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Religions, Volume 12, Issue 10 (October 2021) – 116 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This article argues for the potential of stand-up comedy to question stereotypes by exploring and analyzing some of this activity, which has been neglected in the literature. I argue that representations of Arabs and Muslims in stand-up comedy by Arabs and Muslims themselves are creating new space for cultural dialogue by drawing on prior traditions of use of popular culture by minority groups that began in the US. I also argue that current efforts at push-back are facilitated by the circulation of digitalized culture on the internet, which allows diverse voices to be more easily heard by a wide audience. The worldwide popularity of Anglo-American Muslim stand-up comedy aimed at addressing stereotypes is therefore partly attributable to its digital landscape. View this paper
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Article
The Ashura Assemblage: Karbala’s Religious Urban Fabric and Reproduction of Collective Shiʿi Identity
Religions 2021, 12(10), 904; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100904 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 579
Abstract
Assemblage theory complicates an already extensive literature on religious urbanity, cultural heritage, the social construction of space and the power of place. Nevertheless, the concept can be applied to social and religious history in locations such as West Asia. As this paper argues, [...] Read more.
Assemblage theory complicates an already extensive literature on religious urbanity, cultural heritage, the social construction of space and the power of place. Nevertheless, the concept can be applied to social and religious history in locations such as West Asia. As this paper argues, avoiding dichotomous and politicised treatments of Karbala in dynamics of the Sunni–Shia divide and debates concerning the so-called “Karbala Paradigm”, the “Ashura Assemblage” demonstrates how space contributes to the reproduction of collective Shiʿi identity in Karbala. It outlines aspects of territoriality and sacralised Shiʿi rituals, tracing constantly recurring connections between various sacred spots, spaces and places of ritual. This study then illustrates how collective Shiʿi identity is mnemonically connected to Ashura-oriented spaces. This study utilises representational tools such as maps and diagrams to depict Karbala’s religious urban landscape. Ethnographic fieldwork and an array of primary and secondary source research uncover granularities in the Ashura Assemblage, suggesting a more prominent role for interpretive approaches to atomistic assemblages of urban religious spaces. Full article
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Article
Revisiting Impurity in Republican China: An Evaluation of the Modern Rediscovery of Bujing guan 不淨觀
Religions 2021, 12(10), 903; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100903 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 392
Abstract
During the era of the Republic of China, a number of Buddhists rediscovered early meditation techniques. These practices were mainly revived from canonical scriptures, following a modern text-based approach to Buddhism. Within this framework, specific attention was devoted to the ‘visualization of the [...] Read more.
During the era of the Republic of China, a number of Buddhists rediscovered early meditation techniques. These practices were mainly revived from canonical scriptures, following a modern text-based approach to Buddhism. Within this framework, specific attention was devoted to the ‘visualization of the impure’ (bujing guan 不淨觀, Sk. aśubhabhāvanā), particularly in the form of the visualization of one’s own body transforming into a putrefying corpse and skeleton. Masters with various backgrounds (Modernist Buddhists, Yogācāra scholars, Tiantai 天台 and tantric masters) wrote articles and guides on this practice, which had the advantage of being common to both Hīnayāna/Śrāvakayāna and Mahāyāna. This study considers a selection of modern texts on bujing guan in an attempt to uncover why the meditation on impurity was favored and how it was revived. Full article
Article
Are Online Fatwas Credible? A Critical Analysis of Fifty Fatwas on Organ Donation and Transplantation
Religions 2021, 12(10), 902; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100902 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 441
Abstract
The cyber world affects many aspects of personal and communal life in our modern world. One significant form of this influence is the growing digitisation of religious understanding. This article will focus on one facet of this virtual religious discussion, namely the religious [...] Read more.
The cyber world affects many aspects of personal and communal life in our modern world. One significant form of this influence is the growing digitisation of religious understanding. This article will focus on one facet of this virtual religious discussion, namely the religious rulings of organ donation and transplantation in Islam. This study will emphasise that discussion of the credibility of online fatwas is a neglected area that deserves significant scholarly attention. It will examine the diversity and complexity of 50 online fatwas on organ donation and transplantation selected from various fatwa organisations, government bodies, and councils across 16 countries, which differ linguistically, ethnically, socio-culturally, and by religious orientation. This article has three main arguments. First, it argues that state appointed and controlled religious authorities who work under close scrutiny of the state lack credibility in their fatwas. This has especially been the case in the post-colonial period where authoritarian states have deprived many Muslim scholars of their scholarly freedom to produce independent fatwas. Secondly, the paper asserts that an absence of field experts in the fatwa-making process in such areas as medicine, psychology, law, and public policy has weakened the credibility of online fatwas. Finally, the online fatwas evidenced in this study shows little, if any, consideration of opposing views on organ donation and transplantation, further damaging the reliability of the rulings produced. Finally, the online fatwas evidenced in this study shows little, if any, consideration of opposing views on organ donation and transplantation, further damaging the reliability of the rulings produced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organ Transplantation in Islam: Perspectives and Challenges)
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Article
Freedom of Religion and Minority Rights in South Africa
Religions 2021, 12(10), 901; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100901 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
The South African Constitution contains an extensive list of rights, several of which are relevant, directly or indirectly, to accommodate the needs of persons that belong to a religious minority group in South Africa. This article examines the extent to which these protections [...] Read more.
