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Religions, Volume 8, Issue 10 (October 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Miniature pagodas from the Liao empire (907-1125) offer an opportunity to rethink the function of [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Theology Facing Religious Diversity: The Perspective of Latin American Pluralist Theology
Religions 2017, 8(10), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100233
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
Life is plural and diverse, biodiverse. This reality has always provoked philosophy, the sciences, and also theology. But how does theological thinking reflect on this eco-human diversity? What about religious diversity? Are diversity and pluralism the same phenomenon? These questions express the aim
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Life is plural and diverse, biodiverse. This reality has always provoked philosophy, the sciences, and also theology. But how does theological thinking reflect on this eco-human diversity? What about religious diversity? Are diversity and pluralism the same phenomenon? These questions express the aim of this article: to reflect on theology in the face of diversity and pluralism. With the methodology of bibliographic analysis, the article begins by discussing the challenges of this reality. Then it deals with how theology confronts diversity and pluralism. In the end, it reflects on the possibility of Latin American Liberation Theology being conceived as pluralist, articulating itself with the Theology of Religious Pluralism—especially from the 1990s. One of the exponents of the Latin American Liberation Theology that justifies such a paradigm shift is the theologian Leonardo Boff. With his outputs, Latin American theology starts to realize, from the ecological paradigm, the articulation between liberation and dialogue, then being called pluralistic liberation theology. The conclusions of the article point out that cultural change, the ecological paradigm and, recently, the questions of decolonial theology, have led theological thinking to transform more, facing the socio-environmental challenges of diversity, conflicts, and interreligious dialogue, accepting even more the awareness of pluralism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Diversity in a Pluralistic Society)
Open AccessArticle Deaf Liberation Theology and Social Justice
Religions 2017, 8(10), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100232
Received: 3 September 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
Deaf Liberation Theology is a branch of theology that has been developed over the past twenty years, with the book Deaf Liberation Theology published by Ashgate in 2007 (Lewis 2007) as a focal point of this development. This article briefly looks at the
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Deaf Liberation Theology is a branch of theology that has been developed over the past twenty years, with the book Deaf Liberation Theology published by Ashgate in 2007 (Lewis 2007) as a focal point of this development. This article briefly looks at the roots of Deaf Liberation Theology in both the concept of Deaf people as an oppressed linguistic minority and the principles of Liberation theology as an engaged contextual theology using the methodology of the hermeneutical circle. It then seeks to examine the impact of Deaf Liberation Theology in practice over the past decade, in particular the impact especially through increasing self-confidence and self-esteem so that deaf people themselves feel empowered to work for social justice. It will use personal reflections by a number of deaf individuals in the UK as source material, and look at how this experience and developments in Deaf studies might develop into the future to further develop social justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
Open AccessEditorial Introduction: “Inward Being and Outward Identity: The Orthodox Churches in the 21st Century”
Religions 2017, 8(10), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100231
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 23 October 2017 / Accepted: 23 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
As the title indicates, taken together the thirteen papers in this Special Issue of Religions give a broad view of what might be called the inner and outer life of the Orthodox Church, with each of the papers focusing on a particular area
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As the title indicates, taken together the thirteen papers in this Special Issue of Religions give a broad view of what might be called the inner and outer life of the Orthodox Church, with each of the papers focusing on a particular area of research and reflection [...]
