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Religions, Volume 12, Issue 6 (June 2021) – 85 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): A text-historical perspective on the Buddhist scheme of three types of wisdom, acquired respectively by hearing, reflecting, and cultivating, shows that a bare listing in the earliest textual strata has led to somewhat differing perspectives in later exegesis of the Theravāda and Sarvāstivāda traditions, the former apparently being influenced by what appears to be an error in oral transmission. The more convincing position taken in Sarvāstivāda exegesis sees these three types of wisdom as interrelated activities that can rely on mindfulness, thereby testifying to the flexibility and broad compass of mindfulness in Buddhist thought as something not limited to a rigid division between theory and practice. View this paper
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Article
Religious and Spiritual Trends among Female Students of Different Ethnic Origins and Fields of Study at a Secular Academic College in Israel
Religions 2021, 12(6), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060453 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
The current study examined trends regarding religion and spirituality among Jewish and Bedouin female students studying education and sciences at Achva Academic College, a rural secular college in southern Israel. The Bedouin women all originated from an isolationist traditional society, vigilantly maintained over [...] Read more.
The current study examined trends regarding religion and spirituality among Jewish and Bedouin female students studying education and sciences at Achva Academic College, a rural secular college in southern Israel. The Bedouin women all originated from an isolationist traditional society, vigilantly maintained over many years. Contrastingly, the Jewish women come from a secular or traditional society, which is not isolationist. Science and education are two completely different worlds of content. Science studies include analytical research, with the students carrying out experiments in laboratories and within the community, whereas education studies focus on pedagogy and transfer of knowledge. The study employed a questionnaire with Likert items regarding religion and spirituality. We found the Bedouin students were more religious than the Jewish ones, but spirituality levels were similar. This finding indicated that the Bedouin students have indeed broken down the barriers to academic education, but still have retained their traditional community framework. Likewise, we found that the students of science were less observant of religious practices in comparison to those studying education, but they were similar regarding spirituality and the theoretical aspects of religion. This finding showed that practical aspects of religion can be a factor influencing the choice of field of study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Heritage and Spiritual Healing)
Article
Jesus “The Way” According to Origen and Marcellus: Confronting Two Patristic Traditions
Religions 2021, 12(6), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060452 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
The article aims to examine and compare the evangelic title of Jesus the Way (John 14:6) in two Christian authors who belonged to two opposing theological traditions, namely, Origen of Alexandria and Marcellus of Ancyra. This comparison, based on original texts, aims not [...] Read more.
The article aims to examine and compare the evangelic title of Jesus the Way (John 14:6) in two Christian authors who belonged to two opposing theological traditions, namely, Origen of Alexandria and Marcellus of Ancyra. This comparison, based on original texts, aims not only to show the differences between these two patristic traditions, but rather to identify some common traits that belong to the core of Christian faith. Thus, Origen of Alexandria and Marcellus of Ancyra, two very dissimilar Christian authors, were of the same mind in confessing that only if the Son of God became fully human, could he be the Way for humankind towards the Father. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jesus and Spirituality: In Biblical and Historical Perspective)
Article
Michael O’Brien’s Theological Aesthetics
Religions 2021, 12(6), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060451 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 705
Abstract
This essay introduces and examines aspects of the theological aesthetics of contemporary Canadian artist, Michael D. O’Brien (1948–). It also considers how his philosophy of the arts informs understandings of the Catholic imagination. In so doing, it focuses on his view that prayer [...] Read more.
This essay introduces and examines aspects of the theological aesthetics of contemporary Canadian artist, Michael D. O’Brien (1948–). It also considers how his philosophy of the arts informs understandings of the Catholic imagination. In so doing, it focuses on his view that prayer is the primary source of imaginative expression, allowing the artist to operate from a position of humble receptivity to the transcendent. O’Brien studies is a nascent field, owing much of its development in recent years to the pioneering work of Clemens Cavallin. Apart from Cavallin, few scholars have focused on O’Brien’s extensive collection of paintings (principally because the first catalogue of his art was only published in 2019). Instead, they have worked on his prodigious output of novels and essays. In prioritising O’Brien’s paintings, this study will assess the relationship between his theological reflections on the Catholic imagination and art practice. By focusing on the interface between theory and practice in O’Brien’s art, this article shows that conversations about the philosophy of the Catholic imagination benefit from attending to the inner standing points of contemporary artists who see in the arts a place where faith and praxis meet. In certain instances, I will include images of O’Brien’s devotional art to further illustrate his contemplative, Christ-centred approach to aesthetics. Overall, this study offers new directions in O’Brien studies and scholarship on the philosophy of the Catholic imagination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Catholic Philosophical Imagination)
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Article
The Prophet Muḥammad’s Covenant with Yūḥannah Ibn Ru’bah and the Christians of Aylah
Religions 2021, 12(6), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060450 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
This article examines the Prophet Muḥammad’s covenant with Yūḥannah, Prince of Aylah, and illustrates the role it plays in understanding religious pluralism and civil rights as envisioned in Prophet Muḥammad’s dream of a “Muslim Nation”. The article also briefly makes use of other [...] Read more.
