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Religions, Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2017)

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Cover Story Christianity has always rejected reincarnation teaching as being incompatible with the uniqueness [...] Read more.
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Editorial

Jump to: Research

Open AccessEditorial Introduction to Special Issue “English Poetry and Christianity”
Religions 2017, 8(9), 161; doi:10.3390/rel8090161
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
The hallowed scholarly area known as “Religion and Literature” has been seeking to expand itself, clarify itself, and even justify itself over the last decade or two.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue English Poetry and Christianity)
Open AccessEditorial Introduction to “Cognitive Science and the Study of Yoga and Tantra”
Religions 2017, 8(9), 181; doi:10.3390/rel8090181
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
The range of disciplines known as the Cognitive Science of Religions (CSR), which has emerged in recent decades, embraces many areas and specializations within the Academy, including cognitive science, linguistics, neuroscience, and religious studies.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Science and the Study of Yoga and Tantra)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle Remarriage Timing: Does Religion Matter?
Religions 2017, 8(9), 160; doi:10.3390/rel8090160
Received: 21 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
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Abstract
Using pooled data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG 2006–2010), we examine the effects of denominational affiliation, worship service attendance, and religious salience on remarriage timing. Survival analyses indicate that both men and women affiliated with conservative Protestant faith traditions are
[...] Read more.
Using pooled data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG 2006–2010), we examine the effects of denominational affiliation, worship service attendance, and religious salience on remarriage timing. Survival analyses indicate that both men and women affiliated with conservative Protestant faith traditions are significantly more likely than their unaffiliated and Catholic counterparts to remarry at an accelerated pace following divorce. Results further show that, net of religious affiliation and socio-demographic characteristics, worship service attendance accelerates remarriage timing, whereas the effects of religious salience are weaker or unobserved. These results are largely consistent with prior research on denominational variations in the timing of first marriage and underscore the robust influence of religion on the institution of marriage. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Reality and the Verifiability of Reincarnation
Religions 2017, 8(9), 162; doi:10.3390/rel8090162
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
We investigate the topic of reincarnation by revisiting a recent debate from the pages of the journal Philosophy East and West between Whitley Kaufman, who presents five moral objections to karma and reincarnation as an explanation for human suffering, and Monima Chadha and
[...] Read more.
We investigate the topic of reincarnation by revisiting a recent debate from the pages of the journal Philosophy East and West between Whitley Kaufman, who presents five moral objections to karma and reincarnation as an explanation for human suffering, and Monima Chadha and Nick Trakakis, who seek to respond to Kaufman’s critiques. Our discussion of four of the problems analysed in their exchange will suggest that while the rejoinders of Chadha and Trakakis to Kaufman consist of plausible logical possibilities which successfully rebut some of his criticisms, the scenarios that they sketch are grounded in specific metaphysical theses about the nature of the human person and the structure of reality. The cogency of the responses that Chadha and Trakakis formulate is integrally related to the acceptance of these metaphysical presuppositions which need to be highlighted more clearly as we seek to understand what is at stake in the dispute. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle Christian Conversion, the Double Consciousness, and Transcendentalist Religious Rhetoric
Religions 2017, 8(9), 163; doi:10.3390/rel8090163
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
Despite the theological gulf that separated the Transcendentalists from their Puritan predecessors, certain leading Transcendentalists—Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau among them—often punctuated their writings, published and private, with literary representations of dramatic episodes of spiritual awakening whose rhetorical structure sometimes betrays suggestive parallels with
[...] Read more.
Despite the theological gulf that separated the Transcendentalists from their Puritan predecessors, certain leading Transcendentalists—Emerson, Fuller, and Thoreau among them—often punctuated their writings, published and private, with literary representations of dramatic episodes of spiritual awakening whose rhetorical structure sometimes betrays suggestive parallels with traditional, recognizably Christian, forms of conversion rhetoric. While all of these Transcendentalists clearly showcase representations of dramatic religious experience in their work, this reliance on Christian rhetorical patterns is most obvious in the early writings of Emerson and Fuller. Thoreau’s constructions reflect little ostensible Christian influence, yet even here, thematic continuities with earlier forms of religious self-expression are discernible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessArticle Sovereignty of the Living Individual: Emerson and James on Politics and Religion
Religions 2017, 8(9), 164; doi:10.3390/rel8090164
Received: 20 July 2017 / Revised: 20 August 2017 / Accepted: 20 August 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
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Abstract
William James and Ralph Waldo Emerson are both committed individualists. However, in what do their individualisms consist and to what degree do they resemble each other? This essay demonstrates that James’s individualism is strikingly similar to Emerson’s. By taking James’s own understanding of
[...] Read more.
William James and Ralph Waldo Emerson are both committed individualists. However, in what do their individualisms consist and to what degree do they resemble each other? This essay demonstrates that James’s individualism is strikingly similar to Emerson’s. By taking James’s own understanding of Emerson’s philosophy as a touchstone, I argue that both see individualism to consist principally in self-reliance, receptivity, and vocation. Putting these two figures’ understandings of individualism in comparison illuminates under-appreciated aspects of each figure, for example, the political implications of their individualism, the way that their religious individuality is politically engaged, and the importance of exemplarity to the politics and ethics of both of them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessArticle The Racialization of Islam in the United States: Islamophobia, Hate Crimes, and “Flying while Brown”
Religions 2017, 8(9), 165; doi:10.3390/rel8090165
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 20 August 2017 / Accepted: 24 August 2017 / Published: 26 August 2017
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Abstract
This paper explores the intersectionality of race and Islamophobia by using a set of empirical data relating to the experiences of American Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States. Through a multi-tiered methodology, the paper reveals how racialization processes interact with Islamophobic discourses
[...] Read more.
This paper explores the intersectionality of race and Islamophobia by using a set of empirical data relating to the experiences of American Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States. Through a multi-tiered methodology, the paper reveals how racialization processes interact with Islamophobic discourses and actions in American society. Specifically, the dataset is anchored in U.S. public perceptions of American Muslims, hate crime incidents against Muslims and non-Muslims, and the institutionalization of Islamophobia. The paper, which shows how race is endemic to Islamophobic incidents, appeals to the general U.S. public, especially community members from religious, political, academic, civil rights, and social justice backgrounds. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Glorified Body: Corporealities in the Catholic Tradition
Religions 2017, 8(9), 166; doi:10.3390/rel8090166
Received: 5 August 2017 / Revised: 23 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
The rise of new technologies—robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology among them—gave the American computer scientist Bill Joy certain pause for deep concern; these, he cautioned, carry the very real potential to push humankind toward extinction. In this essay, I explore an often understated
[...] Read more.
