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Religions, Volume 14, Issue 2 (February 2023) – 155 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Imagine a time where people come together in unity sharing the diversity of their gifts, hopes, and stories. This is the vision of Pope Francis, to herald a synodal way of life for the Church. The article, utilising the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, develops a synodal spirituality or spiritual theology to reflect on the ongoing work of Pope Francis to create a listening Church of wisdom and discernment, a confessing Church of conversion and reform, and a hospitable Church of inclusivity and joy. Altogether, this speaks of possessing a thinking heart, and in conclusion, the article reflects how synodal spirituality may orient the formation of a thinking heart in Catholic Universities. At its centre, here is the challenge for Catholic Universities to embrace the imperative, “Enlarge the space of your tent” (Isa. 54:2). View this paper
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7 pages, 233 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial: Gender Asymmetry and Nuns’ Agency in the Asian Buddhist Traditions
by Nicola Schneider
Religions 2023, 14(2), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020285 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1312
Abstract
Looking at early Indian Buddhist texts and inscriptions, we can generally find gender pairing within the terminology deployed, a situation which is replicated in many texts related to monastic discipline (Vinaya) and in teachings addressed by the Buddha to either his [...] Read more.
Looking at early Indian Buddhist texts and inscriptions, we can generally find gender pairing within the terminology deployed, a situation which is replicated in many texts related to monastic discipline (Vinaya) and in teachings addressed by the Buddha to either his male or female disciples (Skilling 2001) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender Asymmetry and Nuns’ Agency in the Asian Buddhist Traditions)
24 pages, 3238 KiB  
Article
Paradisi porta—An Iconographic Analysis of Mary as a Humanity’s Mediator in the Light of Medieval Liturgical Hymns
by José María Salvador-González
Religions 2023, 14(2), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020284 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1508
Abstract
This article aims to highlight the rich doctrinal meanings underlying the textual and iconic designation of the Virgin Mary as the gate of Heaven, a highly brilliant metaphor used by writers and artists to symbolize her saving mediation before her divine Son on [...] Read more.
This article aims to highlight the rich doctrinal meanings underlying the textual and iconic designation of the Virgin Mary as the gate of Heaven, a highly brilliant metaphor used by writers and artists to symbolize her saving mediation before her divine Son on behalf of humankind. To justify our interpretations of this textual and iconic symbol, we will proceed first by analyzing an abundant set of fragments of medieval liturgical hymns, which designate the Virgin Mary as the “gate of Paradise” (porta Paradisi) or “gate of Heaven” (ianua Coeli) and other expressions alluding to her power to facilitate the eternal salvation of the faithful. In a second step, we will analyze ten sculptural and pictorial artworks that represent Mary as the gate of celestial paradise or the mediator before God in favor of believers to facilitate their eternal salvation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Material Culture and Religion: Perspectives over Time)
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14 pages, 1028 KiB  
Article
Translative Trends in Three Modern Greek Renderings of the Daodejing
by Dimitra Amarantidou
Religions 2023, 14(2), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020283 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1310
Abstract
Many Chinese and Western scholars have looked into the relation between Daoist and Greek thought, implementing Greek philosophical vocabularies to explain or highlight the distinctness of Daoist terms. This paper offers a view of an alternative and unexplored area of such endeavors: the [...] Read more.
Many Chinese and Western scholars have looked into the relation between Daoist and Greek thought, implementing Greek philosophical vocabularies to explain or highlight the distinctness of Daoist terms. This paper offers a view of an alternative and unexplored area of such endeavors: the translation of Daoist philosophy in modern Greek. More specifically, I offer an account of the reception and interpretation of the text by looking at three renderings of the Daodejing 道德經 (or Laozi 老子) in modern Greek. I first summarize the translators’ methodologies, overall understanding of the Daodejing’s focus and current relevance, and views on authorship and translation, and identify a set of translative trends: reliance on familiar notions, frameworks, and cultural experiences; mystification; attention to poeticity; and emphasis on a perceived remedial function of the text for a modern Greek readership. I then look at the renderings and explications of the key notions dao 道 and de 德 in four passages as case studies. The final section sums up the findings and concludes that the dominant interpretive tendency and translative trend in the examined translations is the assumption of similarity between Daoist and more familiar beliefs and frameworks. Full article
24 pages, 1402 KiB  
Article
Did Freud Miss the Discovery of Our Spiritual Core?
by John Calvin Chatlos
Religions 2023, 14(2), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020282 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2444
Abstract
A specific framework of spirituality is presented to direct this dialog between psychoanalysis and religion. The focus is on spirituality as a common and important area of interest. A cognitive-behavioral-theory-based exploration of spirituality identifies experiences of self-worth and dignity as keys to opening [...] Read more.
A specific framework of spirituality is presented to direct this dialog between psychoanalysis and religion. The focus is on spirituality as a common and important area of interest. A cognitive-behavioral-theory-based exploration of spirituality identifies experiences of self-worth and dignity as keys to opening a spiritual core that is present in all people. This spiritual core has mystical and numinous characteristics believed to be the foundation of religious traditions. It is elaborated with many specific relationships to the psychoanalytic theory and practice of Freud, Kohut, and Jung, as well as to modern neuroscience and various religious traditions. The personal journey of the author is used to illustrate its foundation, development, and relevance for psychoanalytic, religious, and life experiences, demonstrating how all can work toward a common goal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Religion)
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15 pages, 401 KiB  
Article
Intentionality and the Diversity of Religion: A Prelude
by Youngjin Kiem
Religions 2023, 14(2), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020281 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1185
Abstract
The grounds of religious diversity and pluralism have mainly been sought out from without, i.e., from outside the human mind. A striking example is Hick’s idea of the one ultimate reality, which is posited to embrace all the semi-ultimate realities appearing in individual [...] Read more.
