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Religions, Volume 15, Issue 7 (July 2024) – 89 articles

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22 pages, 11858 KiB  
Article
The Spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia from the 16th to the 17th Century: The Spatial Formation of the World Heritage Site Erdene Zuu Monastery
by Muping Bao
Religions 2024, 15(7), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070843 (registering DOI) - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 199
Abstract
Erdene Zuu is the oldest extant Buddhist temple in the country of Mongolia, founded following the reintroduction of Tibetan Buddhism to Inner Mongolia in the sixteenth century. The subject of this paper is the building activities of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, [...] Read more.
Erdene Zuu is the oldest extant Buddhist temple in the country of Mongolia, founded following the reintroduction of Tibetan Buddhism to Inner Mongolia in the sixteenth century. The subject of this paper is the building activities of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly of the complex centering on Gurban Zuu (Three Temples), which are the main buildings of Erdene Zuu. The author first confirms Gurban Zuu’s ground plan based on measurements, and then interprets the “black-ink inscription” discovered on the ridge purlin of the Central Buddha Hall. This complex is then compared with Inner Mongolian Buddhist temples of the same period. Finally, the author studies whether or not the spatial structure of the temple architecture of the Mongolian Empire of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was continued at Erdene Zuu, and analyzes the position that Erdene Zuu occupied in the Tibetan Buddhist sphere. This comparative study investigates the origins of Erdene Zuu’s architectural spatial composition within East Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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17 pages, 277 KiB  
Article
Home, History, and the Postsecular: A Literary–Religious Inquiry of Disgrace
by Liang Dong
Religions 2024, 15(7), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070842 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 223
Abstract
In J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, the postsecular emerges as a critical framework to understand the characters’ search for home amidst the remnants of South Africa’s colonial legacy. This essay proposes an exploration of how the novel’s engagement with the postsecular scriptures and moments [...] Read more.
In J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, the postsecular emerges as a critical framework to understand the characters’ search for home amidst the remnants of South Africa’s colonial legacy. This essay proposes an exploration of how the novel’s engagement with the postsecular scriptures and moments offers a nuanced perspective on the religious impulse within the literary form. I focus on the protagonist, Lurie, whose journey from a sexual scandal to a commitment to animal welfare symbolizes a broader quest for redemption and atonement. Contrasting Lurie’s postsecular odyssey is his daughter Lucy’s steadfast attachment to her farm, which becomes a battleground for historical racial tensions. Through a mythological critical approach, we interpret Lucy’s experience as a contemporary iteration of the scapegoat, embodying the sacrificial role in a society seeking reconciliation and healing. Our analysis extends to the novel’s esthetic and ethical dimensions, examining how Coetzee’s narrative challenges and reframes traditional religious narratives. By situating our discussion within the fields of the sciences of religions, theology, and mythology, I contribute to the understanding of literature as a vital medium for engaging with religious and theological themes. The essay concludes with a reflection on the implications of Coetzee’s postsecular discourse for the individual’s search for home and belonging in a post-apartheid context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Divine Encounters: Exploring Religious Themes in Literature)
16 pages, 1102 KiB  
Article
The Daoist Art of the Bedchamber of Male Homosexuality in Ming and Qing Literature
by Wanrong Zhang
Religions 2024, 15(7), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070841 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 316
Abstract
The Daoist art of the bedchamber (fangzhong shu 房中術) constitutes a form of cultivation practice with the objective of promoting health and longevity through sexual techniques, generally applied within heterosexual contexts. However, with the evolution of male homosexuality culture during the Ming [...] Read more.
The Daoist art of the bedchamber (fangzhong shu 房中術) constitutes a form of cultivation practice with the objective of promoting health and longevity through sexual techniques, generally applied within heterosexual contexts. However, with the evolution of male homosexuality culture during the Ming and Qing dynasties, depictions of the art of the bedchamber related to male homosexuality emerged in the literature of that era. This art was imaginatively traced back to Laozi and his disciple Yin Xi 尹喜. The sources explained the beneficial outcomes of these techniques by referring to classical Chinese cosmology: underage males were considered to have yin energy in their bodies, a condition similar to that in females, aligning with the fundamental principles of the heterosexual art of the bedchamber. Serving as a religious interpretation of emerging cultural trends rather than representing a new cultivation technique, this fictive art legitimizes homosexual practices among males, particularly those adhering to Daoism. Full article
12 pages, 237 KiB  
Article
People with Disabilities and Their Families in the Roman Catholic Church in Poland: An Analysis of Barriers to Participation in Religious Practices
by Katarzyna Zielińska-Król
Religions 2024, 15(7), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070840 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 300
Abstract
The available research suggests that the rate of involvement of people with disabilities and their families in the life of the Church is significantly lower than that of people without disabilities. The engagement of people with disabilities is largely dependent on (a) the [...] Read more.
