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Religions, Volume 11, Issue 9 (September 2020) – 53 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Spiritual resilience, defined as transformational learning, is demonstrated through periods of [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
An Icon in Motion: Rethinking the Iconography of Itinerant Monk Paintings from Dunhuang
Religions 2020, 11(9), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090479 - 21 Sep 2020
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Abstract
This essay reconsiders the iconography of the group of paintings from Dunhuang commonly referred to as “itinerant monk paintings.” In an effort to acknowledge the paintings as a tradition unto themselves and highlight their visual language, this study focuses on the issues surrounding [...] Read more.
This essay reconsiders the iconography of the group of paintings from Dunhuang commonly referred to as “itinerant monk paintings.” In an effort to acknowledge the paintings as a tradition unto themselves and highlight their visual language, this study focuses on the issues surrounding Baosheng Buddha and the unique feature of depicting the main icon in motion. The first matter is discussed in relation to the religious and artistic contexts of the inscriptions preserved in some paintings, and possible changes in the main figure’s identity from a monk worshiping Baosheng Buddha to the incarnation itself. The main icon’s mobile nature is examined in terms of its walking posture and cloud vehicle. Considering the tradition of xingdao seng or xing seng (walking monks) in monastery murals, this paper illuminates a growing interest in the Tang (618–907) period in portraying walking monks that underscores their position and role in the world of sentient beings. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the cloud vehicle played a critical role in underlining the main icon’s extensive and rapid travel to facilitate his encounter with and saving of sentient beings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Science of Cathedral Studies: Exploring Demographic Profile, Motivational Intentions, and Perceived Impact among those Attending the Holly Bough Service in Liverpool Cathedral
Religions 2020, 11(9), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090478 - 21 Sep 2020
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The Holly Bough service is a unique pre-Christmas event, combining musical excellence and theological depth, crafted by the founding dean of Liverpool Cathedral in the early twentieth century for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Located within the developing science of cathedral studies, this [...] Read more.
The Holly Bough service is a unique pre-Christmas event, combining musical excellence and theological depth, crafted by the founding dean of Liverpool Cathedral in the early twentieth century for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Located within the developing science of cathedral studies, this paper analyses the demographic profile, motivational intention (drawing on religious orientation theory) and perceived impact on spiritual wellbeing (drawing on Fisher’s four dimensional model) among 564 participants who completed a detailed survey at the service held in 2019. The data demonstrated a mix of ages, a sense of Anglican commitment to this form of event-belonging by those who return year-on-year and invite friends to join them, and a perceived beneficial impact on all four dimensions of spiritual wellbeing. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Complex Religion Approach to the Differing Impact of Education on Black and White Religious Group Members’ Political Views
Religions 2020, 11(9), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090477 - 19 Sep 2020
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Abstract
This paper examines the interaction of education for both Blacks and Whites in all major religious groups on four key political issues: Abortion, gay marriage, feelings toward redistribution, and political party identification. We find that for most Blacks, race is the most salient [...] Read more.
This paper examines the interaction of education for both Blacks and Whites in all major religious groups on four key political issues: Abortion, gay marriage, feelings toward redistribution, and political party identification. We find that for most Blacks, race is the most salient factor across all four political dimensions; whereas there is significant variation by religion and education for Whites, there is very little difference for Blacks. As previous research has noted, Blacks are generally more conservative on gay marriage and Blacks are generally positive about redistribution, much more so than most Whites regardless of education and religion. We find education is more liberating to Whites than Blacks. The only issue for which education has significant effects for Blacks is abortion, but even in this case, unlike for Whites, there are not large religious differences among Blacks. This study corroborates previous research that abortion and gay marriage are less politically central to Blacks, who at all education levels are more likely to be Democrat than the most Democrat identified Whites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Complexity of Religious Inequality)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Religiosity Affect Attitudes toward the Ethics of Tax Evasion? The Case of Turkey
Religions 2020, 11(9), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090476 - 18 Sep 2020
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Abstract
This study surveys the opinion of a wide segment of Turkish society on the ethics of tax evasion. The survey instrument includes 18 statements used to justify tax evasion in the past. The research also finds that some reasons to justify tax evasion [...] Read more.
This study surveys the opinion of a wide segment of Turkish society on the ethics of tax evasion. The survey instrument includes 18 statements used to justify tax evasion in the past. The research also finds that some reasons to justify tax evasion proved more attractive to participants than others. In our survey, the strongest support for tax evasion was in cases where the government abused human rights, where the government was corrupt or wasted tax funds, or where the taxpayer did not benefit from the tax expenditures. Conversely, the weakest arguments were in cases where the taxpayer did benefit from the tax expenditures or where the tax funds were spent wisely. What separates this study from others on the ethics of tax evasion is that it addresses interpersonal and intrapersonal religiosity. Its finding confirms the existence of an important relationship between both interpersonal and intrapersonal religiosity and the view toward the ethics of tax evasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Taxation, Religion, and Morality)
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Open AccessArticle
Efficacy, Distancing, and Reconciling: Religion and Race in Americans’ Abortion Attitudes
Religions 2020, 11(9), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090475 - 18 Sep 2020
Viewed by 319
Abstract
Religion and race together inform Americans’ abortion attitudes, but precisely how remains contradictory and unclear. Presumptions of shared religious or secular “worldviews” dividing abortion opinion mask variation among racially diverse adherents within the same tradition. Theoretical gaps compel a deeper, qualitative exploration of [...] Read more.
