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Religions, Volume 11, Issue 4 (April 2020) – 63 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Folio 348 of the dispersed 355-page palm-leaf manuscript of the Sanskrit Gaṇḍavyūha-sūtra from [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Rejecting “Controversial” Issues in Education: A Case Study of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Schools in Belgium
Religions 2020, 11(4), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040214 - 23 Apr 2020
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Abstract
In liberal democracies, fundamental rights and freedoms can conflict, and if they do, it is not always clear which right the state should prioritize. Should the right of parents to choose education in line with their own convictions prevail, or should the right [...] Read more.
In liberal democracies, fundamental rights and freedoms can conflict, and if they do, it is not always clear which right the state should prioritize. Should the right of parents to choose education in line with their own convictions prevail, or should the right of children to be prepared for a future life in a liberal democratic society be given more moral weight? While the former might lead to establishing and subsidizing orthodox religious schools, the latter implies “liberal”, “autonomy-facilitating” education. In order to make this tension concrete, we focus on a case study of an ultra-orthodox Jewish (Haredi) school in Flanders (Belgium), where “controversial issues” are excluded from the curriculum and where education is not fully in line with the core principles of “liberal education”. Subsequently, we explore the legal educational context in liberal democracies, with a particular focus on the freedom of religion and education. Then, we scrutinize several arguments for or against ultra-orthodox faith-based schools. We conclude that there are no convincing arguments for state support for these kinds of schools and that the recent Flemish policy of homeschooling might be a reasonable alternative, wherein a balance is found between children’s rights and parental rights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Controversial Issues and Religion)
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Open AccessArticle
Free to Die: A Lutheran-Relational Approach to Medical Assistance in Dying
Religions 2020, 11(4), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040213 - 23 Apr 2020
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Abstract
In 2016, Canada legalized Bill C-14, which removed from the Criminal Code medical assistance in dying (MAID) under certain circumstances. In essence, the Bill legalized what is commonly described as euthanasia, under the provisions that the patient has a terminal medical diagnosis, anticipates [...] Read more.
In 2016, Canada legalized Bill C-14, which removed from the Criminal Code medical assistance in dying (MAID) under certain circumstances. In essence, the Bill legalized what is commonly described as euthanasia, under the provisions that the patient has a terminal medical diagnosis, anticipates extreme suffering, is at least 18 years old and still maintains their own medical power of attorney, has received the same diagnosis from two separate doctors, and requests such a procedure without duress. The bill exempts doctors and nurses from culpability in murder, along with those aiding the medical staff. The bill replaces sections of the Criminal Code that criminalize death by suicide. In this article, I first review the theological and historical interpretation of suicide within the Christian church. I then offer a specifically Lutheran feminist framework of our baptism into death, Luther’s explanation of the First Commandment, and Christian freedom to affirm Christians’ faithful decisions in seeking medical assistance in dying. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Luther’s theology and Feminism)
Open AccessArticle
The Relevance of God to Religious Believers and Non-Believers
Religions 2020, 11(4), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040212 - 22 Apr 2020
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This study presents a review about what great figures of history thought about the existence of God and a worldwide comparison between religious believers and non-believers using the World Social Survey (WSS) database, comprising a sample of 90,350 respondents. Results reveal that most [...] Read more.
This study presents a review about what great figures of history thought about the existence of God and a worldwide comparison between religious believers and non-believers using the World Social Survey (WSS) database, comprising a sample of 90,350 respondents. Results reveal that most people believe in the existence of God and consider that God is important and very important in their lives. Believers are mainly women; younger than non-believers; mostly married; less educated than non-believers; most of whom work, though fewer hours than non-believers; and perceive themselves as belonging to the middle class. There are more believers with no formal education than non-believers. The diversity of religious believers and non-believers, visible in the perspectives of humanity’s important personalities, mirrors the diversity of ordinary people towards the relevance of God. The results obtained point to a correlation between the belief in God and the studied sociodemographic variables but also suggest that the difference between believers and non-believers may be artificial, having resulted from the adopted methodology. The relationship found between being a believer and defending traditional values also corroborates with previous studies, suggesting that humankind needs God to give meaning to the world around them, namely, in morality and conduct terms. Full article
Open AccessArticle
From ‘Soft’ to ‘Hard’ to ‘Moderate’: Islam in the Dilemmas of Post-2011 Saudi Foreign Policy
Religions 2020, 11(4), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040211 - 22 Apr 2020
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Due to its specific history, Saudi Arabia’s domestic and international politics are inextricably linked together. In the shaping and implementation of the kingdom’s essentially defensive international behavior, Islam has kept a central position as a legitimizing factor and as a tool of ‘soft [...] Read more.
