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Religions, Volume 11, Issue 10 (October 2020) – 64 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Replying to James Sterba’s argument for the incompatibility of the world’s evils with the existence [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Gender Equality in and on Tibetan Buddhist Nuns’ Terms
Religions 2020, 11(10), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100543 - 21 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Gender equality and feminism are often cast as concepts foreign to the Tibetan cultural region, even as scholarship exploring alliances between Buddhism and feminism has grown. Critics of this scholarship contend that it superimposes liberal discourses of freedom, egalitarianism, and human rights onto [...] Read more.
Gender equality and feminism are often cast as concepts foreign to the Tibetan cultural region, even as scholarship exploring alliances between Buddhism and feminism has grown. Critics of this scholarship contend that it superimposes liberal discourses of freedom, egalitarianism, and human rights onto Asian Buddhist women’s lives, without regard for whether/how these accord with women’s self-understandings. This article aims to serve as a corrective to this omission by engaging transnational feminist approaches to listen carefully to the rhetoric, aims, and interpretations of a group of Tibetan nuns who are redefining women’s activism in and on their own terms. We conclude that their terms are not derivative of foreign or secular liberal rights-based theories, but rather outgrowths of Buddhist principles taking on a new shape in modern Tibet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Women’s Religiosity: Contemporary Feminist Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle
“One Kind of Water Brings Another.” Teresa de Jesús and Ibn ‘Arabi
Religions 2020, 11(10), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100542 - 21 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Mystical literature and spirituality from 16th-century Spain engage religious images from the three most prominent religions of al-Andalus—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: among others, the dark night, the seven concentric castles, the gazelle, the bird, the sefirot‘s encircled iggulim or towering yosher, [...] Read more.
Mystical literature and spirituality from 16th-century Spain engage religious images from the three most prominent religions of al-Andalus—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: among others, the dark night, the seven concentric castles, the gazelle, the bird, the sefirot‘s encircled iggulim or towering yosher, the sacred fountain, ruins, and gardens. Until the 20th-century, however, scholarship read these works mostly as “Spanish” mysticism, alienated from its Andalusī roots. This comparative study deploys theological, historical, and textual analysis to dwell in one of these roots: the figure of the garden’s vital element, water, as represented in the works of Teresa de Jesús and Ibn ‘Arabi. The well-irrigated life written by these mystics underscores the significance of this element as a path to life, knowledge, and love of and by God. Bringing together scholarship on Christian and Sufi mysticism, and underscoring the centrality of movement, flow, and circulation, this article pieces together otherwise disparate readings of both the individual work of these two figures and their belonging in a canon of Andalusī/Spanish mysticism. The weaving of these threads will offer readers a different understanding of early modern religion, alongside traditional readings of Spain’s mystical literature and its place in the global context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Open AccessArticle
“God’s Favored Nation”: The New Religious Nationalism in Iran
Religions 2020, 11(10), 541; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100541 - 21 Oct 2020
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Abstract
A new religious nationalism has evolved in the Islamic Republic of Iran as a means to reconcile the contestation between the Persian ethnic (Iraniyat) and the Islamic (Islamiyat) elements, which has marked Iranian nationalism since its inception. The new synthesis identifies Shiʿism with [...] Read more.
A new religious nationalism has evolved in the Islamic Republic of Iran as a means to reconcile the contestation between the Persian ethnic (Iraniyat) and the Islamic (Islamiyat) elements, which has marked Iranian nationalism since its inception. The new synthesis identifies Shiʿism with Iran and associates Sunni Islam with Arab tribalism. It commends Iran’s pre-Islamic cultural attributes and highlights its contribution to Islam. Concurrently, it presents Shiʿism as key factor in the endurance of Iranian nationalism and the preservation of Iran’s independence. It culminates with the claim that the Iranians are “God’s favorite nation,” destined to lead the Muslim world. Full article
Open AccessArticle
How is Military Chaplaincy in Europe Portrayed in European Scientific Journal Articles between 2000 and 2019? A Multidisciplinary Review
Religions 2020, 11(10), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100540 - 21 Oct 2020
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Abstract
This article focuses on the portrayal of the military chaplaincy in Europe in European scientific journal articles during the past two decades. The military chaplaincy represents an interesting case as it is a member of two strong professions: a soldier and the clergy. [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the portrayal of the military chaplaincy in Europe in European scientific journal articles during the past two decades. The military chaplaincy represents an interesting case as it is a member of two strong professions: a soldier and the clergy. Furthermore, the profession is facing many challenges connected to diversification and pluralisation, networking, technology, and extraprofessional collaboration. The data of the review study included scientific journal articles that are published electronically in major scientific databases. When portraying military chaplaincy, the articles emphasised five themes: Basic functions, the history of the profession, the changing nature of the military chaplaincy, organisational change, and professional ethics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
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Open AccessArticle
Narratives in Action: Modelling the Types and Drivers of Sikh Activism in Diaspora
Religions 2020, 11(10), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100539 - 21 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Using data gathered for an investigation of “Sikh radicalisation in Britain”, in this article I develop a typology of different types of activism among Sikhs in diaspora based on an analysis of historic and contemporary media sources (newspapers, radio, television, online), academic literature, [...] Read more.
