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Religions, Volume 6, Issue 3 (September 2015) , Pages 755-1136

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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Fear and Authority on Islamic and Baha’iModernisms in the Late Modern Age: A Liberal Perspective
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1125-1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031125 - 21 Sep 2015
Viewed by 1695
Abstract
Fear of the late modern world has been a major factor in the rise of authoritarianand violent religio-political movements. This article draws on Anthony Giddens andCharles Taylor’s conceptualisation of the self in the secular age, and applies this to twomodernist religious trends originating [...] Read more.
Fear of the late modern world has been a major factor in the rise of authoritarianand violent religio-political movements. This article draws on Anthony Giddens andCharles Taylor’s conceptualisation of the self in the secular age, and applies this to twomodernist religious trends originating in the East in the later nineteenth century in thecontext of western global expansion. Endeavouring to rise to the challenge ofaccommodating Islam to modernity by adopting the tools of rationality and encouragingindependent inquiry, Islamic Modernism has become increasingly embattled. The Baha’ifaith, a movement that incorporates similar perspectives and also developed out of anIslamic context, proposes a theophanic transformation rather than renewal through reformof Islam. After a period of infusion of a progressive catalytic impulse into the Middle East,the Baha’i faith performed its own recalibration of modernism, enunciating apocalypticdenunciation of the modern world similar to that found in Muslim revivalist trends. Thearticle ends by making some suggestions for continuation of a progressive religiousapproach in late modernity. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Beliefs in Miraculous Healings, Religiosity and Meaning in Life
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1113-1124; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031113 - 17 Sep 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2275
Abstract
Throughout centuries, many interpretations of miraculous healings have been offered by philosophers, theologians, physicians and psychologists. Different approaches to miracles originate from the differences in understanding of causative factors, concepts of nature and the relationship between God and nature. Despite many skeptical arguments, [...] Read more.
Throughout centuries, many interpretations of miraculous healings have been offered by philosophers, theologians, physicians and psychologists. Different approaches to miracles originate from the differences in understanding of causative factors, concepts of nature and the relationship between God and nature. Despite many skeptical arguments, a vast majority of people (approximately 70%) in modern Western societies share a belief in miracles and millions of sick people pilgrimage to sanctuaries seeking their occurrence. The aim of the research was to describe the social perception of miraculous healings, and the relationship between beliefs in miraculous healings, religiosity and meaning in life. A survey was conducted on a group of 178 respondents aged 18 to 30 (M = 21.5; SD = 2.31), 90% Catholics. The obtained results show that it is possible to describe the perception of miraculous healings in category of the essence of the causative factors (natural/supranatural) and definiteness (defined/undefined). The majority (88%) of the respondents believed in miracles and most frequently associated them with God's action/intervention, less often with the still undiscovered possibilities of the human organism or the nature, and the least with medical biases. Respondents with stronger religiosity more often understood miraculous healings as an act of God than the activity of unspecified supernatural powers. Moreover, higher religiosity and understanding of miraculous healings as an effect of the supernatural specified determinant was connected with higher meaning in life. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Teaching Augustine—Introduction
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1107-1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031107 - 11 Sep 2015
Viewed by 1577
Abstract
This introduction to the Special Issue “Teaching Augustine” summarizes the volume’s essays and discusses the conference at which they were initially presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Qur’anic Interpretation and the Problem of Literalism: Ibn Rushd and the Enlightenment Project in the Islamic World
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1082-1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031082 - 11 Sep 2015
Viewed by 1695
Abstract
This article examines the claim that Ibn Rushd of Cordoba (“Averroës,” 12th century B.C.) is a precursor of the Enlightenment and a source of inspiration for the emancipation of contemporary Islamic societies. The paper critically discusses the fascination that Ibn Rushd has exercised [...] Read more.