The South African Constitution contains an extensive list of rights, several of which are relevant, directly or indirectly, to accommodate the needs of persons that belong to a religious minority group in South Africa. This article examines the extent to which these protections are utilized by individuals and courts and explores the interplay between these various sources of protection that religious minority groups and their members can rely on. It will examine the courts’ case law on freedom of religion to determine whether the courts have relied on one or all of the rights offered by the Constitution when dealing with claims made by persons belonging to a religious minority group. The reasons for and impacts of the choices that the courts have made will also be investigated. Equally important are the choices made by persons belonging to a religious minority group when approaching courts to vindicate their rights. Full article
Article
Eastern Patristics on Human’s Free Will and Divine Predestination: Conceptual Continuity in the Contemporary Russian Culture
Religions 2021, 12(10), 900; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100900 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 450
Abstract
This article deals with the most crucial philosophical and theological issue of correlation of freedom, freedom of will, and Divine predestination, which arose in shaping the Christian doctrine and remains emergent for contemporary Russian culture and society. This problem permeated all the centuries [...] Read more.
This article deals with the most crucial philosophical and theological issue of correlation of freedom, freedom of will, and Divine predestination, which arose in shaping the Christian doctrine and remains emergent for contemporary Russian culture and society. This problem permeated all the centuries of Christianity’s formation, beginning with the period of apologetics, but it reached its climax in the classical Patristics epoch during the Byzantine Trinity and Christological theological disputes between the Western and Eastern Church Fathers. In theological discussions, they formed subtle differences, characterizing the discrepancy between Eastern and Western Patristics representatives’ views. We analyze the creative heritage of Greek-Byzantine (Eastern) Patristics, influencing the relationship between human freedom and Divine predestination, also conducting some comparative analysis with Western Patristics. The attention is also focused on the subtleties mostly of the Greek Church Fathers’ comprehension of connections between free will and freedom of choice, which correlates with human rationality, high morality, and choice of deification as a movement towards God. Philosophical reflection of described ideas of Eastern Patristics is also carried in conjunction with Christian soteriology, that is, the doctrine of spiritual salvation and eternal life. A prominent place in the article is given to some ideas of deification, the moral perfection of personality, and the Absolute spiritual ascent. The article stands on the original teachings of prominent Saints of Eastern Christianity—Maximus the Confessor, Athanasius of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Damascus, and Justin Martyr as a predecessor for both the Eastern and Western Patristics. This article also examines the refraction of the ideas of Church Fathers in contemporary Russian culture and philosophical studies of Patristics and Byzantine philosophy. Adhering to the Russian academic tradition of Byzantology, we present some implementations of Greek Church Fathers’ ideas, particularly on free will and Divine predestination, in the works of gifted Russian Byzantologist scholars. We try to attract the reader’s attention to the valuable Byzantine heritage in order to continue the tradition of studying the Church Father’s legacy in our country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Influence of Religions on Culture and Science)
Article
Incorporating Folk Belief into National Heritage: The Interaction between Ritual Practice and Theatrical Performance in Xiud Yax Lus Qim (Yalu wang) of the Miao (Hmong) Ethnic Group
Religions 2021, 12(10), 899; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100899 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Xiud Yax Lus Qim or Yalu wang 亞魯王 (Ode to the King Yalu) is a type of oral performance inherited verbally and transmitted orally by dongb langf (donglang 東郎, chanters of Yalu wang) at funerals and festive occasions. As one of [...] Read more.
Xiud Yax Lus Qim or Yalu wang 亞魯王 (Ode to the King Yalu) is a type of oral performance inherited verbally and transmitted orally by dongb langf (donglang 東郎, chanters of Yalu wang) at funerals and festive occasions. As one of the most representative cultural sets of the Miao (Hmong) ethnic group located in southern China, Yalu wang is embedded in Miao sorcery beliefs and practices, and serves as a vehicle to unite the community and maintain the identity of the ethnic group. However, since Yalu wang was “discovered” as a heroic epic by scholars in 2009 and entered the government’s “List of National Intangible Cultural Heritage” two years later, different agencies have been vying to appropriate its cultural resources. Not only do local government authorities use it as a tourist attraction, stage performances have also produced various versions of Yalu wang to portray an emblem of what are presumed to be “authentic Miao cultures”. This article explores the interactive relationship between Miao sorcery and folk traditions in the oral performance of Yalu wang and their enactment and re-enactment in theatrical performances under the aegis of a state-endorsed tourism policy. In so doing, the discussion sheds new light on the bidirectional dynamics that not only remold the style of performing culture, but also facilitate religious synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Folk Belief in Chinese Literature and Theatre)
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Article
Drunk with Wisdom: Metaphors of Ecstasy in Plato’s Symposium and Lucian of Samosata
Religions 2021, 12(10), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100898 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 478
Abstract
Among the metaphors that Plato employed in the context of his apophatic approach to philosophical truth and its experience, inebriation stands out in the Symposium, where famously Socrates is compared to Dionysian figures such as the Silenoi and Marsyas (215a-c), and to [...] Read more.
