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Religions, Volume 12, Issue 12 (December 2021) – 84 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Art and material culture have been important to the rituals of birth across cultures. Participants in contemporary nonreligious rituals of birth also uphold art and material culture as sacred elements in birth as a rite of passage. This article studies an array of art and material culture used across cultures in different rituals of birth. Taking into consideration the contributions that scholars have made to the emerging field of birth and religion, including the interdisciplinary importance of theories related to birth as a rite of passage, the paper also presents new research on the materiality of contemporary rituals of birth.View this paper
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15 pages, 5324 KiB  
Article
Sur-Sangam and Punjabi Zabur (Psalms 24:7–10): Messianic and Missiological Perspectives in the Indian Subcontinent
by Eric Sarwar
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1116; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121116 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 5061
Abstract
How does the local raga-based music setting of Psalm 24:7–10 become associated with Christian identity in an Islamic context? How does Psalm 24 strengthen the faith of the marginalized church and broaden messianic hope? In what ways does Psalm 24:7–10 equip local Christians [...] Read more.
How does the local raga-based music setting of Psalm 24:7–10 become associated with Christian identity in an Islamic context? How does Psalm 24 strengthen the faith of the marginalized church and broaden messianic hope? In what ways does Psalm 24:7–10 equip local Christians for missional engagement? This paper focuses on the convergence of the local raga-based musical concept of sur-sangam and the revealed text of Punjabi Psalms/Zabur 24:7–10. It argues that while poetic translated text in Punjabi vernacular remains a vital component of theological pedagogy, local music expresses the emotional voice that (re)assures of the messianic hope and mandates missional engagement in Pakistan. Throughout the convergence, musical, messianic, and missional perspectives are transformed to a local phenomenon and its practice is perceived in a cross-cultural connection. Furthermore, examining the text and tune of Punjabi Zabur (Psalms) 24:7–10 in the Indo-Pak context may stretch the spectrum of religious repertoire in the contemporary intercultural world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Translation in Localizing Religious Musical Practice)
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12 pages, 234 KiB  
Article
Infrastructural Breaks on the Road from Birth to Death in Contemporary Russia
by Sergei Mokhov and Anastasia Andreevna Novkunskaya
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1115; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121115 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2242
Abstract
This paper addresses the problem of infrastructural breaks in two systems—the funeral market and maternity care. The authors analytically problematize how dysfunctions in the operation of these infrastructures shape the experiences of funeral and childbirth in contemporary Russia. The authors propose the conceptual [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the problem of infrastructural breaks in two systems—the funeral market and maternity care. The authors analytically problematize how dysfunctions in the operation of these infrastructures shape the experiences of funeral and childbirth in contemporary Russia. The authors propose the conceptual model of the ‘rite of passage’, supplemented with the sociology of repair joint with the anthropology of infrastructures. Based on the ethnographic studies of the funeral market and maternity care (2015–2019), the authors uncover multiple infrastructural gaps and challenges that Russian families face while preparing for childbirth and funeral, especially in remote areas of the country. Empirical data of participant observations, in-depth and expert interviews demonstrated that continuous infrastructural failures can be considered to be an integral part of these life-cycle rituals, as both burial and maternity care arrangements never happen smoothly and unproblematically. In conclusion, the authors argue that necessity of “repairing” or patching the infrastructural gaps obtains self-sufficient symbolic meanings that possess ontological features. Full article
4 pages, 178 KiB  
Editorial
Phenomenology, Spirituality and Religion: Defining a Problem
by Neal DeRoo
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121114 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2340
Abstract
The claim that phenomenology has something to contribute to the study of religion is not new [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phenomenology, Spirituality, and Religion)
12 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
Considering Spiritual Care for Religiously Involved LGBTQI Migrants and Refugees: A Tentative Map
by Charles James Fensham
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1113; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121113 - 19 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2614
Abstract
This paper describes research relevant to spiritual care for LGBTQI refugees and migrants. The literature indicates some distinct challenges faced by religiously involved LGBTQI migrants and refugees. LGBTQI migrants and refugees may not be able to experience family and religion as supportive compared [...] Read more.
This paper describes research relevant to spiritual care for LGBTQI refugees and migrants. The literature indicates some distinct challenges faced by religiously involved LGBTQI migrants and refugees. LGBTQI migrants and refugees may not be able to experience family and religion as supportive compared to migrants and refugees who do not identify as LGBTQI. Such migrants and refugees thus face elevated levels of mental health challenges compared to non-LGBTQI refugees and they also face additional mental health risks compared to non-refugee LGBTQI adults and youth. Such risks include suicidality, depression, substance abuse, social isolation, internalised religious homonegativity, shame and risks to sexual health and a breakdown in the ability to trust others and caregivers. The paper identifies five seminal areas for extending care in the light of the research. These include building trust and properly assessing risk, working towards relational health, helping clients move to new ways of constructing and conceiving of family, easing the influence of internalised homonegativity and shame, and finding written and human resources that will be helpful to clients. These areas of care only present a tentative map as this issue requires more research and reflection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Care With Migrant Families)
9 pages, 211 KiB  
Article
The Stalin Cult as Political Religion
by Graeme Gill
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121112 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4534
Abstract
Political religion is a concept that gained prominence around the middle of the twentieth century, being associated for many with the idea of a totalitarian regime. Political religion was seen as a secular ideology whose followers took it up with the enthusiasm and [...] Read more.