Using data gathered for an investigation of “Sikh radicalisation in Britain”, in this article I develop a typology of different types of activism among Sikhs in diaspora based on an analysis of historic and contemporary media sources (newspapers, radio, television, online), academic literature, ethnographic fieldwork and a series of semi-structured interviews with self-identifying Sikh activists. I assess the reasons behind a variety of different incidents involving Sikh activists, how Sikh activists view the drivers of their activism and to what extent this activism can be regarded as being “religiously motivated”. I critique existing typologies of “religious activism” by developing a typology of Sikh activism which challenges the distinction often made between “religious” and “political” action. I argue that “religiously motivated actions” must be understood in conjunction with narratives, incidents and issues specific to particular religious traditions and that generic motivations for these actions cannot be applied across all religious traditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Sikh Traditions and Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Be Gentle to Them: Animal Welfare and the Protection of Draft Animals in the Ottoman Fatwā Literature and Legislation
Religions 2020, 11(10), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100538 - 20 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Animal studies in the Islamic context have greatly increased in number in recent years. These studies mostly examine the subject of animal treatment through the two main sources of Islam, namely, the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. Some studies that [...] Read more.
Animal studies in the Islamic context have greatly increased in number in recent years. These studies mostly examine the subject of animal treatment through the two main sources of Islam, namely, the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. Some studies that go beyond this examine the subject of animal treatment through the texts of various disciplines, especially that of Islamic jurisprudence and law. Although these two research approaches draw a picture on the subject of animal treatment, it is still not a full one. Other sources, such as fatwā books and archive documents, should be used to fill in the gaps. By incorporating these into the pool of research, we will be better enabled to understand how the principles expressed in the main sources of Islam are reflected in daily life. In this article, I shall examine animal welfare and animal protection in the Ottoman context based on the fatāwā of Shaykh al-Islām Ebū’s-Suʿūd Efendi and archival documents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Facing the New Situation of Religious Education in Iceland
Religions 2020, 11(10), 537; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100537 - 20 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Over the last two decades, Iceland has faced rapid societal changes in many ways, and cultural and religious diversity has grown faster than ever before. This has influenced the curricula of religious education. In 2011/2013, drastic changes were made to the National Curriculum [...] Read more.
Over the last two decades, Iceland has faced rapid societal changes in many ways, and cultural and religious diversity has grown faster than ever before. This has influenced the curricula of religious education. In 2011/2013, drastic changes were made to the National Curriculum Guide, and the curricula of individual subjects were merged into larger entities. Religious education thus became a part of the social studies curriculum, together with history, geography, sociology, life skills, ethics and philosophy. The aim of this article is to explore and discuss the influences of the societal changes in Iceland on religious education in compulsory schools. As little research exists on the consequences of the changes made to the curriculum for the practice of religious education, the focus will also be on some of the research that can shed light on the changing conditions of religious education in Iceland, such as Icelanders’ attitudes towards religion, and parents’ attitudes towards religious education in compulsory school. Particular attention will be paid to research into young people’s views towards the growing cultural and religious diversity in Iceland. The aim is to understand better the new situation of religious education in Iceland and the changes that have been made to the National Curriculum Guide. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Spiritual Diversity, Spiritual Assessment, and Māori End-of-Life Perspectives: Attaining Ka Ea
Religions 2020, 11(10), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100536 - 20 Oct 2020
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Abstract
The contemporary world is endowed with increasingly diverse spiritual and cultural perspectives, yet little is known about the spiritual concerns and spiritual resilience of Māori from Aotearoa New Zealand at the end of life. A context is provided for the value of spiritual [...] Read more.
The contemporary world is endowed with increasingly diverse spiritual and cultural perspectives, yet little is known about the spiritual concerns and spiritual resilience of Māori from Aotearoa New Zealand at the end of life. A context is provided for the value of spiritual assessment and identification of spiritual needs or concerns. Spiritual concerns and the desire to attain a state of ka ea (fulfillment, gratitude, or peace) may point to interventions, helping activities, or referrals that guide treatment. We reflect on qualitative findings from the 2017–2020 Pae Herenga study of 61 caregiving families, their helping professionals, and religious/spiritual leaders. We explore essential spiritual values and practices that support kaumātua (older tribal people) who have a life-limiting illness in achieving a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment at the end of life. Three themes emerged: the relational is spiritual, the need to live into the future, and value of spiritual end-of-life care. While some scholars have lamented the lack of culturally appropriate rapid assessment instruments, we suggest that a more open-ended assessment guide is better suited to understand key elements of spiritual diversity and spiritual concerns, particularly the spiritual strengths and resources that lead to well-being and even thriving at life’s end. Finally, learning about spiritual diversity can assist others to reconnect to lost meanings and regain a more holistic and centred view of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Literacy in End of Life Care)
Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Blankinship, Kevin. 2020. Suffering the Sons of Eve: Animal Ethics in al-Maʿarrī’s Epistle of the Horse and the Mule. Religions 11: 412
Religions 2020, 11(10), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100535 - 20 Oct 2020
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Abstract
The author would like to make the following changes to the published paper (Blankinship 2020): Citation “Blankinship 2019a, pp [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Policy on Religion in the European Union
Religions 2020, 11(10), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100534 - 19 Oct 2020
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Abstract
The main idea of article is that, even if EU has no competence in religious matters, what we can observe now is a creation of a very specific policy on religion. (1) Herein, I explain why the EU is interested in religion and [...] Read more.
