Next Issue
Volume 14, September
Previous Issue
Volume 14, July
 
 

Religions, Volume 14, Issue 8 (August 2023) – 124 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): John Hare argues that Kant, in his Third Critique, offers an aesthetic argument for God’s existence that shares premises with his famous moral argument. Karl Ameriks demurs, expressing skepticism that this is so. In this paper, I stake out an intermediate position, arguing that the resources of Kant provide ingredients for an aesthetic argument, but one distinctly less than a transcendental argument for God or an entailment relation. Whether the argument is best thought of as abductive in nature, a C-inductive argument, or Pascalian natural sign, prospects for its formulation are strong. Such an argument, for its resonances with the moral argument(s), can work well in tandem with it (them). The sea-change in Kant studies over the last few decades should even help us see that Kant is an ally, not foe, to the project of aesthetic theodicy. View this paper
 
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Reader to open them.
Order results
Result details
Section
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
20 pages, 1039 KiB  
Article
“Lamp and Candle”: Classical Chinese Imagery in Taixu’s Poetry
by Xiaoxiao Xu
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081077 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1503
Abstract
Taixu 太虛 (1890–1947), a prominent figure in modern Chinese Buddhism, produced a voluminous collection of poetry abounding with diverse classical Chinese images. Notably, the “lamp and candle” (dengzhu 燈燭) holds great significance, reflecting Taixu’s personal affinity with this imagery and an intimate [...] Read more.
Taixu 太虛 (1890–1947), a prominent figure in modern Chinese Buddhism, produced a voluminous collection of poetry abounding with diverse classical Chinese images. Notably, the “lamp and candle” (dengzhu 燈燭) holds great significance, reflecting Taixu’s personal affinity with this imagery and an intimate connection to classical Chinese poetry. Acting as a potent Buddhist metaphor, it encapsulates multifaceted sentiments while also intertwining with other evocative images, such as the boat, the moon, and falling leaves. Symbolizing Taixu’s unwavering spirit, it represents his profound dedication to his craft. This article explores Taixu’s literary achievements as a poet by focusing on his adept utilization of “lamp and candle” imagery, complementing the study of his multifaceted and intricate identities. This detailed examination offers novel insights into Chinese literature and Buddhist studies, highlighting the interplay between spiritual practice and artistic expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Narrative Literature)
15 pages, 1049 KiB  
Article
Rethinking Terms: Dohā, Vajra-, and Caryāgīti
by Julian Schott
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1076; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081076 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
Dohās, vajragīti, and caryāgīti are key terms associated with the poetic writings of the Mahāsiddhas. This study focuses on Apabhraṃśa dohās, their commentaries, Tibetan translations, and collections containing them, shedding light on previously neglected aspects of this text type. By [...] Read more.
Dohās, vajragīti, and caryāgīti are key terms associated with the poetic writings of the Mahāsiddhas. This study focuses on Apabhraṃśa dohās, their commentaries, Tibetan translations, and collections containing them, shedding light on previously neglected aspects of this text type. By investigating the historical and original contexts of these three terms and comparing them to their later applications in traditional contexts and academia, this paper argues against the prevailing notion that they are genetically distinct and that this text type is primarily defined by orality and spontaneity. Consequently, it challenges the romanticized myth of certain origin narratives, such as student–teacher encounters. Instead, this brief presentation demonstrates that the often-repeated stereotypical definitions of these terms should be largely rejected, as they are merely different labels for the same text type with blurred and ill-defined subcategories. The analysis of primary sources reveals that various facets, e.g., compilation (an important but neglected aspect), go beyond the strongly emphasized oral component of this text type, thereby leading to the inaccurate definitions of the terms. In conclusion, intertextuality, compilation, and assigned authorship are crucial yet overlooked elements in defining the text type and understanding its function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
13 pages, 906 KiB  
Article
From the Human Logos to the Divine Logos: The Anthropological Implications of the Christian Logos-Flesh in Klaus Hemmerle
by Valentina Gaudiano
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081075 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1118
Abstract
The concept of logos takes on a new and interesting connotation through Christian revelation. The logos—word, discourse, reason—becomes human-divine flesh. Moreover, God, who is Word, needs human words to explain and reveal himself to human beings. In so doing, God lowers himself [...] Read more.
The concept of logos takes on a new and interesting connotation through Christian revelation. The logos—word, discourse, reason—becomes human-divine flesh. Moreover, God, who is Word, needs human words to explain and reveal himself to human beings. In so doing, God lowers himself to the human level, thus becoming manipulable, but at the same time, he makes human words and, consequently, human beings greater and of higher dignity. As a result, the human person becomes the giver of language to the one who allows him to speak. In this paper, I will highlight the consequences of a logos becoming flesh for anthropology, following the line of thought of Klaus Hemmerle. In particular, I will focus on Hemmerle’s trinitarian perspective and his phenomenology of language as a means for explaining Christian revelation. Full article
16 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Mediated Morality as a Middle Position in Understanding the Relation between God and Morality
by Amund Tobias Måge Areklett and Atle Ottesen Søvik
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1074; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081074 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1336
Abstract
How should we understand the relation between God and morality? This article aims to address this question by constructing a theistic metaethical theory informed by postphenomenological mediation theory. According to postphenomenological mediation theory, properties and values are not independent entities but are instead [...] Read more.