Political religion is a concept that gained prominence around the middle of the twentieth century, being associated for many with the idea of a totalitarian regime. Political religion was seen as a secular ideology whose followers took it up with the enthusiasm and commitment normally associated with adherence to religion. Comprising liturgy, ritual and the sacralization of politics, it created a community of believers, and usually had a transcendental leadership and a millennial vision of a promised future. This paper will explore the utility of this concept for understanding leader cults in authoritarian regimes. Such cults have been prominent features of authoritarian regimes but there is little agreement at the conceptual level about how they should be understood. One of the most powerful of such cults was that of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953. This paper analyses this cult in terms of liturgy and ritual and concludes that despite some aspects that are common between the cult and religion, most ritualistic aspects of religion find no direct counterpart in the cult. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Ritual, and Political Leader Cults)
32 pages, 644 KiB  
Review
Druze Women and Gender in Druze Society: A Systematic Literature Review
by Rami Zeedan and Miles Luce
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1111; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121111 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 6330
Abstract
This systematic literature review on Druze women and gender in Druze society reviews central conceptual themes from existing publications to chart future research trajectories. Using a meta-ethnographic methodology, this literature review covers Druze women’s experience of gendered realities in higher education, economic participation, [...] Read more.
This systematic literature review on Druze women and gender in Druze society reviews central conceptual themes from existing publications to chart future research trajectories. Using a meta-ethnographic methodology, this literature review covers Druze women’s experience of gendered realities in higher education, economic participation, marriage, family life, and health. Our systematic literature review allows us to offer two propositions on existing published knowledge pertaining to Druze women and gender in Druze society. First, we propose that scholarship on Druze women and gender in Druze society constructs Druze women’s experience of gender as not only discursive but material. We incorporate the process of women’s relationship with prohibitive mechanisms of gendered space and men’s experience of masculinist subjectification into an existing term: the spatialization of everyday life. Second, quantitative analysis reveals a disparity in publications between Israel and other countries such as Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. We propose that this disparity relates to the concept of “Druze particularism” while emphasizing their difference vis-à-vis Islamic religion and Arab culture. We suggest that future research thoroughly covers other national contexts and inter-national comparisons of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the diaspora, especially in education, economy, and health. Future research trajectories could include examining contemporary sociolegal research on the legal regime that governs family life, research on Druze men from an explicitly feminist perspective, or publications of influential Druze women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Muslim Women and Gender at the Margins)
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14 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
Clergy Perceptions of Mental Illness and Confronting Stigma in Congregations
by Anthony David Campbell
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1110; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121110 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4606
Abstract
Mental illness and stigma are key concerns in congregations and represent important threats to community health. Clergies are considered influential in how congregants think about and respond to mental health issues, especially in African American congregations. In-depth interviews with 32 African American and [...] Read more.
Mental illness and stigma are key concerns in congregations and represent important threats to community health. Clergies are considered influential in how congregants think about and respond to mental health issues, especially in African American congregations. In-depth interviews with 32 African American and White clergies were conducted to understand their unique perspectives on mental health and how they interact with their congregations based on those perspectives. Findings include six themes related to mental health stigma, namely, holistic definitions of health; African Americans and different conceptions of mental health (only reported by African American clergies); code words and language; depression as a special case; perceptions of mental health counseling and treatment; and clergy strategies for addressing mental health stigma. The clergies in this study recognized their influence on ideas related to mental health in their congregations, and most expressed active efforts toward discussing mental health and reducing stigma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Public Health Threats in the 21st Century)
15 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
Contextualizing Caves within an Animate Maya Landscape: Caves as Living Agents in the Past and Present
by Brent K. S. Woodfill
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1109; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121109 - 16 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2382
Abstract
After groundbreaking work by multiple archaeologists in the latter half of the 20th century, caves in the Maya world are currently acknowledged as fundamentally ritual rather than domestic spaces. However, a more nuanced read of the anthropological literature and conversations with Indigenous collaborators [...] Read more.
After groundbreaking work by multiple archaeologists in the latter half of the 20th century, caves in the Maya world are currently acknowledged as fundamentally ritual rather than domestic spaces. However, a more nuanced read of the anthropological literature and conversations with Indigenous collaborators in the past and present pushes us to move still farther and see caves not as passive contexts to contain ceremonies directed elsewhere but animate beings with unique identities and personalities in their own right. This article combines archaeological, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic documentation of Maya cave use in central Guatemala to build a foundation for examining caves as living beings, with particular attention played to the role they play as active agents in local politics and quotidian life. Through ritual offerings, neighboring residents and travelers maintain tight reciprocal relationships with specific caves and other geographic idiosyncrasies dotting the landscape to ensure the success of multiple important activities and the continued well-being of families and communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Sacred Caves: Ritual Practice, Myth and World Views)
9 pages, 203 KiB  
Article
Bodily Contraction Arises with Dukkha: Embodied Learning to Foster Racial Healing
by Brian J. Nichols
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1108; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121108 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2477
Abstract
Black somatic therapist Resmaa Menakem has persuasively argued that racism exist in our bodies more than our heads and that racial healing requires learning to become mindful of our embodied states. The reason that racism remains prevalent despite decades of anti-racist education and [...] Read more.