The main idea of article is that, even if EU has no competence in religious matters, what we can observe now is a creation of a very specific policy on religion. (1) Herein, I explain why the EU is interested in religion and how it is improving its competence with respect to it. Mostly, this is achieved by a transformation of religious matters into secular ones, falling under EU competences. I consider how the EU is treating religious matters in its primary and secondary law. Then, migration and accession policy are analyzed from the point of view of results for the religious structure of the European societies. Next, the issue of religion in the EU external policy is shortly studied as well as the impact of ECtHR and the European Court of Justice—ECJ jurisprudence on religious communities. Finally, we have a description of res novae in the EU approach to religion. The article adopts the Catholic perspective. This applies both to anthropology and to the institutional aspect. (2) The main methods used in the paper are analytical-synthetic and the analysis of legal texts. (3) We can justly talk about the EU policy on religion in statu nascendi. This policy is organized differently than at the nation-states level. (4) EU politicians need churches and religious communities to legitimize their political decisions and the integration process in general. They are tempted to “domesticate” religions and religious leaders and change religions from within. In this way, the political world subjugates the world of religion and takes control of it, which may result in a new kind of politics and legal resacralization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Psychology/ Social Sciences)
Open AccessArticle
Rhizomatic Religion and Material Destruction in Kham Tibet: The Case of Yachen Gar
Religions 2020, 11(10), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100533 - 19 Oct 2020
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Abstract
This article looks at the Tibetan Buddhism revitalization in China in particular, in Kham Tibet, and the way how it was both made possible and obstructed by the Chinese state. As a case, we look at the Yachen Gar monastery in the West [...] Read more.
This article looks at the Tibetan Buddhism revitalization in China in particular, in Kham Tibet, and the way how it was both made possible and obstructed by the Chinese state. As a case, we look at the Yachen Gar monastery in the West of Sichuan. The Yachen Gar monastery became the largest Buddhist university in China in the past decades, but recently, reports of the destruction of large parts of the Buddhist encampment have emerged. This article is based on my observations during my field trip in late 2018, just before this destruction took place. I will use my conceptual framework of rhizomatic religion, which I developed in an earlier article, to show how Yachen Gar, rather than the locus of a “world religion”, is rather an expression of rhizomatic religion, which is native to the Tibetan highlands in Kham Tibet. This rhizomatic religion could emerge because Yachen is situated both on the edges of Tibet proper, and on the edges of Han Chinese culture, therefore occupying an interstitial space. As has been observed before, Yachen emerges as a process which is the result of the revival of Nyingmapa Tibetan Buddhist culture, as a negotiation between the Tibetan communities and the Chinese state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Material Religion and Violent Conflict)
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Open AccessEditorial
Music and Spirituality: A Journey into Porosity
Religions 2020, 11(10), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100532 - 19 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Serving as an introduction to this special issue of Religion entitled “Music and Spirituality: A Journey into Porosity,” this essay frames the following eight messages by considering the ambiguity not only of the meaning of music itself, but also of spirituality, liturgical-sacred music [...] Read more.
Serving as an introduction to this special issue of Religion entitled “Music and Spirituality: A Journey into Porosity,” this essay frames the following eight messages by considering the ambiguity not only of the meaning of music itself, but also of spirituality, liturgical-sacred music and other frames that attempt to examine and sometimes delimit the power of music. While taxonomies and theoretical boundaries are still useful, they need to be employed with some caution in view of the musical and spiritual realities they are attempting to describe or analyze. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music: Its Theologies and Spiritualities—A Global Perspective)
Open AccessArticle
Judges 19-21: The Disasters of the Community of Virtue
Religions 2020, 11(10), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100531 - 17 Oct 2020
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Abstract
This paper is an ethical exegesis of the biblical story of Gibeah, which concludes the Book of Judges (19–21), to show the catastrophic failure of the anti-political politics of the “community of virtue”, i.e., the rejection of power for the sake of moral [...] Read more.
