Special Issue "Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Patricia Snell Herzog
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Interests: generosity and philanthropy; youth and emerging adults; religiosity; moral values
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to advance cross-cultural approaches to studying the intersections of religiosity, spirituality, and moral values with generous orientations, philanthropic participation, and civic engagement. The purpose is to better understand whether and how religious engagement contributes to acting generously across cultural contexts. In particular, the issue will focus on these understudied world regions: Asia (especially East, Southeast, and South Asia), the Middle East and Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. The science and imagination of generosity and religiosity are flourishing. Yet, the field lacks valuable integration of these topics, and global studies with cross-cultural comparisons need further advancement. Scholars continue to refine theories and methods for studying each topic individually, but these are undertested across cultures, and their intersections are understudied.

For example, the Religious Schema Scale was constructed by Streib, Hood, and Klein (2010) but as yet has only been tested in the United States and Germany. Another example of a well-developed set of measures is based upon attachment to God theory, as constructed and investigated by Manglos-Weber, Mooney, Bollen, and Roos (2016). However, thus far, these measures have only been tested in the United States. Alternatively, the Centrality of Religion Scale was developed by Huber and Huber (2012) and has been tested in 25 countries, translated into 20 languages, and studied with more than 100,000 participants. However, this scale has not yet been studied along with measures of generosity and philanthropic participation. With regard to moral values, the World Values Survey is one of the most well-known social scientific surveys for studying values across the globe and collects data from almost 100 countries containing 90 percent of the world’s population. However, the WVS has its critics (e.g., Abramson 2011; Lundgren 2015), most notably concerns that the questionnaires were developed in Western societies and then translated to include other nations (Kotzé and Lombard 2003; Inglehart 2008; Taonui 2016).

Similarly, numerous studies measure the rates of philanthropic participation globally. For example, the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Prosperity (2006) developed a set of Global Philanthropy Indices to compare philanthropic activities across 79 countries, employing a standard instrument that was developed with the input of several country-based experts. However, these indices focus on macro-level national contexts rather than cultural values and norms and also do not include measures of religiosity. Moreover, the Science of Generosity Initiative supported projects that collected data on generosity in at least 27 countries, including the United States, India, Israel, Japan, the Honduras, Tanzania, Turkey, Canada, England, Wales, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and many other countries in Europe, which resulted in at least 45 peer-reviewed publications spanning the disciplines of sociology, psychology, economics, political science, psychiatry, international relations, medicine, neuroscience, anthropology, biobehavioral health, business, education, family consumer and human development, history, public administration, public affairs, public policy, religion, and social work. However, the world regions identified for this Special Issue remain understudied.

This Special Issue invites articles that address the topics of religiosity, spirituality, moral values, generosity, philanthropy, or civic engagement, including life course development. We are particularly interested in literature reviews, concept papers, and empirical investigations that pursue the intersection of these topics, as well as those that focus on cross-cultural studies of these world regions: Asia (East, Southeast, and South Asia), the Middle East and Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, or the Pacific Islands.

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript for consideration in this Special Issue, please email the guest editor by January 15, 2020 with a title and abstract (email: [email protected], subject: Religions abstract). Full papers are due by June 30, 2020.

Dr. Patricia Snell Herzog
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Generosity
  • Philanthropy
  • Religiosity
  • Spirituality
  • Moral values
  • Youth and emerging adults
  • Cross-cultural studies

