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Religions, Volume 13, Issue 1 (January 2022) – 85 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Different religious traditions affirm having had epistemic contact with the ultimate and divine source of reality. However, their multiple accounts seem to be incompatible. Here, it is argued that from the ecology of knowledge, the idea that intentions, the body, and our physical and social environments are constitutive elements of experience and knowledge, we can understand both the veridical as being embodied and extended and the pluralistic as being essentially limited as the nature of religious experiences and knowledge. The mystical religious experience is characterized as a state of consciousness that (allegedly) allows direct contact with supreme reality. As such, different religious perspectives are understood as different approaches that deal with numinous features in a gradual continuum that ranges from their most impersonal to their most personal specifications. View this paper
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Article
Nomads and Vagabond Monks: From the Text to the Reader in 18th Century Inner Asia
Religions 2022, 13(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010085 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 354
Abstract
Buddhist Studies scholarship in general, and its (re)turn to the literary specifically, is overwhelmingly concerned with texts and authors. But what can this research into “Buddhist texts” and “Buddhist authors”, however robust, ever reliably tell us if not accompanied by comparative inquiry into [...] Read more.
Buddhist Studies scholarship in general, and its (re)turn to the literary specifically, is overwhelmingly concerned with texts and authors. But what can this research into “Buddhist texts” and “Buddhist authors”, however robust, ever reliably tell us if not accompanied by comparative inquiry into the destabilizing tactics of readers? This article first highlights analytical resources for a comparative history of reading Buddhist literature in Inner Asia by looking to the work of Michel de Certeau and Roger Chartier. I then turn to a case study of collaborative reading that developed across the contiguous monastic and imperial networks binding together Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu, and Chinese readers at the turn of the 18th century. Focused specifically on letter exchanges between the polyglot scholars Güng Gombojab, Katok Tséwang Norbu, and Situ Paṇchen, I underscore how collaborative reading developed to open the literary heritage of trans-Eurasia beyond the technical abilities or material access of any single reader. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Buddhist Traditions in Literature)
Article
Metaphysics and Mysticism: Mystical Aspects and Elements in the Work of Czech Thinker Karel Říha
Religions 2022, 13(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010084 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 387
Abstract
Czech theologian and philosopher Karel Říha (1923–2016) followed the thinking of Maurice Blondel. He wanted to expand and deepen the basis of transcendental philosophy. He perceived the possibilities of a new metaphysics, which would be established only in a triadic way of thinking—knowledge, [...] Read more.
Czech theologian and philosopher Karel Říha (1923–2016) followed the thinking of Maurice Blondel. He wanted to expand and deepen the basis of transcendental philosophy. He perceived the possibilities of a new metaphysics, which would be established only in a triadic way of thinking—knowledge, wanting, Being. He originally believed that the basic philosophical theory was the theory of moral conversion. Říha comprehended the event of moral conversion as a mystic turn, a transformation in which we find ourselves by realising ourselves in devotion to others. In this transformation, the striving for metaphysics, which is based on interpersonal relationships, achieves its goal. Metaphysics eliminates itself and is integrated into theology. Theology finally comes to the conclusion that the truth is not in our power but pursues us. The theologian and philosopher Říha, as he writes, has united himself with a Will, which we do not know where it leads us or what it will ask from us. There was nothing left on his own. Metaphysics and mysticism are united in his thinking and work. Full article
Article
Hauntological Pedagogies: Confronting the Ghosts of Whiteness and Moving towards Racial and Spiritual Justice
Religions 2022, 13(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010083 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 522
Abstract
The purpose of this conceptual article is to bring critical theoretical frameworks and discourses used in educational research on leadership, pedagogy, and policy into conversation with literature on hauntology. Furthermore, this work aims to pursue avenues for theorizing and developing notions of [...] Read more.
The purpose of this conceptual article is to bring critical theoretical frameworks and discourses used in educational research on leadership, pedagogy, and policy into conversation with literature on hauntology. Furthermore, this work aims to pursue avenues for theorizing and developing notions of hauntological pedagogies by evoking the language and imagery of ghosts to confront the political, social, and spiritual problems in U.S. schooling contexts that stem from whiteness. This article is grounded in the critical discourses of antiracism, BlackCrit, critical pedagogy, critical race theory, critical whiteness studies, decolonial studies, and TribalCrit. By juxtaposing historical and contemporary case studies in U.S. schooling, this study demonstrates that whiteness, apart from constituting a socially constructed set of power relations, takes on religious or spiritual qualities. Critical educational researchers and practitioners will benefit from engaging with this work as it can help them conceive of and strive for more epistemologically, racially, and spiritually just schooling environments. Full article
Article
Dimasa Rituals of Death and Mourning in Contemporary Assam
Religions 2022, 13(1), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010082 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 271
Abstract
Deaths provide an important setting for Dimasas in Assam to engage in collective ritual performance. These rituals not only allow the people to affirm their identities, but also provide a space to create strategies to adapt to the changing urban landscape. This paper [...] Read more.
