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Religions, Volume 13, Issue 5 (May 2022) – 95 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The statue of Fujiwara Kamatari enshrined at Tōnomine was, in the premodern period, renowned for its mantic powers. Cracks appearing on its surface, considered as ominous signs, were meticulously divined, and the statue was closely observed. Less known is that this icon had an inner and an outer body: an older “true” image kept inside a newer “exterior” shell. This article investigates the relationship between these two bodies until the oldest was destroyed during an arson attack in 1208. Based on accounts of previous incidents, this article reveals that the two icons were separated in times of crises and suggests that a link may have existed between the separation and the cracking episodes. Then, by looking at how Fujiwara clansmen handled the loss of the inner icon, it draws attention to Confucian ideas that informed Kamatari’s cult. View this paper
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Article
Beyond Literal Idolatry: Translating Theo-Logos from Judgment to Love
Religions 2022, 13(5), 471; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050471 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 381
Abstract
This article explores the capacity for narrating the name of God as a way to liberate the suffering of the world. The first section of this article offers a brief overview of Walter Benjamin’s linguistic theory as it relates to the issue of [...] Read more.
This article explores the capacity for narrating the name of God as a way to liberate the suffering of the world. The first section of this article offers a brief overview of Walter Benjamin’s linguistic theory as it relates to the issue of literal idolatry. In the second section, the content of exploring Ricoeur’s movement toward a poetic faith creates a formal anomaly in which his “byway” is something that may be crucial for readers or may be unnecessary: it speaks to the discontinuity and rupture enabled by incorporating silence into speech. The third section flows from the first and third, discussing the difficulty and importance of naming God as an embodied speech act. This looks at the particular situation of parables, including perspectives from Thomas Altizer and J. Hillis Miller. The fourth section focuses on the psychodynamic work of Jessica Benjamin as it models a way of bringing an embodied witness to the world in a performance of divine love. Full article
Article
Attachment and Mental Health in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Posttraumatic Growth and Religion as Moderators
Religions 2022, 13(5), 470; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050470 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 556
Abstract
Consistent with the teachings in various religious traditions of finding meaning amidst suffering, we suspected that Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) would have a buffering effect on attachment insecurity and psychosocial outcomes. We examined the effects of anxious and avoidant attachment, PTG, and religion on [...] Read more.
Consistent with the teachings in various religious traditions of finding meaning amidst suffering, we suspected that Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) would have a buffering effect on attachment insecurity and psychosocial outcomes. We examined the effects of anxious and avoidant attachment, PTG, and religion on psychosocial outcomes (i.e., anxiety, depression, and loneliness). Data from 466 participants recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and a college student sample revealed that PTG served as a moderator between anxious attachment and (a) depression and (b) loneliness, and (c) PTG buffered the relationship between anxious attachment and anxiety to a greater extent among Christians, compared to non-Christians. On the other hand, (a) PTG did not moderate the link between attachment avoidance and depression, (b) PTG exacerbated the relationship between attachment avoidance and anxiety, and (c) PTG buffered the association between attachment avoidance and loneliness for non-Christians, but this link was amplified for Christians. We discuss the findings that PTG interacted with religion and offered protective effects for anxious (but not avoidant) attachment. Factors that may have contributed to the difference between the two attachment styles are discussed, along with implications from cultural-religious and adult attachment frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19, Mental Health, and Religious Treatment Research)
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Article
What Does Joy in Living Mean to Elderly Residents of Nursing Homes in Singapore?
Religions 2022, 13(5), 469; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050469 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 501
Abstract
The rapid ageing of Singapore’s population has led to the phenomenon of more elderly spending more total years in nursing homes. This study aimed to explore the meaning of Joy in Living to elderly residents of nursing homes in Singapore, the enabling and [...] Read more.
The rapid ageing of Singapore’s population has led to the phenomenon of more elderly spending more total years in nursing homes. This study aimed to explore the meaning of Joy in Living to elderly residents of nursing homes in Singapore, the enabling and disenabling conditions to Joy in Living in nursing homes and how Person-centered Care can support Joy in Living in nursing homes. The concept of Joy in Living is used in this study as it is unique to an individual elderly’s experience; The study employed hermeneutical phenomenological research methodology to allow for the exploration of Joy in Living in lived experiences of elderly residents through in-depth sixteen semi-structured interviews with elderly residents and six participant observations of three nursing homes (pre and post interviews) between July 2021 and November 2021; Seven themes for Joy in Living experiences to flourish were identified, including “supportive nursing home environment and practices”, “connectedness through meaningful relationships”, “meaningful daily living”, “fulfil the need for spiritual care”, “personal control”, “desire to be free from worries”, and “adapting to changes”, each of which explains a facet of Joy in Living experiences of the elderly residing in nursing homes. These themes include the enabling and disenabling conditions to Joy in Living in nursing homes; Focusing efforts and resources on enabling the seven themes, including fulfilling the need for spiritual care will allow Joy in Living experiences of elderly to flourish in nursing homes. This in turn promotes better psychosocial well-being of the elderly and better living environments where nursing home residents may enjoy satisfactory accommodation while spending their remaining years in joy. Full article
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Article
‘Genderism vs. Humanism’: The Generational Shift and Push for Implementing Gender Equality within Soka Gakkai-Japan
Religions 2022, 13(5), 468; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050468 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 658
Abstract
This paper investigates how young Japanese women in contemporary Soka Gakkai (SG) navigate Japan’s continuous gender stratified society that remains culturally rooted in the ‘salaryman-housewife’ ideology. How are young SG members reproducing or contesting these hegemonic gender norms that few seek to emulate? [...] Read more.