This article examines the Prophet Muḥammad’s covenant with Yūḥannah, Prince of Aylah, and illustrates the role it plays in understanding religious pluralism and civil rights as envisioned in Prophet Muḥammad’s dream of a “Muslim Nation”. The article also briefly makes use of other covenants contracted between the Prophet and other Arab Christian tribes. The covenants reveal Prophet Muḥammad’s desire for religious pluralism and the granting of rights to all people, regardless of religion, creed, or personal practices. Although Prophet Muḥammad’s covenants with the Christians of his time are used as a framework of analysis in this article, these documents have not received as much attention as they deserve, as few researchers in our time have shown interest in them. Early manuscripts and historical sources, both Arab and Western, are referenced in order to explore the circumstances and consequences of these early correspondences between Islam’s final Prophet and contemporary Arab Christians. The findings of this investigation are significant in that the covenants serve as critical milestones and reminders in light of current discussions about relations between Muslims and Christians. The contents of the covenants can also be used as models for improving relations between Muslims and Christians in religiously diverse communities the world over. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Letters, Treaties, and Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad)
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Article
Russian-Speaking Digital Buddhism: Neither Cyber, nor Sangha
Religions 2021, 12(6), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060449 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
The paper presents the results of a study that implemented a mixed methods approach to explore the question of correlation between online and offline activities of Buddhist organizations and communities in Russia. The research was carried out in 2019–2020 and addressed the following [...] Read more.
The paper presents the results of a study that implemented a mixed methods approach to explore the question of correlation between online and offline activities of Buddhist organizations and communities in Russia. The research was carried out in 2019–2020 and addressed the following key issues: How do Buddhist websites and social media communities actually interact with offline organizations and Russian-speaking Buddhist communities? How do the ideological specifics of Buddhist organizations and communities influence their negotiations with the Internet and strategies towards new media technologies? Within the methodological frame of the religious–social shaping of technology approach by Heidi Campbell, we used the typology of religious digital creatives to reveal the strategies created by the Russian-speaking Buddhist communities developing their own identity, authority, and boundaries by means of digital technologies. In the first stage, we used quantitative software non-reactive methods to collect data from social media with the application of mathematical modeling techniques to build a graph model of Buddhist online communities in the vk.com social network and identify and describe its clusters. The second stage of the research combined biographical narratives of Buddhist digital creatives and expert interviews. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion in the Contemporary Transformation Society)
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Article
‘We Are Children of God’: An Ethnography of a Catholic Community in Rural China in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Religions 2021, 12(6), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060448 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 673
Abstract
Academic studies of the relationship between religion and pandemics have been emerging since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many of these studies have been conducted in Euro-American contexts, with little attention paid to non-Western cases. This article provides a local case [...] Read more.
Academic studies of the relationship between religion and pandemics have been emerging since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many of these studies have been conducted in Euro-American contexts, with little attention paid to non-Western cases. This article provides a local case study from China, the earliest epicenter of the pandemic. The study focused on a Catholic community in rural China, Little Rome, through the lens of lived religion, exploring the relationship between religion and the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants in our ethnographic study indicated that the Church plays an essential role in responding to the pandemic. In contrast to conventional studies of lived religion, in this ethnographic study on Catholicism in China, we contend that while the study of the lived experience of individuals is central to the lived-religion approach, more attention needs to be paid to the role of religious institutions such as the church, which mediate relations between individuals, society, and other social institutions. This article also argues that investigating different places and cultures can provide rich data for understanding the dynamic and diverse relationship between religion and the pandemic. Full article
Article
James Baldwin and the “Lie of Whiteness”: Toward an Ethic of Culpability, Complicity, and Confession
Religions 2021, 12(6), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060447 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
This article is an attempt to draw on James Baldwin’s depiction of white identity as the “the lie of whiteness” to tease out a nascent ethics that centers the role of genuine, honest confrontation with this so-called “lie.” In order to connect the [...] Read more.