Black somatic therapist Resmaa Menakem has persuasively argued that racism exist in our bodies more than our heads and that racial healing requires learning to become mindful of our embodied states. The reason that racism remains prevalent despite decades of anti-racist education and the work of diversity and inclusion programs, according to Menakem, is that racist reactions that shun, harm, and kill black bodies are programmed into white, black, and police bodies. The first step in racial healing, from this point of view, is to shift the focus from cognitive solutions to an embodied solution, namely, embodied composure in the face of stressful situations that enables everyone to act more skillfully. Similar to how racial healing has been hampered by a misguided overemphasis on cognitive interventions, might our teaching be analogously encumbered by lack of attention to the bodies of teacher and students? In this article, I emphasize the value of cultivating body awareness in the classroom. I introduce an embodied exercise that teaches students to recognize embodied clues of the experience of dukkha, the first āryasatya. Through such exercises, students take a step towards acting more skillfully and intentionally in stressful situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching in Buddhist Studies)
23 pages, 17618 KiB  
Article
Abraham Bids Farewell to Hagar and Ishmael: Continuity and Variation of the Iconographic Type
by Rafael García Mahíques
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121107 - 16 Dec 2021
Viewed by 4446
Abstract
In traditional Christian artistic visualization, the episode of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert has given rise to various iconographic types: “The feast for the weaning of Isaac and Sara’s protests,” “Abraham bids farewell to Hagar and Ishmael,” “Hagar and Ishmael in the [...] Read more.
In traditional Christian artistic visualization, the episode of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert has given rise to various iconographic types: “The feast for the weaning of Isaac and Sara’s protests,” “Abraham bids farewell to Hagar and Ishmael,” “Hagar and Ishmael in the desert” and “Divine salvation for Hagar and Ishmael”. This study looks into the continuity and variation over time of the second of these types: “Abraham bids farewell to Hagar and Ishmael,” the one most depicted out of this entire biblical topic or episode. Since the Byzantine Octateuch in the East (11th century.) and the Canterbury Hexateuch (ca. 1025–1049) in the West, this iconographic type has remained into the Late Modern period, with some variations over time. This study is exclusively iconographic or descriptive; it only verifies the codification of the type in order to set out an analytical basis prior to future hermeneutic or iconological studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Art in the Renaissance)
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18 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
Love Jihad in Contemporary Art in Norway
by Ragnhild Johnsrud Zorgati
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121106 - 15 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3385
Abstract
This article explores the concept of ‘love jihad’ and the love jihad discourse in a Scandinavian setting, with a particular emphasis on contemporary works of art and popular culture in Norway. Arguing that ‘love jihad’ may be understood as part of a larger [...] Read more.
This article explores the concept of ‘love jihad’ and the love jihad discourse in a Scandinavian setting, with a particular emphasis on contemporary works of art and popular culture in Norway. Arguing that ‘love jihad’ may be understood as part of a larger cluster of meaning related to fear of love across religious and cultural boundaries, and of losing ‘our women’ to ‘foreign men’, the article demonstrates that the love-jihad discourse and its related tropes exist in the Norwegian public sphere. It is directly articulated in far-right blogs and Facebook groups and indirectly present in the works of art and popular culture that this article explores. Indeed, read intertextually and in light of recent research in sociology and media studies about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric on the Internet, works such as Disgraced, Heisann Montebello, SAS plus/SAS pussy, and Norskish demonstrate—through challenging, mocking or discussing the love-jihad discourse—that ‘love jihad’ has echoes in contemporary Norway. Full article
71 pages, 54250 KiB  
Article
Form Follows Function in Community Rituals in North China: Temples and Temple Festivals in Jiacun Village
by Xiaohuan Zhao
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1105; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121105 - 15 Dec 2021
Viewed by 4395
Abstract
Yingshen saishe or saishe is a general name for all types of temple festivals held to offer sacrifices to deities of local communities. With its roots traceable to ancient shamanic beliefs and practices, saishe demonstrates itself as a closely integrated form of [...] Read more.
Yingshen saishe or saishe is a general name for all types of temple festivals held to offer sacrifices to deities of local communities. With its roots traceable to ancient shamanic beliefs and practices, saishe demonstrates itself as a closely integrated form of religious ritual performance and musical/theatrical performance and proves to be instrumental in the development of Chinese theatre from ritual to drama. Based on my fieldwork on Jiacun Double-Fourth Temple Festival in May 2016, this paper offers a close examination of Jiacun temple culture and temple theatre with focus on the religious ritual performance and musical/theatrical entertainment presented during the festival. In so doing, this paper provides an enhanced understanding of the highly dynamic, interactive relationships between temple and theatre and between efficacy and entertainment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Folk Belief in Chinese Literature and Theatre)
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15 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
The Debate of a Paṇḍita Dog with a Monk: Critique of Buddhist Monastics in üg Genre Works of Agvaanhaidav
by Lhagvademchig Jadamba
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121104 - 15 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2285
Abstract
It is in the nineteenth century that the üg genre of Mongolian literature became a favorite literary form for Mongolian writers. Most works written in this genre are didactic teachings on compassion for domestic animals, the ills of the transient nature of sa [...] Read more.