This paper investigates how young Japanese women in contemporary Soka Gakkai (SG) navigate Japan’s continuous gender stratified society that remains culturally rooted in the ‘salaryman-housewife’ ideology. How are young SG members reproducing or contesting these hegemonic gender norms that few seek to emulate? While SG has long proclaimed that it stands for gender equality, its employment structure and organization in Japan until recently reflected the typical male breadwinner ideology that came to underpin the post-war Japanese nation-state and systemic gender division of labor. As shown here, this did not mean that SG women were without power; in fact, in many ways they drove organizational developments in the Japanese context. The recent imposition of the global framework for Sustainable Development Goals of 2015 has enabled SG to more substantially challenge its own patriarchal public front. Based on long-term fieldwork, in-depth interviews and multiple group discussions with SG members in their 20s, this article explores how SG-Japan is being challenged to follow its own discourse of ‘globalism’ and ‘Buddhist humanism’, promoted by Daisaku Ikeda since the 1990s. Using Bourdieu’s analysis of symbolic power, the research shows how Japan’s powerful doxa of ‘genderism’ that held sway over earlier generations is currently being challenged by a glocalized Buddhist discourse that identifies Nichiren Buddhism as ‘humanism’ rather than Japanese ‘genderism’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Globalization and East Asian Religions)
Article
Gandhi and the Gender of Nonviolent Resistance
Religions 2022, 13(5), 467; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050467 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 616
Abstract
The special issue of which this article forms a part looks at human violence and tries to investigate religious potentials to strengthen the case for nonviolence as the preferred method of social change. This article’s focus is on Gandhi’s version of a faith-based [...] Read more.
The special issue of which this article forms a part looks at human violence and tries to investigate religious potentials to strengthen the case for nonviolence as the preferred method of social change. This article’s focus is on Gandhi’s version of a faith-based form of nonviolent resistance, called Satyagraha, and its relation to gender. In particular, the article asks whether this Gandhian tradition holds any value for women’s struggles and for contemporary feminist politics. The first section follows the historical development of Gandhi’s thinking on women’s participation in Satyagraha, from South Africa to India. The second section gives a brief overview of the recent empirical work conducted by Erica Chenoweth on the impact of women’s participation on the outcomes of mass movements over the past century. The final section places these two thinkers in conversation and draws out the value and limitations of Gandhi’s thinking for contemporary women’s struggles and feminist resistance. Although the direct focus is on the relation between women and nonviolent revolutionary campaigns and movements, indirectly the unstable gendered dichotomies, male–female, masculine–feminine, and violence–nonviolence, will be simultaneously drawn upon and problematised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nonviolence and Religion)
Article
Challenging Identity: Kierkegaard, Bias, and Intersectionality
Religions 2022, 13(5), 466; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050466 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 460
Abstract
Kierkegaard was deeply biased and his philosophy is marred by these biases. The argument of this article is that we need to address Kierkegaard’s biases in order to bring out the relevance of his work on human identity in the 21st century. Rather [...] Read more.
Kierkegaard was deeply biased and his philosophy is marred by these biases. The argument of this article is that we need to address Kierkegaard’s biases in order to bring out the relevance of his work on human identity in the 21st century. Rather than investigate a specific biased topic, I want to articulate the way in which Kierkegaard’s biases present a serious problem for his account of identity, in particular with regard to his concepts of eternity and freedom. I spend the first part of this article examining problems in Kierkegaard’s approach to identity before turning to the strengths of his work in the second part. I use Theodor W. Adorno’s critique of Kierkegaard and Michael Theunissen’s development of this critique to bring out both the weaknesses and the strengths of Kierkegaard’s approach to the challenges of human identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
Article
Faithful Stewards of God’s Creation? Swedish Evangelical Denominations and Climate Change
Religions 2022, 13(5), 465; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050465 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Studies from the United States (U.S.) show that opposition to climate policy is strong among some Christian groups, especially White evangelical Protestants. Much of this opposition is channelled through organisations such as the Cornwall Alliance, which argue against climate measures on religious, economic [...] Read more.