The grounds of religious diversity and pluralism have mainly been sought out from without, i.e., from outside the human mind. A striking example is Hick’s idea of the one ultimate reality, which is posited to embrace all the semi-ultimate realities appearing in individual religions. However, the present inquiry adopts a different strategy for coping with the above-mentioned issue. Specifically, in this inquiry, I attempt to find a substantial clue to religious diversity and pluralism from within, i.e., from the intentionality of the mind. This idea, as a descriptive and explanatory hypothesis, consists of the following theses: (I) As suggested by the Husserlian phenomenology interpreted by Sokolowski, there are at least two forms of directedness of the mind: filled and empty intentionalities. (II) In connection with them, two distinct types of religious spirituality emerge: the intentionality of transcendental filling (ITF) and that of transcendental emptying (ITE). (III) The diversity of religion that gives rise to pluralism is, at least in part, due to the different ways in which those two forms of religious minds are combined. With these considerations, we reach a new philosophical foundation of the issue in question, and also obtain a possible theoretical basis for securing an adequate method of religious—and particularly interreligious—studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
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13 pages, 269 KiB  
Article
The Variable “Catholic” Influence on US Presidential and Abortion Politics
by Brian Robert Calfano and Daniel E. Ponder
Religions 2023, 14(2), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020280 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2514
Abstract
We demonstrate that, in comparison to religious groups showing reliable, contemporary voting tendencies (e.g., white evangelical Protestants voting Republican, Jews and Muslims voting Democratic), Roman Catholics show far less consistency in supporting one major party over the other. After reviewing relevant literature Catholic [...] Read more.
We demonstrate that, in comparison to religious groups showing reliable, contemporary voting tendencies (e.g., white evangelical Protestants voting Republican, Jews and Muslims voting Democratic), Roman Catholics show far less consistency in supporting one major party over the other. After reviewing relevant literature Catholic public political preferences and behavior, we delve into a basic overview of the history of the Catholic Church in the United States. We then analyze historical periods when the impact of the church seems consequential, such as effects of the “Catholic vote”. We summarize scholarship and opinion surveys concerning Catholic political views and behavior over the last several decades, focusing on attitudes toward abortion in the wake of the Dobbs decision. We then highlight differences and similarities between Catholic rank-and-file and the church clergy and hierarchy, some of which are well known in the religion and politics literature. In sum, we find that unlike past or more contemporaneous takes on the impact of Catholics and Catholicism on politics and policy, there is no longer (if there ever was) a single, identifiable Catholic impact, even as the Catholic vote remains a demographic for which politicians compete. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Welfare and Catholic Social Teaching)
8 pages, 214 KiB  
Article
Making Sense of the Missionary Life of Adele Fielde, Woman of Religious Belief, Science, and Activism
by Nadia Andrilenas
Religions 2023, 14(2), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020279 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1206
Abstract
This paper proposes a new narrative of the life of nineteenth-century American Baptist missionary, activist, and scientist Adele Fielde. In the common historical narrative, her separation from the American Baptist Missionary Union (ABMU) after over twenty years of mission service in Siam and [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a new narrative of the life of nineteenth-century American Baptist missionary, activist, and scientist Adele Fielde. In the common historical narrative, her separation from the American Baptist Missionary Union (ABMU) after over twenty years of mission service in Siam and China marks her shift towards careers devoid of religious beliefs, in suffrage, activism, and science. Rather than perpetuating this deconversion narrative, I propose that she demonstrated continuity in her beliefs and interests, exercised through diverse careers and starting as a missionary. By looking to biographical accounts by her friends, colleagues, and later historians alongside her writing and life, I highlight her unorthodox Christian beliefs that motivated not only her missionary life but her later careers in science and activism in the US. Reframing Fielde’s life in this way offers a more realistic model of the intertwined beliefs and motivations of female missionaries, activists, and scientists in the nineteenth century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Christianity as a Women's Movement)
16 pages, 305 KiB  
Article
Buddhist Civilisational Populism in Sri Lanka: Colonial Identity Formation, Post-War Othering, and Present Crises
by Rajni Gamage
Religions 2023, 14(2), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020278 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2165
Abstract
In this paper, I discuss the evolution of Buddhist civilisational populism in modern Sri Lankan politics and civil society. I do this by historicising early forms of Buddhist civilisational populism in the country, during its occupation by the British Empire (1815–1945). As I [...] Read more.
In this paper, I discuss the evolution of Buddhist civilisational populism in modern Sri Lankan politics and civil society. I do this by historicising early forms of Buddhist civilisational populism in the country, during its occupation by the British Empire (1815–1945). As I discuss in this paper, some of the key concepts of “civilisationism” central to leading social and political movements in British Ceylon were a result of the disruptions caused by centuries of European colonial rule. Consequently, issues of identity and belonging have carried on to the post-independence context. In this paper, I discuss what these dynamics could possibly mean for the future of Sri Lankan politics and society, in the wake of the nation’s debilitating economic crisis last year. Full article
16 pages, 299 KiB  
Article
Sexual Morality of Young Poles as a Challenge for Religious Education
by Wiesław Przygoda, Kazimierz Święs and Piotr Rozpędowski
Religions 2023, 14(2), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020277 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1296
Abstract
As indicated by numerous sociological reports, the morality of young people is currently undergoing dynamic changes, and this applies especially to morality in the sphere of sexuality. The purpose of this article is to analyze the opinions on sexual morality expressed by young [...] Read more.