Due to its specific history, Saudi Arabia’s domestic and international politics are inextricably linked together. In the shaping and implementation of the kingdom’s essentially defensive international behavior, Islam has kept a central position as a legitimizing factor and as a tool of ‘soft power’ foreign policy. This paper firstly aims to explore the position that religion holds in the Saudi perceptions of stability in the post-2011 era, where safeguarding the status quo remained the priority, while the new administration responded to external pressure by shifting towards a ‘hard power’ foreign policy with questionable results. Furthermore, the paper explores the links between foreign policy choices and the promotion of a new, modern image for the kingdom whereas the regime has appropriated for itself the notion of ‘moderate Islam’ in order to restore its international image and attract investments for the ‘Vision 2030’ reform program. Finally, it proposes a discussion of the position of Islam in the future direction of the country, amidst an increasing authoritarian rule. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and International Relations in the Middle East)
Open AccessArticle
Religious Interactions in Deliberative Democratic Systems Theory
Religions 2020, 11(4), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040210 - 22 Apr 2020
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Abstract
The following essay begins by outlining the pragmatist link between truth claims and democratic deliberations. To this end, special attention will be paid to Jeffrey Stout’s pragmatist enfranchisement of religious citizens. Stout defends a deliberative notion of democracy that fulfills stringent criteria of [...] Read more.
The following essay begins by outlining the pragmatist link between truth claims and democratic deliberations. To this end, special attention will be paid to Jeffrey Stout’s pragmatist enfranchisement of religious citizens. Stout defends a deliberative notion of democracy that fulfills stringent criteria of inclusion and security against domination. While mitigating secular exclusivity, Stout nonetheless acknowledges the new visibility of religion in populist attempts to dominate political life through mass rule and charismatic authorities. In response, I evaluate recent innovations in deliberative democratic systems theory (DDST). By adding a pragmatist inflection to DDST, I aim to apprehend the complex religious interactions between partisan interest groups as well as the trust-building capacities of minipublics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Visibility of Religion and Its Impact)
Open AccessArticle
Kwanŭm (Avalokiteśvara) Divination: Buddhist Reconciliation with Confucianism in the Late Chosŏn
Religions 2020, 11(4), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040209 - 22 Apr 2020
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Abstract
This paper looks at the interactions between Buddhism and Confucianism in the late Chosŏn era through a case study of Kwanŭm (Avalokiteśvara) divination and, thereby, attempts to demonstrate how Buddhist monks navigated their religion in a Confucian-dominant society. In particular, it discusses how [...] Read more.
This paper looks at the interactions between Buddhism and Confucianism in the late Chosŏn era through a case study of Kwanŭm (Avalokiteśvara) divination and, thereby, attempts to demonstrate how Buddhist monks navigated their religion in a Confucian-dominant society. In particular, it discusses how Chosŏn Buddhist monks incorporated Confucian ethical values into the practice of Avalokiteśvara divination, which developed in the late Chosŏn era, based on the Kwanŭm yŏnggwa, the first Korean Buddhist manual for Avalokiteśvara divination. The unique amalgam of the Avalokiteśvara cult and divination practices became popular in this period by embracing the fulfillment of the Confucian duty of filial piety and sincerity as its essential element. In particular, the Confucian practice served as a deciding factor to receive the bodhisattva’s blessings in this divination. The introduction of Avalokiteśvara divination, therefore, reveals another strategy of the Buddhist community to demonstrate its devotion by incorporating the ideology of the Confucian ruling class in the late Chosŏn era. Full article
Open AccessArticle
When Terror Strikes: The 2015 Paris Attacks in Religious Education Classrooms in Norway
Religions 2020, 11(4), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040208 - 21 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Terrorism is commonly considered to be a controversial issue in religious education (RE). RE teachers find it a challenging topic to address, and many avoid it altogether. This article explores the question of addressing terrorism in RE by analysing and discussing empirical observations [...] Read more.
Terrorism is commonly considered to be a controversial issue in religious education (RE). RE teachers find it a challenging topic to address, and many avoid it altogether. This article explores the question of addressing terrorism in RE by analysing and discussing empirical observations of RE lessons in an upper secondary school in Norway in the weeks following the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015. Using framing theory, the article discusses aspects of the empirical case study, contextualised by the discussion about controversial issues in education. The main claim of the article is that, rather than seeing the terror attacks as a controversial issue in itself, the terror attacks should be treated as an event that has the potential to tap into several different controversial issues depending on the way it is framed. When addressed in the RE classroom, the teachers actively transform the event into a pedagogical issue, framed in accordance with the nature and aims of the subject. The students, however, often contest this pedagogical framing. This article discusses the interplay between teachers’ plans, students’ reactions, and the role of media in classroom interaction about the Paris attacks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Controversial Issues and Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Religious Faith as Cultural Heritage at the Refuge for World Truths
Religions 2020, 11(4), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040207 - 21 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Faith undergirds the Refuge for World Truths, a multireligious heritage-scape that emerged out of an old Spanish land grant adjacent to the Wild West mining and ranching town of Crestone, Colorado. Established by an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team in the late twentieth century, the [...] Read more.