This article examines the claim that Ibn Rushd of Cordoba (“Averroës,” 12th century B.C.) is a precursor of the Enlightenment and a source of inspiration for the emancipation of contemporary Islamic societies. The paper critically discusses the fascination that Ibn Rushd has exercised on several thinkers, from Ernest Renan to Salman Rushdie, and highlights the problem of literalism in Qur’anic interpretation. Based on Ibn Rushd’s Decisive Treatise (Fasl al-maqāl), the paper investigates Ibn Rushd’s proposed division of (Muslim) society into three distinct classes. The main question here is whether there is a substantial link between the people of the Muslim community, given the three distinct kinds of assent (tasdīq) introduced by Ibn Rushd. I argue that if such a link cannot be supplied, then it is hard to see in Ibn Rushd an enlightened social model for today’s Muslim societies. Furthermore, that the great majority of people are prevented from having any contact with non-literal interpretation of the Scripture and non-revealed ways of thinking. The latter position, though, does not seem to bring Ibn Rushd close to the Enlightenment. My analysis of religious language is inspired by Wittgenstein’s position that the meaning of a term cannot be detached from its use. I suggest that given the different lives of people belonging to Ibn Rushd’s different classes, the terms they use can mean quite different things. This argument in fact weakens Ibn Rushd’s association with the Enlightenment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Islam and Political Violence
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1067-1081; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031067 - 10 Sep 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6297
Abstract
The global threat of Al Qaeda post 9/11 and ISIL, increased Sunni-Shia conflicts, and violence in the Middle East and Pakistan dominate headlines and challenge governments in the region and globally. Both Muslim extremists and some Western experts and observers speak of a [...] Read more.
The global threat of Al Qaeda post 9/11 and ISIL, increased Sunni-Shia conflicts, and violence in the Middle East and Pakistan dominate headlines and challenge governments in the region and globally. Both Muslim extremists and some Western experts and observers speak of a clash of civilizations or a culture war in Muslim-West relations. Both the discourse and violence yet again raise questions about the relationship of Islam to violence and terrorism: is Islam a particularly violent religion? Critics cite Quranic passages, doctrines like jihad and events in Muslim history as strong indicators and proof that Islam is the primary driver of Muslim extremism and terrorism. What do the Quran and Islamic law have to say about violence, jihad and warfare? What are the primary drivers of terrorism in the name of Islam today? This article will address these questions in the context of development of global jihadist movements, in particular Al Qaeda and ISIL, their roots, causes, ideology and agenda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Violence) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Conceptual Pathways to Ethnic Transcendence in Diverse Churches: Theoretical Reflections on the Achievement of Successfully Integrated Congregations
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1048-1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031048 - 02 Sep 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2276
Abstract
The concept of ethnic transcendence—defined as the process of co-formulating a shared religious identity among diverse members that supersedes their racial and ethnic differences through congregational involvement—captures a critical aspect of successfully integrating different racial and ethnic groups into a single, commonly [...] Read more.
The concept of ethnic transcendence—defined as the process of co-formulating a shared religious identity among diverse members that supersedes their racial and ethnic differences through congregational involvement—captures a critical aspect of successfully integrating different racial and ethnic groups into a single, commonly shared, multi-ethnic congregation. Drawing on classic theoretical resources from Max Weber and Emile Durkheim, this paper expands on previous scholarship by conceptually articulating two different paths for the achievement of ethnic transcendence in multiracial congregations. In the first path, ethnic transcendence supports and encourages congregational diversification by inspiring members and mobilizing them to contribute their efforts to accomplish a common religious mission. In the second path, the achievement of ethnic transcendence involves the sublimation of congregational members’ religious selves to an overarching moral collective. Both paths involve privileging religious identities in favor of a particularistic ethnic or racial identity. Moreover, through both paths, the development of congregationally specific religious identities results in joining with co-members of different ethno-racial ancestries as a type of spiritually-derived kinship. Due to the fact that ethnic transcendence is an interactive process, congregational diversity is a bi-directional phenomenon representing the extent to which members allow for the integration of separate ethnicities/races into a common congregation through idealized and richly-symbolic notions of connection and belonging to a congregation. Overall, this paper suggests a heuristic framework that productively expands the concept of ethnic transcendence, allows an approach for observing cross-ethnic/inter-racial organizational processes, and ultimately contributes toward understanding how congregations (whether church, temple, or mosque) pursue alternative identity reconstruction projects to sustain cohesive collective identities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle
Comparative Framework for Understanding Jewish and Christian Violent Fundamentalism
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1033-1047; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031033 - 31 Aug 2015
Viewed by 2055
Abstract
Although most scholars agree that in the last couple of decades, religious fundamentalism has become the dominant ideological feature in the landscape of modern terrorism, many prefer to ignore the fact that this is not a development which is restricted to the Islamic [...] Read more.
