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Religions, Volume 14, Issue 3 (March 2023) – 143 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The article analyses the theology of homecoming in the book of Isaiah and makes a case for using resilience theory as a hermeneutical frame for the task of Hebrew Scripture theology. Defined as “positive adaptation despite adversity”, resilience builds on the crisis setting of wide parts of the Hebrew Scriptures and demonstrates that the formation of theology represents a resilience discourse. In the case of the Isaianic prophecies of return, three concepts of return are distinguished (return, gathering and homecoming, a second Exodus) that respond to the adversities of exile and diaspora. Thus, the prophecies offer a literary home that the different religious communities through time can inhabit. View this paper
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15 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
In God We Trust: Community and Immunity in American Religions during COVID-19
by Julia Brown
Religions 2023, 14(3), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030428 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1533
Abstract
From the systemic issues of race and class division to political partisanship and religious identity, the pandemic has affected many aspects of American social and political life. I interrogate the role that religions have played in communal identity-making during the pandemic, and how [...] Read more.
From the systemic issues of race and class division to political partisanship and religious identity, the pandemic has affected many aspects of American social and political life. I interrogate the role that religions have played in communal identity-making during the pandemic, and how such identities shaped ideological responses, particularly in the US, stymying public health efforts to stop, or at least significantly slow, the spread of COVID-19. Drawing from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera as a historical case study, I use Garcia Marquez’s depiction of religion’s identity-making power during the cholera pandemic depicted in the novel as a comparison by which to understand current experiences of white Evangelical Christians in America during the current COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those who reject risk-minimizing practices such as mask wearing, quarantining, and vaccination. Drawing both from representations of Roberto Esposito’s theory of immunity and community, and from Lauren Berlant’s concept of “cruel optimism”, as well as sociological understandings of religion and identity, I argue that the boundary-making practices of religion and of communal and national identity are related to the complex and often contradictory set of moral practices that led many white Evangelicals to disregard public health policies surrounding COVID-19. A concurrent analysis of Garcia Marquez’s novel and of current events will allow me to explore this phenomenon, as Lauren Berlant would put it, both through the historically affective aesthetic and through the affective present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Public Health during the Time of COVID-19)
11 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
The Wounded Body of Christ, the Church and Perennial Escalation of Gender-Based Violence and Its Implications for Pastoral Care
by Sylvia Mukuka
Religions 2023, 14(3), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030427 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1316
Abstract
It is a known fact that gender-based violence is an infringement on human rights. Gender-based violence takes place all over the world in almost every place. It is experienced in homes, workplaces, communities, and in the Church as well. Today, church members, as [...] Read more.
It is a known fact that gender-based violence is an infringement on human rights. Gender-based violence takes place all over the world in almost every place. It is experienced in homes, workplaces, communities, and in the Church as well. Today, church members, as well as pastors are wounded, fragmented, and hurting as they suffer serious abuses in silence. Christian children have fallen victim to sexual abuse that is perpetrated by their parents. Parents too, have become victims of violence; sometimes maimed by children who have become violent enough to kill their Christian parents in their homes. Furthermore, many Christian couples have continued to experience intra gender violence in their families that is often attributed to marital infidelity. Beyond that, there is also a common secretive kind of abuse in the form of marital sexual violence which is a serious form of violence against women. This is a hidden type of abuse that has been perpetrated behind closed doors for too long by members of the body of Christ. Due to its prevalence sometimes the victims themselves, often pretend that the problem in not present by keeping a deafening silence. This article, therefore, makes an in-depth investigation into the causes of the pervasive forms of gender-based violence that occur in some Zambian Christian homes, with particular emphasis on the ways in which this multifaceted phenomenon is very much hidden. This article expounds on how Christian couples have continued to suffer silently as their voices are suppressed due to fear and shame. In the conclusion of the article, it is suggested that, unless the church, in its pastoral care role, awakens from its slumber and begins to address issues of gender-based violence in the church with sincerity, honesty, and openness by admitting that indeed, the body of Christ is yearning to be healed, gender-based violence shall remain a perennial occurrence. Full article
25 pages, 4380 KiB  
Article
A Translation of the Arabic Duʿāʾ al-Saḥar (The Dawn Supplication) or Duʿāʾ al-Bahāʾ (The Supplication of Splendour) with Select Expository Scriptural Writings of the Bāb and Bahāʾu’llāh
by Stephen Lambden
Religions 2023, 14(3), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030426 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1591
Abstract
This article provides a full English translation of the Du’ā’ al-saḥar or Dawn Supplication for the Islamic month of Ramaḍān. Attributed to certain Imams whom Twelver Shī`ī Muslims regard as the successors of the Prophet Muhammad, it is an Arabic invocatory devotional also [...] Read more.