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Open AccessArticle Five-Factor Structure of the Spiritual Transcendence Scale and Its Relationship with Clinical Psychological Distress in Emerging Adults
Religions 2017, 8(10), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100230
Received: 22 July 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 20 October 2017
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Abstract
This study examined the factor structure of the Spiritual Transcendence Scale (STS) and its relation to clinically significant psychological distress in 644 (445 female) emerging adults from a private, Catholic university. The STS is broadly used in psychological research as a measure of
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This study examined the factor structure of the Spiritual Transcendence Scale (STS) and its relation to clinically significant psychological distress in 644 (445 female) emerging adults from a private, Catholic university. The STS is broadly used in psychological research as a measure of spirituality. However, previous work has identified extensive psychometric problems with the STS, including variable factor structures and poor internal consistencies for its subscales. Results from exploratory factor analyses suggested a five-factor structure that accounted for over 57% of variance. Confirmatory factor analyses suggested this five-factor structure provided significantly better fit than the originally purported three-factor structure. Females reported significantly higher STS scores. Males with low reported spirituality reported significantly greater (and clinically significant) symptoms of psychological distress than lowly and moderately spiritual males. Females reporting low, moderate, and high levels of spirituality did not report significantly different levels of psychological distress. The findings provided contrasting conclusions from previous psychometric work on the STS, encourage continued study of its dimensionality across populations, and suggest a unique relationship between the STS and clinically significant psychological distress in emerging adults. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Religious Diversity and Freedom of Conscience in the Arabic Countries Facing Globalization and Migration
Religions 2017, 8(10), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100229
Received: 22 August 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
Muslim societies are facing the new challenges of cultural and religious diversity. They are experiencing migratory phenomena, or because they are countries of immigration (such as in the Persian Gulf monarchies and emirates) or countries that are becoming a new destination of migrants
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Muslim societies are facing the new challenges of cultural and religious diversity. They are experiencing migratory phenomena, or because they are countries of immigration (such as in the Persian Gulf monarchies and emirates) or countries that are becoming a new destination of migrants (such as Morocco and other North African nations). These challenges are increasingly urgent due to the effects of other globalization vectors such as new communication technologies that cross all boundaries and foster unprecedented conversions. The purpose of this contribution is limited to the religious aspect of the new forms of diversification faced by Muslim countries. The goal is to analyze to what extent this process biases traditional ways of managing religious diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Diversity in a Pluralistic Society)
Open AccessArticle Goal-Oriented Ethics: Framing the Goal-Setting Concretely
Religions 2017, 8(10), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100228
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 30 September 2017 / Accepted: 7 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
Joseph Selling, professor emeritus from KU Leuven, Belgium, recently made a significant contribution towards ethical methodology. It is in fact a continuation of the in-house conversations that have been in vogue about methods in moral reasoning since Vatican II in the discipline called
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Joseph Selling, professor emeritus from KU Leuven, Belgium, recently made a significant contribution towards ethical methodology. It is in fact a continuation of the in-house conversations that have been in vogue about methods in moral reasoning since Vatican II in the discipline called theological ethics. What is specific about Selling’s attempt is that he re-orients or reframes the evaluation of the moral event to consider human intentionality or motivation before considering human behavior or human acts. He convincingly establishes his method by a meticulous reading of Thomas Aquinas. This paper is a response to the goal-oriented ethics that he has posited. As illustrated below, this paper evaluates the goal-oriented approach as solid and sufficient. While fully endorsing this approach, this paper argues that the process of ethical goal-setting is to be framed concretely. In a concrete historical context, so that a goal-oriented approach fully serves its purpose, this paper proposes that it is to be reinforced by four supportive pillars, which are in fact assumed by Selling in his work. They are openness to human sciences, conversation among various narratives, positing a theological frame for ethical reasoning, and recourse to non-discursive reasoning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics) Printed Edition available
Open AccessReview Spirituality in Nursing: An Overview of Research Methods
Religions 2017, 8(10), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100226
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
Spirituality has been widely considered important for patients’ health and for healthcare practice and is related to connectedness, meaning in life, and transcendence. Research concerning spirituality is growing rapidly, and the implementation of spiritual care should be based on evidence. This literature review