The rise of new technologies—robotics, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology among them—gave the American computer scientist Bill Joy certain pause for deep concern; these, he cautioned, carry the very real potential to push humankind toward extinction. In this essay, I explore an often understated reference in conversations on the promises and shortcomings of said technologies: the disposability of the human body. The Catholic tradition, in particular, boasts a rich and extensive collection of teachings on the theology of the body, which addresses, among other things, the significance of the body for human identity, its relationship to the soul, our (restrained) rights and mastery over it, its (proper) uses over the course of life, its relationship with other bodies, the value of its limitations, and its postmortem fate. Here, I engage the Church’s understanding of the centrality of the body alongside currents in transhumanist philosophy which champion technologies that neglect, or intentionally seek to discard, the body in the name of progress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and the New Technologies)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Buying an Afterlife: Mapping the Social Impact of Religious Beliefs through Consumer Death Goods
Religions 2017, 8(9), 167; doi:10.3390/rel8090167
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
Choosing to have a body embalmed, the choice of interment locations and type, including the selection of a particular casket, are all deeply intertwined with various understandings of the afterlife, and views of the body after death. Consumer choices in these cases are
[...] Read more.
Choosing to have a body embalmed, the choice of interment locations and type, including the selection of a particular casket, are all deeply intertwined with various understandings of the afterlife, and views of the body after death. Consumer choices in these cases are often determined by imagined embodiment, and are determined in part by non-rational consumer choices based on religious upbringing and belief. In turn, diasporic and religious identity can be reinforced and solidified through consumer choices that then fulfill religious imaginations of post-death embodiment. This article traces the relationship of two consumer death goods—embalming and caskets—in the contemporary United States, examining both the implicit and explicit relationships these products have with religious worldviews, mapping the social impact of religious beliefs on consumer death choices. Full article
Open AccessArticle Namaste Theory: A Quantitative Grounded Theory on Religion and Spirituality in Mental Health Treatment
Religions 2017, 8(9), 168; doi:10.3390/rel8090168
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 11 August 2017 / Accepted: 25 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
A growing body of research is beginning to identify characteristics that influence or are related to helping professionals’ integration of clients’ religion and spirituality (RS) in mental health treatment. This article presents Namaste Theory, a new theory for understanding the role of mental
[...] Read more.
A growing body of research is beginning to identify characteristics that influence or are related to helping professionals’ integration of clients’ religion and spirituality (RS) in mental health treatment. This article presents Namaste Theory, a new theory for understanding the role of mental health practitioners’ RS in clinical practice. Using Glaser’s (2008) formal quantitative grounded theory approach, this article describes an emerging theme in the author’s line of work—particularly that practitioners’ intrinsic religiosity is significantly related to their consideration of clients’ RS—and explores the findings of related, interdisciplinary studies. The Hindu term, Namaste, meaning, “the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you”, provided a framework to explain the emerging theme. Specifically, Namaste Theory introduces the concept that as helping professionals infuse their own RS beliefs/practices into their daily lives, deepening their intrinsic religiosity and awareness of what they deem sacred, they tend to consider and integrate clients’ RS beliefs/practices, and what clients consider sacred as well. In order words, as the helping professional recognizes the sacred within him or herself, s/he appears to be more open to recognizing the sacred within his/her client. Future directions for research, as well as practice and education implications, are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Diversity vs. Pluralism: Reflections on the Current Situation in the United States
Religions 2017, 8(9), 169; doi:10.3390/rel8090169
Received: 5 August 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
The United States has considerable religious and ethnic diversity; it has not always embraced pluralism. Known as “a nation of immigrants”, religion has often been seen as a way to integrate newcomers into its national project. That may have worked for European immigrants,
[...] Read more.
The United States has considerable religious and ethnic diversity; it has not always embraced pluralism. Known as “a nation of immigrants”, religion has often been seen as a way to integrate newcomers into its national project. That may have worked for European immigrants, who could become ‘White’; it has not worked so well for other ethnic migrants, who could not. The result is a diverse intersectionality that as the present moment is a source of significant religious, ethnic, and political division. Are calls for a vaguely defined “pluralism” enough? No, because deeper social factors are at work. These include increasing economic inequality, a complex split between socio-economic elites and the rest of the population, and shifts in the nature of the religious field. The latter include increased religious individualism, individually oriented prosperity theology, and a sectarian turn among American Evangelicals. Such factors make any simple call for pluralist engagement at best naïve. It is an open question whether or how social unity might be sufficiently reforged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Diversity in a Pluralistic Society)
Open AccessArticle ‘Neither Victim nor Executioner’: Essential Insights from Secularization Theory for the Revitalization of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Contemporary World
Religions 2017, 8(9), 170; doi:10.3390/rel8090170
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 11 August 2017 / Accepted: 16 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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Abstract
This essay explores two recent expressions of hostility towards secularization by Russian Orthodox officials (one from the Holy Synod of ROCOR and the other from Metropolitan Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev), and evaluates the likely consequences of this hostility. Drawing from secularization theorists including Peter
[...] Read more.
This essay explores two recent expressions of hostility towards secularization by Russian Orthodox officials (one from the Holy Synod of ROCOR and the other from Metropolitan Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev), and evaluates the likely consequences of this hostility. Drawing from secularization theorists including Peter Berger, Jose Casanova, and Charles Taylor, as well as the thought of Albert Camus, this essay argues that the long-term health of the Russian Orthodox Church will benefit from embracing insights from secularization theorists rather than attempting to “desecularize” Russian society with state support. Full article
Open AccessArticle Pietas Austriaca? The Imperial Legacy in Interwar and Postwar Austria
Religions 2017, 8(9), 171; doi:10.3390/rel8090171
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 11 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract
This paper aims to outline the specific Habsburg character of Austrian Catholicism through a study of Pietas Austriaca, the supposed Habsburg tradition of Catholic piety, and its role in the First and Second Austrian Republics. It analyzes the narrative of Austrian history
[...] Read more.
