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Religions, Volume 13, Issue 3 (March 2022) – 82 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Jim Harvey was the artist who created the Brillo box that Andy Warhol copied and made famous. Warhol’s Brillo Boxes changed the course of art history and the entire field of aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Meanwhile, Jim Harvey died a failed second-generation Abstract Expressionist. To his death, Harvey refused to accept that his Brillo box was a work of art. However, it was in no small part the theory—the story—that was told about Warhol’s Brillo Boxes that transformed them from commonplace objects into multimillion-dollar masterpieces. As a counterbalance, this article appeals to narrative theology to tell Jim Harvey’s story: the tragic and luminous story of a beautiful failure. View this paper
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Article
Domestic and Family Violence: Responses and Approaches across the Australian Churches
Religions 2022, 13(3), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030270 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1274
Abstract
Domestic and family violence (DFV) is a serious and widespread problem in Australia and across the world, including in faith communities. There are calls for research to assist churches to better recognize, respond to and prevent violence. This study draws on data from [...] Read more.
Domestic and family violence (DFV) is a serious and widespread problem in Australia and across the world, including in faith communities. There are calls for research to assist churches to better recognize, respond to and prevent violence. This study draws on data from the 2016 Australian National Church Life Survey (n = 883 senior local church leaders, n = 1270 churchgoers) to provide the first Australia-wide cross-denominational statistics on Christian clergy responses to DFV. Two-thirds of leaders had previously dealt with DFV situations in their ministry, primarily responding to victims of abuse by referring them to specialist support services and by counselling them. The findings suggest a particular depth of experience with DFV situations and strength of awareness of the needs of victims for safety and specialist support among Salvationist leaders. While, overall, a substantial majority of churchgoers felt that they could approach their church for help if they were experiencing DFV, just half of Catholics felt that they could do so. Future research should explore responses to DFV in specific denominations and culturally and linguistic diverse contexts in more detail and seek to understand the practices used by the large minority of clergy who are dealing with perpetrators. Full article
Article
What Role for the Sisters? Islamist Movements between Authenticity and Equality
Religions 2022, 13(3), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030269 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 665
Abstract
In mainstream Islamist discourse, there is an awkward coexistence between recognition of women as equal political actors and affirmation of a traditional Muslim view of the man as head of the family. Islamism emerged in countries where patriarchy has remained deeply engrained. Yet [...] Read more.
In mainstream Islamist discourse, there is an awkward coexistence between recognition of women as equal political actors and affirmation of a traditional Muslim view of the man as head of the family. Islamism emerged in countries where patriarchy has remained deeply engrained. Yet their stances have varied. In Morocco, female Islamists have pushed for women’s rights and a guarded opening towards cooperation with feminists. In contrast, the Muslim Brothers in Egypt have remained more conservative and female cadres have prioritised fighting any development seen as threatening the Muslim family. The Arab Spring also stirred matters regarding gender relations, as women took active part in the uprisings. In the years to come, women’s issues will likely demand ever more attention across the Arab world. How the Islamists deal with this will be pivotal in determining the future of the movements. To understand the evolving responses of the movements to this challenge, it is essential to analyse the development of mainstream Islamist discourse and practice relating to gender relations in the period leading up to the ruptures of 2011. This article will investigate the issue in the two cases of Egypt and Morocco, and seeks to understand the relationship between internal and external drivers of ideological change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islamist Movements in the Middle East)
Article
The Impact of Eatmarna Application Usability on Improving Performance Expectancy, Facilitating the Practice of Rituals and Improving Spirituality Feelings during Umrah Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak
Religions 2022, 13(3), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030268 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 606
Abstract
The electronic tourism era has rapidly emerged during the explosive spread of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. The role of information technology was also evident in the religious tourism sector, and this facilitated the organization of religious events for Muslims, such as Hajj and [...] Read more.
The electronic tourism era has rapidly emerged during the explosive spread of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. The role of information technology was also evident in the religious tourism sector, and this facilitated the organization of religious events for Muslims, such as Hajj and Umrah. In the present study, we assessed the usability of a mobile application (Eatmarna) which provides permits to perform Umrah and other religious practices in Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia. We sought also to assess the impact of usability on the app effectiveness in improving Umrah experience. Pilgrims were asked to fill out an electronic survey distributed by the coordinators of Umrah service providers. Results showed that the perceived effectiveness was predicted by two domains of usability, namely system information arrangement (β = 0.27, 95% CI, 0.09 to 0.46, p = 0.004) and app usefulness (β = 0.52, 95% CI, 0.34 to 0.69, p < 0.0001). Both the usability domains were independently associated with all the subdomains of app effectiveness, including performance expectancy, facilitating the practice of rituals, and feelings of spirituality. The Eatmarna application was effective in providing a safe environment for pilgrims, which was accounted for by the app usability, and this facilitated the improvement of Umrah experience. National authorities can further integrate additional services in the app to improve pilgrims’ perceptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Religion and Consumer Behavior)
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Article
The ‘Great Whore’ of Babylon (Rev 17) as a Non-Survivor of Sexual Abuse
Religions 2022, 13(3), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030267 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 723
Abstract
The article aims to re-read Rev 17:16 amid the catastrophic patterns of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Employing narratological methods as well as a close reading of the text, it is argued that Rev 17:16 can be coherently read as the violent [...] Read more.