It is in the nineteenth century that the üg genre of Mongolian literature became a favorite literary form for Mongolian writers. Most works written in this genre are didactic teachings on compassion for domestic animals, the ills of the transient nature of saṃsāra, and a critique of misconduct among Buddhist monastic communities in Mongolia. Through the words of anthropomorphized animals or even of inanimate objects, the authors of the works belonging to the üg genre expressed their social concerns and criticism of their society. One of such authors was a Mongolian monk scholar of the nineteenth century by name Agvaanhaidav (Tib: Ngag dbang mkhas grub), who in his works of the üg genre strongly advocated the development and preservation of the spirit of Mahāyāna Buddhism in Mongolia, and of the Geluk monasticism and scholarship in particular. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Buddhist Traditions in Literature)
17 pages, 5996 KiB  
Article
Cultural Hybridization in Christian China: The Art of Cloisonné at The Service of God
by Manuel Parada López de Corselas and Alberto A. Vela-Rodrigo
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1103; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121103 - 14 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4307
Abstract
The usual conception of traditional Chinese art tends to forget the existence of a rich cultural legacy of Christian origin that has been reflected in the manufacture of ritual objects for the convert communities and European missionaries in China. Among the most used [...] Read more.
The usual conception of traditional Chinese art tends to forget the existence of a rich cultural legacy of Christian origin that has been reflected in the manufacture of ritual objects for the convert communities and European missionaries in China. Among the most used techniques, cloisonné stands out, with important liturgical or decorative pieces treasured by missionaries and collectors, many of them in Western museums today. This work tries to make an approximation to some of those ritual objects used by the Christian Chinese communities that reflect the great influence that the Western artistic models had in the conception of art as a result of the cultural hybridization between both worlds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
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15 pages, 310 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between Religion and Society in the COVID-19 Era: The Case of Protestantism in South Korea
by Minah Kim
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1102; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121102 - 14 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2414
Abstract
The relationship between Korean Protestantism and society at large can be divided into three parts in terms of the religion’s participation in society following the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule: (1) conservative social non-participation, (2) far-right social participation, and (3) progressive [...] Read more.
The relationship between Korean Protestantism and society at large can be divided into three parts in terms of the religion’s participation in society following the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule: (1) conservative social non-participation, (2) far-right social participation, and (3) progressive social participation. In the COVID-19 era, conservative Protestants reluctantly followed the government’s quarantine guidelines but remained wary of state control over religion. Far-right Protestants placed a greater emphasis on religious values than on public safety and maintained face-to-face worship services against the government’s ban on religious and other largescale gatherings. Progressive Protestants participated in social movements to benefit the public good and were willing to forgo religious gatherings to that end. Overcoming COVID-19 requires many things, particularly material support for the marginalized, an establishment of an intimacy network beyond church-centered communities, ethics of respect for life, and the promotion of ecological justice, and with this in mind, the progressive Protestants’ participation in society can be considered an appropriate model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
15 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
Jewish-Christian Identities in Conflict: The Cases of Fr. Daniel Rufeisen and Fr. Elias Friedman
by Emma O’Donnell Polyakov
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121101 - 14 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2139
Abstract
The status of Jewish identity in cases of conversion to another religion is a contentious issue and was brought to the forefront of public attention with the 1962 court case of Oswald Rufeisen, a Jewish convert to Christianity known as Br. Daniel, which [...] Read more.
The status of Jewish identity in cases of conversion to another religion is a contentious issue and was brought to the forefront of public attention with the 1962 court case of Oswald Rufeisen, a Jewish convert to Christianity known as Br. Daniel, which led to a shift in the way that the state of Israel defines Jewish identity for the purposes of citizenship. At the same time, however, another test case in conflicting interpretations of Jewish identity after conversion was playing out in Rufeisen’s own monastery, hidden to the public eye. Of the fifteen monks who lived together in the Stella Maris Monastery in Haifa, two were Jewish converts, both of whom converted during the Second World War and later immigrated to Israel. Both outspoken advocates for their own understanding of Jewish identity, Rufeisen and his fellow Carmelite Fr. Elias Friedman expressed interpretations of Jewish-Christian religious identity that are polarized and even antagonistically oppositional at times. This paper argues that the intimately related histories and opposing interpretations of Rufeisen and Friedman parallel the historical contestation between Judaism and Christianity. It investigates their overlapping and yet divergent views, which magnify questions of Jewish identity, Catholic interpretations of Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust narratives, and proselytism. Full article
15 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
The Heralds of Zionism as Theological Revolutionaries
by Amir Mashiach
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1100; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121100 - 14 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2859
Abstract
In historiographical research, there is an approach that perceives the ideologues who preceded the Hovevei Zion movement (1881) and the Zionist movement (1896) as “heralds of Zionism”. These ideologues operated, or at least proposed the idea of the Jews’ return to the Land [...] Read more.