Religion and race together inform Americans’ abortion attitudes, but precisely how remains contradictory and unclear. Presumptions of shared religious or secular “worldviews” dividing abortion opinion mask variation among racially diverse adherents within the same tradition. Theoretical gaps compel a deeper, qualitative exploration of underlying processes. This article uses close analysis of a religiously and racially diverse, ideal–typical subset of in-depth interviews from the National Abortion Attitudes Study to identify three processes operating at the intersection of religion and race in abortion attitudes: efficacy, distancing, and reconciling. While religion’s effect on abortion opinion remains paramount, accounting for social location illuminates meaningful variation. Findings offer an important corrective to overly-simplified narratives summarizing how religion matters to abortion opinion, accounting more fully for complex religion and religion as raced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Complexity of Religious Inequality)
Open AccessArticle
Redeeming Woman: A Response to the “Second Sex” Issue from within the Tradition of Catholic Scriptural Exegesis
Religions 2020, 11(9), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090474 - 17 Sep 2020
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The aim of this paper is to correct an historical error: the ancient claim, grounded in a flawed understanding of the reproductive act, that woman is inferior to man. I will show that the lineage of this can be traced as far back [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to correct an historical error: the ancient claim, grounded in a flawed understanding of the reproductive act, that woman is inferior to man. I will show that the lineage of this can be traced as far back as the pre-Socratic philosophers, finally finding its earliest concrete expression in a claim most have either dismissed, forgotten, or never heard: Aristotle’s argument that women are merely “malformed males” and are therefore “inferior to man.” The theory found support in the first century with a historical interpretation of Genesis 2:18-23, traceable in particular to the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, Philo (BC 13-AD 54). Philo’s own theory about woman echoed that of Aristotle’s; his legacy includes the vague feeling that Scripture itself declares that, since woman is created after man, she is necessarily subservient to him. She becomes, as it were, the “second sex.” I dispute both these accounts and show that they can be defeated on their own terms. Through the lens of Hebraic and Aristotelian-Thomistic anthropology, and building on the insights of St. John Paul II, I provide a robust, philosophically and theologically grounded account of man and woman from within the Catholic exegetical tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminism from the Perspective of Catholic Theology)
Open AccessArticle
The Muslim Council of Britain: Progressive Interlocutor or Redundant Gatekeeper?
Religions 2020, 11(9), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090473 - 17 Sep 2020
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Abstract
Since its inception in 1997, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has evolved to become one of the most enduring British Muslim organisations. It is a representative body for over 500 member bodies (‘affiliates’) including mosques, schools and charities. During the course of [...] Read more.
Since its inception in 1997, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has evolved to become one of the most enduring British Muslim organisations. It is a representative body for over 500 member bodies (‘affiliates’) including mosques, schools and charities. During the course of the last two decades, it has been subject to external comment and sometimes critique by academics, media commentators, policy-makers, and others. This special issue of the journal Religions has provided a welcome opportunity for the current leadership of the MCB to write about the organisation from ‘within’, based on their long-standing time volunteering with it. This paper is based on an oral history methodology involving extended interviews with the oversight of a research director, supplemented by reference to existing academic and other sources. Therefore this paper is essentially a type of ‘edited transcript’ aggregated wholly from a series of first person interviews undertaken with the current senior elected leaders of MCB; reorganised for clarity and drafted out with added ‘prose’ allowing for it to be presented in essay form. The result is the first documented ‘insider’ perspective on the ways in which the MCB has tackled issues such as internal governance, the challenge of ‘representation’ in view of the diversity of British Muslim communities, changing relationships with government, and policy work. It becomes apparent through the paper that the MCB has matured into a constructively self-critical, pro-active, and more strategically professional body, that contributes to the flourishing of Muslim communities and the place of Islam in British society. The production of the paper is itself an indicator of the growing confidence and capacity of the MCB, and its ability to contribute positively to academic discourse and debate about Muslims in Britain. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Mystical World of the Body in the Bengali Tantric Work Nigūḍhārthaprakāśāvali
Religions 2020, 11(9), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090472 - 16 Sep 2020
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Abstract
Amongst the wide collection of literature on the Bengali Tantric Vaiṣṇava Sahajiyās, the works of Mukundadāsa (or Mukundadeva) and his disciples are counted among the most influential. Those Middle Bengali texts that are usually recognized as a group of the four main texts [...] Read more.