Deaths provide an important setting for Dimasas in Assam to engage in collective ritual performance. These rituals not only allow the people to affirm their identities, but also provide a space to create strategies to adapt to the changing urban landscape. This paper is an attempt to understand the shift in Dimasa death ritual processes in contemporary Assam. The essay has traced how people mobilize resources as a community to ensure the smooth journey of the deceased from this world to the afterlife, within the constraints of an urban environment. A small but critical part of this process is engaging in bodily techniques that recreate the unique cultural practices of meser-moso and collective grieving, called grasimang. By using ethnographic methods, the paper highlights the perseverance of the people as a functioning collective, and the meanings and symbols that are shared to ensure a successful ritual. Full article
Article
Examining the Ritual Landscape of Bronze Age Crete through the Lens of Archaeobotany
Religions 2022, 13(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010081 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 706
Abstract
This paper investigates plant remains at three ritual sites from Bronze Age Crete: Kophinas, Knossos Anetaki and Petras. To date, ritual contexts on the island have been little investigated from an archaeobotanical standpoint. Analysis of the plant material from these three sites provides [...] Read more.
This paper investigates plant remains at three ritual sites from Bronze Age Crete: Kophinas, Knossos Anetaki and Petras. To date, ritual contexts on the island have been little investigated from an archaeobotanical standpoint. Analysis of the plant material from these three sites provides new data for the use of plants in ritual activities in both mortuary and non-mortuary contexts. The results are discussed from a semiotic and emotive perspective, allowing for a better grasp of the potential plant-related rituals responsible for the creation of these archaeobotanical assemblages, including instances of plant sacrifice, symbolic plant sacrifice and the ritual deposition of intentionally charred plant remains. These findings are then integrated with previously published data from Crete and Mainland Greece in order to provide a broader picture of ritual plant use for the island, as well as the Aegean region. The recurrent evidence for the intentional charring of plant material and the presence of taxa commonly associated with everyday contexts indicates that fire was an important aspect of ritual activities involving plants and that the same suite of plant remains was engaged in the social activities of both the domestic and ritual spheres. Full article
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Article
The Gospel’s Double Antisymmetry as the End-Point of the Development of Western Society
Religions 2022, 13(1), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010080 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 237
Abstract
In this article, we addressed the question of whether the Gospel’s double antisymmetry can be found in reality as such and especially in Western society, which has obviously made developments in its history. Based on the conceptual analysis of language, we came to [...] Read more.
In this article, we addressed the question of whether the Gospel’s double antisymmetry can be found in reality as such and especially in Western society, which has obviously made developments in its history. Based on the conceptual analysis of language, we came to the conclusion that there are four layers of reality: the material world, lifeworld, material life and personal life. Through the analysis of individual layers of reality, we have come to the realization that they are characterized by the double antisymmetry (horizontal and vertical) spoken of in the Gospel. While the world (material and lived) is characterized by the primacy of parts over the whole, life (material and personal) is characterized by the primacy of the whole over the parts. Furthermore, if the material world and material life are characterized by the supremacy of the abstract over the concrete, the lifeworld and personal life are characterized by the supremacy of the concrete over the abstract. Based on examples from logic, science, and society, we also show how this antisymmetry manifests itself in concrete phenomena of everyday life and how it points to the gradual conversion of Western society, which is, according to our conclusion, becoming more and more like the People of God, the heir of the Kingdom of Heaven proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Influence of Religions on Culture and Science)
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Article
Multidimensional Prayer Inventory: Psychometric Properties and Clinical Applications
Religions 2022, 13(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010079 - 16 Jan 2022
Viewed by 401
Abstract
Prayer is one of the most important aspects of religious/spiritual life. The psychological literature has identified various types of prayer and a few methods for measuring it. The Multidimensional Prayer Inventory (MPI) has received much attention from researchers since it allows for the [...] Read more.
Prayer is one of the most important aspects of religious/spiritual life. The psychological literature has identified various types of prayer and a few methods for measuring it. The Multidimensional Prayer Inventory (MPI) has received much attention from researchers since it allows for the capture of the most universal forms of prayer, characteristic of the Judeo-Christian tradition: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication, and Reception. The aim of this article was to examine psychometric properties and clinical applications of the Polish MPI. In four studies, we established the internal structure of the MPI using Principal Component Analysis (PCA, study 1) and Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA, study 2), examined its validity and reliability in relation to religiousness (study 3), and analysed its clinical application (study 4). The Polish MPI has been confirmed as a reliable and valid measure of five types of prayer for use in research settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prayer: A Psychological Perspective)
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Article
Dry, Weary, Smiling Bones: Finding a ‘Yes’ through Hebrew Narrative and a Reduced Spirituality
Religions 2022, 13(1), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010078 - 15 Jan 2022
Viewed by 244
Abstract
Life can be a difficult phenomenon to acquiesce to, much less embrace. Tragedy is seemingly around every corner, and very many philosophies and faiths both ancient and modern have championed the exit from existence over its entrance. Existentialism and nihilism proclaim the seizure [...] Read more.
Life can be a difficult phenomenon to acquiesce to, much less embrace. Tragedy is seemingly around every corner, and very many philosophies and faiths both ancient and modern have championed the exit from existence over its entrance. Existentialism and nihilism proclaim the seizure or suicide of one’s undesired birth, moksha and nirvana the blessed non-return of a wandering soul. Yet against these currents the Jewish ideational approach to being, with its ever-old and newness, has consistently given the world a ‘yes’, and this apparently despite having every reason not to; although perhaps “because” is more appropriate to that prior clause than “despite”. In what follows we therefore consider how we might uncover from within Judaism an abstracted “spirituality” for our times, a numinousness that is not necessarily a “belief”: a “faith” that is more in line with a hope. Our objective is to learn how to think differently rather than to convert, and thus towards this more modest goal we set out to explore some images from Hebrew poetry and narrative, attempting to bring forth core conceptualities which could then be applied to an affirming notional framework befitting anyone who would ponder—who would feel—a way through. How might we state this ‘yes’ for our lives? Full article
Article
The Special Apparatus (al-Niẓām al-Khāṣṣ): The Rise of Nationalist Militancy in the Ranks of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
Religions 2022, 13(1), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010077 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 325
Abstract
Existing scholarship has largely focused on the role of Sayyid Qutb’s ideas when analyzing the Muslim Brotherhood’s violent history. Perceiving Qutb’s ideas as paving the way for radical interpretations of jihad, many studies linked the Brotherhood’s violent history with this key ideologue. [...] Read more.