This paper aims to outline the specific Habsburg character of Austrian Catholicism through a study of Pietas Austriaca, the supposed Habsburg tradition of Catholic piety, and its role in the First and Second Austrian Republics. It analyzes the narrative of Austrian history presented by the Heldendenkmal, or Heroes’ Monument, which was erected in Vienna in 1934. Further, it argues that Pietas Austriaca was linked in the postwar period to a notion of Heimat (Home, Homeland) and served the needs of Austrian political Catholicism, which was seeking to recruit former National Socialists. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transcendental Trinitarian: James Marsh, the Free Will Problem, and the American Intellectual Context of Coleridge’s Aids to Reflection
Religions 2017, 8(9), 172; doi:10.3390/rel8090172
Received: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
Historians of American religion and Transcendentalism have long known of James Marsh as a catalyst for the Concord Transcendentalist movement. The standard narrative suggests that the Congregationalist Marsh naively imported Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Aids to Reflection (Am. ed. 1829) hoping to revivify orthodoxy
[...] Read more.
Historians of American religion and Transcendentalism have long known of James Marsh as a catalyst for the Concord Transcendentalist movement. The standard narrative suggests that the Congregationalist Marsh naively imported Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Aids to Reflection (Am. ed. 1829) hoping to revivify orthodoxy in America. By providing a “Preliminary Essay” to explain Coleridge’s abstruse theology, Marsh injected Coleridge’s hijacked Kantian epistemology—with its distinction between Reason and Understanding—into American discourse. This epistemology inspired Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bronson Alcott, and it helped spark the Transcendentalists’ largely post-Christian religious convictions. This article provides a re-evaluation of Marsh’s philosophical theology by attending to the precise historical moment that Marsh chose to publish the Aids to Reflection and his “Preliminary Essay.” By the late 1820s, the philosophical problem of free will lurked in American religious discourse—Unitarian as well as Trinitarian—and Marsh sought to exploit the problem as a way to explain how aspects of Trinitarian Christianity might be rational and yet unexplainable. Attending carefully to the numerous philosophical and religious discourses of the moment—including Unitarianism, Trinitarianism, Kant, Coleridge, and Scottish Common Sense—and providing close readings of the historical philosophers Marsh engaged, this article shows how James Marsh laid the epistemological groundwork for a new romanticized Christianity that was distinct from the Concord Transcendentalists, but nonetheless part of its historical lineage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessArticle Dazzling Displays and Hidden Departures: Bodhisattva Pedagogy as Performance in the Biographies of Two Twentieth Century Tibetan Buddhist Masters
Religions 2017, 8(9), 173; doi:10.3390/rel8090173
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
This article, part of a special issue on pedagogy and performance in Tibetan Buddhism, explores two closely-related yet apparently opposite Tibetan repertoires of virtuoso Buddhist mastery as sites of performative pedagogy. One of these modes of Buddhist mastery is connected with the ideal
[...] Read more.
This article, part of a special issue on pedagogy and performance in Tibetan Buddhism, explores two closely-related yet apparently opposite Tibetan repertoires of virtuoso Buddhist mastery as sites of performative pedagogy. One of these modes of Buddhist mastery is connected with the ideal virtuoso figure of the yogic siddha, or druptop (Tib. grub thob), and with remarkable manifestations of yogic prowess (what are sometimes called yogic “miracles” in English). The other mode is connected with the ideal of renunciation, and the Tibetan Buddhist virtuoso figure of the renunciant hermit-wanderer, or chatralwa (Tib. bya bral ba). In Indic and Tibetan literature, both of these repertoires of Buddhist mastery are classically associated with a bodhisattva’s teaching activity in the world, and with a bodhisattva’s use of many kinds of skillful means (Skt. upāya; Tib. thabs) to develop individuals on the Buddhist path. (A bodhisattva, in Mahayana Buddhist terms, is someone who has vowed to achieve Buddhahood to benefit others.) I explore how these related modes of virtuoso pedagogical performance emerge in oral and textual life stories of two notable twentieth-century Tibetan masters. These modes of virtuoso Buddhist pedagogy and Tibetan ways of talking about them challenge our understandings of what it means to “perform” and what it means to “renounce,” with renunciation emerging as a guarantor of the genuineness of someone’s altruism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pedagogy and Performance in Tibetan Buddhism)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle How to Constitute a Field of Merit: Structure and Flexibility in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery’s Curriculum
Religions 2017, 8(9), 174; doi:10.3390/rel8090174
Received: 17 August 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 7 September 2017
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Abstract
The written curriculum of Tibet’s prestigious Mindrölling monastery, composed in 1689, marries a firm pedagogical structure with flexibility for individual students. This reflects the monastery’s balance of institutional priorities, shaped by its religious, cultural, and political climate. The curriculum’s author was Terdak Lingpa,
[...] Read more.
The written curriculum of Tibet’s prestigious Mindrölling monastery, composed in 1689, marries a firm pedagogical structure with flexibility for individual students. This reflects the monastery’s balance of institutional priorities, shaped by its religious, cultural, and political climate. The curriculum’s author was Terdak Lingpa, a charismatic visionary and systematizer of the “Ancient” or Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism who forged alliances with the Fifth Dalai Lama’s government in Lhasa starting in the seventeenth century. As part of Mindrölling’s formal constitutional document, the curriculum commits students and teachers to a distinctive approach to Buddhist training and helps to constitute the monastery and its members as a Buddhist “field of merit.” As such, Mindrölling is presented as a worthy recipient of support and protection from patrons and of respect from the community. The curriculum reflects a variety of overarching priorities for a relatively diverse student body over time and therefore calls for individual flexibility within a reliable and sustainable institutional structure. In this way, the curriculum demonstrates Mindrölling’s identity as a bridge between the potentially competing values of the Tibetan Buddhist schools of the author’s day. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pedagogy and Performance in Tibetan Buddhism)
Open AccessArticle Black Lesbians to the Rescue! A Brief Correction with Implications for Womanist Christian Theology and Womanist Buddhology
Religions 2017, 8(9), 175; doi:10.3390/rel8090175
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract
Foundational Black Womanist Christian Theology has suffered from the focus on Alice Walker’s 1983 four-part womanist definition at the exclusion of her 1979 short story, Coming Apart. The focus on the 1983 definition and the exclusion of Coming Apart has left an
[...] Read more.