The available research suggests that the rate of involvement of people with disabilities and their families in the life of the Church is significantly lower than that of people without disabilities. The engagement of people with disabilities is largely dependent on (a) the level of religiosity; (b) intrinsic motivation; (c) the level of trust in the institutions of the Church; and (d) broadly understood accessibility factors. Barriers experienced by people with disabilities are complex in nature, and make these people dependent on the help of others. Overcoming them requires significant investment, commitment, and change in the Church institution. These issues are relatively rarely addressed in the literature. The few, usually partial studies tend to concentrate on specific disabilities, discussed with no reference to the family context. However, it is usually the case that the religiosity and church activity of a person with a disability are firmly rooted in their family reality, shaped by the level of religiosity of their parents, and sometimes dependent on their presence and involvement. The aim of this article, which is both theoretical and empirical in nature, is to answer the question of which barriers form an obstacle to participation in religious life for people with disabilities and their families in Poland. This study uses the results of a nationwide qualitative research (focus group interview method) conducted among people with physical and intellectual disabilities, the hard-of-hearing and the deaf, the visually impaired, and their carers. Data analysis enabled the identification of the following barriers: infrastructural, personal and organizational (family-related and extra-familial). These research results can provide guidance in pastoral work with people with disabilities and their families, improving not only the quality of their religious experience, but also the number of the faithful in the Church community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Theology, and Bioethical Discourses on Marriage and Family)
13 pages, 254 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between the Religiosity and Integrity of Young Generations in Papua, Indonesia: Studies from a Christian Perspective
by Fredrik Warwer
Religions 2024, 15(7), 839; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070839 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 223
Abstract
Papua, Indonesia, is a region of cultural and religious diversity. However, in facing social challenges, the development of youth character has become a critical issue. The Research and Development Centre for Religion, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, conducted a survey of [...] Read more.
Papua, Indonesia, is a region of cultural and religious diversity. However, in facing social challenges, the development of youth character has become a critical issue. The Research and Development Centre for Religion, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, conducted a survey of secondary schools. In 2021, the high school student index in Papua Province was below the national average. The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship and level of correlation between religiosity and integrity among youth in Papua. We employed Christian biblical figures as models to illustrate their methods of developing and maintaining moral and ethical attributes. The method used is a quantitative approach with descriptive and correlational techniques. The findings indicate a significant positive correlation (0.629) between the religious dimension and the integrity dimension. This demonstrates a strong relationship between these two dimensions. The conclusion of this study essentially implies that there is a beneficial and strong relationship between religious discipline and integrity. This suggests that the two dimensions work together to shape and develop the personality of the younger generation. Full article
13 pages, 391 KiB  
Article
Is Confucius a Philosopher or a Saint? Michele Ruggieri’s Views from His Translations of the Four Books
by Huiyu Wang
Religions 2024, 15(7), 838; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070838 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 216
Abstract
Michele Ruggieri (1543–1607) was the first Westerner officially approved to reside in China. He promoted Chinese and Western cultural exchange, and he was especially noted for facilitating dialogue between Confucianism and Catholicism. His writings had an important impact in both China and Europe. [...] Read more.
Michele Ruggieri (1543–1607) was the first Westerner officially approved to reside in China. He promoted Chinese and Western cultural exchange, and he was especially noted for facilitating dialogue between Confucianism and Catholicism. His writings had an important impact in both China and Europe. During his sojourn preaching in China, Ruggieri not only wrote the Tianzhu shilu—the first catechism written in Chinese—but he was also the first Westerner to translate the Four Books into Western language and introduce them to Europe. Based on Ruggieri’s two translations of the Four Books—one translation into Spanish, and one into Latin—this article analyzes Ruggieri’s views of Confucius. In his translations, Ruggieri identified Confucius as a philosopher and a shengren, or saint, and he highlighted the status of Confucius in the Four Books. After analyzing Ruggieri’s treatments of Confucian concepts, this article discusses how Ruggieri’s translations imply that Confucianism had both rational and religious dimensions. After Ruggieri, other Jesuits who came to China gradually turned to emphasizing the rational aspects of Confucianism. Full article
10 pages, 227 KiB  
Article
Maimon’s Enlightened Skepticism and the Problem of Natural Sciences
by Maria Caterina Marinelli
Religions 2024, 15(7), 837; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070837 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 182
Abstract
Despite being a prominent and influential figure in the German and Jewish Enlightenment, Salomon Maimon’s skeptical standpoint seems to veer towards radical and unsustainable assertions, denying the validity of any knowledge—including natural science—except for mathematics. This paper seeks to demonstrate that Maimon’s skepticism [...] Read more.
Despite being a prominent and influential figure in the German and Jewish Enlightenment, Salomon Maimon’s skeptical standpoint seems to veer towards radical and unsustainable assertions, denying the validity of any knowledge—including natural science—except for mathematics. This paper seeks to demonstrate that Maimon’s skepticism concerning non-mathematical knowledge does not propose an incoherent skepticism nor contradict the enlightened perspective of developing natural sciences. To achieve this, I aim to show that (1) Maimon’s radical claim originates from the radical nature of the question he answers, and (2) the key to understanding it lies in grasping the concept of synthesis in his philosophy, from which different meanings of knowledge follow. Full article
17 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
Old Wine in a New Bottle: Navigating Religion and Politics in Turkiye
by Laçin İdil Öztığ and Umut Can Adısönmez
Religions 2024, 15(7), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070836 - 11 Jul 2024
Viewed by 563
Abstract
While there is a large body of literature on different models of secularism and religion and politics, relatively scarce attention has been devoted to the experimentation of the moderate secularism model in authoritarian and Muslim-majority countries. This article brings a novel insight into [...] Read more.
