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Religions, Volume 11, Issue 3 (March 2020) – 50 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This paper analyses the values and uses of Tibetan sacred artefacts in their original contexts as well as the transformation of meanings once placed in museums. It discusses the perception of statues, paintings, ritual instruments and books from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, examining the iconographic functions of the images and asserting that a primary purpose is as a ‘support for practice’. Sacred images represent the embodiment of the Buddhas, deities and masters and, once consecrated, are considered to have the power to confer blessings. The text moves on to analyse the effects of the transition of Tibetan Buddhist images into different contexts, comparing the display of Tibetan material in the consecrated spaces of Himalayan monastery museums with their exhibition in secular museological sites in the West. Cover image: Statue of Maitreya, Gyantse Tsuklakhang, Tibet; photo C. [...] Read more.
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Article
Confucian Exemplars and Catholic Saints as Models for Women in Nineteenth-Century Korea
Religions 2020, 11(3), 151; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030151 - 24 Mar 2020
Viewed by 929
Abstract
Women in Joseon Korea (1392–1910) were held to high standards of virtue, which were propagated through didactic texts such as the “Chaste and Obedient Biographies” volume of Lienü Zhuan, the Chinese classic featuring biographies of exemplary women. Joseon women who converted to [...] Read more.
Women in Joseon Korea (1392–1910) were held to high standards of virtue, which were propagated through didactic texts such as the “Chaste and Obedient Biographies” volume of Lienü Zhuan, the Chinese classic featuring biographies of exemplary women. Joseon women who converted to Catholicism were also educated in standards of Catholic virtue, often through the biographies of saints, which shared with the Confucian exemplar stories an emphasis on faithfulness and self-sacrifice. Yet, the differences between Confucian and Catholic standards of virtue were great enough to elicit persecution of Catholics throughout the nineteenth century. Therefore conversion would have involved evaluating one set of standards against the other and determining that Catholicism was worth the price of social marginalization and persecution. Through a comparison of the Confucian exemplar stories and Catholic saints’ stories, this paper explores how Catholic standards of virtue might have motivated conversion of Joseon women to Catholicism. This comparison highlights aspects of the saints’ stories that offered lifestyle choices unavailable to women in traditional Joseon society and suggests that portrayals of the saints’ confidence in the face of human and natural oppressors could also have provided inspiration to ease the price of conversion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Conflict and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond)
Article
Religion and International Relations in the Middle East as a Challenge for International Relations (IR) Studies
Religions 2020, 11(3), 150; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030150 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1432
Abstract
This article addresses the search for religion’s “suitable place” within International Relations (IR), taking as a starting point the social changes in the world (“reflexive modernity”) and the postulated “Mesopotamian turn” in IR. The assumption is that religion is present at each level [...] Read more.
This article addresses the search for religion’s “suitable place” within International Relations (IR), taking as a starting point the social changes in the world (“reflexive modernity”) and the postulated “Mesopotamian turn” in IR. The assumption is that religion is present at each level of IR analysis in the Middle East and, thanks to that, more and more at the international system level. This presence of religion serves to undermine one of the basic assumptions lying at the heart of the modern international order (and therefore also IR), i.e., the so-called “Westphalian presumption”. The author, inter alia, emphasizes how more attention needs to be paid to the “transnational region” constituted by the Middle East—in association with the whole Islamic World. A second postulate entails the need for a restoration of the lost level of analysis in IR, i.e., the level of the human being, for whom religion is—and in the nearest future, will remain—an important dimension of life, in the Middle East in particular. It can also be noted how, within analysis of IR, what corresponds closely to the level referred to is the concept of human security developed via the UN system. The Middle East obliges the researcher to extend considerations to the spiritual dimension of security, as is starting to be realized (inter alia, in the Arab Human Development Reports). It can thus be suggested that, through comparison and contrast with life in societies of the Middle East as it is in practice, religion has been incorporated quite naturally into IR, with this leaving the “Westphalian presumption” undermined at the same time. The consequences of that for the whole discipline may be considerable, but much will depend on researchers themselves, who may or may not take up the challenge posed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and International Relations in the Middle East)
Article
Religious Struggle and Psychological Well-Being: The Mediating Role of Religious Support and Meaning Making
Religions 2020, 11(3), 149; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030149 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1325 | Correction
Abstract
Although a variety of studies have found robust links between religious/spiritual (r/s) struggle and poorer well-being, only a few have examined the means by which r/s struggle affects mental well-being. The present paper aims to examine religious support and meaning making as mediators [...] Read more.