Although most scholars agree that in the last couple of decades, religious fundamentalism has become the dominant ideological feature in the landscape of modern terrorism, many prefer to ignore the fact that this is not a development which is restricted to the Islamic world, and that other religious traditions have also experienced growth in groups which prefer to use violent strategies to promote their sacred visions. The current chapter strives to fill this gap by analyzing the emergence of violent religious groups in two distinct, non-Islamic, religious traditions. At first glance, the Christian Identity and the Religious-Zionist movements have very little in common. However, both movements served as a breeding ground for the emergence of violent fundamentalist groups aspiring to facilitate an apocalyptic/redemption scenario by engaging in illegal violent campaigns. Moreover, in both cases, the role of spiritual leaders was crucial in shaping the radicalization of the groups and their target selection, and the violence had a clear symbolic narrative. In other words, for the members of these violent groups, the violence served a clear role in the mobilization of potential supporters, and the branding and dissemination of the movement's ideology. Finally, while in general, terrorism is perceived as the weapon of the weak, in these two cases it was perpetrated by individuals/groups affiliated to communities belonging to the dominant religious framework in their respective polities (i.e., the Religious-Zionist and Christian Identity movements are perceived by their members as branches of Judaism and Christianity). Hence, by utilizing a comparative framework, the article will not just analyze the violent manifestations that emerged from these two movements, but also try to identify the unique factors that characterize and facilitate the emergence of religious groups within religious communities belonging to the dominant religious tradition in their societies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Violence) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Representation and Interpretation as the Basis of Participation in the Trinity
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1017-1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031017 - 27 Aug 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1745
Abstract
I suggest that God’s life is the Spirit’s eternal interpretation of the Word as the perfect sign (representation) of the Father. Creaturely interpretations imperfectly mirror the perfect coherence of being and representation that is God’s life. When we respond to the incarnate Word [...] Read more.
I suggest that God’s life is the Spirit’s eternal interpretation of the Word as the perfect sign (representation) of the Father. Creaturely interpretations imperfectly mirror the perfect coherence of being and representation that is God’s life. When we respond to the incarnate Word we are adopted into the place occupied by the Spirit within the Trinity. By responding to the Word with the fullness of our being we are incorporated into the divine dynamic of truthful representation and loving response. Ontologically, this approach invites a retrieval of the idea of “vestiges of the Trinity in creation”. Epistemologically, it affirms that the basis of God’s self-communication (revelation) is the coherence of Being and Representation within God’s-self. Ethically, it challenges us to respond to suffering and injustice as these are illuminated by the incarnate Word, and to act as mediators for the incorporation of the whole creation into God’s life. The sacrament of the Eucharist is a sign that actualizes what it signifies, where what it signifies is the gift of participation in the divine life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Belief into Action Scale: A Comprehensive and Sensitive Measure of Religious Involvement
Religions 2015, 6(3), 1006-1016; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6031006 - 25 Aug 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4022
Abstract
We describe here a new measure of religious commitment, the Belief into Action (BIAC) scale. This measure was designed to be a comprehensive and sensitive measure of religious involvement that could discriminate individuals across the religious spectrum, and avoid the problem of ceiling [...] Read more.