While there is a large body of literature on different models of secularism and religion and politics, relatively scarce attention has been devoted to the experimentation of the moderate secularism model in authoritarian and Muslim-majority countries. This article brings a novel insight into the literature by unpacking the complex relationship between secularism, politics, and religion in Turkiye. The Turkish Republic was founded on the norm of authoritarian secularism that promulgates the exclusion of religion both from the political and public spheres. After the Justice and Development Party (JDP) came to power, Turkiye appeared to be moving toward moderate secularism through policies, such as the liberalization of the headscarf and the expansion of non-Muslim rights. By examining the transformed role of the Diyanet (the Presidency of Religious Affairs), Imam Hatip schools, and the conversion of church-turned-museums into mosques, this article illustrates that rather than moving in the direction of moderate secularism, the JDP has rather instrumentalized it and has eventually worked toward infusing Islamic norms into the Turkish state through bureaucratic and political initiatives. By examining and contextualizing the trajectory of secularism in Turkiye, this study contributes to the literature on religion, authoritarianism, and secularism in general, and ongoing debates on Turkish politics in particular. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Nationalism in Global Perspective)
18 pages, 819 KiB  
Systematic Review
Religion- and Spirituality-Based Effects on Health-Related Components with Special Reference to Physical Activity: A Systematic Review
by Joanna Kruk and Basil Hassan Aboul-Enein
Religions 2024, 15(7), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070835 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 246
Abstract
The positive effects of religion and/or spirituality through faith-based interventions on health and promoting health programs have been well documented over the last two decades. Research indicates that faith-related programs can motivate increased physical activity, among other behaviors. This review summarizes the literature [...] Read more.
The positive effects of religion and/or spirituality through faith-based interventions on health and promoting health programs have been well documented over the last two decades. Research indicates that faith-related programs can motivate increased physical activity, among other behaviors. This review summarizes the literature on how religion and spirituality beliefs and practices support physical, mental, and psychosocial health, focusing primarily on physical activity. A literature search was conducted using databases (Medline/PubMed, Science Direct) and Google Scholar, with search terms like “religion”, “spirituality”, “physical activity”, “physical exercise”, and “health” to identify relevant studies from 2017 to 2023. Thirteen studies were selected, including seven cross-sectional designs, four randomized controlled trials, and two cohort studies. Eleven of these studies reported positive effects of religious faith, religiosity, and spirituality interventions on increasing physical activity or reducing sedentary behavior. These findings confirm that greater religious commitment is positively associated with better health outcomes, including increased physical activity. This research suggests that further studies are needed to identify specific religiosity/spirituality variables in the context of physical activity association and to clarify the underlying mechanisms. Such insights may inform the development of intervention programs aimed at promoting physical activity and strengthening health associations. Full article
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22 pages, 7529 KiB  
Article
The Diverse Health Preservation Literature and Ideas in the Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu
by Lu Li and Yongfeng Huang
Religions 2024, 15(7), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070834 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 207
Abstract
The Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu 三元參贊延壽書, compiled by Li Pengfei during the Yuan dynasty, is a comprehensive collection of the essence of earlier health preservation literature. Recently, the Jianwen first-year (1399) re-engraved edition by Liu Yuanran 劉淵然 (1351–1432) has emerged, which is currently [...] Read more.
The Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu 三元參贊延壽書, compiled by Li Pengfei during the Yuan dynasty, is a comprehensive collection of the essence of earlier health preservation literature. Recently, the Jianwen first-year (1399) re-engraved edition by Liu Yuanran 劉淵然 (1351–1432) has emerged, which is currently housed in the Imperial Household Agency Library in Japan. It has challenged the prevailing consensus in China that the edition (1445) in the Daozang 道藏 is the earliest version. This discovery not only enriches our understanding of the text’s historical dissemination but also highlights the international appreciation and preservation of Chinese traditional medical and health knowledge. Upon meticulous examination, the various editions of this text can be systematically classified into two distinct lineages: Yanshou Canzan 延壽參贊 and Canzan Yanshou 參贊延壽. The latter lineage is notably more comprehensive, with the Wanli 萬曆 edition serving as a prime exemplar of this expanded scope. Li Pengfei primarily drew upon the Yangsheng Leizuan 養生類纂 as the foundational text for his work, skillfully integrating a wealth of Daoism and medical scriptures. He adeptly restructured the content by employing the conceptual framework of three primes (sanyuan 三元), incorporating the health preservation philosophies of Confucianism and Buddhism, thereby transforming it into a more systematic and diverse Daoism scripture dedicated to health preservation. The book eloquently advocates for health-preserving philosophies centered around the principle of not diminishing (busun 不損) primordial pneuma (yuanqi 元氣), extending life through three primes, and prolonging life through the virtue of yin (yinde 陰德). These ideas emphasize a human-centered approach, focusing on preserving the primordial pneuma as the foundation and employing both loss prevention and supplementation as dual pathways. It aims to achieve a state of health preservation where there is unity of man with heaven (tianren heyi 天人合一) and a harmonious balance of yin and yang energies (yinyang qihe 陰陽氣和). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Diversity and Harmony of Taoism: Ideas, Behaviors and Influences)
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19 pages, 1670 KiB  
Article
Towards Enlightenment: Taixu’s Interpretation of Buddhist Psychology
by Wenli Fan
Religions 2024, 15(7), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070833 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 236
Abstract
Chinese intellectuals started to engage in Buddhist psychology in the early 20th century, a time when Western culture was greatly influencing the country. Taixu criticized Western psychology and proposed his Buddhist psychology. He proposed a tripartite psychology based on Buddhist doctrine: psychology on [...] Read more.
