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Religions, Volume 11, Issue 5 (May 2020) – 53 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The late gangster Bindy Johal (1971–1998) was the leader of a successful Indo-Canadian gang in [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Nostalgia and the ‘New Visibility’ of Religion
Religions 2020, 11(5), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050267 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 786
Abstract
This article examines the role that religion plays in a sample of the lives and career journeys of eight academic staff or alumni at a British university. Using the ‘Nostalgia Interviews with Chris Deacy’ podcast as source material, the aim is to look [...] Read more.
This article examines the role that religion plays in a sample of the lives and career journeys of eight academic staff or alumni at a British university. Using the ‘Nostalgia Interviews with Chris Deacy’ podcast as source material, the aim is to look at the intersection between traditional and implicit conceptualisations of religion, that arise in the course of interviews that the author has undertaken, with a view to shedding light on what this says about the role that religion plays when people reminisce about their past, how this relates to contemporary religious experience for them, and whether this might be identified as an example of the ‘new visibility’ of religion. It will conclude that the way we understand the location and parameters of religion in the contemporary world needs to be re-orientated and re-framed, in the light of the presence of those less formal and structured forms of religion, which often overlap with formal religious practices, but are often articulated without reference to it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Visibility of Religion and Its Impact)
Open AccessArticle
Validation of the Chinese Version of the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS): Teacher Perspectives
Religions 2020, 11(5), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050266 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 421
Abstract
This study applied the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS) to the context of Hong Kong as a part of China with the focus on a specific target group of teachers in primary and secondary schools. For the validation of the scale in the [...] Read more.
This study applied the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS) to the context of Hong Kong as a part of China with the focus on a specific target group of teachers in primary and secondary schools. For the validation of the scale in the Hong Kong context, the version of CRSi-20 was tested with data collected from local teachers (N = 671). For the validation of the scale, six versions were tested (CRSi-20, CRS-15, CRSi-14, CRS-10, CRSi-7, and CRS-5). Confirmatory Factor Analysis demonstrated that the single-factor solution of five items (CRS-5) had better fit indices than the seven-item version (CRSi-7), which, in turn, was better than CRS-15 with a five-factor solution (Intellect, Ideology, Private Practice, Public Practice, and Religious Experience). The other three versions encountered a problem with high correlations between factors. Multiple-indicators multiple-causes (MIMIC) analysis was used to test the effect of covariates on the established factor structure for CRS-5, CRSi-7, and CRS-15. The results indicated that gender and religious belief are significant predictors of the centrality of religiosity scores for CRS-5, CRSi-7, and CRS-15. In addition, age was a positive predictor for public practice, and teachers’ education level was positively related to private practice for CRS-15. Implications regarding understanding for the existing literature are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research with the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS))
Open AccessArticle
The Basis for Coexistence Found from within: The Mystic Universality and Ethicality of Donghak (東學, Eastern Learning)
Religions 2020, 11(5), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050265 - 23 May 2020
Viewed by 484
Abstract
The rush of Western civilization, headed by Christianity, caused a considerable identity crisis in the 19th century Joseon dynasty. The founder of Donghak 東學, Suun Choe Je-u 水雲 崔濟愚, sought a way out of the crisis through religion. Suun contended that the religions [...] Read more.
The rush of Western civilization, headed by Christianity, caused a considerable identity crisis in the 19th century Joseon dynasty. The founder of Donghak 東學, Suun Choe Je-u 水雲 崔濟愚, sought a way out of the crisis through religion. Suun contended that the religions of both east and west are grounded in the same Way of Heaven, and that it can be ascertained through an experience of mystical union induced by chanting a 21-character incantation. He also emphasized the importance of practicing this Way of Heaven in real life. According to him, the Western invasion is an act of selfishness, and goes against the Heavenly Way. The Heavenly Way is considered a foundation that enables communication and coexistence in a religiously diverse society. Despite the fact that his belief in the universality of the Heavenly Way is based on a personal experience—which is problematic to all mysticisms—Donghak provided a powerful discourse to deal with a variety of challenges of his time. In this age of religious pluralism, Suun’s universalism is significant in exploring the intellectual and spiritual foundation of the modern pluralistic thoughts of Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond)
Open AccessArticle
Augustine and Xunzi on Human Dignity and Human Rights: The Worth of Being Human and Its Entitlement to Institutional Measures for Protecting the Access to Human Flourishing
Religions 2020, 11(5), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050264 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 494
Abstract
While some human rights theorists suggest that the universalistic project of human rights can be consistent only with an individualistic conception of dignity aligned with liberal regimes, there have also been some voices of discontent raised from Christian and Confucian thinkers in favor [...] Read more.
While some human rights theorists suggest that the universalistic project of human rights can be consistent only with an individualistic conception of dignity aligned with liberal regimes, there have also been some voices of discontent raised from Christian and Confucian thinkers in favor of incompatibility. I refer to the universalistic position of approaching cross-cultural human rights by focusing on Pogge’s contextualistic universalism and Joas’ universalistic emphasis on the sacredness of person. I show how it is possible to ground the religious foundation of human dignity on self-transcendence (Joas) and the institutional foundation on the capacity for the pursuit of a worthwhile life as flourishing (Pogge). This idea of dignity grounds human rights as the entitlement to institutional measures for securing the access to basic goods for human flourishing (Pogge). When reinterpreting Augustine and Xunzi in light of human dignity and human rights, I tackle two questions, following Pogge and Joas. First, I reinterpret Augustine and Xunzi by showing how human dignity rests on the relative worth of pursuing one’s flourishing distinct from animals and the absolute worth of pursuing flourishing open for self-transcendence, which also entails different ranges of social conceptions of flourishing. I also tackle how this sense of dignity leads to the entitlement to institutional measures for protecting the access to basic goods for human flourishing as the issue of human rights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
Open AccessEditorial
Introduction—Issues and Debates on Religion and International Relations in the Middle East
Religions 2020, 11(5), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050263 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 517
Abstract
By the end of the 20th century, after great political upheavals, two world wars, the decolonization process and political, social and scientific revolutions, it is hard to miss that the world is in a deep de-secularization process. In the Middle East, this process [...] Read more.
By the end of the 20th century, after great political upheavals, two world wars, the decolonization process and political, social and scientific revolutions, it is hard to miss that the world is in a deep de-secularization process. In the Middle East, this process has taken multiple trajectories and has made geopolitics of religion central in reshaping regional issues and in restructuring modes of international politics and international system’s intervention in the Middle East. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and International Relations in the Middle East)
Open AccessArticle
Married Monastics and Military Life: Contradictions and Conflicted Identities within South Korea’s Buddhist Chaplaincy System
Religions 2020, 11(5), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050262 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 609
Abstract
Since its modern origins in the Buddhist Purification Movement of the 1950s, South Korea’s Jogye Order has established monastic celibacy as central to its identity and claim to legitimacy as a Buddhist sect. However, in the order’s urgency to introduce Buddhist chaplains to [...] Read more.
Since its modern origins in the Buddhist Purification Movement of the 1950s, South Korea’s Jogye Order has established monastic celibacy as central to its identity and claim to legitimacy as a Buddhist sect. However, in the order’s urgency to introduce Buddhist chaplains to the South Korean military in the 1960s, after almost two decades of Protestant monopoly over the chaplaincy program, the Jogye Order permitted its chaplains to marry; a practice which soon became the norm. This contradiction grew increasingly problematic for the order over subsequent decades and, in 2009, it attempted to resolve the issue by reversing the marriage exception for chaplains, reinforcing their identity as monastics within the order. While controversial, the resolution has proved effective in practice. However, this reversal has also provoked unprecedented lawsuits against South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense in 2017 and a ruling by Korea’s Human Rights Commission in 2018, challenging the Jogye Order’s exclusive control of the military’s Buddhist chaplaincies. Given the challenges these issues currently present to the Jogye Order’s chaplaincy program, this article interrogates the origins, history, significance, and impact of the issues surrounding the order’s marriage exemption for its military chaplains. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Reconsidering Ecological Civilization from a Chinese Christian Perspective
Religions 2020, 11(5), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050261 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 626
Abstract
As part of the global effort to alleviate the ecological crisis, ecological civilization has become a dominant movement in China due to the state policy. Within this movement, the Chinese culture is said to be highly ecological and is thus an important asset [...] Read more.
As part of the global effort to alleviate the ecological crisis, ecological civilization has become a dominant movement in China due to the state policy. Within this movement, the Chinese culture is said to be highly ecological and is thus an important asset to environmentalism. This paper seeks to offer a critical evaluation of this view by inquiring into its cultural and religious dimension with reference to Confucian and Chinese Christian thought. It argues that the construction of ecological civilization in China cannot rely only on the official discourses but requires a deeper cultural and religious investigation that helps realize the ecological potentials of the Chinese culture. In particular, it contends that the Confucian concepts of qi 氣 and li 理 can open up a way for humanity to attain unity with the cosmos and live in a path in harmony with nature through spiritual cultivation. It also suggests that the Christology and soteriology of Chinese Christian thinkers can strengthen this path of personal and social transformation by addressing the tendency of human beings to conform to selfish desire rather than the well-being of others. Both the Confucian and Chinese Christian worldviews are indispensable to the construction of ecological civilization by offering substantial insights into the cultural and religious dimension of the movement. Full article
Open AccessArticle
International Religious Freedom Promotion and US Foreign Policy
Religions 2020, 11(5), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050260 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 780
Abstract
The freedom to practice one’s religious belief is a fundamental human right and yet, for millions of people around the world, this right is denied. Yearly reports produced by the US State Department, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Open Doors International, [...] Read more.
The freedom to practice one’s religious belief is a fundamental human right and yet, for millions of people around the world, this right is denied. Yearly reports produced by the US State Department, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, Open Doors International, Aid to the Church in Need and Release International reveal a disturbing picture of increased religious persecution across much of the world conducted at individual, community and state level conducted by secular, religious, terrorist and state actors. While religious actors both contribute to persecution of those of other faiths and beliefs and are involved in peace and reconciliation initiatives, the acceptance of the freedom to practice one’s faith, to disseminate that faith and to change one’s faith and belief is fundamental to considerations of the intersection of peace, politics and religion. In this article, I examine the political background of the United States’ promotion of international religious freedom, and current progress on advancing this under the Trump administration. International Religious Freedom (IRF) is contentious, and seen by many as the advancement of US national interests by other means. This article argues that through an examination of the accomplishments and various critiques of the IRF programme it is possible, and desirable, to discover what works, and where further progress needs to be made, in order to enable people around the world to enjoy freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peace, Politics, and Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Chastity as a Virtue
Religions 2020, 11(5), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050259 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 540
Abstract
This paper analyzes two philosophers’ views on chastity as a virtue, comparing Song Siyeol, a Korean neo-Confucian philosopher of the east, and David Hume, a Scottish philosopher. Despite the importance in and impact on women’s lives, chastity has been understated in religio-philosophical fields. [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes two philosophers’ views on chastity as a virtue, comparing Song Siyeol, a Korean neo-Confucian philosopher of the east, and David Hume, a Scottish philosopher. Despite the importance in and impact on women’s lives, chastity has been understated in religio-philosophical fields. The two philosophers’ understandings and arguments differ in significant ways and yet share important common aspects. Analyzing the views of Song and Hume helps us better understand and approach the issue of women’s chastity, not only as a historical phenomenon but also in the contemporary world, more fully and deeply. The analysis will provide an alternative way to re-appropriate the concept of chastity as a virtue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reenvisioning Chinese Religious Ethics)
Open AccessArticle
The Unificationist Funerary Tradition
Religions 2020, 11(5), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050258 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
This paper explores the distinctive funerary tradition of the Unification Movement, a globally active South Korean new religious movement founded in 1954. Its funerary tradition centres on the so-called Seonghwa (formerly Seunghwa) Ceremony, which was introduced in January 1984. The paper traces the [...] Read more.
This paper explores the distinctive funerary tradition of the Unification Movement, a globally active South Korean new religious movement founded in 1954. Its funerary tradition centres on the so-called Seonghwa (formerly Seunghwa) Ceremony, which was introduced in January 1984. The paper traces the doctrinal context and the origin narrative before delineating the ceremony itself in its Korean expression, including its preparatory and follow-up stages, as well as its short-lived adaptation for non-members. Notably, with more and more first-generation adherents passing away—most visibly in respect to the leadership culminating in the Seonghwa Ceremony of the founder himself in 2012—the funerary tradition has become an increasingly conspicuous property of the Unificationist lifeworld. This paper adds to a largely uncharted area in the study of East Asian new religious movements, namely the examination of their distinctive deathscapes, as spelled out in theory and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Funerary Traditions of East Asian New Religious Movements)
Open AccessArticle
Understanding the Letter to the Romans in the Sect-Cult Development of Early Churches
Religions 2020, 11(5), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050257 - 20 May 2020
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Abstract
This article examines how the model of sect-cult development in antiquity helps us understand Paul’s discussion of Jewish traditions in the Letter to the Romans. In the traditional Augustinian–Lutheran scholarship, Romans has often been interpreted within the binary framework of Judaism and Christianity, [...] Read more.
This article examines how the model of sect-cult development in antiquity helps us understand Paul’s discussion of Jewish traditions in the Letter to the Romans. In the traditional Augustinian–Lutheran scholarship, Romans has often been interpreted within the binary framework of Judaism and Christianity, as Paul showcasing one of the earliest examples of Christian opposition to Judaism. Based on the recent studies on Second Temple Judaism and the modified model of sect-cult reflecting the ancient context, I argue that Romans reveals internal conflicts between cultic and sectarian tendencies present among early churches of the first century C.E. The cultic tendency is reflected in Roman gentile believers’ assimilation of the Jewish tradition with the Greco–Roman virtue of self-mastery and their growing separation from Judaism. Paul, on the other hand, tries to establish the unity between believing gentiles and Israel as exhibiting his sectarian understanding of the gospel and the gentile mission. By placing Romans in the trajectory of sect-cult development of an early church, we stop reading it as a text that justifies the Christian antagonism to Judaism, but as a text that shows an early apostle’s passionate effort to create a unified people of God in the hope for the final salvation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond)
Open AccessArticle
The Role of Religious Leaders in Religious Heritage Tourism Development: The Case of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Religions 2020, 11(5), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050256 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 524
Abstract
For centuries, people have traveled to sacred sites for multiple reasons, ranging from the performance of religious rituals to curiosity. As the numbers of visitors to religious heritage sites have increased, so has the integration of religious heritage into tourism supply offerings. There [...] Read more.
For centuries, people have traveled to sacred sites for multiple reasons, ranging from the performance of religious rituals to curiosity. As the numbers of visitors to religious heritage sites have increased, so has the integration of religious heritage into tourism supply offerings. There is a growing research agenda focusing on the growth and management of this tourism niche market. However, little research has focused on the role that religious institutions and leadership play in the development of religious heritage tourism. The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of religious leaders and the impacts their decisions have on the development of religious heritage tourism through a consideration of three case studies related to recent decisions made by the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle
Is Religion Coming Back as a Source for Antisemitic Views?
Religions 2020, 11(5), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050255 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 612
Abstract
The most violent American and European antisemites in the 21st century, including not only Jihadists but also white (and black) supremacist terrorist, made some reference to religion in their hatred of Jews. This is surprising. Religious antisemitism is often seen as a relic [...] Read more.
The most violent American and European antisemites in the 21st century, including not only Jihadists but also white (and black) supremacist terrorist, made some reference to religion in their hatred of Jews. This is surprising. Religious antisemitism is often seen as a relic of the past. It is more associated with pre-modern societies where the role of religion was central to the social and political order. However, at the end of the 19th century, animosity against Judaism gave way to nationalistic and racist motives. People such as Wilhelm Marr called themselves antisemites to distinguish themselves from those who despised Jews for religious reasons. Since then, antisemitism has gone through many mutations. However, today, it is not only the actions of extremely violent antisemites who might be an indication that religious antisemitism has come back in new forms. Some churches have been accused of disseminating antisemitic arguments related to ideas of replacement theology in modernized forms and applied to the Jewish State. Others, from the populist nationalist right, seem to use Christianity as an identity marker and thus exclude Jews (and Muslims) from the nation. Do religious motifs play a significant role in the resurgence of antisemitism in the 21st century? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Organization of Religious Behaviour in Different Christian Denominations in Poland
Religions 2020, 11(5), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050254 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 1520
Abstract
Any pandemic disorganizes the life of wider society. One of the manifestations of social activity is religious life. Despite progressing secularization, both religion, churches, and denominational associations have an impact on individual ethical choices and business decisions. This is true especially in Poland, [...] Read more.
Any pandemic disorganizes the life of wider society. One of the manifestations of social activity is religious life. Despite progressing secularization, both religion, churches, and denominational associations have an impact on individual ethical choices and business decisions. This is true especially in Poland, where over 90 percent of the citizens declare affiliation with some religion, mostly Christian. The purpose of the present article is to demonstrate what activities are undertaken by churches in Poland at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and what differences there are in their organization of religious life. In order to achieve the set goal, qualitative methods were implemented in the research. As part of the qualitative paradigm, in-depth individual interviews were used, involving individuals responsible for organizing religious life at the parish or congregation level. The interviewees were clergymen from the most important denominations, ranging from Catholic and Orthodox to broadly understood Protestant denominations. The paper contains a review of relevant literature. It presents the results and discussion of qualitative research, and it also indicates the research limitations. The study reveals that individual churches have limited (Catholic and Orthodox) or totally suspended (Protestants) their religious life in the actual community-based dimension. The decisions made by the clergymen, regardless of their personal views, resulted from the assumed ecclesiology and tradition. While changing the organization of religious life, the churches maintained contact with the believers in various ways, using modern technologies and access to public media in this regard. Although the churches are not changing their doctrinal positions, they declare different forms of cooperation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The AI Creation Meme: A Case Study of the New Visibility of Religion in Artificial Intelligence Discourse
Religions 2020, 11(5), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050253 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 864
Abstract
Through a consideration of examples of the AI Creation Meme, a remix of Michelangelo’s Creazione di Adamo featuring a human hand and a machine hand nearly touching, fingertip to fingertip, this article will tackle the religious continuities and resonances that still emerge in [...] Read more.
Through a consideration of examples of the AI Creation Meme, a remix of Michelangelo’s Creazione di Adamo featuring a human hand and a machine hand nearly touching, fingertip to fingertip, this article will tackle the religious continuities and resonances that still emerge in AI discourse in an allegedly ‘secular age’. The AI Creation Meme, as a highly visible cultural artefact appearing in a variety of forms and locations, will be analyzed and discussed for its religious, apocalyptic, and post-humanist narratives, along with reference to earlier work on the New Visibility of Religion—specifically, Alexander Darius Ornella’s consideration of the New Visibility of Religion and religious imagery of the 2006 film, Children of Men. Work that outlines the aspects of critical post-humanism, speculative post-humanism, and transhumanism in relation to the contemporary post-secular age will also be addressed to expand on the implicit apocalyptic messages of the AI Creation Meme. Such a consideration of repeating and remixed imagery will add to the scholarly conversation around AI narratives and the entanglements of religion and technology in our imaginaries of the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Visibility of Religion and Its Impact)
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Open AccessReview
The Catalogue of Spiritual Care Instruments: A Scoping Review
Religions 2020, 11(5), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050252 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 623
Abstract
Spiritual care has been a growing focus in international healthcare research over the last decades. The approaches to spiritual care are many and derive from many different medical fields and different cultural contexts and often remain unknown across healthcare areas. This points to [...] Read more.
Spiritual care has been a growing focus in international healthcare research over the last decades. The approaches to spiritual care are many and derive from many different medical fields and different cultural contexts and often remain unknown across healthcare areas. This points to a potential knowledge gap between existing instruments and the knowledge and use of them cross-disciplinarily and cross-culturally, and thus best practice insights are not sufficiently shared. This article contributes to the growing field of spiritual care by providing an overview of the various approaches (henceforth instruments) to assess patients’ spiritual needs in view of improving spiritual care. This was done through a scoping review method. The results of the review were collected and catalogued and presented here as ‘The Catalogue of Spiritual Care Instruments’. The included instruments derive from a wide range of geographical contexts and healthcare areas and are aimed at patients and healthcare professionals alike, clearly showing that spiritual care is a focus in healthcare internationally. However, it also shows the difficulties of defining spiritual care, the importance of local contexts, and the difficulties of cross-cultural validity. The catalogue contains 182 entries and is available as an interactive platform for the further development of spiritual care internationally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health)
Open AccessArticle
Eric Perl’s Theophanism: An Option for Agnostics?
Religions 2020, 11(5), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050251 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Recent work in analytic philosophy of religion has seen increased interest in nontheistic, but still non-naturalist (indeed, broadly religious) worldview options. J.L. Schellenberg’s Ultimism has been among the most prominent of these. Another interesting option that has yet to receive much attention is [...] Read more.
Recent work in analytic philosophy of religion has seen increased interest in nontheistic, but still non-naturalist (indeed, broadly religious) worldview options. J.L. Schellenberg’s Ultimism has been among the most prominent of these. Another interesting option that has yet to receive much attention is the Theophanism advocated by the Neoplatonism scholar Eric Perl. In this paper, I summarize Perl’s theophanism (which he describes as being neither theistic nor atheistic) and assess it on two fronts: (a) whether it might be an acceptable philosophical option for agnostics, specifically, and (b) to what extent it is independently defensible philosophically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agnosticism)
Open AccessArticle
“One Knows the Tree by the Fruit That It Bears:” Mircea Eliade’s Influence on Current Far-Right Ideology
Religions 2020, 11(5), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050250 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 1391
Abstract
Since the notorious Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, the alt-right has surged into prominence as the most visible expression of right-wing extremism. While most analysts have focused on the political aspect of the movement, my article will explore the spiritual [...] Read more.
Since the notorious Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, the alt-right has surged into prominence as the most visible expression of right-wing extremism. While most analysts have focused on the political aspect of the movement, my article will explore the spiritual and religious roots and connections of the movement. In particular, I will focus on how Mircea Eliade, one of the most prominent figures in the academic study of the history of religion in the late 20th century, is viewed by many current extreme right thinkers. Drawing on the writings of some of the leading theoreticians and inspirations of the alt-right such as Julius Evola, Alain de Benoist, Aleksandr Dugin and Richard Spencer, as well as the prominent extreme right publishing houses, Arktos and Counter-Currents, I will show how Eliade’s extremely controversial and problematic past is seen as an intellectual and even spiritual source for these leading figures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Return of Religious Antisemitism?)
Open AccessArticle
People of Color, People of Faith: The Effect of Social Capital and Religion on the Political Participation of Marginalized Communities
Religions 2020, 11(5), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050249 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 511
Abstract
U.S. immigration policy over the last 100 years has changed the onus of political acculturation from public programs to private groups like churches. After this significant policy change, how do religion, social capital, and nativity intersect in the political mobilization of racial minorities? [...] Read more.