We describe here a new measure of religious commitment, the Belief into Action (BIAC) scale. This measure was designed to be a comprehensive and sensitive measure of religious involvement that could discriminate individuals across the religious spectrum, and avoid the problem of ceiling effects that have haunted the study of highly-religious populations. Many scales assess religious beliefs, where assent to belief is often widespread, subjective, and a superficial assessment of religious commitment. While people may say they believe, what does that mean in terms of action? This 10-item scale seeks to convert simple belief into action, where action is assessed in terms of what individuals say is most important in their lives, how they spend their time, and where they put their financial resources. We summarize here the psychometric characteristics of the BIAC in two very different populations: stressed female caregivers in Southern California and North Carolina, and college students attending three universities in Mainland China. We conclude that the BIAC is a sensitive, reliable, and valid measure of religious commitment in these two samples, and encourage research in other population groups using this scale to determine its psychometric properties more generally. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ethnography of Religious Instants: Multi-Sited Ethnography and the Idea of “Third Spaces”
Religions 2015, 6(3), 988-1005; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030988 - 25 Aug 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1872
Abstract
Attempts to understand contemporary religious practice, and its associated communities and identities, must take into consideration the way that these phenomena exist in both virtual and physical spaces, as well as the way that, in some instances, religion bridges or erases this dichotomy. [...] Read more.
Attempts to understand contemporary religious practice, and its associated communities and identities, must take into consideration the way that these phenomena exist in both virtual and physical spaces, as well as the way that, in some instances, religion bridges or erases this dichotomy. The approach here focuses on those forms of religious practice that do not fit easily into one or the other type of space. Starting with existing discussions of ethnographic methodologies for studying religious practice and the growing literature on how to study “digital religion”, we examine the methodological needs for studying “third spaces”, the hybrid, in-between spaces of religious practice. The model presented here is one of simultaneous and collaborative ethnography that extends shared methods across the virtual and the actual dimensions as the most productive approach to this type of research. Using tailored research methods and techniques within this approach offers the opportunity to consider ways in which behaviors, interactions, and speech acts that happen within this event are continuous or discontinuous with each other. It also offers insight into the dynamics of “shared experience” and how perspectives are or are not shared within these multiple dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Steps in Religion and Popular Media)
Open AccessArticle
“Weak Thought” and Christianity: Some Aspects of Vattimo’s Philosophy of Religion, Confrontation with Otakar Funda
Religions 2015, 6(3), 969-987; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030969 - 19 Aug 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2335
Abstract
The article expresses the philosophical thoughts of an Italian philosopher, G.Vattimo and his development of the philosophy of M. Heidegger and essential aspects of Vattimo’s philosophy of religion. In the first part, we clarify Vattimo’s interpretation of Heidegger’s destruction of traditional metaphysics, the [...] Read more.
The article expresses the philosophical thoughts of an Italian philosopher, G.Vattimo and his development of the philosophy of M. Heidegger and essential aspects of Vattimo’s philosophy of religion. In the first part, we clarify Vattimo’s interpretation of Heidegger’s destruction of traditional metaphysics, the occurrence of ontological difference and the historical process of the oblivion of Being. According to Vattimo, the oblivion of Being is Heidegger’s reaction to European nihilism. It brings with it his philosophical questions on metaphysics, the substance of technology and course of technical civilisation. For Vattimo, it was only secularisation which enables one to pose questions about God, sense, and meaning. In a postmodern world, the world of technology and science has an ontological meaning for human beings and awakens them to who they are. In the article, we also focus our attention on some problematic points in his philosophy of religion. The first problem is a conflict among differentiated interpretations. Vattimo claims that kenosis has neither anything in common with “indefinite negation of God”, nor does it apologise for any interpretation of the Holy Scripture. In addition, he refuses radical demythologisation. In his opinion, there are no necessary reasons to follow this step. There are some authors who have serious reasons for it and the interpretation of kenosis leads to atheism. We will confront Vattimo’s philosophy with the thinking of the current Czech atheistic philosopher Otakar Funda. The next problem is a reduction of soteriology on the process of human being’s emancipation. There is no place for metaphysical evil here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Contemplative Media Studies
Religions 2015, 6(3), 948-968; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030948 - 05 Aug 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2646
Abstract
The psychological and socio-economic implications of digital technologies call for scholarship that engages questions about the nature of human consciousness, the construction of the self and the ethics of technical development. In this article, I outline a framework for an approach called contemplative [...] Read more.