Chinese intellectuals started to engage in Buddhist psychology in the early 20th century, a time when Western culture was greatly influencing the country. Taixu criticized Western psychology and proposed his Buddhist psychology. He proposed a tripartite psychology based on Buddhist doctrine: psychology on affection (qing 情); psychology on reflection (xiang 想); and psychology on wisdom (zhi 智). Perceiving Western psychology as lacking in both theoretical depth and breadth, he specifically criticized behaviorism. He integrated the interpretation of “sense faculties” (indriya) from the Śūraṅgama Sūtra, thereby reconstructing an Ideal Behavioral Science, a philosophical system that centers on behavior and encompasses all aspects of life. This paper argues that Taixu’s critique of Western psychology and his construction of Buddhist psychology responded to the ideological trends of his era. In Taixu’s conceptual system, Buddhist psychology was part of his theory on “Buddhism for human life” (rensheng fojiao 人生佛教), serving not only to explain the psychological state of human but also to guide cultivation and lead people to enlightenment, bearing practical significance. Taixu’s study of worldly knowledge, including psychology, attempts to comprehensively construct a modern Buddhist system that integrates Buddhist Dharma and secular learning. Full article
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17 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Many Tongues, Many Economic Practices: Socio-Economic Opportunities and Challenges for African Pentecostal Christianity
by Amos Yong and Johannes Knoetze
Religions 2024, 15(7), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070832 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 276
Abstract
This article focuses on Pentecostalism and its real and possible contributions to socio-economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. First, we provide an overall historical and theological introduction to Pentecostalism in sub-Saharan Africa, especially as these relate to socio-economic wellbeing. The heart of our research [...] Read more.
This article focuses on Pentecostalism and its real and possible contributions to socio-economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. First, we provide an overall historical and theological introduction to Pentecostalism in sub-Saharan Africa, especially as these relate to socio-economic wellbeing. The heart of our research is a review of the literature on African Pentecostalism focused on economic development. We conclude with an exploration of the challenges and opportunities the movement faces in contributing to development across the continent. The question we seek to pursue is as follows: what theological and missiological resources might pentecostal–charismatic communities contribute to improve the socio-economic circumstances of the people of sub-Saharan Africa? Full article
18 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
The Fathers of the Church, the Reformation, and the Failed Attempts at Union between the Tübingen Theologians and the Patriarchate of Constantinople: A Broad Perspective
by Mario Baghos
Religions 2024, 15(7), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070831 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 636
Abstract
The sixteenth century witnessed dramatic upheavals in Eastern and Western Europe in both the ecclesiastical and political domains. In the previous century, Constantinople had fallen to the Ottoman Turks, meaning that its Eastern Orthodox inhabitants were severed both politically and religiously from their [...] Read more.
The sixteenth century witnessed dramatic upheavals in Eastern and Western Europe in both the ecclesiastical and political domains. In the previous century, Constantinople had fallen to the Ottoman Turks, meaning that its Eastern Orthodox inhabitants were severed both politically and religiously from their Western Christian neighbors, who were ruled over by sovereigns that derived their spiritual authority from the Papacy. Meanwhile, the Reformation endangered the unity of the political and religious spheres of the Catholic West. As it soon became clear that the mainstream Reformers were neither united nor consistent in their ecclesiological views, one thing remained a constant: a recourse to the Fathers of the Church for the confirmation of Reformed tenets such as sola scriptura and sola fide. The use of Patristic proof texts played an important role in the attempt of the Lutherans to unite with the Orthodox, the former reading the writings of the Fathers in a very different way to the latter. This article analyzes why this attempt at union failed, with specific focus on the correspondence between the Tübingen theologians and the Patriarch of Constantinople, Jeremiah II Tranos, in their respective reading of the Augsburg Confession which represents the main Lutheran articles of faith. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Patristics: Essays from Australia)
17 pages, 334 KiB  
Article
Ratio aut auctores? Reason, Authority and the Anagogic Ascent in the Twelfth Century
by Jack Cunningham
Religions 2024, 15(7), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070830 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 300
Abstract
In the twelfth century, certain thinkers in the north of Europe were exalting human reason in a manner that had not been seen since the time of the ancient philosophers. Adelard of Bath, William of Conches, Thierry of Chartres and Peter Abelard all [...] Read more.
In the twelfth century, certain thinkers in the north of Europe were exalting human reason in a manner that had not been seen since the time of the ancient philosophers. Adelard of Bath, William of Conches, Thierry of Chartres and Peter Abelard all championed ratio in a way that seemed to challenge the hegemony of learning that rested securely with the authority of scripture, the testament of the Fathers and the canons of the established councils. In so doing, it represented a significantly different approach from the firmly established ‘authors’ (auctores) as certain scholars pursued their learning, and indeed even divine ascent, via other avenues. Even the visionary Hildegard von Bingen set enormous stock in rationality. This paper will discuss the use of reason for the anagogic ascent to the divine in order to trace its roots to a Platonic understanding of the universe in tandem with a highly positive anthropology that allowed for a bold reassessment of human capabilities, as well as a new appreciation of nature. Full article
15 pages, 386 KiB  
Article
All as σκύβαλα beside the μέγιστον τῶν ἀγαθῶν: Philippians 3:7–11 in Dialogue with Epictetus
by Laurie A. Wilson
Religions 2024, 15(7), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070829 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 279
Abstract
In Philippians 3:8, Paul holds all things to be loss (ζημία) and even dung (σκύβαλον) in comparison with Christ. Similarly, beside a precise conception of the good (ἀγαθὸν), Epictetus considers earthly achievements and physical benefits as “indifferents” (ἀδιάφορα), which he defines as things [...] Read more.