This article is an attempt to draw on James Baldwin’s depiction of white identity as the “the lie of whiteness” to tease out a nascent ethics that centers the role of genuine, honest confrontation with this so-called “lie.” In order to connect the dots between excavation of Baldwin’s lie of whiteness and the provinces of religious ethics, we will explore the role that truth-telling plays in the form of something like a religious notion of confession, limiting our engagement with confession to an honest and genuine encounter with culpability and responsibility through truth-telling. The analysis will be guided by several questions: how might a genuine reckoning with the reality and prevalence of what Baldwin intimately describes about whiteness and its connection to anti-black racism be understood morally? How might this confrontation with the truth be understood in relation to a religious concept like confession, as defined above? Finally, how might this process of confrontation further expose the machinations of Baldwin’s “lie of whiteness” and, in so doing, offer an ethical response that includes culpability and complicity? In so doing, this article seeks to begin sketching out an ethics of the role of confession in the struggle against the evils of anti-black racism, through direct engagement with Baldwin’s description of the “lie of whiteness.” Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Provinces of Moral Theology and Religious Ethics)
Article
The Making of a Marian Geography of Grace for Greek Catholics in the Polish Crownlands of the 17th–18th Centuries
Religions 2021, 12(6), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060446 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 527
Abstract
This article explores the ways in which the newly founded and highly contested Christian confession of the Greek Catholics or Uniates employed strategies of mass mobilization to establish and maintain their position within a contested confessional terrain. The Greek Catholic clerics, above all [...] Read more.
This article explores the ways in which the newly founded and highly contested Christian confession of the Greek Catholics or Uniates employed strategies of mass mobilization to establish and maintain their position within a contested confessional terrain. The Greek Catholic clerics, above all monks of the Basilian order fostered an active policy of acquiring, founding and promoting Marian places of grace in order to create and invigorate a sense of belonging among their flock. The article argues that folk ideological notions concerning the spatial and physical conditions for the working of miracles were seized upon by the Greek Catholic faithful to establish a mental map of grace of their own. Especially, the Basilian order took particular care to organize mass events (annual pilgrimages, coronation celebrations for miraculous images) and promote Marian devotion through miracle reports and icon songs in an attempt to define what it means to be a Greek Catholic in terms of sacred territoriality. Full article
Article
Isolation and Integration: Case Study of Latter-Day Saints in South-Western Nigeria
Religions 2021, 12(6), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060445 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 531
Abstract
Isolation and integration are two sides of the same coin, the former denoting negativity with the latter denoting positivity. The penetration of the LDS church into Nigeria in general and south-western Nigeria in particular has been faced with a considerable amount of opposition [...] Read more.
Isolation and integration are two sides of the same coin, the former denoting negativity with the latter denoting positivity. The penetration of the LDS church into Nigeria in general and south-western Nigeria in particular has been faced with a considerable amount of opposition from the populace and the government. Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in Africa. Due to the vast demographic space, I am limiting our study to the south-western states, where it seems the church is growing more. The eastern region, to an extent, has also been experiencing considerable growth. Our queries are: what are the elements that depict isolation from other religious sects and society? What are the parameters for this phenomenon? Is there any evidence of integration? If so, how is this manifested? How are the male and female members of the LDS church trying to integrate into society and how has the response been? These among other questions are examined. Nigeria is originally a Catholic and Pentecostal religious environment, where open miracles, wonders and other phenomena are visible. These are hardly visible in LDS services, and this serves as motivation for non-members to oppose and isolate members of the LDS church from the fibers of society. The undetermined position of the LDS church and its non-registration with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has and continues to have relevant effects on the integration of the church and its members into the Christian circle of the country in general and the south-west in particular. I have discovered that, though the church’s growth in the south-west is visible, the possibility of integration has proven difficult. Due to the limited literature on this subject in the country, I have utilized semi-structured direct and indirect interviews of pioneers of the wards/units in the south-west, and also those who have investigated the church, many of whom still view the church as a cult. I also used an analytic approach that straddles critical discourse analysis and postcolonial theory. This paper proposes ways in which the members of the LDS church can better integrate themselves in a society that has a very different religious and cultural background to that of American society, where the church has more fully moved from isolation to integration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Globalizing Mormonism)
Editorial
Introduction to Special Issue: The Mutual Influence of Religion and Science in the Human Understanding and Exploration of Outer Space
Religions 2021, 12(6), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060444 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
When considering the exploration of outer space people typically think about technology, engineering, physics, and the use of the scientific method to understand what is out there, beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, from the nearby Moon to distant galaxies only visible through the use [...] Read more.
When considering the exploration of outer space people typically think about technology, engineering, physics, and the use of the scientific method to understand what is out there, beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, from the nearby Moon to distant galaxies only visible through the use of high-powered telescopes [...] Full article
Article
Geopolitics of Catholic Pilgrimage: On the Double Materiality of (Religious) Politics in the Virtual Age
Religions 2021, 12(6), 443; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060443 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 655
Abstract
This article explores geopolitical aspects of Catholic pilgrimage in Europe. By exploring the representations of pilgrimage on Catholic social media, it shows that the increasing influence of the virtual is accompanied by a particular reassertion of the material aspects of pilgrimage. Two types [...] Read more.