Faith undergirds the Refuge for World Truths, a multireligious heritage-scape that emerged out of an old Spanish land grant adjacent to the Wild West mining and ranching town of Crestone, Colorado. Established by an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team in the late twentieth century, the Refuge’s spiritual centers were founded upon different faith commitments. Christian, [Sufi] Muslim, and Baha’i centers adhere to a monotheistic faith and claim divine revelation as the source of their presence in the Refuge. New Age, polytheistic, and nontheistic groups base their faith claim on the personal mystical revelations of “Glenn,” a local peripatetic and self-described prophet who hailed the arrival of the original couple. Two stints of ethnographic research point to the spiritual centers’ public ritual performances as both invitations to pilgrims to intensify this faith and as functional cogs in the integration and continuity of the heritage-scape’s ritual economy. Finally, the faith expressions underlying the Refuge for World Truths allow this unique locality to champion interreligious dialogue as a method for addressing diversity and negotiating potential onsite conflict on the path to peaceful mutuality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
The Problem of Interreligious Peacemaking in the Works of Ramon Llull
Religions 2020, 11(4), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040206 - 20 Apr 2020
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Abstract
The purpose of this essay is to examine depictions of interior peace, as well as exterior peacemaking in the world, in representative works by Ramon Llull, written during the later thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. I will show how Llull’s goal of ending [...] Read more.
The purpose of this essay is to examine depictions of interior peace, as well as exterior peacemaking in the world, in representative works by Ramon Llull, written during the later thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. I will show how Llull’s goal of ending conflict involved interreligious dialogue and an attitude of intellectual openness, but at the same time advocated problematic efforts to proselytize religious others that were to be backed up by military force. While the writer’s conceptualization of inner, spiritual combat and peacemaking draws on a number of Christian conventions, we will see how it can also be fruitfully compared to Islamic traditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mysticism and Spirituality in Medieval Spain)
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Open AccessArticle
Reading the Book of Nature after Nature
Religions 2020, 11(4), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040205 - 20 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Early modernity tended to appeal to the trope of the book of nature as a way of securing knowledge—including knowledge about God—against the exigencies of history and culture, but as theorists such as Timothy Morton, Bruno Latour, and others have argued, today this [...] Read more.
Early modernity tended to appeal to the trope of the book of nature as a way of securing knowledge—including knowledge about God—against the exigencies of history and culture, but as theorists such as Timothy Morton, Bruno Latour, and others have argued, today this assumed dualism of nature and culture is both ecologically and critically suspect. What might it mean to read the book of nature in a time of ecological precarity, what many have called the Anthropocene? I will argue that premodern theological traditions of the book of nature, such as one finds in the twelfth century Hugh of Saint Victor, have something extremely important to add to a postmodern ‘terrestrial’ hermeneutics of nature, precisely because the premodern book of nature already performs the construal of nature as culture (and of culture as nature) so often recommended today by critics such as Latour, Haraway, and others. On such an account, nature is neither a fantasy object to be ignored or fled, nor a stable text to be tamed, rationalized, and epistemically leveraged, but rather the changing concept and experience of nature is a symbol illuminated in a book we half receive, and half create, a symbol open to both critique and contemplation, which gives rise to thought, action, and the sort of novel moral intuitions we need now more than ever. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith after the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle
Eating and Being Eaten: Interspecies Vulnerability as Eucharist
Religions 2020, 11(4), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040204 - 20 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Living in a time of urgent ecological crisis, Christians need outdoor ritual experience of their faith: of what is wild, of the living Earth, stranger faces of the divine: taking eco-alienated people out of the building and into the streets, the river, the [...] Read more.
Living in a time of urgent ecological crisis, Christians need outdoor ritual experience of their faith: of what is wild, of the living Earth, stranger faces of the divine: taking eco-alienated people out of the building and into the streets, the river, the forest. Moving liturgy outdoors makes possible an opening to both human and more-than-human strangeness on their own terms, in actual, present, sensory experience. It also opens worshipers’ experience of the Christian sacraments into the disconcerting realm of our bodies’ physical edibility to other creatures: the possibility of our own flesh becoming food. Using the work of Val Plumwood, David Abram, and Eric Meyer, this paper examines Eucharistic ritual language and theologies of resurrection as these contribute to a worldview that maintains a human versus food dualism incommensurate with biological processes. Ultimately, the paper calls for Eucharistic practices that allow participants to pray being prey. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith after the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle
The Virgin of the Vulnerable Lake: Catholic Engagement with Climate Change in the Philippines
Religions 2020, 11(4), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040203 - 18 Apr 2020
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Abstract
In the Philippines, popular belief has it that the image of the Virgen de Caysasay was fished out of the Pansipit River in 1603. Since then, many miraculous healing events, mostly involving water, have been credited to it. The prevalence of water highlights [...] Read more.