How should we understand the relation between God and morality? This article aims to address this question by constructing a theistic metaethical theory informed by postphenomenological mediation theory. According to postphenomenological mediation theory, properties and values are not independent entities but are instead mutually constituted through the relationships that they participate in. By emphasizing relationships and understanding goodness as harmony, the theory allows God and creation to jointly constitute goodness. This alternative theory is compared to the metaethical theories proposed by Robert M. Adams and Mark C. Murphy, which represent the two primary strands of theistic metaethics: theological voluntarism and natural law theory, respectively. The alternative theory exhibits certain advantages and resolves some of the issues found in Adams’ and Murphy’s theories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Morality without God: Reality or Illusion?)
12 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
With Whom Should One Worship? A Fresh Perspective on John Calvin’s Liturgical Theology of Physical Proximity and Spiritual Epidemic
by Sam Ha
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081073 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1000
Abstract
COVID-19 has taught us that whom one surrounds oneself with has a profound influence on one’s well-being. In that light, does whom we worship with matter as well? John Calvin would in fact argue that the people we physically worship with have a [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has taught us that whom one surrounds oneself with has a profound influence on one’s well-being. In that light, does whom we worship with matter as well? John Calvin would in fact argue that the people we physically worship with have a great impact on our spiritual life. According to Calvin, if you simply worship with (who he deemed to be) the unrighteous group of people, you will lose your spiritual health or even endanger salvation. This is why he was so insistent on asking the French Protestants to leave France and join him in Geneva. What is striking is that worshipping with the right kind of people does not have that automatic effect. Rather, they have to actively engage in many beneficial activities together, encouraging and empowering one another. This is because, for Calvin, while unrighteousness itself is highly contagious, growing in a nurturing community takes conscious and purposeful effort. In this sense, Calvin explains that idolatry and unrighteousness were a spiritual epidemic that is spread physically, while true piety is acquired through a communal practice of many forms of spiritual exercises. This article will have many important contributions to the field of worship and faith formation. Most notably, while scholars have long been addressing Calvin’s view of active practices during worship which help faith formation, I will show that that is not all there is. Instead, I will demonstrate how even simple physical proximity in worship can have an impact on one’s spiritual growth in Calvin’s thought. Another important contribution of this article would be offering a clearer presentation of Calvin’s sacramental theology of body and soul. Scholars have long been arguing that, for Calvin, the bodily participation in a Roman Catholic mass while believing in (what was for him) the true gospel was a serious sin of idolatry and hypocrisy. My article will further develop this idea by noting that, according to Calvin, not only is it wrong to do one thing with one’s body and another with one’s soul but having one’s body in a negative environment is harmful to one’s soul. If one’s body is surrounded by other people who do not believe in the true gospel, it would have a devastating impact on one’s soul. In other words, for Calvin, the body and soul influence each other in a way that has sacramental and developmental implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worship and Faith Formation)
7 pages, 505 KiB  
Brief Report
Frontal Asymmetry in Pilgrims
by Szabolcs Kéri
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081072 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1079
Abstract
Individuals with religious or spiritual problems experience depressive and anxiety symptoms, together with changes in cognitive style and coping. These problems are associated with altered frontal asymmetry (left greater than right) during the processing of religious stimuli. The present study aimed to investigate [...] Read more.
Individuals with religious or spiritual problems experience depressive and anxiety symptoms, together with changes in cognitive style and coping. These problems are associated with altered frontal asymmetry (left greater than right) during the processing of religious stimuli. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of pilgrimage on frontal asymmetry. The participants were 50 individuals experiencing religious or spiritual problems according to DSM-5 criteria. Some 25 of them participated in a two-week religious pilgrimage, and 25 matched volunteers went on non-religious holidays. We recorded resting-state EEG at baseline and after a religious phase (reading a sacred text and listening to music) (NEUVO–CURRY 8X-system, 256-channel). The frontal asymmetry index was calculated for 1 min epochs by subtracting the left electrode sites’ logarithmically transformed alpha frequency from homologous right leads (F4-F3, F8-F7). Anxiety, depressive symptoms, and rumination were assessed using self-report scales. Psychological and EEG assessments were performed before and after the pilgrimage or holiday. The results revealed that individuals experienced less anxiety, depression, and rumination following the pilgrimage. There was a significant reduction in frontal asymmetry during the processing of religious stimuli in pilgrims. We found no similar changes in volunteers who went on a non-religious holiday. These results indicate that frontal asymmetry and negative emotionality are ameliorated during a pilgrimage in individuals with religious or spiritual problems. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
Miracle in Myth: Nietzsche on Wunder
by Hannah Lyn Venable
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081071 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1340
Abstract
This paper considers the experience of miracle through the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. Although he is often considered an anti-religious thinker, I argue that Nietzsche actually puts forth a positive conception of miracle because of its indispensable role in the creation of myth. [...] Read more.
This paper considers the experience of miracle through the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. Although he is often considered an anti-religious thinker, I argue that Nietzsche actually puts forth a positive conception of miracle because of its indispensable role in the creation of myth. I walk through Nietzsche’s texts to describe his account of miracle (Wunder) and to demonstrate how it reveals a phenomenological perspective on miracle by placing it and rooting it in human life. Despite his rejection of traditional religion, Nietzsche reminds us that miracles are not an anomaly to human experience, but rather they are the way in which humans are able to embrace and affirm life through participation in myth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Intersection of Phenomenology and Religion)
10 pages, 794 KiB  
Article
The Devil in the Details: Beelzebul and Social Identity Complexity in Mark 3:20–35
by Jeremy D. Otten
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1070; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081070 - 20 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1472
Abstract
While the origin and etymology of the name Beelzebul have received some scholarly attention, very little attention has been given to the more basic question of why the scribes would choose this particular name for their accusations, or why Jesus would shift discussion [...] Read more.