In historiographical research, there is an approach that perceives the ideologues who preceded the Hovevei Zion movement (1881) and the Zionist movement (1896) as “heralds of Zionism”. These ideologues operated, or at least proposed the idea of the Jews’ return to the Land of Israel and establishment a political entity in the Land, beginning from the 1860s. The researchers are divided, however, on the identification of the heralds. Some locate them even earlier, in the 17th century, while others deny their very existence. This article wishes to claim that the heralds of Zionism were Orthodox rabbis, such as R. Kalisher, R. Alkalai, R. Friedland, R. Guttmacher, R. Bibas, and R. Natonek, who operated in the early half of the 19th century and transformed the Jewish theology that advocated a passive-spiritual-Divine redemption into an active-practical-natural redemption. For this purpose, it is necessary to immigrate to the Land of Israel and cultivate the land. They contended that once the People of Israel would do so, the redemption would arrive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Zionism – Sociology and Theology)
24 pages, 6970 KiB  
Article
Art and Influence, Presence and Navigation in Southern African Forager Landscapes
by Sam Challis and Andrew Skinner
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1099; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121099 - 13 Dec 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3700
Abstract
With earlier origins and a rebirth in the late 1990s, the New Animisms and the precipitate ‘ontological turn’ have now been in full swing since the mid-2000s. They make a valuable contribution to the interpretation of the rock arts of numerous societies, particularly [...] Read more.
With earlier origins and a rebirth in the late 1990s, the New Animisms and the precipitate ‘ontological turn’ have now been in full swing since the mid-2000s. They make a valuable contribution to the interpretation of the rock arts of numerous societies, particularly in their finding that in animist societies, there is little distinction between nature and culture, religious belief and practicality, the sacred and the profane. In the process, a problem of perspective arises: the perspectives of such societies, and the analogical sources that illuminate them, diverge in more foundational terms from Western perspectives than is often accounted for. This is why archaeologists of religion need to be anthropologists of the wider world, to recognise where animistic and shamanistic ontologies are represented, and perhaps where there is reason to look closely at how religious systems are used to imply Cartesian separations of nature and culture, religious and mundane, human/person and animal/non-person, and where these dichotomies may obscure other forms of being-in-the-world. Inspired by Bird-David, Descola, Hallowell, Ingold, Vieiros de Castro, and Willerslev, and acting through the lens of navigation in a populated, enculturated, and multinatural world, this contribution locates southern African shamanic expressions of rock art within broader contexts of shamanisms that are animist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art, Shamanism and Animism)
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14 pages, 247 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study of Islam and Buddhism: A Multicultural Society Perspective
by Wong Chin Yew, Abd Hair Awang, Sivapalan Selvadurai, Mansor Mohd Noor and Peng Kee Chang
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1098; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121098 - 11 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 11189
Abstract
In this article, two great world religions, Islam and Buddhism, are compared. The purpose is to highlight similarities and differences between the two religions. Additionally, this article aims to project elements and teachings that are deemed important by their followers. A neutral stance [...] Read more.
In this article, two great world religions, Islam and Buddhism, are compared. The purpose is to highlight similarities and differences between the two religions. Additionally, this article aims to project elements and teachings that are deemed important by their followers. A neutral stance on their beliefs is especially important in a multicultural society. The study was conducted to promote the harmony and betterment of Malaysian society, and the nation at large; a value process of understanding of each religion is recommended, which can then lead to acceptance, respect and tolerance among the population, and form the basis for developing a paradigmatic Malaysian society that has unity in diversity. This study adopted document analysis as the research method for data collection and data analysis. The conclusions drawn are that, although the two religions appear rather different in terms of principles and practices, the core values of avoiding evil and doing good are similar. In addition, the study proposes that without prejudice and pride, the basics of all commonly practiced religions in Malaysia should be introduced to all Malaysians, with the objective of all understanding, but not necessarily embracing, each other’s religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Religions in a Pluralistic Society)
15 pages, 485 KiB  
Article
Factors Determining the Involvement in Non-Religious Activities in the Parish: A Cross-Sectional Study of the Catholic Laity
by Krzysztof Jurek, Jadwiga Plewko and Małgorzata Szyszka
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121097 - 10 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2805
Abstract
Charitable activities of the Catholic Church in Poland are carried out primarily at two levels: national church organizations, diocesan and religious, and at the level of less formalized parish organizations. The data show a relatively low percentage of people who are strongly involved [...] Read more.