Foundational Black Womanist Christian Theology has suffered from the focus on Alice Walker’s 1983 four-part womanist definition at the exclusion of her 1979 short story, Coming Apart. The focus on the 1983 definition and the exclusion of Coming Apart has left an invisbilizing effect on the centrality of reliance on African-American lesbian literature and wisdom in womanist Christian methodology. The invisibilization can be corrected, in part, through interpolating Coming Apart with the 1983 definition, utilizing a Black Buddhist lesbian Womanist hermeneutic, and additional Womanist engagement in Womanist Consultations. This correction has implications for Christian theologies that may be heterosexist, homophobic, and patriarchal, Biblical interpretation, preaching, and epistemological processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race and Religion: New Approaches to African American Religions)
Open AccessArticle Belief in Reincarnation and Some Unresolved Questions in Catholic Eschatology
Religions 2017, 8(9), 176; doi:10.3390/rel8090176
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract
Mainstream Christianity has always rejected reincarnation teaching in all its varieties, e.g., Greco-Roman, Albigensian, Hindu, Buddhist, New Age, etc. as being incompatible with the biblical understanding of the uniqueness, dignity, and value of the human person, a teaching that is ultimately rooted in
[...] Read more.
Mainstream Christianity has always rejected reincarnation teaching in all its varieties, e.g., Greco-Roman, Albigensian, Hindu, Buddhist, New Age, etc. as being incompatible with the biblical understanding of the uniqueness, dignity, and value of the human person, a teaching that is ultimately rooted in the radical understanding of divine mercy and love toward every human being proclaimed by Jesus himself. Nevertheless, there are two strong arguments advanced by reincarnationists against the teaching of one earthly life. The first argument regards reincarnation as a more reasonable expression of divine mercy and love than the disproportionate and unfair infliction of eternal punishment by God upon a human being for a single morally corrupt lifetime. The second argument finds reincarnation to be necessary for the continued exercise of creaturely freedom required for true moral and spiritual maturation. Catholic teaching, by contrast, asserts that a single earthly life followed by purgatory is sufficient for the perfection and completion of the human person. However, in both the satisfaction and sanctification models of purgatory the human person is entirely passive, not actively contributing to its own completion. Such an approach would seem to devalue free human participation in the process of perfection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle Ethical Integration of Faith and Practice in Social Work Field Education: A Multi-Year Exploration in One Program
Religions 2017, 8(9), 177; doi:10.3390/rel8090177
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) prescribes competencies and professional behaviors for social work educational programs. Respective, individual programs may add program competencies and practice behaviors specific to their schools and universities. The study examines one program’s field education measurement of the
[...] Read more.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) prescribes competencies and professional behaviors for social work educational programs. Respective, individual programs may add program competencies and practice behaviors specific to their schools and universities. The study examines one program’s field education measurement of the additional competency: The ethical integration of faith and practice and behaviors related to clients, students, and practicum sites. More than 600 BSW and MSW students’ final field evaluations over a five-year period were examined for grades and for evidence of each of the faith and practice behaviors. Findings include students’ emphasis on their own ethics including use of supervision and honoring clients’ faith perspectives, students’ recognition of faith as strength and resource for clients; and students’ recording of the importance of agency context policies in the integration of faith and practice. Grades on the faith and practice competency were essentially equivalent to final field evaluation overall grades. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Reincarnation(s) of Jaya and Vijaya: A Journey through the Yugas
Religions 2017, 8(9), 178; doi:10.3390/rel8090178
Received: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
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Abstract
Among the earliest reincarnation narratives found in India’s Puranic texts, we find the stories of Jaya and Vijaya, the two gatekeepers of the spiritual world. Though there is little in these stories to explain reincarnation in a philosophical sense, the teaching of transmigration
[...] Read more.
Among the earliest reincarnation narratives found in India’s Puranic texts, we find the stories of Jaya and Vijaya, the two gatekeepers of the spiritual world. Though there is little in these stories to explain reincarnation in a philosophical sense, the teaching of transmigration is implicit in the stories themselves, for we follow the two gatekeepers through three successive incarnations (along with the three incarnations of the divine who follow them through their various lifetimes). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle Presenting a 4-Item Spiritual Well-Being Index (4-ISWBI)
Religions 2017, 8(9), 179; doi:10.3390/rel8090179
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 23 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
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Abstract
Spiritual well-being is perceived to be reflected in the quality of relationships that people have in four areas, namely with God, others, nature, and self. Many spiritual well-being questionnaires exist, but not many provide an adequate assessment of these four relationships. As part
[...] Read more.
Spiritual well-being is perceived to be reflected in the quality of relationships that people have in four areas, namely with God, others, nature, and self. Many spiritual well-being questionnaires exist, but not many provide an adequate assessment of these four relationships. As part of a survey of parental perceptions of holistic early childhood education in kindergartens in Hong Kong, 1383 parents and 165 teachers, from 22 kindergartens, completed a written survey questionnaire which helped to investigate the potential for a single question with four parts to provide a valid and reliable measure for spiritual well-being. Face, content, and construct validity were confirmed, together with Cronbach’s alpha providing a test for reliability. Similarity of findings from regression analysis of items in the 4-ISWBI with domains of spiritual well-being in the 20-item SHALOM, as well as partial discrimination by gender, reinforce the validity of the 4-ISWBI as a sound indicator of spiritual well-being and its four domains. In brief, the 4-Item Spiritual Well-Being Index (4-ISWBI) promises to be a handy instrument to aid researchers looking for a convenient, concise, coherent indicator, but not an exhaustive measure, of spiritual well-being. Full article
Open AccessArticle “The Necessary Result of Piety”: Slavery and Religious Establishments in South Carolina Presbyterianism, 1800–1840
Religions 2017, 8(9), 180; doi:10.3390/rel8090180
Received: 19 August 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
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Abstract
Historians have argued that disestablishment liberated American religion and allowed for the proliferation of religious practice and religious freedom, especially individualistic Evangelicalism in the South. This proposition reduced nearly all of southern Protestantism to Revivalist Evangelicalism, and failed to account for the powerful
[...] Read more.