Existing scholarship has largely focused on the role of Sayyid Qutb’s ideas when analyzing the Muslim Brotherhood’s violent history. Perceiving Qutb’s ideas as paving the way for radical interpretations of jihad, many studies linked the Brotherhood’s violent history with this key ideologue. Yet, in so doing, many studies overlooked the importance of the Special Apparatus in shaping this violent history of the Brotherhood, long before Qutb joined the organization. Through an in-depth study of memoires and accounts penned by Brotherhood members and leaders, and a systematic study of British and American intelligence sources, I attempt to shed light on this understudied formation of the Brotherhood, the Special Apparatus. This paper looks at the development of anti-colonial militancy in Egypt, particularly the part played by the Brotherhood until 1954. It contends that political violence, in the context of British colonization, antedated the Brotherhood’s foundation, and was in some instances considered as a legitimate and even distinguished duty among anti-colonial factions. The application of violence was on no account a part of the Brotherhood’s core strategy, but the organization, nevertheless, established an armed and secret wing tasked with the fulfillment of what a segment of its members perceived as the duty of anti-colonial jihad. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamist Movements in the Middle East)
Article
Depressive Symptomology, Identity and Religious Practices among Catholics and Evangelicals: Differences between the Mapuche and Non-Indigenous Chilean Population
Religions 2022, 13(1), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010076 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 392
Abstract
Background: Chile is a highly religious country. Although a majority of the population describes itself as Catholic, there has been a substantial growth in Evangelism, especially among indigenous people. In this context, the aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between [...] Read more.
Background: Chile is a highly religious country. Although a majority of the population describes itself as Catholic, there has been a substantial growth in Evangelism, especially among indigenous people. In this context, the aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between Catholic and Evangelical religiosity in terms of identity and practices and depressive symptoms in the Mapuche and non-indigenous Chilean population. Methods: The study was conducted using secondary data from the Longitudinal Intercultural Relations Study of 2017, estimating linear regressions to explain variations on the PHQ-9 scale between the adult Mapuche and non-indigenous Chilean population by first including the controls variables, followed by religious identification, churchgoing, and prayer. Results: Social support, good health, and age showed a negative association with PHQ-9 in both groups. Being a woman and not having a partner were only positively related with depression in the non-indigenous group. A negative association was found between Evangelical religious identity and depressive symptoms among the Mapuche population, while churchgoing was negatively associated and prayer was positively associated with depression in the non-indigenous group. Conclusions: The findings confirm that religiosity is a protective factor against depressive symptomology in the Chilean population. However, the analysis reveals significant ethnic differences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Spirituality and Psychosocial Well-Being)
Article
Blending the Subjective and Objective Realms of Sacred Architecture at the Pantheon: Creating a Comparative Framework for Evaluating Transformative Experiences in Ritual Contexts
Religions 2022, 13(1), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010075 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 478
Abstract
This paper seeks to create a comparative framework for evaluating transformative experiences for different types of ritual contexts found in sacred architecture by bridging the gap between the phenomenology of human experience and architecture’s built conditions. The methodology creates a framework for statistical [...] Read more.
This paper seeks to create a comparative framework for evaluating transformative experiences for different types of ritual contexts found in sacred architecture by bridging the gap between the phenomenology of human experience and architecture’s built conditions. The methodology creates a framework for statistical analysis, whereby evidence of people’s actual (i.e., real, lived) “subjective” experiences can be evaluated against the “objective” architectural conditions. The comparative framework is put to the test by comparing the experiential and environmental conditions found at the Pantheon in Rome. Experiential data for the Pantheon is extracted from Julio Bermudez’s large survey database (N = 2872) of “extraordinary architectural experiences” for this study. This data is compared against “objective” graphical architecture analysis using Lindsay Jones’ “morphology of ritual-architectural priorities” with a specific focus on ritual contexts. The quantitative and qualitative data reveals that the Pantheon produces transformative experiences for visitors that are related to the expected outcomes of specific design features. The percentages from the “objective” and “subjective” analysis both rank the priorities of theatre, contemplation, and sanctuary in the same order. This study concludes that built environments possessing a higher presence and quality of “ritual-architectural priorities” are more likely to be perceived as sacred and produce transformative experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Spaces: Designing for the Transcendental)
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Article
Isolation, Community and Spirituality: British Muslim Experiences of Ramadan in Lockdown
Religions 2022, 13(1), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010074 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 565
Abstract
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, is typically a time associated with individual worship and communal gatherings as Muslims meet, eat and pray together. In 2020 especially, COVID-19 had a significant impact on the observation of the holy month. With lockdown measures in [...] Read more.
