as vehicles to transmit a message of conversion, especially to those who, because of age or illiteracy, would not benefit as much [...] Read more.
Catholic religious orders that have education as part of their mission have often used visions of the afterlife in theatre productions as vehicles to transmit a message of conversion, especially to those who, because of age or illiteracy, would not benefit as much from Scripture readings or complex sermons. In this article, I look at how such visions of the blessed and the damned, of heaven and hell, of angels and demons, were used in educational theatre in Italy by the Jesuits in the 16th century and the Salesian sisters in the 20th century. The historical background for the Jesuit and Salesian plays I analyze also reveals a propagandistic layer of meaning in their representation of the afterworld, as the Jesuits’ tragedies date to the years of the Counter-reformation, while the Salesian sisters’ plays belong to era of the cold war. Thus, the Jesuit and Salesian theatrical depictions of heaven and hell provide insight not only into the religious understanding of the eras, but also into the social and political concerns of the times in which they were composed, as well as the diverse educational messages transmitted to young men and young women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Theatrical Drama)
Open AccessArticle
“Whoever Harms a Dhimmī I Shall Be His Foe on the Day of Judgment”: An Investigation into an Authentic Prophetic Tradition and Its Origins from the Covenants
Religions 2019, 10(9), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090516 - 05 Sep 2019
Viewed by 316
Abstract
The ḥadīth, “whoever harms a dhimmī I shall be his foe on the Day of Judgment’, can be found as an end clause to covenants which the Prophet Muḥammad issued to Christian, Jewish, and Magian communities. As it is highly unlikely for different [...] Read more.
The ḥadīth, “whoever harms a dhimmī I shall be his foe on the Day of Judgment’, can be found as an end clause to covenants which the Prophet Muḥammad issued to Christian, Jewish, and Magian communities. As it is highly unlikely for different non-Muslim communities to have forged this Prophetic statement at the end of their respective documents, this paper argues that this utterance is authentic and can be confidently traced back to the Prophet. This paper examines the occurrence of this statement as a ḥadīth in the Islamic literature and notes how it was dismissed by scholars of tradition who only accepted one of its variants. The paper then compares the rights granted to non-Muslims in the covenants to those conveyed in a number of ḥadīths and notes the discrepancies between early Islam’s official documents and the legal injunctions found in Muslim tradition. It argues that the ḥadīths on the rights of non-Muslims oftentimes reflect legal maxims of scholars living in the ‘Abbasīd era and that these were back-projected to the Prophet and his Companions using fictitious isnāds. Finally, this paper concludes by recommending the incorporation of the Prophet’s official decrees, which includes the covenants, within the fabric of Islamic law. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Open AccessArticle
Helping One’s Neighbor: Teaching and Learning Prosocial Behavior in a Religious Community
Religions 2019, 10(9), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090515 - 05 Sep 2019
Viewed by 241
Abstract
The aim of this study was to describe and interpret the subjective theories that support the development, teaching, and learning of prosocial behavior in a Pentecostal Methodist church located in the Atacama Region (Chile). The study was descriptive-interpretative, with qualitative methodology and a [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to describe and interpret the subjective theories that support the development, teaching, and learning of prosocial behavior in a Pentecostal Methodist church located in the Atacama Region (Chile). The study was descriptive-interpretative, with qualitative methodology and a case study design. We worked with 140 church members, employing qualitative observation, episodic interviews, and discussion groups. The data were analyzed using 2 techniques: thematic coding and grounded theory. Results make it possible to describe (a) the context where prosociality is developed, taught, and learned, (b) the subjective meaning of helping behaviors, and (c) community members’ subjective theories about the development of teaching-learning. In the discussion, results are analyzed considering the available scientific evidence and the limitations of the present study. Also, new questions are presented which future research may explore to generate a formal theory about the development, teaching, and learning of prosocial behavior in community contexts. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Reincarnation of Waste: A Case Study of Spiritual Ecology Activism for Household Solid Waste Management: The Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative of Rural Bhutan
Religions 2019, 10(9), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090514 - 04 Sep 2019
Viewed by 304
Abstract
As rural and subsistence households in the Global South take on the consumption habits of industrialized countries, shifting consumption patterns have contributed to cascades of nonbiodegradable solid waste overwhelming the ability of households, municipal authorities, and governments to manage. As global capitalism expands [...] Read more.