Although a variety of studies have found robust links between religious/spiritual (r/s) struggle and poorer well-being, only a few have examined the means by which r/s struggle affects mental well-being. The present paper aims to examine religious support and meaning making as mediators of the relationship between r/s struggle and well-being. The study included 226 adults, 108 women and 118 men, aged between 17 and 78 years. We applied the Religious and Spiritual Struggle Scale, Religious Support Scale, Meaning Making Scale, and Psychological Well-Being Scale. The results demonstrated that both religious support and meaning making were mediators in the relationship between r/s struggles and well-being. During moral or demonic struggles, many people reportedly feel supported by their religion, make meaning based on these positive religious experiences, and in turn experience greater well-being. Conversely, during divine, ultimate meaning, and interpersonal struggles people may feel like God does not support them, which may lead to difficulties reframing their religious experience, and adversely influence well-being. The findings from this study underscore the multifaceted character of r/s struggle: during different types of r/s struggle people may feel that religion is a source of support for them or, by contrast, they may feel deprived of religious support, which can lead to an increase or decrease of well-being, respectively. Full article
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Article
Devotion, a Lamp That Illuminates the Ground: Non-Referential Devotional Affect in Great Completeness
Religions 2020, 11(3), 148; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030148 - 23 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1083
Abstract
I explore how devotion (mos gus) is re-interpreted as non-dual and non-conceptual through Mahāyoga tantric creation (skyed) and completion (rdzogs) stage practices as an expression of the ground (bzhi) for Longchenpa (klong chen rab ‘byams, 1308–1364) and Jigme Lingpa (‘jigs med gling pa, [...] Read more.
I explore how devotion (mos gus) is re-interpreted as non-dual and non-conceptual through Mahāyoga tantric creation (skyed) and completion (rdzogs) stage practices as an expression of the ground (bzhi) for Longchenpa (klong chen rab ‘byams, 1308–1364) and Jigme Lingpa (‘jigs med gling pa, 1730–1785). Devotion, a felt-sense, allows for there to be something akin to a residue from these mental constructs that allows for a practitioner to carry over her experience into a later phase of meditation. Firstly, devotion, as an affect is necessarily non-dual because tantra entails pure perception (dag snang). Secondly, I demonstrate that for Longchenpa, tantra is a method that relies on non-conceptual frameworks. Finally, I address how devotion pivots ordinary mind (sems) towards recognizing this ground. Through this progression, there is a profound synchronicity between full-on openness to devotion and the infinitely spacious reality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2019))
Article
Samaritans in the New Testament
Religions 2020, 11(3), 147; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030147 - 23 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1109
Abstract
Four New Testament writings mention Samaritans and Samaria—Luke–Acts, John, and Matthew. We must consider that all Samaritan texts in the New Testament are based on a historically correct knowledge of the cult of YHWH worshippers in Samaria oriented towards the Gerizim. If the [...] Read more.
Four New Testament writings mention Samaritans and Samaria—Luke–Acts, John, and Matthew. We must consider that all Samaritan texts in the New Testament are based on a historically correct knowledge of the cult of YHWH worshippers in Samaria oriented towards the Gerizim. If the YHWH admirers in Samaria are to be understood as one of the two independent “Israel” denominations that existed in the Palestinian heartland during the post-exilic period, consequently, in John, Matthew, and Luke–Acts, attention is paid to their understanding of the ecclesiological significance of “Israel” and to Christological aspects. Moreover, the authors of the Gospels reflect a semantically young phenomenon, when Σαμαρῖται is understood beyond the ethnicon as a term for a group religiously distinct from Judaism. At the time of Paul, the term “Samaritan” had not yet been established to refer to the religiously defined group. This means that care must be taken when interpreting the term “Israel” and “Israelites” in all Jewish or Jewish-Christian texts written before 70 A.D. This also applies to Paul: when Paul speaks of “Israel”, “Israelites”, and “circumcision”, he could have consciously used inclusive terminology that, in principle, included the (later named) “Samaritans” in the diaspora. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Samaritanism)
Article
The Chilean Military after Antuco: Shortcomings of a Post-Secular Discourse
Religions 2020, 11(3), 146; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030146 - 23 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1336
Abstract
In their two hundred years of existence, the Chilean armed forces have had a close relationship with the Catholic faith, especially with a local version of the Virgin Mary (Virgen del Carmen), who is held as the patroness of the military. After its [...] Read more.
In their two hundred years of existence, the Chilean armed forces have had a close relationship with the Catholic faith, especially with a local version of the Virgin Mary (Virgen del Carmen), who is held as the patroness of the military. After its greatest tragedy in peacetime, when 44 soldiers—half of them Christian evangelicals—died buried in the snows of the Antuco volcano, the army and other branches of the military felt compelled to add Protestant chaplaincies to their repertoire of religious assistance, hitherto reserved for Catholics. This has been understood as a move towards a more egalitarian and inclusive understanding of religious freedom, but also as opposing exclusivist versions of liberal neutrality, in which the state fulfils its duty by taking religion out of the public sphere altogether. According to the times’ intellectual climate, the Chilean authorities have been framing these developments—not only in the military, but elsewhere—as the embodiment of a post-secular strategy, in which religion (all religion) should be welcomed back into public life and state institutions. This article presents five concerns with this chosen strategy: (a) whether inclusive secularism is a practical impossibility, since there is no way to accommodate all religious and non-religious expressions; (b) whether a post-secular narrative is adequate for states that that have not gone through the previous (secular) phase; (c) whether post-secular institutional arrangements—which entail welcoming religion in the public sphere—are adequate in countries without religious pluralism; (d) whether post-secular institutional arrangements—which entail welcoming religion in the public sphere—are not actually disparaging for non-religious people; (e) whether sponsored religious expressions and practices within public institutions put undue pressure on dissenters. This way, I offer the case of the Chilean armed forces as a proxy to illuminate the normative problems that an incipient process of growing religious pluralism and a move towards religious egalitarianism, framed as a post-secular discourse, faces in hegemonically Catholic countries. Full article
Article
From Attachment to a Sacred Figure to Loyalty to a Sacred Route: The Walking Pilgrimage of Arbaeen
Religions 2020, 11(3), 145; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030145 - 22 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1659
Abstract
Around 20 million Shia pilgrims shape one of the world’s biggest pilgrimages in Iraq, called “Arbaeen,” many of whom walk long distances to Karbala city as a part of the ritual every year. Faith in Imam Hussein, who was martyred in the battle [...] Read more.