Charitable activities of the Catholic Church in Poland are carried out primarily at two levels: national church organizations, diocesan and religious, and at the level of less formalized parish organizations. The data show a relatively low percentage of people who are strongly involved in parish activities and in non-religious (social, charitable) affairs of the parish community. The first purpose of this paper is to indicate the socio-demographic features that characterize people who are socially engaged. The second aim is to search for model regularities indicating determinants of social activity of parishioners. We conducted the research in parishes of Lublin Archdiocese in 2020. The research sample was 1867 people, of whom 70% were women. The average age of the respondents was 54.31 years. We have selected predictors that characterise the participants of the non-religious activities in the parish. Referring to the theoretical model of social participation and the concept of social capital, we have indicated the factors that shape the pro-social attitudes of parish members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
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29 pages, 8242 KiB  
Article
Engraving and Religious Imagery in the Modern Age: Between Verisimilitude and the Suggestion of Non-Existent Realities. Analysis of Some Cases Elaborated in Spain
by María José Cuesta García de Leonardo
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121096 - 10 Dec 2021
Viewed by 3625
Abstract
The didactic importance of the religious image can be appreciated in the use of engraving and its power to disseminate, especially in the urban society of the Modern Age, in connection with the printed book. Such images will use their evocative power to [...] Read more.
The didactic importance of the religious image can be appreciated in the use of engraving and its power to disseminate, especially in the urban society of the Modern Age, in connection with the printed book. Such images will use their evocative power to suggest, based on observable realities, a reality that never existed, but which is convenient to create: The image will be able to construct this reality and convince observers of its undoubted existence. Some examples elaborated in Spain will be analyzed, as well as their inventors or the engravers who followed the instructions of the previous ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Art in the Renaissance)
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16 pages, 1794 KiB  
Article
Graduate Education of Christian Universities in Modern China: A Case Study of Nanking University
by Qi Liu, Xuemeng Cao and Chuanyi Wang
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1095; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121095 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3266
Abstract
From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, traditional Chinese society experienced a significant period of gradual development toward modernization. Along with the transformation of social institutions, people’s thoughts were also changing. Christian missionaries in China began to continue their mission [...] Read more.
From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, traditional Chinese society experienced a significant period of gradual development toward modernization. Along with the transformation of social institutions, people’s thoughts were also changing. Christian missionaries in China began to continue their mission by establishing Christian universities in the midst of the drastic changes in modern Chinese society. These Christian universities brought Western scientific and cultural knowledge to China, and gradually bridged the gap between the Chinese intellectual community and the outside world. From the acquisition of the right to award degrees to the approval of the Chinese government and, subsequently, to the development of graduate education localized in modern China, Christian universities have made new attempts on the ancient Chinese land. The existing literature, however, often ignores the cultural value and ideological enlightenment contributions made by these Christian universities. This paper attempts to describe the arduous exploration process of Christian universities, employing historical examples to analyze the motivations of Christian universities to develop degree education. The key argument of this article is that Christian universities in modern China are not only “imported” but also a product of “sinicization”, which represents the exchange and collision between Chinese and Western cultures during a special period of time. Full article
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13 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
Mutability and Relationality: Towards an African Four-Dimensionalist Pan-Psychism
by Luis Cordeiro-Rodrigues
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1094; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121094 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2031
Abstract
This article challenges a certain Theist conception of God as immutable. I argue that the idea that God is immutable can be challenged on the grounds of its metaphysical groundwork. More precisely, I contend that the idea that God is immutable entails endurantism, [...] Read more.
This article challenges a certain Theist conception of God as immutable. I argue that the idea that God is immutable can be challenged on the grounds of its metaphysical groundwork. More precisely, I contend that the idea that God is immutable entails endurantism, which I demonstrate to be mistaken. This view cannot be right because it potentially involves three absurd implications: (a) a violation of the principle of the Indiscernibility of Identicals (b) the idea that God becomes a different God with any change that occurs (c) the view that only the present is real and there is no future and past. As these solutions are absurd, the endurantist view ought to be abandoned. I then suggest an alternative theory that does not meet the same problems, which I call African four-dimensionalist Pan-Psychism. This theory I advance maintains that God is the sum of His spatial and temporal parts, is mutable and has relational properties (e.g., He changes with the occurrence of evil or good in the world). I uphold that this view does not have the absurd implications of its competitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
35 pages, 4861 KiB  
Article
Religions with or without Sense of Humor: A Psychological Perspective
by José M. Prieto and Pedro Altungy
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121093 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5871
Abstract
The contrast between Homo Ridens and Homo Religiosus is launched and followed by the tug of war between the laugh of God and the sin of laughter. Funniness in jokes with religious content is explored through the incongruity-resolution model developed by Suls, a [...] Read more.
The contrast between Homo Ridens and Homo Religiosus is launched and followed by the tug of war between the laugh of God and the sin of laughter. Funniness in jokes with religious content is explored through the incongruity-resolution model developed by Suls, a psychologist expert in artificial intelligence: among the faithful abound believers whom it deems inappropriate the hilarious endings invented, with ulterior motives, by humorists. The transgression model in graphic design, elaborated by Alvarez Junco, provides the frame of reference to discern the camouflage of four frescos and a sculpture by Michelangelo, who knew more than he appeared, and was a dissident, but not a heretic. Humor cannot be reduced to jokes, and the taxonomy created by Long and Grasser (cognitive and experimental psychologists) has been used to accentuate the nexus between witticism in daily life interactions with religious connotations: their eleven categories have been portrayed using literary narratives authored by well-known European and Asian writers. Efforts have been made to draft them with the sense of humor that corresponds to the heading. Psychologists pay attention mainly to individual or group experiences, that is, religiosity. Artists have relied on camouflage to ensure that inquisitive persons do not react by penalizing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Spirituality and Psychosocial Well-Being)
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18 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
All Is Burning: Buddhist Mindfulness as Radical Reflection
by Sebastjan Vörös
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121092 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2951
Abstract
This paper consists of two parts. In the first part (Section 1, part of Section 2), I put forward a critique of what I refer to as the ‘received’ or ‘standard’ view of mindfulness in the Western cultural milieu. According to the received [...] Read more.