As indicated by numerous sociological reports, the morality of young people is currently undergoing dynamic changes, and this applies especially to morality in the sphere of sexuality. The purpose of this article is to analyze the opinions on sexual morality expressed by young Poles. The results of this analysis can help to develop a better program for their religious education. The analyses are based on the results of social quantitative surveys conducted in 2020 on a random sample of 410 high school seniors (age 18–20) residing in cities of various sizes and in rural areas. The research verified the following leading hypothesis: “The morality of young Poles regarding sexual activity is becoming increasingly autonomous and is formed independently of the morality model that is offered by leading educational institutions, particularly family, Church, and school”. The detailed hypotheses were only partially confirmed. The empirical material presented in the article confirms that the moral education of youth in the sphere of human sexuality currently being implemented in Poland is inefficient and requires changes to several pastoral postulates. First of all, young people must not be treated as passive recipients of pastoral programs or strategies. They want to be the creators of the social, cultural, and religious changes taking place. Reaching the hearts of young people with the message of the Gospel requires immersing oneself in their life experience, perceptions, and understanding of reality, as well as their highly individualized axiology and complex decision-making processes. Young people should be set moral requirements also in the sphere of sexuality, as this is necessary for their personal development and the preparation of the foundations for a good life as an adult; however, this must be done with perceptible love and from the position of a witness of a positive and happy life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholic Education)
13 pages, 861 KiB  
Article
Experience of Wondering Awe and Perception of Nature as a Resource during the COVID-19 Pandemic—Findings from a Cross Sectional Survey of Participants in Jerusalem
by Arndt Büssing, Avraham Zini and Yuval Vered
Religions 2023, 14(2), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020276 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1127
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic most people had to cope with the negative implications of the lockdowns, and perceived times of social isolation and loneliness, and thus low wellbeing. Among the best predictors of positive changes of pandemic related attitudes and behaviors was the [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic most people had to cope with the negative implications of the lockdowns, and perceived times of social isolation and loneliness, and thus low wellbeing. Among the best predictors of positive changes of pandemic related attitudes and behaviors was the experience of pausing in wondering awe with subsequent feelings of gratitude. As these observations came from a secular society with a Christian background, we now aimed to analyzed to what extend Jewish people from Israel were experiencing such moments of wondering awe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how these perceptions are related to their psychological wellbeing. For that purpose, between June and July 2021 a cross-sectional survey with standardized questionnaires was applied among 147 participants from Jerusalem. Those with high wellbeing and those who can rely on their faith as a resource to cope with the pandemic were more intensively perceiving moments of Awe/Gratitude. Awe/Gratitude and a low perception of COVID-19 related stressors were the best predictors of participants’ psychological wellbeing. Against our expectation, Awe/Gratitude was not significantly associated with the experience of nature and enjoying reflective times of silence. Both resources, Awe/Gratitude as a an experiential aspect of spirituality and Nature/Silence as a source to encounter the sacred in one’s life, are relevant and should be supported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Health/Psychology/Social Sciences)
12 pages, 254 KiB  
Article
Teaching Mariology in Catholic Seminaries in the USA
by Robert L. Fastiggi
Religions 2023, 14(2), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020275 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1498
Abstract
This article begins by explaining the importance of Mariology for Catholic theology. It provides an overview of a 2015–2016 survey of 32 Catholic seminaries in the USA on how Mariology is covered in the curriculum. It then examines documents of the Congregation for [...] Read more.
This article begins by explaining the importance of Mariology for Catholic theology. It provides an overview of a 2015–2016 survey of 32 Catholic seminaries in the USA on how Mariology is covered in the curriculum. It then examines documents of the Congregation for Catholic Education on the teaching of Mariology in Catholic seminaries. It also looks at what the sixth edition of the US Bishops’ Program for Priestly Formation (2022) says about Mariology and Marian devotion in seminary formation. The article discusses why some believe Mariology should be covered in Ecclesiology because of Vatican II’s choice to integrate Mariology into Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. Whether Mariology can be adequately covered in courses in Ecclesiology is then considered. The article ends with a recommendation for having Mariology taught as a required stand-alone course in all Catholic seminaries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholic Education)
13 pages, 344 KiB  
Article
Jon Sobrino and ‘the Crucified People’
by David Tombs
Religions 2023, 14(2), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020274 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2871
Abstract
‘The crucified people’ became a key theological concern in the writings of Jon Sobrino SJ in the 1990s. This article examines how and why Sobrino made this concern a central element in his theology at the time. Section 2 discusses what Sobrino has [...] Read more.