Around 20 million Shia pilgrims shape one of the world’s biggest pilgrimages in Iraq, called “Arbaeen,” many of whom walk long distances to Karbala city as a part of the ritual every year. Faith in Imam Hussein, who was martyred in the battle of Karbala in 680 CE, is central among all pilgrims in this ritual, but the main question is how do the pilgrims’ faith and psychological cognitions translate into this spiritual journey with different meanings during the Arbaeen pilgrimage? The present study aims to discover the different social and psychological reasons for pilgrims’ feelings of attachment to Imam Hussein and to the Arbaeen pilgrimage route. Through 57 semi-structured in-depth interviews with pilgrims in two phases, Arbaeen 2014 and 2019, four different perceived roles for Imam Hussein including beloved, interceding, transformative, and unifier figure were found, leading pilgrims to feel an attachment to him. The current study mainly contributes to the literature by presenting an empirical analysis of Muslims’ experiences and perceptions of Islamic theology, and their loyalty to a sacred route through attachment to a sacred figure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith in Spiritual and Heritage Tourism)
Article
Unveiling the Innovators—A Glimpse on Sufi-Salafi Polemics
Religions 2020, 11(3), 144; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030144 - 20 Mar 2020
Viewed by 2130
Abstract
In western public discourse, as well as in parts of academia, Sufism and Salafism are sometimes portrayed as arch enemies in Islam. However, so far, very few studies have analyzed in detail the polemics between Sufis and Salafis in a western setting. This [...] Read more.
In western public discourse, as well as in parts of academia, Sufism and Salafism are sometimes portrayed as arch enemies in Islam. However, so far, very few studies have analyzed in detail the polemics between Sufis and Salafis in a western setting. This article tries to fill this gap by providing a snapshot of the critique of Salafism by the Sufi Nāẓimiyya order, as well as the response from the British Salafi spectrum. It will argue that although both protagonists would perceive themselves in the same way as outlined above, in fact both groups are influenced by each other with regard to the benchmark of what constitutes “authentic Islam”, as well as the ways in which arguments are portrayed as legitimately grounded in Islamic thought. These insights may help in better understanding the complexities of contemporary intra-Muslim debates and representations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Salafism in the West)
Article
U.S. Foreign Policy and the Defense of Religious Freedom in India
Religions 2020, 11(3), 143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030143 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 905
Abstract
The defense of religious freedom around the world is a U.S. foreign policy initiative upheld by successive administrations since the passing of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Supported by various religious constituencies that advocate for the freedom of religion of like-minded [...] Read more.
The defense of religious freedom around the world is a U.S. foreign policy initiative upheld by successive administrations since the passing of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Supported by various religious constituencies that advocate for the freedom of religion of like-minded individuals across borders, the U.S. government engages with foreign governments, human rights groups, and NGOs to preserve an individual’s right to freedom of religion or belief. Their results, however, are mixed, especially in diverse contexts where religious rights are deeply contested. This paper explores the advocacy effort in response to the Government of India’s crackdown on the inflow of foreign funds to NGOs, many of which are faith-based. Using the revocation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license of faith-based NGO Compassion International as a case study, this paper finds that U.S. involvement in defense of religious freedom meets counter-narratives. These counter-narratives include the preservation of state sovereignty, the protection of national interest, and the privileging of religious tolerance over religious freedom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion’s Role in Contemporary Public Policy Controversies)
Article
Transcending the Suffering in Cancer: Impact of a Spiritual Life Review Intervention on Spiritual Re-Evaluation, Spiritual Growth and Psycho-Spiritual Wellbeing
Religions 2020, 11(3), 142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030142 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1096
Abstract
In the confrontation with cancer, spiritual re-evaluation may help people to transform all-encompassing suffering into spiritual growth and psycho-spiritual wellbeing. The aim of this study was to examine whether spiritual life review (SLR), a semi-structured group narrative intervention that supports people with cancer [...] Read more.