This paper consists of two parts. In the first part (Section 1, part of Section 2), I put forward a critique of what I refer to as the ‘received’ or ‘standard’ view of mindfulness in the Western cultural milieu. According to the received view, mindfulness is the acontextual ‘core’ of Buddhism whose determining characteristic is bare (present-oriented, non-judgmental) attention to the flow and content of experience. As noted by many researchers, this conception is in stark contrast to the traditional Buddhist understanding, where mindfulness is not only embedded in a broader context that provides it with a specific philosophico-existential orientation (normative aspect) but is also construed as a reflective activity (noetic aspect). In the second part (part of Sections 2–4), I argue that one of the main issues with the standard view is that it frames experience in terms of what Maurice Merleau-Ponty calls ‘objective thought’ (using objectivity, or ‘thinghood’, as an onto-epistemological standard of reality), which makes the two aspects of the traditional conception (normative and noetic) unintelligible. I then provide an alternative view based on the phenomenological work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty that attempts to integrate the two aspects into a broader conception of experience. By drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s notions of ‘phenomenal field’ and ‘radical reflection’, I argue that mindfulness needs to be understood as a reflective attitude that allows one to discern not only the content but also, and primarily, the context of each experience, and that this also includes seeing itself—the act of reflection—as an act that stems from, and returns back into, the pre-reflective current of existence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meditation and Spiritual Practice)
17 pages, 331 KiB  
Article
Saving Nation, Faith and Family. Yoram Hazony’s National Conservativism and Its Theo-Political Mission
by Michaela Quast-Neulinger
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121091 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2457
Abstract
Particularly pushed by the Edmund Burke Foundation and its president Yoram Hazony, the political movement of National Conservativism is largely based on specific concepts of nation, faith and family. Driven by the mission to overcome the violence of liberalism, identified with imperialism, national [...] Read more.
Particularly pushed by the Edmund Burke Foundation and its president Yoram Hazony, the political movement of National Conservativism is largely based on specific concepts of nation, faith and family. Driven by the mission to overcome the violence of liberalism, identified with imperialism, national conservatives shape potent international and interreligious alliances for a religiously based system of independent national states. The article gives an outline of the main programmatic pillars of National Conservativism at the example of Yoram Hazony’s The Virtue of Nationalism, one of the current ideological key works of the movement. It will show how its political framework is based on a binary frame of liberalism (identified with imperialism) versus nationalism, the latter supported as the way forward towards protecting freedom, faith and family. The analytic part will focus on the use of religious motifs and the construction of a specific kind of Judaeo-Christianism as a means of exclusivist theo-political nationalism. It will be shown that Hazony’s nationalism is no way to overcome violence, but a political theory close to theo-political authoritarianism, based on abridged readings of Scripture, history and philosophy. It severely endangers the foundations of democracies, especially with regard to minority and women’s rights, and delegitimizes liberal democracy and religious traditions positively contributing to it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nonviolence and Religion)
15 pages, 2102 KiB  
Article
The Terrorist and the Girl Next Door: Love Jihad in French Femonationalist Nonfiction
by Catherine Tebaldi
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1090; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121090 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4330
Abstract
This paper explores the theme of Love Jihad in “true sex crime” novels, French mass-market paperbacks where a journalist or author recounts the temoignage of women who suffered sexual violence at the hands of Muslim men. Semiotic analysis of visual and textual representations [...] Read more.
This paper explores the theme of Love Jihad in “true sex crime” novels, French mass-market paperbacks where a journalist or author recounts the temoignage of women who suffered sexual violence at the hands of Muslim men. Semiotic analysis of visual and textual representations shows a melodramatic triangle of female victims, Muslim male perpetrators, and heroic readers. These stories reflect, dramatize, and sexualize broader social constructions of the monstrous Muslim; from Far-Right conspiracies of The Great Replacement to femonationalist debates about veils and republican values. In the final section, the paper explores how visual and verbal tropes from these popular discourses reappear in political speech and media from the National Rally. Full article
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13 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Of Dhammacārinī and Rematriation in Post-Genocidal Cambodia
by Napakadol Kittisenee
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121089 - 09 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2550
Abstract
The literature over the last three decades has been trying to account for the stories of resilience by Cambodians both in their homeland and diasporas through performance and literature, visual culture, and religion to undo the legacy of displacement and traumatic experience of [...] Read more.