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Spirituality has been widely considered important for patients’ health and for healthcare practice and is related to connectedness, meaning in life, and transcendence. Research concerning spirituality is growing rapidly, and the implementation of spiritual care should be based on evidence. This literature review aims to describe the methods that have been used in nursing research focusing on spirituality. The electronic search on databases through EBSCOhost identified 2091 citations, and a total of 231 studies were included. The methods used in research on spirituality in nursing are mostly quantitative (52.4%), but some are qualitative (42.8%) and mixed (4.8%). Regarding the quantitative research, most studies are observational (90.9%), and these are mainly descriptive (82.7%) and correlational (17.3%). Most studies used a cross-sectional design (98.7%), and few used longitudinal design (1.3%). The qualitative research is descriptive (39.4%), phenomenological (26.3%), and grounded theory (14.1%). Research on spirituality in nursing is based on both main paradigms (quantitative and qualitative), but also on mixed methods. Studies have mainly been conducted using cross-sectional designs when compared to longitudinal designs. The latter seem to constitute a gap in nursing knowledge and evidence regarding the changes of spirituality over time, which is particularly important for nurses’ delivery of spiritual care. Full article
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Open AccessArticle How a Model of Communication Can Assist Nurses to Foster Hope When Communicating with Patients Living with a Terminal Prognosis
Religions 2017, 8(10), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100227
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
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Abstract
Nurses play a central role in joint decision-making and person-centred care, whereby care is focused on the needs of an individual patient. A key part of person-centred care is the way nurses engage with patients because good communication can impact on a person’s
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Nurses play a central role in joint decision-making and person-centred care, whereby care is focused on the needs of an individual patient. A key part of person-centred care is the way nurses engage with patients because good communication can impact on a person’s spiritual wellbeing, particularly in relation to their ability to have hope. The way nurses communicate can be even more pertinent for people living with a terminal prognosis as the issues discussed can in themselves significantly influence a person’s spiritual wellbeing. This paper combines contemporary research on how health professionals can foster hope in patients living with a terminal prognosis with The Awareness Context Theory described by Glaser and Strauss in 1965. A model of communication is then used to demonstrate how the research on hope and The Awareness Context Theory can be applied to practice. Full article
Open AccessArticle “He Who Enters the Bath-House Utters Two Blessings”: On the Evolvement and Decline of an Ancient Jewish Prayer
Religions 2017, 8(10), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100225
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 16 October 2017
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Abstract
One of the improvements introduced by the Romans was the public bath-house. This article discusses the formation of Jewish prayers, which were composed during the early rabbinic period, following the dangers of the public baths. Sages from late antiquity published two prayers: Before
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One of the improvements introduced by the Romans was the public bath-house. This article discusses the formation of Jewish prayers, which were composed during the early rabbinic period, following the dangers of the public baths. Sages from late antiquity published two prayers: Before entering to the bathhouse, the bather has to pray for his safety, and after leaving the bath-house he has to thank Gd for not having suffered harm. The dangers of the bathhouse were deemed to include: Weakness, fainting or dehydration due to the heat of the bathhouse; Legs injury of the bathers due to the heat of the warm floor; Dental damage; Sliding on the wet floor; Fear of death due to collapse of the hypocaust. Due to changes in the bath-house in the modern era; these prayers lost their relevance up to a point; or at any rate; they were no longer prescribed or recorded in practice. Bathhouse heaters were no longer located in the hypocaust; and were rather only located close to the wall of the upper room. Hence; falling into the hot lower space was irrelevant. Following the introduction of domestic baths; these prayers have completely vanished. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Theocentric Love Ethics
Religions 2017, 8(10), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100224
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 1 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
Joseph Selling proposes a contemporary revision of natural law ethics, making it more person-centered. Earlier James Gustafson insisted that natural law ethics was too egoist or anthropocentric, so his work proposed theocentrism as a corrective. Richard Gula in turn proposed an ethics that
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Joseph Selling proposes a contemporary revision of natural law ethics, making it more person-centered. Earlier James Gustafson insisted that natural law ethics was too egoist or anthropocentric, so his work proposed theocentrism as a corrective. Richard Gula in turn proposed an ethics that centers on imitating God’s relationships. This essay combines the merits of all three with the author’s own love-covenant basis for ethics. It contrasts secular and religious ethics, with the latter incorporating cooperation in communion with God. One strand of Aquinas’s theology indicates that religious discernment is an affective process of union with God, but the typical ways of describing this union court significant dangers of reducing either God to self or self to God. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics) Printed Edition available
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On Not Understanding Extraordinary Language in the Buddhist Tantra of Japan
Religions 2017, 8(10), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100223
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 1 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
The question motivating this essay is how tantric Buddhist practitioners in Japan understood language such as to believe that mantra, dhāraṇī, and related forms are efficacious. “Extraordinary language” is introduced as a cover term for these several similar language uses found in