In Philippians 3:8, Paul holds all things to be loss (ζημία) and even dung (σκύβαλον) in comparison with Christ. Similarly, beside a precise conception of the good (ἀγαθὸν), Epictetus considers earthly achievements and physical benefits as “indifferents” (ἀδιάφορα), which he defines as things that are neither good nor evil. This paper employs a comparative analysis of Paul and Epictetus to examine the tension inherent in both authors as they seek to explain the sufferings and enjoyments of human existence in light of humankind’s ultimate end. Despite Paul’s strong language, he still recognizes the value of temporal goods, including release from prison, recovery from illness, and financial assistance. Thus, a person can value these benefits when they are joined to the greatest good, as illustrated by Augustine’s conception of ordered loves. Like Paul, Epictetus affirms the lesser value of indifferents, particularly when they enable participation in the good. This paper argues that both Paul and Epictetus acknowledge a secondary value in things that are joined to the supreme good, but that Paul differs from Epictetus in classifying them as goods that can be rightly desired and in acknowledging temporary sufferings to be an evil even as they can bring about good. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in Pauline Research: Philippians)
21 pages, 297 KiB  
Article
Communication with the Deceased in Dreams: Overcoming the Boundary between This World and the Otherworld or Its Conceptualization Strategy?
by Smiljana Đorđević Belić
Religions 2024, 15(7), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070828 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 406
Abstract
Starting from the concept of death in contemporary Serbian culture (in the context of thanatological and anthropological studies), the author focuses on the analysis of communication with the deceased in dreams, which is still perceived as an important form of contact with the [...] Read more.
Starting from the concept of death in contemporary Serbian culture (in the context of thanatological and anthropological studies), the author focuses on the analysis of communication with the deceased in dreams, which is still perceived as an important form of contact with the otherworldly. The analysis of material collected during field research at various locations in Serbia and in Serbian communities in Romania (from 2017 to 2024), supplemented by dream narratives from the internet, has shown that based on the main messages conveyed by the deceased to the living, dreams can be divided into: (1) dreams about “the unappeased deceased” (who lack something in the otherworld, usually due to an omission by the living related to funerary rituals); (2) dreams in which the deceased show the otherworld and provide verbal assessments of it; (3) dreams in which the deceased inform of their departure or final passing into the world of the dead; (4) dreams in which the deceased demonstrate their presence in the world of the living, i.e., providing information pertaining to the sphere of the dreamer’s social reality; (5) dreams in which the deceased convey their messages, advice or warnings to the living; and (6) dreams interpreted as the deceased person’s call to the dreamer to join them in the otherworld. Basic element analysis of the spatial world image, projected via the dream, highlights the importance of the locus perceived as a border space. Dreams about the deceased seem to be ambivalent in this respect, given that, on the one hand, they are perceived as an important means of communication between this world and the otherworld, and on the other hand, through the ideas on which they are founded and that they further transmit, they are also part of the narrative strategies of the boundary between this concept of two worlds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Communication with the Dead)
11 pages, 295 KiB  
Article
Spiritual Disciplines in Philosophical Counseling Clinical Education with the Self-Dialogue Seminar
by Yujin Kim
Religions 2024, 15(7), 827; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070827 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 290
Abstract
In order to contribute to the discussion of pathological problems that occur in today’s “phase transition phenomenon of relationship,” this article focuses on “self-deception”—an example of a distorted relationship with oneself. It explores ways to overcome such issues through philosophical counseling. The specific [...] Read more.
In order to contribute to the discussion of pathological problems that occur in today’s “phase transition phenomenon of relationship,” this article focuses on “self-deception”—an example of a distorted relationship with oneself. It explores ways to overcome such issues through philosophical counseling. The specific measure is the Self-Dialogue seminar, a part of the Philosophical Counseling Clinical Education (PCCE) program. The second Section, therefore, begins with the question “How do we deal with the phenomenon of self-deception (on the part of the counselor or client) that we might actually encounter in philosophical counseling?” and discusses where and how philosophical counseling can intervene in the entire process of self-deception. In preparation for the possibility of encountering different levels of self-deception, the third section examines the contexts of three types of self-deceptions. The fourth section explores the possibility that a client or philosophical counselor can discover and change their own points of deception through the Records of Self-Dialogue seminar. Finally, the article argues that philosophical dialogue, if attained within a community predicated on individual equality and mutuality, can be a valid prescription for self-deception in the modern world. Full article
12 pages, 199 KiB  
Article
Observations about Holistic Care from the Experience of a Medical Student Shadowing a Chaplain
by Anna Krauss and Robert T. Carter, Jr.
Religions 2024, 15(7), 826; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070826 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 503
Abstract
The project was initiated when a medical student expressed interest in shadowing a chaplain during their third-year clinical rotations. The Hospital Library Service supported this inquiry by providing readings about intentional programs and a medical practitioner spiritual screening for both the chaplain and [...] Read more.
The project was initiated when a medical student expressed interest in shadowing a chaplain during their third-year clinical rotations. The Hospital Library Service supported this inquiry by providing readings about intentional programs and a medical practitioner spiritual screening for both the chaplain and student to review. By coordinating with the student’s medical supervision, different times were found throughout the day such that a variety of pastoral care instances could be observed. As part of the welcome extended to each patient, the chaplain introduced the medical student and obtained consent for them to be present during the care conversations that followed. These visits occurred over two months in the spring of 2024. This experience provided an opportunity for both the chaplain and student to reflect on the process of acknowledging, confirming, affirming, and encouraging patients and their families. Additionally, through these visits and subsequent conversations, a holistic health and wellness model was used to emphasize compassionate and spiritual patient care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Religion and Spirituality in Times of Crisis)
16 pages, 998 KiB  
Article
Words and Attitudes of the Heart: The Emotional Content of Christian Nationalist Communications
by Brooklyn Walker
Religions 2024, 15(7), 825; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070825 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 299
Abstract
Christian nationalism has emerged as an important component of the relationship between religious identities and political attitudes. While several studies have analyzed the constellation of Christian nationalist elites and the effects of Christian nationalist orientations on public opinion, to date no study has [...] Read more.