The psychological and socio-economic implications of digital technologies call for scholarship that engages questions about the nature of human consciousness, the construction of the self and the ethics of technical development. In this article, I outline a framework for an approach called contemplative media studies. This approach incorporates several different scholarly threads, namely: via critical political-economic media scholarship, a focus on achieving social and economic justice through policy initiatives and structural reform; via media and religious scholarship, an interest in the religious dimensions of digital culture and the role of media in shaping religious identity; and via contemplative studies, an appreciation of the applicability of contemplative principles to research methods and theory. This framework allows us to examine the spiritual ideology that drives the construction of commercial digital platforms and to ask whether alternative platforms might better catalyze human development. Anchored in a critical commitment to socio-economic justice, contemplative media studies is aimed at articulating an ethically-responsive and economically-sustainable architecture of human flourishing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Steps in Religion and Popular Media)
Open AccessArticle
How do Psychiatric Staffs Approach Religiosity/Spirituality in Clinical Practice? Differing Perceptions among Psychiatric Staff Members and Clinical Chaplains
Religions 2015, 6(3), 930-947; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030930 - 03 Aug 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2151
Abstract
The present study examined the perception of contemporary German psychiatric staff (i.e., psychiatrists, psychotherapists and nurses) regarding their approach towards religious/spiritual issues in their clinical practice, and how clinical chaplains perceive attitudes and behaviors towards religiosity/spirituality of other psychiatric staff members. [...] Read more.
The present study examined the perception of contemporary German psychiatric staff (i.e., psychiatrists, psychotherapists and nurses) regarding their approach towards religious/spiritual issues in their clinical practice, and how clinical chaplains perceive attitudes and behaviors towards religiosity/spirituality of other psychiatric staff members. To answer these questions, two separate studies were conducted to include psychiatric staff and clinical chaplains. Curlin et al.’s questionnaire on Religion and Spirituality in Medicine: Physicians’ Perspectives was the main instrument used for both studies. According to the self-assessment of psychiatric staff members, most contemporary German psychiatric staff members are prepared and open to dealing with religiosity/spirituality in therapeutic settings. To some extent, clinical chaplains agreed with this finding, but their overall perception significantly differs from the staff’s own self-rating. Our results suggest that it may be helpful for psychiatric staff members and clinical chaplains to exchange their views on patients regarding religious/spiritual issues in therapeutic settings, and to reflect on how to apply such findings to clinical practice. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Importance of the Experience of God’s Absence, and of Meaning in Life, in the Development of Sensitivity of Conscience among Polish University Students
Religions 2015, 6(3), 912-929; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030912 - 30 Jul 2015
Viewed by 1601
Abstract
The aims of the research presented here are as follows: (a) to define the degree of perceived meaning in life and the level of sensitivity of conscience in groups of students with a high (H) and low (L) level of experience of God’s [...] Read more.
The aims of the research presented here are as follows: (a) to define the degree of perceived meaning in life and the level of sensitivity of conscience in groups of students with a high (H) and low (L) level of experience of God’s absence; and (b) to show the relationship between perceived meaning in life and sensitivity of conscience in groups of students with a high (H) and low (L) level of experience of God’s absence. The results show that students with a high level of experience of God’s absence appear to have a high level of both perceived meaning in life and sensitivity of conscience with respect to both themselves and others. Moreover, in a group of students with a high level of experience of God’s absence, meaning in life is found to be strongly related, along with sensitivity of conscience, to both their moral values and their surroundings. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Redefining Religious Nones: Lessons from Chinese and Japanese American Young Adults
Religions 2015, 6(3), 891-911; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030891 - 30 Jul 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3558
Abstract
This analysis of Chinese and Japanese American young adults, based on the Pew Research Center 2012 Asian American Survey, examines the religious nones of these ethnic groups. Rather than focusing on their beliefs and belonging to religious denominations, it highlights their spiritual practices [...] Read more.
