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Religions, Volume 12, Issue 9 (September 2021) – 119 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution interacted with non-empirical factors, including a range of theological concerns. The influence of these theological concerns is typically modeled as secondary to that of empirical evidence. In both Darwin’s thought and later development of the theory of evolution, theological concerns have consistently been viewed as ultimately subservient to empirical science. In the end, science has the final say regarding the content and evaluation of the theory. This paper demonstrates the failure of this model. Theological concerns do have primacy over the science. They motivate the development of evolutionary theory, and they control the interpretation of the empirical evidence and justification of the theory. It is more accurate to view evolution as a theological research program. View this paper
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Article
Jin Worship, Founders’ Cults, and Social Relations in Tidore, Indonesia
Religions 2021, 12(9), 788; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090788 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 459
Abstract
This article examines perceptions of jin rituals in Tidore in order to explore how Austronesian perceptions of founders’ cults, arrival-order precedence, and stranger-kingship operate in determining social relations. Tidore origin narratives are significant historical texts that encode the social order and its power [...] Read more.
This article examines perceptions of jin rituals in Tidore in order to explore how Austronesian perceptions of founders’ cults, arrival-order precedence, and stranger-kingship operate in determining social relations. Tidore origin narratives are significant historical texts that encode the social order and its power relations and so must be explored in greater depth. I analyzed rituals, origin narratives, and public discourse through interviews conducted with locals and particularly with four sowohi, the ritual specialists of jin worship. Additionally, I observed the public aspects of the jin ritual of inauguration of the sultan. The jin are the ancestral spirits and “true owners” of Tidore. Both the jin and sowohi are associated with the land and thus are the autochthonous leaders on the island. The sultan belongs to the stranger-king category, which was formed by later immigrant groups. During jin rituals of worship, the jin bless the sultan through the sowohi, who serve as mediums; this symbolizes the autochthonous flow of blessings to later immigrant groups. The rituals are also a recollection of a more primordial social order of heterogenous groups, which is based on the arrival-order precedence on Tidore. Full article
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Article
Religious Responses to Social Distancing Revealed through Memes during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Religions 2021, 12(9), 787; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090787 - 20 Sep 2021
Viewed by 644
Abstract
This article examines the emotive narratives surrounding the “new normal” of social distancing practices during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as revealed by religion-focused Internet memes. In March 2020, many people were introduced to the concept of “social distancing” for [...] Read more.
This article examines the emotive narratives surrounding the “new normal” of social distancing practices during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as revealed by religion-focused Internet memes. In March 2020, many people were introduced to the concept of “social distancing” for the first time via news reports and media coverage of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic which led to the first lockdown. As the year progressed, social distancing discourse was combined with discussion of the practices of masking and quarantining, all of which became part of many countries’ normal routines as a public health management strategy. Over time, social distancing has become a widely used public health strategy impacting many social groups, including religious adherents and their places of worship. Memes became a discursive space where practices of social distancing and religious attitudes towards these practices were expressed and debated. By examining memes centered on American Christianity, this study reveals that memetic narratives in the early months of the pandemic indicate a positive framing of behaviors intended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, and a negative framing of the attitudes of religious individuals and organizations who seem to privilege the cultural practices of their belief over the core values of the Christian faith. Full article
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Article
Links between Faith and Some Strengths of Character: Religious Commitment Manifestations as a Moderators
Religions 2021, 12(9), 786; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090786 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Religious commitment is a significant factor for the development of strengths of character. Previous studies have confirmed that for religious people, it is not religious affiliation but religious orientation that has influenced positive outcomes. The purpose of the research was to verify whether [...] Read more.
Religious commitment is a significant factor for the development of strengths of character. Previous studies have confirmed that for religious people, it is not religious affiliation but religious orientation that has influenced positive outcomes. The purpose of the research was to verify whether religious commitment moderates the relationship between faith and strengths of character in a sample of religious students from Poland. A cross-sectional investigation of 393 Polish students was performed with using following measures: the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire (SCSORFQ), the Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations (TRIM) scale, the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6), the Purpose in Life Test (PIL) test, the Herth Hope Index (HHI), the Brief Religious Coping Scale (Brief RCOPE), and two one-item tools measuring religious practices such as frequency of prayer and attendance at Mass. The obtained results confirmed the moderating role of prayer, mass attendance, and positive religious coping on faith and meaning in life as well as hope. Additionally, positive religious coping moderated the relationships between faith and gratitude as well as between faith and motivation to avoid transgressors. The research has proven that faith without religious commitment is not a strong enough factor to improve strengths of character, and being a believer but not practicing religion is not sufficient to lead a person to finding meaning in life, having enhanced hope, or being able to forgive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spirituality and Positive Psychology)
Article
Abandoning Penal Substitution: A Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Protestant Understanding of the Atonement
Religions 2021, 12(9), 785; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090785 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 595
Abstract
In recent decades, there has been a resurgent interest among Protestant theologians in the so-called Christus Victor theory of the atonement. Firmly grounded in patristic thought (esp. Irenaeus of Lyons), this understanding of the work of Christ was first studied and formulated by [...] Read more.