In the Philippines, popular belief has it that the image of the Virgen de Caysasay was fished out of the Pansipit River in 1603. Since then, many miraculous healing events, mostly involving water, have been credited to it. The prevalence of water highlights the vulnerability of physical bodies against the onslaught of environmental destruction that comes with climate change. In the Climate Links Report on Climate Change Vulnerability (2017), it was shown that the Philippines’ agricultural and water resources are already strained due to multiple factors, including susceptibility to extreme weather conditions. Using the example of the Virgen de Caysasay, this paper examines Catholic engagement with climate change, specifically the pastoral letters of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) pertaining to climate change and the various responses of the faithful vis-a-vis the extreme vulnerability of the different bodies of water in the Caysasay region. I argue that, in the case of the Virgen de Caysasay, the vulnerabilities of the community—of the bodies of water and of sacred spaces by virtue of them being assigned as such due to religious practices—reveal the dissonance between what the local Catholic Church imparts and communicates through its CBCP pastoral letters on the environment to the faithful community and the realities on the ground. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Engagement with Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Gendering Dance
Religions 2020, 11(4), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040202 - 18 Apr 2020
Viewed by 392
Abstract
Originating as a Punjabi male dance, bhangra, reinvented as a genre of music in the 1980s, reiterated religious, gender, and caste hierarchies at the discursive as well as the performative level. Although the strong feminine presence of trailblazing female DJs like Rani Kaur [...] Read more.
Originating as a Punjabi male dance, bhangra, reinvented as a genre of music in the 1980s, reiterated religious, gender, and caste hierarchies at the discursive as well as the performative level. Although the strong feminine presence of trailblazing female DJs like Rani Kaur alias Radical Sista in bhangra parties in the 1990s challenged the gender division in Punjabi cultural production, it was the appearance of Taran Kaur Dhillon alias Hard Kaur on the bhangra rap scene nearly a decade and a half later that constituted the first serious questioning of male monopolist control over the production of Punjabi music. Although a number of talented female Punjabi musicians have made a mark on the bhangra and popular music sphere in the last decade or so, Punjabi sonic production continues to be dominated by male, Jat, Sikh singers and music producers. This paper will examine female bhangra producers’ invasion of the hegemonic male, Sikh, Jat space of bhangra music to argue that these female musicians interrogate bhangra’s generic sexism as well as the gendered segregation of Punjabi dance to appropriate dance as a means of female empowerment by focusing on the music videos of bhangra rapper Hard Kaur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Gender and Sikh traditions)
Open AccessArticle
Similar but Superior: Rhetoric of Coexistence Employed by Religions in Jeju Island, Korea
Religions 2020, 11(4), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040198 - 18 Apr 2020
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Religions in Jeju, South Korea, have sometimes been in conflict with each other, but have generally coexisted peacefully. In a situation where diverse religions share an island that is isolated from the mainland, they have emphasized that they are similar yet superior to [...] Read more.
Religions in Jeju, South Korea, have sometimes been in conflict with each other, but have generally coexisted peacefully. In a situation where diverse religions share an island that is isolated from the mainland, they have emphasized that they are similar yet superior to their rivals. Religions that were imported to Jeju, including Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity, have tried to make themselves look familiar to Jeju people on the basis of people’s knowledge of preexisting religions. These religions sometimes embraced rituals of preexisting religions to which people were strongly attached. The Jeju indigenous religion has also acknowledged that the ideas and practices of Buddhism and Confucianism have remarkable similarities to those of its own. Simultaneously, each religion in Jeju has claimed its superiority over others. Religions in Jeju have argued that other religions’ partial truth and limited value are in sharp contrast with the complete truth and superior value of their own. They have asserted that only they can provide the proper way of keeping the order of the universe or attaining salvation of human beings. This common rhetoric that “my religion is similar but superior to other religions” has been repeated in Jeju, in order to persuade people outside the religion to accept or at least approve it on the one hand, and to maintain the peaceful coexistence with other religions on the other hand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond)
Open AccessArticle
Juana of Castile’s Book of Hours: An Archduchess at Prayer
Religions 2020, 11(4), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040201 - 17 Apr 2020
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Abstract
This article examines one of Juana of Castile’s books of hours (London, BL Add. MS 18852) comparing it with those written for members of Juana’s family and seeking to discern how it was used, in order to reassess her peers’ evaluation of her [...] Read more.