Amongst the wide collection of literature on the Bengali Tantric Vaiṣṇava Sahajiyās, the works of Mukundadāsa (or Mukundadeva) and his disciples are counted among the most influential. Those Middle Bengali texts that are usually recognized as a group of the four main texts of Mukunda and his circle or followers are commented in the work Nigūḍhārthaprakāśāvali (NPV, ‘The Array of lights on the hidden meanings’) by various disciples of this line. The main goal of this paper is to shed light on some aspects of the religious experience in the regional Tantric tradition. As we may suppose, the descriptions included in NPV refer to some previous experiences of the authors (gurus) of the tradition and describe imaginary internal worlds of the body in the manner specific to that tradition, using various esoteric terms and describing also various kinds of religious discipline (sādhana). This means the presentation of the relatively poorly known and still not well-studied Bengali Tantra is expressed in the vernacular Bengali language (Middle Bengali, madhyajuger Bānglā). I will try to demonstrate how the image of the human body (and its imagination in this particular tradition) serves as the basis for the religious experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Experience, and Narrative)
Open AccessArticle
Between Love, Renunciation, and Compassionate Heroism: Reading Sanskrit Buddhist Literature through the Prism of Disgust
Religions 2020, 11(9), 471; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090471 - 15 Sep 2020
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Abstract
Disgust occupies a particular space in Buddhism where repulsive aspects of the human body are visualized and reflected upon in contemplative practices. The Indian tradition of aesthetics also recognizes disgust as one of the basic human emotions that can be transformed into an [...] Read more.
Disgust occupies a particular space in Buddhism where repulsive aspects of the human body are visualized and reflected upon in contemplative practices. The Indian tradition of aesthetics also recognizes disgust as one of the basic human emotions that can be transformed into an aestheticized form, which is experienced when one enjoys drama and poetry. Buddhist literature offers a particularly fertile ground for both religious and literary ideas to manifest, unravel, and entangle in a narrative setting. It is in this context that we find elements of disgust being incorporated into two types of Buddhist narrative: (1) discouragement with worldly objects and renunciation, and (2) courageous act of self-sacrifice. Vidyākara’s anthology of Sanskrit poetry (Subhāṣitaratnakoṣa) and the poetics section of Sa skya Paṇḍita’s introduction to the Indian systems of cultural knowledge (Mkhas pa rnams ’jug pa’i sgo) offer two rare examples of Buddhist engagement with aesthetics of emotions. In addition to some developed views of literary critics, these two Buddhist writers are relied on in this study to provide perspectives on how Buddhists themselves in the final phase of Indian Buddhism might have read Buddhist literature in light of what they learned from the theory of aesthetics. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Influence of Family Violence on the Marital Quality in Pakistani Muslims: Role of Personal Factors
Religions 2020, 11(9), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090470 - 15 Sep 2020
Viewed by 332
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of self-compassion and religiosity in marital quality among married Pakistani Muslims in abusive or violent relationships. The study aimed at exploring religion and self-kindness as protective factors that could save and strengthen marital [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the role of self-compassion and religiosity in marital quality among married Pakistani Muslims in abusive or violent relationships. The study aimed at exploring religion and self-kindness as protective factors that could save and strengthen marital relationships despite family violence. Four standardized scales, Family Violence Scale, Self-Compassion Questionnaire, Centrality of Religiosity Questionnaire and Marital Quality Questionnaire were used for data collection from married Muslims of Punjab (N = 600). Analysis was carried out with PROCESS macro for SPSS which revealed that religiosity moderated between family violence and marital quality and buffered its negative effects. Furthermore, self-compassion mediated family violence and marital quality influencing its quality. These findings would benefit researchers, and other practitioners who work with married adults helping them work out their abusive differences improving marital quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research with the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS))
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Was a Sacred Curtain (Parokhet) Depicted on Portable Shrines in the Ancient Near East?
Religions 2020, 11(9), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090469 - 14 Sep 2020
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Abstract
The Parokhet, or sacred curtain, was an important item of cultic paraphernalia in the ancient Near East. It is known from the Sumerian and Akkadian texts, the biblical tradition, the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Greek temples, and synagogues of the Roman and Byzantine [...] Read more.
The Parokhet, or sacred curtain, was an important item of cultic paraphernalia in the ancient Near East. It is known from the Sumerian and Akkadian texts, the biblical tradition, the Second Temple in Jerusalem, Greek temples, and synagogues of the Roman and Byzantine eras, and is still in use today. We suggest that such a sacred curtain is depicted on several of the miniature clay objects known as portable shrines. In Egypt, thanks to the dry climate, a miniature curtain of this kind has indeed been preserved in association with a portable shrine. Depictions of shrines on Egyptian sacred barks also include life-size curtains. Full article
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Open AccessReview
God Spots in the Brain: Nine Categories of Unasked, Unanswered Questions
Religions 2020, 11(9), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090468 - 14 Sep 2020
Viewed by 346
Abstract
Neurotheology is an emerging academic discipline that examines mind-brain relationships in terms of the inter-relatedness of neuroscience, spirituality, and religion. Neurotheology originated from brain-scan studies that revealed specific correlations between certain religious thoughts and localized activated brain areas known as “God Spots.” This [...] Read more.
