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Religions, Volume 12, Issue 4 (April 2021) – 61 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Hundreds of wayside crosses (croix de chemin) stand along rural roads across Quebec, cared for by people who live nearby. In the 1970s, the provincial government funded a major survey of the crosses in the wake of Vatican II, which exemplifies how religious objects may be reimagined as national heritage. Drawing on archival survey materials and fieldwork with contemporary cross caretakers, this article shows how both heritage professionals and local caretakers lay claim to "modern" ways of interacting with religious objects, while still associating a cohesive national identity with a Catholic past. More broadly, to understand either perspective, one must trace the convergence of three mid-century trends: Quebecois and other emergent nationalisms, Catholic liberalization, and the rise of an international heritage industry. View this paper
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Article
The Loss of Self-Dignity and Anger among Polish Young Adults: The Moderating Role of Religiosity
Religions 2021, 12(4), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040284 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
Does the way we think or feel about ourselves have an impact on our anger-based reactions? Is the direction and strength of this relationship direct, or affected by other factors as well? Given that there is a lack of research on the loss [...] Read more.
Does the way we think or feel about ourselves have an impact on our anger-based reactions? Is the direction and strength of this relationship direct, or affected by other factors as well? Given that there is a lack of research on the loss of self-dignity and anger, the first aim of the present study consisted in examining whether or not there is a connection between both variables, with particular emphasis on early adulthood. The second purpose was to explore the moderating role of religiosity on the relationship between loss of self-dignity and anger. Methods: Data were gathered from 462 participants aged 18 to 35. The main methods applied were the Questionnaire of Sense of Self-Dignity, Buss–Perry Aggression Questionnaire, and Religious Meaning System Questionnaire. The results show a statistically significant positive correlation between loss of self-dignity and anger, a negative correlation between religiosity and anger, and no significant association between the loss of self-dignity and religiosity. However, all other dimensions of the sense of self-dignity correlated positively with religiosity. Our findings also confirm that the level of anger resulting from the loss of self-dignity is significantly lower as the level of religiosity increases. Such outcomes seem to support the conception that religiosity may act as a protective factor between the risk (loss of self-dignity) and the outcome factor (anger). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health: Antecedents and Consequences)
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Article
Gods and Things: Is “Animism” an Operable Concept in Korea?
Religions 2021, 12(4), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040283 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 811
Abstract
Shamanship is a thing-ish practice. Early missionary observers in Korea noted that features of the landscape, quotidian objects, and specialized paraphernalia figure in the work of shamans (mansin) and in popular religious practice more generally. Subsequent ethnographers observed similar engagements with [...] Read more.
Shamanship is a thing-ish practice. Early missionary observers in Korea noted that features of the landscape, quotidian objects, and specialized paraphernalia figure in the work of shamans (mansin) and in popular religious practice more generally. Subsequent ethnographers observed similar engagements with numinous things, from mountains to painted images, things vested with the presence of soul stuff (yŏng). Should this be considered “animism” as the term is being rethought in anthropological discourse today? Should we consider shamanic materiality in Korea as one more ontological challenge to the nature/culture divide? Drawing on existing ethnography and her own fieldwork, the author examines the (far from uniform) premises that govern the deployment of material things in Korean shaman practice. She argues that while the question of “animism” opens a deeper inquiry into things that have been described but not well-analyzed, the term must be used with clarity, precision, and caution. Most of the material she describes becomes sacred through acts of human agency, revealing an ontology of mobile, mutable spirits who are inducted into or appropriate objects. Some of these things are quotidian, some produced for religious use, and even the presence of gods in landscapes can be affected by human agency. These qualities enable the adaptability of shaman practices in a much transformed and highly commercialized South Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art, Shamanism and Animism)
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Article
The Role of Non-Adaptive Design Doctrine in Evolutionary Thought
Religions 2021, 12(4), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040282 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was, to a certain extent, influenced and shaped by external factors, including the milieu of ideas in the early-nineteenth century, regarding how the natural world should be understood. Therefore, these ideas and their influences have received considerable attention. [...] Read more.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was, to a certain extent, influenced and shaped by external factors, including the milieu of ideas in the early-nineteenth century, regarding how the natural world should be understood. Therefore, these ideas and their influences have received considerable attention. The role of non-adaptive design ideas, however, has not been fully explored. In particular, Darwin’s requirement and rejection of the religious doctrines of adaptive and non-adaptive design, respectively, are important and often unappreciated. Here, I analyze these ideas and how they influenced Darwin’s theory of evolution. I find they played an important role in both his theory development and justification, revealing a core theological belief in Darwin’s theory; namely, that the creator would not create non-adaptive designs. This paper explores this belief and its context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christianity and Science: Fresh Perspectives)
Article
Connections of Maghrebin and Sub-Saharan Intellectuals: Trajectories and Representations
Religions 2021, 12(4), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040281 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Faced with the complex reality of their countries in the grip of multifaceted crises, the intellectuals in the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa are baffled. Indeed, this situation, with a wealth of lessons, ought to challenge them to reflect together on the current upheavals [...] Read more.