This article examines one of Juana of Castile’s books of hours (London, BL Add. MS 18852) comparing it with those written for members of Juana’s family and seeking to discern how it was used, in order to reassess her peers’ evaluation of her spiritual affinities. It considers how Juana customized her book of hours with a miniature of the Virgin and Child, comparing it with a gifted panel painted by Rogier van der Weyden that Juana treasured to show how she placed herself under the protection of the Virgin. Numbered precepts would be intended for her to instruct any future children and are replicated in Isabel, her daughter’s, book. The office of the Guardian Angel is compared with similar ones in Spain and Burgundy and, like devotion to St Veronica, such prayer is another means of protection. The striking mirror of conscience with its reflected skull, like other similar objects decorated with a skull that Juana possessed, sought to lift her from the decay and sinfulness of the world to the spiritual realm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mysticism and Spirituality in Medieval Spain)
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Open AccessArticle
The Misericórdias as Social Economy Entities in Portugal and Spain
Religions 2020, 11(4), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040200 - 17 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Las Santas Casas de Misericórdias (The Holy Houses of Mercy) are institutions of Portuguese origin that emerged in the late fifteenth century and that, over time, have expanded beyond the territories of the Portuguese Empire, including to Spain, where various Casas de Misericordia [...] Read more.
Las Santas Casas de Misericórdias (The Holy Houses of Mercy) are institutions of Portuguese origin that emerged in the late fifteenth century and that, over time, have expanded beyond the territories of the Portuguese Empire, including to Spain, where various Casas de Misericordia were created in their image and with similar purposes to the original. The Misericórdias continue to be relevant and present throughout Portugal, in various decolonized countries of the former Portuguese Empire, and in other territories that have been influenced by Portuguese emigration, and have always played an important role in the social care of citizens. In Spain, the Santas Casas de Misericordia do not have the same long history, nor the same social relevance as their Portuguese counterparts. However, even today, there are some Casas de Misericordia in Spain that provide social care services, having adopted various legal structures such as foundations, associations, and public entities. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Application of the Kano Model and DEMATEL Technique to Explore Sustainable Promotion Strategies for Thai-Chinese Temples as Tourist Attractions
Religions 2020, 11(4), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040199 - 17 Apr 2020
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Abstract
With the development of the modern social economy, temple tourism has become a lucrative industry. Because of their distinct architecture, rituals, and history, temples have become an important part of the sustainable development of temple economies. Thailand, a tourism-rich country in Southeast Asia, [...] Read more.
With the development of the modern social economy, temple tourism has become a lucrative industry. Because of their distinct architecture, rituals, and history, temples have become an important part of the sustainable development of temple economies. Thailand, a tourism-rich country in Southeast Asia, has many Chinese temples, most of which have developed into well-known tourist attractions. However, little research has explored attraction factor categories of Thai-Chinese temples as cultural tourist attractions, and also the relationships among these factor categories. This knowledge is important for assessing and developing improvement strategies of Thai-Chinese temples for achieving a sustainable temple economy. Thus, this study aims to identify appropriate ways to identify the constituent attraction factor categories of Thai-Chinese temples as cultural tourist attractions and how they are prioritized, considering the complex interaction relationships among them. The research findings show that 12 main factor categories under the three dimensions, three attributive classifications with different priorities to which the 12 categories belong, and the complex interaction relationships among factor categories are identified. Combining the priorities on attributive classifications and the priorities on interaction relationships, the sustainable improvement strategies of Thai-Chinese temples are established. This paper extends previous research on Chinese temples, offers insights into the theoretical investigation of Thai-Chinese temples as tourist attractions, and provides decision makers with an integrated and practical way to establish priorities of multiple attraction factor categories, in order to make sustainable improvement strategies of Thai-Chinese temples under the consideration of rational allocation of resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese Temples and Rituals in Southeast Asia)
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Open AccessArticle
The Pronunciation of the Words “mor” and “yabolet” in a Cairo Genizah Fragment of Bavli Eruvin 102b–104a
by Uri Zur
Religions 2020, 11(4), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040197 - 17 Apr 2020
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Abstract
This article refers to a Cairo Genizah fragment related to Bavli, Tractate Eruvin 102b-104a, identified as Cambridge, UL T-S F2 (2) 23. FGP No. C 98948. In the fragment, there are two words, “mor” and “yabolet”, which were written as vocalized by the [...] Read more.
This article refers to a Cairo Genizah fragment related to Bavli, Tractate Eruvin 102b-104a, identified as Cambridge, UL T-S F2 (2) 23. FGP No. C 98948. In the fragment, there are two words, “mor” and “yabolet”, which were written as vocalized by the scribe or copyist. Their pronunciation differs from that customary today, i.e., “mar” and “yabelet”. The purpose of this paper is to explain how this pronunciation was generated, the evolvement and development of this pronunciation as it appears in the fragment, and to examine whether there are additional words in other sources that were pronounced similarly. This paper begins with a description of the Genizah fragment and continues with a reproduction of the fragment itself. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Crusaders in Reverse? The Emergence of Political Islam in the Middle East and the Reactions of British Foreign Policy, 1978–1990
Religions 2020, 11(4), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040196 - 17 Apr 2020
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Abstract
British foreign policy in the Middle East has been well researched. However, there are still aspects of Britain’s approach towards the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that have yet to be researched. One such aspect is Britain’s encounter with the rise of [...] Read more.