In recent decades, there has been a resurgent interest among Protestant theologians in the so-called Christus Victor theory of the atonement. Firmly grounded in patristic thought (esp. Irenaeus of Lyons), this understanding of the work of Christ was first studied and formulated by a Swedish Lutheran, Gustaf Aulén, in 1931. Recent works by Darby Kathleen Ray, J. Denny Weaver, Thomas Finger, Gregory Boyd, and others develop Aulén’s endeavor and present new versions of the Christus Victor model. These scholars directly or indirectly demonstrate that the main framework of the patristic understanding of atonement was more faithful to Scripture and less problematic in terms of dogma and ethics than the traditional Protestant penal substitution theory. A short analysis of contemporary versions of the Christus Victor motif shows that this model of atonement proves to be more relevant in responding to the challenges of today’s world by providing substantial background for Christian spiritual life and ethics. Full article
Article
“I Discovered I Love to Pray Alone Too”: Pluralist Muslim Women’s Approaches to Practicing Islam during and after Ramadan 2020
Religions 2021, 12(9), 784; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090784 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Public health guidelines implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the way many people practice religion. In the realm of Islam, practices from the margins—attending online mosques and prayer groups, or praying alone—suddenly became commonplace. This paper addresses the question: What religious processes [...] Read more.
Public health guidelines implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the way many people practice religion. In the realm of Islam, practices from the margins—attending online mosques and prayer groups, or praying alone—suddenly became commonplace. This paper addresses the question: What religious processes have become more evident among pluralist Muslim women during the pandemic? Based on 34 open-ended online surveys completed by pluralist Muslim women living chiefly in the USA and the UK, our analysis evidences the existence of four narratives that reflect fluctuations in the intensity and type of religious practice. The first and most prominent narrative in our dataset conveys enthusiastic embrace of social-distanced practices; the second describes a profound sense of aberration impossible to overcome in spiritual ways. The third highlights that for some Muslims, the pandemic brought no changes, as they continued to be isolated from their communities. The fourth is focused on an affirmation of a “remote” sociality experienced online. While some respondents acknowledge the increased individuation in their religious practice, they also find fulfilment in collective, if transformed, sociality. The changes in social interaction have led to a re-evaluation of salient aspects of their religious identity or, alternatively, highlighted longstanding modalities of exclusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Public Health Threats in the 21st Century)
Article
“All of Us” before God: Phenomenological Contours of the Liturgical Assembly according to Franz Rosenzweig and Jean-Yves Lacoste
Religions 2021, 12(9), 783; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090783 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 382
Abstract
This article treats the notion of liturgical experience that was introduced into contemporary philosophy by Franz Rosenzweig at the start of the twentieth century. His original and deep thinking in the Star of Redemption describes, among other things, the liturgical feasts of Judaism [...] Read more.
This article treats the notion of liturgical experience that was introduced into contemporary philosophy by Franz Rosenzweig at the start of the twentieth century. His original and deep thinking in the Star of Redemption describes, among other things, the liturgical feasts of Judaism and Christianity as ramparts against finitude and as openings onto the ultimate. The article will bring together his descriptions of the liturgical assembly as a dialogical and choral “we” or “all of us” with the work of Jean-Yves Lacoste who has made liturgy the very heart of his magisterial phenomenological work. Putting these two authors into conversation allows us to uncover some salient traits of what makes for a liturgical community, such as the link between the liturgical assembly and the notion of communion. Drawing on both Rosenzweig and Lacoste, we can see, first, that this community is not simply cultural or ideological, but that its core lies in the concrete experience of exposing oneself before God. Next, I take up the idea of eschatological presentiment in Lacoste and the choral response-structure in Rosenzweig and suggest that this eschatological anticipation is manifested in the flesh of the assembly, endowing it with a dimension of responsibility. Finally, the liturgical assembly becomes a concrete body in which the kingdom is able to come near in the density of presence as fraternity within an aura of love. By doing so, a “thinking otherwise” may prove capable of illuminating philosophical understandings of human community more broadly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenology and Liturgical Practice)
Article
Intellectual Hegemony, Conversion Discourse and Early Christian Apologetic Literature
Religions 2021, 12(9), 782; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090782 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 417
Abstract
The present study aspires to catch a glimpse of a peculiar phenomenon in the history of religions, namely, the competitive character of early Christian apologetic literature in its attempt to confront head-on the non-Christian ideological life-world and, for that matter, to persuade the [...] Read more.
