Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2022) | Viewed by 9733

Special Issue Editors

University of Humanistic Studies, 3512 HD Utrecht, The Netherlands
Interests: philosophy of religion; interdisciplinary religious studies; theology; religion and politics; theory of imagination and imaginaries; globalization studies; cultural pluralism; post-structuralism; theories of humanism; deconstruction
University of Humanistic Studies, 3512 HD Utrecht, The Netherlands
Interests: philosophy of religion; interdisciplinary religious studies; theology; religion and politics; theory of imagination and imaginaries; globalization studies; cultural pluralism; post-structuralism; theories of humanism; deconstruction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent debates within philosophy, religious studies, social sciences and political theory, the “secular age” is being rethought as a time in which the secular and the religious—as well as the realms of experience and imagination they stand for, i.e., immanence and transcendence—mutually inform and transform each other. This complex condition is analyzed as a cultural and religious pluralism of imaginaries, marking the so-called “end of the grand narratives”. Against the stable and compelling ideologies and worldview systems, a world of radical difference and “super-diversity” is opened up, in which the meaning of life and the sense of the world are addressed in a permanent play of hybrid, temporal, and unstable imaginaries.

In this Special Issue, seven scholars contribute to the important and urgent field of philosophical and political research on pluralism, whether initiated and carried out in the French context, the German context, the South American context, the Indian context, or the Anglo-Saxon context. In the seven articles, theories of pluralism in relation to imagination are further developed, in the cross-over area between secularity and religion. For further information, we refer to the editorial below.

Prof. Dr. Laurens ten Kate
Mr. Bram van Boxtel
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 181 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction: Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries
Religions 2023, 14(9), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14091190 - 18 Sep 2023
Viewed by 462
Abstract
In recent decades, the paradigm of secularization has been under pressure [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