British foreign policy in the Middle East has been well researched. However, there are still aspects of Britain’s approach towards the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that have yet to be researched. One such aspect is Britain’s encounter with the rise of political Islam in MENA and the way(s) in which this phenomenon was deciphered. Even though political Islam dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century, our study focuses on the period between the turbulent years of the outburst of the Iranian Revolution in 1978–1979 and its widely-felt influence until 1990. Our methodological tools include Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) archival material that addresses the phenomenon of political Islam and its implications for British interests and international relations in general. We choose the concept of political Islam and its adherents that are widely acknowledged as political, comparatively to those of da’wa and Jihadi Islamism. We argue that British officials were widely influenced by the intellectual debates of the period under consideration and that they mainly adopted four analytical schemas which focused firstly on the rise of sectarian politics in MENA, secondly on the gradual accommodation of non-state actors and organizations in political analysis, thirdly on the worrisome prospect of an alliance between Islamist and communist forces, and lastly on the prevalence of the idea of Islamic solidarity and Islamic exceptionalism in exerting international politics. Our findings suggest that, at times, the FCO approaches the issue of political Islam with a reassuring mindset, focusing on its divisions and weaknesses, while at other times it analyzes it with a grave concern over stability and Britain’s critical interests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and International Relations in the Middle East)
Open AccessArticle
The Mediating Effect of Coping Strategies on Religious/Spiritual Struggles and Life Satisfaction
Religions 2020, 11(4), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040195 - 16 Apr 2020
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Abstract
A growing number of researchers are testing potential problematic forms of religiousness that denote anxieties regarding sacred matters. However, only a few studies have assessed how religious/spiritual struggle is associated with positive outcomes. Because people’s coping responses to stressors are key determinants of [...] Read more.
A growing number of researchers are testing potential problematic forms of religiousness that denote anxieties regarding sacred matters. However, only a few studies have assessed how religious/spiritual struggle is associated with positive outcomes. Because people’s coping responses to stressors are key determinants of their well-being, we expected that different coping strategies could be potential mediators between religious problems/tensions and life satisfaction. The research was conducted on a group of 744 Roman Catholics. We used the Religious Comfort and Strain Scale, Satisfaction with Life Scale, and Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE) questionnaire. The outcomes show that religious comfort correlated positively with life satisfaction, while fear/guilt, negative emotions toward God, and negative social interactions surrounding religion correlated negatively with life satisfaction. Our research amplifies the understanding of the religious/spiritual struggles and life satisfaction relationship, mediated by “secular” coping strategies. It confirms that both religious and secular methods of experiencing different strains seem to coexist with multiple other strategies in the context of broadly understood life satisfaction. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Vulnerable (Post) Modern Self and the “Greening” of Spiritual Personhood through Life in the Spirit
Religions 2020, 11(4), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040194 - 16 Apr 2020
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Abstract
In the period now being called the Anthropocene, the fatal vulnerabilities of the modern way of constructing selfhood are becoming ever more evident. Joanna Macy, who writes from a Buddhist perspective, has argued for the need to “green” the self by rediscovering its [...] Read more.
In the period now being called the Anthropocene, the fatal vulnerabilities of the modern way of constructing selfhood are becoming ever more evident. Joanna Macy, who writes from a Buddhist perspective, has argued for the need to “green” the self by rediscovering its participation in ecological and cosmic networks. From a Christian perspective, I would articulate this in terms of an imperative to rediscover our spiritual personhood as radical communion in both God and cosmos. In this paper, “self” refers to an ever-restless process of construction of identity based in self-awareness and aimed at maintaining one’s integrity, coherence, and social esteem. I use the term “person,” on the other hand, to refer to a relational center that exists to be in communion with other persons. How—within the conditions of the dawning Anthropocene—can the tension between these two essential aspects of human existence be opened up in a way that can more effectively protect human and other life on Earth? This would require, it seems, harnessing both the self-protective and the self-giving potentials of human beings. The proposed path is to give ourselves over into the rhythms of the Spirit, being breathed in to selfless personal communion and out to co-creation of our refreshed selfhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith after the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle
An Aristotelian Interpretation of Bojo Jinul and an Enhanced Moral Grounding
Religions 2020, 11(4), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040193 - 16 Apr 2020
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Abstract
This paper explores the eclecticism of Bojo Jinul (1158–1210 CE), who is arguably the most influential historic figure in establishing and developing the Buddhist monastic institution of Korea. As a great harmonizer of the conflicting Buddhist trends in the late Goryeo period, Jinul [...] Read more.