Neurotheology is an emerging academic discipline that examines mind-brain relationships in terms of the inter-relatedness of neuroscience, spirituality, and religion. Neurotheology originated from brain-scan studies that revealed specific correlations between certain religious thoughts and localized activated brain areas known as “God Spots.” This relatively young scholarly discipline lacks clear consensus on its definition, ideology, purpose, or prospects for future research. Of special interest is the consideration of the next steps using brain scans to develop this field of research. This review proposes nine categories of future research that could build on the foundation laid by the prior discoveries of God Spots. Specifically, this analysis identifies some sparsely addressed issues that could be usefully explored with new kinds of brain-scan studies: neural network operations, the cognitive neuroscience of prayer, biology of belief, measures of religiosity, role of the self, learning and memory, religious and secular cognitive commonalities, static and functional anatomy, and recruitment of neural processing circuitry. God Spot research is poised to move beyond observation to robust hypothesis generation and testing. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Translation of Life: Thinking of Painting in Indian Buddhist Literature
Religions 2020, 11(9), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090467 - 14 Sep 2020
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Abstract
What are paintings? Is there a distinctive mode of experience paintings enable? What is the value of such experience? This essay explores such questions, confining attention for the most part to a few distinctive moments in Indian Buddhist texts. In particular, I focus [...] Read more.
What are paintings? Is there a distinctive mode of experience paintings enable? What is the value of such experience? This essay explores such questions, confining attention for the most part to a few distinctive moments in Indian Buddhist texts. In particular, I focus on invocations of painting in figures of speech, particularly when paintings are invoked to make sense of events or experiences of particular importance. The aim is not to be exhaustive, but to suggest a meta-poetic orientation: On the basis of moments where authors think with figurations of painting, I want to suggest that in Buddhist texts one begins to find a growing regard for the possibilities of re-ordering and transvaluing sense experience. After suggesting the possibility of this on the basis of a preliminary consideration of some figures of speech invoking painting, this essay turns to the reconstruction of what I call aesthetic stances to make sense of the idea of new possibilities in sense experience. I derive the concept of “aesthetic stances” on the basis of a close reading of a pivotal moment in one Buddhist narrative, the defeat of Māra in The Legend of Aśoka. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seeing and Reading: Art and Literature in Pre-Modern Indian Religions)
Open AccessArticle
A Spirituality Mind-Body Wellness Center in a University Setting; A Pilot Service Assessment Study
Religions 2020, 11(9), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090466 - 11 Sep 2020
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Increasing rates of mental illness among college students over the past 10 years suggest a collective deficit in meaning and purpose unattended to by many university campuses. Psychopathology among young adult college students is associated with developmental tasks such as spiritual individuation, suggesting [...] Read more.
Increasing rates of mental illness among college students over the past 10 years suggest a collective deficit in meaning and purpose unattended to by many university campuses. Psychopathology among young adult college students is associated with developmental tasks such as spiritual individuation, suggesting that interventions aimed at spiritual wellbeing may support the stated need for comprehensive mental health services. The aim of this pilot service assessment study is to investigate the feasibility, acceptability, and helpfulness of spiritually integrated programs at a Spirituality Mind Body (SMB) Wellness Center at a graduate-level academic institution. Wellness Center demographic and attendance data of N = 305 adult graduate students (M = 27.7 years, SD = 6.05) were used to assess acceptability and feasibility. To evaluate helpfulness, measures assessing symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress (PTS), spirituality, mindfulness, and psychological inflexibility were completed before and after eight-week programs on a subset of participants (n = 141). SMB users completed a total of 64% of sessions and reported significant pre/post gains in spirituality and mindfulness and decreases in psychological inflexibility, symptoms of depression and PTS. The preliminary findings of this open-trial are encouraging but inherently limited by the design; foremost, the results offer support for future research, which might draw on a larger sample and a study design involving a comparison group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Development over the Lifespan)
Open AccessArticle
Teaching Controversial Issues in Diverse Religious Education Classrooms
Religions 2020, 11(9), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090465 - 10 Sep 2020
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Abstract
In educational contexts, certain issues are perceived as controversial, since they reflect conflicts of interest and reveal divergent views. This is especially evident in debates related to religion in societies regarding themselves as secular but whose population is multi-religious. The aim of this [...] Read more.
In educational contexts, certain issues are perceived as controversial, since they reflect conflicts of interest and reveal divergent views. This is especially evident in debates related to religion in societies regarding themselves as secular but whose population is multi-religious. The aim of this article is to analyse how some issues that are considered controversial in the public debate are represented in the teaching of non-denominational and integrative Religious Education in a Swedish multicultural classroom practice, where the majority of students have a Muslim cultural background. The ethnographic empirical material consists of classroom observations of Religious Education lessons in upper secondary school. The analysis is based on the debate about how controversial issues ought to be taught—as empirically or politically open/settled or in a directive/non-directive way. The results indicate that a number of issues—divergent interpretations of religious narratives and religiously motivated rules, holidays, views of forgiveness, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and abortion—were regarded as open political issues in classroom practice and these were taught in an open, non-directive way. Issues represented as settled were value-oriented issues related to female genital mutilation, forced marriage and child marriage and gender equality. The arguments supporting these values were mainly rooted in religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Controversial Issues and Religion)
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Open AccessArticle
The Shapeshifting Self: Narrative Pathways into Political Violence
Religions 2020, 11(9), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090464 - 10 Sep 2020
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Abstract
In the wake of numerous terror attacks around the globe, academic and popular discourse on radicalization has witnessed exponential growth in publications that, sadly, have not resulted in a coherent or consensus definition of the concept, nor have they determined its causality and [...] Read more.