This paper is an ethical exegesis of the biblical story of Gibeah, which concludes the Book of Judges (19–21), to show the catastrophic failure of the anti-political politics of the “community of virtue”, i.e., the rejection of power for the sake of moral society, such as proposed by libertarians, neo-liberals, anarchists and utopians. I consider Kant’s statement of the political problem: given humanity’s unsocial sociality, where each person is tempted to act as an exception to universal law, humans need rulers, but how to obtain rulers who are not themselves ruled by power, and become tyrannical, rather than being ruled by justice? The solution proposed by “the community of virtue” would reject power altogether and replace it with society regulated exclusively according to the moral virtue of its members. The Bible’s story of Gibeah shows graphically and conclusively the failure of any such attempt. Instead, as with normative political philosophy, the Bible endorses the rule of a king, i.e., the rule of the state, and a politics whereby power is disciplined to serve justice because it is rooted in Torah, i.e., a fundamental covenant, charter or constitution, aware and vigilant regarding the ambiguities and temptations of sovereignty, and therefore, ideally, always open to critique. As exemplified by biblical prophets, political protest against injustices perpetrated by the powerful against the least—widow, orphan, stranger—is at once religious obligation and true patriotism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/ Philosophies)
Open AccessArticle
Warriors Who Do Not Kill in War: A Buddhist Interpretation of the Warrior’s Role in Relation to the Precept against Killing
Religions 2020, 11(10), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100530 - 16 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Buddhist scriptures in ancient South Asia include discourses that teach measures by which a warrior can face problems in confrontation with foreign armies and domestic rebel troops without resorting to killing them in battle. These moderate measures have not attracted much attention in [...] Read more.
Buddhist scriptures in ancient South Asia include discourses that teach measures by which a warrior can face problems in confrontation with foreign armies and domestic rebel troops without resorting to killing them in battle. These moderate measures have not attracted much attention in previous studies on Buddhist statecraft and warfare. There are eleven kinds, and they can be organized according to the following three types: retreat from the role of warrior, resolution without pitched battle, and fighting in a pitched battle without killing. Similar ideas regarding measures for resolving military confrontations can be found in Indian Classics in the context of statecraft. The compilers of the Buddhist discourses collected ideas about similar measures from common sources and reshaped those borrowed ideas from the perspective of the Buddhist precept against killing. A warrior who implemented such measures did not acquire as much negative karmic potential as intentional killing produces. In premodern warrior societies, religion often provided the institutional basis for both a code of ethics and a soteriology for warriors, for whom fighting was in fulfillment of their social role. The compilation of discourses containing measures that do not involve killing represents an aspect of Buddhism’s function in ancient South Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Representations in and around War)
Open AccessReview
Spiritual Needs of Older Adults during Hospitalization: An Integrative Review
Religions 2020, 11(10), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100529 - 16 Oct 2020
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Abstract
A hospital admission presents various challenges for a patient which often result in high or intense spiritual needs. To provide the best possible care for older adults during hospitalization, it is essential to assess patients’ spiritual needs. However, little research has been done [...] Read more.
A hospital admission presents various challenges for a patient which often result in high or intense spiritual needs. To provide the best possible care for older adults during hospitalization, it is essential to assess patients’ spiritual needs. However, little research has been done into the spiritual needs of geriatric patients. This article seeks insight into what is known in the literature on the spiritual needs of geriatric patients. This integrative review presents a summary of the articles on this topic. To select eligible studies, the PRISMA Flow Diagram was used. This resulted in ten articles that have been reviewed. Results show (1) a wide interest in researching spiritual needs, using different research designs. In addition, (2) four subcategories of spiritual needs can be distinguished: (a) the need to be connected with others or with God/the transcendent/the divine, (b) religious needs, (c) the need to find meaning in life, and (d) the need to maintain one’s identity. Moreover, results show that (3) assessing spiritual needs is required to provide the best possible spiritual care, and that (4) there are four reasons for unmet spiritual needs. Further research is needed on the definition of spiritual needs and to investigate older patients’ spiritual needs and the relation with their well-being, mental health and religious coping mechanisms, in order to provide the best spiritual care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious and Spiritual Experiences)
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Open AccessArticle
Controversial Issues and the Rhetoric of Common Values
Religions 2020, 11(10), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100528 - 14 Oct 2020
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Abstract
In this article, I identify a broad, international ‘rhetoric of common values’, which hinges on the poorly supported assumption that values should be promoted because the sharing of values are the basis for social cohesion in groups. Through discussing two cases, I identify, [...] Read more.