Among the metaphors that Plato employed in the context of his apophatic approach to philosophical truth and its experience, inebriation stands out in the Symposium, where famously Socrates is compared to Dionysian figures such as the Silenoi and Marsyas (215a-c), and to frenzied Corybantic dancers (215e; 216d; 218b). The contentious nature of inebriation as a proxy of ecstasy is aptly exemplified in Euripides’ Bacchae, where Pentheus, the distrusting new tyrant of Thebes, is keen to associate the Bacchic trance with common intoxication and lewd behavior; although Plato tries to anticipate such criticisms by repeatedly stating in the Symposium that Socrates is sober and of sound mind (e.g., 214a; 216d; 219d; 220a), later authors are unforgiving of his metaphorical style, which is deemed inconsistent with Plato’s stern disapproval of poetry. Among such later authors, Lucian of Samosata deserves closer attention apropos his treatment of inebriation as a most confusing and inappropriate metaphor for philosophical inspiration. Despite the jocular style of his dialogues, Lucian’s depiction of Platonic inebriation powerfully sketches a deep intellectual crisis that especially afflicts the young people of his time. Thus, Lucian sheds unexpected light on a less prominent chapter of Plato’s reception during the Roman imperial period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conversion Debates in Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity)
Article
Secularization, Modernity, and Belief Shaping: Night School and Livelihood Education at the Chinese YMCA in the Early Twentieth Century
Religions 2021, 12(10), 897; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100897 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 450
Abstract
In the early 20th century, influenced by evangelicals in the United States, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) launched the “Four Movements” in response to the “Four Maladies” of Chinese society. Among the four movements, “livelihood education” is used to help raise productivity [...] Read more.
In the early 20th century, influenced by evangelicals in the United States, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) launched the “Four Movements” in response to the “Four Maladies” of Chinese society. Among the four movements, “livelihood education” is used to help raise productivity and save people from poverty. Research on the YMCA in modern China rarely focuses on livelihood education, and even when it does, it does not focus on educated adult civilians or explore how the YMCA has changed the course of their lives. Based on fieldwork and detailed analysis of historical documents, this paper traces the formation of three night schools that have adopted various forms of “Christianized” and “secularization” practices and sheds light on the lives of two typical students whose experiences in YMCA night school were still less known. This study will demonstrate and analyze the role of livelihood education in introducing Western civilization and Christian ideas to China’s labor class. YMCA night schools not only helped ordinary Chinese working people acquire basic livelihood skills on a secular level, which enables them to enter a higher class in society and exert influence, but also reshaped their beliefs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Historical Ideas, New Possibilities: Religion and Change in Education)
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Article
The Kojiki/Nihon Shoki Mythology and Chinese Mythology: Theme, Structure, and Meaning
Religions 2021, 12(10), 896; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100896 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 426
Abstract
This essay will compare myths found in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki with thematically and structurally similar Chinese myths, and other Japanese texts, in order to shed light on the meanings of both Japanese and Chinese mythology. The authors’ approach is partly [...] Read more.
This essay will compare myths found in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki with thematically and structurally similar Chinese myths, and other Japanese texts, in order to shed light on the meanings of both Japanese and Chinese mythology. The authors’ approach is partly in the critical textual study tradition that traces back to Gu Jiegang and Tsuda Sokichi, and partly informed by comparative mythologists, such as Matsumae Takeshi, Nelly Naumann, and Antonio Klaus, with attention to Proppian and Levi-Straussian motifs in structural studies. First, we shall discuss some common themes in Chinese and Kojiki/Nihon Shoki myths. Second, we shall point out common structures in both Chinese and Japanese myths. Finally, we shall try to show how such common themes and structures could potentially help us understand the meanings of the myths in discussion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese Influences on Japanese Religious Traditions)
Article
Contemporary Business Practices of the Ru (Confucian) Ethic of “Three Guides and Five Constant Virtues (三綱五常)” in Asia and Beyond
Religions 2021, 12(10), 895; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100895 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 666
Abstract
What can remain unchanged while the Ru tradition (Confucianism) is continually passed down generationally and passed on geographically to non-Chinese Asian countries and beyond? Does the answer to this question hinted by the tradition itself, viz., the ethic of Three Guides and Five [...] Read more.
What can remain unchanged while the Ru tradition (Confucianism) is continually passed down generationally and passed on geographically to non-Chinese Asian countries and beyond? Does the answer to this question hinted by the tradition itself, viz., the ethic of Three Guides and Five Constant Virtues, still work in contemporary society? As intrigued by these fundamental questions on Ruism, scholars have debated on the nature of the ethic and its adaptability to the contemporary world. One side of scholars condemned it as an outdated, premodern ethic of power which urges unconditional obedience to hierarchy, while another side championed it as a modern ethic which aims to strengthen the autonomy of each individual in reciprocal relationships. While presenting two cases of Ru business practice, viz., Shibusawa Eiichi in Meiji Japan and Peter Drucker in the contemporary U.S., the article treats the controversial ethic as a hypothesis, and assesses it using an empirical method to reinforce views of scholars who have furnished a favorable interpretation of the ethic. Full article
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Article
Meshkwajisewin: Paradigm Shift
Religions 2021, 12(10), 894; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100894 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 452
Abstract
In 2012, the Manitoba Museum began the development of an exhibit called “We Are All Treaty People”. Mindful of recent scholarship on animacy and the ontological turn in museum ethnography, this paper examines how this exhibit reversed decades of practice regarding [...] Read more.