In the wake of numerous terror attacks around the globe, academic and popular discourse on radicalization has witnessed exponential growth in publications that, sadly, have not resulted in a coherent or consensus definition of the concept, nor have they determined its causality and effects. In this article, we use the term three-pronged process of radicalization by narrative to denote an ongoing process of meaning-making, adaptation, and coping, and argue this process to be inherently linked with the social, cultural, and ideological construction and reconstruction of the identity arch-story of individual lives. We suggest that, in some cases, the ceaseless process of social interaction of identity narratives eventuates in what we define as the Shapeshifting Self, by coherently fusing stories of personal loss, rupture, or trauma together with the counterparts of movements and national stories of sociopolitical engagement. At the endpoint of the process, violent engagement is perceived by the self as legitimate and even necessary for the psychological well-being of the perpetrator. By applying this approach to the Jewish-Israeli context, we aim to illustrate the socioculturally situated contingencies associated with the process of radicalization by narrative. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Experience, and Narrative)
Open AccessArticle
Theodicy, Undeserved Suffering, and Compassionate Solidarity: An Interdisciplinary Reading of Hwang Sok-Yong’s The Guest
Religions 2020, 11(9), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090463 - 10 Sep 2020
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Abstract
The author explores theological questions regarding the Korean novelist Hwang Sok-yong’s The Guest from interdisciplinary perspectives. This paper analyzes the novel in relation to the emotional complex of han as understood in Korean minjung theology, the political theology of Johann Baptist Metz, and [...] Read more.
The author explores theological questions regarding the Korean novelist Hwang Sok-yong’s The Guest from interdisciplinary perspectives. This paper analyzes the novel in relation to the emotional complex of han as understood in Korean minjung theology, the political theology of Johann Baptist Metz, and Ignacio Ellacuría’s liberation theology. Drawing upon the perspectives of Korean, German, and Latin American scholars, this approach invites us to construct a discourse of theodicy in a fresh light, to reach a deeper level of theodical engagement with the universal problem of suffering, and to nurture the courage of hope for human beings in today’s stressed world. Contemplating the concrete depiction of human suffering in The Guest, the paper invites readers to deepen their understanding of God in terms of minjung theology’s thrust of resolving the painful feelings of han of the oppressed, Metz’s insight of suffering unto God as a sacramental encounter with God, and Ellacuría’s idea of giving witness to God’s power of the resurrection in eschatological hope. The paper concludes that the immensity of today’s human suffering asks for that compassionate solidarity with the crucified today which can generate hope in the contemporary milieu. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
Open AccessArticle
Religious Coping of Selected Filipino Catholic Youth
Religions 2020, 11(9), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090462 - 09 Sep 2020
Viewed by 410
Abstract
This study determined the reliability and validity of the Brief Religious Coping Scale (Brief RCOPE) outside the Western Christian context. After construct and measurement equivalence, the Brief RCOPE was used to ascertain and illuminate the religious coping of selected Catholic youth in the [...] Read more.
This study determined the reliability and validity of the Brief Religious Coping Scale (Brief RCOPE) outside the Western Christian context. After construct and measurement equivalence, the Brief RCOPE was used to ascertain and illuminate the religious coping of selected Catholic youth in the Philippines. A group of students studying in Catholic universities (n = 335) completed the research measures. The findings of this study showed that the Brief RCOPE has good internal consistency and construct validity. However, the scale has two orthogonal factors. The results indicated that many Filipino Catholic youth used positive religious coping methods more frequently than negative strategies. In addition, the results suggest that Brief RCOPE may be useful to researchers interested in the religious coping of youth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Psychology/ Social Sciences)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Have Christian Colleges and Universities Become More Inclusive of LGBTQ Students Since Obergefell v. Hodges?
Religions 2020, 11(9), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090461 - 09 Sep 2020
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Due to rapid changes in societal attitudes toward LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, Christian colleges and universities are experiencing more pressure to become inclusive [...] Read more.
Due to rapid changes in societal attitudes toward LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, Christian colleges and universities are experiencing more pressure to become inclusive of LGBTQ students. This article draws on U.S. Department of Education data on all four-year, not-for-profit Christian colleges and universities, as well as an original longitudinal dataset of LGBTQ student groups across Christian colleges and universities, to describe the landscape of LGBTQ student inclusion on Christian campuses before and after Obergefell v. Hodges. In 2013, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, just under half (45%) of Christian colleges and universities had LGBTQ student groups. However, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision has evidently had little effect on holdouts: in 2019, the percentage of Christian colleges and universities that were home to LGBTQ student groups was only slightly higher (47%). Logistic regression analyses reveal that Christian colleges and universities that have recently become home to LGBTQ student groups were already predisposed to having LGBTQ groups in the first place, given that they are associated with social justice-minded denominations, have large student bodies, and have higher percentages of women students. The article’s findings hold implications for ongoing research on the status of LGBTQ people within Christian institutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Psychology/ Social Sciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Construction and Evaluation of an Educational Video: Nursing Assessment and Intervention of Patients’ Spiritual Needs
Religions 2020, 11(9), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090460 - 08 Sep 2020
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Spirituality is particularly important in health and illness transitions and is a fundamental dimension of healthcare. However, nurses often feel underprepared to provide spiritual care and the use of dynamic and interactive strategies, such as educational videos, can facilitate the development of this [...] Read more.