Faced with the complex reality of their countries in the grip of multifaceted crises, the intellectuals in the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa are baffled. Indeed, this situation, with a wealth of lessons, ought to challenge them to reflect together on the current upheavals in their societies. Nevertheless, faced with the intricacy of current problems and their heterogeneity, these intellectuals find themselves scattered. Yet, in the past, they were bound by the same objectives. Thus, if the religious elites of the Maghreb had, during the 15th century, forged links with scholars of sub-Saharan Africa, a second wave of intellectuals succeeded them to think about the liberation of Africa and the Pan-African ideal in colonial and post-colonial contexts. However, immediately after this generation disappeared, the one that followed did not resist the disenchantment of the populations and the expansion of Arabism that influenced the formation of a generation of Maghrebin thinkers. With the bankruptcy of the socialist regimes, this hiatus heralded an era of intellectuals crumbling to the point that, with globalisation in the 21st century and the eruption of a plurality of questions, they found themselves helpless in these countries. Apart from a few attempts at building common frameworks for reflection such as those of CODESRIA or the “Esprit Panaf” pavilion at the Algiers International Book Fair, links between intellectuals from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa are rare. Opposed to this type of scholars, mainly Francophone and secularised, a second type of intellectuals, rather Islamised, sharing the same representations, dominate the different spaces of the countries concerned. This paper is an attempt to explore the historical trajectory of these two types of intellectuals and then explain why, in recent decades, such a connection has marked the future of the relationship between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Africa, Globalization and the Muslim Worlds)
Article
A Divine Rebellion: Indigenous Sacraments among Global “Lamanites”
Religions 2021, 12(4), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040280 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 795
Abstract
This essay engages with some of the experiences and metaphysics of Indigenous peoples who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism/LDS/the Church) by responding to their structural construction as “Lamanites”. Lamanites have been interpreted within Mormonism to be [...] Read more.
This essay engages with some of the experiences and metaphysics of Indigenous peoples who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism/LDS/the Church) by responding to their structural construction as “Lamanites”. Lamanites have been interpreted within Mormonism to be ancestors of various global Indigenous peoples of the “Americas” and “Polynesia”. This essay reveals how contemporary Indigenous agency by presumed descendants of the Lamanites, who embrace both an Indigenous and a Mormon identity, shifts the cosmology of the Church. Interpretations of TheBook of Mormon that empower contemporary Indigenous agency paradoxically materialize a divinely inspired cultural rebellion within the Church itself. However, this tension that is mediated by Lamanites in the Church is not framed as an exclusive response to the Church itself but, rather, to a larger global hegemony of coloniality to which the Church is subject. These Lamanite worldviews can be understood as a process of restoring ancestral Indigenous sacraments (rituals) through Mormon paradigms, which are found and nurtured in the cracks and fissures of both the material and ontological infrastructure of Mormonism’s dominant paradigm. When Indigenous Mormons assert autonomous authorship of their own cosmogony and metaphysics, the Church beliefs of restoring a ‘primitive Christian church’ and ‘becoming Gods’ is creatively transformed into a more relevant and liberating possibility here and now. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Globalizing Mormonism)
Article
Silent Accord: Qi 契 as a Metaphor for Enlightenment and Transmission in Chan Buddhist Discourse
Religions 2021, 12(4), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040279 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 640
Abstract
In this paper, we explore the historical background and the semantic underpinnings of a central, if marginally treated, metaphor of enlightenment and transmission in Chan discourse, “silent accord” 默契. It features centrally in Essentials of the Transmission of Mind 傳心法要, a text that [...] Read more.