This article provides a full English translation of the Du’ā’ al-saḥar or Dawn Supplication for the Islamic month of Ramaḍān. Attributed to certain Imams whom Twelver Shī`ī Muslims regard as the successors of the Prophet Muhammad, it is an Arabic invocatory devotional also known from around the 13th century CE after its opening words, as the Du‘ā al-Bahā (Supplication of Splendour–Glory–Light). It is commonly ascribed to the fifth Imam Muhammad al-Bāqir (d. c. 126/743) or as transmitted through his son, the sixth Imam Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq (d. c. 138/765). The former version or recension has around 22 invocations, while the sixth Imam’s recension is known as the Du‘ā’ al-mubāhalah (The Supplication for Mutual Imprecation) and is considerably longer, consisting of over 30 supplicatory lines. This latter recension had its origin at a time when Muhammad was challenged near Medina by certain Yemenite Christians of Najrān about his messianic status as a Prophet in the light of theological and Christological issues. Both Sayyid ‘Alī Muḥammad Shīrāzī, “the Bāb” (1819–1850), and Mīrzā Ḥusayn ‘Alī Nūrī, “Bahā’u’llāh” (1817–1892) gave great importance to this supplication (or these two related supplications) and were much influenced by its vocabulary and rhythmic, cascading content relating the Names of God. The Bāb interpreted it on Islamic and imamological lines in his Persian Dalā’il-i saba‘ (The Seven Proofs). He cited it often, both in early texts and within numerous later major writings, including the Kitāb al-asmā’ (The Book of Names) and the Kitāb-i panj sha’n (The Book of the Seven Modes [of Revelation]). In his Persian Bayān and other writings, he used nineteen of its invocatory divine Names to frame the structure and names of his annual calendar of nineteen months: his new, wondrous or Badī‘ calendar (“The New/Regenerative Calendar”). This calendar was furthermore adopted by Baha’u’llah in his Kitāb-i aqdas (The Most Holy Book). His own theophanic title, evolving from “Jināb-i Bahā’” (His eminence the Glory) to “Bahā’u’llāh” (the Glory of God) is closely related and is rooted in this and certain similar texts. Baha’u’llah referred to the Du‘ā’ al-saḥar as the Lawh-i baqā’ (The Scriptural Tablet of Eternity) and understood its opening lines as an allusion to his person as the embodiment of the Supreme or Greatest Name of God (al-ism al-a`ẓam). Several of the Arabic and Persian writings in which the founder of the Baha’i religion interprets the Du‘ā’ al-saḥar are translated in this current paper. Their content demonstrates the extent to which he elevated this powerful Islamic text. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Bahā'ī Faith: Doctrinal and Historical Explorations)
9 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
The Recovery of Human Dignity in Protestant Christianity and Its Ethical Implications
by Paul Martens and Wemimo B. Jaiyesimi
Religions 2023, 14(3), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030425 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1946
Abstract
Human dignity, in the Protestant traditions, was generally formulated in reaction to Catholicism. Initial assessments of human dignity were less than enthusiastic and framed soteriologically and contingent on God’s saving grace. In contrast, by the middle of the 19th century, human dignity in [...] Read more.
Human dignity, in the Protestant traditions, was generally formulated in reaction to Catholicism. Initial assessments of human dignity were less than enthusiastic and framed soteriologically and contingent on God’s saving grace. In contrast, by the middle of the 19th century, human dignity in Protestant theology emerged as a positive anthropological affirmation with significant political consequences. To illuminate this evolution within the Protestant world, this paper provides a narrative sketch that: (1) orients initial notions of human dignity with reference to the ambiguous legacy of Martin Luther; (2) describes how substantial engagements with minority or marginalized populations in the 19th and 20th centuries around the world—including South Africa, India, and the USA—led to a revision and expansion of human dignity; and (3) exhibits the affirmation of a robust understanding of human dignity in Protestant traditions around the world. The argument is both (a) expansive because it highlights developments toward the positive embrace of human dignity across a wide geographic range while also remaining (b) limited because it merely argues that the Protestant traditions universally affirm human dignity, while also acknowledging that frequently there are limits to the performance of that affirmation based on matters of race, nationality, class, and gender. Full article
10 pages, 205 KiB  
Article
Philosophy of Religion in a Fragmented Age: Practice and Participatory Realism
by Jacob Holsinger Sherman
Religions 2023, 14(3), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030424 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1296
Abstract
What should the philosophical study of religion look like in an epoch of increasing political polarization, cultural ferment, and religious fragmentation? Drawing on the work of Amy Hollywood and others, I argue that philosophers seeking to understand what seem to be incommensurable moral [...] Read more.
What should the philosophical study of religion look like in an epoch of increasing political polarization, cultural ferment, and religious fragmentation? Drawing on the work of Amy Hollywood and others, I argue that philosophers seeking to understand what seem to be incommensurable moral and religious communities ought to attend more fully to the role of spiritual practice and moral formation as irreducible components of certain beliefs and ethical intuitions. However, while such an account might invite a reductive reading in which the object of religious belief is taken to be simply the practice, ritual, etc., I engage the thought of Michael Polanyi to argue that such irreducibly participatory truth claims can be understood to aim at a reality that exceeds the structures of formation and ways of life to which they are indexed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Justice, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion)
11 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
Secularization in Europe: Causes, Consequences, and Cultural Diversity
by Jorge Botelho Moniz
Religions 2023, 14(3), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030423 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3155
Abstract
This paper explores the timeliness and relevance of secularization theories in Europe. It seeks to understand how the classical theories of secularization—rationalization, societalization, functional differentiation, and existential security—and their theoretical innovations—namely, cultural diversity—help describe religious phenomena in a specific set of European countries—Austria, [...] Read more.