While the origin and etymology of the name Beelzebul have received some scholarly attention, very little attention has been given to the more basic question of why the scribes would choose this particular name for their accusations, or why Jesus would shift discussion to speak of Satan. This study examines Mark 3:20–35 through the lens of Social Identity Theory (SIT) and Social Identity Complexity Theory (SIC) to reveal the underlying values and motivations behind the use of the two different names in the challenge and riposte between Jesus and the scribes. The scribes speak of “Beelzebul” as part of their attempt to discredit and even prosecute Jesus according to Deut 13, whereas Jesus’s reference to “Satan” reframes the discussion in light of the cosmic battle between those who do God’s will and the one who opposes it. In so reframing the discussion, he redraws the lines of ingroup and outgroup identity for his hearers and for Mark’s audience. Full article
17 pages, 456 KiB  
Article
Balancing Differences through Highlighting the Common: Religious Education Teachers’ Perceptions of the Diversity of Islam in Islamic Religious Education in Finnish State Schools
by Niina Putkonen and Saila Poulter
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1069; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081069 - 20 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1599
Abstract
Muslims are Finland’s largest and fastest-growing religious minority. In Finnish state schools, the number of pupils studying Islamic religious education (IRE) has almost doubled in a decade, and IRE has its own national curriculum, which is based on the general principles of Islam. [...] Read more.
Muslims are Finland’s largest and fastest-growing religious minority. In Finnish state schools, the number of pupils studying Islamic religious education (IRE) has almost doubled in a decade, and IRE has its own national curriculum, which is based on the general principles of Islam. Pupils are diverse in terms of their languages, cultures, ethnicities and in their religious and worldview backgrounds, religious diversity being reflected in the religious education curriculum content in which the diversity of Islam is addressed. In this study, we examine the diversity of Islam in IRE. The research results are based on interviews with IRE teachers (N = 17) working in comprehensive schools in the capital region of Finland, and we use data-driven content analysis to explore teachers’ perceptions. This study shows that IRE teachers use balancing pedagogical tools in order to deal with the diversity of Islam. According to the findings of our study, dealing with this diversity in religious education requires a dialogicity that both highlights and blurs differences related to diversity. Religion-related dialogue in IRE provides an arena for a balanced discussion about religious differences as well as what they have in common. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Islamic Education: Challenges and Opportunities)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 902 KiB  
Article
From “Sangha Forest” (叢林 Conglin) to “Buddhist Academy”: The Influence of Western Knowledge Paradigm on the Chinese Sangha Education in Modern Times
by Yifeng Liu
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081068 - 19 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1146
Abstract
Drawing on Foucault’s theoretical framework of “space and power”, this paper examines the discursive construction of “knowledge” in the context of Chinese Buddhist education. It traces the historical transformation of Chinese Buddhist education from the traditional “Sangha Forest”(the monastic community; 叢林 Conglin) style [...] Read more.
Drawing on Foucault’s theoretical framework of “space and power”, this paper examines the discursive construction of “knowledge” in the context of Chinese Buddhist education. It traces the historical transformation of Chinese Buddhist education from the traditional “Sangha Forest”(the monastic community; 叢林 Conglin) style education to the Buddhist Academy, and analyzes how modern Buddhism reshaped its social image and function from a faith-based to a knowledge-based culture. Furthermore, this paper explores the reasons why modern Buddhism requires “knowledge” as a bridge between its worldly and transcendental dimensions, and the roles of elite laymen and monasteries as “Buddhist Institutes” in the new discursive practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Life History of Chinese Buddhist Monks)
11 pages, 812 KiB  
Article
The Perspective on Peace-Making of the Contemporary Chinese Buddhist Monk Jinghui 淨慧 (1933–2013)
by Saiping An
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081067 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
This paper explores the perspective on peace-making of the contemporary Chinese Buddhist monk Jinghui 淨慧 (1933–2013), whose views have garnered esteem among Chinese Buddhists but have received limited attention from scholars. Jinghui introduced the notion of “Life Chan”, emphasizing the inseparable nature of [...] Read more.
This paper explores the perspective on peace-making of the contemporary Chinese Buddhist monk Jinghui 淨慧 (1933–2013), whose views have garnered esteem among Chinese Buddhists but have received limited attention from scholars. Jinghui introduced the notion of “Life Chan”, emphasizing the inseparable nature of Buddhist practice and daily living. Building on this concept, he emphasizes that it is incumbent upon Buddhists to remain attentive to a range of real-world issues, among which war and peace loom large as subjects deserving of special focus. In accordance with the principles of Chinese Buddhism regarding the nature of the mind, he posits that wars and conflicts on the global stage stem primarily from the mind, with external societal influences acting as secondary triggers. Therefore, he proposes that the cornerstone of establishing worldwide peace rests in purifying the mind by means of a variety of Buddhist practices. By drawing upon Chinese Chan literatures, he introduces a novel and distinct method to facilitate worldwide peace—a tea ceremony imbued with Chan philosophy. Jinghui claims that such an approach, by nurturing individual peace, will ultimately lead to collective harmony across the globe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mahāyāna Buddhism and World Affairs)
12 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Ibn ‘Arabī and the Theologization of Aristotelian Hylomorphism
by Ismail Lala
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081066 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
The works of Aristotle left an indelible impression on Arabic philosophy after the translation movement. While many philosophers accepted the works of the revered First Teacher (Al-Mu‘allim al-awwal), as Aristotle was designated, others sought to reformulate his ideas in accordance with [...] Read more.