As rural and subsistence households in the Global South take on the consumption habits of industrialized countries, shifting consumption patterns have contributed to cascades of nonbiodegradable solid waste overwhelming the ability of households, municipal authorities, and governments to manage. As global capitalism expands around the world, spiritual ecology approaches to waste and pollution can provide deeper insight into the attitudes and practices that create a “throw away” society. In rural southern Bhutan, the revered Buddhist teacher, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, initiated a waste reduction project based on Bhutan’s guiding development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Through engaging cultural and spiritual values, and drawing on the inspirational qualities of social and spiritual leaders, the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative’s Zero Waste project is an example of spiritual ecology activism for household waste management and waste reduction. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Future of Catholic Monasteries on New Monastic Continents: The Case of Africa
Religions 2019, 10(9), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090513 - 04 Sep 2019
Viewed by 171
Abstract
Catholic monasticism in Europe is often associated with a crisis of vocations, of credibility and sometimes the question of closing down. Looking at monasteries outside Europe, especially in Asia and Africa, we observe a dynamic of new foundations and young entrants into the [...] Read more.
Catholic monasticism in Europe is often associated with a crisis of vocations, of credibility and sometimes the question of closing down. Looking at monasteries outside Europe, especially in Asia and Africa, we observe a dynamic of new foundations and young entrants into the communities. What are the challenges for monasteries in Africa in future decades? To what extent does monasticism experience a gravitational shift from Europe to other continents in the next thirty years? This article seeks to explore the challenges of African monastic communities now and in the future. The first part gives some demographic data which shows the dynamism of African monastic communities. The second part deals with the adaption of monastic life in the local environment; for instance, concerning the liturgy but also the role of the development of monastic communities. In the last part, I discuss the challenges of African monasticism, which is becoming autonomous from its European founders and developing more and more indigenous foundations. This article is based on field inquiries conducted in monastic communities in five countries in Africa between 2013 and 2019. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Future of Christian Monasticisms)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Between the Center and the Margins: Young Catholics, “Sorta-Catholics,” and Baptismal Identity
Religions 2019, 10(9), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090512 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 182
Abstract
Increased pastoral and theological attention to the vocational implications of baptism is sorely needed. As a small contribution to this conversation, this article will examine the insights of young Catholics and their self-described “former Catholic” peers (ages 15–29) regarding key aspects of the [...] Read more.
Increased pastoral and theological attention to the vocational implications of baptism is sorely needed. As a small contribution to this conversation, this article will examine the insights of young Catholics and their self-described “former Catholic” peers (ages 15–29) regarding key aspects of the Christian life. These insights offer a foundation for evolving understandings of baptismal identity at both the center and the margins of the church. Two recent efforts to formally solicit the opinions of young people will be examined. They are the Pre-Synodal preparations for the 2018 Synod on Young People and the recent study, published by Saint Mary’s Press in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) under the title Going, Going Gone: The Dynamics of Disaffiliation in Young Catholics. The responses from these young people, placed in conversation with recent theological work on baptism and the lay vocation, offer possibilities for consideration as Catholics ponder the changing demographics of the Church. The conclusion will argue for the urgent necessity of listening to these voices and will suggest that a mystagogical approach offers one helpful path towards a deeper understanding and practice of the baptismal vocation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacramental Theology: Theory and Practice from Multiple Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle
The Scales Integral to Ecology: Hierarchies in Laudato Si’ and Christian Ecological Ethics
Religions 2019, 10(9), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090511 - 03 Sep 2019
Viewed by 203
Abstract
Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ advocates for an “ecological conversion” to the ideal of “integral ecology”. In so doing, it offers insights into different scales of moral attention, resonating with sophisticated thinking in scientific ecology and environmental ethics. From the encyclical, Christian ecological ethicists [...] Read more.
Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ advocates for an “ecological conversion” to the ideal of “integral ecology”. In so doing, it offers insights into different scales of moral attention, resonating with sophisticated thinking in scientific ecology and environmental ethics. From the encyclical, Christian ecological ethicists can learn about the importance of identifying spatial and temporal scales in moral terms and the usefulness of hierarchical levels that distinguish between local, community, and global concerns. However, the encyclical assumes some hierarchical relationships—among genders, among species, and with the divine—that it does not question. Scalar thinking is a key strength of Laudato Si’ and also a signal of the work it leaves undone regarding the constructedness and limitations of all hierarchical assumptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Christian Ethics)
Open AccessArticle
Past as Prophecy: Indigenous Diplomacies beyond Liberal Settler Regimes of Recognition, as Told in Shell
Religions 2019, 10(9), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090510 - 02 Sep 2019
Viewed by 229
Abstract
According to a prophecy told in a small, Muskogee-identified community in the US South, the seeds of Indigenous ways of knowing and relating to more-than-human kin will once again flourish in the ruins of colonial orders. Even settlers will be forced to turn [...] Read more.
According to a prophecy told in a small, Muskogee-identified community in the US South, the seeds of Indigenous ways of knowing and relating to more-than-human kin will once again flourish in the ruins of colonial orders. Even settlers will be forced to turn to Indigenous knowledges because “they have destroyed everything else”. Following this visionary history-future, this article asks how Indigenous diplomacies and temporalities animate resurgent possibilities for making life within the fractures (and apocalyptic ruins) of settler states. This demands a rethinking of the global and the international from the perspective of deep Indigenous histories. I draw on research visiting ancestral landscapes with community members, discussing a trip to an ancient shell mound and a contemporary cemetery in which shells are laid atop grave plots. These stories evoke a long-term history of shifting and multivalient shell use across religious and temporal differences. They speak to practices of acknowledgement that exceed liberal settler regimes of state recognition and extend from much older diplomatic practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interfaith, Intercultural, International)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Christian Ethics and Ecologies of Violence
Religions 2019, 10(9), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090509 - 31 Aug 2019
Viewed by 268
Abstract
This essay introduces “ecologies of violence” as a problem for Christian ethics. Understanding the links between violence and the natural environment will be critical to the pursuit of justice, peace, and sustainability in the twenty-first century. Yet these links often evade political action [...] Read more.
This essay introduces “ecologies of violence” as a problem for Christian ethics. Understanding the links between violence and the natural environment will be critical to the pursuit of justice, peace, and sustainability in the twenty-first century. Yet these links often evade political action and escape moral attention because they do not fit comfortably within any of the fields requisite to address them. In most cases, the available resources for confronting these issues—“environmental issues” and “peace and conflict issues”—exist in separate toolkits, and no single discourse has developed resources to address their progressively merging spheres of concern. The essay outlines four types of ecological violence, examines recent work in Christian ethics relevant to them, and then argues for a dialogical method of ethics to confront them. Doing Christian ethics at the intersections of violence and environmental issues will require careful attention to environmental ethics as well as to the ethics of violence. More than that, it will require judicious efforts to navigate between them within case-based and place-based ethical analyses. Ecologies of violence invite Christian ethics to develop possibilities of ethical discernment and reparative action that do justice to the deep entanglement of ecological and sociopolitical systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Christian Ethics)
Open AccessArticle
Brazilian Validation of Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS-10BR and CRS-5BR)
Religions 2019, 10(9), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090508 - 30 Aug 2019
Viewed by 264
Abstract
The centrality of religiosity scale (CRS), available in three versions (with 5, 10 and 15 items), is a measuring instrument that identifies the central importance of religiosity in the psychological construction and in the behavior of an individual. According to the literature, five [...] Read more.
The centrality of religiosity scale (CRS), available in three versions (with 5, 10 and 15 items), is a measuring instrument that identifies the central importance of religiosity in the psychological construction and in the behavior of an individual. According to the literature, five components together express the centrality of religion in life: Public practice, private practice, ideological, intellectual, and religious experience. These components are the ground on which religious constructs are formed and activated. For the validation of the scale in the Brazilian cultural context, two versions were tested (CRS-10BR and CRS-5BR) with data collected from a general population (N = 687). Exploratory Factor Analysis (N = 334) resulted in a five-factor solution congruent to CRS-10BR. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (N = 353) demonstrated that a five-factor solution (Intellect, Ideology, Private Practice, Public Practice and Religious Experience) indicated better fit indexes than the single-factor solution of five items (CRS-5BR). Thus, CRS-10BR is recommended to capture CRS full construct. However, the CRS-5BR version can be considered suitable for use in the Brazilian population when the context is demanding simpler and faster data collection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research with the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS))
Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop