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Religions, Volume 11, Issue 6 (June 2020) – 49 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The paper introduces the artistic and healing work of Peter Armstrand, a Swedish Sámi shaman and [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Alfred Russel Wallace’s Intelligent Evolution and Natural Theology
Religions 2020, 11(6), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060316 - 26 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Alfred Russel Wallace’s conception of evolution and its relation to natural theology is examined. That conception is described as intelligent evolution—directed, detectably designed, and purposeful common descent. This essay extends discussion of the forces and influences behind Wallace’s journey from the acknowledged [...] Read more.
Alfred Russel Wallace’s conception of evolution and its relation to natural theology is examined. That conception is described as intelligent evolution—directed, detectably designed, and purposeful common descent. This essay extends discussion of the forces and influences behind Wallace’s journey from the acknowledged co-discoverer of natural selection, to include his much lesser known position within the larger history of natural theology. It will do so by contextualizing it with an analysis of Darwin’s metaphysical commitments identified as undogmatic atheism. In this sense, David Kohn’s thesis that Darwin was the “last of the natural theologians” is revised to suggest that Wallace deserves to be included within the larger context of the British natural theologians in a surprisingly Paleyan tradition. As such, an important object of this essay is to clear away the historical fog that has surrounded this aspect of Wallace. That “fog” is composed of various formal historical fallacies that will be outlined in the penultimate section. Once described, explained, and corrected, Wallace becomes an enduring figure in carrying the British tradition of natural theology into the twentieth century and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christianity and Science: Fresh Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Supernatural Priming on Cheating Behaviour
Religions 2020, 11(6), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060315 - 26 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Research has shown that the mental activation of concepts related to supernatural agents (e.g., God, ghost) is capable of altering one’s moral behaviours. Based on the supernatural monitoring hypothesis, two experiments were conducted to investigate the impact of priming on cheating behaviour using [...] Read more.
Research has shown that the mental activation of concepts related to supernatural agents (e.g., God, ghost) is capable of altering one’s moral behaviours. Based on the supernatural monitoring hypothesis, two experiments were conducted to investigate the impact of priming on cheating behaviour using undergraduate participants from Singapore. The results of the first experiment showed that participants who were primed with the concepts of God and ghost via a word-scramble task cheated less in a mathematical task than participants exposed to neutral primes. The second experiment showed that the activation of God and ghost concepts via a supraliminal priming method reduced the participants’ cheating in a riddle game, even when the participants were informed that they would be rewarded monetarily for correctly answering the riddles. The results suggested that the mental activation of supernatural agents could reduce cheating behaviour regardless of the presence or absence of explicit belief in supernatural agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Psychology of Eastern Religions)
Open AccessArticle
Body, Soul, and Spirit: An Explorative Qualitative Study of Anthroposophic Meditation and Spiritual Practice
Religions 2020, 11(6), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060314 - 26 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This article presents the results of a qualitative study of Anthroposophic meditation, which arose in the German-speaking world in the early 20th Century focusing on cognition, self-development, and pro-social action. The objective was to explore this previously unstudied form of meditation. The current [...] Read more.
This article presents the results of a qualitative study of Anthroposophic meditation, which arose in the German-speaking world in the early 20th Century focusing on cognition, self-development, and pro-social action. The objective was to explore this previously unstudied form of meditation. The current sample (N = 30) consists of long-term practitioners of Anthroposophic meditation. Semi-structured interviews, focusing on demographics, background, and phenomenology and interpretation, were conducted with these practitioners. The material gathered was investigated using thematic analysis. Seven main themes were found: Self, cognition, perception, affect, sleep, embodiment, and environment, and, among these, 32 subthemes. Potential avenues for further research are outlined. Some of these overlap with current approaches to meditation while others represent new areas of inquiry: Personal development with a focus on strengthening the self, introspection or contemplative inquiry, sensed presences, the experience of phenomenological atmospheres, consciousness in the sleep state, embodied aspects of meditation experience, the relationship between practice and daily life, and meditation challenges. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Youth Ministry after the Synod on Young People—Ten Points of No Return
Religions 2020, 11(6), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060313 - 25 Jun 2020
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Abstract
From October 2016 to March 2019, the Catholic Church engaged in a lengthy journey together with young people. Over these two and a half years, some important documents were produced, including the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit by Pope Francis. The Synod on [...] Read more.
From October 2016 to March 2019, the Catholic Church engaged in a lengthy journey together with young people. Over these two and a half years, some important documents were produced, including the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit by Pope Francis. The Synod on Youth has involved the entire Catholic Church, mobilizing all Church communities around the world. After explaining the identity and meaning of a Synod for the Catholic Church, the author offers ten points of no return, which are to be considered the main fruits of this journey. They are leaven for the renewal of youth ministry in the Catholic context and elements for further exploration, comparison and dialogue with other Christian denominations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholic Youth & Young Adult Ministry)
Open AccessArticle
Melancholy, Narcissism and Hope in Truth
Religions 2020, 11(6), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060312 - 24 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The fate of a ‘correlational’ approach to truth, which defines contemporary epistemological theories of knowledge, is described as inescapable by Quentin Meillasoux. If Meillasoux is right, then we are far from being able to hope in truth, if we are to follow the [...] Read more.
The fate of a ‘correlational’ approach to truth, which defines contemporary epistemological theories of knowledge, is described as inescapable by Quentin Meillasoux. If Meillasoux is right, then we are far from being able to hope in truth, if we are to follow the philosopher, Andrea Bellantone’s identification of correlation with narcissism and melancholia in La métaphysique possible. In order to understand correlation as narcissism and melancholy, one needs to reconsider the ineluctability of a metaphysical perspective, which pivots around the ultimacy of both being or reality, and the disclosive power of mind. According to Bellantone, human existence is faced with the overwhelming, superabundant and inexhaustible circumstance of being and its multiplicity. In the face of this multiple donation, one cannot avoid offering a joyous response, an appropriate counter-gift. As to what this gift is to be, this depends upon one’s intuitive and interpretative understanding of the import of being as such. Although this question is unanswerable, one cannot avoid it. Even a single being presents a saturated presence to one: a stone does not disclose all of itself, or all of its infinitely ramifying connections with other entities. A metaphysical answer to reality, a certain ‘taking’ of the real, even though one must ceaselessly modify this taking, is unavoidable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hope in Dark Times)
Open AccessEditorial
Claiming the Term “Liberal” in Academic Religious Discourse
Religions 2020, 11(6), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060311 - 24 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The three papers which follow were originally presented at the triennial Unitarian Universalist Convocation in 2016, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society and Collegium, an Association for Liberal Religious Studies [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unitarian Universalism and Religious Liberalism)
Open AccessArticle
The Female Line in the Bible. Ratzinger’s Deepening of the Church’s Understanding of Tradition and Mary
Religions 2020, 11(6), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060310 - 23 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This paper explores the female line in the Bible that Joseph Ratzinger identifies as running in parallel to, and being indispensable for, the male line in the Bible. This female line expands the understanding of Salvation History as described by Dei Verbum so [...] Read more.
This paper explores the female line in the Bible that Joseph Ratzinger identifies as running in parallel to, and being indispensable for, the male line in the Bible. This female line expands the understanding of Salvation History as described by Dei Verbum so that it runs not just from Adam through to Jesus, but also from Adam and Eve to Mary and Jesus, the final Adam. Ratzinger’s female line demonstrates that women are at the heart of God’s plan for humanity. I illustrate that this line is evident when Ratzinger’s method of biblical interpretation is applied to the women of Scripture. Its full potential comes into view through Ratzinger’s development of the Christian notion of person: Person as revealed by Jesus Christ is relatedness without reserve with God and is fully applicable to the human being through Christ. I argue that together, the male and female lines in the Bible form the human line in the Bible, in which the male line represents “the humanity”, every human being, while the female line represents the communal aspect of humanity. Moreover, I contend that Christianity’s notion of mother in relation to God (as Father, Son and Holy Spirit) should be understood through Mary’s response at the Annunciation. Mother in relation to God is to be understood through the Incarnation when Mary, as person, lived her life wholly in relation with and for God. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
Open AccessArticle
Academization of Pious Learning: A Student’s Quest in Religious Education
Religions 2020, 11(6), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060309 - 23 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This paper focuses on the move towards “academization” of Islamic religious education in private institutes belonging to the reform movement in Brussels. An attempt is made to think through this move in terms of the sacred knowledge concerned, and the alleged implications for [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the move towards “academization” of Islamic religious education in private institutes belonging to the reform movement in Brussels. An attempt is made to think through this move in terms of the sacred knowledge concerned, and the alleged implications for teachers and students of Islam. Some of the crucial elements that go with this shift are the aspiration for “distantiation” in teaching and knowing aspects of internal diversity, as well as the aspired changes in the professor–student (instead of shaykh–disciple) relationship. By focusing on ethnographic examples, the aim is to contribute to our understanding of the importance of the internal debates instigated by an attempt towards academization, the search for coherence that goes with it, its repercussions on people’s daily life and personal sensibilities, as well as on Islamic expert authority formation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Implementing “Link Nurses” as Spiritual Care Support in a General Hospital
Religions 2020, 11(6), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060308 - 23 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Background: spiritual care by nurses may be omitted from clinical practice when not structurally embedded in daily professional care routines. Method: a mixed method study was designed to measure qualitative and quantitative outcomes of a “link nurse” as a spiritual care resource (LNSC). [...] Read more.
Background: spiritual care by nurses may be omitted from clinical practice when not structurally embedded in daily professional care routines. Method: a mixed method study was designed to measure qualitative and quantitative outcomes of a “link nurse” as a spiritual care resource (LNSC). Data were gathered from nurses (n = 123–86), link nurses (n = 15–18) and patients (n = 131–122) before and after an implementation and education project among (link) nurses. Results: findings show a self-reported increase of competency in providing spiritual care, especially assessment, counseling and referral in nurses, and referral in link nurses. In interviews afterwards, link nurses (n = 10) and nurses (n = 8) indicated more confidence in providing spiritual care. Patients reported high satisfaction with spiritual care by nurses, although differences in satisfaction between measurements before and after the project could not be demonstrated. Referral frequency to chaplaincy increased during the project. Conclusion(s): nurses may be willing to include spiritual care and collaboration as part of their professional role when support is provided by the hospital leadership. Education and practice development in spiritual care are supported by the implementation of link nurses, while the hospital’s leadership needs to take its responsibility to provide preconditions. Intervention evaluation suggested that the wider context of professional practice, collaboration, and organization needs to be addressed as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Healthcare—Multidisciplinary Approach)
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Open AccessArticle
Hagiography as Source: Gender and Conversion Narratives in The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church
Religions 2020, 11(6), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060307 - 23 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Drawing on the work of Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, this essay proposes utilizing hagiographies from the The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church, a fifteenth-century Ethiopian collection of saints’ lives, to explore various aspects of conversion. Other scholars employ a similar [...] Read more.
Drawing on the work of Jeanne-Nicole Mellon Saint-Laurent, this essay proposes utilizing hagiographies from the The Book of the Saints of the Ethiopian Church, a fifteenth-century Ethiopian collection of saints’ lives, to explore various aspects of conversion. Other scholars employ a similar approach when analyzing hagiographical literature found in medieval Europe. While acknowledging that these texts do not provide details about the historical experience of conversion, they can assist scholars in understanding the conception of conversion in the imagination of the culture that created them. This essay specifically focuses on the role of women in conversion throughout the text and argues that, although men and women were almost equally represented as agents of conversion, a closer examination reveals that their participation remained gendered. Women more frequently converted someone with whom they had a prior relationship, especially a member of their familial network. Significantly, these observations mirror the patterns uncovered by contemporary scholars such as Dana Robert, who notes how women contributed to the spread of Christianity primarily through human relationships. By integrating these representations of conversion from late medieval Ethiopia, scholarship will gain a more robust picture of conversion in Africa more broadly and widen its understanding of world Christianity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conversion in Africa)
Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to the Special Issue: Religion, Power, and Resistance: New Ideas for a Divided World
Religions 2020, 11(6), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060306 - 23 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The world is currently gripped by pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Power, and Resistance: New Ideas for a Divided World)
Open AccessArticle
The Creation of the Devil and the End of the White Man’s Rule: The Theological Influence of the Nation of Islam on Early Black Theology
Religions 2020, 11(6), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060305 - 22 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This article examines the emergence of the Black Theology movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the context of the religiously diverse milieu of Black political movements during the same period. In particular, the theology of the Nation of Islam was [...] Read more.
This article examines the emergence of the Black Theology movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the context of the religiously diverse milieu of Black political movements during the same period. In particular, the theology of the Nation of Islam was widely understood by contemporary commentators as a major source of the confrontational rhetoric and tactics of the Black Power movement. Drawing upon the writings of the radical Black nationalist minister Albert B. Cleage, Jr., this article examines the importance of what Cleage termed the Nation of Islam’s “Black cultural mythology” in providing the possibility of a break in identification with white Christianity. In particular, it traces the influence of the Nation of Islam’s proclamation of God’s imminent apocalyptic destruction of white America on the theology of James H. Cone and Cleage. In doing so, this article argues for the importance of examining questions of racial and religious difference in American history alongside one another. It was precisely through creative appropriation of a non-Christian framework of biblical interpretation, rooted in faith in God’s complete identification with Black humanity and the consequent imminent judgment of white America, that early (Christian) Black Theologians were able to retain their Christian identity and sever its entanglement with white supremacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Racism and Religious Diversity in the United States)
Open AccessArticle
Religion, Creative Practice and Aestheticisation in Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files
Religions 2020, 11(6), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060304 - 22 Jun 2020
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Abstract
In 2018, Nick Cave launched The Red Hand Files website, where fans ask personal questions and the artist responds. This ongoing dialogue presents a unique iteration of religious visibility at the nexus of religion and the arts. Here, Cave articulates his personal religiosity [...] Read more.
In 2018, Nick Cave launched The Red Hand Files website, where fans ask personal questions and the artist responds. This ongoing dialogue presents a unique iteration of religious visibility at the nexus of religion and the arts. Here, Cave articulates his personal religiosity in the wake of his son’s death, detailing the role of creative practice, performance and communication. Cave’s personal spirituality engages processes of aestheticisation that awaken experiences of inspiration and mystery. The epistemological orientation of alternative spirituality that values encounters with the ineffable and seeks to be free from static beliefs had previously found its antithesis in organised religion, but more recently, the fervent dogmatism of political correctness has applied its own pressure. As an example of religious aestheticisation within the tradition of alternative spirituality, The Red Hand Files exhibits the continued salience of this worldview despite the countervailing influence of politically correct culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Visibility of Religion and Its Impact)
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Religion and National Origin on Attitudes towards Refugee Rights: An International Comparative Empirical Study
Religions 2020, 11(6), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060303 - 22 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This paper is concerned with the rights of refugees. The refugee issue has been an acutely charged item on the political agenda for several years. Although the great waves of influx have flattened out, people are continually venturing into Europe. Europe’s handling of [...] Read more.
This paper is concerned with the rights of refugees. The refugee issue has been an acutely charged item on the political agenda for several years. Although the great waves of influx have flattened out, people are continually venturing into Europe. Europe’s handling of refugees has been subject to strong criticism, and the accusation that various actions contradict internationally agreed law is particularly serious. It remains a question of how to respond appropriately to the influx of people fearing for their lives. This paper examines empirically how young people from different denominations in Germany (n = 2022) and how Roman Catholics from 10 countries (n = 5363) evaluate refugee rights. It also investigates whether individual religiosity moderates the influence of denomination or national context. The results show that there are no significant differences between respondents from different denominations, but there are significant differences between respondents from different countries. However, religiosity was not found to moderate the influence of denomination or national context. These findings suggest that attitudes towards refugee rights depend more on the national context in which people live rather than on their religious affiliation or individual religiosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
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Open AccessArticle
Meaning Agnosticism and Pragmatism
Religions 2020, 11(6), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060302 - 22 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This paper proposes to reconsider agnosticism by taking a step onto a meta-level, investigating agnosticism not as an epistemic stance regarding the choice between theism and atheism, but as a stance toward the question concerning the cognitive meaningfulness and/or truth-aptness of religious discourse. [...] Read more.
This paper proposes to reconsider agnosticism by taking a step onto a meta-level, investigating agnosticism not as an epistemic stance regarding the choice between theism and atheism, but as a stance toward the question concerning the cognitive meaningfulness and/or truth-aptness of religious discourse. It is argued that this “meta-level” meaning agnosticism may actually be an attractive articulation of a certain kind of religious attitude. While pragmatists like William James have claimed that (epistemic) agnosticism practically collapses into atheism, meaning agnosticism at the meta-level can in fact be a pragmatist position focusing on our human condition and its limits. Additional issues, such as the relations between agnosticism and the theodicism vs. antitheodicism debate regarding the problem of evil and suffering, are also briefly examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agnosticism)
Open AccessArticle
Hostility toward Gender in Catholic and Political Right-Wing Movements
Religions 2020, 11(6), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060301 - 21 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Starting with a speech by Theodor Adorno, the essay analyzes some thematic parallels between political and religious populism regarding the view on gender and feminism. In both certain traditional Catholic circles and right-wing political parties, an explicit hostility toward gender can be observed. [...] Read more.
Starting with a speech by Theodor Adorno, the essay analyzes some thematic parallels between political and religious populism regarding the view on gender and feminism. In both certain traditional Catholic circles and right-wing political parties, an explicit hostility toward gender can be observed. In this article, this resentment is discussed in three aspects: the defense of a traditional image of the family, the instrumentalization of women’s rights against “the Islam”, and, generally, the propaganda of anti-feminism or anti-genderism. Moreover, the text considers the fact that in spite of anti-feminist positions, many women are part of these movements, sometimes even as leaders. The text will prove that this is only a superficial contradiction. The right-wing populist groups—both secular and religious—promise to reduce the potential threat to modern societies while “preserving” the traditional order. The coalitions between them run along the lines of the “values” represented, including anti-feminism and anti-genderism. The danger that these “alliances” pose to a liberal society must not be underestimated by the religious and secular actors who value and protect ambiguity and diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Visibility of Religion and Its Impact)
Open AccessArticle
Ecce Homo—Behold the Human! Reading Life-Narratives in Times of Colonial Modernity
Religions 2020, 11(6), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060300 - 19 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The essay explores Bankimchandra Chatterjee’s Krishnacaritra—published in 1886—the life of a humanised god, as engaged in cross cultural dialogues with John Robert Seeley’s Ecce Homo, Natural Religion, and The Expansion of England in particular, and the broader European tendency of [...] Read more.
The essay explores Bankimchandra Chatterjee’s Krishnacaritra—published in 1886—the life of a humanised god, as engaged in cross cultural dialogues with John Robert Seeley’s Ecce Homo, Natural Religion, and The Expansion of England in particular, and the broader European tendency of naturalising religions in general. It contends that the rise of historicised life writing genres in Europe was organically related to the demythologised, verifiable god-lives writing project. Bankimchandra’s Krishnacarita is embedded within a dense matrix of nineteenth century Indian secular life writing projects and its projection of Krishna as a cultural icon within an incipient nationalist imagining. The essay while exploring such fraught writing projects in Victorian England and nineteenth century colonial Bengal, concludes that ‘secularism’ arrives as not as religion’s Other but as its camouflaging in ethico-cultural guise. Secularism rides on the backs of such demystified god life narratives to rationalise ethico-culturally informed global empires. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Ham Sok Hon, a Pioneer of Korean Cosmopolitanism
Religions 2020, 11(6), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060299 - 19 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This paper discusses an aspect of Ham Sok Hon’s philosophy, which the author argues would reflect, and contribute to enriching, the theory of cosmopolitanism. Ham was arguably one of the 20th century’s most influential, yet controversial, thinkers and political activists—particularly in the progressive [...] Read more.
This paper discusses an aspect of Ham Sok Hon’s philosophy, which the author argues would reflect, and contribute to enriching, the theory of cosmopolitanism. Ham was arguably one of the 20th century’s most influential, yet controversial, thinkers and political activists—particularly in the progressive movement of modern Korea. The author revisits his philosophy of ssial/saengmyŏng to find a more persuasive metaphysical ground to draw an enlarged and deepened sense of community than that of dominant cosmopolitan theories. To properly place his philosophy within the larger discussion of cosmopolitanism and highlight its uniqueness, the author presents a brief overview of major cosmopolitan theories first, along with their shortcomings, and then constructs Ham’s cosmopolitan vision by focusing on three specific insights: (1) ssial/saengmyŏng (씨알/生命, life) as the agent, (2) religion and politics for ipch’ejŏk in’gan (立體的人間 the multi-dimensional human), and (3) narrative and memory as the driving force of cosmopolitanism. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Strong and Weak Teleology in the Life Sciences Post-Darwin
Religions 2020, 11(6), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060298 - 18 Jun 2020
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Abstract
It is often assumed that direction and purpose in nature—teleology—is a dead relic of the past, a result of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) and Descent of Man (1871). But teleology has had a long and complex relationship with science. This paper [...] Read more.
It is often assumed that direction and purpose in nature—teleology—is a dead relic of the past, a result of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) and Descent of Man (1871). But teleology has had a long and complex relationship with science. This paper will trace its general history with an emphasis upon the life sciences, especially biology. Particularly important is the fact that all teleology is not equal; strong (transcendent) teleology (designated Ts) should be distinguished from weak (purely descriptive and utilitarian) teleology (designated Tw). A working definition of teleology in its most meaningful aspects is then given. The challenges that Darwinism faced in dealing with purpose in nature are discussed, as is their proposed solution in the evolutionary synthesis, and the persistence of Ts following that synthesis is outlined and critiqued. Evidence of Ts persistence in the life sciences is presented with several relevant examples, and strong teleology is further differentiated by specific (Ts+) and nonspecific (Ts−) varieties. This essay concludes that Ts remains an ongoing and integral part of the life sciences and will likely remain so, even though it may be true but not verifiable empirically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christianity and Science: Fresh Perspectives)
Open AccessArticle
Buddhist Modernism Underway in Bhutan: Gross National Happiness and Buddhist Political Theory
Religions 2020, 11(6), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060297 - 17 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This article synthesizes and clarifies the significance of the last half-century’s developments in Bhutan’s politics within the frame of Buddhist political thought. During this time, Bhutan has held a curious position in the international community, both celebrated as a Buddhist Shangri-La defending its [...] Read more.
This article synthesizes and clarifies the significance of the last half-century’s developments in Bhutan’s politics within the frame of Buddhist political thought. During this time, Bhutan has held a curious position in the international community, both celebrated as a Buddhist Shangri-La defending its culture in the face of globalized modernity, and at times, criticized for defending its heritage too conservatively at the expense of ethnic minorities’ human rights. In other words, Bhutan is praised for being anti-modern and illiberal and denounced for being anti-modern and illiberal. As an alternative to understanding Bhutan vis-à-vis this unhelpful schema, and in order to better grasp what exactly is underway in Bhutan’s political developments, I read Bhutan’s politics from within the tradition of Buddhist political literature. I argue that the theory of governance driving Bhutan’s politics is an example of Buddhist modernism—both ancient and modern, deeply Buddhist and yet manifestly inflected by western liberalism. To elucidate Bhutan’s contiguity with (and occasional departures from) the tradition of Buddhist political thought, I read two politically-themed Buddhist texts, Nāgārjuna’s Precious Garland and Mipham’s Treatise on Ethics for Kings, drawing out their most relevant points on Buddhist governance. I then use these themes as a lens for analyzing three significant political developments in Bhutan: its recent transition to constitutional monarchy, its signature policy of Gross National Happiness, and its fraught ethnic politics. Reading Bhutan’s politics in this manner reveals the extent to which Buddhist political thought is underway in this moment. Bhutan’s Buddhist-modernist theory of governance is a hybrid political tradition that evinces a lasting commitment to the core values of Buddhist political thought while at the same time being responsive to modern geopolitical and intellectual influences. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Religion across Axes of Inequality in the United States: Belonging, Behaving, and Believing at the Intersections of Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality
Religions 2020, 11(6), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060296 - 17 Jun 2020
Viewed by 526
Abstract
Much research considers group differences in religious belonging, behaving, and/or believing by gender, race, ethnicity, class, or sexuality. This study, however, considers all these factors at once, providing the first comprehensive snapshot of religious belonging, behaving, and believing across and within these axes [...] Read more.
Much research considers group differences in religious belonging, behaving, and/or believing by gender, race, ethnicity, class, or sexuality. This study, however, considers all these factors at once, providing the first comprehensive snapshot of religious belonging, behaving, and believing across and within these axes of inequality in the United States. Leveraging unique data with an exceptionally large sample, I explore religion across 40 unique configurations of intersecting identities (e.g., one is non-Latina Black heterosexual college-educated women). Across all measures considered, Black women are at the top—however, depending on the measure, there are different subsets of Black women at the top. And whereas most sexual minorities are among the least religious Americans, Black sexual minorities—and especially those with a college degree—exhibit high levels of religious belonging, behaving, and believing. In fact, Black sexual minority women with a college degree meditate more frequently than any other group considered. Overall, whereas we see clear divides in how religious people are by factors like gender, education, and sexual orientation among most racial groups, race appears to overpower other factors for Black Americans who are consistently religious regardless of their other characteristics. By presenting levels of religious belonging, behaving, and believing across configurations of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality in the contemporary United States, this study provides a more complex and complete picture of American religion and spirituality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Complexity of Religious Inequality)
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“Headship”: Making the Case for Fruitful Equality in a World of Indifferent Sameness and Unbridgeable Difference
Religions 2020, 11(6), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060295 - 16 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The article takes up the biblical category of “headship,” one of the “third rails” for Christians in a context dominated by the limited conceptions of equality, especially those assumed by “second wave” and “difference” feminism, viz., that of interchangeable sameness and unbridgeable difference. [...] Read more.
The article takes up the biblical category of “headship,” one of the “third rails” for Christians in a context dominated by the limited conceptions of equality, especially those assumed by “second wave” and “difference” feminism, viz., that of interchangeable sameness and unbridgeable difference. Headship is easily dismissed as an instance of (bad) cultural influence that spoiled Christianity’s egalitarian beginnings. Less radically, headship is simply avoided, or glossed over with apologetic caveats. Headship is an embarrassment, because it suggests not only exclusive differences—the “head” is not the “body”—but an order between them. Head and body are “subject to each other” in distinct and coordinated ways. In what follows, the author claims that headship is not only not an affront to equality, but its very condition between subjects who belong to each other in a generous relation of reciprocal and fruitful unity and distinction. Moreover, it is the expression of the novelty of Christianity, regarding first of all the nature of God in whom there is an original Head, and a “positive other,” without any hint of subordinationism (inequality). On the contrary, the Father is never absolute, but always already determined by the Son. This original headship then informs the Christian conception of the world, its positivity, even to the point that it can give something to God. Finally, it informs the this-worldly headships (Christ–Church and husband–wife). There, headship counters the status quo, by countering the “body’s” default immanentistic “certainty” about her exclusive life-giving power, enjoining her to acknowledge a transcendent source. It restores equality to the head. For the “head,” it counters the false absolutist image of God, while enjoining him to “radiate” something of which he is first “subject,” to “be involved with,” and determined by, the woman, as a positive other. It restores equality to the body. In sum, the article urges us to turn towards the deepest resources of Christianity, to find therein a more fruitful equality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
Open AccessArticle
How Can You Know the Bible and Not Believe in Our Lord? Guiding Pilgrims across the Jewish–Christian Divide
Religions 2020, 11(6), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060294 - 16 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Drawing on auto-ethnographic descriptions from four decades of my own work as a Jewish guide for Christian Holy Land pilgrims, I examine how overlapping faiths are expressed in guide–group exchanges at Biblical sites on Evangelical pilgrimages. I outline several faith interactions: Between reading [...] Read more.