The works of Aristotle left an indelible impression on Arabic philosophy after the translation movement. While many philosophers accepted the works of the revered First Teacher (Al-Mu‘allim al-awwal), as Aristotle was designated, others sought to reformulate his ideas in accordance with their own priorities. One such thinker is the hugely influential mystical theorist, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ‘Arabī (d. 638/1240), who agrees with Aristotle that all existents are hylomorphic compounds made from the combination of form with matter that comes from prime matter, or hyle (hayūlā), which he frequently uses interchangeably with ‘substance’ (jawhar). He claims that prime matter or substance accepts all forms (ṣuwar), but he theologizes these terms as he believes all things are loci of divine manifestation. Ibn ‘Arabī thus situates Aristotelian hylomorphism within the framework of his own metaphysics. He proceeds to equate the universal hayūlā with the primordial ‘cloud’ (‘amā’), mentioned in prophetic traditions, from which all things in the different levels of existence derive because of the existentiating divine breath. When it comes to the sensible world in particular, Ibn ‘Arabī employs the Qur’anic term of ‘dust’ (habā’) to denote prime matter that serves as the basis of sensible hylomorphic compounds. This study conducts close textual content analysis to demonstrate the way in which Ibn ‘Arabī theologizes Aristotelian hylomorphism to expound his conception of the different realms of existence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Theology and Philosophy from a Cross-Cultural Perspective)
8 pages, 252 KiB  
Article
Thomas Müntzer and the World to Come
by Christina Petterson
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081065 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1840
Abstract
This article examines the figure of Thomas Müntzer in Marxist historiography, as well as the “utopianisation” of Müntzer in Ernst Bloch’s 1921 study on Thomas Müntzer as Theologian of the Revolution. I review some of the differences in Martin Luther and Müntzer in [...] Read more.
This article examines the figure of Thomas Müntzer in Marxist historiography, as well as the “utopianisation” of Müntzer in Ernst Bloch’s 1921 study on Thomas Müntzer as Theologian of the Revolution. I review some of the differences in Martin Luther and Müntzer in their competing views for the future after the break from Rome, and the theological thrust of Müntzer’s vision. This is then connected with elements from Bloch’s Müntzer, chiefly focussing on spirit and history. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Utopianism)
12 pages, 263 KiB  
Article
God as “The Highest and Most Elevated Thing”: Contributions to the Theological, Phenomenological Interpretations of God-Experiences in Heidegger, Conrad-Martius, and Stein
by Anna Jani
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081064 - 19 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 936
Abstract
Maybe the most divisive topic of the Heideggerian reception is whether the question of God is part of the disclosure of being in Heidegger’s thinking, or if Heidegger rather obscures the phenomenological inquiry on God by way of his questions on being and [...] Read more.
Maybe the most divisive topic of the Heideggerian reception is whether the question of God is part of the disclosure of being in Heidegger’s thinking, or if Heidegger rather obscures the phenomenological inquiry on God by way of his questions on being and his reinterpretation of the meaning of being as historical beyng. It is not accidental that Hedwig Conrad-Martius, the contemporary of Heidegger, writes in her critique on Being and Time that it is “like when, with tremendous force of wise prudence and unflagging tenacity, a door that has been closed for a long time and is almost impossible to open is blown open and then immediately slammed shut again, locked, and barricaded so tightly that it seems impossible to open it again.” (Cf. Heideggers ‘Sein und Zeit’). Unfortunately, the different stages of Heidegger’s thinking do not help further clarify the question of whether it is a conscious program of Heideggerian thinking to involve theological questions into the fundamental ontological analysis of being, if it follows from his theological background and from the relation to theology (as a positivistic science in Heidegger’s sense), or if that he includes theological knowledges into his thinking and shows a critical turn against the theological statements. Heidegger’s reflections on his own thinking in relation to theological questions and his influence on the Munich–Göttingen Phenomenology raises the present argumentation for the common phenomenological interpretation of God-Experiences. Full article
10 pages, 254 KiB  
Article
Charisma of Ascetic Saints in the Hagiography of the 12th Century
by Edina Bozoky
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081063 - 19 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1009
Abstract
In the 11th–12th centuries, extreme ascetic practices reappeared in Western Europe, in particular, the wearing of hauberks and heavy iron chains, associated with penitence and eremitism. This article discusses the charisma of three ascetic saints of the 12th century: Bernard the Penitent (d. [...] Read more.
In the 11th–12th centuries, extreme ascetic practices reappeared in Western Europe, in particular, the wearing of hauberks and heavy iron chains, associated with penitence and eremitism. This article discusses the charisma of three ascetic saints of the 12th century: Bernard the Penitent (d. 1182), Wulfric of Haselbury (d. 1154/55), and Godric of Finchale (d. 1170). Their hagiographies were written shortly after their death. The authors emphasize that they were revered as holy men already in their lifetime. Their charismatic power was revealed by miracles of healing and prophecy, sometimes in visions. The manifestations of their charisma continued and even increased after their death and were transmitted and spread through their relics. Their mortifications and the signs of their holiness are comparable to those of the stylites and other hermits of Syria of late Antiquity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Charisma in the Middle Ages)
13 pages, 284 KiB  
Article
Anti-Cult Movement and Religious Freedom for Religious Minorities in the Russian Arctic
by Nadezhda Beliakova and Vera Kliueva
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081062 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1432
Abstract
In this article, using the example of the Russian Arctic, we analyze how the anti-cult movement creates the conditions for the discrimination and suppression of religious minorities. The anti-cultist (anti-sectarian) fears and phobias of the Russian establishment are closely bound to the fears [...] Read more.