Spirituality is particularly important in health and illness transitions and is a fundamental dimension of healthcare. However, nurses often feel underprepared to provide spiritual care and the use of dynamic and interactive strategies, such as educational videos, can facilitate the development of this competency in undergraduate education. This study aimed to construct and evaluate an educational video lasting 10 min and 52 s for nursing students concerning the assessment of patients’ spiritual needs. The methodological study was based on the pre-production, production, and post-production phases of the video with an evaluation of the comprehension and comprehensiveness of the content. The results demonstrated the pre-production phase was considered appropriate by the judges and allowed the phase of production of the educational video, considered an educational resource by 100% the experts. Nursing students were enrolled in the evaluation and 75% considered the content and the learning experience useful for their future roles as nurses. So, the educational video was considered a tool that facilitated deepening knowledge about spirituality and motivated students to assess spirituality in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality in Healthcare—Multidisciplinary Approach)
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Open AccessArticle
The Hebrew Bible as Mythic “Vocabulary”: Towards a New Comparative Mythology
Religions 2020, 11(9), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090459 - 08 Sep 2020
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Abstract
In this article, I argue that the history of the study of myth in the Hebrew Bible has been, and continues to be, shaped in negative ways by an essentially Romantic Nationalist understanding of the relationship between a people and their traditions. I [...] Read more.
In this article, I argue that the history of the study of myth in the Hebrew Bible has been, and continues to be, shaped in negative ways by an essentially Romantic Nationalist understanding of the relationship between a people and their traditions. I then argue that more appropriate ways of modeling the construction of the Bible’s myths, combined with new investigations into the historical development of biblical traditions themselves, reveals a surprising continuity between the myth-making activity of biblical authors and editors and that of all those who retell and adapt biblical traditions in extrabiblical materials. I conclude that the existence of large-scale continuities between the adaptation of biblical traditions in different periods allows for a new kind of comparative investigation. By studying the use of biblical traditions in biblical literature, extrabiblical literature, and art, on approximately equal terms, we can gain new insights about the construction of biblical myths themselves, while connecting the study of the Hebrew Bible far more closely to the study of other bodies of tradition, elsewhere and later on. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Myth-Making in the Hebrew Bible)
Open AccessArticle
Ritualizing Pregnancy and Childbirth in Secular Societies: Exploring Embodied Spirituality at the Start of Life
Religions 2020, 11(9), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090458 - 08 Sep 2020
Viewed by 328
Abstract
Birth is the beginning of a new life and therefore a unique life event. In this paper, I want to study birth as a fundamental human transition in relation to existential and spiritual questions. Birth takes place within a social and cultural context. [...] Read more.
Birth is the beginning of a new life and therefore a unique life event. In this paper, I want to study birth as a fundamental human transition in relation to existential and spiritual questions. Birth takes place within a social and cultural context. A new member of society is entering the community, which also leads to feelings of ambiguity and uncertainty. Rituals are traditionally ways of giving structure to important life events, but in contemporary Western, secular contexts, traditional birth rituals have been decreasing. In this article, I will theoretically explore the meaning of birth from the perspectives of philosophy, religious and ritual studies. New ritual fields will serve as concrete examples. What kind of meanings and notions of spirituality can be discovered in emerging rituals, such as mother’s blessings or humanist naming ceremonies? Ritualizing pregnancy and birth in contemporary, secular society shows that the coming of a new life is related to embodied, social and cultural negotiations of meaning making. More attention is needed in the study of ritualizing pregnancy and birth as they reveal pluralistic spiritualities within secular contexts, as well as deeper cultural issues surrounding these strategies of meaning making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Ritual Fields Today)
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Open AccessArticle
The Theology of Avatāra in the Bhāgavata Purāṇa
Religions 2020, 11(9), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090457 - 07 Sep 2020
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Abstract
The idea of avatāra no doubt presents a philosophical challenge, as it appears to stand in contrast to the Vedāntic principle of non-duality; the Bhāgavata purāṇa (BhP) offers an opportunity to look into this question due to its unique structure, which combines the [...] Read more.