Christian nationalism has emerged as an important component of the relationship between religious identities and political attitudes. While several studies have analyzed the constellation of Christian nationalist elites and the effects of Christian nationalist orientations on public opinion, to date no study has explored how Christian nationalist elites message to the public or what effects these messages have. Moreover, the current literature lacks comparisons of Christian nationalism to other similar orientations. This study uses content analysis to compare the content and use of emotion language of Facebook messages of Christian nationalist, Christian Christian nationalism (CN) opposition, and patriotic groups. I find that these groups focus posts on issues that are stereotypical to the group identity, and that the use of emotion language differs by topic and group type. Additionally, groups’ use of emotion language shifts the emotional responses of readers, especially in Christian nationalist groups. This study adds to our understanding of the role of emotion in social media communications and the effects of social media communications on readers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
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10 pages, 253 KiB  
Article
Religious/Spiritual Abuse, Meaning-Making, and Posttraumatic Growth
by Sarah Perry
Religions 2024, 15(7), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070824 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 627
Abstract
While religion and spirituality (R/S) have been broadly studied for their positive mental health impacts, instances of abuse within religious or spiritual contexts remain under-researched. This scoping review aims to elucidate how individuals experiencing such abuse navigate their trauma, find meaning, and foster [...] Read more.
While religion and spirituality (R/S) have been broadly studied for their positive mental health impacts, instances of abuse within religious or spiritual contexts remain under-researched. This scoping review aims to elucidate how individuals experiencing such abuse navigate their trauma, find meaning, and foster posttraumatic growth (PTG). The research was conducted using a scoping review methodology as a guide, and 10 articles were selected based on predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Synthesizing these articles revealed the following three central themes: recognizing abuse, relaying one’s story, and redefining spirituality. Survivors often face disbelief and stigma, hindering their ability to process their experiences. However, narrative sharing enables many to reclaim agency and healing through validation and the integration of the narrative into one’s life story. Additionally, survivors often transform spirituality, shifting from rigid frameworks to more nuanced and flexible understandings of the Divine and self. These findings underscore the importance of trauma-informed, spiritually sensitive clinical approaches that validate survivors’ experiences, facilitate narrative sharing, and support spiritual redefining. Future research must address knowledge gaps, including the development of improved assessment tools, exploration of effective treatment strategies, and the unifying of terms to better support survivors’ healing journeys and promote meaning-making and PTG in the aftermath of R/S abuse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality, Resilience and Posttraumatic Growth)
15 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Beyond Conversational Dialogue: Constructing a Catholic Dialogical Ethical Model for Multi-Religious Nigeria
by Ilesanmi G. Ajibola
Religions 2024, 15(7), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070823 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 291
Abstract
This article argues that the Catholic Church in Nigeria needs to move beyond interreligious dialogue that dwells more on Councils’ interactions and discourses to develop a dialogical ethical framework that engages religious multiplicity in a more active capacity. Although Nigeria’s religious diversity necessitates [...] Read more.
This article argues that the Catholic Church in Nigeria needs to move beyond interreligious dialogue that dwells more on Councils’ interactions and discourses to develop a dialogical ethical framework that engages religious multiplicity in a more active capacity. Although Nigeria’s religious diversity necessitates interreligious dialogue, that alone is insufficient for constructing concrete ethics of dialogue. The article thus argued for an ethical framework tagged one family, many flavours. The theological sense of the proposal is rooted in Catholic social teachings but open to engagement with other religious traditions for mutual respect and social justice. The religious scope of the article is on Roman Catholicism and the Nigeria Muslim Ummah. The article addressed related ethical challenges confronting Nigeria’s interreligious landscape as a diverse religious community. Primary and secondary sources were used in gathering information for the article; thus, scriptural texts and traditions in Islam, as well as sources in Roman Catholicism, were theologically engaged. The suggested model acknowledges the importance of retaining one’s religious identity while also recognising the importance of interreligious dialogue and the right of the religious other in ethical matters. The article is envisioned to promote conversations about translating dialogical frameworks into practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reimagining Catholic Ethics Today)
14 pages, 203 KiB  
Article
On Becoming Human and Being Humane: Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Species Rights
by Debra Bergoffen
Religions 2024, 15(7), 822; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070822 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 258
Abstract
This essay focuses on the nexus of vulnerability and rights. It argues that in transforming vulnerability from a stigma that alienated women from their humanity to the signature of human dignity, women bridged the gap between the liberatory promise of human rights and [...] Read more.
This essay focuses on the nexus of vulnerability and rights. It argues that in transforming vulnerability from a stigma that alienated women from their humanity to the signature of human dignity, women bridged the gap between the liberatory promise of human rights and its exploitative patriarchal politics. It finds that the ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft, Simone de Beauvoir, Drucilla Cornell, and Jean-Luc Nancy were/are crucial to this transformed idea of dignity. Religious ideas have played a complex role in this transformation. Wollstonecraft appealed to theological ideas of the soul to contest men’s claims that the Bible enshrined women’s subordination to men. Current abortion politics in the U.S., and the Iranian women’s Women, Life, Freedom rebellion continue to show how sacred texts have been used to defend and reject women’s demands for rights. Religious and secular arguments for the dignity of vulnerability, used by feminists to re-write the sexual difference, direct us to rethink our exploitative relationship to the earth and the multiple species it harbors. As we take up the task of confronting the environmental crisis of our times, they call on us to see ourselves as stewards of the earth’s bounty who are morally obliged to create humane relationships with our other-than-human neighbors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vulnerability in Theology, the Humanities and Social Sciences)
16 pages, 446 KiB  
Article
“Six Linglong Windows, Eyes Hearing and Ears Seeing”: The Influence of the True Mind of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra on the Imageries of Guanyin and Sages in Song Literature
by Tianzhu Zhu
Religions 2024, 15(7), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070821 - 8 Jul 2024
Viewed by 328
Abstract
The “Functional interchangeability of Six Roots” also known as the “Six Roots being unrestraint” is according to thoughts regarding Tathagatagarbha in the Śūraṅgama Sūtra, rather than mysterious personal experience of Buddhist meditation. The true mind and the delusive mind are distinguished in [...] Read more.