This analysis of Chinese and Japanese American young adults, based on the Pew Research Center 2012 Asian American Survey, examines the religious nones of these ethnic groups. Rather than focusing on their beliefs and belonging to religious denominations, it highlights their spiritual practices and ethical relations using an Asian-centric liyi (ritual and righteousness) discourse. Despite being religious nones, these groups have high rates of ancestor veneration and participation in ethnic religious festivals, as well as strong familial and reciprocal obligations. These findings indicate that, similar to other American Millennials, these groups may be better understood by how they do religion than in what they believe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth, Emerging Adults, Faith, and Giving) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Images of Reality: Iris Murdoch’s Five Ways from Art to Religion
Religions 2015, 6(3), 875-890; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030875 - 30 Jul 2015
Viewed by 2358
Abstract
Art plays a significant role in Iris Murdoch’s moral philosophy, a major part of which may be interpreted as a proposal for the revision of religious belief. In this paper, I identify within Murdoch’s philosophical writings five distinct but related ways in which [...] Read more.
Art plays a significant role in Iris Murdoch’s moral philosophy, a major part of which may be interpreted as a proposal for the revision of religious belief. In this paper, I identify within Murdoch’s philosophical writings five distinct but related ways in which great art can assist moral/religious belief and practice: art can reveal to us “the world as we were never able so clearly to see it before”; this revelatory capacity provides us with evidence for the existence of the Good, a metaphor for a transcendent reality of which God was also a symbol; art is a “hall of reflection” in which “everything under the sun can be examined and considered”; art provides us with an analogue for the way in which we should try to perceive our world; and art enables us to transcend our selfish concerns. I consider three possible objections: that Murdoch’s theory is not applicable to all forms of art; that the meaning of works of art is often ambiguous; and that there is disagreement about what constitutes a great work of art. I argue that none of these objections are decisive, and that all forms of art have at least the potential to furnish us with important tools for developing the insight required to live a moral/religious life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Instrumental Values as Predictors of Religious Experience in the Lives of Students of Pedagogy and of Philosophy
Religions 2015, 6(3), 860-874; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030860 - 27 Jul 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
This article seeks to demonstrate the existence of a relationship between instrumental values and religious experience—in this instance, the experiences of God’s presence and of God’s absence in the lives of Polish students of pedagogy and of philosophy. The methods applied involved making [...] Read more.
This article seeks to demonstrate the existence of a relationship between instrumental values and religious experience—in this instance, the experiences of God’s presence and of God’s absence in the lives of Polish students of pedagogy and of philosophy. The methods applied involved making use of the Scale of Religious Experience (SRE) of Głaz and the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS). The study was conducted in Krakow. The subjects included male students of pedagogy and of philosophy. It emerges that, compared to philosophy students, pedagogy students seem to have a higher level of religious experience of God’s presence and also prefer different instrumental values. There is a significant relationship between instrumental values and religious experience of God’s presence and God’s absence in the lives of students of pedagogy and of philosophy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Entering the Mindset of Violent Religious Activists
Religions 2015, 6(3), 852-859; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030852 - 23 Jul 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2356
Abstract
How can one enter the mindset of religious activists whose worldview and values are different from one’s own? This is the challenge for analyzing contemporary violent religious movements and individuals around the world. This essay suggests guidelines, based on the author’s interview experience, [...] Read more.