This paper explores the timeliness and relevance of secularization theories in Europe. It seeks to understand how the classical theories of secularization—rationalization, societalization, functional differentiation, and existential security—and their theoretical innovations—namely, cultural diversity—help describe religious phenomena in a specific set of European countries—Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain. In this context, cultural diversity shows the strongest negative correlation with religiosity. These findings arise from the correlation between the different theories of secularization, the independent variables, and an index of religiosity, the dependent variable. Cultural diversity, as a good predictor to explain secularization in Europe, shows how contact with different religious and non-religious worldviews enhances a mutual fragilization that can lead individuals from uncertainty to the rejection of religious beliefs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Quo Vadis? Secularization in the Modern World)
16 pages, 2127 KiB  
Article
Hira Makes a Sound: Nepali Diasporic Worldviewing through Asian American Studies Praxis during the COVID-19 Anti-Asian Hate Pandemics
by Kim Soun Ty, Shirley Suet-ling Tang, Parmita Gurung, Ammany Ty, Nia Duong and Peter Nien-chu Kiang
Religions 2023, 14(3), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030422 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1470
Abstract
In this article, we offer a specific example from our programmatic research and teaching praxis during the COVID-19 anti-Asian hate pandemic period. We demonstrate how Asian American Studies community-centered knowledge coproduction and narrative generational wealth investment can address critical experiences of young learners [...] Read more.
In this article, we offer a specific example from our programmatic research and teaching praxis during the COVID-19 anti-Asian hate pandemic period. We demonstrate how Asian American Studies community-centered knowledge coproduction and narrative generational wealth investment can address critical experiences of young learners from underrepresented, religiously-diverse populations through content that supports culturally sustaining child development and challenges disparately impactful realities of racism, misrepresentation, and systemic Western biases which undermine their health and wellbeing. Focusing on religious themes in relation to child development was not an explicit intention of our collaboratively developed storybook project titled, Hira Makes a Sound. Nevertheless, centering a women-led, intergenerational Nepali immigrant story in both our process and final product necessarily led to foregrounding religious, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of diasporic family and community life that are essential to coping and development for the fictional lead character, Hira, and her loved ones. Robust story data themes—paradoxically grounded in the ether of a shared Gurung worldview—provide generative lessons for researchers, educators, artists, and community advocates who work with or need to account for the lived experiences of young learners within religiously diverse, multi-generational immigrant family households and community ecologies. Full article
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19 pages, 331 KiB  
Article
God of Montaigne, Spinoza, and Derrida—The Marrano (Crypto)Theology of Survival
by Agata Bielik-Robson
Religions 2023, 14(3), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030421 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1294
Abstract
In this essay I offer an outline of a theology of survival as it emerges from the writings of the three modern Marrano thinkers: Michel de Montaigne, Baruch Spinoza, and Jacques Derrida. I will argue that, in their thought which is deeply concerned [...] Read more.
In this essay I offer an outline of a theology of survival as it emerges from the writings of the three modern Marrano thinkers: Michel de Montaigne, Baruch Spinoza, and Jacques Derrida. I will argue that, in their thought which is deeply concerned with the apology of life, the Marrano choice of living on over the martyrological death becomes affirmed as the right thing to do despite the price of forced conversion—and that this choice, once reflected and accepted, modifies the Jewish doctrine of life (torat hayim), by adding to it a new messianic dimension. In my interpretation, the Marranos will emerge as the agents of the messianic inversion, leading from the tragic predicament of the victims of coercion to the radical hope of the “rejected stones” and capable of once again reinventing and rejuvenating the messianic message of the Abrahamic religions, conceived as God’s superior commandment to choose life. From Montaigne, through Spinoza, to Derrida, life understood primarily as survival becomes an object of a new affirmation: it begins to glow as a secret treasure of Judaism which the Marranos simultaneously left behind and preserved in a new messianic-universal form. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Modern Jewish Thought: Volume II)
21 pages, 1852 KiB  
Article
Nones, No Religious Preference, No Religion and the Misclassification of Latino Religious Identity
by Gastón Espinosa
Religions 2023, 14(3), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030420 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2125
Abstract
This article challenges the conventional wisdom about the reported decline of Christianity and Protestantism in the U.S. and the rise of the “nones” among Latinos. It does so by cross-examining the growth of the “nones” (those respondents reportedly having no religion and/or no [...] Read more.
This article challenges the conventional wisdom about the reported decline of Christianity and Protestantism in the U.S. and the rise of the “nones” among Latinos. It does so by cross-examining the growth of the “nones” (those respondents reportedly having no religion and/or no religious preference) in the U.S. Latino community, which is slated to make up almost 28 percent of the U.S. population by 2060. In 2000, we stumbled, quite by accident, upon a remarkable discovery in the Latino community: that many of the so-called “nones” were, in fact, under cross examination against other religious identity questions, religious, spiritual, and/or believed in God or a higher power. In some cases they were born-again Christians who rejected the label “religion” (and thus reported having “no religion”) as a descriptor of their faith. Many self-identified as and/or attended independent and non-denominational Evangelical and/or Pentecostal/Charismatic churches. To test these initial findings and to try to secure a more accurate reading of the “nones” respondents, our research team added a follow-up question for the “no religion” respondents to the screening questions section so they could explain what they actually meant in the Latino Religions and Politics (LRAP) national surveys in 2012 and 2020. We also cross-analyzed the “no religion” and “no religious preference” respondents against other religious identity questions, such as being born-again and church attendance, and was surprised to find that more than 60% of them reported believing in God or a higher power and/or being Christian, Catholic, or Protestant, religious, spiritual, or something other than having no religion. More surprising and counterintuitively, we found that more than 40% of those reporting “no religious preference” and 17% of those who reported having “no religion” also self-reported being born-again Christians. All of this problematizes the conventional wisdom about the identity and growth of the “nones” in the Latino community and could (though we do not claim or explore this here) problematize our understanding of the “nones” and the changing contours of religion and secularization in American society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contributions and Challenges of Latinx Global Pentecostalism)
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12 pages, 547 KiB  
Article
A New Way of Life: The Challenge of Cultural Witness in the Early Jesus Movement
by Benjamin Schliesser
Religions 2023, 14(3), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030419 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
This article portrays innovative and distinct features of the Christ groups of the first decades with the underlying premise that the lived reality of the early Christian communities has the potential to inspire present-day churches in Europe when they face the challenge of [...] Read more.