In this article, using the example of the Russian Arctic, we analyze how the anti-cult movement creates the conditions for the discrimination and suppression of religious minorities. The anti-cultist (anti-sectarian) fears and phobias of the Russian establishment are closely bound to the fears of missionary activity. The change in legislation regulating missionary activity deliberately limits the activities of those religious communities, which, at the suggestion of the anti-cultists, are labeled in Russian society as “sectarian” and/or “foreign”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sociology of Law, Human Rights, and Religious Freedom)
13 pages, 808 KiB  
Article
On the Coherence of Mencius’ Concept of Li: An Analysis Based on Moral Reasons Internalism
by Shuwen Liu and Xiaodong Xie
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081061 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1449
Abstract
This paper addresses the problem of coherence, i.e., whether the internal and external dimensions of li (礼 rituals, rites, and the observance of them) are compatible. This problem stems mainly from Mencius’ seemingly conflicting statements. On the one hand, he emphasized the goodness [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the problem of coherence, i.e., whether the internal and external dimensions of li (礼 rituals, rites, and the observance of them) are compatible. This problem stems mainly from Mencius’ seemingly conflicting statements. On the one hand, he emphasized the goodness of xing (性 human nature) in terms of the goodness of the heart-mind. On the other hand, he defended the act of following li regardless of one’s heart-mind. This paper argues that Mencius held coherent moral reasons internalism, asserting that moral reasons are embedded in people’s universal and potential instinct to do morally good things. Consequently, he distinguished morality from non-moral normativity and claimed that the former takes precedence over the latter. The concept of li is thus divided into moral li and non-moral li, with moral li taking precedence over non-moral li. Therefore, the act of “following li regardless of one’s heart-mind” refers to following non-moral li, as long as it does not conflict with moral li. Based on the fact that Mencius’ concept of li is a kind of coherent moral reasons internalism, this paper further responds to some challenges from moral reasons externalism. It does so by clarifying the meaning of “seeking the cause within oneself” (反求诸己 fan qiu zhu ji), showing that Mencius believed every individual could establish rational inner guidance and be motivated to lead a reflective and autonomous moral life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical Concerns in Early Confucianism)
17 pages, 4104 KiB  
Article
The Chinshō Yasha-hō 鎮將夜叉法 and the Adaptation of Tendai Esoteric Ritual
by Pei-ying Lin
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081060 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1218
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the ritual of a peculiar scripture entitled Chinshō yasha-hō 鎮將夜叉法 (Ch. Zhenjiang yecha fa. “Tantric Ritual of Chinshō Yakṣa”). The Japanese deity Chinshō Yakṣa is a Tendai variation of Vaiśravaṇa (Ch. Pishamen/Jp. Bishamon 毘沙門), a heavenly king who [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the ritual of a peculiar scripture entitled Chinshō yasha-hō 鎮將夜叉法 (Ch. Zhenjiang yecha fa. “Tantric Ritual of Chinshō Yakṣa”). The Japanese deity Chinshō Yakṣa is a Tendai variation of Vaiśravaṇa (Ch. Pishamen/Jp. Bishamon 毘沙門), a heavenly king who vowed to protect Buddhism. The ritual of Chinshō Yakṣa is a major ritual in Tendai Esotericism. It has been traditionally accepted that this scripture was transmitted from China. Modern scholarship, however, suspects that this ritual is Saichō’s 最澄 (767–822) invention. This study examines the contents and characters involved in this ritual manual by comparing other ritual manuals of Vaiśravaṇa. In analysing its liturgical aspect, as well as its textual relationship with other ritual manuals, this paper illustrates how the Chinshō yasha-hō deviates from the other ritual manuals and evaluates the possible sources or origins regarding the formation of this ritual. Similar mudrās and mantras that appear in both the Chinshō yasha-hō and other texts were identified, implying that the Chinshō yasha-hō might have drawn from multiple sources. Moreover, judging from its similarity with Chinese Tiantai ritual manuals and other texts that were forged in the Tang dynasty, it is possible that Tang China and Japan saw a period of active ritual invention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Esoteric Buddhism in East Asia: Texts and Rituals)
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 1208 KiB  
Article
Recitation of the “Buddho” in the Thai Forest Tradition and Nian-Fo in the Chinese Pure Land School: A Comparative Study
by Xiaoli Lei
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081059 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1442
Abstract
The Thai forest tradition, or Thai northeastern forest tradition, which originated from King Lama IV’s religious revolution, is one of the most important meditation practice traditions in Thailand. This tradition aims to achieve final liberation through strict meditation practice. The unique meditation technique [...] Read more.
The Thai forest tradition, or Thai northeastern forest tradition, which originated from King Lama IV’s religious revolution, is one of the most important meditation practice traditions in Thailand. This tradition aims to achieve final liberation through strict meditation practice. The unique meditation technique they promote is the recitation of the mantra “Buddho”. They practice the recitation of “Buddho” together with an awareness of breathing in and out. This meditation technique seems similar to the technique of Nian-fo (recitation of Buddha’s name) in the Chinese pure land school; however, this article points out that these two techniques are quite different in not only their scriptural bases but also their methods practice and the results they bring. Full article
23 pages, 991 KiB  
Article
Sessō Sōsai and the Chinese Anti-Christian Discourse
by Qiaoyu Han
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081058 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1190
Abstract
The early Tokugawa period witnessed the establishment of anti-Christian policy as a significant agenda. In 1647, Sessō Sōsai, a Zen monk, undertook the task of delivering sermons in Nagasaki, aiming to convert the local population to Buddhism. Following his preaching, Sessō authored two [...] Read more.