The article aims to re-read Rev 17:16 amid the catastrophic patterns of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Employing narratological methods as well as a close reading of the text, it is argued that Rev 17:16 can be coherently read as the violent sexual punishment of an anthropomorphic female character. Signals in the text point to God’s involvement in this punishment and to its overall positive evaluation. Considering reader’s realities in the context of sexual abuse and its cover-up, the article argues for the necessity of taking a positional stance while reading biblical ‘texts of sexual terror’. Such a positional stance must have visible effects on a responsible reading and interpretation of the ‘great whore’s’ story. Full article
Article
“As If Nothing Had Happened”: Karl Barth’s ‘Responsible’ Theology
Religions 2022, 13(3), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030266 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 671
Abstract
Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in early 1933 precipitated an ecclesial and theological crisis in the life of the German churches. Karl Barth responded to the crisis in his treatise Theological Existence Today, calling the German church to steadfast faithfulness in the [...] Read more.
Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in early 1933 precipitated an ecclesial and theological crisis in the life of the German churches. Karl Barth responded to the crisis in his treatise Theological Existence Today, calling the German church to steadfast faithfulness in the face of increasing pressure to compromise the central commitments of its faith. This essay provides an exposition of Barth’s treatise, exploring his understanding of theological existence, and evaluating his rather infamous assertion that he would “carry on theology, and only theology, now as previously, and as if nothing had happened”. It finds that Barth called his peers to ‘responsible’ theology, the practice of which required a particular ethos and specific methodological commitments. Such responsibility was critical if the church was to retain both its integrity as the people of God, and its ministry, during this crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Karl Barth's Theology in a Time of Crisis)
Article
“Contramodernist Buddhism” in a Global City-State: Shinnyo-en in Singapore
Religions 2022, 13(3), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030265 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 820
Abstract
This article outlines the arrival and adaptation of Shinnyo-en as an example of contramodernist Buddhism in Singapore. Shinnyo-en’s contramodernist spirituality focuses on its founding Itō family. The arrival of Shinnyo-en is situated within the larger contexts of the Singapore–Japan relationship. Social memories of [...] Read more.
This article outlines the arrival and adaptation of Shinnyo-en as an example of contramodernist Buddhism in Singapore. Shinnyo-en’s contramodernist spirituality focuses on its founding Itō family. The arrival of Shinnyo-en is situated within the larger contexts of the Singapore–Japan relationship. Social memories of the Japanese occupation lingered within the population amidst increasing Japanese Foreign Domestic Investments in Singapore. These transnational migration trends brought Shinnyo-en practitioners and Shinnyo-en itself to Singapore. Simultaneously, Singapore’s government had been actively monitoring and regulating religious groups in order to maintain religious harmony, societal wellbeing, and ensure the separation of religion and politics in Singapore. This study explores the adaptations of Shinnyo-en’s organisational structure, religious practices, and activities in Singapore from 1983 to 2021. It argues that Shinnyo-en has actively adapted to the Singapore context and has actively courted the state for its political survival, adjusting its activities to gain social recognition from Singapore society as a Buddhist organisation. Despite these adaptations, Shinnyo-en Singapore retains its contramodernist Buddhist spirituality, focusing on its founding Itō family. This article highlights the integration of Shinnyo-en’s contramodernist beliefs within Shinnyo-en’s activities and how this contramodernist spirituality mobilises support for selected social causes through its practitioners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beyond the Mainland: Buddhist Communities in Maritime Southeast Asia)
Reply
Reply to Cordeiro-Rodrigues (2022). Tutuism and the Moral Universe. Comment on “Gasser (2021). Animal Suffering, God and Lessons from the Book of Job. Religions 12: 1047”
Religions 2022, 13(3), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030264 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 364
Abstract
In this reply, I aim to clarify my ideas presented in a recent paper and to address criticisms that have been raised by Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues regarding my interpretation of (animal) suffering and God. Full article
Article
The Political Dimension of Liturgical Prayers of Remembrance: Lists of Rulers in the Confraternity Books of the Carolingian Period
Religions 2022, 13(3), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030263 - 19 Mar 2022
Viewed by 534
Abstract
The confraternity books (Libri vitae) of the Early Middle Ages record the names of individuals to be remembered in liturgical prayer. Since the middle of the 20th century, they have come more sharply into focus as historical source material. The records of rulers [...] Read more.
The confraternity books (Libri vitae) of the Early Middle Ages record the names of individuals to be remembered in liturgical prayer. Since the middle of the 20th century, they have come more sharply into focus as historical source material. The records of rulers were of particular interest even then. In order to understand the lists of rulers in the Liber Vitae, the first subject of study is the development of prayers of remembrance for the living and the dead, and the subsequent emergence and shaping of liturgical commemoration of the ruler from late antiquity to the Carolingian period. These diverse developments merge with those of the liturgical Memoria in the confraternity books, indicating that the monasteries, in particular, were important keepers of monarchical Memoria. Taking as examples the Salzburg Liber Vitae (783) and the Reichenau Confraternity Book (824), the steps and methods are followed through and the lists of rulers interpreted in their historical context. The two confraternity books prove to be a source for the legitimisation of Carolingian sovereignty, particularly in terms of substantiating it historically and securing it liturgically. The regional perspective of each monastic community plays a major role here. Complex reference and interpretative systems are exposed in the confraternity books, whose orderliness, structure and prayer also served as a counterbalance to the disorder and crisis prevalent in the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Liturgy in the Middle Ages)
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Article
Yehudite Imaginations of King Darius and His Officials: Views from the Province beyond the River
Religions 2022, 13(3), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030262 - 19 Mar 2022
Viewed by 487
Abstract
This article analyzes representations of the Persian king Darius and his officials in the Books of Haggai, Zechariah 1–8, and Ezra 4–6 in the current Hebrew Bible. These writings, produced in the Persian period or somewhat later, portray these literary characters in various [...] Read more.