Drawing on auto-ethnographic descriptions from four decades of my own work as a Jewish guide for Christian Holy Land pilgrims, I examine how overlapping faiths are expressed in guide–group exchanges at Biblical sites on Evangelical pilgrimages. I outline several faith interactions: Between reading the Bible as an affirmation of Christian faith or as a legitimation of Israeli heritage, between commitments to missionary Evangelical Christianity and to Judaism, between Evangelical practice and those of other Christian groups at holy sites, and between faith-based certainties and scientific skepticism. These encounters are both limited and enabled by the frames of the pilgrimage: The environmental bubble of the guided tour, the Christian orientations and activities in the itinerary, and the power relations of hosts and guests. Yet, unplanned encounters with religious others in the charged Biblical landscape offer new opportunities for reflection on previously held truths and commitments. I conclude by suggesting that Holy Land guided pilgrimages may broaden religious horizons by offering an interreligious model of faith experience based on encounters with the other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Open AccessArticle
Grave Reminders: Grief and Vulnerability in the Anthropocene
Religions 2020, 11(6), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060293 - 16 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This essay builds upon recent work in the environmental humanities, and that of various writers and journalists, on the emerging topic of environmental grief and mourning. I consider a spectrum of responses to Anthropocene-era crises like climate change and extinction, with particular emphasis [...] Read more.
This essay builds upon recent work in the environmental humanities, and that of various writers and journalists, on the emerging topic of environmental grief and mourning. I consider a spectrum of responses to Anthropocene-era crises like climate change and extinction, with particular emphasis on how we are oriented toward the past and the future. These perspectives range from positions that explicitly reject grief and vulnerability, to voices urging us to embrace grief as part of an essential moral and spiritual environmental practice. At one end of the spectrum, we find articulations of what I call climate humanism, a style of response focused on defending and perpetuating human civilization in the midst of environmental crisis, but with little or no explicit concern for the broader web of living and dying beings. For climate humanists, to grieve for the past and its mistakes is to halt progressive, optimistic movement into the future. At the other end of the spectrum, we find scholars and writers who take profound grief, and sustained reflection on death and loss, as the starting point for genuine, transformative change and the possibility of hope. Drawing on this range of responses to environmental threats and losses, I endorse narratives that ground themselves in the past, in all its surprises and mistakes, as a vital resource and repository for moving hopefully and purposefully into the future. Moral, religious, and religious-like dimensions of environmental grief (or its denial) are recurring themes throughout, and many crucial insights are found in scholarship outside of religious studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith after the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle
The New Visibility of Religion and Its Impact on Populist Politics
Religions 2020, 11(6), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060292 - 15 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The marginalised research field of populism and religion has mainly focused on the positive aspects of how religion and populism can be combined with mutual benefits for both parties, whereas the critical potential and limitations that religion and theology pose to populist politics [...] Read more.
The marginalised research field of populism and religion has mainly focused on the positive aspects of how religion and populism can be combined with mutual benefits for both parties, whereas the critical potential and limitations that religion and theology pose to populist politics has often been overlooked. The following essay intends to contribute to the complex research area of religion and populism, by focusing on the negative side, that is, the incompatibilities of religion and theology with populism. It is suggested that the very nature of religious belief and theological convictions impose limits on their use in populist politics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The New Visibility of Religion and Its Impact)
Open AccessEditorial
Archaeology of Ancient Israelite Religion(s): An Introduction
Religions 2020, 11(6), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060291 - 15 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Israelite religion has always fascinated scholars [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeology and Ancient Israelite Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Narrative and the Politics of Identity: Patterns of the Spread and Acceptance of Radicalism and Terrorism in Indonesia
Religions 2020, 11(6), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060290 - 12 Jun 2020
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Abstract
This study aims to examine Islamic narratives heard at mosques and in study groups in the greater metropolitan area of Jakarta, Indonesia. The article asks if youth and leaders of youth organizations in Jakarta are receptive to radical/terrorist discourse or if they deliberate [...] Read more.
This study aims to examine Islamic narratives heard at mosques and in study groups in the greater metropolitan area of Jakarta, Indonesia. The article asks if youth and leaders of youth organizations in Jakarta are receptive to radical/terrorist discourse or if they deliberate and weigh what certain narratives mean. Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 subjects. These included Rohani Islamic group leaders who hold extracurricular study groups after middle and high school classes, as well as Islamic Mission organizations or Lembaga Da’wah Kampus (LDK—literally translates as Campus Mission Organization; they are some senior students and may invite Islamic scholars or themselves teach Islam and preach to students who are willing to learn Islam specially only at the university as an extracurricular activity; in this article, we translate it as Islamic Mission organization.). which exist on Jakarta’s university campuses where radical narratives are discussed. Other organizations and their leaders were also included. Questions posed to members of these organizations by the authors of this article asked if they accepted, rejected, or negotiated certain ideas regarded as radical by the Indonesian government. Respondents were asked if they believed violent acts against non-reform Muslims and non-Muslims were justified. Respondents were also asked if the Indonesian constitution, Pancasila, should continue its secular democratic legal format, or if it should be replaced by sharia law. Ultimately, most informants took more moderate stances, somewhere in between pure secularism and pure radical terrorism. In this way, this study disproves scholars such as Martin van Bruinessen (2013) who claim that Indonesian Islam is becoming more conservative, and others such as Harsono who claim Indonesian Islam is becoming more violent. While violence was condoned by some respondents, this article reveals that a majority of respondents rejected the view that sharia law should prevail. Ultimately most respondents in this study decided a balanced viewpoint was the best. Thus, this article reveals the degree of moderation of most Jakarta residents, and the nuance and depth of consideration that devout individuals give to a range of contemporary ideas as they negotiate their stance on religion, the state, and their local identities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Challenge of Chronotopicity: Female Co-Cremation in India Revisited in the Light of Time–Space Sensitive Ritual Criticism
Religions 2020, 11(6), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060289 - 12 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Rituals are embedded in a particular time and space, and so are their objects and meanings. The ‘chronotope’ we focus on here is the occasional—partly self-chosen, partly societally forced—ritual death of Hindu widows along with their deceased husbands. Although never widely practiced, widow-burning [...] Read more.