In this article, I identify a broad, international ‘rhetoric of common values’, which hinges on the poorly supported assumption that values should be promoted because the sharing of values are the basis for social cohesion in groups. Through discussing two cases, I identify, analyse and critique key features of the empirical phenomenon that I call the rhetoric of common values. The two cases are the British government response to the so-called ’Trojan Horse’ incident in 2014, and Norwegian core curricula since 1974. Previous research has critiqued the use of the term ’fundamental British values’ as being unhelpful when schools teach controversial issues. The results of my analysis provide international breadth, some historical depth and metaphorical structure to our understanding of how the rhetoric of common values is used in education policy today. The article focusses less on dilemmas faced by teachers and more on the context of choice established ‘upstream’ by education policy. I argue that it is timely and important for teachers in religious education to understand the rhetoric of common values. It is a contemporary and politically relevant way in which religion is mobilised and politicised for exclusionary forms of national identity. Avoiding the rhetoric of common values does not mean avoiding values in education policy. The rhetoric of common values identitizes values. This causes the terms ‘values’ to be mobilised in boundary work separating ‘us’ from ‘them’, thus undercutting a better role of values in education policy: to reflect upon, and make relevant in life, guidelines for future action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Controversial Issues and Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Religious or Spiritual Experiences and Bipolar Disorder: A Case Study from the Perspective of Dialogical Self Theory
Religions 2020, 11(10), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100527 - 13 Oct 2020
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Abstract
In this article, a case study will be presented of a person with bipolar I disorder, who struggles to interpret his religious experiences and how they are related to the disorder. The analysis builds on a larger study into religious experiences within the [...] Read more.
In this article, a case study will be presented of a person with bipolar I disorder, who struggles to interpret his religious experiences and how they are related to the disorder. The analysis builds on a larger study into religious experiences within the context of bipolar disorder (BD). In this previous study, medical and religious explanatory models for religious experiences related to BD often appeared to go hand in hand in patients who have had such experiences. In this case study, the various ‘voices’ in the interpretation process over time will be examined from the perspective of the dialogical self theory of Hubert Hermans, in order to explore the psychological dimension of this process. The case study demonstrates that a ‘both religious and pathological’ explanatory model for religious experiences consists of a rich and changing variety of I-positions that fluctuate depending on mood episode. Structured reflection from a spiritual and from a medical perspective over the course of several years helped this person to allow space for different dialoguing ‘voices’, which—in this case—led to a more balanced attitude towards such experiences and less pathological derailment. The systematic reflection on religious experiences by the person in the case study was mainly conducted without help of mental health care professionals and was not derived from a DST perspective. It could be argued, however, that DST could be used as a helpful instrument for the exploration of both medical and spiritual ‘voices’ in the interpretation of religious experiences in both clinical practice by hospital chaplains and by other professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious and Spiritual Experiences)
Open AccessArticle
Is the Board of Directors’ Religion Related to Tax Avoidance? Empirical Evidence in South Korea
Religions 2020, 11(10), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100526 - 13 Oct 2020
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Abstract
This study investigates the effect of directors’ religious diversity on tax avoidance of firms. The board of directors plays an important role in supervising the management of the corporation. As such, the religious diversity of the board may affect corporate decisions and their [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effect of directors’ religious diversity on tax avoidance of firms. The board of directors plays an important role in supervising the management of the corporation. As such, the religious diversity of the board may affect corporate decisions and their implementation by the management. In this regard, this study analyzes the effect of the religious diversity of the directors on the level of tax avoidance. Results are presented as follows. First, the level of tax avoidance tends to be higher when the level of religious diversity among the board members is high. Second, tax avoidance level may be different depending on a CEO’s religion, holding that the religions of board members are diverse. Third, the tax avoidance activity of a corporation is likely to be discouraged if the religions of board members are converged into a single religion. Overall, the results of this study provide an implication that religious factors influence the level of the firm’s tax avoidance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxation, Religion, and Morality)
Open AccessArticle
Geopolitics of Papal Traveling: (Re)Constructing a Catholic Landscape in Europe
Religions 2020, 11(10), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100525 - 13 Oct 2020
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Abstract
For the popes, traveling has developed into a key instrument for mobilizing masses, spreading messages, and shaping public Catholic identities. Traveling ranks high within the papal efforts to (re)construct a Catholic landscape in Europe. Thus, comparing the European travel schedules of Pope Benedict [...] Read more.
For the popes, traveling has developed into a key instrument for mobilizing masses, spreading messages, and shaping public Catholic identities. Traveling ranks high within the papal efforts to (re)construct a Catholic landscape in Europe. Thus, comparing the European travel schedules of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in the context of their global journeys can help to understand their different conceptualizations of Europe. While both popes share the focus on Marian shrines, mass events, Parliamentary addresses, and interfaith encounters that has been established by their predecessors, their geopolitical strategies differ completely. Benedict XVI placed visits to major European nations and regions at the center of his travel schedule and tried to strengthen a historical Catholic identity. Francis shifted the focus of papal traveling to other continents and approached Europe from the periphery. He has visited the European institutions in Strasbourg and tried to shape an interreligious public identity of Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)
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Open AccessArticle
Norwegian Christian Leaders: The Term ‘Christian Values’ is Divisive and Useless
Religions 2020, 11(10), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100524 - 13 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Church leaders and politicians in several countries make frequent references to Christian values as part of a rhetoric of dividing between wanted and unwanted view and practices. Hence, even more than a source for division between adherents of different faiths, religion divides adherents [...] Read more.