In 2012, the Manitoba Museum began the development of an exhibit called “We Are All Treaty People”. Mindful of recent scholarship on animacy and the ontological turn in museum ethnography, this paper examines how this exhibit reversed decades of practice regarding ceremonial artefacts. Twelve pipes, formerly removed from view because of their ceremonial status, have now, as celebrated animate entities, become teachers in a collaboratively developed exhibit about treaties. They will work to educate thousands of visitors, many of them Indigenous children who visit the museum annually. The exhibit was imagined, shaped, and made possible by the Elders Council of the Association of Manitoba Chiefs and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba who treat the pipes as active social partners and, from the outset, intended that the pipes would boldly instantiate Indigenous agency in treaty making. The relational world of the pipes has increased exponentially since they have become public actors in the museum, and more importantly, they have formed deep bonds with the school children and Elders of the community of Roseau River First Nation. They go to the school yearly to be celebrated, sung to, feasted, smoked, and honoured and return to the museum restored and ready for their newfound educational and diplomatic work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art, Shamanism and Animism)
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Review
The Significance of ‘the Person’ in Addiction
Religions 2021, 12(10), 893; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100893 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 522
Abstract
Van Gordon et al. outline the classification of their Ontological Addiction Theory (OAT), including its aetiology and treatment. In this review article I will from an appreciative perspective question some of its fundamental assumptions by presenting an alternative view on the ontology of [...] Read more.
Van Gordon et al. outline the classification of their Ontological Addiction Theory (OAT), including its aetiology and treatment. In this review article I will from an appreciative perspective question some of its fundamental assumptions by presenting an alternative view on the ontology of ‘the person’, as distinct from its presently assumed conventional conflation with a contracted separate egoic self. I will propose this view as structurally and ethically significant for the ‘embodied’ experience of a reconstructed “dynamic and non-dual self”, as cultivated in their treatment. Rather than this reconstructed self simply being socially desirable for functional purposes, I will underscore the meaning-generative case for ontological status, in the absence of which, a pervasive ‘sense of lack’ is evident, with all attendant individual, psychological, social, ecological and ethical implications. This article brings a developmental psychology perspective to bear in appreciating ‘personhood’ as an emergent, progressively realised and is thus similarly aligned with the intent of OAT in overcoming egoic addictive suffering. This mapping of the territory however populates a blind spot in OAT’s diagnosis by affirming unique personhood, a quality of ‘integrative presence’, meaningfully understood as a psycho-spiritual ontological reality. It offers, as with OAT’s stated intent, the merit of avoiding attendant mental health and developmental pitfalls, which can beset what we may discern as an implicit transcendental reductionist assumption operative in OAT, where ‘the many’ are reduced to ‘the One’ and there are, it is assumed, no real many. This framing is resonant with the lived experience of healthy ‘individuation’, a process distinct from the problematic phenomenon of ‘individualism’, evidenced by the empirical data on post-conventional human development, which potentially provides diagnostic markers for any optimal treatment discernment. It is also attuned to what many recognise as a contemporary Fourth Turning in Buddhism, in its conscious evolutionary recognition of the emergence in non-dual states of a ‘unique personal perspective’, and/or a relative individuation within the whole. This differentiation has formerly been interpreted through an ‘impersonal’ lens as an egoic holdover, and potentially inhibits ethical action in the world, as distinct from the ethical import and potential fruits stemming from the ontological affirmation of the person. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality and Addiction)
Article
Ritual, Ritualization, and Religion in the Work of Kazakhstani Artist Anvar Musrepov
Religions 2021, 12(10), 892; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100892 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 631
Abstract
This article contributes to the study of ritual in art, which is an unconventional setting for ritual studies. It concerns ritual, ritualization, and religion in the oeuvre of the up-and-coming Kazakhstani artist Anvar Musrepov. We discuss the prayer ritual, the process of ritual [...] Read more.
This article contributes to the study of ritual in art, which is an unconventional setting for ritual studies. It concerns ritual, ritualization, and religion in the oeuvre of the up-and-coming Kazakhstani artist Anvar Musrepov. We discuss the prayer ritual, the process of ritual erasure (by covering in black), consumption rituals, and a cleansing ritual with a drone and ritualization with computer-generated imagery. Musrepov seeks to reimagine Kazakhstani national identity. His art, we argue, draws on what Alfred Gell has called the technology of enchantment. Full article
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Commentary
Interpreting Literary Ecologies and Extending Spheres of Concern: A Note on Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space for Eco-Theology
Religions 2021, 12(10), 891; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100891 - 18 Oct 2021
Viewed by 896
Abstract
This critical note addresses two key features of eco-theology with regard to future prospect: that literary analysis is an important mode of eco-theological work and that an important function of eco-theology is to expand readers’ spheres of concern to include even the most [...] Read more.
This critical note addresses two key features of eco-theology with regard to future prospect: that literary analysis is an important mode of eco-theological work and that an important function of eco-theology is to expand readers’ spheres of concern to include even the most remote of global environmental issues. Working from Tweed’s contention in Crossing and Dwelling that a central function of religion is the process of making homes, the note emphasizes the home as the primary sphere of concern and the need for eco-theological work to extend the concern naturally associated with the private home to the broadest possible sphere: the whole earth as conceived as human home. As pertaining to literary-analytical resources for this eco-theological endeavor, the note highlights the importance of Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space. Bachelard’s work offers a compelling exploration of the psychological connection between the most intimate spheres of concern (the private home) and the most extended ones (the broader world). Broader eco-theological engagement with his work will employ resources both for understanding relations between the relative scales of human ecology and for expanding spheres of concern, particularly in extending that concern often reserved for the most intimate ecological sphere to the most expansive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Literature and Eco-theology)
Article
The Socio-Ethical Outlook on the Concept of Human Aggression and a Concept of Good Society—Towards New Socio-Religious Approaches for Human Morality—Theoretical Debate
Religions 2021, 12(10), 890; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100890 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 321
Abstract
The authors analyze the concept of human aggression and the concept of a good society as they are both perceived in the sociological and interdisciplinary domains. They debate the issue of human aggression observed in contemporary societies, which hampers general social development worldwide, [...] Read more.