In this paper, we explore the historical background and the semantic underpinnings of a central, if marginally treated, metaphor of enlightenment and transmission in Chan discourse, “silent accord” 默契. It features centrally in Essentials of the Transmission of Mind 傳心法要, a text that gathers the teachings of Chan master Huangbo Xiyun (d. ca. 850), a major Tang dynasty figure. “Silent accord” is related to the concept of mind-to-mind transmission, which lies at the very core of Chan Buddhist self-understanding. However, Chan historiography has shown that this self-understanding was partially a product of the Song dynasty lineage records, historically retroactive syncretic constructs produced by monks and literati as efforts towards doctrinal and political recognition and orthodoxy. There are thus lacunae in the history of Chan thought opened up by the retrospective fictions of Song dynasty, and a lack of reliable, dateable documents from the preceding Tang dynasty era, possibly fraught with later additions. We situate the metaphor “silent accord” in the history of Chan thought by searching for its origins, mapping its functions in Chan literature, arguing for its influence and thereby its role in helping to bridge the ninth century gap. Full article
Article
The Hybrid Researcher: Entering the Field, Ethnography and Research among Dutch Muslim Women from 2009 to 2019
Religions 2021, 12(4), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040278 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
This paper focuses on ethnography among Dutch Muslim women who chose to practice Islam (whether they were born Muslim, known as ‘Newly practicing Muslims,’ or they chose to convert, known as ‘New Muslims’), which is often considered by the native Dutch population as [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on ethnography among Dutch Muslim women who chose to practice Islam (whether they were born Muslim, known as ‘Newly practicing Muslims,’ or they chose to convert, known as ‘New Muslims’), which is often considered by the native Dutch population as a religion oppressive to women. This paper is part of a larger project that seeks to understand how these Dutch Muslim women build their identity in a way that it is both Dutch and Muslim, whether or not they mix Dutch parameters in their Muslim identity, while at the same time intersplicing Islamic principles in their Dutch senses of self. This study is based on an annual ethnography conducted in the city of Amsterdam from September 2009 to October 2019, that combines insights taken from in-depth interviews with Dutch Muslimas, observations in gatherings for Quranic and Religious studies, observations in a mosque located in a block of neighborhoods with a high percentage of immigrant and Muslim populations, and one-time events occurring during special times (i.e., Ramadan, the summer, Christmas, and the Burka Ban). This paper has a special focus on the ethnography and the positionality of the author as a researcher who is both an insider and outsider in this specific field and her subjective experiences that could be methodologically relevant for other scholars and ethnographers. This paper will explore the techniques that helped the author enter the field, collect data for this ethnography and the construction of knowledge in this specific field, including the insider–outsider axis, code switching, emotions and assumptions in the field and positionality, which will all be explained in detail. This paper takes the reader on the journey of entering the field and shows them the various techniques that were used to enter the field in order to build report and trust between the researcher and the participants in this study. Full article
Article
Is an Integrative Model of Neurotheology Possible?
Religions 2021, 12(4), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040277 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 664
Abstract
This article examines the basic and dialogical models of neurotheology and suggests a third model based on the work of Aldous Huxley. In other words, this proposal is not limited to understanding this discipline as a mere pursuit of neural correlates or as [...] Read more.
This article examines the basic and dialogical models of neurotheology and suggests a third model based on the work of Aldous Huxley. In other words, this proposal is not limited to understanding this discipline as a mere pursuit of neural correlates or as a dialogue between neuroscience and theology. Instead, it is the search for an integrative understanding of religious experiences in which the study of neuronal correlates is only one of the multilevels to be integrated within the framework of a plural and conveniently articulated explanation of such phenomena. This model, which we call integrative neurotheology, hopes to achieve knowledge of religious experiences that includes a comprehensive range of disciplines. In order to update and give argumentative consistency to this model, we will use philosopher Sandra D. Mitchell’s theory of integrative pluralism, which is a more epistemologically refined expression of Huxley’s intuitions. We conclude that a comprehensive model is feasible although we are aware that this article cannot give answers to all the difficulties that this model possesses. Nevertheless, we expect to open up a new pathway in the studies of religious experience. Full article
Article
Recovering the Irrecoverable: Blackness, Melancholy, and Duplicities That Bind
Religions 2021, 12(4), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040276 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 591
Abstract
In this article, I critically engage Stephen Best’s provocative text, None Like Us. The article agrees with Best’s general concerns regarding longings for a unified black community or a We before the collective crime of slavery. Yet I contend that melancholy, which Best [...] Read more.
In this article, I critically engage Stephen Best’s provocative text, None Like Us. The article agrees with Best’s general concerns regarding longings for a unified black community or a We before the collective crime of slavery. Yet I contend that melancholy, which Best associates with black studies’ desire to recover a lost object, can be read in a different direction, one that includes both attachment and wound, investment and dissolution. To think with and against Best, I examine Spike Lee’s School Daze in conversation with Freud, Benjamin, and Morrison. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Slave Religion: Histories and Horizons)
Article
Robots, Extinction, and Salvation: On Altruism in Human–Posthuman Interactions
Religions 2021, 12(4), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040275 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 907
Abstract
Posthumanism and transhumanism are philosophies that envision possible relations between humans and posthumans. Critical versions of posthumanism and transhumanism examine the idea of potential threats involved in human–posthuman interactions (i.e., species extinction, species domination, AI takeover) and propose precautionary measures against these threats [...] Read more.