The early Tokugawa period witnessed the establishment of anti-Christian policy as a significant agenda. In 1647, Sessō Sōsai, a Zen monk, undertook the task of delivering sermons in Nagasaki, aiming to convert the local population to Buddhism. Following his preaching, Sessō authored two anti-Christian texts, with the second text reflecting a pronounced influence from Chinese Buddhist anti-Christian discourse. This article seeks to explore the correlation between Sessō’s anti-Christian writings and his engagement with the Chinese Buddhist community in Nagasaki. By delving into the analysis of personal networks, this study illustrates Sessō’s familiarity with the evolution of Buddhism in China and his incorporation of ideas from the Chinese Buddhist anti-Christian movement during his time. Full article
11 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
Buddhism, Wealth, and Privilege: Ambedkar and Habermas
by Pisith San, Wolfgang Drechsler and Shobhit Shakya
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1057; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081057 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2359
Abstract
This essay compares key essays on Buddhism by B.R. Ambedkar and Jürgen Habermas vis-à-vis the issue of Buddhism, wealth, and privilege, and the respective statements again to what the Buddha taught, from a Theravada perspective. In doing so, it can be seen that [...] Read more.
This essay compares key essays on Buddhism by B.R. Ambedkar and Jürgen Habermas vis-à-vis the issue of Buddhism, wealth, and privilege, and the respective statements again to what the Buddha taught, from a Theravada perspective. In doing so, it can be seen that Buddhism does not indeed endorse privilege in this world—but what seems to be privilege and inherited wealth are actual merits from a former life. Since these come with their own dangers, viz. attachment and not putting wealth to good use, wealth may be nice but not more. That someone is better than someone else because of birth and inheritance rather than action is, however, established as completely non-Buddhist, again and again, even by the Buddha himself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
14 pages, 344 KiB  
Article
Religion upon the Mountains: From Christianisation to Social Actions against Summit Crosses in Italy
by Giovanna Rech
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081056 - 18 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
In Italy, the debate regarding the presence of crosses and crucifixes in public places is long-standing and involves their detractors, supporters and defenders. Over time, these conflicting positions have gained media resonance, becoming a sociopolitical controversy that has led to lawsuits at various [...] Read more.
In Italy, the debate regarding the presence of crosses and crucifixes in public places is long-standing and involves their detractors, supporters and defenders. Over time, these conflicting positions have gained media resonance, becoming a sociopolitical controversy that has led to lawsuits at various levels, including the European Court of Human Rights. In the social sphere, the issue has oscillated between the recognition of the universal value of religious symbols and advocacy for secularism, even in open spaces such as mountaintops. During the last few decades, several initiatives have been undertaken in the Italian Alps, driven by ecological concerns and opposition to the presence of crosses on the mountains. These initiatives have resulted in collective actions against the positioning and erection of crosses, and there have even been attempts to diversify the Italian peaks. By providing a historical overview of the Christianisation of Italian mountaintops and focusing on the mobilisation against the presence of crosses, this article contributes to the understanding of the role of such symbols in Italian public opinion, which is intertwined with the vitality of the Catholic Church and the sociopolitical implications of these initiatives. The research questions will investigate the process of legitimisation and delegitimisation of Christian symbols. The cross on the mountaintop serves as an example of culturalised religion, where this cultural object can become a “passive religious symbol,” polarising claims for the defence of the natural environment and the sustainability of religion in the mountains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sociology of Law, Human Rights, and Religious Freedom)
17 pages, 353 KiB  
Article
The Terms Trade (Tijarah) and Road (Rihlah) in Qur’anic Context: With Special References to the Trade of Prophet Muhammad in Sirah
by Faruk Tuncer
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1055; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081055 - 18 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1384
Abstract
The term rihlah, which means ‘commercial journey in summer and winter’ in Surah Quraysh, holds a special position in the vocabulary of the Qur’an. This term corresponds to a significant aspect of the real politics in the sīrah of Prophet Muhammad, particularly [...] Read more.
The term rihlah, which means ‘commercial journey in summer and winter’ in Surah Quraysh, holds a special position in the vocabulary of the Qur’an. This term corresponds to a significant aspect of the real politics in the sīrah of Prophet Muhammad, particularly in seventh-century Mecca. Although rihlah, literally meaning road and journey, is used in the context of commerce, it is also in alignment with a group of similar words such as sabil, sirat, and ṭariq in the Qur’an. For instance, the words huda (guidance) and dalal (misguidance), which are key concepts in the Qur’an, are closely associated with the notion of the rihlah. This correlation will be explored in the article, shedding light on the sīrah of the Prophet. The close relationship between commerce and roads in the Qur’an constitutes a vast semantic field, which will be discussed from various perspectives. This discussion aims to elucidate how this relationship, briefly mentioned in Surah Quraysh, is reflected throughout the entirety of the Qur’an. Full article
17 pages, 469 KiB  
Article
Gender Policing in Girls’ and Women’s Sports
by Annie Blazer
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081054 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 2145
Abstract
This paper will show that sporting institutions that police the boundaries of women’s sports do so to keep sportswomen constrained in ways that men’s sports and male athletes are not. This paper explores three methods that sporting establishments have used to police and [...] Read more.