This article explores geopolitical aspects of Catholic pilgrimage in Europe. By exploring the representations of pilgrimage on Catholic social media, it shows that the increasing influence of the virtual is accompanied by a particular reassertion of the material aspects of pilgrimage. Two types of Catholic pilgrimage emerge, each with a particular spatial and political orientation. The first type of pilgrimage is predominantly politically conservative, but also spatially static, focusing on objects, be they human bodies or sacred sites. The second type is politically progressive, but also spatially dynamic, stressing pilgrimage as movement or a journey. The classic Turnerian conceptualization of a pilgrimage as a three-phase kinetic ritual thus falls apart, with liminality appropriated by the progressive type and aggregation almost entirely taken over by the conservative, apparitional pilgrimage. As a result, pilgrimage has once again become a geopolitical reflection of the broader ideological contestation both within Christianity and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pilgrimage and Religious Mobilization in Europe)
Article
Evil and Divine Power: A Response to James Sterba’s Argument from Evil
Religions 2021, 12(6), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060442 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 602
Abstract
In this article, I offer a response to James P. Sterba’s moral argument for the non-existence of God. Sterba applies to God the so-called Pauline Principle that it is not permissible to do evil in order that good may come. He suggests that [...] Read more.
In this article, I offer a response to James P. Sterba’s moral argument for the non-existence of God. Sterba applies to God the so-called Pauline Principle that it is not permissible to do evil in order that good may come. He suggests that this is the underlying element in discussions of the Doctrine of Double Effect, a doctrine that has been largely overlooked by philosophers of religion. Although, as hypothetical trolley cases demonstrate, human beings sometimes cannot avoid doing or permitting evil in order to prevent a greater evil, Sterba argues that the same cannot be said of an omnipotent God and that, since our world contains horrendous evils, the existence of a God who is both omnipotent and good is therefore logically impossible. I argue that, if God is thought to be a conscious being with unlimited power to prevent horrendous evils, Sterba’s argument might be valid. I also argue, however, that divine power need not be construed in this way. Drawing on some ideas derived from the work of Charles Hartshorne, I suggest that God is not a kind of divine micromanager and that it is more coherent and, indeed, helpful to think of God as a social influencer whose power is a source of positive energy for the promotion of goodness. Full article
Article
Hearing, Reflection, and Cultivation: Relating the Three Types of Wisdom to Mindfulness
Religions 2021, 12(6), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060441 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 758
Abstract
A text-historical perspective on the Buddhist scheme of three types of wisdom, acquired by hearing, reflection, and cultivation, shows that a bare listing in the earliest textual strata has led to somewhat differing perspectives in later exegesis of the Theravāda and Sarvāstivāda traditions, [...] Read more.
A text-historical perspective on the Buddhist scheme of three types of wisdom, acquired by hearing, reflection, and cultivation, shows that a bare listing in the earliest textual strata has led to somewhat differing perspectives in later exegesis of the Theravāda and Sarvāstivāda traditions, the former apparently being influenced by what appears to be an error in oral transmission. The more convincing position taken in Sarvāstivāda exegesis sees these three types of wisdom as interrelated activities that can rely on mindfulness, thereby testifying to the flexibility and broad compass of mindfulness in Buddhist thought as something not limited to a rigid division between theory and practice. Full article
Article
The Role of Religious Coping in Caregiving Stress
Religions 2021, 12(6), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060440 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 666
Abstract
Studies explaining how stressors and religious coping affect caregivers’ depression have been rarely conducted in the Indonesian context. Therefore, this study discusses stress process theory by examining the role of religious coping as a moderating variable between relational deprivation and loss of self [...] Read more.
Studies explaining how stressors and religious coping affect caregivers’ depression have been rarely conducted in the Indonesian context. Therefore, this study discusses stress process theory by examining the role of religious coping as a moderating variable between relational deprivation and loss of self on depression. In a quantitative study of 50 caregivers of persons with schizophrenia in Indonesia, this study analyzed the moderating variables using multiple regression. The results showed that higher relational deprivation will lead to increased depression, but religious coping mechanisms can reduce the effect of relational deprivation on depression (buffering effect). Religious coping can also minimize the effect of loss of self to depression. Subjective stressors and religious coping offer new theoretical insights and must be considered when studying caregiving stress. In this regard, mental health services aiming to enhance caregivers’ welfare need to be provided by the state and community. Full article
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Article
Divine ‘Pastness’ and the Creation of Hope: The Significance of the Sepultus est…
Religions 2021, 12(6), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060439 - 12 Jun 2021
Viewed by 642
Abstract
This article explores Karl Barth’s exegesis of the ‘sepultus est…’ from the Apostles’ Creed, as articulated in his 1935 Credo lectures. I argue that Barth accords the sepultus a degree of theological significance that is against the grain, not only of [...] Read more.