The “Functional interchangeability of Six Roots” also known as the “Six Roots being unrestraint” is according to thoughts regarding Tathagatagarbha in the Śūraṅgama Sūtra, rather than mysterious personal experience of Buddhist meditation. The true mind and the delusive mind are distinguished in the Śūraṅgama Sūtra. The true mind recognizes the world through six roots so that the six roots can be functionally exchangeable. Scholars represented by SuShi, Huang Tingjian, and Hui Hong not only identify thoughts of the True mind of Buddhism but also apply them to literary creation, overthrowing previous aesthetics and literary performances and giving rise to changes. First, seeing with the ears and listening with the eyes originate from descriptions of Guanyin Bodhisattva’s enlightenment from hearing, whereby poets break through the limit of the eyes and ears. Second, burning incense, tasting tea, and admiring food become poetry themes. The emphases of those poems and essays are fantastic functions of the true mind. These changes are closely related to the new images of sages in their mind. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
15 pages, 265 KiB  
Article
Pratiloma Paranoia: Class Hierarchy, Conservatism, and Ethics in Classical Hindu Law
by Donald R. Davis
Religions 2024, 15(7), 820; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070820 - 7 Jul 2024
Viewed by 579
Abstract
The Hindu law tradition grounds its social ethics on an ideological hierarchy of class or caste known as varṇa. The positive inculcation of this hierarchy is bolstered by a fear of social inversion, known as pratiloma, in every area of law [...] Read more.
The Hindu law tradition grounds its social ethics on an ideological hierarchy of class or caste known as varṇa. The positive inculcation of this hierarchy is bolstered by a fear of social inversion, known as pratiloma, in every area of law and society. Through an examination of the concept of pratiloma, this article contends first that the central Hindu law principle of dharma, religious and legal duty, depends upon knowing and abiding by one’s place in society. From this Hindu articulation of social rank as the foundation of ethics, the article then draws a comparison between classical Anglo-American conservatism and Hindu law to suggest that conservative traditions in general base moral action on social station and the fear of breaking social rank. Ethics in Hindu law, therefore, are derived from an acceptance of social station within the varṇa hierarchy and the constant cultivation of local expectations of proper behavior according to social position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Ethics and Law: A Comparative Perspective)
33 pages, 749 KiB  
Article
On the Actuality of Integrative Intellect-Mystical Asceticism as Self-Realization in View of Nicolaus de Cusa, Ibn Sīnā, and Others
by David Bartosch
Religions 2024, 15(7), 819; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070819 - 6 Jul 2024
Viewed by 627
Abstract
I argue for a transformative revival or actualization of the very core of an integrative, methodologically secured form of intellect-mystical asceticism. This approach draws on traditional sources that are re-examined from a systematic—synthetic and transcultural—philosophical perspective and in light of the multi-civilizational global [...] Read more.
I argue for a transformative revival or actualization of the very core of an integrative, methodologically secured form of intellect-mystical asceticism. This approach draws on traditional sources that are re-examined from a systematic—synthetic and transcultural—philosophical perspective and in light of the multi-civilizational global environment of the 21st century. The main traditional points of reference in this paper are provided by Nicolaus de Cusa and Ibn Sīnā, and I refer to a few others, such as Attar of Nishapur, in passing. In the beginning, I develop a basic concept of intellect-mystical asceticism. It is distinguished from mystification, science, scientism, and modes of everyday communication and cognition. After that, I make the case for an updated, transcultural approach to intellect-mysticism that can foster the internal (social) and external (environmental) reintegration of the human noosphere and technosphere in future planetary development. In this context, a modern intellect-mystical philosophical notion of “knowing non-knowing” (wissendes Nichtwissen, docta ignorantia) is developed. It is inspired by Nicolaus de Cusa and contextualized from a systematic transcultural angle at the same time. Finally, I discuss the problem of the practical, or rather, ascetic realization of the related possibilities of intellect-mystical self-enfolding. Here, the preceding steps of the reflection are mapped onto an outline regarding distinct developmental stages of such a transformative intellect-mystical practice in Ibn Sīnā’s Remarks and Admonitions (al-Ishārāt wat-Tanbīhāt). Full article
14 pages, 10333 KiB  
Article
From Aniruddha to Upāli—Examining the Compilation of the Sutra of the Buddha’s Mother and the Formation of Chinese Buddhist Scriptures
by Xi Li
Religions 2024, 15(7), 818; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070818 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 271
Abstract
The Sutra of the Buddha’s Mother (Fomu jing 佛母經), a Chinese Buddhist scripture, is closely linked to the Mahāmāyā Sutra (Mohe Moye jing 摩訶摩耶經). However, there is a significant difference between the two sutras regarding the narrative story of the Buddha’s [...] Read more.