The authors analyze the concept of human aggression and the concept of a good society as they are both perceived in the sociological and interdisciplinary domains. They debate the issue of human aggression observed in contemporary societies, which hampers general social development worldwide, the expedition of socio-religious morality, and the positive action of good behavior. Both concepts have a long record of sociological research, although the exploration of the concept of a good society was most popular in the sociological research of the 1970s. At present, a substantial increase in the levels of human aggression among and particularly towards religious communities in societies during peacetime is seen as the most complex impediment to the preservation of good societies, regardless of their structural endeavors. The authors analyze the available data, including empirical data, concerning their researched theme to identify a theoretical framework of linkages that would allow them to perform further research and take stock of the scientific efforts made so far to perceive morality as a platform connecting good society models with the potential for the reduction in aggression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Influence of Religions on Culture and Science)
Article
Tracing the Influence of Ming-Qing Buddhism in Early Modern Japan: Yunqi Zhuhong’s Tract on Refraining from Killing and on Releasing Life and Ritual Animal Releases
Religions 2021, 12(10), 889; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100889 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
This essay traces the Japanese reception of Zhuhong’s Tract on Refraining from Killing and on Releasing Life in the early modern period. Ritual animal releases have a long history in Japan beginning in the seventh century, approximately two centuries after such rituals arose [...] Read more.
This essay traces the Japanese reception of Zhuhong’s Tract on Refraining from Killing and on Releasing Life in the early modern period. Ritual animal releases have a long history in Japan beginning in the seventh century, approximately two centuries after such rituals arose in China. From the mid-eighth century, the releases became large-scale state rites conducted at Hachiman shrines, which have been most widely studied and documented. By contrast, a different strand of life releases that emerged in the Edo period owing to the influence of late Ming Buddhism has received comparatively little scholarly attention despite the significance for the period. Not only may the publication of a Sino–Japanese edition of Zhuhong’s Tract in 1661 have been an impetus for Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi’s Laws of Compassion in the late-seventeenth century, but also approximately thirty Japanese Buddhist texts inspired by Zhuhong’s Tract appeared over the next two and a half centuries. As Zhuhong’s ethic of refraining from killing and releasing life was assimilated over the course of the Edo and into the Meiji period, life releases became primarily associated with generating merit for the posthumous repose of the ancestors although they were also said to have a variety of vital benefits for the devotees and their families, such as health, longevity, prosperity, and descendants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese Influences on Japanese Religious Traditions)
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Article
Radical Islam and Insurgency in Northern Nigeria: Tensions and Challenges
Religions 2021, 12(10), 888; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100888 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 300
Abstract
Located within a broad appraisal of Nigeria’s nascent democracy, this paper examined the roots and triggers of radical Islam and religious extremism in Northern Nigeria. It also investigated its implication in the region through the lenses of religion and politics. Since 1804, a [...] Read more.
Located within a broad appraisal of Nigeria’s nascent democracy, this paper examined the roots and triggers of radical Islam and religious extremism in Northern Nigeria. It also investigated its implication in the region through the lenses of religion and politics. Since 1804, a tradition of jihadist Islam in the north, introduced by Sheikh Uthman dan Fodio, has shaped not only the politics of the region but has festered into modern-day insurgency. This radicalism enthroned an intolerant, anti-Western and violent Islamic ideology used against minorities within and against other religions, ethno-regional groups, and political blocs in Nigeria. What exactly are the triggers of religious violence in today’s Northern Nigeria? Furthermore, if any, what are the implications for this region? Drawing on archival materials and secondary sources, findings reveal deep-seated, anti-southern sentiments in the north, complicated by religious, cultural, and economic suspicions, whipped up at political intersections. Evidence also indicates significant leadership failures. This internal complexity holds back Northern Nigeria’s overall economic and social modernisation pace. This paper recommends state-sponsored awareness campaigns that emphasise diversity, integration and unity. To overcome insurgency, politics must deliver dividends of democracy to all. Governance must become a means to economic ends and not an end in itself. Full article
Article
Spirituality and Spiritual Care among Ethnic Chinese Residing in England: Implications for Nursing
Religions 2021, 12(10), 887; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100887 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 324
Abstract
(1) Background: There is a lack of understanding of how spirituality is understood among ethnic Chinese living outside of China. The aim of this investigation was to gain insight into the meaning of spirituality and spiritual care among ethnic Chinese residing in England. [...] Read more.