This article explores Karl Barth’s exegesis of the ‘sepultus est…’ from the Apostles’ Creed, as articulated in his 1935 Credo lectures. I argue that Barth accords the sepultus a degree of theological significance that is against the grain, not only of the majority of western interpretations of Jesus’s burial, but also of his own later interpretation of it within his Kirchliche Dogmatik. Specifically, this article argues that in his 1935 lectures, Barth exegetes the sepultus in terms of a divine self-surrender to the ‘pure pastness’ that is the ‘state and fate’ of all humanity. As a consequence, the sepultus can then be used as the pivot to a different, and more hopeful, future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Karl Barth's Theology in a Time of Crisis)
Article
Popular Hymnody and Lived Catholicism in Hungary in the 1970s–1980s
Religions 2021, 12(6), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060438 - 12 Jun 2021
Viewed by 616
Abstract
In this article, I look at how popular hymnody and the surrounding devotional and liturgical practices changed after the Second Vatican Council in Hungary. The songs amongst authoritarian, atheistic circumstances sounded astonishingly similar to the emerging “folk mass movement”. The discourse analysis of [...] Read more.
In this article, I look at how popular hymnody and the surrounding devotional and liturgical practices changed after the Second Vatican Council in Hungary. The songs amongst authoritarian, atheistic circumstances sounded astonishingly similar to the emerging “folk mass movement”. The discourse analysis of Hungarian popular hymnody contributes to a new perspective of Eastern European Catholicism and helps us understand how “lived Catholicism” reflects the post-Vatican spirit. Post-Vatican popular hymnody, a catalyst for a new style of devotional practices, is understood as “performed theology” behind the Iron Curtain expressing relationality, as it actualizes and manifests spiritual, eschatological, and ecclesial relationships. Full article
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Article
Online Opportunities in Secularizing Societies? Clergy and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ireland
Religions 2021, 12(6), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060437 - 11 Jun 2021
Viewed by 837
Abstract
This article explores how Christian clergy in Ireland have framed their adoption of online ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic as opportunities for the churches to retain some significance, even in secularizing societies. It is based on an island-wide survey of 439 faith leaders [...] Read more.
This article explores how Christian clergy in Ireland have framed their adoption of online ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic as opportunities for the churches to retain some significance, even in secularizing societies. It is based on an island-wide survey of 439 faith leaders and 32 in-depth, follow-up interviews. The results of this study are analysed in light of scholarship in three areas: (1) secularization in Ireland, informed by Norris and Inglehart’s evolutionary modernization theory; (2) cross-national research that has found increasing interest in spirituality or religion during the pandemic (with the UK as the main point of comparison); and (3) wider pre-pandemic scholarship on digital religion. The article concludes by arguing that the clergy’s framing of online ministries as opportunities is important: if they regard online ministries as potential sites of religious revitalization, they are more likely to invest in them. There is some evidence that they may be assisted in this by lay volunteers. However, given the secularization already underway, it remains to be seen whether an embrace of blended online and in-person religion will have far-reaching impacts on Ireland’s religious landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pandemic, Religion and Non-religion)
Article
Bioethical Threads in the Reflection of Tibetan Refugees in India
Religions 2021, 12(6), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060436 - 11 Jun 2021
Viewed by 707
Abstract
This article aims to trace and describe the bioethical threads in medical practice and the understanding of medicine among Tibetan refugees living in India. Taking up such a task results mainly from the fact that only traces of bioethical reflection are visible in [...] Read more.
This article aims to trace and describe the bioethical threads in medical practice and the understanding of medicine among Tibetan refugees living in India. Taking up such a task results mainly from the fact that only traces of bioethical reflection are visible in Tibetan society, but without the awareness that it requires systematic reflection on its essence and changes that accompany modern medicine. I define the state of the discussion on Tibetan bioethics as preparadigmatic, i.e., one that precedes the recognition of the importance of bioethics and the elaboration of its basic concepts. In this paper, I will show how the Tibetan refugees today, in an unconscious way, approach bioethics, using the example of life-related topics, namely beginning and death. To this end, I chose topics such as abortion, fetal sex reassignment, euthanasia, and suicide. On this basis, I will indicate the main reasons that hinder the emergence of bioethics and those that may contribute to systematic discussions in the future. An introduction to Tibetan medicine will precede these considerations. I will show how medical traditions, especially the Rgyud bzhi text, are related to Tibetan Buddhism and opinions of the 14th Dalai Lama. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Field of Bioethics in South Asian Religions)
Article
In the Middle of Love: At the Fringes of Personhood. An Explorative Essay on the Dialogue of I and Thou and the Poetics of the Impersonal
Religions 2021, 12(6), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060435 - 11 Jun 2021
Viewed by 701
Abstract
In Works of Love, Søren Kierkegaard introduces the idea that God’s love is “the middle term.” It is a love that manages to be in the middle of all created being. To that extent, love is not just one relation among others, [...] Read more.