Studies from the United States (U.S.) show that opposition to climate policy is strong among some Christian groups, especially White evangelical Protestants. Much of this opposition is channelled through organisations such as the Cornwall Alliance, which argue against climate measures on religious, economic and what they claim to be science-based grounds. In the present study, we investigated to what extent these convictions were present among Swedish evangelical denominations. Representatives from the Evangelical Free Church, the Pentecostal Alliance, the Swedish Alliance Mission, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church were interviewed to identify the denominations’ views on the scientific underpinnings of climate change and the moral implications of climate policy. Our data show that the denominations’ views differ markedly from those expressed by climate-oppositional evangelical groups in the U.S. The denominations held homogenous views on the legitimacy of climate science, expressed a clear biblical mandate for climate policy based on the notion of human stewardship, and believed that climate change was inextricably linked to poverty and, thus, had to be addressed. Our results point to the need for further studies on the factors behind acceptance and denial of climate science within and between faith-based and other communities in different countries. Full article
Article
Neolithic Ritual on the Island Archipelago of Malta
Religions 2022, 13(5), 464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050464 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 582
Abstract
This paper addresses the ritual of Neolithic Malta in its island context drawing on recent research by the FRAGSUS project. Ritualised club houses placed in horticultural enclosures formed the focal point of the prehistoric Maltese landscape in the fourth and third millennia BC, [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the ritual of Neolithic Malta in its island context drawing on recent research by the FRAGSUS project. Ritualised club houses placed in horticultural enclosures formed the focal point of the prehistoric Maltese landscape in the fourth and third millennia BC, providing a stable exploitation of the islands by the small populations of the period. This was a period when connectivity was more challenging than in the Bronze Age which followed, when Malta became part of the wider ritual patterns of the central Mediterranean and beyond. The paper provides discussion of the leading issues and arguments applied to this rich case study of island ritual. Full article
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Article
A Narrative of Spirituality and Ageing: Reflections on the Ageing Journey and the Spiritual Dimension
Religions 2022, 13(5), 463; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050463 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 410
Abstract
Religion, in the context of healing and health, has a long history reaching back through the millennia influencing, and being influenced by cultures and societies. More recently, spirituality has become more widely recognised as a real component of healthcare. This article presents a [...] Read more.
Religion, in the context of healing and health, has a long history reaching back through the millennia influencing, and being influenced by cultures and societies. More recently, spirituality has become more widely recognised as a real component of healthcare. This article presents a brief reflection of the development of knowledge and practices in spirituality and ageing from an historical perspective, before considering more recent developments in these fields. Connections between understandings of religion and spirituality are considered, and especially in Western societal contexts, touching on the growing secularization of Western societies in general, and on the rise of spirituality within societies. The focus of the article, then moves to discussion of how different disciplines within health, ageing, and theology see spirituality and religion finally moves to a consideration of ways forward in research to inform theory and practice in the fields of spirituality and ageing. Understanding the context of narrative, personal and communal, and its place in making sense of being human and being in community, is woven throughout the article. Full article
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Review
Equipping Families and Friends to Offer Spiritual Care to People Living with Dementia: Findings from a Meta-Synthesis
Religions 2022, 13(5), 462; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050462 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 506
Abstract
Our work presents a meta-synthesis of 76 peer-reviewed, qualitative-research journal articles related to our research interest in the spiritual care training available for relatives and friends of people living with dementia. A total of 244 articles was reviewed prior to the application of [...] Read more.
Our work presents a meta-synthesis of 76 peer-reviewed, qualitative-research journal articles related to our research interest in the spiritual care training available for relatives and friends of people living with dementia. A total of 244 articles was reviewed prior to the application of selection criteria. The final sample of 2698 research participants across our selection of 76 peer-reviewed qualitative-research studies serves to demonstrate the value of spiritual care as an aspect of holistic palliative and dementia care. The development and implementation of spiritual-care standards and practices in healthcare generally is increasingly widespread. Most current training resources are designed for healthcare professionals, and our meta-synthesis identifies the need for training resources that equip and train volunteer spiritual carers, namely, the relatives and friends of people living with dementia. Our meta-synthesis suggests there is a need to develop training resources that equip relatives and friends with skills that prioritise attentive presence, spiritual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and, primarily, sensory spiritual practices. Beyond this meta-synthesis, developing and trialling suitable training materials and events will become the focus of an action research project. Full article
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Editorial
From a Neglected to a Crowded Field—The Academic Study of Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa
Religions 2022, 13(5), 461; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050461 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 355
Abstract
An estimated five hundred million Muslims—close to a third of the global Muslim population and half of the African population—live on the African continent [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Africa, Globalization and the Muslim Worlds)
Article
From Theism to Spirit Beliefs
Religions 2022, 13(5), 460; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050460 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 442
Abstract
I argue that arguments for the existence of God provide indirect support for the existence of other supernatural beings such as spirits. I defend three arguments: (i) the existence of spirits is more likely if there is a supernatural realm; (ii) an omnibenevolent [...] Read more.