U.S. immigration policy over the last 100 years has changed the onus of political acculturation from public programs to private groups like churches. After this significant policy change, how do religion, social capital, and nativity intersect in the political mobilization of racial minorities? Furthermore, after the 1965 Hart-Celler Act, the country of origin of immigrants shifted from European countries to Latin America and Asia. Scholars have theorized that churches play a pivotal role in the socialization of immigrants by providing a place of belonging and a community willing to teach newcomers about the goings-on of American political society. How have these acculturation policies worked under new immigration populations? Previous scholarly work has connected social capital with churches, though their relationship to political participation has been minimal. We hypothesize that social capital and religious tradition have a multiplicative effect on the participation rates of believers, but that race mitigates that effect. The positioning of racial groups in broader society impacts the significance and role of churches within these communities. We use Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) 2016 data to examine the connection between social capital, religion, and political behavior in a novel attempt to systematically identify the unique role of churches in the mobilization of racial minority communities. We use these results to suggest that the current policies of privatizing political acculturation have had less success with more recent waves of immigrants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion’s Role in Contemporary Public Policy Controversies)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Monastic Form-of-Life Out of Place: Ritual Practices among Benedictine Oblates
Religions 2020, 11(5), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050248 - 18 May 2020
Viewed by 793
Abstract
Although ritual participation in Christian churches is decreasing in the Netherlands, one of the most secularised countries in the world, monasteries are increasingly attractive to people not committed to a life in an abbey, but who rather transfer monastic practices to their personal [...] Read more.
Although ritual participation in Christian churches is decreasing in the Netherlands, one of the most secularised countries in the world, monasteries are increasingly attractive to people not committed to a life in an abbey, but who rather transfer monastic practices to their personal life. Guesthouses are full, reading groups conduct meditative reading, and monastic time management is applied in professional arenas. Obviously, the ritual practices conducted beyond abbey walls have a different character than the ritual repertoire of monks and nuns. The ritual transfer is a challenge, as monasteries are secluded spaces, separated from the world. In its history, monasticism has turned out to be especially capable of this process. What does the transfer from one context to the other imply when people ritualise prayer, reading and everyday practices without being monastic? A specific group of people who conduct this transfer intensively are Benedictine oblates, laypersons affiliated to a particular monastery. This article addresses the following main question: which monastic ritual practices do Benedictine oblates in the Netherlands perform, and how do they transfer these to their personal context? To explore this question, the results of a qualitative research among 53 respondents are presented—oblates of three Benedictine abbeys in the Netherlands. The results demonstrate experiences on a new ritual field, with practices that seem to be ‘out of place’ but are highly vivid to the practitioners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Ritual Fields Today)
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Open AccessArticle
The Dialectical of Life and Death in Contemporary Sōka Gakkai
Religions 2020, 11(5), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050247 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 898
Abstract
Doctrinal reasoning, the practice of chanting nam-myōho-renge-kyō and its vision for kōsen-rufu has been how Sōka Gakkai (SG) promulgated Nichiren Buddhism. This paper explores, in an in-depth anthropological manner, how doctrinal issues matter significantly in the meaning of funeral practices in contemporary SG. [...] Read more.
Doctrinal reasoning, the practice of chanting nam-myōho-renge-kyō and its vision for kōsen-rufu has been how Sōka Gakkai (SG) promulgated Nichiren Buddhism. This paper explores, in an in-depth anthropological manner, how doctrinal issues matter significantly in the meaning of funeral practices in contemporary SG. So-called Friend Funerals have become widely common and demonstrate how SG members’ understanding of death and mortuary rites differ in some significant ways from common practices in Japan. To understand why specific funeral rituals are not in and of themselves considered of primary importance when a person dies in SG, this paper discusses its reading of key tenants of Nichiren Buddhism. What hotoke or buddha means is commonly seen in Japan as something achieved upon death facilitated by specific funeral rites. How such views fundamentally differ in SG is explored here based on long-term fieldwork and participant observation, as well as interviews and review of its doctrine. The research suggests that SG members engage in a cross-generational endeavour for kōsen-rufu where personal actions—what could be described as the ‘political’ existence of this life—matters but in a non-dualistic way as this simultaneously becomes the sphere that ‘transcends’ that contemporary existence. How one views death is not only seen as something relevant at the end of life, nor only to those remaining, but is taken as a reality that becomes the impetus for giving deeper meaning to how one acts in daily life as part of a cross-generational movement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Funerary Traditions of East Asian New Religious Movements)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Polish Nationwide Catholic Opinion-Forming Weeklies on Facebook—A Marketing Perspective
Religions 2020, 11(5), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050246 - 15 May 2020
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Abstract
The main focus of this paper is on the marketing approach of the use of Facebook by the Polish nationwide Catholic opinion-forming weeklies. The aim of the research is to analyse how the selected media use Facebook (FB) to create a media product, [...] Read more.
The main focus of this paper is on the marketing approach of the use of Facebook by the Polish nationwide Catholic opinion-forming weeklies. The aim of the research is to analyse how the selected media use Facebook (FB) to create a media product, distribute, price and communicate its content (including self-promotional activities). The Facebook profiles of five weeklies were analysed: Gość Niedzielny, Niedziela, Przewodnik Katolicki, Idziemy and Tygodnik Rodzin Katolickich Źródło. Three research methods were chosen: literature review on marketing use of Facebook by traditional media, the case study and the content analysis (quantitative, qualitative and comparative). The most important results show that the use of the social media platform Facebook by the Catholic weeklies in Poland is limited to supplementing the main communication channel, which is the printed weekly and its website. The studied media treat Facebook as a marketing tool, favouring this function over the potential apologetic or evangelising ones, but at the same time none of the magazines fully exploit Facebook’s potential offered by its systemic and functional features. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Ritual Treatment of Fortunate and Unfortunate Dead by the Chinese Redemptive Society Déjiāo in Thailand
Religions 2020, 11(5), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050245 - 15 May 2020
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Abstract
This paper compares the ritual management of fortunate and unfortunate dead (hungry ghosts) by a Chinese new religious movement named Déjiāo 徳教 (lit. Teaching of Virtue), which emerged in Chaozhou (the northeast of Guangdong province) in 1939, before spreading to Southeast Asia after [...] Read more.