The Sutra of the Buddha’s Mother (Fomu jing 佛母經), a Chinese Buddhist scripture, is closely linked to the Mahāmāyā Sutra (Mohe Moye jing 摩訶摩耶經). However, there is a significant difference between the two sutras regarding the narrative story of the Buddha’s nirvana and meeting with his mother, namely the difference in the disciple who travels to Trāyastriṃśa Heaven to inform the Buddha’s mother. The substitution of Aniruddha with Upāli could be attributed to Upāli’s inclusion in Tang dynasty commentaries on “Ānanda Asking the Buddha Four Questions,” where he is depicted as a prominent disciple in the gathering prior to the Buddha’s nirvana. This narrative preference was also reflected in the Mohe Moye jing. To a certain extent, this confusion reflects the process of ‘between translation and composition,’ or the compiling and mixing of various texts from different sutras and sources to create a new scripture in the Chinese context. In the nirvana images, which contain the inscriptions, the presence of Upāli becomes an important symbol for identifying the classical texts on which the frescoes were painted. Full article
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17 pages, 19142 KiB  
Article
Animal Matter in Indigenous Place-Thought: A Case from the Moon Pyramid, Teotihuacan
by Nawa Sugiyama
Religions 2024, 15(7), 817; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070817 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 223
Abstract
This article interrogates an archaeological application of the Indigenous concept of place-thought, defined by Vanessa Watts as an “understanding of the world via a physical embodiment” through studying corporeal animal forms. This latter encompasses the osteological traces of animal matter (sacrificed animals and [...] Read more.
This article interrogates an archaeological application of the Indigenous concept of place-thought, defined by Vanessa Watts as an “understanding of the world via a physical embodiment” through studying corporeal animal forms. This latter encompasses the osteological traces of animal matter (sacrificed animals and prepared body parts) that, because of their material vitalities, provide an opportune site of engagement to retrieve ancient interpersonal relationships. Over 100 corporeal animal forms from Burials 2 and 6 are interpreted as agentive persons who brought into being the Moon Pyramid as an altepetl (water mountain) of Teotihuacan. The altepetl is a seminal place-thought in Mesoamerica intimately tied with sovereignty. The author argues that potentate apex predators (eagles, wolves, jaguars, pumas, and rattlesnakes) became part of Teotihuaccan’s community through their captive management and were buried alive to sustain the altepetl as master guardians. A zooarchaeological and isotopic investigation of corporeal animal forms provided lurid details of human–predator interactions, including differential access to the animals, esoteric knowledge about their personhood, and even deceit of that information. She concludes that providing a contextually and historically contingent, data-driven, and inter-personally centered reconstruction of ancient place-thought, though admittedly partial and from a specific perspective, should be attainable given the enhanced methods in archaeology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Archaeology of Religion, Ideas and Aspirations)
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16 pages, 453 KiB  
Article
The Intersection of Resonant Listening and Preaching That Resonates Daily, Alluding to Listeners’ Memories and Their Meaning-Making Efforts
by Ferdi Petrus Kruger
Religions 2024, 15(7), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070816 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 261
Abstract
This article explores resonant listening as an integral aspect of preaching, transcending physical church spaces. It underscores the active engagement of listeners in participatory listening to grasp the essence of a sermon. Resonant listening, characterised by an attentive disposition intertwined with individuals’ recollections [...] Read more.
This article explores resonant listening as an integral aspect of preaching, transcending physical church spaces. It underscores the active engagement of listeners in participatory listening to grasp the essence of a sermon. Resonant listening, characterised by an attentive disposition intertwined with individuals’ recollections of God’s redemptive acts and everyday experiences, is crucial for sense-making in life. The research question guiding this exploration is: “How can an elucidation of resonant listening connected to listeners’ remembrances and their endeavour to make sense of life enable them to find meaning?” Drawing on Osmer’s research methodology, the article begins with the descriptive empirical phase, investigating the dynamics of resonant listening among listeners. It then delves into insights from communication sciences and social psychology, elucidating the significance of resonant listening and memory in decision-making processes. Moreover, it offers normative perspectives through an examination of John 4, analysing cognitive triggers, memories, and the outcomes of resonant listening in Jesus’s interaction with the Samaritan woman. Finally, the article concludes by intertwining hermeneutical reflections with homiletical perspectives, highlighting the indispensable role of resonant listening in effective preaching. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
14 pages, 250 KiB  
Article
Situated Religious Cognition in Jamesian Pragmatist Philosophy of Religion
by Sami Pihlström
Religions 2024, 15(7), 815; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070815 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 238
Abstract
Pragmatist philosophy of religion has, since the early days of the tradition, developed distinctive accounts of (what we now call) “situated” religious cognition highly relevant to currently ongoing discussions in this developing field. This paper focuses on William James’s pragmatism as an important [...] Read more.
Pragmatist philosophy of religion has, since the early days of the tradition, developed distinctive accounts of (what we now call) “situated” religious cognition highly relevant to currently ongoing discussions in this developing field. This paper focuses on William James’s pragmatism as an important example of such an approach in the philosophy of religion. Some central “situational” themes in James are identified, and special attention is given to the relation between the (situation-dependent) concepts of belief and hope in Jamesian pragmatism. The ontological status of the “objects” of situated religious cognition is thereby also briefly discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Situating Religious Cognition)
5 pages, 170 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction to the Soundscapes of Religion
by Kinga Povedák and Yvetta Kajanová
Religions 2024, 15(7), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070814 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 269
Abstract
When listening to religious music, what do you perceive more: aesthetics or spirituality [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscapes of Religion)
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