In the confrontation with cancer, spiritual re-evaluation may help people to transform all-encompassing suffering into spiritual growth and psycho-spiritual wellbeing. The aim of this study was to examine whether spiritual life review (SLR), a semi-structured group narrative intervention that supports people with cancer to write and present their spiritual life story, is effective for the improvement of spiritual re-evaluation, spiritual growth, and psycho-spiritual wellbeing. In this mixed methods study, 57 cancer patients participated. Quantitative data were collected by means of patient reported outcomes (SAIL, Dutch Ryff, and NEIS) at baseline, post-intervention, and three and nine months follow-up (44 participants completed up to 9 months post-intervention). Changes over time were assessed via linear mixed model analysis (LMM). Qualitative data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews with 33 participants nine months post-intervention, and were coded in a two-stage process. Participating in SLR facilitated spiritual re-evaluation, and improved the course of spiritual growth, psycho-spiritual wellbeing, and ego-integrity. This study provides evidence that SLR is likely to improve spiritual re-evaluation, spiritual growth, and psycho-spiritual wellbeing after confrontation with cancer; it also suggests the importance of self-affirmation and ego-integrity for spirituality; and underscores the relevance of narrative spiritual interventions in the oncology setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
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Article
Buddhist Ritual and the Bronze Buddha Mold Excavated from the Western Five-Story Stone Pagoda of Hwaŏm Temple, Korea
Religions 2020, 11(3), 141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030141 - 19 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1060
Abstract
This paper examines the bronze Buddha mold that was excavated from the western pagoda of Hwaŏm temple 華嚴寺. The research centers on the mold’s date of production, its function, and the reason it was enshrined in the Hwaŏmsa pagoda. The pagoda itself was [...] Read more.
This paper examines the bronze Buddha mold that was excavated from the western pagoda of Hwaŏm temple 華嚴寺. The research centers on the mold’s date of production, its function, and the reason it was enshrined in the Hwaŏmsa pagoda. The pagoda itself was constructed in the ninth century and is considered to be a Dharani pagoda because Wugoujingguang datuoluonijing (無垢淨光大陀羅尼經, The Great Dharani Sūtra) is enshrined within the structure. The act of placing the Buddhist scriptures in the pagoda was to benefit the structure’s benefactors by absolving them of their sins and granting blessings in their afterlives for their meritorious deeds. Of all the dhāraṇī, Wugoujingguang datuoluonijing is the most detailed and particularly emphasizes the act of repetition. The clarity and simplicity of its instructions made it especially popular in eighth-to-ninth-century Korea. The Hwaŏmsa Buddha mold was one of the tools used in the ritual described by Wugoujingguang datuoluonijing. Considering the sūtra’s insistence on repetition and replication, the mold was a very suitable implement. The use of inexpensive clay also allowed for the mass production of Buddha images that any individual could commission at little cost. Furthermore, this method of producing Buddha images made it easy for the temple to attract followers and thus raise funding for the construction of the pagoda. The clay Buddhas themselves were small, making it possible for one to keep the image on his person and carry it wherever he went. Ultimately, these actions were meant to bring the individuals closer to Buddha and his world. Full article
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Article
Amṛtasiddhi A Posteriori: An Exploratory Study on the Possible Impact of the Amṛtasiddhi on the Subsequent Sanskritic Vajrayāna Tradition
Religions 2020, 11(3), 140; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030140 - 19 Mar 2020
Viewed by 817
Abstract
Recent research into source materials for haṭhayoga (Birch, Mallinson, Szántó) has revealed that the physical techniques and esoteric anatomy traditionally associated with Śaiva practitioners likely found a genesis within Vajrayāna Buddhist communities. The physiology and practices for longevity described in the 11th-or-12th-century Amṛtasiddhi [...] Read more.
Recent research into source materials for haṭhayoga (Birch, Mallinson, Szántó) has revealed that the physical techniques and esoteric anatomy traditionally associated with Śaiva practitioners likely found a genesis within Vajrayāna Buddhist communities. The physiology and practices for longevity described in the 11th-or-12th-century Amṛtasiddhi are easily traced in the development of subsequent physical yoga, but prior to the discovery of the text’s Buddhist origin, analogues to a haṭhayoga esoteric anatomy found in Vajrayāna sources have been regarded as coincidental. This paper considers both the possibility that the Amṛtasiddhi, or a tradition related to it, had a lasting impact on practices detailed in subsequent tantric Buddhist texts and that this haṭhayoga source text can aid in interpreting unclear passages in these texts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2019))
Article
Item Response Theory Applied to the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) in Portuguese
Religions 2020, 11(3), 139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030139 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 995
Abstract
The item response theory (IRT), or latent trace theory, is based on a set of mathematical models to complement the qualitative analysis of the items in a given questionnaire. This study analyzes the items of the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) in the Portuguese [...] Read more.
The item response theory (IRT), or latent trace theory, is based on a set of mathematical models to complement the qualitative analysis of the items in a given questionnaire. This study analyzes the items of the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) in the Portuguese version, applied to HIV+ patients, with R Studio 3.4.1, mirt statistical package, to find out if the items of the SpNQ possess appropriate psychometric qualities to discriminate between respondents as to the probability of marking one answer and not another, in the same item, showing whether or not the questionnaire is biased towards a pattern of response desired by the researcher. The parameters of discrimination, difficulty, information, and the characteristic curve of the items are evaluated. The reliable items to measure the constructs of each of the five dimensions of the SpNQ of this HIV+ sample (Religious Needs; Inner Peace and Family Support Needs; Existential Needs; Social Recognition Needs; and Time Domain Needs) are presented, as well as the most likely response categories, depending on the latent trace level of the individuals. The questionnaire items showed satisfactory discrimination and variability of difficulty, confirming the good psychometric quality of SpNQ. Full article
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Lullaby: Births, Deaths and Narratives of Hope
Religions 2020, 11(3), 138; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030138 - 18 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1837
Abstract
Guided by the hopeful possibilities of birth, breath and beginning that Hannah Arendt and Luce Irigaray variously articulate, this paper examines the lullaby as an expressive form that emerges (in a variety of contexts as distinct as medieval Christendom and contemporary art) as [...] Read more.