This article portrays innovative and distinct features of the Christ groups of the first decades with the underlying premise that the lived reality of the early Christian communities has the potential to inspire present-day churches in Europe when they face the challenge of cultural witness. People were drawn to Christ groups because they were different from the surrounding culture. Christianity would not have survived if it did not offer a counter-cultural ethical stance; a new social imaginary; alternative membership options; a flexible organizational structure; a holistic worldview; and a creative, innovative communication style—in one phrase: a new way of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Churches in Europe and the Challenge of Cultural Witness)
15 pages, 364 KiB  
Article
ESG Capitalism from a Law and Religion Perspective
by Matteo Corsalini
Religions 2023, 14(3), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030418 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2690
Abstract
In an age of fear, insecurity, and multiple and overlapping crises, the fortunes of ESG—the idea that companies should include environmental, social, and governance standards of good performance—are now steadily growing. This is all the truer in the West, where corporate financial misconduct [...] Read more.
In an age of fear, insecurity, and multiple and overlapping crises, the fortunes of ESG—the idea that companies should include environmental, social, and governance standards of good performance—are now steadily growing. This is all the truer in the West, where corporate financial misconduct and, more worryingly, corporate political activities impacting democratic processes, have become a matter of evident concern. Business scholars and policymakers are, however, still uncertain about which corporate activities merit an ESG label, with pressure groups pushing for their own ESG definitions and standards according to their agendas and beliefs. Against this background, this paper contributes to this Special Issues’ guiding question of how religions can act as agents of civic mobilisation by critically examining their role in addressing sustainability topics due to religious concerns from a legal perspective. This current paper hopes to create a preliminary intellectual bridge between two apparently unrelated fields of research (law and religion; corporate governance) that could help scholars in both areas to develop expertise and sophistication in applying their respective specialities to an otherwise unfamiliar area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Law and Religion in Europe in an Age of Fear and Insecurity)
15 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
The Munus Propheticum of the Church: On a Controversial Reformed Heritage
by Ralph Kunz
Religions 2023, 14(3), 417; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030417 - 19 Mar 2023
Viewed by 965
Abstract
To what extent can the Reformed heritage of the prophetic office sharpen the perception of the cultural witness of the church in secular Europe? The so-called munus propheticum as a heritage of the Swiss Reformation is the focus of this paper. In a [...] Read more.
To what extent can the Reformed heritage of the prophetic office sharpen the perception of the cultural witness of the church in secular Europe? The so-called munus propheticum as a heritage of the Swiss Reformation is the focus of this paper. In a first attempt, the Reformation origin of guardianship will be traced. A look at the debate on Swiss refugee policy during the war years shows how controversial church involvement was at that time. Using the example of the prophetic office, the sensitivity and fragility of the church’s witness in secular society can be better understood and used for the theological discussion on the function of the public church. In a concluding reflection, arguments for and against its use are examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Churches in Europe and the Challenge of Cultural Witness)
15 pages, 312 KiB  
Article
Islam and the Politics of Secularism in Pakistan
by Zahid Shahab Ahmed
Religions 2023, 14(3), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030416 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 7189
Abstract
In terms of their political and ideological success, Pakistani Islamists have had several ups and downs since Pakistan became the Islamic Republic in 1956. Islamists strive to safeguard the Islamic state’s status quo while simultaneously expanding the reach of Sharia. Despite insignificant electoral [...] Read more.
In terms of their political and ideological success, Pakistani Islamists have had several ups and downs since Pakistan became the Islamic Republic in 1956. Islamists strive to safeguard the Islamic state’s status quo while simultaneously expanding the reach of Sharia. Despite insignificant electoral victories, Islamists have largely been able to dictate national identity policies to civilian and military governments. A major hurdle to the promotion of pluralism in Pakistan is noticeable through persistent opposition to secularism by major political actors. Despite different political ideologies, major political parties refrain from promoting secularism in Pakistan; however, such views are more rigid in the case of Islamists. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to examine and compare the discourses of Islamists and other political parties in relation to Pakistan’s identity, reforms and anti-Westernism, religious minorities, and secularism. Based on the analysis, this paper argues that the views of Islamists and non-religious political parties are very similar regarding Islam and Pakistan’s identity, secularism, and minority rights in Pakistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Secularism and Religion)
13 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Religiosity in Slovakia since 1989 and Paths of Its Development
by Peter Kondrla, Andrea Leskova and Eva Durkova
Religions 2023, 14(3), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030415 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1427
Abstract
The study presents the results of research into the current state of selected religiosity phenomena in the Slovak Republic and models possible pathways for the future development of the selected phenomena. The starting point is an analysis of three decades of development of [...] Read more.
The study presents the results of research into the current state of selected religiosity phenomena in the Slovak Republic and models possible pathways for the future development of the selected phenomena. The starting point is an analysis of three decades of development of religiosity in the region from 1989 to the present day. The input data were obtained as part of a research project focused on development prospects. The data refer to the second and third decades of the reporting period. The data are subjected to statistical and correlation analyses. Analyses deal with the phenomenon of faith and its content, rational and liturgical interpretations of religiosity, and questions of the meaning of existence and the moral dimension of faith. Thanks to the application of selected religionist theories, this formulates possible paths which the religiosity of the selected region will take, describing the potential as well as the risks of development for individual directions of development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Secularism and Religious Traditions)
17 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
When Film Mediatizes Taoism, What Does It Bring to Taoism?
by Zhentao Sun
Religions 2023, 14(3), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030414 - 18 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2559
Abstract
Although Taoism is no longer what it was in its prime, Taoist culture still has great spiritual value in the present day and is well worth promoting worldwide. Taoist cinema plays a powerful role in the mass communication of Taoism. Current academic research [...] Read more.