(1) Background: There is a lack of understanding of how spirituality is understood among ethnic Chinese living outside of China. The aim of this investigation was to gain insight into the meaning of spirituality and spiritual care among ethnic Chinese residing in England. (2) Methods: This study employed a grounded theory method. (3) Results: A core category called “seeking a meaningful life” emerged, comprising six categories: “motivation”, “support”, “maintaining standard values”, “achieving a meaningful life”, “relationships” and “perceptions of spirituality”. The core category included a three-stage process influenced by two factors: relationships with others and perceptions of spirituality. In motivated or supported situations of suffering and illness, ethnic Chinese usually follow principles of their Chinese tradition in seeking meaning for a satisfied spiritual life. This process is impacted by their relationships with others and view of spirituality. (4) Conclusions: Participants’ understanding of spirituality and spiritual care was related to seeking meaning and purpose in life. Nurses could incorporate the newly developed life meaning processes into their practice. This could be achieved by culturally explaining suffering and focusing on the significance of physical illness for Chinese people. This would ensure their spiritual care practice delivers culturally competent care for ethnic Chinese. Educators could also incorporate this process within their teaching materials so that this aspect of spiritual care is addressed for this specific group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
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Article
Black and Blue: Black Women, ‘Law and Order,’ and the Church’s Silence on Police Violence
Religions 2021, 12(10), 886; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100886 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 393
Abstract
During the mid-twentieth century, many southern White religious leaders proudly championed police brutality and other forms of state-sanctioned violence against Black citizens. In Martin Luther King, Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, he defends direct-action non-violent protests as he responds to criticisms and [...] Read more.
During the mid-twentieth century, many southern White religious leaders proudly championed police brutality and other forms of state-sanctioned violence against Black citizens. In Martin Luther King, Jr’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, he defends direct-action non-violent protests as he responds to criticisms and offers his own critique of the clergymen who gave commendations to “the police force for keeping ‘order’ and ‘preventing violence,’” while ignoring the “ugly and inhumane treatment” that the police exerted on non-violent Black protestors who sought to stand up for their rights. King intentionally includes examples of violence against older Black women and girls in his critique. In this article, the historical grounding in King’s critique is expanded to reflect longstanding support of police violence in White communities and a form of sanction through silence in Black communities centered around communal survival in the face of violent White power structures. This article highlights religious communities which ignored at best and sanctioned at worst police violence against Black women and girls and identifies the need for change in the twenty-first century. Ultimately, it calls for leaders to be in proximate location to police violence so when they see it, they can be moved ethically to address it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Politics among African Americans)
Article
Precious Items Piling up Like Mountains: Buddhist Art Production via Fundraising Campaigns in Late Koryŏ Korea (918–1392)
Religions 2021, 12(10), 885; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100885 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Considering visual culture alongside written source material, this article uncovers the socioeconomic aspect of Korean Buddhist monastic life, which has been a marginalized field of research. Arguing against the idea of an “other-worldly” Buddhism, the article specifically discusses the ways in which Buddhist [...] Read more.
Considering visual culture alongside written source material, this article uncovers the socioeconomic aspect of Korean Buddhist monastic life, which has been a marginalized field of research. Arguing against the idea of an “other-worldly” Buddhism, the article specifically discusses the ways in which Buddhist monasteries conducted fundraising activities in late Koryŏ period (918–1392 CE) Korea. Via fundraising strategies, which targeted wealthy aristocrats as well as the commoner population, Buddhist monks managed the production and maintenance of Buddhist material culture, such as the construction of shrines, the casting of precious sculptures, and the carving of thousands of woodblocks used for the printing of sacred Buddhist scriptures. While the scholarship on Koryŏ Buddhism has traditionally focused on meditation, doctrine, state sponsored rituals, and temples’ relationships with the royal court, this study expands the field by showing that economic activities were salient features of Koryŏ Buddhism “on the ground.” By initiating and overseeing fundraising activities, Buddhist manager-monks not only gained merit, but also maintained the presence and physical appearance of Buddhist temples, which constitute the framework of Buddhist ritual and practice. Full article
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Article
A Pragmatics of Ritual: The Yoshida Goma at the Interface of Shintō and Shingon
Religions 2021, 12(10), 884; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100884 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 248
Abstract
Drawing on practices and teachings from Daoism, neo-Confucianism, and tantric Buddhism, Yoshida Kanetomo (1435–1511) created the system of Yuiitsu Shintō, also known eponymously as Yoshida Shintō, all the while making claims for Shintō as the world’s original religion. Important for the establishment of [...] Read more.
Drawing on practices and teachings from Daoism, neo-Confucianism, and tantric Buddhism, Yoshida Kanetomo (1435–1511) created the system of Yuiitsu Shintō, also known eponymously as Yoshida Shintō, all the while making claims for Shintō as the world’s original religion. Important for the establishment of Yoshida Shintō was the creation of a program of rituals. This essay examines one of the three rituals created for the Yoshida ritual program, the Yoshida Shintō goma ritual, which hybridizes tantric Buddhist ritual organization and Daoist symbolism. A pragmatics of ritual is developed as a means of identifying the factors that Yoshida felt were salient in presenting the goma as a Yoshida Shintō ritual. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese Influences on Japanese Religious Traditions)
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Article
Culture–Religion—Ethnicity (Alliance of Identities in the Environment of Foreign Slovak Communities)
Religions 2021, 12(10), 883; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100883 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 414
Abstract
Is religion and faith in today’s economically and culturally globalized modern society just a conservative experience, tradition, and sentiment, or an anthropological universal, the primary essence of every individual and collective identity and a practical tool for realizing spiritual, cultural, and social needs? [...] Read more.