Guided by the hopeful possibilities of birth, breath and beginning that Hannah Arendt and Luce Irigaray variously articulate, this paper examines the lullaby as an expressive form that emerges (in a variety of contexts as distinct as medieval Christendom and contemporary art) as narrative between natality and mortality. With narrative understood as praxis according to Arendt’s schema, and articulated in what Irigaray might designate as an interval between two different sexuate subjects, the lullaby (and the voice that sings it) is found to be a telling of what it is to be human, and a hopeful reminder of our capacity both for self-affection and -preservation, and for meeting and nurturing others in their difference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hope in Dark Times)
Article
The “Whence” of Evil and How the Demiurge Can Alleviate Our Suffering
Religions 2020, 11(3), 137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030137 - 18 Mar 2020
Viewed by 898
Abstract
Mid-twentieth century witnessed a renewal of the interest in the problem of evil, presented by Mackie et al. in the form of the logical argument from evil. However, this argument was proven ineffective in securing victory over theism. A more successful strategy was [...] Read more.
Mid-twentieth century witnessed a renewal of the interest in the problem of evil, presented by Mackie et al. in the form of the logical argument from evil. However, this argument was proven ineffective in securing victory over theism. A more successful strategy was devised by Rowe and Draper—the so-called evidential argument from evil. I believe that the current responses to it fail to defend God. In this paper, I try to face the evidential argument by embracing a triple strategy, which involves an alternative theology. First, a shift of focus regarding suffering from the prevalent anthropocentrism to the perspective of soteriological teleology is proposed. Second, I present a theodicy in line with Plato’s approach in the Timaeus, as well as with some aspects of the theodicy in the Vedānta-sūtra II.1.32–36. Third, I argue that, if the previous two steps contribute towards a plausible answer to the problem of evil, the modified concept of the deity and the associated cosmogonical account should be brought close to the picture of Plato’s demiurge and his act of creation. If it is to provide a successful defense of theism against the problem of evil, that price should not be considered too dear. Full article
Article
The Visualization of the Secret: Atiśa’s Contribution to the Internalization of Tantric Sexual Practices
Religions 2020, 11(3), 136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030136 - 18 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1097
Abstract
This essay will explore the challenges presented by transgressive rituals, particularly the secret and wisdom-consort consecrations found in the Mahāyoga and Yoginī tantras. In particular, it examines how Atiśa Dīpaṅkara Śrījñāna aided in the dissemination of these traditions to Tibet during the eleventh [...] Read more.
This essay will explore the challenges presented by transgressive rituals, particularly the secret and wisdom-consort consecrations found in the Mahāyoga and Yoginī tantras. In particular, it examines how Atiśa Dīpaṅkara Śrījñāna aided in the dissemination of these traditions to Tibet during the eleventh century, in part through encouraging the enactment of transgressive rituals via internal visualization. I will do so through the exploration of a largely unstudied work by Atiśa, his commentary on a meditation manual (sādhana) attributed to the mahāsiddha Lūipa, “The Realization of the Cakrasaṃvara”, Cakrasaṃvarābhisamaya. Through an examination of this work, I will argue that Atiśa played an important role in facilitating the acceptance of the Yoginītantras in Tibet, during a time when tantric traditions were subject to a considerable amount of scrutiny. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2019))
Article
“I Get Peace:” Gender and Religious Life in a Delhi Gurdwara
Religions 2020, 11(3), 135; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030135 - 18 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1988
Abstract
In October and November of 1984, after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, approximately 3500 Sikh men were killed in Delhi, India. Many of the survivors—Sikh widows and their kin—were relocated thereafter to the “Widow Colony”, also known [...] Read more.
In October and November of 1984, after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, approximately 3500 Sikh men were killed in Delhi, India. Many of the survivors—Sikh widows and their kin—were relocated thereafter to the “Widow Colony”, also known as Tilak Vihar, within the boundary of Tilak Nagar in West Delhi, as a means of rehabilitation and compensation. Within this colony lies the Shaheedganj Gurdwara, frequented by widows and their families. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, I explore the intersections between violence, widowhood, and gendered religious practice in this place of worship. Memories of violence and experiences of widowhood inform and intersect with embodied religious practices in this place. I argue that the gurdwara is primarily a female place; although male-administered, it is a place that, through women’s practices, becomes a gendered counterpublic, allowing women a place to socialize and heal in an area where there is little public space for women to gather. The gurdwara has been re-appropriated away from formal religious practice by these widows, functioning as a place that enables the subversive exchange of local knowledges and viewpoints and a repository of shared experiences that reifies and reclaims gendered loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Gender and Sikh Traditions)
Article
The Idea of the Anavatapta Lake in India and Its Adoption in East Asia
Religions 2020, 11(3), 134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030134 - 17 Mar 2020
Viewed by 815
Abstract
This article centers around the Anavatapta Lake. In East Asian pictorialization of worldview, Maps of Mt. Sumeru, which depict the mountain at the core of the world, are often paired with Maps of India, in which the Anavatapta Lake occupies a significant place. [...] Read more.