This paper compares the ritual management of fortunate and unfortunate dead (hungry ghosts) by a Chinese new religious movement named Déjiāo 徳教 (lit. Teaching of Virtue), which emerged in Chaozhou (the northeast of Guangdong province) in 1939, before spreading to Southeast Asia after World War II. Based on ethnographic data collected in Chaozhou and Thailand between 1993 and 2005, the analysis reveals significant differences concerning both the ideological and performative aspects of the ritual processing of the two categories of dead. The funeral care of orphaned dead by Déjiāo conforms to the Chaozhou tradition of xiū gūgú 修孤骨, a festival of second burial allegedly devised during the Song dynasty by a local Buddhist monk; most of his sequences require the activity of mediums. Turned toward the salvation of the unfortunate dead, this festival was enriched by a universalist ambition through its adaptation to the Thai context. In doing so, it perfectly expresses the moral and religious goals of Déjiāo, one of the most active Chinese redemptive societies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Funerary Traditions of East Asian New Religious Movements)
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Open AccessArticle
Reimagining Anger in Christian Traditions: Anger as a Moral Virtue for the Flourishing of the Oppressed in Political Resistance
Religions 2020, 11(5), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050244 - 14 May 2020
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Abstract
This paper aims to reimagine anger, which has been traditionally understood as one of the capital vices in Christian traditions, as a moral virtue of the oppressed in their resistance against structural injustice. This essay first examines the contemporary discussions on anger in [...] Read more.
This paper aims to reimagine anger, which has been traditionally understood as one of the capital vices in Christian traditions, as a moral virtue of the oppressed in their resistance against structural injustice. This essay first examines the contemporary discussions on anger in the field of Christian ethics. Then, I critically evaluate Lisa Tessman’s account of “burdened virtues” and argue for a possibility that anger can be constructive in contributing to the flourishing of the oppressed. This paper argues that the oppressed can transform burdened anger into thriving anger that is conducive to their own flourishing through the communal bearing of the burden. This paper provides empirical support for this argument: a comparative analysis of a suicide protest of a college student and life-affirming protest of the mothers and wives of political victims against the totalitarian regime of Park Chung-hee in South Korea, 1970–1979. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Revolutionary Hope in Dark Times: Zizek on Faith in the Future
Religions 2020, 11(5), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050243 - 13 May 2020
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Abstract
In this article, I interpret Zizek’s recent call to “abandon hope” and embrace the “courage of hopelessness,” as a provocation to articulate a new kind of utopia, rather than an endorsement of despair. On Zizek’s analysis, progressive hopes are currently directed towards fixing [...] Read more.
In this article, I interpret Zizek’s recent call to “abandon hope” and embrace the “courage of hopelessness,” as a provocation to articulate a new kind of utopia, rather than an endorsement of despair. On Zizek’s analysis, progressive hopes are currently directed towards fixing the existing situation, rather than accepting that the things that we hope will not happen are, in fact, about to happen—unless individuals, at last, summon the political resolution to act decisively. In a context of the “privatisation of hope,” however, where social despair has already been weaponised by the alt-Right, it is crucial to grasp Zizek’s intervention not as the expression of a tragic existential attitude of resignation to disaster, but as an effort to articulate the formal coordinates of a radical alternative. I interpret Zizek’s commentary, in the context of his overall theory of ideology, as an effort to articulate the “hope of the hopeless,” involving a kind of faith (in the future) without belief (in miracles), which requires the formulation of a new social principle that does not rely on the deceptive promise of a guaranteed positive outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hope in Dark Times)
Open AccessEditorial
Introductory Thoughts about Peace, Politics and Religion
Religions 2020, 11(5), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050242 - 13 May 2020
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Abstract
Recent years have seen a growing literature on the interactions between peace, politics and religion, including their diverse and often complex relationships. Underpinning this literature is an increase, more generally, in scholarly and policy interest in connections between religion and politics. The context [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen a growing literature on the interactions between peace, politics and religion, including their diverse and often complex relationships. Underpinning this literature is an increase, more generally, in scholarly and policy interest in connections between religion and politics. The context is that over the last three decades, religion has made a remarkable return to prominence in various academic literatures, including sociology, political science and international relations. This was a surprise to many social scientists and confounded the expectations of both secularization theorists and secularists. In addition, religion retained a strong, some say growing, significance as a core source of identity for billions of people around the world. Numerous religious leaders and faith-based organizations are important carriers and focal points of religious ideas, playing an important role in many countries, both developed and developing, as well as internationally, including at the United Nations and to a lesser, although still notable extent, in the European Union and other regional organizations. This introductory article examines interactions between religious entities in relation to peace and conflict and sets the scene for the articles comprising this volume. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Peace, Politics, and Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Identity, Social Mobility, and Trauma: Post-Conflict Educational Realities for Survivors of the Rohingya Genocide
Religions 2020, 11(5), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050241 - 12 May 2020
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Abstract
The Rohingya refugee crisis is a humanitarian disaster with over 740,000 Rohingya leaving their homes in Rakhine State, Myanmar, since August 2017. In the process of this mass exodus, thousands have been brutally murdered and terrorized through a campaign of physical attacks by [...] Read more.