This article analyzes representations of the Persian king Darius and his officials in the Books of Haggai, Zechariah 1–8, and Ezra 4–6 in the current Hebrew Bible. These writings, produced in the Persian period or somewhat later, portray these literary characters in various ways in relation to the restoration of the community, city, and temple of YHWH in Jerusalem. In biblical scholarship, the main interest has been to scrutinize the conditions behind the textual representations of Darius, related to dating the selected texts and the temple restoration, as well as Darius’s role as the central supplier of Achaemenid imperial ideology. The current study suggests refocusing by highlighting the historical significance of the literary imaginations of this monarch. What is at stake is not the historical Darius or the officials Zerubbabel, Sheshbazzar, and Tattenai, but rather literary representations of them suiting the needs of those who produced them. In Haggai and Zechariah 1–8, Darius’s role in the temple restoration is downplayed, while in Haggai, Zerubbabel is represented by a blend of Yahwistic and imperial signs and symbols, and in Zechariah 1–8, the imperial connotations are toned down. This is while Zerubbabel is decisive for authorizing both the temple community and the prophet. In Ezra 4–6, Darius is one of many Persian kings engaged in the restoration of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. While Zerubbabel gains support from the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, Sheshbazzar brings the vessels back to Jerusalem and lays the foundations of the temple on King Cyrus’s command. At the same time, Tattenai gets Cyrus’s order confirmed and, apart from that, is asked to stay away from the works of the Yehudites. By analyzing the representations of Darius and other Persian officials through a cultural-historical lens, selection and perspectivization are stressed. The selected writings convey local negotiations of power relations with the empire in terms of keeping a position in the imperial hierarchy while, at the same time, cultivating the identity of their subaltern group through certain symbols, institutions, and practices. Full article
Article
Honoring the Saint through Poetry Recitation: Pilgrimage and the Memories of Shaikh Abdurrahman Siddiq Al-Banjari in Indragiri Hilir
Religions 2022, 13(3), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030261 - 18 Mar 2022
Viewed by 929
Abstract
This paper is about poetry and pilgrimage in Tembilahan, Indragiri Hilir, where Abdurrahman Siddiq, a prominent alim who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, is buried. In addition to his treatises on theology, mysticism, and ethics, Abdurrahman Siddiq is also [...] Read more.
This paper is about poetry and pilgrimage in Tembilahan, Indragiri Hilir, where Abdurrahman Siddiq, a prominent alim who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, is buried. In addition to his treatises on theology, mysticism, and ethics, Abdurrahman Siddiq is also renowned for his contribution to Islamic literature in Sumatra. He is a famous Islamic scholar and is respected in Indragiri Hilir for his spiritual messages delivered in the form of sya’ir (poetry). Malay Muslims have preserved the saint’s legacy through the act of pilgrimage and various cultural events and festivals. This paper argues that the recitation of Abdurrahman Siddiq’s poems during the pilgrimage to Tembilahan and Islamic festivals shows how Malay Muslims honor their respected saint. Full article
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Article
The Roots of Ambivalence: Makiguchi Tsunesaburō’s Heterodox Discourse and Praxis of “Religion”
Religions 2022, 13(3), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030260 - 18 Mar 2022
Viewed by 633
Abstract
In the post-World War II era, Sōka Gakkai has deployed the terminology and concept of “religion” (shūkyō 宗教) in a variety of contexts and to a variety of ends. Do these positions simply reflect a post-war strategic stance? Do they have deeper [...] Read more.
In the post-World War II era, Sōka Gakkai has deployed the terminology and concept of “religion” (shūkyō 宗教) in a variety of contexts and to a variety of ends. Do these positions simply reflect a post-war strategic stance? Do they have deeper historical and philosophical roots? A careful reading of key texts by founding president Makiguchi Tsunesaburō 牧口常三郎 (1871–1944) suggests that, from its inception as the Value-Creating Education Society (Sōka Kyōiku Gakkai 創価教育学会) in the 1930s, the movement has occupied an ambiguous space, relative to the conceptualization and practice of “religion”, as these were imported at the start of the Meiji Era (1868–1912), adopted and indigenized to respond to the cultural, social and political exigencies of modernizing Japan. Examples of Makiguchi’s heterodoxy, relative to the established understanding of “religion” and its role, include: the rejection of specific ideas of “religion”, in relation to education and science, as represented in the writings of such intellectuals as Inoue Tetsujirō 井上哲次郎 and Ishiwara Atsushi 石原純; refusal to accept the official definition of Shintō as non-religion; positing an essential continuity between faith/trust among human subjects and faith directed at ideas and objects typically considered “religious”; promoting the idea of worldly benefit, as a result of faith in and practice of “religion”. A careful reading of Makiguchi’s complex, and often heterodox, discourse, relative to the conceptual category of “religion”, can frame a more nuanced interpretation of his ultimate heterodoxy—his rejection of the Ise Shrine amulet, an act for which he was arrested and confined to prison in July 1943. It can also clarify the basis for the Sōka Gakkai’s post-war deployments of the concept of religion, and create a more flexible and expansive interpretative space for considering the organization’s discourse and praxis in the post-war era. Full article
Article
Existential Issues in Old Age as Narrated by Older People—An Interview Study from Norway
Religions 2022, 13(3), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030259 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 807
Abstract
Background: Research about the importance of existential issues and individuals’ responses to them in old age is growing. This study aimed to explore older Norwegians’ thoughts and experiences related to existential issues and whether or not they wanted to talk about existential concerns [...] Read more.