This article centers around the Anavatapta Lake. In East Asian pictorialization of worldview, Maps of Mt. Sumeru, which depict the mountain at the core of the world, are often paired with Maps of India, in which the Anavatapta Lake occupies a significant place. When the concept of the Anavatapta Lake was transmitted from India to China and Japan, it was understood through the lens of local cultures and ideologies, and the lake was envisioned as a site spatially connected to various places in China and Japan. As a result, the idea of the Indian lake located at the center of the human world helped China and Japan formulate their statuses and positions within the religious and geopolitical discourse of Buddhist cosmology. Through investigations of both pictorial and textual sources, this article explores the significance and place that the Anavatapta Lake occupied in East Asian religion and literature. Full article
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Editorial
Introduction: Fashion/Religion Interfaces
Religions 2020, 11(3), 133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030133 - 16 Mar 2020
Viewed by 861
Abstract
The complex interconnections between religious beliefs and fashion in clothing have been increasingly recognised by researchers, already since the ‘new veiling’ phenomenon spread across the Muslim world in the 1970s (El-Guindi 1981, 1999; MacLeod 1987, 1992), and especially since the extreme politicisation of [...] Read more.
The complex interconnections between religious beliefs and fashion in clothing have been increasingly recognised by researchers, already since the ‘new veiling’ phenomenon spread across the Muslim world in the 1970s (El-Guindi 1981, 1999; MacLeod 1987, 1992), and especially since the extreme politicisation of the Muslim veil in the 2000s and 2010s (Haddad 2007) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fashion/Religion Interfaces)
Article
Emotional State of Parents of Children Diagnosed with Cancer: Examining Religious and Meaning-Focused Coping
Religions 2020, 11(3), 132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030132 - 16 Mar 2020
Viewed by 942
Abstract
For parents, a child’s oncological disease is a critical life event with a high burdening potential, which changes the functioning of the whole family on many different levels. It triggers various coping strategies with this situation, including religious-based coping. This topic has been [...] Read more.
For parents, a child’s oncological disease is a critical life event with a high burdening potential, which changes the functioning of the whole family on many different levels. It triggers various coping strategies with this situation, including religious-based coping. This topic has been somewhat rarely explored, and thus, the aim of the study was to examine the relationship between the emotional state and religious and meaning-focused coping among parents of children diagnosed with cancer. A total of 147 parents participated in this study. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that correlates of positive emotions in the studied group were the economic situation, the time from diagnosis, positive reappraisal and negative religious coping. Only one significant correlate of negative emotions was identified. There is some support for the incremental validity of negative religious coping in relation to meaning-focused coping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
Article
Overt and Covert Buddhism: The Two Faces of University-Based Buddhism in Beijing
Religions 2020, 11(3), 131; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030131 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1322
Abstract
As more and more students in China turn to religion, it follows that an increasing number of students in Chinese universities self-identify as Buddhist. Chinese academia has a tendency to treat this as problematic, offering reasons for this trend as well as solutions [...] Read more.
As more and more students in China turn to religion, it follows that an increasing number of students in Chinese universities self-identify as Buddhist. Chinese academia has a tendency to treat this as problematic, offering reasons for this trend as well as solutions but neglecting to examine the nature of student belief and identity. By utilising two case studies, this paper seeks to demonstrate how the Buddhist identity and practice of self-proclaimed Buddhist students in Beijing can manifest in two very different ways: overtly or covertly. More specifically, each case study provides an example of students in Beijing who very much break with the commonly held perception that students in China who self-identify as religious have a fundamentally flawed and limited understanding of their religion and rarely actually practice it. Full article
Article
White Womanhood and/as American Empire in Arrival and Annihilation
Religions 2020, 11(3), 130; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030130 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1166
Abstract
American science fiction stories, such as U.S. historical narratives, often give central place to white, Western male subjects as noble explorers, benevolent colonizers, and border-guarding patriots. This constructed subjectivity renders colonized or cultural others as potentially threatening aliens, and it works alongside the [...] Read more.