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, is typically a time associated with individual worship and communal gatherings as Muslims meet, eat and pray together. In 2020 especially, COVID-19 had a significant impact on the observation of the holy month. With lockdown measures in place, mosques were closed and there were prohibitions on visiting family and friends, making the month an unusual occasion. This paper draws upon qualitative PhD research on Ramadan 2020 in Britain comprising more than 50 Ramadan photo diaries from diverse Muslim participants and follow-up interviews. The findings highlight how participants experienced the benefits of isolation by being able to reflect and connect more with God and via the establishment of “Ramadan corners” in homes, while at the same time missing the mosque and the Muslim community. I further highlight how communal aspects of the holy month were maintained and transformed to suit lockdown conditions, including the use of online activities, praying in congregation at home and sharing food. Emerging from these two facets of Ramadan, I explore ideas of socially dependent spirituality and how participants negotiated communal and individual elements of their spiritual lives. Through the diverse examples discussed, I argue that material, embodied, aesthetic and emotive practices were emphasised in 2020 to recreate a ‘feeling’ of Ramadan when typical expressions of the month were unavailable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Muslims and COVID-19: Everyday Impacts, Experiences and Responses)
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Article
Potting Christianity: Ecumenical Worship in Its Multicultural and Multi-Ethnic Context
Religions 2022, 13(1), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010073 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 379
Abstract
In the gardening world, potting refers to the cultivation of plants by cutting, layering, and replacing nutrients-depleted soil with new soil in larger pots to accommodate the growth process. This understanding seems helpful in describing ecumenical worship. There are two perspectives about this [...] Read more.
In the gardening world, potting refers to the cultivation of plants by cutting, layering, and replacing nutrients-depleted soil with new soil in larger pots to accommodate the growth process. This understanding seems helpful in describing ecumenical worship. There are two perspectives about this phenomenon. On one end of the liturgical practice spectrum, it is perceived as a “least-common-denominator” worship form where contested expressions are cast aside and replaced by elements that are acceptable by everyone. As a result, ecumenical worship is held up as a product of complex negotiation but displays a remarkable lack of spiritual depth in its outcome. On the other end, there is the World Council of Churches—a fellowship of 350 churches that is regarded as the epitome of ecumenism in practice particularly its worship celebration. The assembly, convened every eight years, is seen as a “best practice” showcase for ecumenical worship. In fact, many of the “global songs” being sung by our congregation were premiered in this ecumenical setting. How might we make sense of these perceptions? To that end, this article seeks to describe a suitably appropriate method in planning ecumenical worship and to identify elements that this worship genre needs to consider in its rendition. The efforts of the 2022 assembly worship planning committee of the World Council of Churches serves as the case study. Theo-liturgical principles that define this worship design are examined and discussed. By this, insights may be garnered to help local congregations appreciate this distinctive liturgical form that has its raison d’etre as an expression of Christian reconciliation and unity and to understand what is needed to successfully design such services. In so doing, the work of congregations may be strengthened to face the resurgence of racism and xenophobia in their local contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multicultural Worship: Theory and Practice)
Article
The Employee Spirituality Scale as a Measure of Employees’ Spirituality
Religions 2022, 13(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010072 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 280
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess the psychometric properties of the employee spirituality scale. The employee spirituality scale was found to be a reliable measure with good internal consistency. The internal consistency of this instrument, measured with Cronbach’s α coefficient, was [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to assess the psychometric properties of the employee spirituality scale. The employee spirituality scale was found to be a reliable measure with good internal consistency. The internal consistency of this instrument, measured with Cronbach’s α coefficient, was 0.94. Factor analysis confirmed the two-dimensional structure of this measure, the dimensions being: relationship to a Higher Power (God) and attitude towards workmates and employer. A statistically significant positive correlation was found between employee spirituality and job satisfaction, as well as age, and a negative correlation was found with their intent to leave their organization. According to expectation, the relationship to a Higher Power (God) as a religious dimension of employee spirituality was strong, positively related to religious practices and attitude towards workmates and employer, and a secular dimension of employee spirituality did not correlate with religious measures. Gender did not differentiate participants in terms of employee spirituality. The presented results provide evidence that the employee spirituality scale has good psychometric properties and is therefore recommended for use by researchers studying employee spirituality in Polish organizations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
Article
The Ways of Things: Mobilizing Charismatic Objects in Oberammergau and Its Passion Play
Religions 2022, 13(1), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010071 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 229
Abstract
The mobilization processes initiated by the medieval practice of Christian pilgrimage do not only concern the journeys of human travellers but also of things. The transport of objects to and from pilgrimage sites derives from a pre-modern concept of charisma as a specific [...] Read more.
The mobilization processes initiated by the medieval practice of Christian pilgrimage do not only concern the journeys of human travellers but also of things. The transport of objects to and from pilgrimage sites derives from a pre-modern concept of charisma as a specific kind of energy that can be transferred to things and substances. This mutual mobilization of humans and things can be described as the entangled processes of charismatic charging and re-charging; we argue that this pre-modern logic of contiguity and contagion has survived the multiple transformations of individual travel until today. Even travel dispositives of the 20th and 21st centuries presuppose kinds of situational and spatialized charisma involving human and non-human agents. We illustrate this by the example of the world-renowned Oberammergau Passion Play with its unique playing continuity from the early 17th century onwards. We argue that by taking objects home from elevated places, situational and site-specific charisma can be taken home. To describe the relationship between travel by pilgrims, the mobility of objects, and the mutual charismatic charging of elevated places and things, we propose three perspectives on the material remains of elevated situations. In addition to relics and souvenirs, we propose ‘spolia’ as a third category which allows for the description of discontinuity and transformation in practices of elevating things. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pilgrimage and Religious Mobilization in Europe)
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Article
The Mediating Effect of Dispositional Gratitude on the Relationship between Religious Struggles and Self-Esteem: Preliminary Results
Religions 2022, 13(1), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010070 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 382
Abstract
In comforting or distressing circumstances, individuals tend to have various perceptions of themselves. It seems that religious comfort and religious distress correlate differently with people’s self-esteem. Since the relationship between religiosity and self-esteem is not only direct but can be mediated by other [...] Read more.