The literature over the last three decades has been trying to account for the stories of resilience by Cambodians both in their homeland and diasporas through performance and literature, visual culture, and religion to undo the legacy of displacement and traumatic experience of the Cambodians during 1975–1979, known as the Khmer Rouge Genocidal period. The repatriation of Khmer refugees to their homeland during 1992–1993 poses a question of to what extent the physical return could replenish the richness of people’s lives deprived by war-time atrocities. Dhammayietra (peace march; 1992–2018) originated by and centered around the spiritual leadership of late Maha Ghosananda has, being an exemplar, tackled this challenge. Yet, are there any significant moral contributions and ethical leadership from other sources? This paper therefore seeks to highlight the under-recognized stories of ‘Dhammacārinī’ (Buddhist Woman Leader) of Cambodia in the light of the spirituality that emerged in the post-conflict reconstruction. Based on my ethnographic accounts and engagement with Dhammayietra (2009–2018), archival research and biographical and dharma books published by the two dhammacārinīs of Cambodia, I argue that these Buddhist woman leaders attempt to offer the people of Cambodia ‘rematriation’, where the ethics of care, nurture, interconnectedness and healing join forces to counter the legacy of devastation and desperation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anti-human Trafficking, Interfaith, and Spirituality)
11 pages, 237 KiB  
Article
Rereading of the Quran in Light of Nursi’s Risale-i Nur Collection: Shuhudi Exegesis
by Salih Yucel
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121088 - 09 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2737
Abstract
The concept of tafsiri şuhudi (transempirical exegesis) was coined for the first time by Said Nursi (d. 1960) and was reflected throughout his works. In his tafsiri şuhudi (pronounced shuhudi) methodology, Nursi views the Qur’an as an interpretation of the universe, that is [...] Read more.
The concept of tafsiri şuhudi (transempirical exegesis) was coined for the first time by Said Nursi (d. 1960) and was reflected throughout his works. In his tafsiri şuhudi (pronounced shuhudi) methodology, Nursi views the Qur’an as an interpretation of the universe, that is Kitab al-Kabir (a big book). According to Nursi, such an exegesis is needed to reach the degree of iman tahkiki (investigative belief), also known as authentic faith. As part of his methodology, Nursi uses spiritual experience (kashf) and secular sciences as evidence for gaining true faith. Tafsiri şuhudi is an offshoot of ishari (inner meaning) tafsir but one that is injected with rationalism. This tafsir type also injects witnessing (şuhudi) into the dry body of scientific and modern tafsir that emerged in the Muslim world after European enlightenment. This article first examines the original hermeneutical concept of tafsir şuhudi in Nursi’s works and then analyses the sound heart, an essential part of iman tahkiki, in light of Nursi’s transempirical experience. The article argues that Nursi injects rationalism into the ishari tafsir methodology and infuses şuhudi experience by making it not only an epistemic but also an existential understanding of modern tafsir methodology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Approaches to Qur'anic Hermeneutics in the Muslim World)
13 pages, 259 KiB  
Article
Past Continuous or Present Perfect? Continuity and Change in Contemporary Indian Philosophy
by Daniel Raveh
Religions 2021, 12(12), 1087; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12121087 - 09 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2191
Abstract
Contemporary Indian philosophy is a distinct genre of philosophy that draws both on classical Indian philosophical sources and on Western materials, old and new. It is comparative philosophy without borders. In this paper, I attempt to show how contemporary Indian philosophy works through [...] Read more.
Contemporary Indian philosophy is a distinct genre of philosophy that draws both on classical Indian philosophical sources and on Western materials, old and new. It is comparative philosophy without borders. In this paper, I attempt to show how contemporary Indian philosophy works through five instances from five of its protagonists: Krishnachandra Bhattacharyya (his new interpretation of the old rope-snake parable in his essay “Śaṅkara’s Doctrine of Maya”, 1925); Daya Krishna (I focus on the “moral monadism” that the theory of karma in his reading leads to, drawing on his book Discussion and Debate in Indian Philosophy, 2004); Ramchandra Gandhi (his commentary on the concept of Brahmacharya in correspondence with his grandfather, the Mahatma, in his essay “Brahmacharya”, 1981); Mukund Lath (on identity through—not despite—change, with classical Indian music, Rāga music, as his case-study, in his essay “Identity through Necessary Change”, 2003); and Rajendra Swaroop Bhatnagar (on suffering, in his paper “No Suffering if Human Beings Were Not Sensitive”, 2021). My aim is twofold. First, to introduce five contemporary Indian philosophers; and second, to raise the question of newness and philosophy. Is there anything new in philosophy, or is contemporary philosophy just a footnote—à la Whitehead—to the writings of great thinkers of the past? Is contemporary Indian philosophy, my protagonists included, just a series of footnotes to classical thinkers both in India and Europe? Footnotes to the Upaniṣads, Nāgārjuna, Dharmakīrti and Śaṅkara, as much as (let us not forget colonialism and Macaulay) to Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Hegel? Footnotes can be creative and work almost as a parallel text, interpretive, critical, even subversive. However, my contention is that contemporary Indian philosophy (I leave it to others to plea for contemporary Western philosophy) is not a footnote, it is a text with agency of its own, validity of its own, power of its own. It is wholly and thoroughly a text worth reading. In this paper, I make an attempt to substantiate this claim through the philosophical mosaic I offer, in each instance highlighting both the continuity with classical sources and my protagonists’ courageous transgressions and innovations. Full article
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