Historians have argued that disestablishment liberated American religion and allowed for the proliferation of religious practice and religious freedom, especially individualistic Evangelicalism in the South. This proposition reduced nearly all of southern Protestantism to Revivalist Evangelicalism, and failed to account for the powerful presence of coercive Protestant religiosity in older southern states such as South Carolina. While they shared certain Evangelical particulars with frontier populations, Protestants in South Carolina, especially Presbyterians, rejected individualized religion in favor of religiosity that favored and nurtured activist state protection of both antidemocratic political norms and chattel slavery. This essay argues that ostensibly disestablished Presbyterianism in South Carolina helped intellectually erect and socially perpetuate coercive religious and state power. Full article
Open AccessArticle To Never See Death: Yeats, Reincarnation, and Resolving the Antinomies of the Body-Soul Dilemma
Religions 2017, 8(9), 182; doi:10.3390/rel8090182
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 27 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
This essay addresses the ideas and schemas of reincarnation as used in the poetry and prose of William Butler Yeats, with particular focus on the two editions of A Vision. It contrasts the metaphysical system as given in A Vision (1937) with
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This essay addresses the ideas and schemas of reincarnation as used in the poetry and prose of William Butler Yeats, with particular focus on the two editions of A Vision. It contrasts the metaphysical system as given in A Vision (1937) with a number of inconsistencies found in Yeats’s poetic corpus, with an emphasis on how one might interpolate an escape from the cycle of lives, in at least one possibility while still maintaining corporality. The justification for this last comes from an analysis of complex cabalistic metaphors and teachings that Yeats learned as a member of MacGregor Mathers’ Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
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Open AccessArticle “A Religious Recognition of Equality”: Liberal Spirituality and the Marriage Question in America, 1835–1850
Religions 2017, 8(9), 183; doi:10.3390/rel8090183
Received: 16 July 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
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Abstract
Studying texts by Lydia Maria Child, Sarah Grimke, and Margaret Fuller, this article seeks to recover the early phases of a dialogue that moved marriage away from an institution grounded in ideas of unification and toward a concept of marriage grounded in liberal
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Studying texts by Lydia Maria Child, Sarah Grimke, and Margaret Fuller, this article seeks to recover the early phases of a dialogue that moved marriage away from an institution grounded in ideas of unification and toward a concept of marriage grounded in liberal ideas about equality. It seeks to situate the “marriage question” within both the rhetoric of American antebellum reform and of liberal religious thought. Rather than concluding that these early texts facilitated a movement toward a contractarian ideal of marriage this article concludes that Child, Grimke, and Fuller, sought to discredit unification as an organizing idea for marriage and replace it with a definition that placed a spiritual commitment to equality between the partners as the animating core of the idea of marriage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transcendentalism and the Religious Experience)
Open AccessArticle Music’s Role in Facilitating the Process of Healing—A Thematic Analysis
Religions 2017, 8(9), 184; doi:10.3390/rel8090184
Received: 12 August 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 6 September 2017 / Published: 10 September 2017
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Abstract
This qualitative study aims to understand the factors motivating Korean migrants’ participation in weekly Charismatic Prayer Meetings in a Catholic Church. As music plays a crucial role in these meetings, the paper explores whether active engagement with music motivated the long-term commitment of
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This qualitative study aims to understand the factors motivating Korean migrants’ participation in weekly Charismatic Prayer Meetings in a Catholic Church. As music plays a crucial role in these meetings, the paper explores whether active engagement with music motivated the long-term commitment of participants to the meetings. The research is based on a thematic analysis of a focus group comprising six Korean adults living in Australia. Results show that music performed in religious forms such as Praise and Worship and Speaking/Singing in Tongues prayers was found to intensify spiritual experiences of the people as a group, and over time, each participant experienced improved physical and mental wellbeing, which in turn motivated further investment in the meetings. It was evident that the passionate group music-making enabled participants to focus on conscious and subconscious body, mind, and spirit, eliciting transpersonal experiences within each person. The findings of the current study are deemed relevant to this specific cohort and to others in similar contexts, where minority groups use worship and music for socio-cultural inclusion that addresses both spiritual and mental health issues. Though a small-scale study, the current paper provides a rationale for these religious groups to be involved in music-based spiritual practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music: Its Theologies and Spiritualities—A Global Perspective)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Dieter Schnebel: Spiritual Music Today
Religions 2017, 8(9), 185; doi:10.3390/rel8090185
Received: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 11 September 2017
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Abstract
This article presents an annotated English translation of the composer-theologian Dieter Schnebel’s seminal essay exploring music’s spiritual capacities. Speaking explicitly from his time and place, Schnebel considers compositional questions arising from the most advanced new music of European modernism. The approach is driven
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This article presents an annotated English translation of the composer-theologian Dieter Schnebel’s seminal essay exploring music’s spiritual capacities. Speaking explicitly from his time and place, Schnebel considers compositional questions arising from the most advanced new music of European modernism. The approach is driven by insights derived from Marxist critical theory and the “new theology” associated with Bonhoeffer, Bultmann, and others. Acknowledging the secularized, religionless society Bonhoeffer had predicted in 1944, Schnebel argues that an authentic geistliche Musik has always been one driven by a secularizing dynamic, pressing beyond the walls of the church to engage a broken world of injustice and suffering. For him, the experimental avant-garde is fertile ground, since a music of the Spirit is a new, non-conformist music engaged in renewal. A translator’s introduction analyzes briefly the major components of Schnebel’s thought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music: Its Theologies and Spiritualities—A Global Perspective)