In comforting or distressing circumstances, individuals tend to have various perceptions of themselves. It seems that religious comfort and religious distress correlate differently with people’s self-esteem. Since the relationship between religiosity and self-esteem is not only direct but can be mediated by other factors that are recognized as buffers against adverse situations, our main goal was to verify whether dispositional gratitude may have an indirect effect on the association between both variables. The research involved data from 254 participants aged 18 to 25 (M = 21.24; SD = 2.09) and included 192 women (76%) and 62 men (24%). To measure the title variables, we used: the Religious Comfort and Strain Scale (RCSS), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), and the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6). The results showed that people who consider religion as a source of comfort express positive attitudes toward the self and recognize others’ kindness, as well. In contrast, people who consider religiosity as a cause of fear, stress, and internal strain tend to display a lower subjective sense of personal worth and lower appreciation of the positivity around them. Moreover, gratitude had a mediatory effect on the relationships between religious comfort/negative emotions toward God and self-esteem. Full article
Article
Islamic Religious Authority in Cyberspace: A Qualitative Study of Muslim Religious Actors in Australia
Religions 2022, 13(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010069 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 597
Abstract
The arrival of new technologies has always presented new challenges and opportunities to religious communities anchored in scriptural and oral traditions. In the modern period, the volume, speed and accessibility of digital technologies has significantly altered the way knowledge is communicated and consumed. [...] Read more.
The arrival of new technologies has always presented new challenges and opportunities to religious communities anchored in scriptural and oral traditions. In the modern period, the volume, speed and accessibility of digital technologies has significantly altered the way knowledge is communicated and consumed. This is particularly true for the way religious authority is constructed online. Using in-depth fieldwork interviews and survey findings of Australian Muslims, this article examines the way religious actors, including imams/sheikhs, educators and academics in the field of Islamic studies, perceive and use online platforms to convey their religious knowledge. The findings suggest Muslims value the benefits of accessing knowledge, communicating ideas and facilitating religious pluralism via digital platforms. By the same token, participants warned against the dangers of information anarchy, “Sheikh Google” and the limitations of “do it yourself Islam”. Importantly, the article shows imams, educators and Muslim scholars largely prioritise face-to-face learning as a more reliable and effective method of teaching and establishing rapport among Muslims compared to eclectic internet-based information dissemination. At the same time, religious actors are not averse to Muslims using digital platforms so long as they possess the skills to cross-examine online content and verify the credentials of religious actors. For more complex and circumstantial issues, participants encouraged Muslims to consult a local imam or trusted religious scholar from the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Perspectives on Digital Islam)
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Article
Moral Visions in Medieval Muslim Interpretations of Sūra 102 Al-Takāthur: Warnings against Pride, Wealth, or Pleasure?
Religions 2022, 13(1), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010068 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 291
Abstract
This article focuses on sūra 102 al-Takāthur of the Qur’ān which addresses those preoccupied with al-takāthur (competition for superiority in number, or accumulation of wealth), warning them of the punishment of Hell in the Hereafter and of their interrogation about al-na‘īm (the worldly [...] Read more.
This article focuses on sūra 102 al-Takāthur of the Qur’ān which addresses those preoccupied with al-takāthur (competition for superiority in number, or accumulation of wealth), warning them of the punishment of Hell in the Hereafter and of their interrogation about al-na‘īm (the worldly pleasures) on the Day of Judgement. The grave eschatological implications of engaging in al-takāthur and al-na‘īm, conveyed in this sūra, have triggered attempts by Muslim scholars to determine the intended meanings of these notions and the scope of their reference. This article examines the interpretations of al-takāthur and al-na‘īm in medieval commentaries on sūra al-Takāthur with the aim of identifying and analysing various interpretative trends regarding these two notions and exploring their connection with the moral orientations among Muslims in the medieval period of Islamic history. Full article
Article
Embracing the Paradox: A Bodhisattva Path
Religions 2022, 13(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010067 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 311
Abstract
This article addresses the significance of paradox as a steady presence in our lives. Contradictions and ambiguities often lead to aversive states of anxious uncertainty where straightforward answers are often unavailable yet sought after to alleviate existential insecurities. In conditions where narratives of [...] Read more.