How can one enter the mindset of religious activists whose worldview and values are different from one’s own? This is the challenge for analyzing contemporary violent religious movements and individuals around the world. This essay suggests guidelines, based on the author’s interview experience, for entering religious minds through informative encounters, relational knowledge, bracketing assumptions, and constructing a view of the whole. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Violence) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
The New Secular Humanists: Ronald Dworkin and Philip Kitcher on Life without God
Religions 2015, 6(3), 839-851; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030839 - 17 Jul 2015
Viewed by 2226
Abstract
Ronald Dworkin and Philip Kitcher recognize that traditional, religious faith—especially in Christian theistic tradition—has virtues that seem to be missing in a secular worldview. To remedy this apparent deficit, they both propose that a secular worldview can provide a satisfying foundation for a [...] Read more.
Ronald Dworkin and Philip Kitcher recognize that traditional, religious faith—especially in Christian theistic tradition—has virtues that seem to be missing in a secular worldview. To remedy this apparent deficit, they both propose that a secular worldview can provide a satisfying foundation for a flourishing, meaningful life. Moreover, Kitcher argues that secular humanism is far more justified than a religious worldview because it does not face the problem of diversity that arises in the case of religion. I argue that secular humanism faces the same problem of diversity that Kitcher proposes undermines religious belief. I further argue that Dworkin’s and Kitcher’s secular alternative to a religious worldview is problematic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion)
Open AccessArticle
Reason, Rhythm, and Rituality. Reinterpreting Religious Cult from a Postmodern, Phenomenological Perspective
Religions 2015, 6(3), 819-838; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030819 - 10 Jul 2015
Viewed by 5741
Abstract
Contemporary philosophy of religion is often focused, at a theoretical level, on the epistemic value of religious doctrines, and at a practical level, on the possible impact of organized religion on secular society and politics. However, the cultic dimension of religion, such as [...] Read more.
Contemporary philosophy of religion is often focused, at a theoretical level, on the epistemic value of religious doctrines, and at a practical level, on the possible impact of organized religion on secular society and politics. However, the cultic dimension of religion, such as prayer, religious service, ascetic practices, and other rituals, is considered as completely “irrational” and incomprehensible from a secular perspective and therefore often neglected by postmodern philosophy. The paper intends to call into question this rather simplistic interpretation by retracing the historical origins of the devaluation of religious symbolism in occidental thought, which culminates in Kant’s philosophy of religion. We then shall analyze to what extent certain paradoxical aspects of Habermas’ view on religion can be interpreted as consequences of the dilemma brought about by the Kantian dichotomy between man as moral subject and man as natural, sensible being. In a third step, we shall develop an alternative, phenomenological interpretation, which does not consider religious practice as a primitive, irrational phenomenon but as a proto-ethical schematism that aims at integrating the sphere of pure practical reason into the rhythmic structure of living, embodied consciousness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion)
Open AccessArticle
The Roman Catholic Tradition in Conversation with Thomas Berry’s Fourfold Wisdom
Religions 2015, 6(3), 794-818; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030794 - 02 Jul 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2130
Abstract
Taking the threatening anthropogenic global environmental destruction—the anthropocene—as a starting point, this paper examines the Catholic tradition, which has remained relatively indifferent to this looming crisis, asking what might help it to change its focus from a decided human ecology to one that [...] Read more.
Taking the threatening anthropogenic global environmental destruction—the anthropocene—as a starting point, this paper examines the Catholic tradition, which has remained relatively indifferent to this looming crisis, asking what might help it to change its focus from a decided human ecology to one that counts the human as an integral part of the larger natural ecology. Thomas Berry, whose teachings underlie this work, suggests that since the tradition has grown out of a cosmological perspective that places the human being at the center of ethical deliberations and separate from the natural world, it needs to rely on other Earth-centered and ecological expressions to help Catholics to discover more harmonious avenues of being on Earth, which he describes as a fourfold wisdom—the wisdoms of indigenous peoples, classical traditions, women, and science. Through a critical weaving of these wisdoms into a conversation with the Catholic tradition, this article examines the efficacy of the fourfold wisdom to transform the tradition into a more Earth-honoring expression. While this work concludes that the fourfold wisdom is effecting change where engaged, it also reflects on the challenges and opportunities this engagement faces in light of current realities within the Catholic tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene)
Open AccessArticle
Congregational Size and Attitudes towards Racial Inequality among Church Attendees in America
Religions 2015, 6(3), 781-793; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030781 - 25 Jun 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2003
Abstract
Research suggests that congregational characteristics are associated with the racial attitudes of American churchgoers. This study examines the relationship between congregational size and beliefs about the Black/White socioeconomic gap among religious adherents. Method. Drawing upon data from the General Social Survey and the [...] Read more.