‘The crucified people’ became a key theological concern in the writings of Jon Sobrino SJ in the 1990s. This article examines how and why Sobrino made this concern a central element in his theology at the time. Section 2 discusses what Sobrino has described as his ‘awakening from the sleep of inhumanity’ in the 1970s as he encountered liberation theology in El Salvador following his doctoral studies in Frankfurt. Section 3 examines three figures in the Salvadoran Church who influenced Sobrino: Ignacio Ellacuría (assassinated 1989); Oscar Romero (assassinated 1980); and Rutilio Grande (assassinated 1977). All three paid with their lives for their work in the Church. Section 4 examines the understanding of the crucified people offered by Ellacuría in 1978, and the encouragement for this idea in the words of Romero and Grande in 1977. Sections 5 and 6 turn to the use of the term as used by Sobrino himself. Section 5 argues that Sobrino’s early Christological writings are quite cautious in their use of this idea. The murder of Ellacuría by the military in November 1989 at the Central American University—alongside the killing of five fellow Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter—appears to be the pivotal event that prompts Sobrino’s bolder discussion in publications from 1989 onwards (Section 6). Full article
18 pages, 266 KiB  
Article
The Development and Dissemination of Pro-Environmental Dharma among Taiwan’s Humanistic Buddhists
by Teresa Zimmerman-Liu
Religions 2023, 14(2), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020273 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1602
Abstract
In the early 1990s, two of Taiwan’s humanistic Buddhist groups—Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassionate Relief Foundation (Tzu Chi) and Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM)—began incorporating modern environmentalism as a major component in their religious teachings, practices, and behavioral norms. Neither group had been clearly pro-environmental [...] Read more.
In the early 1990s, two of Taiwan’s humanistic Buddhist groups—Buddhist Tzu Chi Compassionate Relief Foundation (Tzu Chi) and Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM)—began incorporating modern environmentalism as a major component in their religious teachings, practices, and behavioral norms. Neither group had been clearly pro-environmental before the 1990s, but Venerable Cheng Yen, the founding master of Tzu Chi, and Venerable Sheng Yen, the founding master of DDM, redefined and expanded Buddhist teachings and practices to include modern concepts and practices of environmental sustainability as central components of their dharmas. This comparative ethnographic study contributes to scholarship with findings regarding how and why the two groups developed and disseminated pro-environmental dharma: (1) both groups began promoting environmentalism as a moral, religious response to Taiwan’s waste management crisis of the early 1990s; (2) both groups tied their pro-environmental teachings to two of the most popular elements of Buddhist dharma among Chinese humanistic Buddhists—the bodhisattva path and pure land teachings; (3) both groups fully integrated environmental teachings, practices, and behavioral norms into all aspects of their organizations; and (4) both groups adjusted the framing of their pro-environmental messages to match specific audiences in their work in order to promote environmentalism in Taiwan’s society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Question of Buddhist Environmentalism)
12 pages, 929 KiB  
Article
Spoiler or Facilitator? Radicalization of the Georgian Orthodox Church and Its Impact on Societal Resilience in Georgia
by Bidzina Lebanidze and Shota Kakabadze
Religions 2023, 14(2), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020272 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1839
Abstract
This article explores the process of creeping radicalization within the Georgian Orthodox Church and its implications for building societal resilience in the country. In doing so, it aims to fill the gap in the literature on the role of dominant religious organizations in [...] Read more.
This article explores the process of creeping radicalization within the Georgian Orthodox Church and its implications for building societal resilience in the country. In doing so, it aims to fill the gap in the literature on the role of dominant religious organizations in resilience building in Georgia and in the broader post-Soviet region. Our analysis ascribes a mostly negative impact to the Georgian Orthodox Church on the country’s societal resilience. We identify two possible mechanisms with which the Georgian Orthodox Church undermines societal resilience in Georgia: (1) by decreasing general trust in society and (2) by inspiring anti-Western narratives, which undermine the basis of Georgia’s national identity. Full article
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19 pages, 315 KiB  
Article
Confessional Cultures and European Identity: Religion, Ideology, and Economics
by Brent F. Nelsen and James L. Guth
Religions 2023, 14(2), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020271 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1455
Abstract
Proponents of greater European political unity through the development of the European Union (EU) have long sought to foster a “European” identity among citizens as a way of advancing their cause. And there is now a substantial body of scholarship devoted to understanding [...] Read more.
Proponents of greater European political unity through the development of the European Union (EU) have long sought to foster a “European” identity among citizens as a way of advancing their cause. And there is now a substantial body of scholarship devoted to understanding the social, economic, and demographic factors contributing to the development of such an identity. Recently, there has been a growing interest in cultural influences, but the possible impact of religion has been largely ignored. Using Eurobarometer 65.2 (2006), we show that religious groups differ systematically in their propensity to take “European” identity markers. Using multivariate analysis, we demonstrate that Catholics are most likely to be cognitive “Europeans”, while Protestants and other Christians are less likely to take such perspectives. Religiosity tends to reinforce the dominant propensity of each tradition. These religious differences persist even under statistical controls for other demonstrated influences, although their effects are strongest in the old Western European “core” of the EU. The long-term decline of Catholic religiosity thus has important implications for the future of “European” identities: their growth will depend increasingly on less “diffuse” and more variable influences, such as successful economic management by EU and national governments. Full article
20 pages, 357 KiB  
Article
Walking Indecently with Marcella Althaus-Reid: Doing Dissident and Liberative Theologies from the South
by Anderson Fabian Santos Meza
Religions 2023, 14(2), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020270 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2230
Abstract
This theological reflection is a motivation to walk in the footsteps of Marcella Althaus-Reid to discover the disruptive principles of Latin American Queer Theology. Between tangos and popular music, libertine evocations and dissident stories, prosthetic considerations, and transit strategies, this indecent text indicates [...] Read more.
This theological reflection is a motivation to walk in the footsteps of Marcella Althaus-Reid to discover the disruptive principles of Latin American Queer Theology. Between tangos and popular music, libertine evocations and dissident stories, prosthetic considerations, and transit strategies, this indecent text indicates some revitalizing ideas that manifest the need to think and inhabit the Global South in a more queer way. The voice of the South is powerfully theological and potentially revolutionary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queer Theologies in the Contemporary Global South)
10 pages, 238 KiB  
Article
But First, Spirituality: Spirituality and Religious Education in Western Australian Catholic Early Learning Contexts
by Christine Robinson
Religions 2023, 14(2), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020269 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2752
Abstract
In Western Australia (WA), Religious Education (RE) is a mandated learning area within the compulsory years of the Catholic school sector. RE is advocated as a curriculum subject, timetabled for and assessed alongside other subjects and focussed on developing religious knowledge and understanding. [...] Read more.
In Western Australia (WA), Religious Education (RE) is a mandated learning area within the compulsory years of the Catholic school sector. RE is advocated as a curriculum subject, timetabled for and assessed alongside other subjects and focussed on developing religious knowledge and understanding. In addition to the RE lesson, faith development, or catechesis occurs through the intersection of RE and other faith-based activities in the Catholic school. In the early learning centre that caters for children prior to compulsory schooling, there is no formalised RE curriculum and educators are tasked with raising the religious awareness of children as opportunities arise. This paper presents findings from research that explored educators’ understandings of, and practices in, promoting children’s spirituality specifically in connection to RE. As a result, the paper advocates for spirituality as the starting point for developing young children’s religious beliefs. In addition, it become evident through this investigation that understandings of spirituality, religiosity and RE continue to be complex and educators require assistance to disentangle these if they are to intentionally promote children’s spirituality, and subsequently, their religious beliefs. Full article
13 pages, 235 KiB  
Article
Jewish Civilizationism in Israel: A Unique Phenomenon
by Raja M. Ali Saleem
Religions 2023, 14(2), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020268 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2087
Abstract
Populism and civilizationism have transformed the politics of many countries. Many scholars consider them the biggest challenges to democracy since the rise of fascism and communism in the first half of the last century. The close affinity between populism, civilizationism, and rightwing politics [...] Read more.
Populism and civilizationism have transformed the politics of many countries. Many scholars consider them the biggest challenges to democracy since the rise of fascism and communism in the first half of the last century. The close affinity between populism, civilizationism, and rightwing politics has also been analyzed and recognized in many countries from Turkey to India to the US. However, there are three areas that distinguish the appearance of civilizationism in Israel. First, in contrast to many other countries, civilizationism in Israel is not a new phenomenon. It has been an essential part of Israeli nationalism or Zionism since the early 20th century. Second, unlike many countries, Jewish civilizationism in Israel is an article of faith for all major Israeli political parties. It is not a slogan raised only by the rightwing, conservative part of the political spectrum. Finally, one observes an affinity between civilizationism and populism. Civilizational rhetoric is the mainstay of populist leaders, such as Trump, Erdogan, etc. In Israel, populism and civilizationism have no special relationship as civilizationism is mainstream politics. All politicians, populists and non-populists, have to pay homage to Jewish civilizationism; otherwise, they will not succeed. This paper analyzes the Israeli founding fathers’ statements, the Declaration of Independence, Israeli state symbols, the revival of the Hebrew language, the Law of Return, the first debate in the Knesset, and the more recent Nation-State Law to demonstrate how Jewish civilizationism is old, mainstream, and not exclusively populist. Full article
12 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Of Monsters and Men: A Spectrum View of the Imago Dei
by C. A. McIntosh
Religions 2023, 14(2), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020267 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1633
Abstract
I explore the view that the imago Dei is essential to us as humans but accidental to us as persons. To image God is to resemble God, and resemblance comes in degrees. This has the straightforward—and perhaps disturbing—implication that we can be more [...] Read more.
I explore the view that the imago Dei is essential to us as humans but accidental to us as persons. To image God is to resemble God, and resemblance comes in degrees. This has the straightforward—and perhaps disturbing—implication that we can be more or less human, and possibly cease to be human entirely. Hence, I call it the spectrum view. I argue that the spectrum view is complementary to the Biblical data, helps explain the empirical reality of horrendous evil, and offers an elegant rapprochement between the traditional view of hell and its rivals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Philosophical Theology)
18 pages, 869 KiB  
Article
Seongho Yi Ik’s New Approach to Zhijue 知覺 and Weifa 未發: Stimulation by Western Learning and the Expansion of Confucianism
by Seonhee Kim
Religions 2023, 14(2), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020266 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1329
Abstract
This paper explores the 18th-century Joseon Confucian scholar Seongho 星湖 Yi Ik’s 李瀷 (1681~1763) theory on philosophical anthropology in the context of Confucianism through his theory of the heart-mind 心論. This study begins by examining which intellectual heritage he innovated, what intellectual resources [...] Read more.