This article addresses the significance of paradox as a steady presence in our lives. Contradictions and ambiguities often lead to aversive states of anxious uncertainty where straightforward answers are often unavailable yet sought after to alleviate existential insecurities. In conditions where narratives of ambivalence intensify, such as during the worldwide COVID-19 crises, our traditional socio-evolutionary inclinations to avoid them either through denial or active resistance become more noticeable. It also leads to distress in intersubjective spaces especially when uncertainty and perceptions of threat stand as correlates, and we start to fear what we do not understand. In this paper, I consider wisdom responses from a Buddhist perspective to help us acknowledge the value of paradox, highlighting how changes in the formulation of our self-concept can help with that. I draw upon select principles and insights from the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra, two texts within the Mahaprajnaparamita sutras of Mahayana Buddhism. Through these, I examine some inherent paradoxes as vital components of a larger ontological unity, the recognition of which can act as an enabler to the Bodhisattva path. This path is worthy of exploration, allowing us to move past the need for closure and instead focus on reconciliation, disclosure, and epistemic humility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Practice for the Crises That Face Us)
Article
Rethinking Mindfulness in Education within Two Frameworks: Articulating the “Threefold Model of Mindful Wisdom” with the “Theory of Mental Interference”
Religions 2022, 13(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010066 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 278
Abstract
The existent trend of implementing mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) into public education came along with an increasing scientific record regarding the definitional construct of mindfulness, effects of various mindfulness-based interventions and their basic mechanisms. In terms of the rising definitional discourse in the interdisciplinary [...] Read more.
The existent trend of implementing mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) into public education came along with an increasing scientific record regarding the definitional construct of mindfulness, effects of various mindfulness-based interventions and their basic mechanisms. In terms of the rising definitional discourse in the interdisciplinary field of mindfulness, the “threefold model of mindful wisdom” (TMMW) was proposed. In the present paper’s quest of rethinking mindfulness in education, the relevance of the TMMW for didactics in modern Western educational systems (with special interest on the region of Germany) is examined, affirmed in several points and—with the aid of the “Theory of Mental Interference” (TMI)—methodically linked to individual learners’ needs. The TMI has been developed at the University of Hamburg since 1984 by Wagner and colleagues. This is compatible with the TMMW with regard to the concept of self and basic psychological mechanisms of “mindful exercises”. Its basic approach conceives the epistemic level of cognitive processes (1) to be unbiased by affect and (2) to be different from a level of mental interference, which in case of an arising default habitually interferes with the cognitive processes. Implications for further research, for modern educational systems and for MBPs in education are discussed. Full article
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Article
On Earth and as It Is in Heaven—There Is No Sex Trafficking in Heaven: A Qualitative Study Bringing Christian Church Leaders’ Anti-Trafficking Viewpoints to Trafficking Discourse
Religions 2022, 13(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010065 - 11 Jan 2022
Viewed by 301
Abstract
There is a lack of contributions in sex trafficking the academic literature from Christian evangelical leaders despite their prominence in global counter-trafficking activism. Given that the academic literature influences professional and pedagogical discourse, the lack of evangelical Christian representation could diminish the complexity [...] Read more.
There is a lack of contributions in sex trafficking the academic literature from Christian evangelical leaders despite their prominence in global counter-trafficking activism. Given that the academic literature influences professional and pedagogical discourse, the lack of evangelical Christian representation could diminish the complexity of trafficking discourses, limit balanced views of the flaws and strengths of evangelical counter-trafficking, and limit the opportunities for academia to understand and address problematic areas in evangelical counter-trafficking through an emic understanding of evangelical paradigms. Using a phenomenological lens to engage evangelical Christian pastors (n = 17) in the midwestern United States, this study examined the meaning faith leaders attach to counter-trafficking initiatives. Four themes emerged: (1) God cares about survivors of sex trafficking, giving Christians a moral obligation to intervene; (2) God, the Christian, and the survivor all have essential roles in tackling sex trafficking as part of helping humanity; (3) congregations’ faith-inspired but imperfect efforts to help an imperfect and complex world create many complexities; and (4) managing complexity involves applying the truths that underpin the Christian worldview, namely that God is good and people are valuable. These findings underscore the need to create an inclusive knowledge-producing forum that allows for a pragmatic exchange of ideas to expand the discourse between multiple counter trafficking actors. Full article
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Article
Religion, Gender, and Bodies: Women’s Polyvalent Roles and Experiences in the Biopolitics of Taiwan’s Presbyterian Missions
Religions 2022, 13(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010064 - 11 Jan 2022
Viewed by 361
Abstract
The Presbyterian missions and medical missions in 19th-century Taiwan were successful enterprises that over time developed into the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, which stands today as the largest Christian minority church in this country. Through a Foucauldian biopolitical perspective, this paper analyzes the [...] Read more.
The Presbyterian missions and medical missions in 19th-century Taiwan were successful enterprises that over time developed into the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, which stands today as the largest Christian minority church in this country. Through a Foucauldian biopolitical perspective, this paper analyzes the roles of female missionaries in the management of bodies and the subjective experiences of both foreign and Native women in the missions. Going beyond descriptive narratives and control-versus-agency reductionist frames, the paper points the polyvalent semantics of such roles and experiences. It also explores the complex relations between the women’s biopolitical functions, the PCT’s industrial type of biopolitical apparatus, and the biopolitical regimes of the late Qing dynasty and the Japanese colonial government in the early 20th century. The conclusions remark on the analytical relevance of biopolitical perspectives in the study of gender and body-related phenomena in Christian missions and Christian religions beyond Western societies. Full article
Article
Christian Accommodative Mindfulness: Definition, Current Research, and Group Protocol
Religions 2022, 13(1), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010063 - 11 Jan 2022
Viewed by 363
Abstract
More clinicians are using mindfulness-based therapeutic strategies; however, Evangelical Christian clients sometimes worry about the Buddhist origins of these treatments. Christian accommodative mindfulness (CAM) attempts to address these concerns with culturally sensitive adaptations to mindfulness methods. We present a definition of CAM and [...] Read more.