Open AccessArticle Why Disability Studies Needs to Take Religion Seriously
Religions 2017, 8(9), 186; doi:10.3390/rel8090186
Received: 20 August 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
Religion and theology are central ways that many people make sense of the world and their own place in that world. But the insights of critical studies of religion, or what is sometimes positioned as religious studies as opposed to theology, are scarce
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Religion and theology are central ways that many people make sense of the world and their own place in that world. But the insights of critical studies of religion, or what is sometimes positioned as religious studies as opposed to theology, are scarce in disability literature. This article suggests some of the costs of this oversight and some of the benefits of including religion. First, this article discusses how some past scholarly engagements of disability and religion have misrepresented and denigrated Judaism. Second, it argues that Judaism paints different disabilities in quite different ways, and that we cannot coherently talk about “disability in Judaism” as if it is a single thing. Third, it discusses the medical model and the social model, and shows how one Jewish woman’s writing on pain complicates how we might think about these models. In this way, the article shows how religious studies can both help remedy past mistakes and bring new insights to disability studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
Open AccessArticle Religiosity and Relationship Quality of Dating Relationships: Examining Relationship Religiosity as a Mediator
Religions 2017, 8(9), 187; doi:10.3390/rel8090187
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
Individual and romantic partner religiosity are positively associated with marital quality. However, many studies focus on married couples, rather than examining dating relationships, and rely on single-item measures of religiosity. More importantly, few studies have examined the importance of relationship religiosity in the
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Individual and romantic partner religiosity are positively associated with marital quality. However, many studies focus on married couples, rather than examining dating relationships, and rely on single-item measures of religiosity. More importantly, few studies have examined the importance of relationship religiosity in the context of dating, despite the theoretical importance of this construct. Relationship religiosity is defined as participating in and discussing religiosity and spirituality with a current romantic partner. The goal of this study is to test relationship religiosity as a mediator between individual and partner religiosity for relationship quality of dating relationships using stringent measures of centrality of religiosity. Data for this study comes from 119 participants who were in dating relationships (74.8% female; mean age: 23.2 years). Participants completed a survey regarding their religiosity, their partners’ religiosity, the religiosity of their relationships, and the quality of their dating relationships. Mediation analyses via linear regression showed that relationship religiosity fully mediated the relationship between individual religiosity and relationship satisfaction and fully mediated the relationship between partner religiosity and relationship satisfaction. However, relationship religiosity was not associated with commitment. Results from the study emphasize the importance of dyadic religious activities for dating couples. Further implications will be discussed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Magicians, Sorcerers and Witches: Considering Pretantric, Non-sectarian Sources of Tantric Practices
Religions 2017, 8(9), 188; doi:10.3390/rel8090188
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 21 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
Most models on the origins of tantrism have been either inattentive to or dismissive of non-literate, non-sectarian ritual systems. Groups of magicians, sorcerers or witches operated in India since before the advent of tantrism and continued to perform ritual, entertainment and curative functions
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Most models on the origins of tantrism have been either inattentive to or dismissive of non-literate, non-sectarian ritual systems. Groups of magicians, sorcerers or witches operated in India since before the advent of tantrism and continued to perform ritual, entertainment and curative functions down to the present. There is no evidence that they were tantric in any significant way, and it is not clear that they were concerned with any of the liberation ideologies that are a hallmark of the sectarian systems, even while they had their own separate identities and specific divinities. This paper provides evidence for the durability of these systems and their continuation as sources for some of the ritual and nomenclature of the sectarian tantric traditions, including the predisposition to ritual creativity and bricolage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Open AccessArticle Piercing to the Pith of the Body: The Evolution of Body Mandala and Tantric Corporeality in Tibet
Religions 2017, 8(9), 189; doi:10.3390/rel8090189
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 20 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
Buddhist tantric practitioners embrace the liminal status of the human body to manifest divine identity. In piercing to the pith of human embodiment, the tantric practitioner reconfigures the shape and contours of his/her reality. This article investigates the evolution of one particular technique
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Buddhist tantric practitioners embrace the liminal status of the human body to manifest divine identity. In piercing to the pith of human embodiment, the tantric practitioner reconfigures the shape and contours of his/her reality. This article investigates the evolution of one particular technique for piercing to the pith of the body on Tibetan soil, a ritual practice known as body mandala [lus dkyil Skt. deha-maṇḍala]. In particular, it uncovers a significant shift of emphasis in the application of the Guhyasamāja body mandala practice initiated by champions of the emerging Gandenpa [Dga’ ldan pa] or Gelukpa [Dge lugs pa] tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Tsongkhapa (1357–1419) and Mkhas grub rje (1385–1438). This article reveals some of the radical implications of ritual exegesis, ranging from the socioreligious aspects of securing prestige for a tradition to the ultimate soteriological goals of modifying the boundaries between life and death and ordinary and enlightened embodiment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
Open AccessArticle What Are the “Long Nostrils” of YHWH?