The present study aspires to catch a glimpse of a peculiar phenomenon in the history of religions, namely, the competitive character of early Christian apologetic literature in its attempt to confront head-on the non-Christian ideological life-world and, for that matter, to persuade the latter’s adherents to convert to the new hierophanic message. More specifically, in this study I look into the hierophanic/religious/spiritual market of the first three centuries CE, focusing on its creating, perpetuating and promoting of intellectual hegemony interactions, while at the same time I explore the conversion discourse used by all parties concerned in order to win over the Other. Apart from other religions, early Christian ‘Apologists’ faced predominantly Middle Platonism, Stoicism, Neopythagoreanism and, last but not least, Neoplatonism. In doing so they adopted a number of rhetoric and social strategies at hand; strategies that, although intended to turn the Other into the Same—which they did achieve, albeit gradually—ended up turning the Same into the Other as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conversion Debates in Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity)
Article
The Buffering Effect of Spirituality at Work on the Mediated Relationship between Job Demands and Turnover Intention among Teachers
Religions 2021, 12(9), 781; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090781 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 491
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine whether spirituality at work moderates the direct and indirect (through burnout) effects of quantitative and emotional job demands on turnover intention among teachers. The sample consisted of 952 Polish primary and secondary school teachers. Burnout [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine whether spirituality at work moderates the direct and indirect (through burnout) effects of quantitative and emotional job demands on turnover intention among teachers. The sample consisted of 952 Polish primary and secondary school teachers. Burnout mediated the relationship between both types of job demands and turnover intention. In the model with quantitative job demands as an independent variable, spirituality at work moderated the second stage path of the indirect effect, i.e., the relationship between burnout and turnover intention (b = −0.022; SE = 0.004; p < 0.001; β = −0.14). In the model with emotional job demands as an independent variable, spirituality at work moderated the first and second stage paths of the indirect effect, i.e., the relationship between emotional job demands and burnout (b = −0.001; SE = 0.001; p = 0.032; β = −0.05) and the relationship between burnout and turnover intention (b = −0.020; SE = 0.004; p < 0.001; β = −0.14). In both models, the indirect effect of job demands on turnover intention through burnout weakened as spirituality at work increased. The results of the study support the inclusion of spirituality at work as a subcategory of personal resources in studies using the job demands-resources model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
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Article
Jesus and Spirituality: Reading the Fourth Gospel in the Light of the Indian Culture
Religions 2021, 12(9), 780; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090780 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
The Gospel of John is considered as one of the significant literary masterpieces that appeals to Indian spirituality and ideals in multifarious ways. The Gospel has unique features as a universalistic rhetoric that encompasses feelings and aspirations of Indians. The character of Jesus [...] Read more.
The Gospel of John is considered as one of the significant literary masterpieces that appeals to Indian spirituality and ideals in multifarious ways. The Gospel has unique features as a universalistic rhetoric that encompasses feelings and aspirations of Indians. The character of Jesus in the Gospel and His assimilative power to contemporary realities reverberate the situational aspects of Indian communities. In the current article, first of all, an attempt is made to explore the character of Jesus and the impression of the Johannine spirituality in relation to Indian realities. We also attempt to place the Fourth Gospel in Indian context in order to derive an interpretative dynamism that takes into account both the Jesus of John and the diverse religious and cultural aspects of today’s context. The character of Jesus and the spirituality reflected in John have much in common with the mystical traditions of the Indian religions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jesus and Spirituality: In Biblical and Historical Perspective)
Article
On Surprising Beauty. Aquinas’s Gift to Aesthetics
Religions 2021, 12(9), 779; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090779 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 399
Abstract
The article addresses the basic elements of Thomas Aquinas’s thought on beauty by analyzing some selected texts and points out some of the debates that still exist regarding the interpretation of Thomas Aquinas’s position on various issues, such as the question of the [...] Read more.
The article addresses the basic elements of Thomas Aquinas’s thought on beauty by analyzing some selected texts and points out some of the debates that still exist regarding the interpretation of Thomas Aquinas’s position on various issues, such as the question of the transcendentality of the beautiful. The fundamental aim is to recover some of Aquinas’s basic intuitions for contemporary aesthetics, which no longer makes use of many of the intellectual categories that were in common use in medieval philosophy, and to show how some of Thomas Aquinas’s fundamental ideas are closer to the aesthetic thought of some fundamental contemporary authors than the modern categories with which aesthetics was forged. This article is also intended to show how the modern conception of the beautiful has meant an ontological impoverishment with respect to the medieval thought. Full article
Article
Buoyant Ontologies: The Roots and Ramifications of Dialogue in Buber and Heidegger
Religions 2021, 12(9), 778; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090778 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Both Buber and Heidegger develop a notion of responsivity—in terms of dialogue regarding the former, and correspondence in the case of the latter—not merely as different types of discourse, but as transcendental structures in a relational or fundamental ontology. However, the responsive register [...] Read more.