In Works of Love, Søren Kierkegaard introduces the idea that God’s love is “the middle term.” It is a love that manages to be in the middle of all created being. To that extent, love is not just one relation among others, but the “being-in-relation” as such. It is, in Heideggerian terms, “the with” of being-with. This implies, further, that the middle is as inconspicuous as it is ubiquitous. According to Martin Buber, however, there is a privileged relation to the middle in the I–Thou relation. It is here that it reveals itself. For Buber, this is so on the strength of two important traits of this dyadic relation: that it is dialogical and personal. It is in dialogue that I and You are responsive to the word of God; and it is in personal co-presence that the theophany of “the absolute person” may occur. This paper explores these tenets of “philosophy of dialogue” at their fringes. Accordingly, it explores the impersonal in the person and the monologue in dialogue. More specifically, it aims to show how: (a) the impersonal in the person is disclosed in love and angst and how (b) the monologue in dialogue is expressed in a poetics of the impersonal. Full article
Article
Intra- and Interreligious Dialogue in Flemish (Belgian) Secondary Education as a Tool to Prevent Radicalisation
Religions 2021, 12(6), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060434 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 730
Abstract
The attacks in Paris (2015) and Brussels (2016) led to the development of an Action Plan against radicalisation wherein Islamic religious teachers are expected to contribute actively to de-radicalisation processes and counter-discourse. To this end, Flemish teacher training university colleges have rapidly established [...] Read more.
The attacks in Paris (2015) and Brussels (2016) led to the development of an Action Plan against radicalisation wherein Islamic religious teachers are expected to contribute actively to de-radicalisation processes and counter-discourse. To this end, Flemish teacher training university colleges have rapidly established new ‘Islamic religious education’ (IRE) teacher training programs. Additionally, the Minister of Education made interconvictional dialogue lessons mandatory in compulsory education. These lessons aim to stimulate, strengthen and reinforce the dialogue between pupils of different belief system backgrounds. Thus, the interconvictional competences are seen as a means to prevent radicalisation and polarisation. This article draws an overview of IRE development since 2015 until now regarding the policy incentives concerning the Flemish IRE, taking into account the concept of separation of Church and State. Furthermore, we scrutinise the existing IRE teacher training curricula with regard to the formulated interconvictional competence elements, as these are seen as one of the remedies for radicalisation and polarisation. We observe a clear relationship between the dramatic events and the implementation of new Islamic religious education programs and partnerships. An increasing number of ‘interconvictional’ references are observed in the Islam-related courses that are included in IRE teacher training programs. Further in-depth field research is needed to map the IRE teaching practices and experiences regarding the expectations formulated by policy makers. Full article
Article
Religious, but Not Spiritual: A Constructive Proposal
Religions 2021, 12(6), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060433 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Often the debates in philosophy of religion are quite disconnected from the empirical data gathered in the sociology of religion. This is especially the case regarding the recent increase in prominence of those identifying as “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) within an American [...] Read more.
Often the debates in philosophy of religion are quite disconnected from the empirical data gathered in the sociology of religion. This is especially the case regarding the recent increase in prominence of those identifying as “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR) within an American context. In the attempt to bring these two fields into productive conversation, this essay offers a constructive account of the SBNR in terms of what they reject (i.e., their status as “not religious”) and also what they affirm (i.e., their identity as “spiritual”). In brief, the suggestion is that the SBNR do not reject theism or even common “religious” practices, but instead reject a particular mode of “religion” that is grounded in an authoritative and insular social presence. Alternatively, the SBNR at least seem to affirm a notion of “spirituality” that is broadly consistent with the idea found in historical Christian traditions. After surveying the empirical data and offering a new phenomenological analysis of it, the essay concludes with a suggestion that we need a new category—“religious, but not spiritual” (RBNS)—in order best to make sense of how the SBNR signify in relation to specific hermeneutic contexts and sociopolitical frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenology, Spirituality, and Religion)
Article
Something Distinct, or Business as Usual? Interpreting the Plan of the Late Medieval Bridgettine Monastery in Naantali, Finland
Religions 2021, 12(6), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060432 - 10 Jun 2021
Viewed by 689
Abstract
This article analyses modern interpretations of the medieval plan of the Bridgettine Monastery of Naantali, Finland. Instead of seeing the distinct spatial organisation as deviation from the Bridgettine norm, we consider it as an expression of a medieval process, by which monastic principles [...] Read more.