Religions 2017, 8(9), 190; doi:10.3390/rel8090190
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 9 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
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Abstract
The mention of YHWH’s “nostrils” (ʾapayīm) in the Bible is classically interpreted as a metonymy of the face and/or a metaphor for anger. The reference to their length and even to their elongation, however, rules out any entirely satisfying explanation in
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The mention of YHWH’s “nostrils” (ʾapayīm) in the Bible is classically interpreted as a metonymy of the face and/or a metaphor for anger. The reference to their length and even to their elongation, however, rules out any entirely satisfying explanation in this semantic context. If this term is construed as a tuyère, as is identified in Dan 10:20, the use of ʾapayīm in Ex 15:8 becomes clear. This interpretation also explains the denotation of patience and loving-kindness as ʾerek ʾapayīm (the so-called “long nostrils” of YHWH) because the air pressure generated by a blast from a tuyère (=its power) decreases proportionally to its length. Accordingly, the liturgical formulae that includes this expression (Ex 34:6; Num 14:18; Joel 2:13; Jon 4:2; Pss 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Neh 9:17) praise YHWH for the forbearance of voluntarily restraining the power of his reaction to annoying events on earth. This interpretation also clarifies the use of ʾapapayīm in Isa 48:9; Jer 15:15, and Nah 1:3. Furthermore, these last-mentioned instances reveal that beyond their metaphoric meaning, the divine ʾapayīm evoke an essential attribute of YHWH. The significance of these findings is discussed in view of the duality of anthropomorphic and aniconic representations of YHWH in ancient Israel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body in the Bible)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Prayer, Meditation, and Anxiety: Durkheim Revisited
Religions 2017, 8(9), 191; doi:10.3390/rel8090191
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract
Durkheim argued that religion’s emphasis on the supernatural combined with its unique ability to foster strong collective bonds lent it power to confer distinctive social benefits. Subsequent research has confirmed these propositions with respect to religion and mental health. At the same time,
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Durkheim argued that religion’s emphasis on the supernatural combined with its unique ability to foster strong collective bonds lent it power to confer distinctive social benefits. Subsequent research has confirmed these propositions with respect to religion and mental health. At the same time, meditation has been linked to mental health benefits in intervention-based studies. Our investigation offers a unique test of two comparable inhibitors of anxiety-related symptoms in the general population, namely, prayer versus meditation. Using data from the 2010 wave of the Baylor Religion Survey, we find that frequent communal prayer is correlated with an increased incidence of anxiety-related symptoms whereas worship service attendance is negatively associated with reported anxiety. Attendance also combines with communal prayer to yield anxiety-reducing benefits. Meditation, measured as a dichotomous indicator, is unrelated to reported anxiety in our sample of American adults. Our study underscores the selective efficacy of collective forms of religious expression, and points to several promising directions for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health Outcomes)
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Open AccessArticle An 18th Century Jesuit “Refutation of Metempsychosis” in Sanskrit
Religions 2017, 8(9), 192; doi:10.3390/rel8090192
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 17 September 2017
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Abstract
The Punarjanmākṣepa, a work in Sanskrit from the 17th–18th century Jesuit milieu, aims at refuting the notion of reincarnation as believed by the Hindus in India. It discloses an interesting historical perspective of missionary comprehension and criticism of the belief. This paper
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The Punarjanmākṣepa, a work in Sanskrit from the 17th–18th century Jesuit milieu, aims at refuting the notion of reincarnation as believed by the Hindus in India. It discloses an interesting historical perspective of missionary comprehension and criticism of the belief. This paper briefly examines the context, purpose and the rhetorical strategies of the work and incidentally situates the subject of reincarnation in the 18th century European intellectual ideologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle From Fitnah to Thaura: The Metamorphosis of the Arab-Muslim Protest Movements
Religions 2017, 8(9), 193; doi:10.3390/rel8090193
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
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Abstract
Since 2011, the Arab world has entered a period of political turbulence accompanied by widespread growth of protest activity. The events that were metaphorically called the “Arab Spring” referring to the “Spring of Nations” of 1848, affected virtually all countries of the Middle
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Since 2011, the Arab world has entered a period of political turbulence accompanied by widespread growth of protest activity. The events that were metaphorically called the “Arab Spring” referring to the “Spring of Nations” of 1848, affected virtually all countries of the Middle East and North Africa. In Libya, Syria, and Yemen, antigovernment demonstrations led to almost complete destruction of statehood raising the question of the existence of these political entities in their former borders. Egypt and Tunisia ended up with a change in the ruling regimes that repeated many times. The ruling elites of other Arab countries, having experienced the wrath of the Arab streets to varying degrees, managed to stay in power. The “Arab Spring” events should be more adequately viewed in the framework of “fitnah”, a form of protest traditional in the Arab-Muslim political culture. Indeed, since the emergence of Islam, fitnah was one of the most common forms of protest activity in the Middle East. However, in the last two centuries, it was replaced by “thaura” or the “revolution,” much more common in the European mentality. While the term "fitnah" has mainly negative connotations, “thaura” has been praised in every possible way and even became the basis for commemorative practices. This paper makes an attempt to compare these two forms of protest in the Muslim world. Full article
Open AccessArticle Anger toward God(s) Among Undergraduates in India
Religions 2017, 8(9), 194; doi:10.3390/rel8090194
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 September 2017 / Published: 17 September 2017
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Abstract
Many people report occasional feelings of anger toward God. However, most evidence pertains to western, predominantly Christian populations. In this study, Indian university students (N = 139; 78% Hindu) completed a survey about anger toward God(s). Polytheists (45%) chose one god to
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Many people report occasional feelings of anger toward God. However, most evidence pertains to western, predominantly Christian populations. In this study, Indian university students (N = 139; 78% Hindu) completed a survey about anger toward God(s). Polytheists (45%) chose one god to focus on. Measurement invariance tests supported comparisons of anger toward God between the predominantly Hindu Indian sample and three mostly Christian U.S. undergraduate samples (Ns = 1040, 1811, 918). Indian participants reported more current and situation-specific anger toward God than U.S. participants, but less anger toward God over their lifetimes. In the Indian sample, anger toward God correlated positively with other indicators of religious/spiritual struggle, seeing God as cruel and distant, and seeing anger toward God as morally acceptable. Regarding an event involving suffering, anger toward God related positively to the event’s harmfulness, seeing God as responsible, seeing God’s actions as negative, and responses involving substance use and protest toward God. Generally, these findings replicated those from prior U.S. samples. Polytheists who preferred some gods over others or chose to follow a different god reported greater anger toward gods. Results uphold the comparability of anger toward God(s) between Indian and U.S. undergraduates while beginning to reveal key differences. Full article
Open AccessArticle Does Religious Involvement Mitigate the Effects of Major Discrimination on the Mental Health of African Americans? Findings from the Nashville Stress and Health Study
Religions 2017, 8(9), 195; doi:10.3390/rel8090195
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 17 September 2017
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Abstract
Several decades of scholarly research have revealed the significant toll of discrimination experiences on the well-being of African Americans. Given these findings, investigators have become increasingly interested in uncovering any potential resources made available to African Americans for mitigating the psychosocial strains of