This paper will show that sporting institutions that police the boundaries of women’s sports do so to keep sportswomen constrained in ways that men’s sports and male athletes are not. This paper explores three methods that sporting establishments have used to police and constrain women’s sports and sportswomen: the exclusion of women and the creation of different rules for men’s and women’s sports, the policing of international sporting administrations of which women can compete in women’s sports by invoking the specter of “gender fraud”, and the exclusion of trans women from sports by relying on conservative Christian notions of a gender binary motivated by a similar strain of homophobia that animated previous efforts to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. Taken together, these three threads reveal that gender policing in women’s sports is not and has never been about “fairness” but about preserving heteropatriarchal systems of power that position women as weak and inherently less athletic than men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sport and Religion: Continuities, Connections, Concerns)
21 pages, 350 KiB  
Article
“A Sign We Are”: A Poetical Theology of Passing in Hölderlin’s “Rousseau” and Other Late Poems
by Laurens ten Kate and Bart Philipsen
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1053; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081053 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1033
Abstract
The birth of modern aesthetics cannot be separated from the emergence of a new, non-dogmatic conception of religion and theology. Friedrich Schlegel advocated ‘art as new religion’ while Friedrich Schleiermacher developed a vision on religion as a deeply aesthetic experience. In this rich [...] Read more.
The birth of modern aesthetics cannot be separated from the emergence of a new, non-dogmatic conception of religion and theology. Friedrich Schlegel advocated ‘art as new religion’ while Friedrich Schleiermacher developed a vision on religion as a deeply aesthetic experience. In this rich intellectual context, one author stands out as deeply steeped in this field of innovative dialogues between philosophy, religion and art (against the backdrop of profound historical transformations) and as a singular figure beckoning towards a future (and a future language) that was still to come: Friedrich Hölderlin. In his later work, Hölderlin’s poetic voice retreats into a process of meticulous reading and writing, a complex score of traces and signs that articulate difference, not-yet-presence and potentiality, which is nothing other than the experience of finite time. In doing so, Hölderlin retraces the divine in history and in human existence: its retreat and expected arrival. In this article, we present readings and interpretations of Hölderlin’s later poetry, with a specific focus on the Winke or hints of the gods, and the vocabulary of nods and signs (Zeichen) signifying the experience of time’s passing as the announcement of an unthinkable future. By involving Jean-Luc Nancy’s rethinking of the Winke as intersections of the divinity of humanity and the humanity of divinity, we will arrive at a new understanding of Hölderlin’s emblematic figures of modernity: the stranger and the passer-by as receivers and transmitters of these Winke. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Theology and Aesthetics)
15 pages, 873 KiB  
Article
The Transnational Experience of a Chinese Buddhist Master in the Asian Buddhist Network
by Xing Zhang
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081052 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1259
Abstract
Wuqian (1922–2010) was one of the most important modern Buddhist masters in the modern history of Sino-Indian Buddhist relations. In his early years, he studied all the major schools of the Buddhist tradition, focusing on Yogācāra philosophy, probably due to Xuanzang’s influence and [...] Read more.
Wuqian (1922–2010) was one of the most important modern Buddhist masters in the modern history of Sino-Indian Buddhist relations. In his early years, he studied all the major schools of the Buddhist tradition, focusing on Yogācāra philosophy, probably due to Xuanzang’s influence and in alignment with contemporary Buddhist trends. Furthermore, he became one of the few masters from the Central Plains who received systematic training in Tibetan Buddhist tantric rituals. He went to India in the middle of the 20th century. He dedicated his life to the revival of Buddhist thought in India, especially promoting Chinese Buddhism in Calcutta by establishing Buddhist institutions, managing Buddhist sites, organizing Buddhist activities, and building the Xuanzang Temple. In his later years, he devoted himself to facilitating mutual Buddhist exchanges and monastic visits between Buddhist organizations in mainland China, Taiwan, and India. In 1998, he presented two Buddhist relics to the Daci’en Temple in Xi’an. At the beginning of the 21st century, he established the Institute of Buddhist Studies at Xuanzang Temple in Calcutta. He organized the translation of many important Buddhist treatises, again reflecting his intention of following the spirit of Xuanzang to contribute to Chinese Buddhism. His transnational journey manifested that there was an active Asian Buddhist network during the Cold War era, despite various difficulties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The History of Religions in China: The Rise, Fall, and Return)
19 pages, 1672 KiB  
Article
Ribât in Early Islamic Ifrîqiya: Another Islam from the Edge
by Jean-Pierre Van Staëvel
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1051; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081051 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1535
Abstract
After a difficult conquest under the Umayyads, the eastern Maghreb or Ifrîqiya region was turned into the western borderland of the Abbasid Empire in the second half of the 8th century, and its governance was soon delegated to the Aghlabid Emirate (800–909). In [...] Read more.
After a difficult conquest under the Umayyads, the eastern Maghreb or Ifrîqiya region was turned into the western borderland of the Abbasid Empire in the second half of the 8th century, and its governance was soon delegated to the Aghlabid Emirate (800–909). In this context, the Sahel (or Ifriqîyan coastline) quickly became a major centre of asceticism and pious collective retreat in places dedicated to ribât activities. This practice provided a framework for the life of devout people who kept a watchful eye on the Byzantine enemy while zealously performing their devotions. A genuine frontier society of religious men and devotees, ascetics and traditionalists arose in this burgeoning coastal fringe. Over the last two decades, this topic has given rise to a very rich historiography, notably produced by Tunisian researchers who have profoundly renewed our understanding. Based on these considerable achievements, the present contribution proposes to broaden the analysis in order to show how the rise of this movement of warrior piety, advocating an ideal of jihâd, must be related to a more global phenomenon, considered at the scale of the Abbasid Empire. Remaining in a comparative dimension, this article also proposes several approaches to the specific architecture of ribât sites, especially the place devoted to the community mosque. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

9 pages, 543 KiB  
Article
Defining Boundaries with a Vengeance: Identity Formation and the Motif of Divine Vengeance as Boundary Control in the Epistle to the Hebrews
by Arjan Van den Os
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1050; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081050 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1057
Abstract
The Epistle to the Hebrews contains several so-called “warning passages”. In these texts, the author of Hebrews warns the addressees that they may not tarnish their Christ-given identity through apostasy and leaving the Christ-believing community. One of the literary motifs the author uses [...] Read more.