This paper explores the eclecticism of Bojo Jinul (1158–1210 CE), who is arguably the most influential historic figure in establishing and developing the Buddhist monastic institution of Korea. As a great harmonizer of the conflicting Buddhist trends in the late Goryeo period, Jinul not only shaped the foundation of the traditional monastic discipline balanced between theory and practice but also made Korean Buddhist thoughts known to a larger part of East Asia. I revisit the eclecticism of Bojo Jinul on harmonizing the two conflicting understandings of enlightenment represented by Seon (Cha’n) and Gyo (Hwaeom study) schools: the former stressing sudden enlightenment by sitting mediation and oral transmission of dharma and the latter stressing gradual cultivation by the formal training of textual and doctrinal understanding specifically on the Hwaeom Sutra. Utilizing the metaphysics of Aristotle, I confirm the logical validity of his eclecticism and address some of its moral implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Polish Nationwide Catholic Opinion-Forming Weeklies on Social Media—From Theoretical Introduction to Empirical Approach
Religions 2020, 11(4), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040190 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 320
Abstract
This paper is the first part of a cycle comprising five texts on the marketing use of social media by nationwide opinion-forming Catholic weeklies in Poland. Considering the state of the research so far, it is not completely clear how to classify Catholic [...] Read more.
This paper is the first part of a cycle comprising five texts on the marketing use of social media by nationwide opinion-forming Catholic weeklies in Poland. Considering the state of the research so far, it is not completely clear how to classify Catholic media profiles on social networking sites. On the one hand, the media activity of the Church is typically evangelistic in nature, but on the other hand it takes place in typically secular conditions. The evangelising role of the Catholic media cannot be separated from the opinion-forming function. The main objective of the project is, firstly, to assess the marketing potential of social media used by the aforementioned weeklies and secondly, to complement the previously described online presence of religious entities in the context of the mediatization of religions. This paper—as the theoretical background of the research—presents the detailed interdisciplinary literature review on the issues crucial for the project, as well as the methodological introduction to our study. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Reimagining Christian Hope(lessness) in the Anthropocene
Religions 2020, 11(4), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040192 - 15 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Faith in the Anthropocene requires a re-imagined account of Christian hope. Research on the emergence of eco-anxiety disorder shows that climate crisis and ecological destruction have psychological and emotional effects on persons and communities, producing fear, despair, and hopelessness. Accounts of hope in [...] Read more.
Faith in the Anthropocene requires a re-imagined account of Christian hope. Research on the emergence of eco-anxiety disorder shows that climate crisis and ecological destruction have psychological and emotional effects on persons and communities, producing fear, despair, and hopelessness. Accounts of hope in recent environmental literature and in traditional Christian formulations rely on faith in political will, technological innovation, or an omnipotent divine sovereign to intervene and save. Such accounts are inadequate for this moment. A re-imagined notion of Christian hope will embrace hopelessness, understood as the relinquishment of false optimism that the climate crisis can be reversed and a commitment to act without expectation of success, but with a commitment to nurturing the wisdom to live more humanly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith after the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle
Dabo Swinney, Universal Whiteness, and a “Sin Problem”
Religions 2020, 11(4), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040191 - 15 Apr 2020
Viewed by 236
Abstract
Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney was asked to respond to Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police killings of unarmed black men and women by kneeling for the national anthem. Swinney’s response was surprisingly comprehensive and illuminating into his stance on race, religion, [...] Read more.
Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney was asked to respond to Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police killings of unarmed black men and women by kneeling for the national anthem. Swinney’s response was surprisingly comprehensive and illuminating into his stance on race, religion, and sport. He crystallizes his overall interpretation of societal problems with the statement, “It’s so easy to say we have a race problem, but we got a sin problem.” In this essay, I examine “whiteness” as that which endows whites with a kind of universal authority to establish norms as well as provide a protective cloak of invisibility that effectively hides the identity of those constructing the norms. I argue that Swinney’s unconscious display of his own whiteness coupled with the additional cloak of universal sin, that purportedly knows no color, serves to downplay and dismiss Kaepernick’s call for racial justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Sports in North America)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Disability, Anthropology, and Flourishing with God: A Kierkegaardian Account
Religions 2020, 11(4), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040189 - 14 Apr 2020
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Abstract
How can the writings of Søren Kierkegaard address contemporary issues in the theology of disability? For while it is surely true that Kierkegaard had ‘no concept of “disability” in the contemporary sense’ of the term, I will argue that there is much in [...] Read more.