This paper explores the 18th-century Joseon Confucian scholar Seongho 星湖 Yi Ik’s 李瀷 (1681~1763) theory on philosophical anthropology in the context of Confucianism through his theory of the heart-mind 心論. This study begins by examining which intellectual heritage he innovated, what intellectual resources he used in the process, and how his theories diverged from those of other Joseon Confucian scholars. Through Western learning books, Seongho obtained the rational soul theory and anatomical and physiological knowledge about the brain, based on which he reinterpreted the controversial Neo-Confucian concepts of zhijue 知覺, and the Weifa-Yifa theories 未發已發論. He acknowledged the primacy of the brain, which differs from the general principles of Neo-Confucianism. Seongho did not imbue zhijue itself with moral meaning, but considered the whole process of perception–recognition–judgment as the weifa state. At this point, yifa is determined by whether moral judgments are made. If yifa is the moment of moral judgment, the relationship between weifa and yifa must be regarded as the relationship between the operation of physical perception–cognition and rational judgment–moral practice. In Seongho’s perspective, moral practice is not a process of static cultivation, but the result of active moral determination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Korean Confucianism)
12 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Is There ‘Spiritual Intelligence’? An Evaluation of Strong and Weak Proposals
by Fraser Watts and Marius Dorobantu
Religions 2023, 14(2), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020265 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2219
Abstract
The debate about whether, and in what sense, there is ‘spiritual intelligence’ remains unresolved. We suggest it will be helpful to make a distinction between strong and weak versions of the claim. The strong version proposes that there is a separate and distinct [...] Read more.
The debate about whether, and in what sense, there is ‘spiritual intelligence’ remains unresolved. We suggest it will be helpful to make a distinction between strong and weak versions of the claim. The strong version proposes that there is a separate and distinct spiritual intelligence that meets the criteria set out by Howard Gardner in his ‘multiple intelligences’ framework. This involves evidence from neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, individual differences, experimental tasks, and psychometrics. We review the relevant evidence and conclude that there is no support for the strong proposal. The weak version of the claim assumes that the intelligence that is apparent in spiritual contexts is the same as is found elsewhere, but it is nevertheless deployed in a distinctive way. We suggest that the evidence supports the claim, and we review six key marks of spiritual intelligence: ineffability, embodiment, open-minded attention, pattern-seeking meaning-making, participation, and relationality. Our approach makes use of a cognitive architecture, Interacting Cognitive Subsystems (ICS), which has been proved useful in modelling spiritual practices. It will be helpful in the future to bring this approach into dialogue with other scientific approaches to spiritual intelligence from psychometrics and from experimental research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spiritual Intelligence: Problems, Challenges and Solutions)
11 pages, 245 KiB  
Article
Digital Animism: Towards a New Materialism
by Victor J. Krebs
Religions 2023, 14(2), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020264 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2074
Abstract
With the advent of ‘the virtual world,’ we have naturally gauged the ‘reality’ of the virtual in terms of how close it comes to empirical experience. However, the common association of the virtual to simulation depends on a representational dualism that reduces it [...] Read more.
With the advent of ‘the virtual world,’ we have naturally gauged the ‘reality’ of the virtual in terms of how close it comes to empirical experience. However, the common association of the virtual to simulation depends on a representational dualism that reduces it to a simulacrum of reality and prevents us from seeing its real import. Virtuality, rather than related to simulation, refers instead to potentiality. Far from being something that first appears with the digital-virtual as a technological simulation, the virtual constitutes the bare potentiality intrinsic to human experience, always subject to technological modulation. Despite the path of increasing abstraction marked by the evolution of the technologies of communication, I argue that the virtual world, paradoxically, reveals matter as ineluctably vital and in permanent movement and transformation. The digital thus does away with the dualism responsible for the modern disenchantment of nature and—decentering the human, placing it as equally part of a rhizomatic and entangled nature—lays the groundwork for an animistic ontology that is consonant with a new materialism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Science and Technology in Pantheism, Animism and Paganism)
18 pages, 3774 KiB  
Article
A New Portrait of a Daoist Sage: Jean-François Foucquet’s Interpretation of the Dao
by Sophie Ling-chia Wei
Religions 2023, 14(2), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020263 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2129
Abstract
In the translation history of late imperial China, the Jesuit enterprise played a significant role in translating Western scientific knowledge, a role they performed in tandem with proselytization. The Jesuit Figurists’ re-interpreting and re-writing of the ancient Chinese classics pivoted on symbols, figures, [...] Read more.
In the translation history of late imperial China, the Jesuit enterprise played a significant role in translating Western scientific knowledge, a role they performed in tandem with proselytization. The Jesuit Figurists’ re-interpreting and re-writing of the ancient Chinese classics pivoted on symbols, figures, and Chinese characters. The father at the helm of this journey, Joachim Bouvet (1656–1730), embarked on his own Figurist path, navigating by the symbols, figures, and Chinese characters from the Yijing. His followers Joseph Henri Marie de Prémare (1666–1736) and Jean François Foucquet (1665–1741) continued on this track, each further developing his own interpretation of the Dao. Here I will present and explore Foucquet’s journey of the Dao and his presentation of the Christian God and Jesus Christ as Daoist sages by investigating his Chinese, French, and Latin manuscripts that discuss his reinterpretation of the Dao in the Chinese classics, especially the Yijing and Daodejing. In these manuscripts, Foucquet adopted typological exegesis and exhibited his inheritance of the Confucian-Christian-Dao synthesis from his senior Bouvet; he also identified the Dao as Deus and the Oneness of the Dao as the unity of the Holy Trinity. This micro-historical case study of Foucquet’s interpretation of the Dao shows how his navigating the strait between the Scylla and Charybdis of the emperor and the Holy See factored into his trajectory of interpreting the Dao; it also demonstrates that in response to being challenged by his own brothers in the Catholic Church, he cleaved to typological exegesis and Confucian-Christian-Dao synthesis. The significance of this paper lies in that the early understanding of the Dao was manipulated, especially among the Figurists, both as a tool for proselytization and as a bridge to link the East with the West. Full article
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15 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
The World Was Their Parish: Evangelistic Work of the Single Female Missionaries from the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to Korea, 1887–1940
by Angel Santiago-Vendrell and Misoon (Esther) Im
Religions 2023, 14(2), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020262 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1326
Abstract
The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS) (1897–1909) and the Woman’s Missionary Council (WMC) (1910–1940) of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS) worked in Korea from 1897 to 1940. Their work used a distinctive mission philosophy, hermeneutics, and implementation of strategies in their encounters [...] Read more.