American science fiction stories, such as U.S. historical narratives, often give central place to white, Western male subjects as noble explorers, benevolent colonizers, and border-guarding patriots. This constructed subjectivity renders colonized or cultural others as potentially threatening aliens, and it works alongside the parallel construction of white womanhood as a signifier for the territory to be possessed and protected by American empire—or as a sign of empire itself. Popular cultural narratives, whether in the world of U.S. imperialism or the speculative worlds of science fiction, may serve a religious function by helping to shape world-making: the envisioning and enacting of imagined communities. This paper argues that the world-making of American science fiction can participate in the construction and maintenance of American empire; yet, such speculative world-making may also subvert and critique imperialist ideologies. Analyzing the recent films Arrival (2016) and Annihilation (2018) through the lenses of postcolonial and feminist critique and theories of religion and popular culture, I argue that these films function as parables about human migration, diversity, and hybrid identities with ambiguous implications. Contact with the alien other can be read as bringing threat, loss, and tragedy or promise, birth, and possibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue This and Other Worlds: Religion and Science Fiction)
Article
The Relevance of the Centrality and Content of Religiosity for Explaining Islamophobia in Switzerland
Religions 2020, 11(3), 129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030129 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1368
Abstract
Research on Islamophobia in Switzerland, and on the role of religiosity in relation to Islamophobia, is in its infancy. Against this background, we analyzed data from an online survey conducted in Switzerland on “Xenosophia and Xenophobia in and between Abrahamic religions”. The results [...] Read more.
Research on Islamophobia in Switzerland, and on the role of religiosity in relation to Islamophobia, is in its infancy. Against this background, we analyzed data from an online survey conducted in Switzerland on “Xenosophia and Xenophobia in and between Abrahamic religions”. The results of a multivariate analysis revealed that, besides right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, and political orientation, indicators related to religion play a crucial role. We found that the greater the role of religion, and the more central it is for the individual, the more likely it is that the individual has a positive view of Islam. We claim that a person’s level of religiosity is accompanied by her adoption of religious values, such as neighbourliness and tolerance, and that the more religious individuals are, the more likely they are occupied with different religions, which leads to tolerance as long as it is not accompanied by a fundamentalist religious orientation. Also relevant is that the preference for the state to have a secularized relationship with religion is accompanied by a fear of Islam. We propose that studies on Islamophobia, as well as on other prejudices, should use differentiated measures for religiosity; the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS) turned out to be a reliable instrument of measurement in this regard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research with the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS))
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Article
The Use of Bibliotherapy in Revealing and Addressing the Spiritual Needs of Cancer Patients
Religions 2020, 11(3), 128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030128 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1232
Abstract
Assessing and addressing spiritual needs is a key factor in the quality of life and overall wellbeing of cancer patients. However, the evolution and diversification of assessment tools has not automatically been followed by their successful implementation; thus, addressing unmet needs continues to [...] Read more.
Assessing and addressing spiritual needs is a key factor in the quality of life and overall wellbeing of cancer patients. However, the evolution and diversification of assessment tools has not automatically been followed by their successful implementation; thus, addressing unmet needs continues to be a concern. In this paper, we examine the place of bibliotherapy (also called reading therapy or poetry therapy) as a group intervention in the oncological setting in revealing spiritual needs. We show that it represents not only a useful intervention but may also provide instant relief and reduce spiritual suffering. Bibliotherapy understood and practiced as a subtle balance of texts and group processes alleviates cognitive and emotional symptoms of a spiritual concern and facilitates finding meaning in life in general and illness in particular. As an intervention, it is effective, affordable and attractive; moreover, it equips patients receiving treatment and rehabilitation with the lifelong skill of reflective reading. Bibliotherapy is easily tailored to almost any needs and promotes self-expression, which provides spiritual fulfillment in itself. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care for People with Cancer)
Article
A Samaritan Synagogue of the Byzantine Period at Apollonia-Arsuf/Sozousa?
Religions 2020, 11(3), 127; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030127 - 13 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1131
Abstract
This article is a follow-up on an earlier publication of a bi-lingual Greek-Samaritan inscription discovered at the site of Apollonia-Arsuf (Sozousa) in Area P1 in 2014. It presents the yet unpublished results of an additional season of excavations carried out in 2015 around [...] Read more.
This article is a follow-up on an earlier publication of a bi-lingual Greek-Samaritan inscription discovered at the site of Apollonia-Arsuf (Sozousa) in Area P1 in 2014. It presents the yet unpublished results of an additional season of excavations carried out in 2015 around the structure where the inscription was unearthed. This season of excavations aimed at locating the remains of a presumed Samaritan synagogue building that, in our view, musts have housed this bi-lingual Greek-Samaritan inscription. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Samaritanism)
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Article
The Chikchi and Its Positions in Fourteenth-Century Korea
Religions 2020, 11(3), 126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030126 - 13 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1014
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to examine the historical and ideological positions of the Chikchi, a Korean Zen text. Originally composed of two fascicles, the book was published with metal type in 1377 and in woodblock print in 1378. The metal [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the historical and ideological positions of the Chikchi, a Korean Zen text. Originally composed of two fascicles, the book was published with metal type in 1377 and in woodblock print in 1378. The metal type print only remains. in its second fascicle, which is currently preserved in the La Bibliotheque nationale de France, registered in the Memory of the World by the United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Memory of the World list. However, the woodblock print remains in two fascicles, including the teachings of Buddhas, recorded sayings, enlightened verses, and transmission records of more than one hundred patriarchs and masters of India, China, and Korea. The role of the Chikchi shines more in modern times. As a rare book in Korea and as the oldest extant book printed with metal type in the world, it has a great significance in the world history of printing culture. The Chikchi also has originality in terms of soteriology, ideological flexibility, an open interpretation of Buddhist teachings, and an integration with Confucianism, thus suggesting its possible contribution to a better understanding of the characteristics of Korean Buddhism in particular and, by extension, East Asian Buddhism in general. Full article
Article
Compass, Continuity and Change. Everyday Religion among Women Living in Asylum Centers in Norway
Religions 2020, 11(3), 125; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030125 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
When seeking asylum in Norway, asylum seekers are usually placed in asylum centers, where their everyday life is filled with uncertainty and few meaningful activities. Despite the importance of religion for many residents, little attention is paid both by authorities as well as [...] Read more.