How can the writings of Søren Kierkegaard address contemporary issues in the theology of disability? For while it is surely true that Kierkegaard had ‘no concept of “disability” in the contemporary sense’ of the term, I will argue that there is much in Kierkegaard’s writings that addresses issues related to disability. I begin by exploring Kierkegaard’s discussion of suffering and its application to disability theology. I argue that while this has some application, it doesn’t get to the heart of the issue, since a theology of disability must address more than the issue of suffering. Instead, I argue, we should look to Kierkegaard’s anthropology because it is here that we find a vision of what it is to be truly human, and, therefore, how we might understand what it means for those with disabilities to be truly human. To do this, I outline the account of the human being as spirit in The Sickness Unto Death, noting its inability to include certain individuals with severe cognitive disabilities. A straightforward reading of Sickness suggests that Kierkegaard would think of those with cognitive disabilities as similar to non-human animals in various respects. Noting the shortcomings of such an approach, I then offer a constructive amendment to Kierkegaard’s anthropology that can retain Kierkegaard’s concern that true human flourishing is found only in relationship with God. While Kierkegaard’s emphasis on teleology can be both affirming and inclusive for those with disability, I argue that we need to look to Kierkegaard’s account of ‘neighbor’ in Works of Love to overcome the difficulties with his seemingly exclusive anthropology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Kierkegaard and Theology)
Open AccessArticle
Temporal Layers in Heritage Tourism: Christianity and Islam in an Algarvian Chapel
Religions 2020, 11(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040188 - 14 Apr 2020
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Abstract
The worldwide expansion of cultural and heritage tourism presents several opportunities for destination development, but also poses significant challenges in terms of management. This is especially true when different, overlapping, and potentially conflicting meanings coexist in the same location, as when distinct layers [...] Read more.
The worldwide expansion of cultural and heritage tourism presents several opportunities for destination development, but also poses significant challenges in terms of management. This is especially true when different, overlapping, and potentially conflicting meanings coexist in the same location, as when distinct layers of the history of a site are unearthed by archaeology. Considering faith as confidence in the perpetuation of identities, an element common to both heritage and religion, this paper presents the results of a study of the heritagization process of a Christian chapel in Loulé (Algarve, Portugal), where traces of the city’s Islamic past were uncovered, and of the strategies implemented considering the site’s overlapping meanings. The results indicate that the embracement, rather than the suppression, of dissonant layers of significance in the heritagization of a religious site can contribute to a community’s richer sense of its enduring memory through a new dialogue with its multifaceted past and the validation of previously disregarded traces of its identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to the Special Issue: Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic
Religions 2020, 11(4), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040187 - 14 Apr 2020
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Abstract
Witchcraft and magic are topics of enduring interest for many reasons [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic) Printed Edition available
Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to “Spiritual Care for People with Cancer”
Religions 2020, 11(4), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040186 - 13 Apr 2020
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Abstract
There is little question that the diagnosis and treatment of cancer increase existential and spiritual needs and that these needs relate to how patients adjust to their experience. This Special Issue of Religions focusses on studies examining spiritual needs and spiritual care interventions [...] Read more.
There is little question that the diagnosis and treatment of cancer increase existential and spiritual needs and that these needs relate to how patients adjust to their experience. This Special Issue of Religions focusses on studies examining spiritual needs and spiritual care interventions among people with early-stage cancer (stages 0–III) or who have chronic/returning types of cancer. The spiritual care interventions discussed in this Special Issue involve multi- or interdisciplinary forms of spiritual care. Interestingly, all studies in this Special Issue emphasize the narrative and meaning-making dimension of spirituality. More research is needed on the relational and embodied dimensions of spirituality. The varied methodologies and disciplines applied in the studies of this Special Issue show the complexity and richness of spiritual care, which needs to be reflected in the organization of oncological care as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
Open AccessArticle
A Rapprochement between Feminist Ethics of Care and Contemporary Theology
Religions 2020, 11(4), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040185 - 13 Apr 2020
Viewed by 299
Abstract
Ethics of care is a relatively new approach to morality, first developed as a feminist ethical theory in the 1980s by Carol Gilligan, Sara Ruddick, and Nel Noddings. It is based on the experience and responsibility of providing care and is distinct from [...] Read more.
Ethics of care is a relatively new approach to morality, first developed as a feminist ethical theory in the 1980s by Carol Gilligan, Sara Ruddick, and Nel Noddings. It is based on the experience and responsibility of providing care and is distinct from other popular moral philosophies including Kantian moral theory, utilitarianism, or virtue ethics, although it has some similarities to virtue ethics. Founded on a relational ontology, it offers a deeply incisive critique of liberal individualism through ethical reflection. It is also committed to a particularism which recognises the importance of addressing moral problems in the context of lived experience. In this article, after an analysis of the foundational perspectives of care ethics, it will be contended that its central tenets tie in with contemporary approaches in theology, particularly those expressed in the writings of St John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Furthermore, it will be suggested that the anthropological and moral insights of these theologians can offer the ethics of care a deeper ontological and epistemological grounding, hence strengthening its viability and existential appeal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
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