I argue that arguments for the existence of God provide indirect support for the existence of other supernatural beings such as spirits. I defend three arguments: (i) the existence of spirits is more likely if there is a supernatural realm; (ii) an omnibenevolent God makes use of supernatural messengers; (iii) sacred scriptures attest to the existence of spirits. I defend all arguments and defend them against objections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epistemic Issues in Non-classical Religious Belief)
Article
Pakikipagkapwa (Fellowship): Towards an Interfaith Dialogue with the Religious Others
Religions 2022, 13(5), 459; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050459 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 524
Abstract
The present study examines the ways in which the Filipino Christian value of pakikipagkapwa (fellowship) can be seen and experienced in modern society. Using empirical phenomenology, this paper aims to (re)imagine the ways of cultivating ways of dialogue with religious others while understand [...] Read more.
The present study examines the ways in which the Filipino Christian value of pakikipagkapwa (fellowship) can be seen and experienced in modern society. Using empirical phenomenology, this paper aims to (re)imagine the ways of cultivating ways of dialogue with religious others while understand the meaning of pakikipagkapwa (fellowship). This study explores the contemporary notions and practices of pakikipagkapwa among select Filipino Christians and how such cultural value fosters interreligious dialogue. Moreover, the study investigates the importance of dialogue between religious actors as they navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors contend that pakikipagkapwa and interreligious dialogue build communities, support social cohesion, and help religious actors find meaning in difficult circumstances. Full article
Article
Astronomy and Calendrical Science in Early Mikkyō in Japan: Challenges and Adaptations
Religions 2022, 13(5), 458; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050458 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 807
Abstract
This study examines the use, adaptation, modification and omission of astronomical and calendrical elements in early Japanese Mikkyō (ninth century) in large part from the perspective of exact sciences. Shingon and Tendai inherited a Sinicized system of Indian astrology from their respective beginnings, [...] Read more.
This study examines the use, adaptation, modification and omission of astronomical and calendrical elements in early Japanese Mikkyō (ninth century) in large part from the perspective of exact sciences. Shingon and Tendai inherited a Sinicized system of Indian astrology from their respective beginnings, but the significance of this fact in the study of Japanese religions is underrecognized despite the reality that astrology was both studied and technically required in Mikkyō. This study will examine how Mikkyō negotiated the demand for orthopraxical use of Indian models with the contingent realities of only possessing in practice a Chinese calendar and system of observational astronomy. Japanese monks were compelled to observe Indian astrology according to their own scriptures, which by extension necessitated knowledge of Indian astronomy, but substitutions and omissions had to be made in the absence of the required resources and knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aspects of Medieval Japanese Religion)
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Article
Religion, Animals, and Contemplation
Religions 2022, 13(5), 457; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050457 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 464
Abstract
Animals teach each other. For humans open to trans-species and inter-species dialogue and interaction, animal-others offer important insights into, invocations of and models for diverse and alternative modes of perceiving, experiencing, relating, and being. They in turn challenge anthropocentric conceptions of consciousness and [...] Read more.
Animals teach each other. For humans open to trans-species and inter-species dialogue and interaction, animal-others offer important insights into, invocations of and models for diverse and alternative modes of perceiving, experiencing, relating, and being. They in turn challenge anthropocentric conceptions of consciousness and offer glimpses of and perhaps inspiration for increased awareness and presence. Might the current academic vogue of “equity, diversity, and inclusion” (EDI; or whichever order you prefer) even extend to “non-human” animals? Might this also represent one essential key to the human aspiration for freedom, wellness, and justice? The present article explores the topic of “religion and animals” through the complementary dimension of “contemplation”. Developing a fusion of Animal Studies, Contemplative Studies, Daoist Studies, and Religious Studies, I explore the topic with particular consideration of the indigenous Chinese religion of Daoism with a comparative and cross-cultural sensibility. I draw specific attention to the varieties of Daoist animal engagement, including animal companionship and becoming/being animal. Theologically speaking, this involves recognition of the reality of the Dao (sacred) manifesting through each and every being, and the possibility of inter/trans-species communication, relationality, and even identification. In the process, I suggest that “animal contemplation”, a form of contemplative practice and contemplative experience that places “the animal question” at the center and explores the possibility (actuality) of “shared animality”, not only offers important opportunities for becoming fully human (animal), but also represents one viable contribution to resolving impending (ongoing) ecological collapse, or at least the all-too-real possibility of a world without butterflies, bees, and birdsong. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Animals, and X)
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Article
Religion, Animals, and Technology
Religions 2022, 13(5), 456; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050456 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 486
Abstract
Most beef cattle in the United States start their lives on pasture and finish them in crowded feedlots, releasing hundreds of pounds of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, before they are transported to a slaughterhouse, where they are killed and their [...] Read more.