18 pages, 327 KiB  
Article
Gaia and Religious Pluralism in Bruno Latour’s ‘New-Materialism’
Religions 2023, 14(8), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14080960 - 25 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1093
Abstract
In his works on ecological philosophy, Bruno Latour develops an interesting perspective on religion and pluralism. He proposes a new worldview, in which religion is reinterpreted in view of a Gaian philosophy. He extends ‘pluralism’ beyond the anthropocentrism that dominates modern humanism. In [...] Read more.
In his works on ecological philosophy, Bruno Latour develops an interesting perspective on religion and pluralism. He proposes a new worldview, in which religion is reinterpreted in view of a Gaian philosophy. He extends ‘pluralism’ beyond the anthropocentrism that dominates modern humanism. In his book Facing Gaia Latour includes nonhuman beings in a larger community and works towards a larger concept of eco-humanism. In this paper, I try to reconstruct his position by showing that the philosophical foundation for his interpretation of religion could be called ‘terrarism’ and is to be classified as a form of new materialism. This new interpretation of materialism has postmodernist origins (inspired by Gilles Deleuze), but it is not identical to it, because Latour distances himself from ‘postmodernism’. He wants to positively contribute to a new ontology. My point is that Latour’s ‘terrarist’ grounding of religious pluralism obstructs any foundation of transcendence and, finally, congests a really pluralistic ecumene because he still adheres to the postmodernist idea that we should renounce to a unitary principle of being. His ideas on eco-humanism and pluralistic ecumene could gain momentum if we opened ourselves to a more holistic and spiritual way of thinking, retaking Lovelock’s conception of Gaia. However, Latour’s new-materialistic interpretation of ‘animism’ can be seen as a positive contribution to a new perspective of the world that definitively sets ‘materialism’ aside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
13 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
Resonance as Pluralism: Toward an Existential-Phenomenological Approach to Relational Plurality, in Dialogue with Rosa and Arendt
Religions 2023, 14(8), 957; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14080957 - 25 Jul 2023
Viewed by 727
Abstract
Discussions on modern pluralism have mainly focused on its socio-political dimension. This article focuses on the existential-phenomenological dimension of plurality, conceiving of pluralism as a responsive relationship between the self and the other. We advance a philosophical reading of Hartmut Rosa’s theory of [...] Read more.
Discussions on modern pluralism have mainly focused on its socio-political dimension. This article focuses on the existential-phenomenological dimension of plurality, conceiving of pluralism as a responsive relationship between the self and the other. We advance a philosophical reading of Hartmut Rosa’s theory of resonance in order to further give shape to this existential-phenomenological approach to pluralism. The theory of resonance offers a framework to characterize the responsive relationships at play throughout human life. We argue that Rosa’s account is promising in its contribution to thinking the concept of pluralism as responsive relationship, but we problematize how Rosa tends to reduce resonance to subjective experience rather than taking the relationship itself as a focal point. We strengthen the potential of a philosophy of resonance by further embedding it in Arendt’s philosophy of worldliness; this, we conclude, leads to a conceptualization of pluralism as the responsivity of relationships themselves rather than a function of responding entities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
18 pages, 334 KiB  
Article
Intercultural Competence: Higher Education Internationalisation at the Crossroads of Neoliberal, Cultural and Religious Social Imaginaries
Religions 2023, 14(6), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060801 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1021
Abstract
As the world is becoming more globalised, intercultural competence development within higher education is at a crossroads between the competing aims of neoliberal and cultural social imaginaries. On the one end, the global market demands graduates that are interculturally competent. Higher education is [...] Read more.
As the world is becoming more globalised, intercultural competence development within higher education is at a crossroads between the competing aims of neoliberal and cultural social imaginaries. On the one end, the global market demands graduates that are interculturally competent. Higher education is attempting to meet this demand with internationalisation endeavours, specifically virtual exchange programmes. There exists a widely held assumption that these programmes will lead to intercultural competence development. However, this article questions this assumption due to the neoliberal hegemony within which higher education functions, which emphasises market rationales. This is placed in contrast to intercultural competence development within a humanistic educational setting, which emphasises cultural pluralism. A strong link is drawn between the importance of intercultural competence and the ability of graduates to navigate diverse cultural social imaginaries. This paper argues that the neoliberal social imaginary poses a risk of trivialising the humanistic meaning of intercultural competence development in higher education to mere neoliberal cosmopolitan capital for the human consumer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
16 pages, 337 KiB  
Article
Pluralization Challenges to Religion as a Social Imaginary: Anti-Caste Contestations of the Muslim Quota in India
Religions 2023, 14(6), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060742 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2166
Abstract
Postcolonial democratic deepening brings new challenges to religion as a social imaginary in India. Increasing cultural differentiation and pluralization are countered by fundamentalization, but also challenge existing minority/multicultural imaginations. Religion, as the overarching identity category, has come under scrutiny given the politicization of [...] Read more.
Postcolonial democratic deepening brings new challenges to religion as a social imaginary in India. Increasing cultural differentiation and pluralization are countered by fundamentalization, but also challenge existing minority/multicultural imaginations. Religion, as the overarching identity category, has come under scrutiny given the politicization of caste among Muslims, who form the country’s most significant religious minority. Through social-justice and anti-caste politics in the 1990s, lowered-caste Muslims started to enact a new identity named Pasmanda, which means “those who have been left behind”. The Pasmanda discourse emphasizes internal heterogeneities and hegemonies and pluralizes the “Muslim”. It thus ruptures the imaginary of Muslims as a homogeneous minority in a culturally diverse country and problematizes the majority–minority framework. An important site of contestation is the reservation (quota) policy in public employment, education, and the legislature. While privileged-caste Muslims generally prefer a quota based on religion, the lowered-caste Pasmanda Muslims increasingly mobilize for a caste-based quota, thus challenging systems of recognition and redistribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
