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Religions, Volume 14, Issue 5 (May 2023) – 124 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Both faith and science can be defined as: (1) Methodologies; (2) Bodies of knowledge; and (3) Institutions. In other words, each can be understood in terms of content and function, as well as who they involve. The third way of understanding science—as an institution—seems to often be overlooked. Thus, its ethical underpinnings and implications are also underappreciated. In the 21st century, any model demonstrating the interaction between science and faith must include an ethical component. This essay briefly deliniates significant areas of disagreement between science and religion, which demonstrate that these clashes are essentially ethical in nature. View this paper
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14 pages, 1085 KiB  
Article
The Challenge of Muhammad Iqbal’s Philosophy of Khudi to Ibn ‘Arabi’s Metaphysical Anthropology
by Antonio De Diego González
Religions 2023, 14(5), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050683 - 22 May 2023
Viewed by 1665
Abstract
The period between the publication of Asrār-i Khūdī (Secrets of the Self) in 1915 and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam in 1930 marked the consolidation of the philosophy of khūdī (self) from the perspective of the Indian philosopher Muhammad Iqbal. A [...] Read more.
The period between the publication of Asrār-i Khūdī (Secrets of the Self) in 1915 and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam in 1930 marked the consolidation of the philosophy of khūdī (self) from the perspective of the Indian philosopher Muhammad Iqbal. A philosophical project for the contemporary Islamic world that sought to overcome, from the acceptance of science and few elements of Western philosophy, the limitations of the Islamic tradition and, above all, of Sufism, which the author labels as pantheism. Among the deep dialogues he maintains with Islamic tradition, Iqbal carried out a very special one with Muḥyī l-Dīn Ibn ʻArabī (1165–1240), who was one of the most notorious mystics and philosophers of Islam. A metahistorical dialogue, in the form of a critique, that invites us to see the convergences and divergences in metaphysical and anthropological aspects of both authors. Full article
15 pages, 321 KiB  
Article
Coping and Religiosity of Polish Breast Cancer Patients
by Joanna Żołnierz and Jarosław Sak
Religions 2023, 14(5), 682; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050682 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 949
Abstract
Religiosity can support a patient in coping with a stressful situation such as breast cancer. In this study, the authors aimed to explain the relationships between the religiosity of the respondents and the religious crises they experienced and coping strategies, as well as [...] Read more.
Religiosity can support a patient in coping with a stressful situation such as breast cancer. In this study, the authors aimed to explain the relationships between the religiosity of the respondents and the religious crises they experienced and coping strategies, as well as between coping strategies and the disease duration. The research method used is the method of diagnostic survey, and the tools: a questionnaire of our own, making it possible to determine sociodemographic variables and standardized scales: the Inventory for Measuring Coping with Stress—Mini-COPE (the brief COPE), the Polish Centrality of Religiosity Scale (CRS) and the Religious Crisis Scale by W. Prężyna (RCS). With approval from the Bioethics Committee at the Medical University of Lublin (KE-0254/133/2015), 69 female subjects with breast cancer were studied. The results showed statistically significant positive correlations between the centrality of religiosity and selected components of religiosity and action-oriented coping strategies. RCS scores correlate negatively with more adaptive coping strategies and positively with ineffective ones. Additionally, patients suffering from breast cancer for more than five years, are statistically significantly different from those with shorter disease duration only in their scores for the CRS “public practice” subscale. Mature religiosity promotes the adoption of constructive coping strategies, while religious crisis hinders the process of coping with stressful situations. It appears necessary to integrate spiritual care into the treatment process of cancer patients. Full article
18 pages, 881 KiB  
Article
Chinese Chan Buddhism and the Agrarian Aesthetic in the Garden
by Yun Wang and Yaoxuanzi Xiao
Religions 2023, 14(5), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050681 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1420
Abstract
As the most important Buddhist school in the history of Chinese Buddhism, the philosophy of Chan Buddhism and its agricultural Chan practice have had a profound influence on the lives of the literati and scholars. Both historically and logically, the term “Chan Dharma [...] Read more.