The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS) (1897–1909) and the Woman’s Missionary Council (WMC) (1910–1940) of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS) worked in Korea from 1897 to 1940. Their work used a distinctive mission philosophy, hermeneutics, and implementation of strategies in their encounters with Korean women. Over the course of their years in Korea, Southern Methodist missionary women initiated the Great Korea Revival, established the first social evangelistic centers, educated the first indigenous female church historian, and ordained women for the first time in Korea. This article argues that, even though the missionary activities of the single female missionaries occurred in the context of “Christian civilization” as a mission theory, their holistic Wesleyan missiology departed from the colonial theory of mission as civilization. The first section of the article offers background information regarding the single female missionaries to help understand them. What motivated these females to venture in foreign lands with the Gospel? What was their preparation? The second section presents the religious, cultural, social, and political background of Korea during the time the missionaries arrived. The third section describes and analyzes the evangelistic and social ministries of the female missionaries in the nascent Korean mission. The final section describes and analyzes the appropriation and reinterpretation of the Bible and Christianity by Korean women, especially the work of Korean Bible women and Methodist female Christians in the quest for independence from Japanese control in the Independence Movement of 1919. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Christianity as a Women's Movement)
21 pages, 915 KiB  
Article
Discovering the Depths Within: Kook’s Zionism and the Philosophy of Life of Henri Bergson
by Ghila Amati
Religions 2023, 14(2), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020261 - 15 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1994
Abstract
This article reexamines Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook’s (1865–1935) approach to Zionism, by proposing a reading of Kook’s Zionism through the lens of the Lebensphilosophie (The Philosophy of Life) of the French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859–1941). I show that we can clarify Kook’s [...] Read more.
This article reexamines Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook’s (1865–1935) approach to Zionism, by proposing a reading of Kook’s Zionism through the lens of the Lebensphilosophie (The Philosophy of Life) of the French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859–1941). I show that we can clarify Kook’s view of freedom, the self and creativity and its essential connection to Zionism, therefore, proposing a new understanding of the meaning that Jewish nationalism assumes in Kook’s thought, thanks to the application of the model of freedom and creativity developed by Bergson to Kook’s writings. Especially for Kook, I show that Jewish nationalism is seen as a means for the Jewish People to return to their true self and through this connection attain true freedom. Only when a nation realizes its freedom by a return to its own original self, it can be creative. This is how I explain the connection that Kook draws between a return to the Land of Israel and the ability of Israel as a people to finally be able to be creative. Finally, I argue that this understanding of nationalism adds a new layer to the essential place that the territory assumes in Kook’s thought. A State of Israel outside its original land can attain the goal of autonomous self-governance but lacks the ability to inspire the reconnection of the nation to its own original self. The Jewish People as a collective cannot connect to their authentic self away from the Land of Israel, consequently, the Land of Israel is the only place in which they can be truly free. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Theologies)
19 pages, 2547 KiB  
Article
Curiosity of Preschool Children (4–6 Years of Age) about Religious and Moral Issues
by Ahmet Koç
Religions 2023, 14(2), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020260 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1836
Abstract
The child is a trust from Allah and the ornament of the worldly life. In the early childhood period, which includes the preschool period, the child asks many questions, wants to understand everything around them, and shows an inexhaustible desire to learn. This [...] Read more.
The child is a trust from Allah and the ornament of the worldly life. In the early childhood period, which includes the preschool period, the child asks many questions, wants to understand everything around them, and shows an inexhaustible desire to learn. This research was carried out to examine the opinions of Qur’an course teachers about the religious and moral curiosity of preschool children. A qualitative method was used to ascertain the opinions of 40 participants in 2022. Six themes and 42 codes were determined from the answers provided by the participants to the questions in the semi-structured interview form. A content analysis method with a phenomenology design was used to analyze the data obtained in this study. It was found that children were intensely curious about the religious and moral issues of Allah, the Prophet, angels, death, heaven, hell and prayer; they can ask questions comfortably to satisfy their curiosity, and it was determined that they are excited when asking questions. It was found that teachers reacted positively to satisfy and expand children’s curiosity. In addition, we concluded that family and environmental learning are important factors that increase children’s curiosity, and activities such as drama, games and experiments conducted by teachers increase children’s curiosity. Full article
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12 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Living Theology in a Pluralistic Latin America: An Exploration of Ecclesial Base Communities through the Lens of Social Imaginaries
by Héctor A. Acero Ferrer
Religions 2023, 14(2), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020259 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 944
Abstract
The geography, histories, and ethnic composition of the Latin American continent pose a great challenge when attempting to identify and describe the region’s constitutive religious traditions and experiences. This task is further complexified by the hybridity, fluidity, and porosity of the region’s cultural [...] Read more.