Both Buber and Heidegger develop a notion of responsivity—in terms of dialogue regarding the former, and correspondence in the case of the latter—not merely as different types of discourse, but as transcendental structures in a relational or fundamental ontology. However, the responsive register is also transmitted on a different frequency; one that begins from elsewhere, not in a transcendental a priori, but in a transcendent address. Through a focused reading of Buber and Heidegger, I argue that responsivity not only takes place across the transcendental–transcendent divide, but shapes the ontological makeup of such a divide. In short, the ontological conditions of dialogue are negotiated, in turn, through dialogue. Full article
Article
Religion and Populism in the Global South: Islamist Civilisationism of Pakistan’s Imran Khan
Religions 2021, 12(9), 777; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090777 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1124
Abstract
The fusion of religion and populism has paved the way for civilisationism. However, this significant issue is still unresearched. This paper attempts to address this gap by investigating the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Islamist populism and civilisationism as an empirical case study. [...] Read more.
The fusion of religion and populism has paved the way for civilisationism. However, this significant issue is still unresearched. This paper attempts to address this gap by investigating the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Islamist populism and civilisationism as an empirical case study. While Islamism has been explored in the context of Pakistan, this paper goes beyond and investigates the amalgamation of Islamist ideals with populism. Using discourse analysis, the paper traces the horizontal and vertical dimensions of Imran Khan’s religious populism. The paper provides an understanding of how “the people”, “the elite”, and “the others” are defined at present in Pakistan from an antagonistic and anti-Western civilisationist perspective. The paper finds that “New Pakistan” is indeed a “homeland” or an idolized society defined by Islamist civilisationism to which extreme emotions, sentimentality and victimhood are attached. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Nationalism and Populism across the North/South Divide)
Article
Grounding the Theory of Discursive Resistance: Language, Semiotics and New Testament Theology
Religions 2021, 12(9), 776; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090776 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 654
Abstract
Focusing on semantics and semiotics, this article will suggest new and renewed approaches to studying the construction of New Testament theology. First, the relation between Saussure and Peirce will be analyzed because the interpretation of their relationship is crucial for understanding the process [...] Read more.
Focusing on semantics and semiotics, this article will suggest new and renewed approaches to studying the construction of New Testament theology. First, the relation between Saussure and Peirce will be analyzed because the interpretation of their relationship is crucial for understanding the process of signification. A critical stance will be taken towards Derrida and Eco’s interpretation of signification and towards deconstruction. Applying Benveniste’s development of Saussure’s semantics will introduce a discursive theory. Linguistic signs are not simply linguistic units as such. A sign is about conditions and functions. A sign as a role is a manifestation of participation. For anything to serve as a sign entails participation in a web of relations, participation in a network of meanings, and adoption of a set of rules. In the act of encoding there are elements that resist the free selection of components in encoding, such as narratives and metaphors. Therefore, they also become a means of appropriation: the construction of the sentence is not spontaneous but constrained. When, for instance, the metanarrative of enthronement directs the construction of a Christological statement, the basic theme dominates the process and becomes compelling for the ancient author. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of New Testament Theology)
Article
Philosophic and Spiritual Conversion in Late Hellenism: Case Studies from the 3rd to the 5th Centuries AD
Religions 2021, 12(9), 775; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090775 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 475
Abstract
This paper aims to study the historic and sociological context of philosophic-spiritual conversions through several case studies from late Hellenism (2nd to 5th c. AD). In the History of Religion, spiritual initiatory experiences have been thought of as a key factor to understand [...] Read more.
This paper aims to study the historic and sociological context of philosophic-spiritual conversions through several case studies from late Hellenism (2nd to 5th c. AD). In the History of Religion, spiritual initiatory experiences have been thought of as a key factor to understand the development of a belief; from Arthur D. Nock to modern times, there have been considerable attempts made at defining the concept of conversion as a part of the human psyche. This study will examine biographies of charismatic teachers of Greco-Roman higher education (παιδεία); specifically, some passages in which philosophic-spiritual initiatory experiences are described. In addition, they will be put in parallel with other passages in which the powerful charismatic personality of the teachers can be grasped, i.e., the main trigger of conversion. One of the more significant findings to emerge from this study is the importance of a charismatic master for a philosophic-spiritual experience to take place. In conclusion, late antique biographical sources must be re-examined in search for “the personal” without forgetting that, in this literary context, religious, philosophical, educational, and spiritual experiences can be encountered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conversion Debates in Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity)
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Article
Illiberal Cultural Christianity? European Identity Constructions and Anti-Muslim Politics
Religions 2021, 12(9), 774; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090774 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
This paper refers to the ambivalence of secularization in order to explain why Cultural Christianity can show both a liberal and illiberal character. These two faces of Cultural Christianity are mostly due to the identity functions that, not only faith-based religion, but a [...] Read more.
This paper refers to the ambivalence of secularization in order to explain why Cultural Christianity can show both a liberal and illiberal character. These two faces of Cultural Christianity are mostly due to the identity functions that, not only faith-based religion, but a particularly culturalized version of religion, entails. Proceeding from this, it will be demonstrated here how Cultural Christianity can turn into a concrete illiberal marker of identity or a resource for illiberal collective identity. Our argument focuses on the link between right-wing nationalism and Cultural Christianity from a historical-theoretical perspective, and illustrates the latter with the example of contemporary illiberal and selective European memory constructions including a special emphasis on the exclusivist elements. Full article
Article
Embodied Objects: Chūjōhime’s Hair Embroideries and the Transformation of the Female Body in Premodern Japan
Religions 2021, 12(9), 773; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090773 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
The female body in medieval Japanese Buddhist texts was characterized as unenlightened and inherently polluted. While previous scholarship has shown that female devotees did not simply accept and internalize this exclusionary ideology, we do not fully understand the many creative ways in which [...] Read more.