More clinicians are using mindfulness-based therapeutic strategies; however, Evangelical Christian clients sometimes worry about the Buddhist origins of these treatments. Christian accommodative mindfulness (CAM) attempts to address these concerns with culturally sensitive adaptations to mindfulness methods. We present a definition of CAM and propose some worldview adjustments to typical mindfulness constructs when working with these clients. The empirical research on Christian-derived meditation strategies and Christian-adapted mindfulness strategies will then be reviewed. We introduce a four-session group CAM protocol currently being researched that focuses on scripture meditation, breath meditation, body awareness, and loving-kindness meditation. Sample scripts are included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Mindfulness: A Christian Approach)
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Article
Christian Mindfulness and Mental Health: Coping through Sacred Traditions and Embodied Awareness
Religions 2022, 13(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010062 - 10 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 543
Abstract
Mindfulness is increasingly implemented as a tool in mental health practice for coping and self-care. Some Christians worry that these practices might be in conflict with their own tradition, while other Christian contexts are reclaiming the contemplative aspects of the faith. Though clinicians [...] Read more.
Mindfulness is increasingly implemented as a tool in mental health practice for coping and self-care. Some Christians worry that these practices might be in conflict with their own tradition, while other Christian contexts are reclaiming the contemplative aspects of the faith. Though clinicians are not trained to teach on religious topics and ethically must avoid pushing religion onto clients, conceptualization and research extend the benefits of mindfulness practices for religious clients. This paper will discuss the evidence for using mindfulness in mental health treatment and connect mindfulness to the Christian tradition. The authors explore how intentional awareness and embodiment of the present moment are supported in Christian theology through the incarnation of Jesus and God’s attention of the physical body in the Christian scriptures. The authors also discuss how sacraments and prayer naturally overlap with mindfulness practices for the dual purposes of emotional healing and spiritual growth. To bolster the benefits of mindfulness in the psychological and religious realms, the purpose of this paper is to empower therapists to address client concerns of whether mindfulness is in conflict with Christianity, support clients in expanding current Christian religious coping, and provide Christian leaders with more information about how mindfulness elements are already present in Christian rituals and beliefs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Mindfulness: A Christian Approach)
Article
Equality of Access? Chinese Women Practicing Chan and Transnational Meditation in Contemporary China
Religions 2022, 13(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010061 - 10 Jan 2022
Viewed by 486
Abstract
This paper examines how the Buddhist revival, the Chan revival, and recent popularity of transnational meditation practices have facilitated Chinese women practicing Buddhist meditation in contemporary China. With the influence of the opening of China and growing transnational networks, there has been an [...] Read more.
This paper examines how the Buddhist revival, the Chan revival, and recent popularity of transnational meditation practices have facilitated Chinese women practicing Buddhist meditation in contemporary China. With the influence of the opening of China and growing transnational networks, there has been an increasing number of Han Chinese monastics and lay people practicing transnational meditation, such as samādhi, vipassanā and mindfulness, in the past two decades. Despite the restriction of accessing Chan halls at monasteries, some Chinese nuns and laywomen have traveled to learn meditation in different parts of China, and international meditation centers in Southeast Asia to study with yogis from all over the world. Surprisingly some returned female travelers have taken significant roles in organizing meditation retreats, and establishing meditation centers and meditation halls. Through examining some ethnographic cases of Chinese nuns and laywomen, this paper argues that the transnational meditation movement has an impact not only on gender equality, especially concerning Chinese women practicing meditation, but also on the development of contemporary Chinese Buddhism. The significant role of Chinese female meditators in promoting Buddhist meditation can reflect a trend of re-positioning the Chan School in contemporary China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Women's Religiosity: Contemporary Feminist Perspectives)
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Article
Navigating Extinction: Zen Buddhism and Eco-Anarchism
Religions 2022, 13(1), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010060 - 10 Jan 2022
Viewed by 416
Abstract
What can esoteric knowledge and spiritual practices from the East teach us about the deep psychological roots of domination and hierarchy? In what ways have ancient Buddhist sages acted as anarchist exemplars and deep ecologists long before these traditions began in the West? [...] Read more.
What can esoteric knowledge and spiritual practices from the East teach us about the deep psychological roots of domination and hierarchy? In what ways have ancient Buddhist sages acted as anarchist exemplars and deep ecologists long before these traditions began in the West? How might these anarchistic spiritual traditions inform our approaches to work in education, expand our notions of community, help us navigate ecological collapse, and contribute to our efforts to sustain living systems and rekindle our connection to the myriad sentient inhabitants of the places we live beyond the reaches of capital and the State? This paper will examine the anti-doctrine doctrine of Zen Buddhism as a concrete and embodied system of thought and practice for seeing through the delusions of the ego and the psychological and cultural conditioning these delusions engender. What will also be acknowledged is the general lack of attention this spiritual tradition has given to the capitalistic, authoritarian, and anti-ecological systems that tap into and flow from these delusions. It will be argued that these experiential approaches to overcoming the tyranny of the ego have significant implications for loosening the grip of hierarchical thinking, capitalist hyper-consumption, centralized systems of obedience and command, and human destruction of the biosphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Practice for the Crises That Face Us)
Article
The Cruelty of Supersessionism: The Case of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Religions 2022, 13(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010059 - 08 Jan 2022
Viewed by 387
Abstract
The impact of the Shoah on Christian biblical and theological studies has been significant. The Christian doctrine of supersessionism, the replacement of the Jews and Judaism by the Christian church, has come in for particular criticism. Some more traditional scholars have either ignored [...] Read more.