Background: Research about the importance of existential issues and individuals’ responses to them in old age is growing. This study aimed to explore older Norwegians’ thoughts and experiences related to existential issues and whether or not they wanted to talk about existential concerns with others. The theoretical framework includes Yalom’s ultimate concerns and Tornstam’s theory of gerotranscendence. Methods: Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven home-dwelling older persons, five men and six women aged 73–91 years, all residing in a larger Norwegian town. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Four main themes and two subthemes regarding the participants’ existential reflections emerged concerning loneliness, death, and meaning. Some participants increased their interest in existential issues in old age, and only a few participants desired deeper conversations about existential issues. Conclusions: The participants were mostly satisfied with life, mainly did not feel lonely and were not afraid of death. Existential meaning was experienced on a horizontal level rather than a transcendent level. Although few openly wanted existential conversations, most participants conveyed a positive interview experience, suggesting that if existential conversations were offered, they would be valuable to older people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality and Whole Person Care for Older People)
Article
How Do Chinese Christians Draw Boundaries among Themselves? Reassessing the Question of Chinese Christianities
Religions 2022, 13(3), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030258 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 714
Abstract
This paper explores how Christians have established six communities in Nanping, Fujian, to discuss the unity and diversity of Chinese Christianity. The research provides a historical and ethnographic account of local churches, revealing the evolution of their modes of being religious and their [...] Read more.
This paper explores how Christians have established six communities in Nanping, Fujian, to discuss the unity and diversity of Chinese Christianity. The research provides a historical and ethnographic account of local churches, revealing the evolution of their modes of being religious and their organizational patterns over time. It argues that the negotiation of inter-ecclesial boundaries depends on specifically Christian features that foster a certain unity within the diversity of the Christian phenomenon. Aware of their different interpretations, all Christian communities still relate to the historical figure of Jesus Christ as their unique God and interact with the Church, a semi-transcendent being standing beyond their own congregation. Therefore, the diversity of churches, practices, and teachings should not be reduced to a juxtaposition of social groups promoting their own values and norms, but requires a multidimensional model of Christianity that encompasses the variety of human and non-human actors and their evolving interconnections. Full article
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Article
Do Kentucky Kami Drink Bourbon? Exploring Parallel Glocalization in Global Shinto Offerings
Religions 2022, 13(3), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030257 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1011
Abstract
Scholars of Japanese religion have recently drawn attention to the global repositioning, “greening”, and international popularization of Shinto. However, research on Shinto ritual practice and material religion continues to focus predominantly on cases located within the borders of the Japanese state. This article [...] Read more.
Scholars of Japanese religion have recently drawn attention to the global repositioning, “greening”, and international popularization of Shinto. However, research on Shinto ritual practice and material religion continues to focus predominantly on cases located within the borders of the Japanese state. This article explores the globalization of Shinto through transnational practitioners’ strategic glocalization of everyday ritual practices outside of Japan. Drawing upon digital ethnographic fieldwork conducted in online Shinto communities, I examine three case studies centering on traditional ritual offerings made at the domestic altar (kamidana): rice, sake, and sakaki branches. I investigate how transnational Shinto communities hold in tension a multiplicity of particularistic understandings of Shinto locality and authenticity when it comes to domestic ritual practice. While relativistic approaches to glocalization locate the sacred and authentic in an archetypical or idealized form of Japanese tradition rooted in its environment, creolization and transformation valorize the particularities of one’s personal surroundings and circumstances. Examining these strategies alongside recent and historical cases in Shinto ritual at shrines within Japan, I propose that attending to processes of “parallel glocalization” helps to illuminate the quasi-fictive notion of the religious “homeland” and close the perceived gap in authenticity between ritual practices at home and abroad. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Globalization and East Asian Religions)
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Article
Vulnerance of Pastoral Care
Religions 2022, 13(3), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030256 - 17 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 855
Abstract
Disproving assumptions to the contrary, this article clearly shows how and why adults can become victims of abuse in church contexts. It does this by focusing on the pastoral care context and the interdependent potential risk factors lying within. As previous studies suggest, [...] Read more.