The idea of avatāra no doubt presents a philosophical challenge, as it appears to stand in contrast to the Vedāntic principle of non-duality; the Bhāgavata purāṇa (BhP) offers an opportunity to look into this question due to its unique structure, which combines the Vedānta and Rasa traditions. As such, this paper looks into the theology of Avatāra in the Bhāgavata purāṇa; it argues that reading the purāṇic genre in light of Śaṅkara’s Advaita Vedānta is not as conducive to the understanding of the avatāra as reading it in light of Rāmānuja’s Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, which indeed is compatible with the purāṇic genre. Moreover, uncovering the underlying assumptions of Western notions of personhood, it seems that classical ideas of “the person” have to be looked into, and offering an alternative idea of personhood may be necessary in order to better understand the theology of avatāra. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
Open AccessArticle
Shani on the Web: Virality and Vitality in Digital Popular Hinduism
Religions 2020, 11(9), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090456 - 06 Sep 2020
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Abstract
What do god posters circulating online tell us about the practice of popular Hinduism in the age of digital mediatization? The article seeks to address the question by exploring images and god posters dedicated to the planetary deity Shani on Web 2.0. The [...] Read more.
What do god posters circulating online tell us about the practice of popular Hinduism in the age of digital mediatization? The article seeks to address the question by exploring images and god posters dedicated to the planetary deity Shani on Web 2.0. The article tracks Shani’s presence on a range of online platforms—from the religion and culture pages of newspapers to YouTube videos and social media platforms. Using Shani’s presence on the Web as a case study, the article argues that content drawn from popular Hinduism, dealing with astrology, ritual, religious vows and observances, form a significant and substantial aspect of online Hinduism. The article draws attention to the specific affordances of Web 2.0 to radically rethink what engaging with the sacred object in a virtual realm may entail. In doing so, it indicates what the future of Hindu religiosity may look like. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Victim to Victor: The Appeal of Apocalyptic Hope
Religions 2020, 11(9), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090455 - 05 Sep 2020
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Abstract
Jewish apocalyptic literature emerged as a form of resistance literature during the intertestamental period. A product of marginalized communities, such literature is highly political, articulating the worldview of the politically oppressed and those who considered their religious freedoms to be under threat. As [...] Read more.
Jewish apocalyptic literature emerged as a form of resistance literature during the intertestamental period. A product of marginalized communities, such literature is highly political, articulating the worldview of the politically oppressed and those who considered their religious freedoms to be under threat. As resistance literature, apocalypses cathartically utilize vivid descriptions of violence and poetic symbols of hope to encourage those who identify as victims to maintain their resistance to political pressure or injustice. This paper explores the ways the Christian Book of Revelation builds on this tradition to envisage hope in the face of systemic evil, political oppression, and injustice. Neither the noun nor verb for hope appear in Revelation, yet its eschatological vision of vindication, victory, and shared rule in New Jerusalem for those who are oppressed has inspired many Christians to hope for a new world order with significant implications for the present. After considering the historical context of Revelation, this paper will examine the ways the apocalyptic imagination of Revelation continues to be invoked and (mis)used in contemporary Christianized political discourse. I argue that the Book of Revelation continues to appeal precisely because it offers a framework for believing that the victim will become the victor in the eschaton. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hope in Dark Times)
Open AccessArticle
Religion and Socioeconomic Wellbeing—Empirical Study of the Impact of Religion on Socioeconomic Rights in the Pluralistic and Democratic Context of Tamil Nadu, India
Religions 2020, 11(9), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090454 - 05 Sep 2020
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Abstract
There is no gainsaying that in a globalized world, economic and technological development greatly determine human wellbeing. In the Indian context, the dialectics between socialist and capitalist economy, while giving way to the latter since 1991, has progressively led to the enlargement of [...] Read more.
There is no gainsaying that in a globalized world, economic and technological development greatly determine human wellbeing. In the Indian context, the dialectics between socialist and capitalist economy, while giving way to the latter since 1991, has progressively led to the enlargement of the middle class, yet widened the gap between the rich and the poor. Such a situation points to the importance of socioeconomic rights for guaranteeing human flourishing. The question that we pose is whether religions can play a significant role in favoring these human rights, given their own specific vision of human life and of its socioeconomic facets, such as work, wealth, leisure, health, and education. In other words, can personal and contextual religious attitudes and religious socialization contribute to socioeconomic wellbeing? The empirical research undertaken in the pluralistic and democratic context of Tamil Nadu, India, seeks to verify among 1215 Christian, Muslim, and Hindu students, the impact of religion on their attitude towards socioeconomic rights. The emerging results reveal that some aspects of religious attitudes and socialization have a significant impact on students’ agreement with socioeconomic rights, particularly in the case of Christians and Muslims. We conclude with a discussion on the salient findings and their implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights: Complementary or Contrary?)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Nature and Magic as Representation of “The Sami”—Sami Shamanistic Material in Popular Culture
Religions 2020, 11(9), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090453 - 05 Sep 2020
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Abstract
This article examines how magic and nature become representations of both “the Sami” and “Sami shamanism” in animation films Frozen 2 and Klaus, in the television crime series Midnattssol (Midnight Sun) and in three Eurovision Song Contest contributions partly by [...] Read more.