The female body in medieval Japanese Buddhist texts was characterized as unenlightened and inherently polluted. While previous scholarship has shown that female devotees did not simply accept and internalize this exclusionary ideology, we do not fully understand the many creative ways in which women sidestepped the constraints of this discourse. One such method Japanese women used to expand their presence and exhibit their agency was through the creation of hair-embroidered Buddhist images. Women bundled together and stitched their hair into the most sacred parts of the image—the deity’s hair or robes and Sanskrit seed-syllables—as a means to accrue merit for themselves or for a loved one. This paper focuses on a set of embroidered Japanese Buddhist images said to incorporate the hair of Chūjōhime (753?CE–781?CE), a legendary aristocratic woman credited with attaining rebirth in Amida’s Pure Land. Chūjōhime’s hair embroideries served to show that women’s bodies could be transformed into miraculous materiality through corporeal devotional practices and served as evidence that women were capable of achieving enlightenment. This paper emphasizes materiality over iconography and practice over doctrine to explore new insights into Buddhist gendered ritual practices and draws together critical themes of materiality and agency in ways that resonate across cultures and time periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Women's Religiosity: Contemporary Feminist Perspectives)
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Article
“Translated” or “Transformed”: The Use of Western Hymns in the Evangelization of the Lisu of Southwest China
Religions 2021, 12(9), 772; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090772 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 451
Abstract
Translated western hymns have a bad reputation in missiology. The term “translated” seems to convey a less than authentic expression of Christian faith. However, that was not how it happened when the Lisu of southwest China were evangelized by missionaries from the China [...] Read more.
Translated western hymns have a bad reputation in missiology. The term “translated” seems to convey a less than authentic expression of Christian faith. However, that was not how it happened when the Lisu of southwest China were evangelized by missionaries from the China Inland Mission in the 1920s and 1930s. The Lisu people exerted much more agency over their translated western hymns than the term “translated” implies. While the kernel of melody and message remained intact, four-part harmonies replaced unison singing. A cappella replaced piano or organ accompaniment. Phrases meaningful in a Victorian context were transformed into phrases meaningful in a Lisu mountain context. Abstract theological terms were replaced by concrete phrases. Western rhyming schemes were laid aside and Lisu poetic couplets were used instead. The end result is that in the everyday arena, in the practical living out of what it means to be a Christian for a communal and still largely oral-preference people such as the Lisu, the Lisu Christian hymns are the centerpiece of worship and devotion, of prayer and penitence. In other words, in the process of cross-cultural transmission, the Lisu hymns were not so much translated, as they were transformed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
Article
Contemporary Influences on the Role of Imams in Britain: A Critical Analysis of Leadership and Professionalisation for the Imamate in 21st Century Britain
Religions 2021, 12(9), 771; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090771 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 778
Abstract
This article is based on the findings from a research project, referred to hereafter as #ImamsBritain, commenced with a series of discussions with Imams in the north of England. The role of the Imam has undergone far-reaching changes over the last thirty years [...] Read more.
This article is based on the findings from a research project, referred to hereafter as #ImamsBritain, commenced with a series of discussions with Imams in the north of England. The role of the Imam has undergone far-reaching changes over the last thirty years chiefly due to the changing socio-economic and political climate, which in turn has directly affected the needs of Muslim communities. Consequently, Imams are now seen as professionals who need a wider range of pastoral care skills that go beyond those of their traditional role, which was mainly focused on religious teaching and spiritual guidance, The second stage of the data analysis for the research involved the exploratory Group Delphi technique, in which the Imam respondents underwent the processes of two critical reflections on the data collected. The resultant findings reflect their individual perceptions of the kind of training and development they need. This provides a unique framework for constructing a professional guide for Imams in Great Britain. The discussions and critical analyses in this paper draw on the discourses of professionalisation and pastoral care and relevant reports and reviews on Imam training in Europe and Canada. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
Article
Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom: Exploring a Glut-Theoretic Account
Religions 2021, 12(9), 770; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090770 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 369
Abstract
This essay marks the first steps towards a viable glut-theoretic (contradictory) solution to the longstanding foreknowledge and free will dilemma. Specifically, I offer a solution to the dilemma that accommodates omniscience (foreknowledge) and human freedom (as the ability to do otherwise) in a [...] Read more.