Is religion and faith in today’s economically and culturally globalized modern society just a conservative experience, tradition, and sentiment, or an anthropological universal, the primary essence of every individual and collective identity and a practical tool for realizing spiritual, cultural, and social needs? The community’s culture, religion, and ethnicity are most significant in contrast (or on the border) with others. The existence of minorities is determined by their being defined against the majority and characterized by differences. Contemporary Slovak communities living abroad, such as ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities, are a compelling object of research into the relationship between culture, religion, and ethnicity. Our paper examines the role this relationship plays in their identification, cultural, and revitalization processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Influence of Religions on Culture and Science)
Article
The Christian Ideal of Sustainable Development and Its Perception among Young Adults: A Case Study from Slovakia
Religions 2021, 12(10), 882; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100882 - 15 Oct 2021
Viewed by 421
Abstract
In this article, we present the concept of the participation and responsibility of individuals in the sustainable development (SD) of the world from a Christian ethics point of view. The Christian ethics perspective is based on the biblical command to care for and [...] Read more.
In this article, we present the concept of the participation and responsibility of individuals in the sustainable development (SD) of the world from a Christian ethics point of view. The Christian ethics perspective is based on the biblical command to care for and protect creation. Nevertheless, errors have been repeated throughout history because of a misunderstanding of human responsibility for what has been entrusted to man from the beginning. The article explores not only these mistakes, but also the concept of a properly understood individual responsibility from the point of view of Christian ethics. The ideal from the perspective of Christian ethics is followed by our own qualitative research. The research sample consists of 120 young adults. During the research, the perception of a person’s individual responsibility tasks for SD is explored from the perspective of university students. The research findings answer the question of in which of the four areas of SD do respondents see the needs of their participation the most. The findings of the research also indicate the importance that the young respondents allocated to all four areas of SD, which were clearly defined by The National Strategic Document on Sustainable Development in Slovakia. Furthermore, we recorded a total of 12 main areas that the respondents considered to be important tasks of man for the world and its SD. We also evaluated the qualitative findings in the group of young adults that confirm the perception of each student’s individual participation and responsibility for the SD of society and the physical world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Influence of Religions on Culture and Science)
Article
Religious Minorities in Asia: Between the Scylla of Minority Protection and Charybdis of Religious Freedom Rights?
Religions 2021, 12(10), 881; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100881 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
This article examines the intersection of religious freedom and minority protection within the Asian context. It argues that, to the extent that a focus on minority protection draws greater attention to the collective and communitarian dimensions of religious practice, it has the potential [...] Read more.
This article examines the intersection of religious freedom and minority protection within the Asian context. It argues that, to the extent that a focus on minority protection draws greater attention to the collective and communitarian dimensions of religious practice, it has the potential to enrich the discourse on religious freedom protection. I identify three areas of possible convergence—first, where a minority-focused regime leads to a richer understanding of the intersections between culture, language, and religion; secondly, where a focus on minority protection leads to positive measures by the state to protect religious minorities; and thirdly, where a minority regime founds a right of religious minorities to political participation. Nonetheless, I will also point out that there are limits to minority protection. It may even be a double-edged sword, as it serves to reify differences with the rest of society and risks permanently marginalizing the group as a minority. This could be the case even if there are institutional designs, formal or informal, to provide for religious minorities’ political participation. Full article
Article
Left-Wing Christians at Berkeley: Between the Theology of Liberation and Marxist Theories
Religions 2021, 12(10), 880; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100880 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 383
Abstract
The 1960s were marked by profound political and cultural transformation and Berkeley was one of most deeply involved institutions. Though much has been written about the students’ movement, no research has stopped to consider the experience of the Berkeley Free Church, the subsequent [...] Read more.
The 1960s were marked by profound political and cultural transformation and Berkeley was one of most deeply involved institutions. Though much has been written about the students’ movement, no research has stopped to consider the experience of the Berkeley Free Church, the subsequent publication of the journal Radical Religion and the constitution of the American Christians toward Socialism movement. The young people who were the key figures in this experience are an emblem of the Christians of the times, open as they were to ecumenical exchange and attentive to the problems of the poor and the socially excluded. The international and national context led them to progressively assume more radical positions, to use Marxism as a method for interpreting society’s “contradictions” and to seek a political dialogue with the world of the Left. This path of theoretical and political quest concluded in the 1980s, when a new wave of conservatism put an end to any hope of radically transforming Western societies. Full article
Article
Religiosity and Contentment among Teachers in the Philippines during COVID-19 Pandemic: Mediating Effects of Resilience, Optimism, and Well-Being
Religions 2021, 12(10), 879; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100879 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 845
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on many areas of people’s lives all over the world, including in the area of education. Many educational institutions must un-preparedly transition from physical classes to distance learning modalities, affecting both the students and teachers. [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on many areas of people’s lives all over the world, including in the area of education. Many educational institutions must un-preparedly transition from physical classes to distance learning modalities, affecting both the students and teachers. Given that the teachers are confronted with so many challenges, leading to their increased stress and mental health issues, this research project investigated the role of religiosity in the contentment of a sample of 296 teachers in the Philippines, mediated by the effects of resilience, optimism, and well-being. Bivariate correlation analysis showed that religiosity, resilience, optimism, and well-being were positively and significantly correlated with each other, while contentment was positively and significantly correlated with optimism and well-being. Regression analysis indicated no direct significant association between religiosity and contentment. Mediation analyses suggested that optimism partially mediated the impact of religiosity on well-being, whereas well-being fully mediated the impact of religiosity on contentment and the impact of optimism on contentment. Lastly, the measurement model indicated a significant path from religiosity to contentment through optimism and well-being. These significant results suggest that, while facing adversities in life, the teachers in the Philippines might use religiosity and its relevant dimensions as positive coping mechanisms to face the academic challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus derive contentment that is mediated by the positive effects of optimism and well-being. Full article
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Article
The Relevance of Thomas Berry for 21st Century Catholicity
Religions 2021, 12(10), 878; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100878 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 397
Abstract
The ecological crisis continues to be identified as the most significant social breakdown in the world. One of the important foundational influences on the development of an adequate religious response is the thought of cultural historian Thomas Berry. He affirmed the critical role [...] Read more.