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The question motivating this essay is how tantric Buddhist practitioners in Japan understood language such as to believe that mantra, dhāraṇī, and related forms are efficacious. “Extraordinary language” is introduced as a cover term for these several similar language uses found in tantric Buddhist practices in Japan. The essay proceeds to a critical examination of Anglo-American philosophy of language to determine whether the concepts, categories, and concerns of that field can contribute to the analysis and understanding of extraordinary language. However, that philosophy of language does not contribute to this analysis, as it is constrained by its continuing focus on its founding concepts, dating particularly from the work of Frege. Comparing it to Indic thought regarding language reveals a distinct mismatch, further indicating the limiting character of the philosophy of language. The analysis then turns to examine two other explanations of tantric language use found in religious studies literature: magical language and performative language. These also, however, prove to be unhelpful. While the essay is primarily critical, one candidate for future constructive study is historical pragmatics, as suggested by Ronald Davidson. The central place of extraordinary language indicates that Indic reflections on the nature of language informed tantric Buddhist practice in Japan and are not simply cultural baggage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Open AccessArticle Reincarnation in America: A Brief Historical Overview
Religions 2017, 8(10), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100222
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 1 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
American theories of reincarnation have a long and complex history, dating from 1680s to the present. It is the purpose of this paper to highlight the main currents of reincarnation theory in the American context, giving a brief historical survey. Sources surveyed begin
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American theories of reincarnation have a long and complex history, dating from 1680s to the present. It is the purpose of this paper to highlight the main currents of reincarnation theory in the American context, giving a brief historical survey. Sources surveyed begin with Native American traditions, and then move to immigrant traditions based in Western Esotericism, Christianity, Judaism, missionary Hinduism and Buddhism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, and concludes with more current theoretical influences, based in paranormal science research. The paper demonstrates that current theories of reincarnation are increasingly less dependent upon religious support and increasingly based in direct personal experience, paranormal research, and new therapeutic models. The paper concludes with some reflections on the complexity of reincarnation theory and raises questions concerning the future development of such theory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle The Dead Speak: A Case Study from the Tiwa Tribe Highlighting the Hybrid World of Śākta Tantra in Assam
Religions 2017, 8(10), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100221
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, we shall examine how possession is understood in Assam, India. We are aware that the larger northeastern frontier of India retained indigenous practices, religious festivals, and beliefs in a plethora of exotic goddesses, rituals, which have continued unabated through modern
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In this paper, we shall examine how possession is understood in Assam, India. We are aware that the larger northeastern frontier of India retained indigenous practices, religious festivals, and beliefs in a plethora of exotic goddesses, rituals, which have continued unabated through modern times. This has resulted in cross-pollination between the Vedic or traditional Brahmanical or orthodox Hindu practices and the indigenous practices, which in turn has yielded a hybrid world of Śākta Tantra rituals and practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
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Open AccessArticle Naturalism, Normativity, and the Study of Religion
Religions 2017, 8(10), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100220
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 19 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
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Abstract
This article repudiates the common view that the study of religion, in order to qualify as academic, must be descriptively neutral and naturalistic rather than normative or prescriptive. Following philosophers like John McDowell, John Cottingham, and Tyler Roberts, I claim that such a
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This article repudiates the common view that the study of religion, in order to qualify as academic, must be descriptively neutral and naturalistic rather than normative or prescriptive. Following philosophers like John McDowell, John Cottingham, and Tyler Roberts, I claim that such a methodological stance amounts to viewing humans as determined rather than free agents. On the basis of W.V.O. Quine and Donald Davidson’s analysis of translation, I argue that normativity is ineliminable from humanistic scholarship, which is itself inextricable from religious studies. Robert Pippin and Thomas A. Lewis’s readings of Hegel then provide resources to reconcile human freedom and constraint in religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Description, Prescription, and Value in the Study of Religion)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Remembering the Neighborhood: Church, Disability, and Religious Memory
Religions 2017, 8(10), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100219
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
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Abstract
This article focuses on rituals of community life within a North American church in which many of the congregants live with psychiatric disabilities and whose participation in religious life is affected by their experiences of poverty and gentrification. I begin by exploring an
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This article focuses on rituals of community life within a North American church in which many of the congregants live with psychiatric disabilities and whose participation in religious life is affected by their experiences of poverty and gentrification. I begin by exploring an aesthetic practice of remembrance that the postcolonial scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak identifies and performs in an essay entitled “Harlem”. Drawing upon Spivak’s description of an imaginative practice she identifies as “teleiopoiesis” and my own ethnographic research, including participant observation and interviews, I analyze an example of how this community incorporates visual art into its practices of communal memory as part of one church’s weeklong liturgy. I then argue for the church’s gathering of members from across the city as a practice of remembrance across time and space that confronts the structures and injustices of urban life that challenge the communal identity emerging from this congregation’s religious practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
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