Disproving assumptions to the contrary, this article clearly shows how and why adults can become victims of abuse in church contexts. It does this by focusing on the pastoral care context and the interdependent potential risk factors lying within. As previous studies suggest, this context is especially susceptible to perpetrating abuse. Approximately three-quarters of all cases of abuse occur or begin in the context of pastoral care or spiritual counseling. Often, theories of pastoral care do not address this danger and tend to idealize the practice of pastoral care. In contrast, it is necessary to recognize a specific power to victimize due to the theological and structural power differential in pastoral relationships. Therefore, this article proposes a complex understanding of “vulnerability” and “vulnerance” that accounts for the victimization potential inherent in all pastoral care settings and advocates a theory of pastoral care that is not only concerned with the individual but also incorporates reflections on structural and systemic power dynamics. Full article
Article
Critical Visual Religion Approach: When Ethnographic Filmmaking Blends with the Critical Approach to Religion, a Japanese Case Study
Religions 2022, 13(3), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030255 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 455
Abstract
This article draws on the research and practice developed during my doctorate and fieldwork in Japan. In this work, I consider the implication of using the critical religion approach and the visual ethnographic methodology for critically investigating what is commonly labelled as religion [...] Read more.
This article draws on the research and practice developed during my doctorate and fieldwork in Japan. In this work, I consider the implication of using the critical religion approach and the visual ethnographic methodology for critically investigating what is commonly labelled as religion and its representation as observed in Japan with particular reference to my fieldwork in Tohoku. I begin by reviewing the concept of religion in Japan, in particular the character of the idea and the use of the critical religion approach. I continue with an analysis of ethnographic filmmaking, focusing on cases that inspired my visual ethnographic filmic approach. I discuss how the two methods informed each other, creating a visual ethnographic technique founded on the critical religion approach as well as sensory, participatory and creative ethnographic filmmaking methods I developed and applied to my documentary, Tohoku Monogatari—A Story from the Northeast of Japan. With this article, I contend the necessity of a critical approach to the representation of religions which could be achieved with what I named the critical visual religion approach. Full article
Article
Decolonizing the Gender and Land Rights Debate in India: Considering Religion and More-than-Human Sociality in Women’s Lived Land Relatedness
Religions 2022, 13(3), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030254 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 637
Abstract
This article links the feminist debate on women’s land rights in India to the current academic debate on critical human-nature relationships in the Anthropocene by studying how married Hindu women weigh the pros and cons of claiming land in their natal family and [...] Read more.
This article links the feminist debate on women’s land rights in India to the current academic debate on critical human-nature relationships in the Anthropocene by studying how married Hindu women weigh the pros and cons of claiming land in their natal family and how they practice their lived relatedness to land in rural Udaipur (Rajasthan, North India). The article disentangles the complex issue of why women do not respond eagerly to Indian state policies that for a long time have promoted gender equality in the domain of land rights. In reaction to the dominant feminist debate on land rights, the authors introduce religion and more-than-human sociality as analytical foci in the examination of women’s responsiveness to land legislation. Their ethnographic study is based on fieldwork with married women in landowning families in four villages in Udaipur’s countryside. The authors argue that women have well-considered reasons not to claim natal land, and that their intimate relatedness to land as a sentient being, a nonhuman companion, and a powerful goddess explains the women’s reluctance to treat land as an inanimate commodity or property. Looking at religion brings to the fore women’s core business of making land fruitful and powerful, independent of any legislation. The authors maintain that a decolonized perspective on women’s land relatedness that takes religion and women’s multispecies perspective seriously may also offer a breakthrough in understanding why some women do not claim land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Nature and Religious Re-enchantment in the Anthropocene)
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Kurds, Jews, and Kurdistani Jews: Historic Homelands, Perceptions of Parallels in Persecution, and Allies by Analogy
Religions 2022, 13(3), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030253 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 970
Abstract
This article highlights the positive relations between the Jewish and the Kurdish nations, maintained mainly by Kurdistani Jews until their displacement to Israel in the mid-20th century. These positive relations have been transmitted through their oral traditions, documented by both communities and travelers [...] Read more.