Research suggests that congregational characteristics are associated with the racial attitudes of American churchgoers. This study examines the relationship between congregational size and beliefs about the Black/White socioeconomic gap among religious adherents. Method. Drawing upon data from the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study, we fit binary logistic regression models to estimate the association between congregational size and Americans’ explanations of Black/White economic inequality. Results. Findings reveal that attendees of larger congregations are less likely than attendees of smaller congregations to explain racial inequality as the result of the racial discrimination. The likelihood of explaining racial inequality in terms of personal motivation does not vary by congregation size. Conclusion. Despite the growing diversity in larger congregations in America, such congregations may steer attendees’ views about racial inequality away from systemic/structural factors, which may attenuate the ability of such congregations to bridge racial divisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Open AccessArticle
Interpretation of Illness in Patients with Chronic Diseases from Poland and Their Associations with Spirituality, Life Satisfaction, and Escape from Illness—Results from a Cross Sectional Study
Religions 2015, 6(3), 763-780; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030763 - 25 Jun 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1926
Abstract
To analyse how patients with chronic diseases would interpret their illness, and how these interpretations were related to spirituality/religiosity, life satisfaction, and escape from illness, we performed a cross-sectional survey among patients with chronic diseases from Poland (n = 275) using standardized [...] Read more.
To analyse how patients with chronic diseases would interpret their illness, and how these interpretations were related to spirituality/religiosity, life satisfaction, and escape from illness, we performed a cross-sectional survey among patients with chronic diseases from Poland (n = 275) using standardized questionnaires. Illness was interpreted mostly as an Adverse Interruption of life (61%), Threat/Enemy (50%), Challenge (42%), and rarely as a Punishment (8%). Regression analyses revealed that escape from illness was the best predictor of negative disease perceptions and also strategy associated disease perceptions, and a negative predictor of illness as something of Value, while Value was predicted best by specific spiritual issues. Patients’ religious Trust and partner status were among the significant contributors to their life satisfaction. Data show that specific dimensions of spirituality are important predictors for patients’ interpretation of illness. Particularly the fatalistic negative perceptions could be indicators that patients may require further psychological assistance to cope with their burden. Full article
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Open AccessEssay
Augustine’s Confessions: Interiority at the Core of the Core Curriculum
Religions 2015, 6(3), 755-762; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel6030755 - 24 Jun 2015
Viewed by 1456
Abstract
When St. Bonaventure University decided to redesign its core curriculum, we turned to Bonaventure’s account of the mind’s journey to God in the Itinerarium Mentis in Deum as a paradigm by which to give coherence to the undergraduate experience consistent with our mission [...] Read more.
When St. Bonaventure University decided to redesign its core curriculum, we turned to Bonaventure’s account of the mind’s journey to God in the Itinerarium Mentis in Deum as a paradigm by which to give coherence to the undergraduate experience consistent with our mission and tradition. Bonaventure was himself an Augustinian philosopher and thus Augustine’s Confessions holds a place of great significance in our first year seminar where it is studied in conjunction with Bonaventure’s inward turn to find God imprinted on his soul. This paper is an account of the original rationale for including Augustine’s Confessions in our curriculum and a report of continuing faculty and student attitudes towards that text nearly two decades later. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching Augustine) Printed Edition available
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