Posthumanism and transhumanism are philosophies that envision possible relations between humans and posthumans. Critical versions of posthumanism and transhumanism examine the idea of potential threats involved in human–posthuman interactions (i.e., species extinction, species domination, AI takeover) and propose precautionary measures against these threats by elaborating protocols for the prosocial use of technology. Critics of these philosophies usually argue against the reality of the threats or dispute the feasibility of the proposed measures. We take this debate back to its modern roots. The play that gave the world the term “robot” (R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots) is nowadays remembered mostly as a particular instance of an absurd apocalyptic vision about the doom of the human species through technology. However, we demonstrate that Karel Čapek assumed that a negative interpretation of human–posthuman interactions emerges mainly from the human inability to think clearly about extinction, spirituality, and technology. We propose that the conflictual interpretation of human–posthuman interactions can be overcome by embracing Čapek’s religiously and philosophically-inspired theory of altruism remediated by technology. We argue that this reinterpretation of altruism may strengthen the case for a more positive outlook on human–posthuman interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue AI and Religion)
Article
When the Gap between Academic Theology and the Church Makes Possible the Orthodox–Evangelical Dialogue
Religions 2021, 12(4), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040274 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
In the church tradition, we find that the great theologians were also deeply involved in the life of the church as bishops, priests, or pastors who served the believers in their parishes, though, even at that time, practicing theology started to drift apart [...] Read more.
In the church tradition, we find that the great theologians were also deeply involved in the life of the church as bishops, priests, or pastors who served the believers in their parishes, though, even at that time, practicing theology started to drift apart from performing pastoral work. In Modernity, however, things began to change radically, especially with the development of theology as an academic discipline and even more so with the development of the profession of the theologian specializing in religious studies. This phenomenon penetrated Protestant churches in particular, but it is also found in Orthodoxy. In this study, we advance the hypothesis that, despite its negative connotation, the gap between academic theology and church life opens up the possibility of a promising dialogue between Evangelicals and the Orthodox in Romania. Especially in the last 30 years, theologians from both communities have interacted in the context of doctoral research, scientific conferences, and research projects, although the dialogue between church leaders and hierarchs is almost non-existent. We analyze whether this incipient theological dialogue could possibly create a bridge between the two communities and within them and between academia and the church. We believe that one of the best ways to reduce the distance between them is to build on the interest of the current generation of theologians from both churches in Biblical studies, in Patristic theology, and in the work of the Romanian theologian Dumitru Stăniloae. Full article
Article
Ensuring Individual Rights through Institutional Freedoms: The Role of Religious Institutions in Securing Religious Rights
Religions 2021, 12(4), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040273 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 913
Abstract
Understanding the restrictions placed on religious institutions and associations, or the freedoms that they are denied, is essential for understanding the limits placed on individual religious freedoms and human rights more generally. This study uses the Religion and State round 3 (RAS3) dataset [...] Read more.
Understanding the restrictions placed on religious institutions and associations, or the freedoms that they are denied, is essential for understanding the limits placed on individual religious freedoms and human rights more generally. This study uses the Religion and State round 3 (RAS3) dataset to track restrictions faced by religious organizations and individuals between 1990 and 2014 and explores how reduced institutional freedoms results in fewer individual freedoms. We find that restrictions on both institutional and individual religious freedoms are common and rising. Restrictions on institutional religious freedom are harsher against religious minorities than restrictions on individual freedoms. However, against the majority religion, restrictions on individual religious freedoms are harsher. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freedom of Religious Institutions in Society)
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Article
A Systematic Literature Review of Populism, Religion and Emotions
Religions 2021, 12(4), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040272 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2223
Abstract
This paper examines the existing literature on the relationship between religion and populism, and is intended as a starting point for further examination of the relationships between populism, religion, and emotions. This paper systematically reviews the various aspects of the populist phenomenon. After [...] Read more.
This paper examines the existing literature on the relationship between religion and populism, and is intended as a starting point for further examination of the relationships between populism, religion, and emotions. This paper systematically reviews the various aspects of the populist phenomenon. After a discussion on different definitions of populism, this paper looks at how the literature discusses the causes of populism, mainly socio-economic factors and emotive factors. Then it discusses how religion and populism interact and can be divided in two broad categories of religious populism and identitarian populism. While, on the surface, the two share similarities, this paper reviews populist manifestations across the world to draw the distinct features between the two forms. Lastly, while pointing out the salient features of religious populism and identitarian populism, this study points out gaps in the research on the relationship between religious populism and other phenomena such as transnational populism, the psychology of populism, the role of emotions in creating support for populism, and populism in Western and non-Western contexts for future areas of research in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Populist Performances and Religion in Global Perspective)
Editorial
Catholicism and European Politics: Introducing Contemporary Dynamics
Religions 2021, 12(4), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040271 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 741
Abstract
Recent research on political Catholicism in Europe has sought to theorize the ways in which Catholic politics, including Catholic political parties, political ideals, and political entrepreneurs, have survived and navigated in a post-secular political environment [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicism and European Politics)
Article
The Gender of God’s Gifts—Dividual Personhood, Spirits and the Statue of Mother Mary in a Sepik Society, Papua New Guinea
Religions 2021, 12(4), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040270 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 813
Abstract
A Sepik myth tells of a time in which women were in charge of powerful spirits before jealous men reversed the gender roles by force. Today, the men of Timbunmeli (Nyaura, West Iatmul) have lost control over spirits who have started to act [...] Read more.