Church leaders and politicians in several countries make frequent references to Christian values as part of a rhetoric of dividing between wanted and unwanted view and practices. Hence, even more than a source for division between adherents of different faiths, religion divides adherents of the same faith when identifying the core of religion. The article presents findings from a survey and focus group interviews with five groups of Norwegian Christian leaders: church leaders, bishops and deans from the Church of Norway, as well as leaders in mission organization and diaconal foundations. The informants are generally very hospitable towards immigrants, not particularly skeptical of Islam, and highly skeptical of politicians applying the term ‘Christian values’ for protectionist purposes. While distancing themselves from the term ‘Christian values’, informants have a clear understanding of what these values encompass. These attitudes mirror the major attitudes among the so-called church-going Norwegians in the Pew report, “Being Christian in Western Europe”, having higher appreciation of both Islam and immigration than the other groups of informants. The article proceeds by explaining and contextualizing, including how the churches have promoted conviviality in diverse societies and whether the leaders are willing to act when Christianity is applied to legitimize nativism. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Paratexts Seeking Understanding: Manuscripts and Aesthetic Cognitivism
Religions 2020, 11(10), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100523 - 12 Oct 2020
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Abstract
This article explores the relationship between manuscripts of ancient religious literature and aesthetic cognitivism, a normative theory of the value of art. Arguing that manuscripts both contain and constitute works of art, we explore paratextuality as a phenomenon that connects manuscript studies to [...] Read more.
This article explores the relationship between manuscripts of ancient religious literature and aesthetic cognitivism, a normative theory of the value of art. Arguing that manuscripts both contain and constitute works of art, we explore paratextuality as a phenomenon that connects manuscript studies to both qualitative and quantitative sides of aesthetic cognitivism. Focusing on our work with a single unpublished gospel manuscript (Dublin, CBL W 139) in the context of a larger project called Paratextual Understanding, we make that case that paratexts have aesthetic functions that allow them to contribute to the knowledge yielded by the larger literary work of which they are a part. We suggest a number of avenues for further research that engages with material culture, non-typography, paratexts, and the arts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
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Open AccessArticle
Religious Hallucinations and Religious Delusions among Older Adults in Treatment for Psychoses in the Netherlands
Religions 2020, 11(10), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100522 - 12 Oct 2020
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Abstract
Background. Although religious delusions (RDs) are common in geriatric psychiatry, we know little about their frequency and content. Our study examines the prevalence and content of religious hallucinations (RHs) and RDs and how they relate to the diagnosis and the patients’ denominational background [...] Read more.
Background. Although religious delusions (RDs) are common in geriatric psychiatry, we know little about their frequency and content. Our study examines the prevalence and content of religious hallucinations (RHs) and RDs and how they relate to the diagnosis and the patients’ denominational background and other aspects of religiousness. Methods. Semi-structured diagnostic interviews were conducted with inpatients and outpatients (N = 155, mean age 76.5) at a geriatric psychiatry department in the Netherlands. We used the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry 2.1. Results. The prevalences of RHs and RDs were 19% and 32%, respectively. RHs were mostly auditory. There was no statistically significant difference between the prevalence of RHs in schizophrenia (17.5%) and in psychotic depression (9.4%). Compared to non-affiliated patients and mainline Protestants, RDs were significantly more prevalent in raised and current strict Protestants, especially in those with psychotic depression. RHs were more prevalent in Evangelical (e.g., Pentecostal) and strict Protestant patients. The presence of RDs was associated with several measures of religiousness (e.g., dogmatism, religious coping). Conclusions. Religion is likely to act as a symptom-formation factor for psychotic symptoms in strict Protestant older adults. More detailed research might lead to a fuller understanding of how strict religious beliefs may affect the content of psychotic symptoms and unintentionally add a component of existential suffering. It is important for mental health professionals, especially the predominantly secular professionals in the Netherlands, to recognize and address religious themes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious and Spiritual Experiences)
Open AccessArticle
Funded Research in Relation to Curriculum Development—Tendencies in Religious Education in Sweden 2001–2019
Religions 2020, 11(10), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100521 - 12 Oct 2020
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Abstract
In 2001, the Swedish Research Council (VR) set up a new section to expand educational research. The section has now existed for almost 20 years without receiving much attention within research. During the same period, the demands on teachers to base their teaching [...] Read more.
In 2001, the Swedish Research Council (VR) set up a new section to expand educational research. The section has now existed for almost 20 years without receiving much attention within research. During the same period, the demands on teachers to base their teaching on research have increased, e.g., through the revised Education Act, which can be understood as presupposing available relevant research and a research-based curriculum. In this article, the focus of funded research projects relevant to religious education (RE) during these years is explored. The resulting patterns are discussed against the background of published RE research and put in relation to a study of curriculum changes in Sweden during the same period. The overall aim of this paper is to discuss the relationship between RE research and RE curricula in Sweden. The study is conducted through content analyses of project applications and reports to VR, and of curricula. The research interest of the projects concerning ‘religion’ and ‘ethics’ are presented, and their possible contribution to curriculum development is also outlined. The absence of obvious research influence on current curriculum development suggests further research on this topic is required, since the legitimacy of the curriculum can be understood to be dependent on its being based on research. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Practices of Piety: An Alternative Approach to the Study of Islamic Movements
Religions 2020, 11(10), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100520 - 12 Oct 2020
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Abstract
This article challenges the dominant organization-centered focus of the study of Islamic movements, and argues for a turn towards social practice. To do so, it traces the rise and spread of Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiyya (e. 1926), Egypt’s leading Salafi movement and its role [...] Read more.
