Special Issue "In the Shadows of Religious Experience: Hostility, Violence, Revenge"
A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 9216
Interests: (religious) violence; fundamentalism; war; intersection of religion, ethics, and politics; methodological inspiration by the phenomenological tradition
Interests: religious experience; comparative phenomenology and philosophy of religion; illuminationism; Vedanta; Husserl
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Interests: philosophy of religion; phenomenology; cultural theory/social philosophy; continental philosophy; political theology; theories and methods in religion; 20th century (Christian) systematic theology; violence studies
Recent advances in the study of religion have successfully demonstrated the positive, community-building potential of religious experience in terms of its material/performative practices, psychological models of coping with pain/crisis, and embodied habits that help individuals establish more co-creative forms of reason in order to develop more grounded social imaginaries and epistemologies.
Without disregarding or disagreeing with the innumerable potential effects and benefits of having and creating religious experiences, we wish to focus more so on how the irrevocable ambivalence of religious experience simultaneously can lead it to bear its discontents and negative socialities, namely, in the forms of hostility, violence, and revenge. Although violence is not the necessary product of hostility, it always looms as a threat and is often motivated by various processes of enmification. And although revenge is not a necessary response to some preceding act of violence, individuals and groups quite often resort to it in order to appease aggrieved individuals and parties. Of course, this trifecta of hostility, violence, and revenge very often is invoked in political activities irrespective of religious traditions and engagements. Yet in all too many cases, this trifecta becomes even more pronounced due to the ways and means individuals and groups have, and choose to have, religious experiences and use religious narratives to justify violent responses.
Can we phenomenologically describe the core motivations for why hostility, violence, or revenge are too frequently preferred over peaceful interactions and phronetic engagements with others? Does a certain entitlement or perverse freedom arise from a sense of representing divine power, stemming from unconditional claims that are promoted “in the name of” a transcendent principle? To what degree does the dialectic between purity and compromise play a role in the will to act violently towards others who one deems to embody a “threat of disorder,” a stain of impurity, or are simply passed by indifferently? Could the clear-cut orders of “the sacred” and “the secular” possibly contribute to deepening an age-old dualism or desire for equilibrium through revenge? Further, if religious experience does not necessarily invite the irrational (or on the contrary, hyper-rational) responses of seeking the harm, injury, or “correction” of others, in what way do forms of religious experience contribute to the (re)production of negative socialities that revolve around imaginations of threat and disorder? What kind of responsibilities might the presence of a non- or a-religious community or politic play in creating spaces of opposition and conflict?
In order to find constructive answers to such questions, we invite reference to the whole phenomenological movement, including post-phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction; historical and contemporary research with the engagement of phenomenology, theological phenomenology, experienced-based comparative studies like cultural anthropology of experience, qualitatively based sociology of religion; as well as theological and psychological perspectives that utilize phenomenological research methods. Abstract and paper proposals on the following topics would be most welcome:
– Critiques of the relationship between “religion” and “secularism” as a social, political, and epistemological separation that is prone to deepen habits of hostility, legitimize violence, and motivate revenge;
– Analyses of the role religious experience (and the discourse about it) might play in academic, social, and political discourse(s) on hostility, violence, or revenge;
– Developments of accounts of religious experience that clearly demonstrate its inherently ambiguous role in how it fundamentally is constitutive of the “human condition”;
– Depictions of the theologico-political undercurrents of late modern social imaginaries that nourish the habitus of “cultures of violence”;
– Descriptions of how the break-down of meaning in a) the maelstrom of globalization, b) the advent of apathy and indifference in a modernity spinning out of control, and c) the social construction of murderous consent to neoliberal exploitation and the resulting nihilism of a commodified society committed to the myth of progress have all influenced religious communities and their contemporary self-understanding.
Prof. Dr. Michael Staudigl
Prof. Dr. Olga Louchakova-Schwartz
Dr. Jason Alvis
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- philosophy of religion
- religious experience
- religious violence
- religious emotion
- social imaginaries
- cultures of violence
- human condition
- homo religiosus
- first person authority