Most beef cattle in the United States start their lives on pasture and finish them in crowded feedlots, releasing hundreds of pounds of the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, before they are transported to a slaughterhouse, where they are killed and their bodies are sliced into steaks and ground into hamburgers. Until recently, the alternatives to this system were either meat produced in the less sustainable but more humane method of raising cattle solely on pasture and utilizing smaller-scale slaughterhouses or plant-based meat substitutes. The development of the first cultured beef burger in 2013, produced through tissue engineering, raised the possibility of a newer and better alternative. In this article, I use the example of cultured meat to argue that religion and technology are co-constitutive, that they shape and reshape each other, and that the intersection between religion and technology in meat production has had and continues to have a direct impact on animals raised for meat. Kosher meat, industrial or cultured, exemplifies the complexities in the relationship between religion, technology, and animals and will serve as the example throughout this article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Animals, and X)
Article
From State Control to Regulation to Privatization of Religion–State Relations in Israel: Kashrut Reform as a Case-Study
Religions 2022, 13(5), 455; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050455 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Religion–state relations in Israel have been defined as following the status-quo agreement. This agreement, going back to the founding of Israel, allows recognized religious groups a monopoly regarding issues of personal status, and promises religious goods and exemptions to such groups (mainly, but [...] Read more.
Religion–state relations in Israel have been defined as following the status-quo agreement. This agreement, going back to the founding of Israel, allows recognized religious groups a monopoly regarding issues of personal status, and promises religious goods and exemptions to such groups (mainly, but not limited, to Orthodox Judaism). Since the mid 1980s, Israel has changed its economic policies, from a centralized economy to a privatized, liberalized system. This economic change introduced significant shifts within Israeli society. These include major recent changes in religion–state relations, most importantly the reform in kashrut certification, and growing commercial activity during the Sabbath. Such changes demonstrate a dynamic of state retreat, from a direct statist provision of religious goods, to the state either retreating completely, or re-situating itself as a regulatory organ. Using the kashrut reform as a case study, we suggest that the status-quo model can no longer adequately define religion–state relations in Israel, and is being replaced by a hybrid model, which includes libertarian, regulation-based, and the noted status quo attributes. We conclude with noting the significance of this development for the Jewish character of Israel. Full article
Article
Khadi: A Narrative of Lived Theology
Religions 2022, 13(5), 454; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050454 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 404
Abstract
While other authors in this special issue analyze the nature of narrative theology, I highlight the narratives of the sisters of the Brahma Vidya Mandir ashram, a group of women followers of M. K. Gandhi (1869–1948) and his disciple, friend, and spiritual successor [...] Read more.
While other authors in this special issue analyze the nature of narrative theology, I highlight the narratives of the sisters of the Brahma Vidya Mandir ashram, a group of women followers of M. K. Gandhi (1869–1948) and his disciple, friend, and spiritual successor Vinoba Bhave (1895–1982), who came together in 1959 to form an intentional community with a spiritual purpose. One of the central practices of this community is spinning cotton that is then woven into khadi (hand-spun, handwoven cloth). From this khadi, they make their own clothing. Through a brief discussion of their use of khadi, I demonstrate how the theology of the sisters of this ashram is not a separate entity for them, rather it is the warp of the narratives of their lives; their choice of khadi is an example of the seamlessness between their theology and their narratives. As we examine their choice to use khadi, we can isolate and name some of their theological commitments. We can also identify important elements from their narratives that are applicable in multiple contexts. To this end, I conclude this article by imagining how the lives of the sisters of the Brahma Vidya Mandir might serve as a catalyst for change and engagement for us all. Full article
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Article
Religious Views of Suffering Profile Groups during COVID-19
Religions 2022, 13(5), 453; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050453 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 375
Abstract
Religion plays an important role in making sense of adversity, and individuals hold varying beliefs about God’s role in suffering (theodicy). This study examined the association between individuals’ theodicies at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and outcomes of their religiousness and psychological [...] Read more.
Religion plays an important role in making sense of adversity, and individuals hold varying beliefs about God’s role in suffering (theodicy). This study examined the association between individuals’ theodicies at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and outcomes of their religiousness and psychological well-being. The first aim was to classify participants into profile groups based on theodicy. The second aim was to compare the groups on religious commitment, COVID-19 stress, anxiety, and psychological well-being. Theodicy was measured with the Views of Suffering Scale among 233 participants. Three distinct groups emerged, viewing God as active, God as passive, and suffering as random. Individuals who held an active view of God’s role were most religiously committed and had the lowest levels of general anxiety and stress regarding COVID-19. In contrast, those who viewed God as passive reported the highest general anxiety level. Those who viewed suffering as random reported the highest level of COVID-19 stress and the lowest level of religious commitment. This study demonstrates the benefits of considering a person-centered approach to understanding theodicy. Even within a predominantly religious sample, the three clusters of active, passive, and random views demonstrated meaningful differences in outcomes between the groups of participants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19, Mental Health, and Religious Treatment Research)
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Article
Intelligent Assistive Technology Ethics for Aging Adults: Spiritual Impacts as a Necessary Consideration
Religions 2022, 13(5), 452; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050452 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 408
Abstract
Potential spiritual impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven Assistive Technologies (AT) for older adults are absent in most ethics conversations. Intelligent Assistive Technology (IAT) is the term used to describe the spectrum of Assistive Technologies that use AI. In this theoretical essay, I [...] Read more.