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Several decades of scholarly research have revealed the significant toll of discrimination experiences on the well-being of African Americans. Given these findings, investigators have become increasingly interested in uncovering any potential resources made available to African Americans for mitigating the psychosocial strains of discrimination. The current study contributes to this literature by testing whether various indicators of religious involvement—e.g., church attendance, prayer, and religious social support—buffer the noxious effects of major discrimination experiences on the mental health outcomes (i.e., depression and life satisfaction) of African Americans. We analyze data from the African American subsample (n = 627) of Vanderbilt University’s Nashville Stress and Health Study, a cross-sectional probability sample of adults living in Davidson County, Tennessee between the years 2011 and 2014. Results from multivariate regression models indicated (1) experiences of major discrimination were positively associated with depression and negatively associated with life satisfaction, net of religious and sociodemographic controls; and (2) religious social support offset and buffered the adverse effects of major discrimination on both mental health outcomes, particularly for those respondents who reported seeking support the most often. We discuss the implications and limitations of our study, as well as avenues for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Mental Health Outcomes)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Rethinking Amalek in This 21st Century
Religions 2017, 8(9), 196; doi:10.3390/rel8090196
Received: 16 May 2017 / Revised: 15 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 18 September 2017
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Abstract
Twice in the Hebrew Bible—Exodus 17:14–16 and Deuteronomy 25: 17–19—the ancient Israelites were commanded to “blot out” the memory of Amalek, their enemy for all time (as God intended to do as well). Yet, because these texts are a part of Jewish (and
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Twice in the Hebrew Bible—Exodus 17:14–16 and Deuteronomy 25: 17–19—the ancient Israelites were commanded to “blot out” the memory of Amalek, their enemy for all time (as God intended to do as well). Yet, because these texts are a part of Jewish (and Christian) religious traditions, annually these passages are read in the synagogue on the appropriate Sabbath occasions in the annual reading cycle, and linked to the Festival of Purim that is based on the Book of Esther. Over the course of Jewish history, Amalek has served as the symbolic enemy of the Jewish people (e.g., Armenians, Nazis, Palestinians); indeed, all of the enemies of the Jews were and are understood to be descendants of the original Amalekites, and thus worthy not only of enmity but of destruction as well (e.g., Haman, Antiochus, Titus, Hadrian, Torquemada, Khmelnitsky, Hitler). Today, many of those in Israel allied with the so-called “settler movement” associated with right-of-center Orthodox Judaism and located among populations primarily of Palestinian Muslims, and Arabs view them as the descendants of Amalek as well, and thus sanction and legitimate their own at times violent actions and behaviors. At its most transparent level, responding to Amalek is a response to antisemitism, both historical and contemporary. This paper examines the history of Amalekut (“Amalek-ness”) within the Jewish (and Christian) religious tradition, the role of memory and forgetting of those survivors and their descendants traumatized by their enemies, the current manner of branding one’s enemies as descendants of Amalek, and whether, in truth, reconciliation is even possible among enemies of long standing. The implications and consequences for all of the divided groups thus becomes an enormous challenge. Practical suggestions are offered at the end as potential models for both present and future work as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Genocide)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Validation of a Novel Instrument to Measure Elements of Franciscan-Inspired Spirituality in a General Population and in Religious Persons
Religions 2017, 8(9), 197; doi:10.3390/rel8090197
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 23 August 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
Today there are several approaches for bringing mindfulness, which conceptually refers to the Buddhist Vipassana tradition, into organizations. Programs referring to value-based attitudes and behaviors derived from specific Christian contexts are rarely evaluated. A prerequisite are reliable instruments for measuring the respective outcomes.
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Today there are several approaches for bringing mindfulness, which conceptually refers to the Buddhist Vipassana tradition, into organizations. Programs referring to value-based attitudes and behaviors derived from specific Christian contexts are rarely evaluated. A prerequisite are reliable instruments for measuring the respective outcomes. We therefore performed a cross-sectional study among 418 participants to validate an instrument measuring specific aspects of Franciscan-inspired spirituality (FraSpir), particularly the core dimensions and transformative outcomes. Exploratory factor analysis of this FraSpir questionnaire with 26 items pointed to four main factors (i.e., “Live from Faith/Search for God”; “Peaceful attitude/Respectful Treatment”; “Commitment to Disadvantaged and Creation”; “Attitude of Poverty”). Their internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) ranged from 0.79 to 0.97. With respect to convergent validity, there were sound correlations with engagement in religious practices, gratitude and awe, and prosocial-humanistic practices. The 26-item instrument was found to be a reliable and valid instrument for use in training and education programs. Interestingly, nuns and monks scored significantly higher on the Faith and Poverty subscales than others, but similarly on the two subscales addressing considerate action in the world. These attitudes and behaviors are not exclusively valued by those of religious faith, but by all. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measures of Spirituality/Religiosity (2018))
Open AccessArticle Hindu Students and Their Missionary Teachers: Debating the Relevance of Rebirth in the Colonial Indian Academy
Religions 2017, 8(9), 198; doi:10.3390/rel8090198
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 1 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
This essay provides a meta-narrative for the philosophical dialogues that took place in colonial India between Scottish missionary philosophers and philosophers of Vedānta on the topic of karma and rebirth. In particular, it offers a reconstruction and analysis of the context and strategy
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This essay provides a meta-narrative for the philosophical dialogues that took place in colonial India between Scottish missionary philosophers and philosophers of Vedānta on the topic of karma and rebirth. In particular, it offers a reconstruction and analysis of the context and strategy that shaped the content of discussions that were initiated in the pages of the Madras Christian College Magazine in 1909 between Subrahmanya Sastri and AG Hogg and that inspired Radhakrishnan’s response in his dissertation entitled “The Ethics of Vedanta and its Metaphysical Suppositions”. The broad context is provided by a history of missionary presence in India. The context is further circumscribed by the ‘hybrid’ character of the position of the missionaries as teachers in departments of philosophy, teaching students of “upper-caste Hindus” in the English medium universities set up by the British in the late nineteenth century. The hermeneutics of form and context is essential to understanding the content of these debates about the ethics and metaphysics of Christianity and Hinduism, where the meaning and significance of the notion of rebirth took center stage. Importantly, these debates in turn shed light on the broader social and political context in which these debates took place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
Open AccessArticle Anglican Moral Theology and Ecumenical Dialogue
Religions 2017, 8(9), 199; doi:10.3390/rel8090199
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 13 September 2017 / Accepted: 17 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
This article argues that there has been conflict in Roman Catholic moral theology since the 1960s. This has overshadowed, but not prevented, ecumenical dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Communions, especially in ethics. Theologians from the Anglican tradition can help both the
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This article argues that there has been conflict in Roman Catholic moral theology since the 1960s. This has overshadowed, but not prevented, ecumenical dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Communions, especially in ethics. Theologians from the Anglican tradition can help both the debate in Roman Catholic moral theology and the ecumenical impasse. The article examines the contributions of Richard Hooker, Jeremy Taylor, and Kenneth Kirk from 1600–1920, in the area of fundamental moral theology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Catholic Theological Ethics)
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