10 pages, 212 KiB  
Article
Pluralism and a Spirituality of the (Im)possible
Religions 2023, 14(3), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030373 - 13 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1077
Abstract
The relationship between pluralism and spirituality is explored in the context of a specific understanding of humanism, developed by the political philosopher William Connolly. He uses the term ‘entangled humanism’ to express his ecological view on how humans relate to other forms of [...] Read more.
The relationship between pluralism and spirituality is explored in the context of a specific understanding of humanism, developed by the political philosopher William Connolly. He uses the term ‘entangled humanism’ to express his ecological view on how humans relate to other forms of being, stressing the need for an attitude of partnership and care in the face of ecological crisis. To realize this non-anthropocentric form of humanism, we need our creativity and imagination, and a spiritual affinity characterized by openness and a commitment to shared goals. According to Connolly, we need a deep pluralism in which people are ready to defend their creed in public while realizing a productive ethos of political engagement with others of different convictions. We need to find one another in imaginative ideas and creative actions with regard to problems that confront us all and that are so urgent as to force us to collective action. According to Connolly, in working together, a connecting spiritual affinity can emerge. This view is elaborated upon with the help of John Dewey’s notions of moral imagination and religious trust, understood here as key elements of an entangled humanism. The article closes by describing a spirituality of the (im)possible that can be a source of inspiration for an entangled humanism that really makes a difference in our complex but rich world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
15 pages, 401 KiB  
Article
Intentionality and the Diversity of Religion: A Prelude
Religions 2023, 14(2), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020281 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1080
Abstract
The grounds of religious diversity and pluralism have mainly been sought out from without, i.e., from outside the human mind. A striking example is Hick’s idea of the one ultimate reality, which is posited to embrace all the semi-ultimate realities appearing in individual [...] Read more.
The grounds of religious diversity and pluralism have mainly been sought out from without, i.e., from outside the human mind. A striking example is Hick’s idea of the one ultimate reality, which is posited to embrace all the semi-ultimate realities appearing in individual religions. However, the present inquiry adopts a different strategy for coping with the above-mentioned issue. Specifically, in this inquiry, I attempt to find a substantial clue to religious diversity and pluralism from within, i.e., from the intentionality of the mind. This idea, as a descriptive and explanatory hypothesis, consists of the following theses: (I) As suggested by the Husserlian phenomenology interpreted by Sokolowski, there are at least two forms of directedness of the mind: filled and empty intentionalities. (II) In connection with them, two distinct types of religious spirituality emerge: the intentionality of transcendental filling (ITF) and that of transcendental emptying (ITE). (III) The diversity of religion that gives rise to pluralism is, at least in part, due to the different ways in which those two forms of religious minds are combined. With these considerations, we reach a new philosophical foundation of the issue in question, and also obtain a possible theoretical basis for securing an adequate method of religious—and particularly interreligious—studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
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12 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Living Theology in a Pluralistic Latin America: An Exploration of Ecclesial Base Communities through the Lens of Social Imaginaries
Religions 2023, 14(2), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020259 - 15 Feb 2023
Viewed by 865
Abstract
The geography, histories, and ethnic composition of the Latin American continent pose a great challenge when attempting to identify and describe the region’s constitutive religious traditions and experiences. This task is further complexified by the hybridity, fluidity, and porosity of the region’s cultural [...] Read more.
The geography, histories, and ethnic composition of the Latin American continent pose a great challenge when attempting to identify and describe the region’s constitutive religious traditions and experiences. This task is further complexified by the hybridity, fluidity, and porosity of the region’s cultural groups. However, there is an aspect of Latin American religiosity that shares a significant family resemblance across the continent: the small community settings in which religiosity often emerges and consolidates as a worldview, commonly known as Ecclesial base communities. Informed by liberation theology, these communities are a uniquely generative experiment in social, political, and religious life. Scholarly accounts of liberation theology fail to identify key aspects of how Ecclesial base communities generate ways of being, knowing, and making meaning. While many of these accounts depict liberation theology as a socio-political discourse of theological origin, they do not unearth the multidirectional interaction between political practice and theological thought at the heart of these communities. In this paper, I aimed to fill this gap in the literature by reframing liberation theology as a set of social imaginaries, making use of Paul Ricoeur’s theories of memory and cultural imagination to provide the philosophical ground to understand the lived theology of Ecclesial base communities. In doing so, I maintain that liberation theology is not only a theoretical discourse that emerges from these communities, but also the inarticulate background of their ways of thinking, communicating, and living, one that provides an existential orientation through which Latin Americans can provide coherence to their collective action and recognize their own capacity to change their reality of oppression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
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