This essay marks the first steps towards a viable glut-theoretic (contradictory) solution to the longstanding foreknowledge and free will dilemma. Specifically, I offer a solution to the dilemma that accommodates omniscience (foreknowledge) and human freedom (as the ability to do otherwise) in a simple, flat-footed way. This goal is accomplished via viewing the theological fatalist argument not as a problem, but as a sound argument: omniscience and human free will are contradictory and by dropping to a weaker underlying account of logical consequence, we can embrace them in their full-throated, robust (though contradictory) interpretations. That said, the primary aim of this paper is one of exploration: how does a subclassical solution to the foreknowledge and free will dilemma stack up in comparison to the traditional solutions on offer in the literature. This essay represents the beginning of such an exploration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophy of Religion: The Metaphysics of Theism)
Editorial
Exploring Samaritanism—New Insights and Fresh Approaches
Religions 2021, 12(9), 769; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090769 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 388
Abstract
“The Discovery of Samaritan Religion” was the title of an article published in 1972 by one of the leading scholars of Samaritanism in the twentieth century, John Macdonald of the University of Glasgow [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Samaritanism)
Article
Finding Wholes in the Metaverse: Posthuman Mystics as Agents of Evolutionary Contextualization
Religions 2021, 12(9), 768; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090768 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 711
Abstract
The Metaverse is a pervasive expression of technological culture whose impact will be global. First, through knowledge, then through social, and now through geo-spatial, AI (the foundation of the Metaverse) will connect all entities on Earth through digital means thereby creating a three-dimensional [...] Read more.
The Metaverse is a pervasive expression of technological culture whose impact will be global. First, through knowledge, then through social, and now through geo-spatial, AI (the foundation of the Metaverse) will connect all entities on Earth through digital means thereby creating a three-dimensional informational and experiential layer across the world dubbed the Metaverse. The Metaverse has four characteristics: augmented reality, lifelogging, mirror worlds, and virtual reality. From the standpoint of Christian cultural engagement, a contextual theology has yet to be developed. In the work that follows, the Metaverse is engaged through a combination of contextualization and wholemaking from the standpoint of posthumanism and mysticism. The study focuses on evolutionary wholemaking as identified by Teilhard/Delio, while being guided by Bevans’ five (early) models of contextualization. The method of contextual wholemaking enables new ways of seeing, embracing, communing, complexifying, and creating within the four spheres of the Metaverse. After exploring the nature of the Metaverse in the first half of the paper, insights were gathered from the dialogue between contextual theology and culture and discussed in the second half of the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholicity in the 21st Century)
Article
Monasticism in the British Isles: A Comparative Overview
Religions 2021, 12(9), 767; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090767 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 667
Abstract
The medieval British Isles were marked by a lively monastic presence throughout the entire period. Groups of monks, nuns, regular canons and canonesses, and friars established communities even in the furthermost reaches of the territory, and by doing so they came to play [...] Read more.
The medieval British Isles were marked by a lively monastic presence throughout the entire period. Groups of monks, nuns, regular canons and canonesses, and friars established communities even in the furthermost reaches of the territory, and by doing so they came to play an important part in the life, culture, economy, and politics of the region. This paper will provide an overview of the arrival and spread of the different religious orders in England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, and by doing so, it will provide some comparative study of the different parts of the British Isles and examine how and when the spread and settlement of the various religious groups manifested itself across the islands, and what their impact was upon their localities and the society around them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medieval Monasticism in Northern Europe)
Review
Spirituality and Religiosity during Suicide Bereavement: A Qualitative Systematic Review
Religions 2021, 12(9), 766; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090766 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 790
Abstract
A loved one’s loss to suicide can be a traumatic experience and trigger a difficult grief process, identity changes, a loss of the sense of meaning and a spiritual crisis. Spirituality and/or religiosity (S/R) can be both an important resource and a source [...] Read more.
A loved one’s loss to suicide can be a traumatic experience and trigger a difficult grief process, identity changes, a loss of the sense of meaning and a spiritual crisis. Spirituality and/or religiosity (S/R) can be both an important resource and a source of stigmatisation during suicide bereavement. This study aims to synthesise the extant findings about S/R during suicide bereavement in qualitative studies. After an exhaustive selection of articles, the current review utilised a total of 484 citations and seven studies. A thematic synthesis yielded five major themes related to S/R during suicide bereavement: the need to be helped by the religious community without being judged; S/R-related experience of the deceased as a figure who continues to exist; S/R experienced without a conscious choice; conscious reach towards S/R themes; not relating to S/R during suicide bereavement. These findings indicate that the role of S/R during suicide bereavement is complex and varies from providing help to serving as a source of suffering. Hence, practitioners and religious communities should be mindful of the S/R themes during suicide bereavement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and the Stigma of Suicide)
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Article
Cutting the Knot of the World Problem: Sri Aurobindo’s Experiential and Philosophical Critique of Advaita Vedānta
Religions 2021, 12(9), 765; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090765 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 647
Abstract
This article proposes to examine in detail Aurobindo’s searching—and often quite original—criticisms of Advaita Vedānta, which have not yet received the sustained scholarly attention they deserve. After discussing his early spiritual experiences and the formative influence of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda on [...] Read more.