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Secularity and Transformation of the Faith-Based Community: Ethnography of the Religious Charity of Baha’i in Macau
Religions 2020, 11(12), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11120652 - 04 Dec 2020
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Since the 1970s, religious charities in Chinese communities have gradually become public and rational, transforming from previously raising donations for the temples or disaster relief. Even in mainland China, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam all began to enter the secular society after the 1980s [...] Read more.
Since the 1970s, religious charities in Chinese communities have gradually become public and rational, transforming from previously raising donations for the temples or disaster relief. Even in mainland China, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam all began to enter the secular society after the 1980s and gradually merged into local public life by providing public welfare. Little attention has been paid to Baha’i, which originated in Iran in the middle of the 19th century and has become one of the most rapidly expanding new religions in the world. Based upon the ethnography of a Baha’i group in Macau, we first introduce the development of Baha’i, its activities and its charity services. In considering this example, we engage with the following questions. As a new world religion, why would Baha’i carry out these charity events? How did it begin its charity activities in Macau? How do charity activities convey its religious philosophy and religious practice? How should we interpret these religious charity practices? This exploratory research on a religious group in Macau revealed that the modern religion derives publicity and rationalization from its strong driving force for secularization, that the believers are also increasingly emphasizing their social and cultural citizenship, and that the religious organization is also gradually transforming into a networked faith-based community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
Article
Religiosity and Generosity: Multi-Level Approaches to Studying the Religiousness of Prosocial Actions
Religions 2020, 11(9), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090446 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1665
Abstract
This paper provides a meta-analysis of the intersection of (a) religiosity and spirituality with (b) generosity, philanthropy, nonprofits, and prosociality. The study is informed by three informational sources, chronologically: (1) informational interviews with scholars and practitioners based within and studying regions outside of [...] Read more.
This paper provides a meta-analysis of the intersection of (a) religiosity and spirituality with (b) generosity, philanthropy, nonprofits, and prosociality. The study is informed by three informational sources, chronologically: (1) informational interviews with scholars and practitioners based within and studying regions outside of the U.S. and Western Europe; (2) discovery search of purposefully selected extant publications, especially focusing on the last decade of contemporary scholarship; and (3) systematic search of relevant peer-reviewed publication outlets since 2010. Reviewed publications are categorized by level of analysis into macro, meso, and micro approaches. Across each level and source, publications are also geo-tagged for their geographic scope. Particular attention is paid to the under-studied world regions of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The results reveal that Asia is the most studied and Latin America the least studied, and that meso-level approaches are the most common while micro-level are the least common. Additionally, a map of publication counts reveals within-region inequalities by country. Implications of the analysis are drawn for future studies, particularly ways to advance this interdisciplinary field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
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Article
Studying Religiosity and Spirituality: A Review of Macro, Micro, and Meso-Level Approaches
Religions 2020, 11(9), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090437 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1590
Abstract
This paper seeks to advance the global study of religiosity and spirituality by conducting a meta-analysis of major approaches in the field. While the field, and thus the collected publications, are dominated by Western approaches, particular attention is paid in this analysis to [...] Read more.
This paper seeks to advance the global study of religiosity and spirituality by conducting a meta-analysis of major approaches in the field. While the field, and thus the collected publications, are dominated by Western approaches, particular attention is paid in this analysis to publications from geographies that are not from the United States or Western Europe, especially these world regions: Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Similarly, while the study of religiosity is considerably centered around Christianity, this analysis extends beyond Christianity, to the extent possible in extant studies, to include publications investigating other world religious traditions, such as African spirituality, African witchcraft, Afro-Caribbean religious traditions, Buddhism, Confucianism, folk religions, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Neo-paganism, New Religious Movements (NRMs), Shamanism, Sikhism, Spiritism, Taoism, and spirituality generally. A total of 530 publications were reviewed, and the studies are categorized by unit of analysis into: Macro, micro, and meso-level. Measurement constructs include religious demography, culture, belonging, behaving, believing, bonding, religious salience, spiritual identities, religious networks, occupations, congregations, denominations, and faith-based organizations. Non-Western sources and approaches are analyzed toward furthering future research in under-studied world regions. Implications are drawn for the field, such as the need to geo-code publications at the country level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
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Article
Does Religious Belief Affect Volunteering and Donating Behavior of Chinese College Students?
Religions 2020, 11(8), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080403 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
Limited research has been conducted in mainland China to explore the relationship between religious belief and prosocial behaviors such as volunteering and charitable donation. This study aims to investigate whether and how religious belief affects Chinese college students’ charitable giving and volunteering. Based [...] Read more.
Limited research has been conducted in mainland China to explore the relationship between religious belief and prosocial behaviors such as volunteering and charitable donation. This study aims to investigate whether and how religious belief affects Chinese college students’ charitable giving and volunteering. Based on a survey of 1992 college students from five universities in Shanghai, the authors found that religious belief has a positive influence on charitable giving. Moral norms and family income level are also significant influencing factors in college students’ donation behavior. Religious belief does not affect volunteering frequency. Instead, volunteering intensity is affected by political status, social norms exerted by friends and families and volunteering motivations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
Article
Global Studies of Religiosity and Spirituality: A Systematic Review for Geographic and Topic Scopes
Religions 2020, 11(8), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080399 - 04 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1223
Abstract
This paper advances the global study of religiosity by conducting a systematic review of the geographic scope, religious traditions, levels of analysis, and topics investigated within contemporary scientific studies of religion, paying particular attention to intersections with generosity. The analysis builds upon a [...] Read more.
This paper advances the global study of religiosity by conducting a systematic review of the geographic scope, religious traditions, levels of analysis, and topics investigated within contemporary scientific studies of religion, paying particular attention to intersections with generosity. The analysis builds upon a meta-analysis of 30 years of scientific studies of religion that was published ten years ago and engages a similar framework to analyze the most recent ten years of research on religiosity and spirituality. Specifically, this analysis codes for the potential for Western-centrism, Christian-centrism, and congregational-centrism, all while attending to ways to study the potential intersection between religiosity and generosity, especially during the formative youth development life stage. Two data sources inform this analysis: the international data catalog of the Association for Religious Research Archives (ARDA) and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (JSSR). The results indicate that centrism remains, though perhaps to a lesser extent than in the previous decades, with the notable exception of a remaining inequality in the geographic scope. Implications for research are discussed, including practical implications to implementing a better geo-tagging process to more overtly identify the scope of data and make U.S. scope less implicit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
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Article
Cross-Cultural Values: A Meta-Analysis of Major Quantitative Studies in the Last Decade (2010–2020)
Religions 2020, 11(8), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080396 - 31 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2379
Abstract
Since 2010, scholars have made major contributions to cross-cultural research, especially regarding similarities and differences across world regions and countries in people’s values, beliefs, and morality. This paper accumulates and analyzes extant multi-national and quantitative studies of these facets of global culture. The [...] Read more.
Since 2010, scholars have made major contributions to cross-cultural research, especially regarding similarities and differences across world regions and countries in people’s values, beliefs, and morality. This paper accumulates and analyzes extant multi-national and quantitative studies of these facets of global culture. The paper begins with a summary of the modern history of cross-cultural research, then systematically reviews major empirical studies published since 2010, and next analyzes extant approaches to interpret how the constructs of belief, morality, and values have been theorized and operationalized. The analysis reveals that the field of cross-cultural studies remains dominated by Western approaches, especially studies developed and deployed from the United States and Western Europe. While numerous surveys have been translated and employed for data collection in countries beyond the U.S. and Western Europe, several countries remain under-studied, and the field lacks approaches that were developed within the countries of interest. The paper concludes by outlining future directions for the study of cross-cultural research. To progress from the colonialist past embedded within cross-cultural research, in which scholars from the U.S. and Western Europe export research tools to other world regions, the field needs to expand to include studies locally developed and deployed within more countries and world regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
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Review