Rituals are embedded in a particular time and space, and so are their objects and meanings. The ‘chronotope’ we focus on here is the occasional—partly self-chosen, partly societally forced—ritual death of Hindu widows along with their deceased husbands. Although never widely practiced, widow-burning caught the imagination of Europeans as illustrating both Hinduism’s ‘barbarity’ and its ‘high conjugal ideals’. Although satī had been outlawed since 1829, in 1987 a new case inflamed opposing sentiments. In 2002, in a passage called ‘Ritual Criticism and Widow Burning’, Ronald Grimes drew attention to it as a rite of passage that calls for normative comments and ritual criticism. Since then, in circles of ritual studies Hindu, widow-burning has occasionally been repeated as one of the ritual practices in need of condemnation. In order to put this rare practice, banned since almost 200 years ago, back into a proper time–place perspective, both its ritual details and its sociocultural contexts are revisited. Finally, we propose some case-specific factors that could serve as retrospective ritual criticism. We conclude with a plea for time–space sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Ritual Fields Today)
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Open AccessArticle
The Dynamic Universal Profiles of Spiritual Awareness: A Latent Profile Analysis
Religions 2020, 11(6), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060288 - 12 Jun 2020
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Abstract
The aim of the current investigation was to identify universal profiles of lived spirituality. A study on a large sample of participants (N = 5512) across three countries, India, China, and the United States, suggested there are at least five cross-cultural phenotypic [...] Read more.
The aim of the current investigation was to identify universal profiles of lived spirituality. A study on a large sample of participants (N = 5512) across three countries, India, China, and the United States, suggested there are at least five cross-cultural phenotypic dimensions of personal spiritual capacity—spiritual reflection and commitment; contemplative practice; perception of interconnectedness; perception of love; and practice of altruism—that are protective against pathology in a community sample and have been replicated in matched clinical and non-clinical samples. Based on the highest frequency combinations of these five capacities in the same sample, we explored potentially dynamic profiles of spiritual engagement. We inductively derived five profiles using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA): non-seeking; socially disconnected; spiritual emergence; virtuous humanist; and spiritually integrated. We also examined, in this cross-sectional data, covariates external to the LPA model which measure disposition towards meaning across two dimensions: seeking and fulfillment, of which the former necessarily precedes the latter. These meaning covariates, in conjunction with cross-profile age differences, suggest the profiles might represent sequential phases along an emergent path of spiritual development. Subsequent regression analyses conducted to predict depression, anxiety, substance-related disorders, and positive psychology based on spiritual engagement profiles revealed the spiritually integrated profile was most protected against psychopathology, while the spiritual emergence profile was at highest risk. While this developmental process may be riddled with struggle, as evidenced by elevated rates of psychopathology and substance use in the intermediate phases, this period is a transient one that necessarily precedes one of mental wellness and resilience—the spiritual development process is ultimately buoyant and protective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Development over the Lifespan)
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Open AccessArticle
A Nationally Representative Survey of Faith and Work: Demographic Subgroup Differences around Calling and Conflict
Religions 2020, 11(6), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11060287 - 11 Jun 2020
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Abstract
Research has increasingly highlighted the importance of business leaders allowing people to bring their whole selves to work. And religion is an important part of the whole self for many. However, we lack the large-scale national data needed to explore how Americans see [...] Read more.
Research has increasingly highlighted the importance of business leaders allowing people to bring their whole selves to work. And religion is an important part of the whole self for many. However, we lack the large-scale national data needed to explore how Americans see the connections between religion and work. Here, from “Faith at Work: An Empirical Study”—a novel, nationally representative dataset—we explore the extent to which working Americans (N = 8767) see their work as a spiritual calling and/or experience work conflict because of their religious faith. We find that one fifth of workers identify their work as a spiritual calling. Our findings also suggest that experiences of religious conflict and discrimination are shaped not only by religious beliefs, but also social location. The initial results highlight future avenues for research and demonstrate the potential of the “Faith at Work” data to shed further light on how religion enters the workplace. Full article
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