The ecological crisis continues to be identified as the most significant social breakdown in the world. One of the important foundational influences on the development of an adequate religious response is the thought of cultural historian Thomas Berry. He affirmed the critical role that the world’s religions have in developing a spirituality that supports the sacrifices, visions, and dreams needed to live in an integral way with the Earth’s community of life. Such a spirituality provides the psychic energies we need to adequately respond to the crisis. The author of this article argues that Berry’s thoughts continue to be relevant, especially in the context of the emergence of a renewed sense of Catholicity. This article presents an overview of the breadth and depth of the study that led to Berry’s articulation of a new human orientation needed to reverse the path of devastation. It offers Berry’s insights into the reasons why it is difficult for Christianity to effectively respond to the present crisis and calls for a new Catholicity that functions out of the comprehensive context of an evolutionary and emergent universe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicity in the 21st Century)
Article
Mortuary Landscapes Revisited: Dynamics of Insularity and Connectivity in Mortuary Ritual, Feasting, and Commemoration in Late Bronze Age Cyprus
Religions 2021, 12(10), 877; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100877 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 616
Abstract
The aim of the paper is to discuss mortuary contexts and possible related ritual features as parts of sacred landscapes in Late Bronze Age Cyprus. Since the island was an important node in the Eastern Mediterranean economic network, it will be explored whether [...] Read more.
The aim of the paper is to discuss mortuary contexts and possible related ritual features as parts of sacred landscapes in Late Bronze Age Cyprus. Since the island was an important node in the Eastern Mediterranean economic network, it will be explored whether and how connectivity and insularity may be reflected in ritual and mortuary practices. The article concentrates on the extra-urban cemetery of Area A at the harbour city of Hala Sultan Tekke, where numerous pits and other shafts with peculiar deposits of complete and broken objects as well as faunal remains have been found. These will be evaluated and set in relation to the contexts of the nearby tombs to reconstruct ritual activities in connection with funerals and possible rituals of commemoration or ancestral rites. The evidence from Hala Sultan Tekke and other selected Late Cypriot sites demonstrates that these practices were highly dynamic in integrating and adopting external objects, symbols, and concepts, while, nevertheless, definite island-specific characteristics remain visible. Full article
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Article
The Almohads and the “Qur’anization” of War Narrative and Ritual
Religions 2021, 12(10), 876; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100876 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 377
Abstract
The Almohad movement (12th–13th centuries, Islamic West) had in the return to the direct study of the primary sources of Islam—the Qur’an and the Sunna—and in jihād, two of its most important pillars of legitimation and action. In this sense, it is [...] Read more.
The Almohad movement (12th–13th centuries, Islamic West) had in the return to the direct study of the primary sources of Islam—the Qur’an and the Sunna—and in jihād, two of its most important pillars of legitimation and action. In this sense, it is an ideal period to study how both realities—Qur’an and jihād—were linked in a given historical context. During the Almohad period, the use of Qur’anic verses in accounts related to war episodes became widespread. We thus witness a “Qur’anization” of the war narrative, a resource adding greater religiosity and spirituality to the context of jihād, to its elaboration and discursive representation, and to its memory and remembrance through written testimonies. In this paper I study, through the main narrative and documentary sources of the period, how the Qur’an was inserted into and adapted to the Almohad war discourse. Likewise, this approach allows me to explore how the Qur’an came to life within the framework of the Almohad jihād, how it served for its justification and legitimation, and how it formed part of the ceremony and the war protocol of the Maghrebi caliphate, thus linking itself with other discursive and propaganda mechanisms such as architecture or military parades. Full article
Article
The Pragma-Dialectics of Dispassionate Discourse: Early Nyāya Argumentation Theory
Religions 2021, 12(10), 875; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12100875 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 419
Abstract
Analytic philosophers have, since the pioneering work of B.K. Matilal, emphasized the contributions of Nyāya philosophers to what contemporary philosophy considers epistemology. More recently, scholarly work demonstrates the relevance of their ideas to argumentation theory, an interdisciplinary area of study drawing on epistemology [...] Read more.
Analytic philosophers have, since the pioneering work of B.K. Matilal, emphasized the contributions of Nyāya philosophers to what contemporary philosophy considers epistemology. More recently, scholarly work demonstrates the relevance of their ideas to argumentation theory, an interdisciplinary area of study drawing on epistemology as well as logic, rhetoric, and linguistics. This paper shows how early Nyāya theorizing about argumentation, from Vātsyāyana to Jayanta Bhaṭṭa, can fruitfully be juxtaposed with the pragma-dialectic approach to argumentation pioneered by Frans van Eemeren. I illustrate the implications of this analysis with a case study from Jayanta Bhaṭṭa’s satirical play, Much Ado about Religion (Āgamaḍambara). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophical Concepts in the Hindu Tradition: Global Impact)
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