The Rohingya refugee crisis is a humanitarian disaster with over 740,000 Rohingya leaving their homes in Rakhine State, Myanmar, since August 2017. In the process of this mass exodus, thousands have been brutally murdered and terrorized through a campaign of physical attacks by the Myanmar state including murder, beatings and mutilations; mass gang rape and sexual slavery of women and girls; and the burning of entire villages. The victims have been men, women, and children who were targeted because they belonged to a Muslim minority ethnic group. The crisis has been recognized as genocide by officials from several countries including Canada, France, Gambia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, and Turkey. Furthermore, a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Myanmar to take all necessary measures to prevent the genocide of the Rohingya. The genocide of the Rohingya has resulted in a massive number of refugees fleeing to Bangladesh, with 1.1 million of an estimated 2.4 million Rohingya across the world currently encamped there. This crisis has led to questions about how the basic needs of these refugees are being met and if there is any possibility for a life beyond the refugee camps through educational programming. This study explores the educational realities of Rohingya refugees through a process of open-ended and semi-structured interviews of aid workers and educators working in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. Through examining the educational programming in these camps, this article aims to better understand the educational opportunities for social mobility, identity preservation, and the availability of religious instruction to the Rohingya. The findings of this study suggest that religious instruction centers may serve to improve gender- based educational gaps for adolescent Rohingya women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Critical Perspectives on Islamic Education)
Open AccessEditorial
Epilogue: Luther’s Theology and Feminism
Religions 2020, 11(5), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050240 - 12 May 2020
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Abstract
‘Critically’ and ‘compassionately’—these are key words for engaging Luther and feminist scholarship in the same space.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Luther’s theology and Feminism)
Open AccessArticle
Religion and Social Media: Communication Strategies by the Spanish Episcopal Conference
Religions 2020, 11(5), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050239 - 12 May 2020
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Abstract
Over the past few years, we have seen significant changes in religious values and practices. This article describes and analyzes communication strategies carried out by the Spanish Episcopal Conference—i.e., Conferencia Episcopal Española (CEE)—through social media. For this, we have followed up the conference’s [...] Read more.
Over the past few years, we have seen significant changes in religious values and practices. This article describes and analyzes communication strategies carried out by the Spanish Episcopal Conference—i.e., Conferencia Episcopal Española (CEE)—through social media. For this, we have followed up the conference’s activity on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for the last three years. Along with the evolution of followers, we identify and assess the messages that have received the majority of likes and the content that has generated the most controversy. At the same time, a comparison has been made between activity in the media in which the above-mentioned institution participates in Spain and the rest of the Episcopal Conferences in Latin America. Results allow us to obtain a diachronic vision of the CEE strategies on social media in order to generate a strong virtual community and on how it tries to connect with the thoughts and feelings of followers. In conclusion, it can be confirmed that social media is one of the most enthusiastic and outstanding platforms for Catholics to demonstrate their commitment to their Church, by which they form a common space to share and celebrate their vision of the world. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Toward a Theology of the Imagination with S.T. Coleridge, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien
Religions 2020, 11(5), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050238 - 12 May 2020
Viewed by 547
Abstract
While many authors continue to use terms like Christian Imagination or Sacramental Imagination, few seek to define what the term imagination means. In this paper, the author presents his findings based on a close reading of S.T. Coleridge, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. [...] Read more.
While many authors continue to use terms like Christian Imagination or Sacramental Imagination, few seek to define what the term imagination means. In this paper, the author presents his findings based on a close reading of S.T. Coleridge, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Rather than relying either on the definition of imagination as the ability to hold images in one’s head, or the definition by which is meant creativity, this paper puts forward a synthesis of the positions of the three authors listed above. In the end, this paper concludes that the imagination is inherently connected to the divine act of Creation, which aids in clearing away the lenses of sin and familiarity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology, Arts, and Moral Formation)
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