This article analyses modern interpretations of the medieval plan of the Bridgettine Monastery of Naantali, Finland. Instead of seeing the distinct spatial organisation as deviation from the Bridgettine norm, we consider it as an expression of a medieval process, by which monastic principles were re-conceptualised in order to be realised in material form. This perspective builds on the shift in thinking that has taken place in the study of medieval urban planning. Instead of being ‘organic’, meaning disorganised, medieval urban development has come to be considered as intentional, guided by general principles, although not in a manner that is always obvious to the modern mind. We concur that models such as St Bridget’s visions and the plan of Vadstena Abbey are important tools for reconstructing medieval monastic plans. Meanwhile, we propose that such models can also add latent and counterproductive baggage to this field of study by encouraging modern expectations of regularity within monastic architecture. If the designs of monasteries do not follow such models perfectly, discrepancies are often erroneously misconceived as indications of the builders’ insufficient skills and knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Monasticism in Northern Europe)
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Article
Latter-Day Saint Liturgy: The Administration of the Body and Blood of Jesus
Religions 2021, 12(6), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060431 - 10 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Latter-day Saint (“Mormon”) liturgy opens its participants to a world undefined by a stark border between the transcendent and immanent, with an emphasis on embodiment and relationality. The formal rites of the temple, and in particular that part of the rite called “the [...] Read more.
Latter-day Saint (“Mormon”) liturgy opens its participants to a world undefined by a stark border between the transcendent and immanent, with an emphasis on embodiment and relationality. The formal rites of the temple, and in particular that part of the rite called “the endowment”, act as a frame that erases the immanent–transcendent border. Within that frame, the more informal liturgy of the weekly administration of the blood and body of Christ, known as “the sacrament”, transforms otherwise mundane acts of living into acts of worship that sanctify life as a whole. I take a phenomenological approach, hoping that doing so will deepen interpretations that a more textually based approach might miss. Drawing on the works of Robert Orsi, Edward S. Casey, Paul Moyaert, and Nicola King, I argue that the Latter-day Saint sacrament is not merely a ritualized sign of Christ’s sacrifice. Instead, through the sacrament, Christ perdures with its participants in an act of communal memorialization by which church members incarnate the coming of the divine community of love and fellow suffering. Participants inhabit a hermeneutically transformed world as covenant children born again into the family of God. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenology and Liturgical Practice)
Article
Synthesizing Religions: Vasily Rozanov’s “Phallic Christianity”
Religions 2021, 12(6), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060430 - 09 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Vasily Rozanov was one of the first Russian writers of the fin de siècle to create a nexus between the study of the history of world religions and the history of sexuality. He viewed Christianity’s asceticism as a source of the disintegration of [...] Read more.
Vasily Rozanov was one of the first Russian writers of the fin de siècle to create a nexus between the study of the history of world religions and the history of sexuality. He viewed Christianity’s asceticism as a source of the disintegration of the contemporary family. This article examines Rozanov’s strategy to synthesize religions and to use pre-Christian religions of the Middle East as proof of common physical and metaphysical essence in celestial, human, animal, and mythological human/animal/divine bodies. I argue that while his rehabilitation of the physical life by endowing it with religious value was socially positive, his self-proclaimed “mission of sexuality”, when politically motivated, was manipulative and incorporated the notion of the atavistic ‘survivals’. In conclusion, I explain that Rozanov’s monistic search for the divine in the physical body as well as his strategy to synthesize religions were additionally driven by his personal doubts in the preeminence of Christian eschatology. Full article
Article
God as Highest Truth According to Aquinas
Religions 2021, 12(6), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060429 - 09 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Contemporary public opinion has come to assume that we live in the post-truth era, in which judgments on the most relevant realities of human life have been left in the hands of mere emotions. In such a context, it is very opportune to [...] Read more.
Contemporary public opinion has come to assume that we live in the post-truth era, in which judgments on the most relevant realities of human life have been left in the hands of mere emotions. In such a context, it is very opportune to redirect our gaze toward the concept of truth, in order to help to adequately ground such a primordial reality as that of the personal being. Furthermore, this is the object of the present research, following the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. To this end, we attempt to argue that the primacy in the analogical significance of the truth corresponds precisely to the person, as a subsistent being whose esse is intelligible to himself. Following the analogical ascent, we consequently arrive at God, who is absolutely intelligible to himself. We have to conclude, therefore, that the personal God is the highest truth. As a corollary to this argument, we add that the perfective dynamism of the personal life is realized in an eminent way in the communication of truth through words, also in God. Full article
Article
Religious Images and Iconoclasm in Reformation Iceland
Religions 2021, 12(6), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060428 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 574
Abstract
This work assesses what happened to liturgical objects from Icelandic churches and monastic houses during and after the Lutheran Reformation, through an examination of written sources, such as inventories and Visitation books, and material evidence in museum collections and from archaeological excavations. The [...] Read more.