Although Taoism is no longer what it was in its prime, Taoist culture still has great spiritual value in the present day and is well worth promoting worldwide. Taoist cinema plays a powerful role in the mass communication of Taoism. Current academic research on Taoist cinema has focused on analyzing how it can make good use of Taoism but has neglected to explore what cinema brings to Taoism in the cinematization process. This paper focuses on this thesis by considering the themes of the importance of the cinematization of Taoism for Taoism, the cultural transformation in the cinematization of Taoism, and the appropriate way to include Taoism in Taoist films. This paper indicates that Taoist cinema has communicated Taoist ideology, religious rituals and aesthetic styles to a global audience through the audiovisual language, and it has built a bridge between Taoism and the general public. In the cinematization of Taoism, in order to reflect the communication environment, communication media and audience influence, Taoist films have highlighted visual spectacles, entertainment and popularization, thus making them better accepted by audiences and achieving the expected communication effect. This paper argues that Taoist films express the sacred and exert a religious influence on the viewer through content rather than transcendental style. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Influence of Religion on Media Discourse)
13 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
Theological Utilitarianism, Supervenience, and Intrinsic Value
by Matthew Alexander Flannagan
Religions 2023, 14(3), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030413 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1702
Abstract
Erik Wielenberg has argued that robust realism can account for the “common-sense moral belief” that “some things distinct from God are intrinsically good”. By contrast, theological stateism cannot account for this belief. Hence, robust realism has a theoretical advantage over all forms of [...] Read more.
Erik Wielenberg has argued that robust realism can account for the “common-sense moral belief” that “some things distinct from God are intrinsically good”. By contrast, theological stateism cannot account for this belief. Hence, robust realism has a theoretical advantage over all forms of theological stateism. This article criticizes Wielenberg’s argument. Wielenberg distinguishes between R and D-supervenience. The coherence of Wielenberg’s robust realism depends upon this distinction. I argue that this distinction undermines his critique of theological stateism. I will make three points. First, once you utilize the distinction between R and D-supervenience, his argument for the incompatibility of theological stateism and intrinsic value fails. Second, theological stateism is compatible with intrinsic value. The historical example of theological utilitarianism, expounded by thinkers George Berkeley and William Paley, shows someone can accept that moral properties simultaneously R supervene upon God’s will and D supervene upon the natural properties of actions. Third, robust realism and theological stateism are in the same boat regarding intrinsic value once we distinguish between R and D-supervenience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue God and Ethics)
42 pages, 3076 KiB  
Article
How Do Muslims and Jews in Christian Countries See Each Other Today? A Survey Review
by Gunther Jikeli
Religions 2023, 14(3), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030412 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 36578 | Correction
Abstract
Muslim–Jewish relations have a long and complex history. However, notions that all Jews and Muslims are eternal enemies are proven wrong both historically and by today’s survey data. A comprehensive review of the available survey data from the last two decades provides a [...] Read more.
Muslim–Jewish relations have a long and complex history. However, notions that all Jews and Muslims are eternal enemies are proven wrong both historically and by today’s survey data. A comprehensive review of the available survey data from the last two decades provides a glimpse into the views of Muslims and Jews of each other in countries where both communities are a minority. It is based on 52 surveys from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. 39 surveys include samples of Muslim respondents (38,000 in total) and 18 surveys include samples of Jewish respondents (52,000 in total). Five of these surveys include both Muslim and Jewish subsamples. Many Muslims and Jews acknowledge that the other community suffers from discrimination, albeit to varying degrees. Jews often see Islam and Muslim extremists as a threat to Jews, but most Jews, more than society in general, seem to distinguish between Muslim extremists and Muslims in general. Antisemitic attitudes are significantly higher among Muslims than among the general population in all surveys, even though the majority of Muslims in most European countries and in the United States do not exhibit antisemitic attitudes. The differences in anti-Jewish attitudes between Muslims and non-Muslims do not disappear when controlling for sociodemographic factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Are Muslim-Jewish Relations Improving in the 21st Century?)
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20 pages, 336 KiB  
Article
Hilltop Youth and New Media: The Formation of a Young Religious Digital-Resistance Community
by Hananel Rosenberg and Kalia Vogelman-Natan
Religions 2023, 14(3), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030411 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 4642
Abstract
“Hilltop youth” is the name for young religious Jewish people in Israel who, separated from their families, are living in illegal outposts on hilltops throughout Judea and Samaria. The group’s unique religious, sociological, and ideological characteristics differentiate them from other religious communities previously [...] Read more.
“Hilltop youth” is the name for young religious Jewish people in Israel who, separated from their families, are living in illegal outposts on hilltops throughout Judea and Samaria. The group’s unique religious, sociological, and ideological characteristics differentiate them from other religious communities previously studied in relation to digital culture. In this study, we offer a new angle that provides insight into the hilltop youth’s religious–ideological perception while focusing on their attitude toward new media, smartphones, and social networks, in particular, an attitude that is part of their self-definition as a separatist community. The findings present and discuss the different layers represented within the hilltop youth’s media resistance and how this media-negating ideological position shapes the group’s perception as a religious community that is a counterculture to religious and social sectors in Israel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Communities)
17 pages, 1021 KiB  
Article
The Story of Sadāprarudita’s Search for Dharma and the Worship of the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra from India to Sixth-Century China
by Wen Zhao
Religions 2023, 14(3), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030410 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1201
Abstract
The story of bodhisattva Sadāprarudita’s search for Dharma in the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra has served to successfully shape the characters of the Dharma seeker, bodhisattva Sadāprarudita, and the Dharma preacher (dharmabhāṇakas), bodhisattva Dharmodgata. This narrative carried much information about the veneration of [...] Read more.