As the most important Buddhist school in the history of Chinese Buddhism, the philosophy of Chan Buddhism and its agricultural Chan practice have had a profound influence on the lives of the literati and scholars. Both historically and logically, the term “Chan Dharma 禪法” is extremely rich in connotations. The so-called “agricultural Chan 農禪” is a transformation of Chinese farming culture into the “Chan practice” by practising meditation through farming activities. The “garden farming 園耕” refers to the farming activities of the literati and scholars in the gardens, which were driven by the style of agricultural Chan. Under the influence of agricultural Chan, “garden farming” took on a new spiritual attitude towards crops and created a natural aesthetic realm of life in the act of farming. This article consists of three main sections. I start with an introduction to the religious thoughts and practices of Chan Buddhism, pointing out that the underlying colour of Chan Buddhism is the aesthetics of life, while gradually evoking its special practice of Chan. The second section discusses the concept of agricultural Chan and farming activities in gardens, to figure out the characteristics of agricultural Chan and how farming activities in gardens are carried out. In the third section, I argue for the beauty of farming in gardens, pointing out the essence of the beauty in garden farming and what aesthetic possibilities the act of farming in gardens may embody. Full article
11 pages, 269 KiB  
Article
“I’ll Bring You More Than a Song”: Toward a Reassessment of Methodology in the Study of Contemporary Praise and Worship
by Jonathan M. Ottaway
Religions 2023, 14(5), 680; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050680 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 1351
Abstract
In the recent study of Contemporary Praise and Worship (CPW), many studies have focused on musical repertory, including its text, music, and performance, as the foundational text(s) for theoretical analysis. In particular, scholars have relied on lists of the most popular songs that [...] Read more.
In the recent study of Contemporary Praise and Worship (CPW), many studies have focused on musical repertory, including its text, music, and performance, as the foundational text(s) for theoretical analysis. In particular, scholars have relied on lists of the most popular songs that have been reported to Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). This essay points out several critical weaknesses in the current overreliance on this methodology and instead contends for two underutilized methodologies—liturgical ethnography and liturgical history—that need to be developed in the scholarship. The essay argues that such a cultivation of methodology will enable the burgeoning scholarship on CPW to gain richer insight into the range of theological meaning expressed in CPW contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performing and Performance in Contemporary Musical Worship)
14 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
The Adriatic Catholic Marian Pilgrimage in Nin near Zadar as a Maritime Pilgrimage
by Mirela Hrovatin
Religions 2023, 14(5), 679; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050679 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Following the general approach to pilgrimage as established by anthropologists and other scientists, the paper analyses the pilgrimage in Nin to Our Lady of Zečevo. More specifically, this pilgrimage will be observed as a maritime pilgrimage, following relevant recent research. Based on the [...] Read more.
Following the general approach to pilgrimage as established by anthropologists and other scientists, the paper analyses the pilgrimage in Nin to Our Lady of Zečevo. More specifically, this pilgrimage will be observed as a maritime pilgrimage, following relevant recent research. Based on the oral story about the apparition of Virgin Mary to a widow, the statue of Mary is transported from Nin in a boat procession via sea to a mediaeval church on the nearby uninhabited island of Zečevo. Pilgrimage practices include many sensorial and symbolic practices, so it will be analysed from several points of view and more than one theoretical approach, including the relational approach and mobility turn, applied also to maritime pilgrimage with a reflection on influence of tourism on pilgrimage activities, especially in the Mediterranean. The paper relies on the field research from 2020–2023 in Nin near Zadar in Croatia which has been supported in part by the Croatian Science Foundation under the project ‘PILGRIMAR’ (UIP-2019-04-8226). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacred Journeys: Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage Volume II)
19 pages, 920 KiB  
Article
The Interplay of Rites and Customs: The Evolution and Regional Propagation of the Religion of Crown Prince Zhaoming
by Tinglin Sun
Religions 2023, 14(5), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050678 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Previous studies on the religion (xinyang 信仰) of Crown Prince Zhaoming 昭明太子, focused on the welcome ceremony of the Nuo deities 傩神 (the deities driving away the plague) and the historical figure of Crown Prince Zhaoming but on the other hand, overlooked [...] Read more.