This article highlights the positive relations between the Jewish and the Kurdish nations, maintained mainly by Kurdistani Jews until their displacement to Israel in the mid-20th century. These positive relations have been transmitted through their oral traditions, documented by both communities and travelers to Kurdistan, and validated by several scholars who studied the Jews of the region, Kurdistan, and Jewish-Kurdish relations. The dearth of historical documentation of both societies has resulted in a ‘negative myth’ used by the enemies of the Kurds and the Jews to dehumanize them before the 20th century, and therefore delegitimizing their right to statehood in modern times. From the 16th century onward, there is more solid evidence about the Kurdistani Jews and their relations with Kurdish neighbors. There are considerable and certain parallels between the two nations in terms of their oral traditions as well as linguistic and literary practices. The historical ties between the Jews and their neighbors in Kurdistan formed a fruitful ground for the relations between the Jewish people of Israel and the Kurds since 1948. Despite the exodus of almost the entire Kurdistani Jewish population to the State of Israel, Kurdistani Jews have largely retained their identity, culture, and traditions and have effectively influenced Israel’s policy towards the Kurds. The often-secret relations between the Kurdish movement in Iraq and Israel since 1960 played an important role in the global security policy of the Jewish nation in the Middle East, and in effect served to keep Baghdad from becoming involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict on one hand, and allowed the Kurdish liberation movement in Southern/Iraqi Kurdistan to survive on the other. These ties were reinforced by the sense of a common fate and struggle for statehood, persecution and genocides, feeling of solidarity, mutual strategic interests, humanitarian and economic dimensions, in post-1988 Halabja Massacre, the operation of the US led coalition against Iraq in 1991, and 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Since the Arab Spring, the military interventions against the self-proclaimed caliphate, Islamic State (IS), and the referendum for an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq in 2017, this relationship allegedly has extended to include the relationships between Israel and the Kurds in Western/Syrian and Eastern/Iranian Kurdistan as well. Notably, Israel was the only state that publicly supported the creation of an independent Kurdish state. With all the development the Kurdish question has paved in the 21st century, the article concludes that the majority of the Kurds of the 21st century can be described as a ‘pariah people’ in Max Weber’s definition and meditation of the term and Hannah Arendt’s ‘rightless’, who ‘no longer belong to any community’, while describing the different aspects of the political, economic, and cultural calamity of Jews, refugees, and stateless people at the beginning of the 20th century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
Article
Rhetorical Questions in the Daodejing: Argument Construction, Dialogical Insertion, and Sentimental Expression
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Religions 2022, 13(3), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030252 - 16 Mar 2022
Viewed by 533
Abstract
This paper provides a typology of rhetorical questions in the Daodejing and examines their functions on rhetorical effects and argumentative construction. This paper argues against a reading of rhetorical questions that translates them directly into propositional statements. Instead, the fact that rhetorical questions [...] Read more.
This paper provides a typology of rhetorical questions in the Daodejing and examines their functions on rhetorical effects and argumentative construction. This paper argues against a reading of rhetorical questions that translates them directly into propositional statements. Instead, the fact that rhetorical questions appear in one version of the text but not in others shows us the unique subtleties of meaning that rhetorical questions deliver. An awareness of the performative and dialogical functions elicited through rhetorical questions deepens our understanding of the persuasive power of the Daodejing. Furthermore, emotional sentiments within the text can be detected through the use of rhetorical questions which function to impress the readers/listeners while urging a point. A study of rhetorical questions in the Daodejing reveals textual differences across versions that transcend their wording, all the while motivating a new understanding of rhetorical questions based on classical Chinese texts enriches current definitions proposed in the field at large. Full article
Comment
Tutuism and the Moral Universe. Comment on Gasser (2021). Animal Suffering, God and Lessons from the Book of Job. Religions 12: 1047
Religions 2022, 13(3), 251; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030251 - 15 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 444
Abstract
Georg Gasser has recently attempted a new explanation to the problem of animal suffering, i.e., how can a morally perfect, omniscient, and omnipotent God allow the gratuitous suffering of animals? His argument can be interpreted in two ways: (i) creation is amoral and [...] Read more.
Georg Gasser has recently attempted a new explanation to the problem of animal suffering, i.e., how can a morally perfect, omniscient, and omnipotent God allow the gratuitous suffering of animals? His argument can be interpreted in two ways: (i) creation is amoral and therefore there is no problem of animal suffering; (ii) God’s morality is beyond us and not responsive to humans. In both cases, the problem of animal suffering is, according to Gasser, explained. Grounded on the thought of Desmond Tutu, I contend, however, that both (i) and (ii) imply that God would be immoral, which is an unacceptable implication for Christians. Therefore, Gasser’s explanation fails to solve the problem of suffering. Further, I uphold that if God exists He is necessarily a moral agent and if one wishes to give up such property, then also needs to give up His omnipotence. On top of this, I challenge the idea that there is a naturalistic fallacy in holding a Tutuist conception of God. Full article
Article
Memory of Conflicts and Perceived Threat as Relevant Mediators of Interreligious Conflicts
Religions 2022, 13(3), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030250 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 654
Abstract
The present study investigated to what extent memory of conflict and perceived threat explain the relation between religiosity and supporting interreligious conflicts between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia. We employed data from the survey of the interreligious conflicts in 2017, involving 2026 adults [...] Read more.
The present study investigated to what extent memory of conflict and perceived threat explain the relation between religiosity and supporting interreligious conflicts between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia. We employed data from the survey of the interreligious conflicts in 2017, involving 2026 adults from five hotspot regions: Aceh Singkil, South Lampung, Bekasi, Poso, and Kupang. Our confirmatory factor analysis and measurement invariance demonstrated that all employed scales were valid and reliable across religious groups. Our structural equation modelling showed that while the memory of conflicts was only positively related to supporting lawful protests, the perceived threat was shown to be strongly related to supporting both lawful and violent protests. This shows that memory of past physical injuries is not highly susceptible to exclusive behaviours against the religious outgroup. However, it is the individuals’ evaluation of the religious outgroup as a result of past conflicts which encourages exclusionary behaviours against them. These findings provide empirical insights into the importance of the aftermath of interreligious conflicts and how they can be used to avoid future clashes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
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Article
The Body of God, Sexually Violated: A Trauma-Informed Reading of the Climate Crisis
Religions 2022, 13(3), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030249 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 571
Abstract
This article employs the body of God metaphor, developed by Sallie McFague, in order to propose that the environmental crisis can be understood as a crisis in which the earth is being subjected to repeated sexual violations. The first section develops what is [...] Read more.