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Review
The Black Madonna: A Theoretical Framework for the African Origins of Other World Religious Beliefs
Religions 2020, 11(10), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100511 - 10 Oct 2020
Viewed by 760
Abstract
This review summarizes existing scholarship in order to theorize how Abrahamic religions and Hinduism were influenced by African beliefs, in order to illuminate the contributions that African beliefs have had on other world religions. The review begins with a brief historical overview of [...] Read more.
This review summarizes existing scholarship in order to theorize how Abrahamic religions and Hinduism were influenced by African beliefs, in order to illuminate the contributions that African beliefs have had on other world religions. The review begins with a brief historical overview of the origins of indigenous ideologies, followed by a review of classical theories of religion and a summary of contemporary religious trends, with particular attention on African beliefs. The Black Madonna, with origins in Africa, is a prominent example of how African beliefs have been integrated into other faiths in ways that are often obscured from view. The Black Madonna is compared with the characteristics and symbolism of the traditional fair-skinned Virgin Mary. It is estimated that there are hundreds of depictions of the Black Madonna, yet her identity as truly black is generally minimized. This review contributes a theoretical rationale for the lack of recognition and acceptance of the Madonna as black, contextualizing this within a feminist theoretical viewpoint and analyzing the connection to African folklore and traditional religious beliefs. The theoretical framework articulated in this paper contributes an elucidation of the ways that indigenous African religions have affected other world religions. Acknowledging this influence challenges the simplistic notion of reified distinctions between Western and non-Western religions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
Review
How Does Religion Affect Giving to Outgroups and Secular Organizations? A Systematic Literature Review
Religions 2020, 11(8), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080405 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1311
Abstract
Although religious giving represents the largest sector of charitable giving in the US, its overall impact on social welfare has been questioned, pointing to the possibility that the majority of funding might stay within the religious community, with little benefit to outgroups or [...] Read more.
Although religious giving represents the largest sector of charitable giving in the US, its overall impact on social welfare has been questioned, pointing to the possibility that the majority of funding might stay within the religious community, with little benefit to outgroups or secular charity. Despite multiple studies showing a positive relationship between religion and secular and outgroup giving, some empirical findings show a negative or non-significant relationship. By employing a systematic literature review, the current study explores theories and empirical evidence to provide an integrative framework that identifies the mechanisms and directions through which religion affects giving to outgroups and secular organizations. The study also compares the major five religious traditions and giving to outgroups and secular organizations. The study finds that religious teachings, norms, values, social network, and private rituals, determine the direction of the relationship between religion and giving to outgroups and secular organizations. The study concludes that, despite the dominant positive relationship between religion and giving to outgroup and secular organizations, there remains heterogeneity among the studies based on their location, operationalization of religion and secular giving, and methodology used. The study also poses some implication questions and points out future research directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Understandings of Religiosity and Generosity)
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