This work assesses what happened to liturgical objects from Icelandic churches and monastic houses during and after the Lutheran Reformation, through an examination of written sources, such as inventories and Visitation books, and material evidence in museum collections and from archaeological excavations. The aim of this work is first, to assess the extent and nature of iconoclasm in Iceland and secondly to re-examine traditional narratives of the Icelandic Reformation in the light of material culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Monasticism in Northern Europe)
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Article
What Kind of Islamophobia? Representation of Muslims and Islam in Italian and Spanish Media
Religions 2021, 12(6), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060427 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 712
Abstract
News media play a crucial role in the production and reproduction of stereotypes, influencing public opinions regarding different groups and minorities. Thus, acquiring a deeper understanding of media coverage of Muslims and Islam is decisive for understanding the sources of public attitudes towards [...] Read more.
News media play a crucial role in the production and reproduction of stereotypes, influencing public opinions regarding different groups and minorities. Thus, acquiring a deeper understanding of media coverage of Muslims and Islam is decisive for understanding the sources of public attitudes towards Muslims. This study aims at displaying how Muslims and Islam are represented in Italian and Spanish media. Focusing on the online version of the two most influential newspapers in each country (El Mundo and El País for Spain and Il Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica for Italy) from 2015 to 2020, the results show how Muslims in both countries are mostly framed either related to terrorism or within the general discourse on immigration. In both cases, they are portrayed as “others”. The article also presents a novelty, defining and observing two different types of Islamophobia, Banal and Ontological Islamophobia. Full article
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Editorial
Introduction: ‘Religious Transformation in the Middle East: Spirituality, Religious Doubt, and Non-Religion in the Middle East’
Religions 2021, 12(6), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060426 - 09 Jun 2021
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Abstract
The political impact—or rather the lack thereof—following the revolutionary uprisings in the Middle East has been well documented [...] Full article
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Article
Israel and the Individual in Matthew and Midrash: Reassessing “True Israel”
Religions 2021, 12(6), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060425 - 09 Jun 2021
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Since the Holocaust, New Testament scholarship has become increasingly sensitive to issues of Christian anti-Judaism. While many Matthean specialists have acknowledged the problems with polemical interpretations of the Gospel, the idea that Matthew presents Jesus and/or the church is the “true Israel” continues [...] Read more.
Since the Holocaust, New Testament scholarship has become increasingly sensitive to issues of Christian anti-Judaism. While many Matthean specialists have acknowledged the problems with polemical interpretations of the Gospel, the idea that Matthew presents Jesus and/or the church is the “true Israel” continues to enjoy broad acceptance. The scholarly conflation of Jesus and Israel recycles the Christian polemic against a comparatively inauthentic or inadequate Judaism. This article argues that Matthew does not present Jesus or his church as the true Israel, and that the Jesus-as-Israel interpretation could be refined by comparing the Gospel with later rabbinic discussion that connects Israel with biblical individuals. Genesis Rabbah 40:6 juxtaposes verses about Abraham and Israel to reveal a comprehensive scriptural relationship between the nation and the patriarch without devaluing either party. The rabbis’ theological thesis is predicated on both similarity and separation between Abraham and his offspring. Insofar as both Matthew and Midrash present similar biblical content and exegesis, a comparative analysis can provide Gospel commentators with a view of the Jesus-Israel paradigm that avoids the Christianization of “true Israel.” Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Theologies of Jews and Judaism)
Review
The Psycho-Didactic Approach in Religious and Moral Education. Towards Personal Growth and Positive Mental Health of Students
Religions 2021, 12(6), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12060424 - 08 Jun 2021
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Abstract
The psycho-didactic approach in education is becoming more and more popular. Its supporters emphasize the great values that are associated with the implementation of this approach to various fields of science and school subjects. The greatest value of the psycho-didactic approach is supporting [...] Read more.
The psycho-didactic approach in education is becoming more and more popular. Its supporters emphasize the great values that are associated with the implementation of this approach to various fields of science and school subjects. The greatest value of the psycho-didactic approach is supporting the personal growth of the learner by respecting the developmental factors involved in each subject’s learning processes. Psycho-didactics could also be used in the design of core curricula and their implementation in the field of religious, ethical, and moral education. By supporting personal development through moral and religious education, it is possible to simultaneously influence the agencyof each learner. Personal agency in self-development, as well as in religious and moral development, is one of the greatest challenges for modern education and one of the most significant issues of positive mental health advancement in the field of education. Within psycho-didactics, it becomes possible to foster every student in an individual way, therefore all methods and techniques used in the psycho-didactic approach are focused on the student’s needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health: Antecedents and Consequences)
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