A Sepik myth tells of a time in which women were in charge of powerful spirits before jealous men reversed the gender roles by force. Today, the men of Timbunmeli (Nyaura, West Iatmul) have lost control over spirits who have started to act through female bodies. Christian charismatic rituals hint at mythical times, and remind villagers that women are the original custodians of spirits now understood as being spirits of God. While previously, male bodies represented spirits in shamanic rituals and through male ritual regalia, now women are the predominant recipients of God’s gifts. This paper analyzes the current religious practices as onto-praxis in relation to the local concept of personhood and the relational ontology informing the Nyaura’s lifeworld. Building on Strathern, Bird-David, and Gell’s theories about the personhood of humans and things from an anthropology of ontology perspective and adding a gender perspective to the discussion, this paper argues that dividuality put into practice has not only informed the way the Nyaura have made charismatic Christianity their own, but is also central for understanding current events impacting gender relations in which material objects representing spirits play a crucial role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art, Shamanism and Animism)
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Article
The Constitutionalization of the Civil State: The Self-Definition of Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen Following the Arab Uprisings
Religions 2021, 12(4), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040269 - 13 Apr 2021
Viewed by 879
Abstract
This paper offers a contextualized analysis of the way in which three Islamic constitutions—in Egypt (2014/2019), Tunisia (2014), and Yemen (2015)—came to a similar self-declaration of a “civil state” (dawla madaniyya), following the Arab uprisings. This self-expressive proclamation, which did not exist in [...] Read more.
This paper offers a contextualized analysis of the way in which three Islamic constitutions—in Egypt (2014/2019), Tunisia (2014), and Yemen (2015)—came to a similar self-declaration of a “civil state” (dawla madaniyya), following the Arab uprisings. This self-expressive proclamation, which did not exist in their former constitutions, nor in any other constitution worldwide, is the product of the ongoing internal struggles of Muslim societies over the definition of their collectivity between conservatism and modernity, religiosity and secularism. In Egypt, the self-definition of a civil state enshrines the one-sided narrative of the June 2013 coup regime and the Armed Forces’ intrusive move into the field of state–religion relations; in Tunisia, the constitutionalization of the civil state reflects a settlement between Islamists and non-Islamists regarding the role of Islam in politics and legislation; in Yemen, it expresses an aspiration of detribalization and modernization within an Islamic model of statehood. The paper further seeks to trace the path of migration of this idea from one country to another, and the interconnectedness between the three cases, while pointing out possible implications on future constitution making in other Muslim countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamic Constitutions: Managing Religion and Politics)
Article
The Thomistic Dissolution of the Logical Problem of Evil
Religions 2021, 12(4), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040268 - 13 Apr 2021
Viewed by 5340
Abstract
In his book ‘Is a Good God Logically Possible?’, James Sterba argues that the existence of much of the evil to be found in the world is logically incompatible with the existence of God. I defend the Thomistic view that when one properly [...] Read more.
In his book ‘Is a Good God Logically Possible?’, James Sterba argues that the existence of much of the evil to be found in the world is logically incompatible with the existence of God. I defend the Thomistic view that when one properly understands the nature of God and of his relationship to the world, this so-called logical problem of evil does not arise. While Sterba has responded to the version of the Thomistic position presented by Brian Davies, I argue that his response fails. Full article
Article
Dies Irae?” The Role of Religiosity in Dealing with Psychological Problems Caused by The COVID-19 Pandemic—Studies on a Polish Sample
Religions 2021, 12(4), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040267 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1161
Abstract
Based on Huber’s centrality of religiosity concept, a non-experimental research project was designed in a group of 178 women and 72 men, voluntary participants in online studies, quarantined at home during the first weeks (the first wave) of the pandemic, to determine whether [...] Read more.
Based on Huber’s centrality of religiosity concept, a non-experimental research project was designed in a group of 178 women and 72 men, voluntary participants in online studies, quarantined at home during the first weeks (the first wave) of the pandemic, to determine whether and to what extent religiosity, understood as a multidimensional construct, was a predictor of the worsening of PTSD and depression symptoms in the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study made use of CRS Huber’s scale to study the centrality of religiosity, Spitzer’s PHQ-9 to determine the severity of depression, and Weiss and Marmar’s IES-R to measure the symptoms of PTSD. Our study, which provided interesting and non-obvious insights into the relationship between the studied variables, did not fully explain the protective nature of religiosity in dealing with pandemic stress. Out of five components of religiosity understood in accordance with Huber’s concept (interest in religious issues, religious beliefs, prayer, religious experience, and cult), two turned out to contribute to modifications in the severity of psychopathological reactions of the respondents to stress caused by the pandemic during its first wave. A protective role was played by prayer, which inhibited the worsening of PTSD symptoms, whereas religious experience aggravated them. This means that in order to interpret the effect of religiosity on the mental functioning of the respondents in a time of crisis (the COVID-19 pandemic), we should not try to explain this effect in a simple and linear way, because religious life may not only bring security and solace, but also be a source of stress and an inner struggle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health: Antecedents and Consequences)
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Article
God and the Playpen: On the Feasibility of Morally Better Worlds
Religions 2021, 12(4), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040266 - 12 Apr 2021
Viewed by 873
Abstract
According to the free will defense, God cannot create a world with free creatures, and hence a world with moral goodness, without allowing for the possibility of evil. David Lewis points out that any free will defense must address the “playpen problem”: why [...] Read more.