The story of bodhisattva Sadāprarudita’s search for Dharma in the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra has served to successfully shape the characters of the Dharma seeker, bodhisattva Sadāprarudita, and the Dharma preacher (dharmabhāṇakas), bodhisattva Dharmodgata. This narrative carried much information about the veneration of the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra in Indic contexts, and it also enthused Chinese Buddhists of the sixth century CE to create the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra written in gold calligraphy. Emperor Wu of the Liang organized pañcavārṣika assemblies centred on the lectures and veneration of the gold-calligraphy Sūtra, and the Tiantai master Huisi made a vow to create such a scroll around the same time. In the relevant accounts, Chinese preachers are always associated with the Dharma preacher Dharmodgata in the narrative, which in turn enhanced their authority in the contexts in which they operated. The narrative thus helped to promote the transmission of the text across the cultural boundaries in which the Dharma preacher, as the embodied agent of the Prajñāpāramitā text, played a significant role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Narrative Literature)
12 pages, 797 KiB  
Article
The Current Status and Challenges of Templestay Programs in Korean Buddhism
by Hyungong Moon and Brian D. Somers
Religions 2023, 14(3), 409; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030409 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1716
Abstract
Templestay is a Korean program where participants have the chance to stay in a Buddhist temple and explore the historic buildings, statues, and natural surroundings of the temple grounds, while experiencing meditation and Buddhist rituals first-hand. Launched in 2002, approximately six million participants [...] Read more.
Templestay is a Korean program where participants have the chance to stay in a Buddhist temple and explore the historic buildings, statues, and natural surroundings of the temple grounds, while experiencing meditation and Buddhist rituals first-hand. Launched in 2002, approximately six million participants have attended Templestay programs over the last 20 years. However, in contrast to the great successes during the first ten years of the program’s existence, the last ten years have met with a significant decline in rates of participation. The aim of this article is to investigate the rise and fall in these figures to better understand the current wants and needs of participants and to consider the future of the Templestay program. Through an analysis of statistics garnered by the Cultural Corps of Korean Buddhism and a review of research studies on the growth and development of Templestay, this article considers why the program has recently been in decline and suggests how this may be remedied. Particular attention is given to how the needs of diverse participants can be met within a religious environment. In the conclusion, this article suggests that the number of participants may be increased with the implementation of programs more universally applied across all Templestay sites. Furthermore, critical concerns about over-commercialization are warranted insofar as marketing compromises the sense of authenticity sought by participants. Full article
18 pages, 370 KiB  
Article
Augustine’s Enchiridion: An Anti-Pelagian Interpretation of the Creed
by David Burkhart Janssen
Religions 2023, 14(3), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030408 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1560
Abstract
At first glance, Augustine did not combine his soteriology and his Trinitarian doctrine in his anti-Pelagian oeuvre. Therefore, this article pursues the more hidden and implicit connections between these topics. The starting point of this endeavour is an analysis of the Enchiridion, [...] Read more.
At first glance, Augustine did not combine his soteriology and his Trinitarian doctrine in his anti-Pelagian oeuvre. Therefore, this article pursues the more hidden and implicit connections between these topics. The starting point of this endeavour is an analysis of the Enchiridion, a catechetical work in which Augustine interpreted the Roman—later so-called Apostle’s—Creed. Simultaneously, Augustine directed his attention in the Enchiridion to questions and arguments which originate from the Pelagian controversy such as original sin, grace, baptism, remission of sin(s) and the theory of predestination. Thus, this article ponders the question of how Augustine reflected his Trinitarian doctrine within this anti-Pelagian soteriology. While Augustine seldom referred to his Trinitarian doctrine explicitly in the Enchiridion (and his anti-Pelagian oeuvre), he presented in these works a conception of how the triune God operates as creator and saviour. This anti-Pelagian concept of God seizes several aspects which also appear in Augustine’s De trinitate. Moreover, by emphasising the unity of God’s operation as creator and saviour against the Pelagians, Augustine argued in favour of a specific Trinitarian doctrine: opera trinitatis ad extra inseparabilia. Thus, this article finally tries to analyse how Augustine amalgamated his anti-Pelagian Christocentric soteriology with his Trinitarian doctrine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Augustine’s Concept of God and His Trinitarian Thought)
20 pages, 403 KiB  
Article
Trauma and the Emergence of Spiritual Potentiality in Ibn ’Arabī’s Metaphysics
by Ismail Lala
Religions 2023, 14(3), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030407 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Spirituality has been proven in recent studies to be a key contributor in posttraumatic growth. One of the most well-known mystical thinkers in Islam, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ’Arabī (d. 634/1240), nevertheless, believes that trauma does not facilitate spiritual growth, but rather has the [...] Read more.