Potential spiritual impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven Assistive Technologies (AT) for older adults are absent in most ethics conversations. Intelligent Assistive Technology (IAT) is the term used to describe the spectrum of Assistive Technologies that use AI. In this theoretical essay, I begin by introducing examples of AT and IAT for older adults with age-related disabilities. I argue that spirituality is a marginalized value in ethics that must be considered if IAT ethics is to address the whole person. Some of the potential spiritual impacts of IATs will be suggested through engagement with three core spiritual needs. I ask how IAT might impact these three core spiritual needs. This is not meant to be an exhaustive study of the spiritual impacts of AT. Through the engagement of one approach to spiritual needs, this article proposes that IAT ethics issues intersect with the spiritual needs of aging adults and, therefore, that potential spiritual impacts ought to be addressed as part of IAT ethics for older adults. Full article
Article
Religious Moderation in Indonesian Muslims
Religions 2022, 13(5), 451; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050451 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 488
Abstract
Indonesia receives a high religious harmony index every year; however, intolerance and religious radicalism threaten this harmony. Moderate Islam (Islamic religious moderation) has become a national policy as a solution to prevent intolerance and radicalism. In this study, we aimed to determine the [...] Read more.
Indonesia receives a high religious harmony index every year; however, intolerance and religious radicalism threaten this harmony. Moderate Islam (Islamic religious moderation) has become a national policy as a solution to prevent intolerance and radicalism. In this study, we aimed to determine the factors influencing religious moderation. We examined the variables of religiosity and demographics, which play essential roles in forming religious moderation. A total of 578 students at state Islamic universities in Indonesia participated in this research. We measured religiosity with the Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS-5) by Huber and Huber. The CRS-5 consists of five dimensions: intellect, ideology, public practice, private practice, and religious experience, which we adapted to the Indonesian language. The Religious Moderation Scale consists of three dimensions: national commitment, rejecting violence, and accommodating culture. We collected data through questionnaires that we distributed online, and we analyzed the responses using multiple regression analysis. The results show that religiosity positively affected religious moderation, meaning that religious intellectuality, ideology, public practice, private practice, and religious experience supported a person in being moderately religious and might prevent intolerance and radicalism. Socioeconomic factors (sex and parents’ income) also strongly affected religious moderation. Full article
Article
The Place of Animals in Theodicy and in Justice
Religions 2022, 13(5), 450; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050450 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 429
Abstract
It is widely recognized that the animal suffering of the evolutionary past is a problem for believers in a good and just God. However, this problem is not insuperable if the intrinsic value of nonhuman flourishing is recognized as integral to the Creator’s [...] Read more.
It is widely recognized that the animal suffering of the evolutionary past is a problem for believers in a good and just God. However, this problem is not insuperable if the intrinsic value of nonhuman flourishing is recognized as integral to the Creator’s plan (including the sentience that makes this flourishing possible among most species of animals), and if this intrinsic value is recognized as comparable to the intrinsic value of human suffering. These considerations have a bearing on justice. Many philosophers, while granting the moral standing of nonhuman animals, assume that, where justice is concerned, human interests trump those of nonhumans. However, most people accept that the central interests of nonhumans, such as the avoidance of a painful death, are not trumped by trivial human interests. But the obligations to animals that are presupposed here are not ones that are liable to be superseded by each and every interhuman obligation. Hence, theories of justice need to recognize that the needs and interests of nonhuman animals generate obligations of justice, as well as of charity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Justice, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion)
Article
Sufism and Shari‘a: Contextualizing Contemporary Sufi Expressions
Religions 2022, 13(5), 449; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050449 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 506
Abstract
In this article I propose that questions about the nature of contemporary Sufism, especially in Western contexts, can be addressed with further precision and nuance by shifting the focus from Sufism’s relationship to Islam, to its relationship to shari‘a, or Islamic law [...] Read more.