When seeking asylum in Norway, asylum seekers are usually placed in asylum centers, where their everyday life is filled with uncertainty and few meaningful activities. Despite the importance of religion for many residents, little attention is paid both by authorities as well as by scholars to the role of religious beliefs and practices in their everyday life within this context. This article is based on ethnographic research with women living in asylum centers over the course of one year. Through the lens of ‘everyday lived religion’, it explores the role and significance of their religious beliefs and practices in their everyday life in the center, as well as the changes that they experience to these. It argues that religion acts as a compass and provides a sense of continuity in the everyday life in the asylum center. The women also experience certain changes to their religious beliefs and practices due to being in a new socio-cultural environment. Full article
Article
Love me for the Sake of the World: “Goddess Songs” in Tantric Buddhist Maṇḍala Rituals
Religions 2020, 11(3), 124; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030124 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1203
Abstract
The presence of Apabhraṃśa in tantric Buddhist texts has long been noted by scholars, overwhelmingly explained away as an example of “Twilight language” (saṃdhā-bhāṣā). However, when one looks closer at the vast number of Apabhraṃśa verses in this canon, one finds [...] Read more.
The presence of Apabhraṃśa in tantric Buddhist texts has long been noted by scholars, overwhelmingly explained away as an example of “Twilight language” (saṃdhā-bhāṣā). However, when one looks closer at the vast number of Apabhraṃśa verses in this canon, one finds recurring patterns, themes, and even tropes. This begs for deeper study, as well as establishing a taxonomy of these verses based on their place and use. This paper focuses on a specific subset of Apabhraṃśa verses: “goddess songs” in maṇḍala visualization rituals. These verses are sung by yoginīs at specific moments in esoteric Buddhist ritual syntax; while the sādhaka is absorbed in enstatic emptiness, four yoginīs call out to him with sexually charged appeals, begging him to return to the world and honor their commitments to all sentient beings. When juxtaposed with other Apabhraṃśa verses in tantric Buddhist texts, these songs express an immediacy and intimacy that stands out in both form and content from the surrounding text. This essay argues that Apabhraṃśa is a conscious stylistic choice for signaling intimate and esoteric passages in tantric literature, and so the vast number of Apabhraṃśa verses in this corpus should be reexamined in this light. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2019))
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Article
The Local Promotion of Mazu: The Intersection of Lineage, Textual Representation, Confucian Values, and Temples in Late Imperial China
Religions 2020, 11(3), 123; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030123 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 958
Abstract
This article explores the role that local elites played in the development of the Mazu cult, a local goddess cult in Putian district in late imperial China. I argue that local elites were central in the promotion and transmission of the cult. Through [...] Read more.
This article explores the role that local elites played in the development of the Mazu cult, a local goddess cult in Putian district in late imperial China. I argue that local elites were central in the promotion and transmission of the cult. Through compiling and writing key Confucian texts featuring Mazu, they reshaped, manipulated, and represented certain aspects of her cult in accordance with their interests. As a result of the activities of local elites, Mazu became associated with the Lin lineage, an influential local lineage. In this manner, Mazu came to be seen as an expression of the lineage’s authority, as well as an imperial protector embodying local loyalty to the state and a daughter who was the paradigm filial piety. In addition to the literary production, local elites, in particular the descendants from the Lin lineage, established an ancestral hall of Lin in the port of Xianliang dedicated to Mazu, further sanctioning divinely the local elites’ authority and privilege in the community. I conclude that the locally promoted version of goddess worship operated at the intersection of state interests, Confucian ideology, the agency of local elites, and the dynamics of popular religiosity. Full article
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Article
Foucault for Heisman: College Football and the Liturgies of Power
Religions 2020, 11(3), 122; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel11030122 - 11 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
This essay attempts to give a new sort of answer to the question of whether or not sport and sports fandom are a religion through the work of Foucault on “power.” Looking specifically at college football in North America, I examine the ways [...] Read more.
This essay attempts to give a new sort of answer to the question of whether or not sport and sports fandom are a religion through the work of Foucault on “power.” Looking specifically at college football in North America, I examine the ways in which Foucault’s different variations of power have and still do function within what we call “big-time” college football. I thus proffer that Foucault’s oeuvre helps us to see the sport and religion question in a new way—not as two phenomena similar in practice but in modes of power. I conclude by offering suggestions for how Foucault’s work might offer suggestions for imagining new configurations of collegiate athletics and its governance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Sports in North America)
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