This article examines how magic and nature become representations of both “the Sami” and “Sami shamanism” in animation films Frozen 2 and Klaus, in the television crime series Midnattssol (Midnight Sun) and in three Eurovision Song Contest contributions partly by Sami artists, containing joik. With a methodological ludism approach and with material theory, the article asks how “the Sami” and shamanism are made relevant as spiritual or religious categories within popular cultural products, and how (and why) spirituality is being constructed and communicated on a more general level in a time of eco-crisis, where there is a growing global interest in perceived shamanistic and animistic perceptions of the world, nature, and ourselves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sámi Religion: Religious Identities, Practices and Dynamics)
Open AccessArticle
“I Love It When You Play that Holy Ghost Chord”: Sounding Sacramentality in the Black Gospel Tradition
Religions 2020, 11(9), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090452 - 04 Sep 2020
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Abstract
This essay argues that the distinctive aesthetic practices of many African American Christian congregations, indexed by the phrase “the Black gospel tradition”, are shaped by a sacramentality of sound. I contend that the role music routinely plays in the experience of the holy [...] Read more.
This essay argues that the distinctive aesthetic practices of many African American Christian congregations, indexed by the phrase “the Black gospel tradition”, are shaped by a sacramentality of sound. I contend that the role music routinely plays in the experience of the holy uncovers sanctity in the sound itself, enabling it to function as a medium of interworldly exchange. As divine power takes an audible form, the faith that “comes by hearing” is confirmed by religious feeling—both individual and collective. This sacramentality of sound is buttressed by beliefs about the enduring efficacy of divine speech, convictions that motivate the intensive character of gospel’s songs, sermons, and shouts. The essay begins with a worship service from Chicago, Illinois’ Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, an occasion in which the musical accompaniment for holy dancing brought sound’s sacramental function into particularly clear relief. In the essay’s second section, I turn to the live recording of Richard Smallwood’s “Hebrews 11”, a recording that accents the creative power of both divine speech and faithful utterances, showing how reverence for “the word of God” inspires the veneration of musical sound. In the article’s final move, I show how both of the aforementioned performances articulate a sacramental theology of sound—the conviction that sound’s invisible force brings spiritual power to bear on the material world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music: Its Theologies and Spiritualities—A Global Perspective)
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Open AccessArticle
Approaching Spiritual and Existential Care Needs in Health Education: Applying SOPHIE (Self-Exploration through Ontological, Phenomenological, and Humanistic, Ideological, and Existential Expressions), as Practice Methodology
Religions 2020, 11(9), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090451 - 03 Sep 2020
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Abstract
Addressing existential and spiritual care needs, often remains a challenge in health education. Spirituality is a subjective human experience that shapes how individuals make meaning, construct knowledge, develop their own sense of reality, and bring personal and social transformation. To inspire health and [...] Read more.
Addressing existential and spiritual care needs, often remains a challenge in health education. Spirituality is a subjective human experience that shapes how individuals make meaning, construct knowledge, develop their own sense of reality, and bring personal and social transformation. To inspire health and social students at a London based University; learners were engaged into philosophical reasonings associated with the meaning to care. SOPHIE (Self-exploration through Ontological, Phenomenological and Humanistic, Ideological, and Existential expressions)—a reflective practice tool was applied during in-class activities from June 2019–2020. Using SOPHIE as a tool, students were encouraged to explore existential and ontological care aspects by engaging into transformative learning approaches. Participants identified their own existential and spiritual care needs by reflecting on their own meaning making process. SOPHIE enabled resilience and authenticity among learners as a reflexive discourse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Spirituality and Psychology)
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Open AccessArticle
Perspectives on Inclusive Education: Need for Muslim Children’s Literature
Religions 2020, 11(9), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090450 - 03 Sep 2020
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Muslim students and communities in Western sociopolitical and educational contexts confront substantive challenges of racisms, Islamophobia, and under- and misrepresentations in media as well as in literature. Creating a robust repertoire of curricular resources for teaching and learning, teacher development programs, and schooling [...] Read more.
Muslim students and communities in Western sociopolitical and educational contexts confront substantive challenges of racisms, Islamophobia, and under- and misrepresentations in media as well as in literature. Creating a robust repertoire of curricular resources for teaching and learning, teacher development programs, and schooling in general offers a promise of developing classroom practices, which in turn promotes an inclusive discourse that recognizes the unique position and presence of a Muslim child. The present article examines the prospects of developing such a curriculum called Muslim Children’s Literature for inclusive schooling and teacher development programs in the context of public education in Ontario, Canada. It is situated in the larger umbrella of creating specific theory and methodology for education that lend exposure to Muslim cultures and civilizations. Development of such a literature as curricular resources addresses the questions of Muslim identities through curriculum perceptions so as to initiate critical conversations around various educational challenges that the development and dissemination of Muslim curricular resources faces today. I make a case for developing Muslim Children’s Literature to combat the challenges of having limited repertoire to engage with Muslim students in public schools and teacher candidates in teacher development programs. With the description of the necessity of such a literature, this article outlines characteristics of the proposed genre of Muslim Children’s Literature, as well as the unique position of a Muslim child in the current educational scenarios. A brief peek into select fiction on Muslim themes available in English internationally that can be used as curricular resources at elementary and secondary level serves towards reinforcing the definition of Muslim Children’s Literature. Further, these offer a sample that may be promoted under the proposed genre of Muslim Children’s Literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Critical Perspectives on Islamic Education)
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