This article proposes to examine in detail Aurobindo’s searching—and often quite original—criticisms of Advaita Vedānta, which have not yet received the sustained scholarly attention they deserve. After discussing his early spiritual experiences and the formative influence of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda on his thought, I outline Aurobindo’s philosophy of “realistic Adwaita”. According to Aurobindo, the sole reality is the Divine Saccidānanda, which is not only the static impersonal Brahman but also the personal, dynamic Cit-Śakti (Consciousness-Force), which manifests as everything in this universe. At various points in his corpus, Aurobindo criticizes Advaita Vedānta on three fronts. From the standpoint of spiritual experience, Aurobindo argues that Śaṅkara’s philosophy is based on a genuine, but partial, experience of the Infinite Divine Reality: namely, the experience of the impersonal nondual Absolute and the corresponding conviction of the unreality of everything else. Aurobindo claims, on the basis of his own spiritual experiences, that there is a further stage of spiritual experience, when one realizes that the impersonal-personal Divine Reality manifests as everything in the universe. From a philosophical standpoint, Aurobindo questions the logical tenability of key Advaitic doctrines, including māyā, the exclusively impersonal nature of Brahman, and the metaphysics of an illusory bondage and liberation. Finally, from a scriptural standpoint, Aurobindo argues that the ancient Vedic hymns, the Upaniṣads, and the Bhagavad-Gītā, propound an all-encompassing Advaita philosophy rather than the world-denying Advaita philosophy Śaṅkara claims to find in them. This article focuses on Aurobindo’s experiential and philosophical critiques of Advaita Vedānta, as I have already discussed his new interpretations of the Vedāntic scriptures in detail elsewhere. The article’s final section explores the implications of Aurobindo’s life-affirming Advaitic philosophy for our current ecological crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophical Concepts in the Hindu Tradition: Global Impact)
Article
Reconstructing Pure Land Buddhist Architecture in Ancient East Asia
Religions 2021, 12(9), 764; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090764 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 460
Abstract
Pure land comes from the Indian term “sukha,” which means welfare and happiness. However, in East Asia, Buddhism has been associated with the theological concepts of the immortal realm in the bond of death and afterlife. This study reviews detailed conception of Pure [...] Read more.
Pure land comes from the Indian term “sukha,” which means welfare and happiness. However, in East Asia, Buddhism has been associated with the theological concepts of the immortal realm in the bond of death and afterlife. This study reviews detailed conception of Pure Land architecture in Sanskrit literature, as well as Buddhist sutras. The thesis notes that the conceptual explanation of Pure Land architecture, which describes the real world, becomes more concrete over time. Such detailed expression is revealed through the depiction of the transformation tableau. Hence, through Pure Land architecture situated on Earth, this research shows that Buddhist monks and laypeople hope for their own happy and wealthy settlement in the Pure Land. The building’s expression of transformation tableaux influences the layout and shape of Buddhist temples built in the mundane real world at that time. Moreover, this study notes that Bulguksa Monastery is a cumulative product of U-shaped central-axis arrangements with courtyards, terraced platforms, high-rise pavilions, and lotus ponds, plus an integrated synthesis of religious behaviors by votaries as a system of rituals. Further, it merges pre-Buddhist practices and other Buddhist subdivisions’ notions with Hwaeom thought, in comparison with Hojoji and Byodoin Temples that follow the Pure Land tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Architecture in East Asia)
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Article
Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose: Dialoguing with Jewish Tradition
Religions 2021, 12(9), 763; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090763 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 450
Abstract
It is the thesis of this article that a secular form of the biblical Exodus pattern is used by Woody Allen in his Broadway Danny Rose. In the history of the Bible, and its interpretation, the Exodus pattern is again and again [...] Read more.
It is the thesis of this article that a secular form of the biblical Exodus pattern is used by Woody Allen in his Broadway Danny Rose. In the history of the Bible, and its interpretation, the Exodus pattern is again and again used as a model for inspiration: from oppression to deliverance. It was an important source of both argument and symbolism during the American Revolution. It was used by the Boer nationalists fighting the British Empire and it comes to life in the hand of liberation theology in South America. The use of this pattern and its use during the seder meal is to be taken loosely here: Exodus is not a theory, but a story, a “Big Story” that became part of the cultural consciousness of the West and quite a few other parts of the world. Although the Exodus story is in the first place an account of deliverance or liberation in a religious context and framework, in Broadway Danny Rose it is used as a moral device about how to survive in the modern wilderness. Full article
Article
Pastoral Conversion According to Franciszek Blachnicki in the Context of the Vatican’s Instruction on Parishes in the Service of Evangelization (29 June 2020)
Religions 2021, 12(9), 762; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090762 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 640
Abstract
Endowed with an in-depth and insightful analysis of the Church’s reality and the charism of reading the signs of the times, one of the greatest Polish pastoralists, founder of the Light-Life Movement, Fr. Franciszek Blachnicki (21 March 1921–27 February 1987) insistently postulated making [...] Read more.