In this article I propose that questions about the nature of contemporary Sufism, especially in Western contexts, can be addressed with further precision and nuance by shifting the focus from Sufism’s relationship to Islam, to its relationship to shari‘a, or Islamic law (fiqh). As very few questioned Sufism’s Islamic nature prior to the modern period, this analytical shift offers the advantage of contextualizing contemporary debates about Sufism within the much richer history of intra-Islamic difference over Sufism and shari‘a. I suggest that traditional Sufi-shari‘a conceptions, though varied in nature, can be categorized for analytical purposes as (a) juristic, (b) supersessionist, and (c) formless Sufism. I propose these terms not as archetypal categories, but rather as a tentative template for mapping Sufi approaches to the shari‘a, which can allow us to better appreciate how contemporary Western Sufi orientations towards the shari‘a reflect premodern tendencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sufism in the Modern World)
Article
“Kingdom-Building” through Global Diplomatic and Interfaith Agency: The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Unificationist Millenarianism
Religions 2022, 13(5), 448; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050448 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 463
Abstract
The Universal Peace Federation or UPF is a United Nations-affiliated NGO launched in 2005 by the late Mun Sŏn-myŏng, self-proclaimed Messiah and founder of the South Korean Unification Movement. Mun considered the UPF as the pinnacle of Unificationist political and interfaith engagement. Envisioned [...] Read more.
The Universal Peace Federation or UPF is a United Nations-affiliated NGO launched in 2005 by the late Mun Sŏn-myŏng, self-proclaimed Messiah and founder of the South Korean Unification Movement. Mun considered the UPF as the pinnacle of Unificationist political and interfaith engagement. Envisioned as a complement to and, eventually, a future replacement of the United Nations, the globally operating UPF spearheads Unificationist millenarianism. This paper first traces the formation history and genesis of the UPF as a merger of decades-long international political and interfaith activities under the banner of multiple Unificationist organisations and initiatives. Subsequently, it examines the Korea-centric millenarian purpose assigned to the UPF by Mun. It is ultimately argued that embracing globalism is not only doctrinally crucial to Unificationist millenarianism, but systemically relevant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Globalization and East Asian Religions)
Article
The Ideology of Patronage and the Question of Identity in the Early Dādūpanth
Religions 2022, 13(5), 447; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050447 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 391
Abstract
This article focuses on the Dādūpanth, a religious community centered on the teachings of Dādū Dayāl (1544–1603), a Sant poet of Rajasthan. The aim of the text is to analyze how various forms of patronage affected the formation of the ideology and identity [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the Dādūpanth, a religious community centered on the teachings of Dādū Dayāl (1544–1603), a Sant poet of Rajasthan. The aim of the text is to analyze how various forms of patronage affected the formation of the ideology and identity of this community. The article examines especially the Dādūpanthī ideology of patronage by focusing on the Dādū Janma Līlā (c. 1620), which contains an account of the supposed meeting between Dādū and the emperor Akbar, during which Dādū rejects all offers of patronage. His position needs elucidation as it stands in contrast with the later tendency of the post-17th century Dādūpanth to accept royal and merchant patronage. After analyzing how the hagiography establishes Dādū’s authority and having considered in what types of manuscripts the hagiography was distributed by itinerant preachers, it is suggested that this work is driven by a strong proselytic agenda and that it employs a ‘pedagogical strategy’—represented by the topos of rejected royal support—to establish relationships with merchant patrons. The article concludes with the observation that the increase in royal patronage from the 17th to the 19th century led to changes in the Dādūpanthī ideology that entailed a shift toward a Vaishnava identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
Essay
United Passions: Jewish Modernity and the Quest for Integrity in Paul Mendes-Flohr
Religions 2022, 13(5), 446; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050446 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 378
Abstract
Over his long and distinguished career as a historian of modern Jewish thought, Paul Mendes-Flohr has followed his great subject, Martin Buber, in striving for unity among the many subjects and spheres of Jewish life in modernity (politics, economics, religion, etc.). I argue [...] Read more.
Over his long and distinguished career as a historian of modern Jewish thought, Paul Mendes-Flohr has followed his great subject, Martin Buber, in striving for unity among the many subjects and spheres of Jewish life in modernity (politics, economics, religion, etc.). I argue that he has done so both descriptively and normatively, in both his accounts of the work of others and in his own methodology. Like Buber himself, Mendes-Flohr moves from an effort to achieve integrity by simply drawing everything together to an interest in holding divisions together in productive and pluralistic tension. Full article
Article
Faith in Nations: The Populist Discourse of Erdogan, Modi, and Putin
Religions 2022, 13(5), 445; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050445 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 462
Abstract
Despite its global rise, theoretical frameworks to capture populism have been derived primarily from case studies in the Western hemisphere. To assess if and how the premises of populism travel across different contexts, we offer a comparative analysis of populist discourses in Turkey, [...] Read more.