The geography, histories, and ethnic composition of the Latin American continent pose a great challenge when attempting to identify and describe the region’s constitutive religious traditions and experiences. This task is further complexified by the hybridity, fluidity, and porosity of the region’s cultural groups. However, there is an aspect of Latin American religiosity that shares a significant family resemblance across the continent: the small community settings in which religiosity often emerges and consolidates as a worldview, commonly known as Ecclesial base communities. Informed by liberation theology, these communities are a uniquely generative experiment in social, political, and religious life. Scholarly accounts of liberation theology fail to identify key aspects of how Ecclesial base communities generate ways of being, knowing, and making meaning. While many of these accounts depict liberation theology as a socio-political discourse of theological origin, they do not unearth the multidirectional interaction between political practice and theological thought at the heart of these communities. In this paper, I aimed to fill this gap in the literature by reframing liberation theology as a set of social imaginaries, making use of Paul Ricoeur’s theories of memory and cultural imagination to provide the philosophical ground to understand the lived theology of Ecclesial base communities. In doing so, I maintain that liberation theology is not only a theoretical discourse that emerges from these communities, but also the inarticulate background of their ways of thinking, communicating, and living, one that provides an existential orientation through which Latin Americans can provide coherence to their collective action and recognize their own capacity to change their reality of oppression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural and Religious Pluralism in the Age of Imaginaries)
12 pages, 830 KiB  
Article
To Leave the Land So as Not to Leave the Land: The Religious Motivations of Seasonal Migrants, Including Women, in the Twentieth Century
by E. Moore Quinn
Religions 2023, 14(2), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020258 - 15 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1239
Abstract
This chapter seeks to answer the question as to why, even though subsistence conditions militated against continuing to eke out an existence on unproductive holdings, many inhabitants in Ireland’s western counties did just that. Particularly in the west of Ireland, Irish women and [...] Read more.
This chapter seeks to answer the question as to why, even though subsistence conditions militated against continuing to eke out an existence on unproductive holdings, many inhabitants in Ireland’s western counties did just that. Particularly in the west of Ireland, Irish women and men found ways to remain on their lands and in their dwellings despite the enduring proclivity for permanent migration from Ireland during the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. The answer lies in the Irish penchant to engage in a variety of vernacular religious practices reiterated via expressive cultural forms like proverbs and reinforced via plays and films. In addition, an otherworld feminine perspective permeated their consciousness. For the Irish, their implicit religion—a complex network of symbols and practices—remained intact, so much so that seasonal migration endured, and the Irish preserved their homelands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Journeys: Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage Volume II)
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17 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Homemaking in and with Migrant Churches as Communities of Care
by Ma. Adeinev M. Reyes-Espiritu
Religions 2023, 14(2), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020257 - 15 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1629
Abstract
Research on migration and religion reports the significance of religion to migrants, particularly those who self-identify as religious. In particular, migrant churches have served as a sanctuary, a venue for social networking, and a community supportive of migrants’ wellbeing, to name a few [...] Read more.
Research on migration and religion reports the significance of religion to migrants, particularly those who self-identify as religious. In particular, migrant churches have served as a sanctuary, a venue for social networking, and a community supportive of migrants’ wellbeing, to name a few things. However, migrant churches are also criticized for the possibility of becoming instruments of control over migrants. Heeding Boccagni and Hondagneu-Sotelo’s invitation to use the “homemaking optic” to inquire into the experience of integration of migrants, this paper analyzes how migrant churches foster migrants’ becoming at home in the receiving societies using Philippine migrant communities as a case study. Data is gathered through semi-structured interviews with ministers and pastoral workers in migrant churches. The qualities that characterize their homemaking through belonging to and serving in a migrant church are “identifying with each other”, “creating a shared space”, “advocating for migrants’ rights and welfare”, “sharing resources”, and “adjusting to the receiving society”. The homemaking optic shifts attention towards the subjective realities of migrants against the background of various inequalities that present homemaking as a struggle for many. Migrant churches, through their values, beliefs, and practices, foster an atmosphere that welcomes, supports, encourages, and accompanies migrants towards becoming at home in the receiving country. Using practical theologian LaMothe’s three “dialectical pairs of personal knowing” proposed to underpin just care relationships, I present how migrant churches become communities of care when members, as care receivers, are recognized as they are and whose real “needs and desires” are acknowledged. In this study, the essential role of migrant churches in migrants’ homemaking is examined, emphasizing the notion that churches function as communities of care as they acknowledge the identities, subjectivities, and agency of their members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Congregations as Communities of Care)
15 pages, 525 KiB  
Article
Fostering Practices of Salvation: On Communities of Care and Ecclesial Practices
by Hans Schaeffer and Koos Tamminga
Religions 2023, 14(2), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14020256 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1629
Abstract
This article explores how Christian faith communities respond to challenges in health care. These challenges are described, and a broader context is sketched, through an exploration of an ethics of care. Subsequently, two examples of Christian communities who respond intentionally to the need [...] Read more.
This article explores how Christian faith communities respond to challenges in health care. These challenges are described, and a broader context is sketched, through an exploration of an ethics of care. Subsequently, two examples of Christian communities who respond intentionally to the need for care are presented and studied by using four sub-elements of care (attentiveness, responsibility, competence, and responsiveness) as a heuristic lens. Next, the relationship between care and salvation is discussed. Concludingly, the article argues that Christian communities of care are well equipped for sustainable caregiving because of their spiritual resources, and because they provide a life-context well-suited for caregiving. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Congregations as Communities of Care)
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