According to the free will defense, God cannot create a world with free creatures, and hence a world with moral goodness, without allowing for the possibility of evil. David Lewis points out that any free will defense must address the “playpen problem”: why didn’t God allow creatures the freedom required for moral goodness, while intervening to ensure that all evil-doing is victimless? More recently, James Sterba has revived the playpen problem by arguing that an omnipotent and benevolent God would have intervened to prevent significant and especially horrendous evil. I argue that it is possible, at least, that such divine intervention would have backfired, and that any attempt to create a world that is morally better than this one would have resulted in a world that is morally worse. I conclude that the atheologian should instead attack the free will defense at its roots: either by denying that the predetermination of our actions is incompatible with our freely per-forming them, or by denying that the actual world—a world with both moral good and evil—is more valuable than a world without any freedom at all. Full article
Article
The Maternité Anglaise: A Lasting Legacy of the Friends’ War Victims’ Relief Committee to the People of France during the First World War (1914–1918)
Religions 2021, 12(4), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040265 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 568
Abstract
After the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, the British government’s call to arms caused a moral and religious dilemma for members of the Religious Society of Friends (Friends or Quakers), whose fundamental principle was (and is) the rejection of war and [...] Read more.
After the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, the British government’s call to arms caused a moral and religious dilemma for members of the Religious Society of Friends (Friends or Quakers), whose fundamental principle was (and is) the rejection of war and violence. Many Friends sought means of reconciling their duty to God with their duty to their country, and the prospect of helping to alleviate the suffering of the civilian victims of the fighting provided them with an acceptable alternative. Together with fellow Friend T. Edmund Harvey MP, Dr Hilda Clark set about rallying the support of Friends and sympathisers willing to go out to France to administer humanitarian aid to non-combatants. The committee adopted the name used by the distinguished organisation that had administered relief in the Franco-Prussian War—the Friends’ War Victims’ Relief Committee (FWVRC). Extensive and multifaceted aid work was carried out in much of northern France by the FWVRC’s general relief team. The following essay, however, examines more closely the medical assistance provided under the leadership of Hilda Clark. In particular, it focuses on the maternity hospital created and run by the FWVRC in Châlons-sur-Marne, which became a lasting legacy of the Friends to the people of the Marne. Full article
Article
Shall We Dance? Defining Sexuality and Controlling the Body in Contemporary Indonesia
Religions 2021, 12(4), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040264 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1622
Abstract
This article examines how Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, came to define sexuality for its general population once intimacy was brought into the public sphere. However, its Islamic version had predominantly been based on interpretations pushed by politically hardline Islamist groups. The influence [...] Read more.
This article examines how Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, came to define sexuality for its general population once intimacy was brought into the public sphere. However, its Islamic version had predominantly been based on interpretations pushed by politically hardline Islamist groups. The influence of this lobby (to be referred to as belonging to the stream of ‘conservative Islam’) grew steadily after the downfall of the Suharto regime in 1998 and culminated in the passage of an antipornography law ten years later. Focusing on the definitions of sexuality and pornography forwarded by these groups, this article analyses their limitations as well as the power contestations behind the passage of the antipornography legislation. It argues that such narrow interpretations of sexuality have had a marked impact on the nation, in particular the curtailment of its popular culture and creative industry. This has resulted in the arbitrary persecution and banning of cultural products considered to violate Islamic morality and propriety. The condemnation of dangdut singer Inul Daratista, and her ‘drill dance’, is one of many examples of such suppression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marriage, Intimacy, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia)
Essay
Following the Footsteps of John Polkinghorne: In Search of Divine Action in the World
Religions 2021, 12(4), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040263 - 09 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 698
Abstract
John Polkinghorne was, undoubtedly, one of the most influential authors in the dialogue between science and religion. His attitude is characterized by a focus on the concept of kenosis in response to the ontological orientation of process philosophy and theology. God’s omnipotence implies [...] Read more.