Spirituality has been proven in recent studies to be a key contributor in posttraumatic growth. One of the most well-known mystical thinkers in Islam, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ’Arabī (d. 634/1240), nevertheless, believes that trauma does not facilitate spiritual growth, but rather has the capacity to reveal the spiritual potentiality that was latent within a person. This paper begins by exploring the concept of trauma in the Qur’an and how it may actualise the potentiality of humans. It then scrutinises Ibn ’Arabī’s understanding of human potentiality or ‘preparedness’ (isti‘dād) and how its actualisation leads to the rank of the Perfect Man (al-Insān al-kāmil). Finally, it adduces two examples (Mūsā and Yūnus) in whom traumatic experiences result in posttraumatic growth and the actualisation of their spiritual potentialities. In the case of the former, it is posttraumatic growth through preservation of the self; for the latter, it is posttraumatic growth through preservation of others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
23 pages, 3164 KiB  
Article
Ascending the Milky Way: Seven Sisters Festival and the Religious Practices of Cantonese Women in Singapore
by Lynn Yuqing Wong
Religions 2023, 14(3), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030406 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2456
Abstract
The Seven Sisters Festival (also known as Qixi Festival) is especially important to Cantonese women, with differences in syncretic religious practices and beliefs between marriage resistance and nonresistance regions. Despite being forerunners in the wave of women’s migration since the 19th century, developments [...] Read more.
The Seven Sisters Festival (also known as Qixi Festival) is especially important to Cantonese women, with differences in syncretic religious practices and beliefs between marriage resistance and nonresistance regions. Despite being forerunners in the wave of women’s migration since the 19th century, developments in ritualistic practices and sisterhood structures of these Cantonese women after their migration remain largely unexplored. This article investigates the formation of Milky Way associations, liturgical sororities for organizing festival celebrations and worship of the Seven Sisters, and its influence on the social and religious lives of Cantonese women in Singapore. Through highlighting the coexistence of different belief systems, shifts in interest from China as the center of sociocultural origin to post-war/post-independence Singapore in the periphery, as well as negotiations with space, this article shows that Cantonese women have been active agents in reorganizing themselves, interacting within and outside of their communities, and engaging in heritage meaning-making. By compiling a non-exhaustive list of over 100 Milky Way associations in Singapore in the 1930–1940s, this article spotlights the magnitude and significance of the Seven Sisters Festival, which has disappeared since the 1970s with little material trace. Full article
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9 pages, 259 KiB  
Article
Moral Certainty of the Judge in the Canonical Process to Determine the Nullity of Marriage v. the Principle Testis Unus Testis Nullus
by Karol Krystian Adamczewski
Religions 2023, 14(3), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030405 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1365
Abstract
The present article discusses the issue of moral certainty in the canonical process for the annulment of marriage and analyzes the problem of applying the procedural principle testis unus testis nullus. The reason for undertaking the subject was the publication in 2015 [...] Read more.
The present article discusses the issue of moral certainty in the canonical process for the annulment of marriage and analyzes the problem of applying the procedural principle testis unus testis nullus. The reason for undertaking the subject was the publication in 2015 of two papal documents of the rank of apostolic letters, which introduced significant changes in the area of the process for the annulment of marriage. One of the aspects that underwent legislative modification was the principle testis unus testis nullus. It was decided that in marriage cases the testimony provided by a single witness may have the value of complete proof, provided that certain conditions are met. Therefore, the current considerations are an attempt to find an answer to the question whether the judge who takes a decision in marriage cases on the grounds of a single-witness testimony is able to achieve inner conviction (certitudo moralis) with regard to the factual state of the matter, and pass a verdict in accordance with the truth. In addition, the article outlines the legal construct of moral certainty, characteristic of canon law, and discusses the principle testis unus testis nullus within the framework of the existing canon law, taking into account a broad historical perspective, including both the biblical-canonical tradition as well as Roman law. Full article
15 pages, 273 KiB  
Article
Wrangling about Innate Ideas? Reflections on Locke and Cudworth
by Jonathan David Lyonhart
Religions 2023, 14(3), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030404 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1930
Abstract
Locke contended that knowledge is learned from experience, taught from without rather than innately known from within. The notion of innate ideas has since been seen by many as innately ridiculous, as a battle long ago waged and won in the first book [...] Read more.
Locke contended that knowledge is learned from experience, taught from without rather than innately known from within. The notion of innate ideas has since been seen by many as innately ridiculous, as a battle long ago waged and won in the first book of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. However, there was no fight in the first place, for the most comprehensive defence of innate ideas in the 17th century was not published until the 18th century. Ralph Cudworth’s Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality was published posthumously nearly fifty years after its writing, and while Locke and Cudworth wrote on similar subjects—and around the same time and place—the fates never aligned for them to meet and ‘have it out’. This paper places Locke and Cudworth into conversation on this question of innate ideas. Such analysis will reveal that Cudworth sidestepped much of Locke’s critique by hanging his argument not on universal consent but on the Platonic principle of like-knows-like. In the process, Cudworth anticipated many of the responses to Locke that would come in the next century from Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Thus, his forgotten role in this narrative in the history of philosophy cries out for reappraisal, along with the renewed insights he might bring to the on-going contemporary discussion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Voices in Philosophical Theology)
6 pages, 317 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction to the Special Issue “Nonviolence and Religion”
by Louise Du Toit, Ephraim Meir, Ed Noort and Wolfgang Palaver
Religions 2023, 14(3), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030403 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1540
Abstract
Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in 2001, many scholarly debates have focused on the relationship between religion and violence [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nonviolence and Religion)
30 pages, 605 KiB  
Article
How Did Evil Come into the World? A Primordial Free-Will Theodicy
by Mark Johnston
Religions 2023, 14(3), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030402 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1995
Abstract
James P. Sterba has provided a compelling argument to the effect that given the extent of significant, and indeed even horrendous, evil that an all-good and all-powerful being could have prevented, there is no God. There is a hidden assumption in Sterba’s reasoning, [...] Read more.