The Epistle to the Hebrews contains several so-called “warning passages”. In these texts, the author of Hebrews warns the addressees that they may not tarnish their Christ-given identity through apostasy and leaving the Christ-believing community. One of the literary motifs the author uses is the motif of divine vengeance in Hebrews 10:30. This paper will show how the author uses this motif as a way to prevent the addressees, as children of God’s household, from apostatizing, while at the same time defining the boundaries and the consequences when boundaries are crossed. Social-scientific insights into the mechanisms of honor and reciprocity will be used to clarify why the author of Hebrews employs the motif of divine vengeance. The addressees of Hebrews, in fact, will slight the honor of God and reject the gift that God has given in Christ through their apostasy. Divine vengeance is portrayed as the reaction of God to this slight and rejection. In that way, the addressees of Hebrews are deterred from becoming outsiders and urged to remain insiders, merging their particular identity with their given theological identity. Full article
26 pages, 458 KiB  
Article
A Postmodern (Singularity) Future with a Post-Human Godless Algorithm: Trans-Humanism, Artificial Intelligence, and Dataism
by Khaled Al-Kassimi
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081049 - 17 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3073
Abstract
The objective of this manuscript is to reveal that the challenge in understanding the ethical consequences of a post-human condition characterizing trans-humanist ontology is linked to postmodern epistemology lacking any metaphysical and theological essence. The introductory section provides an overview of trans-humanist thought [...] Read more.
The objective of this manuscript is to reveal that the challenge in understanding the ethical consequences of a post-human condition characterizing trans-humanist ontology is linked to postmodern epistemology lacking any metaphysical and theological essence. The introductory section provides an overview of trans-humanist thought and the concerns deliberated against it at the recent conference titled A.I Ethics: An Abrahamic Commitment to the Rome Call, charting a path ensuring that technological innovations do not undermine the ethical, spiritual, and moral values animating the telos of the human being. The second section traces the philosophical genealogy of trans-humanism from the Age of Reason (i.e., modern epistemology) to our current Age of Feeling (i.e., postmodern epistemology). This section also stresses that the ontology accenting both periods—the death of God and the death of human—is latent in trans-humanist ideology, which seeks to extinguish the quest of knowing God with an ateleological state that crucifies the human in pursuit of worshipping technology. The third section scrutinizes the conceptual framework of trans-humanism by deconstructing concepts structuring its worldview such as Singularity, Artificial Super Intelligence, and the pseudo-religion known as Dataism. Additionally, this section examines how trans-humanist proponents—while adhering to postmodern philosophy—alter the definitions of sacred concepts that exclusively animate a human state of being, such as consciousness, intelligence, and awareness, by anthropomorphizing AI. The final section recalls the wisdom of the Nicomachean Ethics and the Alchemy of Happiness, composed—respectively—by Aristotle and Al-Ghazali. It highlights the immoral significances of choosing to ignore the implications of Dataism and its techno-scientific objectives, which obscure the use of techne in a virtuous manner attaining eudaimonia and the essence of humanness seeking a path—using God-given sensoria—knowledge of Divine Beauty. Full article
19 pages, 333 KiB  
Article
The Roman Catholic Parish in the Face of the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis: A Case Study of St. Joseph Parish in Chorzów, Poland and Holy Spirit Parish in Kátlovce, Slovakia
by Rafał Śpiewak, Wiktor Widera, Denisa Jánošová and Tomasz Jobczyk
Religions 2023, 14(8), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14081048 - 16 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1000
Abstract
Russia’s war against Ukraine as a result of the Kremlin’s aggressive policy has caused a number of catastrophic material consequences, but most dramatically, the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Millions of people at risk of death were forced to leave their previous places [...] Read more.
Russia’s war against Ukraine as a result of the Kremlin’s aggressive policy has caused a number of catastrophic material consequences, but most dramatically, the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Millions of people at risk of death were forced to leave their previous places of residence. In a short space of time, they had to make the crucial decision to leave the war-stricken country without the prospect of an exact return date. They were accompanied not only by the uncertainty of finding a safe and friendly place to survive but also by the fear of whether they would have anything to return to in the future. From the first days of the war, huge migrations began inside and outside Ukraine. This dramatic situation of an unprecedented wave of refugees in 21st-century Europe has mobilized societies and governments in many countries to provide unprecedented assistance to the citizens of Ukraine. The largest number of refugees reached Poland. In addition, a significant number went to Slovakia. This article, the result of a collaboration between Polish and Slovakian researchers, attempts to illustrate the response of Catholic Church parishioners to the influx of refugees from Ukraine using the example of the St. Joseph parish in Chorzów and the Holy Spirit parish in Kátlovce, Slovakia. The parishioners communities undertook charitable activities, and an informal aid group was immediately organized in the Polish parish. The aim of the research process carried out was, on the one hand, to identify the forms of aid implemented, its scope, and the difficulties encountered, and, on the other hand, to try to grasp the motives for involvement in helping refugees. An important aspect of the research was to verify the reactions of the parishioners in the context of the guidelines of the social teaching of the Church, especially the teaching of Pope Francis on helping migrants and refugees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pastoral Theology in a Multi-Crisis Environment)
Previous Issue
Back to TopTop