John Polkinghorne was, undoubtedly, one of the most influential authors in the dialogue between science and religion. His attitude is characterized by a focus on the concept of kenosis in response to the ontological orientation of process philosophy and theology. God’s omnipotence implies the possibility that God created the universe as an evolutionary and autonomous world, which is not predetermined but has been created for openness. According to Polkinghorne, the position of this openness may be in the uncertainty associated with the world of quantum and chaotic phenomena. God’s self-limitation of his own omnipotence can thus be understood as an effort to respect the autonomy of natural processes and human freedom. Such an image of God is compatible with the current state of scientific knowledge, which itself becomes the starting point for thinking about God and his relationship to the world. Thus, despite the problems of some parts of its concept, Polkinghorne creates a comprehensive integrative approach to the dialogue between science and religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Influence of Religions on Culture and Science)
Article
Being True
Religions 2021, 12(4), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040262 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 664
Abstract
Turning to Karl Jaspers’s 1937 lectures, later published as Philosophy of Existence, this paper examines what might be meant by the colloquial expression “spiritual but not religious”. In doing so, it is argued that while Jaspers’s critique of organized religion mostly hits [...] Read more.
Turning to Karl Jaspers’s 1937 lectures, later published as Philosophy of Existence, this paper examines what might be meant by the colloquial expression “spiritual but not religious”. In doing so, it is argued that while Jaspers’s critique of organized religion mostly hits the mark, critiques of religion—as represented here by Jaspers’s Existenzphilosophie—fail to undermine a form of genuine spirituality grounded in a faith in the revealed Christ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenology, Spirituality, and Religion)
Article
Online Live-Stream Broadcasting of the Holy Mass during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Poland as an Example of the Mediatisation of Religion: Empirical Studies in the Field of Mass Media Studies and Pastoral Theology
Religions 2021, 12(4), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040261 - 08 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1886
Abstract
The main aim of the paper is to discuss the scale and nature of the practice of transmitting Holy Mass by parishes of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland through online live-streaming in spring 2020. The authors analyse these issues in a multifaceted [...] Read more.
The main aim of the paper is to discuss the scale and nature of the practice of transmitting Holy Mass by parishes of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland through online live-streaming in spring 2020. The authors analyse these issues in a multifaceted and interdisciplinary way, mainly within the framework of communication and media studies and theology. The methodology of the paper combines practical theology (its four stages: “see-judge-act-review”), scientific methods applicable to social studies (especially social communication and media studies and sociological studies), and the technical aspect of communication activities (in the form of live video streaming) performed by parishes on the Internet. As it turns out, 40.8% of Polish parishes carried out online Mass broadcasts. In most cases, the main sources of broadcast signal were YouTube (18.9%) and Facebook (18.7%), while less than 5% of the parishes conducted technically independent broadcasts. The research showed a statistically significant correlation between online Mass broadcasting and the region of Poland. There was a statistically significant difference between the parish size and Mass broadcasting—the larger the parish, the more often such activities were performed; a similar correlation was observed between urban and rural parishes. Research has shown that in the dioceses where bishops directly encouraged parish priests to broadcast from their parishes, the average percentage of broadcasts was higher (46%) than in those in which there were no such incentives (38%). There was a statistically significant relationship between having a website and conducting online Mass broadcasting. Similarly, there was a statistically significant relationship between the type of parish (conventual–diocesan) and online Mass broadcasting. Conventual parishes did this much more often than diocesan ones (68.6% and 38.9% respectively). Full article
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Article
Everything but the Squeal: The Politics of Porcinity in the Livre des Propriétés des Choses
Religions 2021, 12(4), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040260 - 08 Apr 2021
Viewed by 862
Abstract
Mediaeval encyclopaedias described nonhuman animals in terms of their corporeality and cosmic significance by combining zoological and theological knowledge. Such descriptions were therefore prescriptions of normative parameters for how animals were supposed to function within Christian society, rather than objective observations. As mediaeval [...] Read more.
Mediaeval encyclopaedias described nonhuman animals in terms of their corporeality and cosmic significance by combining zoological and theological knowledge. Such descriptions were therefore prescriptions of normative parameters for how animals were supposed to function within Christian society, rather than objective observations. As mediaeval conceptualisations of species were highly malleable, particular animals that shared no biological relation could be considered kin, and animals who behaved against their prescribed nature could become a different animal altogether. This paper investigates how several species were implicated in the mediaeval invention of what it meant to be (like) a pig. My counter-hegemonic reading of the Livre des propriétés des choses, a fifteenth-century French encyclopaedia, draws attention to how late mediaeval Christian scripts of porcinity simultaneously defined the nonhumanity of pigs and of ‘other’ humans. These render the idea of the pig inseparable from what it meant to be human. I contend that the Livre des propriétés des choses employs discourses of porcinity to self-define and -stabilise particular notions of human identity by debasing and othering human and nonhuman animals with seemingly porcine traits. Additionally, I underline how such fabrications of humanity are often mired in practices that devaluate and harm real animals, including other humans. Mediaeval studies need to further address the crucial roles of animal suffering in human history. This way, historians can add valuable insights to present debates about anthropocentrism and its devastating socio-ecological consequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and the Religious Imagination)
Article
Religious Heritage and Nation in Post-Vatican II Catholicism: A View from Quebec
Religions 2021, 12(4), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040259 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 753
Abstract
With Quebec’s croix de chemin (wayside crosses) as a jumping off point, I explore the importance of heritage creation as the province transitioned away from pre-Vatican II Catholicism in the 1960s and 1970s. I include two ‘sites of memory’: fieldwork with contemporary cross [...] Read more.