This article challenges the dominant organization-centered focus of the study of Islamic movements, and argues for a turn towards social practice. To do so, it traces the rise and spread of Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiyya (e. 1926), Egypt’s leading Salafi movement and its role in popularizing a series of distinct practices between 1940 and 1990. Based on the full run of this movement’s magazine, al-Hadi al-Nabawi (the Prophetic Guide, 1936–66) and al-Tawhid (Monolatry, 1973–93), the article explores the conditions in which practices such as praying in shoes and bareheaded, gender segregation and the cultivation of a fist-length beard was both politically viable and strategically advantageous. In doing so, it not only casts light on the trajectory of this movement, but also shows how and why the articulation and performance of distinct social practices are central to how Islamic movements shape society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Islam in World Politics)
Open AccessArticle
How Relationship-Enhancing Transcendent Religious Experiences during Adversity Can Encourage Relational Meaning, Depth, Healing, and Action
Religions 2020, 11(10), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100519 - 10 Oct 2020
Viewed by 333
Abstract
Research on the relationship between religion, spirituality, and health suggests that religious involvement can help people deal with various kinds of adversity. Although there has been a great deal of work on the influence of religious involvement and religious and spiritual practices on [...] Read more.
Research on the relationship between religion, spirituality, and health suggests that religious involvement can help people deal with various kinds of adversity. Although there has been a great deal of work on the influence of religious involvement and religious and spiritual practices on physical, mental, and relational health, there exists a gap in the theoretical and empirical literature about the potential benefits of transcendent religious experiences on marriage and family relationships. We report some findings from a study of in-depth interviews with 198 religious American exemplar families from diverse religious, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds. The religious-ethnic make-up of the sample included: African American Christian (13%), Asian Christian (12%), Catholic and Orthodox Christian (11%), White Evangelical Christian (12%), White Mainline Christian (10%), Latter-day Saint (LDS, Mormon), (14%), Jewish (16%), and Muslim (12%). Systematic group coding resulted in the findings that, during times of adversity, transcendent religious experiences reportedly (a) provided relational meaning, (b) increased relational depth, (c) healed relational hurt, and (d) encouraged relational action. We suggest implications for theory, research, clinical practice, and pastoral work. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Image of Guru Nanak in Dadu-Panthi Sources
Religions 2020, 11(10), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100518 - 10 Oct 2020
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Abstract
This essay examines the issue of Guru Nanak’s inclusion in the mid-to-late seventeenth-century devotional text prepared by the Dadu-panthi savant, Raghavdas, the Bhakt-māl or Garland of Devotees. This text follows by some decades the similarly titled Bhakt-māl of Nabha Das. However, while [...] Read more.
This essay examines the issue of Guru Nanak’s inclusion in the mid-to-late seventeenth-century devotional text prepared by the Dadu-panthi savant, Raghavdas, the Bhakt-māl or Garland of Devotees. This text follows by some decades the similarly titled Bhakt-māl of Nabha Das. However, while Nabha Das excludes Guru Nanak, Raghavdas’ Bhakt-māl embraces him and includes a much more diverse seventeenth- and pre-seventeenth-century saintly clientele that was particular to both northern and southern India. The essay is one of the first to examine this text in Sikh studies and tease out the reasons which may have prompted Raghavdas to include Guru Nanak. In the process, it attempts to understand early non-Sikh bhakti views of the Sikh Gurus while also providing fresh looks at Sikh numbers in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and at the diverse and multi-ideological environment of northern India from the early 1600s onward. It also suggests Raghavadas’ familiarity with the poetry of his near contemporary ideologue, the great Sikh scholar Bhai Gurdas Bhalla. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Sikh Traditions and Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Ritual Void or Ritual Muddle? Deconsecration Rites of Roman Catholic Church Buildings
Religions 2020, 11(10), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100517 - 10 Oct 2020
Viewed by 345
Abstract
The decrease in people who regularly celebrate liturgy in western Europe has led to the question of what to do with so-called obsolete church buildings. This question not only refers to whether or not a church building will be converted, reused or demolished, [...] Read more.