James P. Sterba has provided a compelling argument to the effect that given the extent of significant, and indeed even horrendous, evil that an all-good and all-powerful being could have prevented, there is no God. There is a hidden assumption in Sterba’s reasoning, involving an inference from God being able to do anything metaphysically possible (omnipotence) to his being, after creation, able to prevent evil. As what follows shows, that isn’t a purely logical matter. It depends on ruling out a determinate theological account of how creation limits what is then metaphysically possible for God, an account set out in detail below. So Sterba’s argument is not deductively valid, unless that account is incoherent. Accordingly, we are back in the realm of total judgments of theoretical plausibility, and the effects of God-given grace on what then will strike one as the right view to live by. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Do We Now Have a Logical Argument from Evil?)
13 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
“The Witch’s Mirror”: A Review of Scholarship on Witchcraft and a Reassessment Based on the Intersectional Lived Experiences of Dalits and Adivasis
by Jolanda Brunnekreef
Religions 2023, 14(3), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030401 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1999
Abstract
This article explores intersectionality of identities within Dalit and Adivasi traditions through a review of contemporary research on practices of witchcraft. Witchcraft practices occur all over the Indian subcontinent and form focal points of intersectionality beyond fixed structures and stereotypes. By approaching witchcraft [...] Read more.
This article explores intersectionality of identities within Dalit and Adivasi traditions through a review of contemporary research on practices of witchcraft. Witchcraft practices occur all over the Indian subcontinent and form focal points of intersectionality beyond fixed structures and stereotypes. By approaching witchcraft through the perspective of the lived experience of the ones involved, we gain better understanding of the individuals involved, of the larger socio-economic context and of the practice itself without falling into the trap of recasting stereotypes. By approaching witchcraft from the perspective of lived experience, it becomes clear that the occurrence of witchcraft is the outcome of complex intersectional power structures, such as gender, caste, class and religion/spirituality. However, the approach accomplishes even more by addressing diversity, ambiguity and dynamics within intersectional (power) structures. The knowledge drawn from the approach of lived experience of Dalits and Adivasis leads to new academic discourses such as ‘Dalit and Adivasi Studies’, ‘Critical Caste Theory’, ‘Dalit Feminism’ and the ‘Dalit Queer Movement’. These discourses provide new counter-hegemonic knowledge, adding to and challenging academia. Full article
9 pages, 236 KiB  
Article
Consultations in New Prophetic Churches and African Traditional Religions: A Case Study of Divine Healing in Assessing Syncretistic Practices in the South African Context
by Mookgo Solomon Kgatle
Religions 2023, 14(3), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030400 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2376
Abstract
New prophetic churches have a different approach to classical Pentecostalism when it comes to the practice of divine healing. Unlike classical Pentecostalism, new prophetic churches embrace the practice of consulting prophets in divine healing in the same way as that in which a [...] Read more.
New prophetic churches have a different approach to classical Pentecostalism when it comes to the practice of divine healing. Unlike classical Pentecostalism, new prophetic churches embrace the practice of consulting prophets in divine healing in the same way as that in which a traditional healer would be consulted in traditional African religions. During the consultation, the prophet charges a fee and prescribes sacred products that are similar to those of traditional African religious practices. This article uses a case study to illustrate the similarities between new prophetic churches and traditional African religions. Although there are similarities between the two movements, there is a need to also demonstrate their differences. The similarities are framed as continuities, and differences as discontinuities. When diagnosing the problem, a traditional healer throws traditional bones, but a prophet relies on the Holy Spirit to utter a prophetic word. When exorcising a demon causing sickness and diseases, a traditional healer uses rituals to invoke the spirits, but new prophetic churches, with all their weaknesses, would still use the name of Jesus to cast out the evil spirits. The findings in this article have some implications within the theoretical framework of syncretism. The similarities demonstrate syncretistic practices, and the discontinuities demonstrate the nonsyncretistic nature of new prophetic churches in South Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syncretism and Pentecostalism in the Global South)
14 pages, 314 KiB  
Article
On the Threshold of Mystery: Tomáš Halík on Cultural Witness in an Age of Uncertainty and Change
by Alister E. McGrath
Religions 2023, 14(3), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030399 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Tomáš Halík (born 1 June 1948) has established himself as one of the most thoughtful commentators on public cultural witness in a time of change and uncertainty, especially in central Europe. As an academic at Charles University (founded 1348) and a Catholic priest [...] Read more.
Tomáš Halík (born 1 June 1948) has established himself as one of the most thoughtful commentators on public cultural witness in a time of change and uncertainty, especially in central Europe. As an academic at Charles University (founded 1348) and a Catholic priest in the “Academic Parish of Prague”, Halík played an important role during and following the collapse of Marxism in Czechoslovakia in the “Velvet Revolution” of November—December 1989, even being mentioned as a possible successor to Czech President Václav Havel, while at the same time offering reflections on religious engagement with a complex and changing secular culture. This article engages some leading themes of Halík’s approach to cultural witness, focusing especially on cultural quests for false certainties, the need for churches to create liminal spaces enabling seekers to grasp what lies at the heart of the Christian faith, the dangers of romanticizing a lost past of faith which encourages disengagement with the present, and the need to understand faith in terms of a constant movement of thought rather than a fixed system of ideas. The article considers how these ideas can find wider application in engaging the challenges of cultural witness, particularly in a European context, and what can be learned from them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Churches in Europe and the Challenge of Cultural Witness)
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