With Quebec’s croix de chemin (wayside crosses) as a jumping off point, I explore the importance of heritage creation as the province transitioned away from pre-Vatican II Catholicism in the 1960s and 1970s. I include two ‘sites of memory’: fieldwork with contemporary cross caretakers and archival materials from a major government-funded inventory of the crosses in the 1970s. Heritage professionals have generally implied that Catholic objects lose their sacred meaning to become objects of nation-building, while caretakers view them as still-active objects of devotional labour. Regardless, I find that both parties view themselves as laying claim to “modern” ways of interacting with religious objects, while also assuming that a cohesive national identity rests in part on promoting a rural Catholic past. More broadly, I argue that neither side can be fully understood without attention to the convergence of three trends in the 1960s and 1970s: Quebecois and other emergent nationalisms, Catholic liberalization, and the rise of an international heritage industry. Full article
Article
Navigating Religion Online: Jewish and Muslim Responses to Social Media
Religions 2021, 12(4), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040258 - 07 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1154
Abstract
Although social media use among religious communities is proliferating, significant gaps remain in our understanding of how religious minorities perceive social media in relation to their faith and community. Thus, we ask how individuals use religion to frame moral attitudes around social media [...] Read more.
Although social media use among religious communities is proliferating, significant gaps remain in our understanding of how religious minorities perceive social media in relation to their faith and community. Thus, we ask how individuals use religion to frame moral attitudes around social media for Jews and Muslims. Specifically, how does social media shape understandings of community? We analyze 52 interviews with Jews and Muslims sampled from Houston and Chicago. We find that Jews and Muslims view social media as a “double-edged sword”—providing opportunities to expand intracommunal ties and access to religious resources, while also diluting the quality of ties and increasing exposure to religious distractions. These findings help us understand what it is about being a religious minority in the US that might shape how individuals engage with social media. Moreover, they suggest that social media may be transforming faith communities in less embodied ways, a topic that is of particular relevance in our pandemic times. Full article
Editorial
Religion and Theatrical Drama, an Introduction
Religions 2021, 12(4), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040257 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Often, a lonely light bulb illuminates the edge of a stage outside of working hours [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Theatrical Drama)
Article
Animals in Saami Shamanism: Power Animals, Symbols of Art, and Offerings
Religions 2021, 12(4), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040256 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1267
Abstract
In this paper, we study the role of power animals in contemporary Saami shamanism and how past and present are entwined in the presentation of power animals. In the old Saami worldviews, in addition to animals, spirits and sacred rocks (sieidi, [...] Read more.
In this paper, we study the role of power animals in contemporary Saami shamanism and how past and present are entwined in the presentation of power animals. In the old Saami worldviews, in addition to animals, spirits and sacred rocks (sieidi, SaaN) were also considered to be able to interact with people. Animals were an important part of offering rituals because livelihood and rituals were intertwined. Past “religions” are used as an inspiration for contemporary shamanistic practices, in line with one of late modernity’s core concepts, namely creativity. Present-day shamanistic practices can be described as ritual creativity, and they combine traces of old and new ritual activities. At the shamanistic festival Isogaisa, organized in northern Norway, these different roles of animals and ritual creativity become evident. Here, animals appear as spirit animals, as well as decorative elements on drums and clothes and as performance. In this paper, we combine material culture studies, interview data, and participatory observations in order to reflect the meanings and use of power animals in contemporary spiritual practices. How are traces of the past used in creating contemporary spirituality? How are animals and their artistic presentations entangled in contemporary shamanism? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art, Shamanism and Animism)
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Article
Public Moral Discourse
Religions 2021, 12(4), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12040255 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Public moral discourse encompasses open discussions in which moral concepts of good and right are brought to bear on questions of public policy and on broader issues of basic rights and the goals and rules that guide social institutions. These public questions also [...] Read more.
Public moral discourse encompasses open discussions in which moral concepts of good and right are brought to bear on questions of public policy and on broader issues of basic rights and the goals and rules that guide social institutions. These public questions also raise practical, apologetic, and political concerns that are central to Christian ethics and moral theology. Public discourse frames legal and political understandings of religious freedom, and Christian ethics has a practical interest in ensuring that these choices do not limit Christian worship and formation or unduly restrict the institutional life of the church. Public discourse also engages apologetic theology in a moral task because the questions raised in public discourse involve conceptions of human good, human nature, and human community that have been discussed in Christian theology across the centuries. Christians have a distinctive understanding of persons in society that they hope to make effective, or at least to make understood, in a wider public discussion. Finally, public moral discourse gives rise to a moral responsibility for Christian participation in politics to create a public consensus on the creation of shared human goods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Provinces of Moral Theology and Religious Ethics)
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