This article employs the body of God metaphor, developed by Sallie McFague, in order to propose that the environmental crisis can be understood as a crisis in which the earth is being subjected to repeated sexual violations. The first section develops what is at stake, theologically, for the climate crisis when utilizing this metaphor. The next considers how applying this metaphor shifts the story of Christianity in ways that illuminate historic hierarchies of creation, as well as shift the way we frame the ecological crisis to one in which sexual harm has occurred. The third section uses trauma theory to understand the earth’s response to the climate crisis and proposes a trauma-informed ethic for a revised practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practical Theology Amid Environmental Crises)
Article
The Heavenly Passage Known in the West as Reissner’s Fiber
Religions 2022, 13(3), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030248 - 14 Mar 2022
Viewed by 540
Abstract
This article explores the hypothesis that Reissner’s fiber, an enigmatic, anomalous, thread-like structure that runs from the center of the brain to the end of the spinal cord, is the neural substrate of suprasensory perceptions of the divine. Justification for this hypothesis derives [...] Read more.
This article explores the hypothesis that Reissner’s fiber, an enigmatic, anomalous, thread-like structure that runs from the center of the brain to the end of the spinal cord, is the neural substrate of suprasensory perceptions of the divine. Justification for this hypothesis derives from a comparative study of descriptions of the “subtle body” from ancient esoteric traditions, testable speculations about altered states of consciousness correlated with the subtle dynamics of the fiber, and the fiber’s evolutionary trajectory in humans from its perinatal involution to its potential regeneration. While adequate testing of the hypothesis will require new technologies, preliminary investigations are underway. The goal of this research is to promote research about Reissner’s fiber with the hope that it could lead to the discovery of a universal religious experience underlying the transcendent unity of religions. Full article
Article
“Cutting Up a Chicken with a Cow-Cleaver”—Confucianism as a Religion in Japan’s Courts of Law
Religions 2022, 13(3), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030247 - 12 Mar 2022
Viewed by 901
Abstract
This paper explores the Naha Confucius Temple case, resolved by the Supreme Court in February 2021, in light of postwar decisions on Articles 20 and 89 of the Japanese constitution. Religion is a contested category in Japanese legislation, appearing both in the constitution [...] Read more.
This paper explores the Naha Confucius Temple case, resolved by the Supreme Court in February 2021, in light of postwar decisions on Articles 20 and 89 of the Japanese constitution. Religion is a contested category in Japanese legislation, appearing both in the constitution and in laws regulating the freedoms and restrictions of legally registered religious organizations. While the organization behind the Confucius Temple in Naha was registered as a general corporate juridical person, the majority opinion sided with the plaintiffs’ argument that the free lease granted to the temple by the municipality of Naha constituted a violence of the ban on public sponsorship of religious institutions and activities. In order to reach their decision, the Supreme Court and the lower courts not only had to decide on whether Confucianism was a religion or not, but also on whether the organization behind the temple—a group dedicated to the history and memory of the Chinese immigrant community in Naha—should in fact be considered a religious organization. The outcome of the case is a good example of religion-making in courts of law, with a central institution of power employing notions of sui generis religion to regulate and define civil actors. Full article
Article
The African American Church House: A Phenomenological Inquiry of an Afrocentric Sacred Space
Religions 2022, 13(3), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030246 - 12 Mar 2022
Viewed by 702
Abstract
The institution of the black church in America is centered around two things: the people and their events. Very little scholarship has been documented about the physical buildings that became homes for the people and host to their events. These early church houses [...] Read more.
The institution of the black church in America is centered around two things: the people and their events. Very little scholarship has been documented about the physical buildings that became homes for the people and host to their events. These early church houses became the first evidence of a constructed material culture for formerly enslaved persons in America. The design and construction of black church houses provided enslaved as well as free persons of color the opportunity to physically create buildings that would become the center of African American life, beginning as early as the late 18th century and reaching to the present. Coupled with this exercise of the creation of architectural placemaking is the defining and application of the term “sacred space”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Spaces: Designing for the Transcendental)
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Article
Religious Violence and Twitter: Networks of Knowledge, Empathy and Fascination
Religions 2022, 13(3), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030245 - 12 Mar 2022
Viewed by 694
Abstract
Twitter analysis through data mining, text analysis, and visualization, coupled with the application of actor-network-theory, reveals a coalition of heterogenous religious affiliations around grief and fascination. While religious violence has always existed, the prevalence of social media has led to an increase in [...] Read more.
Twitter analysis through data mining, text analysis, and visualization, coupled with the application of actor-network-theory, reveals a coalition of heterogenous religious affiliations around grief and fascination. While religious violence has always existed, the prevalence of social media has led to an increase in the magnitude of discussions around the topic. This paper examines the different reactions on Twitter to violence targeting three religious communities: the 2015 Charleston Church shooting, the 2018 Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, and the 2019 Christchurch Mosque shootings. The attacks were all perpetrated by white nationalists with firearms. By analyzing large Twitter datasets in response to the attacks, we were able to render visible associations among actors across religions communities, national identities, and political persuasions. What this project revealed is that if we apply actor-network-theory and data visualization to look at networks created by human/non-human (text, computer, phone, meme, tweet, retweet, hashtag) actors, we can see that knowledge, empathy, and fascination drive communication around mass violence against religious communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
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Article
Responding to a Weeping Planet: Practical Theology as a Discipline Called by Crisis
Religions 2022, 13(3), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030244 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 588
Abstract
Practical theology is by nature a discipline of crisis, standing on the edge of reality and potential, what is and what can be. Crises can be gentle turning points, opportunities for radical transformation, or catastrophic moments in time. In the geological age of [...] Read more.