The impact of the Shoah on Christian biblical and theological studies has been significant. The Christian doctrine of supersessionism, the replacement of the Jews and Judaism by the Christian church, has come in for particular criticism. Some more traditional scholars have either ignored these critiques or suggested that they were shaped not by critical study of the biblical text but by Christian guilt. It is also argued that the supersessionist argument is so thoroughly woven into the Christian story that extracting it would destroy the story itself. For some, it appears that there is no Christianity without supersessionism. This paper argues not only that this challenge to supersessionism was indeed the result of post-Shoah reflection, but that such challenges were appropriate and necessary. It does this in part by considering the case of German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer whose early citations of the “teachings of contempt” were challenged by the violence of Nazis and the clarity of their intent to destroy both the Jews and, eventually, the church. A non-supersessionist Christianity is both possible and necessary, not simply to preserve the relationship between Christians and Jews, but to enable both communities to engage in the work of “consummation” and “redemption” that God has entrusted to them. Full article
Article
Pandemic Religion in Brazil—Temptation and Responsibility
Religions 2022, 13(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010058 - 07 Jan 2022
Viewed by 357
Abstract
Religious incidence in Brazilian public space is a widespread fact that has been gaining new visibility in pandemic times. Responsibility in liminal situations represents specific theological hermeneutics, as well as what matters for the respective religious agents. Thus, based on a bibliographical review [...] Read more.
Religious incidence in Brazilian public space is a widespread fact that has been gaining new visibility in pandemic times. Responsibility in liminal situations represents specific theological hermeneutics, as well as what matters for the respective religious agents. Thus, based on a bibliographical review connected to an analysis of websites, this article aims to reflect on the current Brazilian context, the challenges to doing theology in Brazil today and points to some possible responses. “Pandemic religion”, as we call it, is the synthesis of theologies and religious practices that legitimise irresponsible approaches to life, vulnerabilising the other instead of assuming care-based ethics. Firstly, we briefly describe current theological trends, followed by an analysis of the Brazilian scenario by way of three representative scenes of public religious incidence that reflect a lack of responsibility in view of the pandemic challenges caused by COVID-19. Subsequently, we look back into history for alternative responses to public health crises that required theological positioning. In a Brazilian perspective of a public theology, we finally reflect on a responsible ethics that may help respond to the current challenges, particularly for pandemic religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisioning Latin American Christian Theology)
Article
Translation or Divination? Sacred Languages and Bilingualism in Judaism and Lucumí Traditions
Religions 2022, 13(1), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010057 - 07 Jan 2022
Viewed by 337
Abstract
I compare the status of a sacred language in two very different religious traditions. In Judaism, the Hebrew language is the language of liturgy, prayer, and the Written Law. The traditional way of reading Torah passages involved translating them into Aramaic, the everyday [...] Read more.
I compare the status of a sacred language in two very different religious traditions. In Judaism, the Hebrew language is the language of liturgy, prayer, and the Written Law. The traditional way of reading Torah passages involved translating them into Aramaic, the everyday language of communication in the Middle East in the first half of the first millennium CE. Later, other Jewish languages, such as Yiddish, played a role similar to that of Aramaic in the Talmudic period, constituting a system referred to as the “Traditional Jewish Bilingualism”. Hebrew lexemes had denotations related to the realm of Biblical texts, while Aramaic/Yiddish lexemes had everyday references. Therefore, the act of translation connected the two realms or domains. The Lucumí (Santería) Afro-Cuban religion is a syncretic tradition combining Roman Catholicism with the Ifá tradition, which does not have a corpus of written sacred texts, however, it has its sacred language, the Lucumí (Anagó) language related to the Yoruba language of West Africa. While the Spanish-Lucumí bilingualism plays an important role in Santería rituals, the mechanisms of reference are very different from those of the Hebrew-Yiddish bilingualism in Judaism. In Santería, divinations about the meaning of Lucumí words play a role similar to the translations from Hebrew in Judaism. I further discuss the role of ritual dances in Santería for the transition from the sacred to the secular domain and a function of Hebrew epitaphs to connect the ideal world of Hebrew sacred texts to the everyday life of a Jewish community. Full article
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Article
The Environmental Activism of a Filipino Catholic Faith Community: Re-Imagining Ecological Care for the Flourishing of All
Religions 2022, 13(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010056 - 07 Jan 2022
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Extensive open-pit mining activities in the Philippines since the 1970s up to the present confront the meaning of the “Church of the Poor”, a description that the Catholic Church in the Philippines uses to visualize its prophetic mission. Alongside mining, many more environmentally [...] Read more.
Extensive open-pit mining activities in the Philippines since the 1970s up to the present confront the meaning of the “Church of the Poor”, a description that the Catholic Church in the Philippines uses to visualize its prophetic mission. Alongside mining, many more environmentally destructive industries are present in the poorest areas in the country, even though the Philippines is disaster-prone and one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the devastating effects of the climate crisis. The environmental degradation has prompted many Filipino Catholic organizations and communities to act together through various campaigns to address the problem. The article examines a case of a faith-based community that rose to the challenge to address various environmental issues their community has encountered and continues to experience. The community’s environmental activism presents a viable model for a re-imagined ecological care towards the “flourishing of all” as a response to Pamela McCarroll’s call to action to continue conversations on the many ways practical theology can move beyond anthropocentrism while focusing on social justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practical Theology Amid Environmental Crises)
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