Despite its global rise, theoretical frameworks to capture populism have been derived primarily from case studies in the Western hemisphere. To assess if and how the premises of populism travel across different contexts, we offer a comparative analysis of populist discourses in Turkey, India, and Russia, countries with different political contexts and religions. The content analysis of 1682 speeches of Erdoğan, Modi, and Putin shows that they depart from their European and American counterparts because they are neither nativist nor inclusive. Instead, they introduce a new notion of “people” anchored in a religiously defined community, interpret the nation’s past to achieve their own political goals, and identify different driving forces to restore their lost global role. A comparison of Erdoğan, Modi, and Putin highlights the blind spots of existing studies, which fail to carefully contextualize the term, thus obscuring the country-specific constituents of populist discourses and the role of religions. Understanding the regional variants of populism not only helps us capture the reasons behind the leaders’ appeal and resiliency but also their so-called unexpected actions and decisions, such as Putin’s territorial and religious claims over Ukraine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Nationalism and Populism across the North/South Divide)
Article
The Puzzle of Revenge
Religions 2022, 13(5), 444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050444 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 373
Abstract
We pursue a multi-leveled phenomenological exploration of revenge. Revenge’s puzzle is to give an account of what exactly revenge accomplishes when it apparently cannot alter the past or remedy the initiating harm. The structure of revenge consists of one harmed, the perception of [...] Read more.
We pursue a multi-leveled phenomenological exploration of revenge. Revenge’s puzzle is to give an account of what exactly revenge accomplishes when it apparently cannot alter the past or remedy the initiating harm. The structure of revenge consists of one harmed, the perception of harm and suffering, and one perceived as responsible for the harm. The situation is apperceived as a negatively saturated experience; as such, it binds and has a hold on the one harmed, constituting her as enthralled. Revenge seeks to remedy the situation by the intentional act of objectifying, constituting, and finitizing the infinite situation. This is accomplished by constituting the guilty one as guilty, thereby mastering, in some measure, the saturated situation. We suggest that the realm and machinery required for this process is found in the realm of the imagination, where similarity and association of ideas and concepts are at play. Saturation plays at the edge of this realm as alien. It is by way of the familiar and constituted that the alien is tamed, and revenge puts the situation to “rest”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In the Shadows of Religious Experience: Hostility, Violence, Revenge)
Article
The ‘Church of the Poor and the Earth’ in Latin American Mining Conflicts
Religions 2022, 13(5), 443; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050443 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 449
Abstract
Conflicts over large-scale mining in Latin America have received growing scholarly attention. Whereas this scholarship has provided very valuable insights into the anatomies of these conflicts, the role of religious ideas and actors has received scant attention. This is remarkable, since the largest [...] Read more.
Conflicts over large-scale mining in Latin America have received growing scholarly attention. Whereas this scholarship has provided very valuable insights into the anatomies of these conflicts, the role of religious ideas and actors has received scant attention. This is remarkable, since the largest church of Latin America, the Catholic Church, seems to be in the midst of an ecological reorientation and increasingly emphasizes its image of the ‘Church of the poor and the Earth’. This research aims to fill this gap and examines the role of Catholic ideas and organizations in mining conflicts. Combining document analysis and ethnographic research on a mining project in Ecuador, the paper argues that Catholic ideas and actors play a significant role in discourses regarding nature and the subsoil, and in configuring the power relations part of conflicts. However, when engaging a historical and gendered perspective, it becomes clear that this role is not without ambiguities and tensions. The paper particularly urges researchers to remain critical of the reinforcements of a patriarchal system of power as well as the essentialization of indigenous cosmologies that continue to undergird present-day discourses and interactions of Catholic organizations in mining conflicts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Nature and Religious Re-enchantment in the Anthropocene)
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Article
Religion Involvement and Substance Use Problems in Schoolchildren in Northern Chile
Religions 2022, 13(5), 442; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/rel13050442 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 404
Abstract
(1) Background: Religious involvement and spirituality have proven to be sources of well-being for individuals at different moments in life and are also associated with a decrease in depression, anxiety, and substance use. Therefore, these could be protective factors against stressful conditions and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Religious involvement and spirituality have proven to be sources of well-being for individuals at different moments in life and are also associated with a decrease in depression, anxiety, and substance use. Therefore, these could be protective factors against stressful conditions and contribute to mental health. The aim of the present study was to analyze the relationship between religious involvement and substance use among students in northern Chile. (2) Methods: The design is retrospective ex post facto with only one group, and the sample included 2313 adolescents between 12 and 18 years of age from public and private schools. A subscale of the Child and Adolescent Assessment System was used to assess substance use and Universal Age I-E-12 to measure religious involvement. (3) Results: The findings suggest that the intrinsic orientation of religiousness (β = −0.048, p < 0.014), age (β = 0.374, p < 0.000), gender (β = 0.039, p < 0.040), and ethnic identity (β = 0.051, p < 0.008) have significant correlations with substance use. (4) Conclusions: The intrinsic orientation of religion is a relevant variable associated with consumption due to its non-instrumental characteristics of religion and practices aimed at self-exploration and self-knowledge that favor the subjective well-being of individuals, which could prevent drug use from becoming an alternative for dealing with conflicts in the children and young population of this region of Latin America. Full article
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