The decrease in people who regularly celebrate liturgy in western Europe has led to the question of what to do with so-called obsolete church buildings. This question not only refers to whether or not a church building will be converted, reused or demolished, but also to the question of whether or not such a building needs to be deconsecrated, and if so, what does deconsecration of a church building actually entail? In this contribution, I will consider the role deconsecration rites play in the Roman Catholic church when a church building is taken out of liturgical use. In Roman Catholic liturgy, there are no prescribed, official deconsecration rites that are mandatory for a church building that is to be taken out of liturgical use. The actual deconsecration of a church building is, according to canon law, established by a decree that is issued by the responsible diocesan bishop. In the case of a church being taken out of liturgical use, however, there seems to be a shift from having a ritual void with regard to deconsecration rites, and also a focus on the “legitimate” way (in the sense of canon law) to deconsecrate a church building (object orientation), towards, in recent decades, paying more attention to a growing pastoral need (subject orientation) for deconsecration rites. These new ritual initiatives can be regarded as forms of pastoral care intended to help parishioners cope with the loss of their church building. I will show that different interpretations of canon law articles complicate straightforward answers to the question of which arguments are legitimate to deconsecrate a church. Furthermore, I will address the “ritual muddle”, the mixture of the actual deconsecration act in the sense of canon law and deconsecration rites that, from the perspective of canon law, do not effect church deconsecration. I will also address the differentiation between desecration and deconsecration, address historical forms of deconsecration rites and pay attention to the making and unmaking of sacred space. Finally, I will focus on contemporary deconsecration rites against the background of the complex reality in which such rites are situated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Ritual Fields Today)
Open AccessArticle
Exclusionary Populism and Islamophobia: A Comparative Analysis of Italy and Spain
Religions 2020, 11(10), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100516 - 10 Oct 2020
Viewed by 240
Abstract
Exclusionary populism is well known for twisting real grievances of the citizens, by problematizing the gap between “us” and “them”, capitalizing on identity lines, calling out as “others” those who do not share “pure people’s” identity and culture. Especially after 9/11, Muslims have [...] Read more.
Exclusionary populism is well known for twisting real grievances of the citizens, by problematizing the gap between “us” and “them”, capitalizing on identity lines, calling out as “others” those who do not share “pure people’s” identity and culture. Especially after 9/11, Muslims have become the ideal-type of “other”, making Islamophobia the primary populist anti-paradigm. This article contributes to the burgeoning literature on Islamophobic populism analyzing the presence of Islamophobia in the electoral discourse of Vox party in Spain and Lega in Italy. In addition, it makes a novel contribution by discussing and testing the existence of different models of Islamophobia, distinguishing between “banal Islamophobia” and “ontological Islamophobia”. Applying clause-based semantic text analysis—including qualitative and quantitative variables—to thirty speeches by the two party leaders, Santiago Abascal and Matteo Salvini, during the last three elections (General, Regional and European), the paper concludes that, despite the similarities, the two politician display two different models of Islamophobia. Whereas Abascal displays a clear “ontological Islamophobia”, depicting Muslims ontologically incompatible with Spanish civilization (defined precisely by its anti-Muslim history), the latter presents a mix of arguments that oscillate between “ontological” and “banal” Islamophobia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Nationalism and Populism across the North/South Divide)
Open AccessArticle
Jeong: A Practical Theology of Postcolonial Interfaith Relations
Religions 2020, 11(10), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100515 - 10 Oct 2020
Viewed by 211
Abstract
This article examines Korean American Christians’ involvement in interfaith relations from a practical theology perspective. The author begins the research with the broad question, “What is going on with Korean American Christians in interfaith engagement?” and interrogates more specifically the methods through which [...] Read more.
This article examines Korean American Christians’ involvement in interfaith relations from a practical theology perspective. The author begins the research with the broad question, “What is going on with Korean American Christians in interfaith engagement?” and interrogates more specifically the methods through which they participate in it. Gathering results from ethnographic research, the author claims that Korean American Christians build interfaith relationships through jeong, a collective sentiment many Koreans share. Jeong is an emotional bond that develops and matures over time in interpersonal relationships. As for interfaith engagements, Korean American Christians cultivate organic, messy, affectionate, and sticky relationships, letting jeong seep into their lives across religious, faith, and non-faith lines. The praxis of jeong is analyzed in three categories: (1) love and affection, (2) liberating and healing power, and (3) stickiness and vulnerability. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Reconciling the God of Traditional Theism with the World’s Evils
Religions 2020, 11(10), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100514 - 10 Oct 2020
Viewed by 246
Abstract
Replying to James Sterba’s argument for the incompatibility of the world’s evils with the existence of the God of traditional theism, I argue for their compatibility, using the proposition that God has reasons for permitting these evils. Developing this case involves appeal to [...] Read more.
Replying to James Sterba’s argument for the incompatibility of the world’s evils with the existence of the God of traditional theism, I argue for their compatibility, using the proposition that God has reasons for permitting these evils. Developing this case involves appeal to an enlarged version of both the Free Will Defence and Hick’s Vale of Soul-Making Defence, in the context of God’s decision to generate the kind of natural regularities conducive to the evolution of a range of creatures, including free and rational ones. Sterba writes as if God would be required to authorise frequent infringements of these regularities. Sterba’s arguments from ethics and from the inadequacy of post-mortem compensation are problematised. Predicates used of God must bear a sense appropriate to the level of creator, and not of a very powerful cosmic observer. The ethics that applies within creation should not be confused with the ethics of creating. Full article
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