Practical theology is by nature a discipline of crisis, standing on the edge of reality and potential, what is and what can be. Crises can be gentle turning points, opportunities for radical transformation, or catastrophic moments in time. In the geological age of the Anthropocene, people face devastating planetary effects of human agency, which have created and escalated a climate crisis beyond the boundaries of imagination. Practical theology belongs at the epicenter of ecological crises, which have already produced harsh results, ecological despair, and a time-dated urgency for daring decisions and actions. Change is knocking at global doors—the necessity, foreboding, and hope for change. This article probes practical theology’s role in change, giving primary attention to changes in practical wisdom (phronesis) and life practices. Methodologically, the article draws from ecological scholars and activists, philosophers and theologians, indigenous communities, and the earth itself, presenting descriptions and analyses of their shared wisdom across time, culture, and areas of expertise. From these sources, the study identifies challenges, practices, and alternate worldviews that can potentially reshape practical wisdom and climate action. In conclusion, this paper proposes life practices for climate justice: practices of attending, searching, imagining, and communal living and acting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practical Theology Amid Environmental Crises)
Article
A Myth for the Sixth Mass Extinction: Telling Noah’s Story during a Climate Crisis
Religions 2022, 13(3), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030243 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 904
Abstract
Myths are open storylines that invite elaboration and modification. The flood narrative of Genesis 6–9, for example, has been readily employed to motivate endangered species protection and to reflect on the rising seas and mass extinctions associated with climate change. The distinctive features [...] Read more.
Myths are open storylines that invite elaboration and modification. The flood narrative of Genesis 6–9, for example, has been readily employed to motivate endangered species protection and to reflect on the rising seas and mass extinctions associated with climate change. The distinctive features of any retelling of the Noah’s ark story reflect the needs of historically situated and culturally embedded audiences. This paper focuses on four versions of Noah’s story: in Genesis, in the Qur’an, at Ark Encounter theme park, and in Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah. Analysis identifies the narrative choices that align each telling with its cultural context and draws out insights for adapting the story for the contemporary climate crisis. A conclusion addresses issues of race and racial injustice in traditional interpretations of Noah’s story, and highlights approaches to redress those inequities in new imaginings of the flood narrative. Full article
Article
From Collective Shiva to a Fast for the Ages: Religious Initiatives to Commemorate and Mourn the Victims of the Holocaust, 1944–1951
Religions 2022, 13(3), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030242 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 514
Abstract
Religious Jewish tradition has specific rituals for mourning the loss of a relative. They include receiving visitors during shiva, the recitation of the Kaddish in the first year, and the annual marking of the Yahrzeit. There are also customs for commemorating [...] Read more.
Religious Jewish tradition has specific rituals for mourning the loss of a relative. They include receiving visitors during shiva, the recitation of the Kaddish in the first year, and the annual marking of the Yahrzeit. There are also customs for commemorating collective disasters. Foremost among them are the diminution of joy on specific dates, and setting permanent fast days. Towards the end of World War II, when the extent of the destruction became apparent, initiatives began around the world to process the collective mourning and to perpetuate the disaster in religious settings. Many survivors later joined these initiatives, seeking to establish new customs, out of a deep sense that this was an unprecedented calamity. The growing need to combine private and collective mourning stemmed from an awareness of the psychological and cultural power of private mourning customs. Proposals therefore included the observance of a community yahrzeit, a collective Jewish shiva, along with a fast for the ages. This article explores the initiatives undertaken between 1944 and 1951—the time when intensive processing was needed for the survivors and the relatives of those who had perished—discussing their motivations, unique characteristics, successes and failures, and the reasons for them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and the Survival of Mass Atrocity: Trauma and Memory)
Article
The Introductory Part of Udayana’s Critique of the Buddhist Doctrine of Momentariness
Religions 2022, 13(3), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030241 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 542
Abstract
In the Buddhist view, all real things are subject to constant change, and nothing real endures for more than one moment. The Buddhist holds that only causally productive things are real and offers arguments to prove that anything that produces an effect must [...] Read more.
In the Buddhist view, all real things are subject to constant change, and nothing real endures for more than one moment. The Buddhist holds that only causally productive things are real and offers arguments to prove that anything that produces an effect must undergo immediate change and cannot be permanent. In his Ātmatattvaviveka (ATV), Udayana (a Nyaya philosopher of the 11th century) raises objections to Buddhist arguments and tries to show that a causal condition can endure through time. Moreover, although a causal condition may have the ability to produce an effect, the production of an effect may be delayed until all other causal conditions are available; during this time, a causal condition may continue to exist and remain unchanged. I explain Udayana’s critique of the Buddhist position with the help of selections from the Sanskrit text. I translate the selected texts into English with notes and provide expository comments. (Diacritical marks are omitted from names). Full article
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