Endowed with an in-depth and insightful analysis of the Church’s reality and the charism of reading the signs of the times, one of the greatest Polish pastoralists, founder of the Light-Life Movement, Fr. Franciszek Blachnicki (21 March 1921–27 February 1987) insistently postulated making the “Copernican turn” in the Church’s saving ministry. On the hundredth anniversary of his birth, it is worth looking at the guiding principles of the Congregation for Clergy Pastoral conversion of the parish community in the service of the Church’s evangelizing mission (29 June 2020) and analyze to what extent Blachnicki’s concept of pastoral conversion regarding the renewal of the parish is still valid and estimate whether it can still be an inspiration in pastoral discussions on the realization of the Church hic et nunc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
Article
Daoist Cosmogony in the Kojiki 古事記 Preface
Religions 2021, 12(9), 761; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090761 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 631
Abstract
A close reading of the cosmogony found in the preface to Ō no Yasumaro 太安萬侶’s Kojiki 古事記 (Record of Ancient Matters, 712 CE) reveals the ways in which Japan’s early Nara period elites appropriated aspects of China’s Daoist traditions for their own [...] Read more.
A close reading of the cosmogony found in the preface to Ō no Yasumaro 太安萬侶’s Kojiki 古事記 (Record of Ancient Matters, 712 CE) reveals the ways in which Japan’s early Nara period elites appropriated aspects of China’s Daoist traditions for their own literary, mythological, and political purposes. This debt to Daoism on the part of the oldest Shintō 神道 scripture, in turn, reveals the extent to which Daoist traditions were eclectically mined for content that early Japanese elites found useful, rather than transmitted as intact lineages. This also raises questions about whether and how “Daoism” has functioned as a systematic body of doctrines and practices, whether in China or overseas. The essay argues that Ō no Yasumaro’s appropriation of the Daoist cosmogonic repertoire is consistent with Daoist traditions as they developed during China’s Six Dynasties and Tang periods—that is, with Daoism as it existed contemporaneously with the early Nara period, when the Kojiki was compiled. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese Influences on Japanese Religious Traditions)
Article
The Economics of Female Piety in Early Sufism
Religions 2021, 12(9), 760; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090760 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 613
Abstract
This paper examines the economics of female piety between the third/ninth and sixth/twelfth centuries. It traces Sufi approaches to poverty and working for a living (kasb) as well as kasb’s intersection with marriage and women. Rereading Sufi and non-Sufi biographies [...] Read more.
This paper examines the economics of female piety between the third/ninth and sixth/twelfth centuries. It traces Sufi approaches to poverty and working for a living (kasb) as well as kasb’s intersection with marriage and women. Rereading Sufi and non-Sufi biographies and historiographies reveals that there were wealthy women who initiated marriage with renowned Sufis to gain spiritual blessings, and others who financially supported their husbands. While the piety of male Sufis was usually asserted through material poverty, the piety of female mystics was asserted through wealth and almsgiving. This paper examines this piety through different female kinships—whether mothers, wives or sisters. Similar to the spousal support of wives for their husbands, sisters very often acted as an impressive backup system for their Sufi brothers. Mothers, however, effected a great socio-religious impact through the cherished principles of a mother’s right to control her son and a son’s duty to venerate his mother. This devotion was often constraining financially and Sufis needed to pay attention to the financial implications while still pursuing progress on the Sufi path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience)
Article
Musicalizing the Heart Sutra: Buddhism, Sound, and Media in Contemporary Japan
Religions 2021, 12(9), 759; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel12090759 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 513
Abstract
In Japan, explicitly religious content is not commonly found in popular music. Against this mainstream tendency, since approximately 2008, ecclesiastic and non-ecclesiastic actors alike have made musical arrangements of the Heart Sutra. What do these musical arrangements help us to understand about the [...] Read more.
In Japan, explicitly religious content is not commonly found in popular music. Against this mainstream tendency, since approximately 2008, ecclesiastic and non-ecclesiastic actors alike have made musical arrangements of the Heart Sutra. What do these musical arrangements help us to understand about the formation of Buddhist religiosity in contemporary Japan? In order to answer these questions, I analyze the circulation of these musical arrangements on online media platforms. I pursue the claim that they exhibit significant resonances with traditional Japanese Buddhist practices and concepts, while also developing novel sensibilities, behaviors, and understandings of Buddhist religiosity that are articulated by global trends in secularism, popular music, and ‘spirituality’. I suggest that they show institutionally marginal but publicly significant transformations in affective relationships with Buddhist religious content in Japan through the mediation of musical sound, which I interpret as indicative of an emerging “structure of feeling”. Overall, this essay demonstrates how articulating the rite of sutra recitation with modern music technologies, including samplers, electric guitars, and Vocaloid software, can generate novel, sonorous ways to experience and propagate Buddhism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Music in World Religions)
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