Previous studies on the religion (xinyang 信仰) of Crown Prince Zhaoming 昭明太子, focused on the welcome ceremony of the Nuo deities 傩神 (the deities driving away the plague) and the historical figure of Crown Prince Zhaoming but on the other hand, overlooked the evolution from the folk or heterodox deity Jiulang Shen 九郎神 (Jiulang God) to the state-recognized or orthodox deity Crown Prince Zhaoming and the role of Song-era national policy of conferring titles and inscriptions upon deities in this process. This paper aims to illuminate the following five points: Firstly, the original deity upon which the religion of Crown Prince Zhaoming in Chizhou 池州 is based is Jiulang God, one of many deities in the Nuo religion imbued with rich elements of Wuism (wuxi 巫觋). The religion of Jiulang ascended to its peak during the Tang dynasty (618–907). Secondly, driven by the discourses of scholars, government officials and national rites during the Song dynasty (960–1276), Jiulang was transformed into Crown Prince Zhaoming through the conferment of titles and inscriptions, becoming an orthodox deity. Thirdly, Crown Prince Zhaoming and Jiulang God coexisted for a prolonged period, and this suggests that the rites–customs dichotomy was universally found in folk religions in traditional China. Fourthly, the proliferation of the religion of Crown Prince Zhaoming in western Anhui, Jiangxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and other regions of China reveals a mix of factors that led to the widespread and lasting prevalence of the religion. These factors include the deity’s role as a guardian of maritime voyages and merchants; a stable, enduring organizational structure for sacrificial rituals; and the dichotomous coexistence of rites and customs. This article reveals that from the Song Dynasty, the national system of rites permeated and impacted folk religions through official and academic discourses, propelling the latter’s continuing transformation into an orthodox form. Nevertheless, there remained spaces between the national system of rites and folk religions where “rites” and “customs” interacted, integrated and coexisted well. The interplay, fusion and peaceful coexistence between “rites” and “customs” is the normative state of folk religions in traditional society in China, as well as one of the key reasons why many folk religions continue to flourish and play a societal role. Full article
18 pages, 34849 KiB  
Article
The Wall Painting of “Siddhārtha Descending on the Elephant” in Kizil Cave 110
by Fang Wang
Religions 2023, 14(5), 677; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050677 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 1289
Abstract
The mural scene under discussion illustrates Bodhisatva Siddhārtha’s descent into Māyā’s womb, a scene that is also named Māyā’s Dream in art historical studies. Painted as the start of the Buddha’s life sequence in Kizil Cave 110, it is the sole extant case [...] Read more.
The mural scene under discussion illustrates Bodhisatva Siddhārtha’s descent into Māyā’s womb, a scene that is also named Māyā’s Dream in art historical studies. Painted as the start of the Buddha’s life sequence in Kizil Cave 110, it is the sole extant case of this story motif in Kucha. Its significance rests on the fact that it bridges Indian and Chinese pictorial traditions in its representation of the miraculous conception of Buddha’s last life. This article analyses the mural’s narrative elements in terms of Indian archetypes, as well as local innovations. The portrayal of Siddhārtha entering the mother-to-be’s womb while riding an elephant is compared with its counterpart motif in Chinese Buddhist art from the mid 5th century. The approach will address the drastic textual and pictorial transformations between the Indian prototype, “Siddhārtha as the elephant”, and the Chinese version, “Siddhārtha on the elephant”, in the conception episode, which reflects the transmission of the Indian belief in embryogenesis and its adaption by non-Indian peoples in Central Asia and China. Reinvestigating this picture and several pertinent literary works, the article attempts to delineate one link in that transformation process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Narrative Literature)
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13 pages, 447 KiB  
Article
From Zerfass to Osmer and the Missing Black African Voice in Search of a Relevant Practical Theology Approach in Contemporary Decolonisation Conversations in South Africa: An Emic Reflection from North-West University (NWU)
by Vhumani Magezi
Religions 2023, 14(5), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050676 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1207
Abstract
Rolf Zerfass’s operational scientific model for correcting Christian-ecclesiological praxis has been utilised in practical theological research for a considerable time at the North-West University. However, this situation changed with the adoption of Richard Osmer’s four practical theology tasks of descriptive, interpretive, normative, and [...] Read more.
Rolf Zerfass’s operational scientific model for correcting Christian-ecclesiological praxis has been utilised in practical theological research for a considerable time at the North-West University. However, this situation changed with the adoption of Richard Osmer’s four practical theology tasks of descriptive, interpretive, normative, and pragmatic as the guiding practical theology approach. The question is this: to what extent does the Osmer approach and its application in research at NWU address African contextual issues? To progress beyond being ‘reactive’ and ‘pushing back’ on Western practical theology approaches, the NWU practical theology approach is evaluated, followed by proposing an approach that attempts to incorporate African contextual realities anchoring by the principles of ‘listening, observing, weaving, and offering’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decolonization of Theological Education in the African Context)
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16 pages, 432 KiB  
Article
This Is Your Miḥrāb: Sacred Spaces and Power in Early Islamic North Africa—Al-Qayrawān as a Case Study
by Javier Albarrán
Religions 2023, 14(5), 674; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050674 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1372
Abstract
Al-Qayrawān has long been figured, especially in the culture of the Islamic West, as the Islamic city par excellence, as the fourth sacred place after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The prominence of this garrison city—supposedly founded by ‘Uqba b. Nāfi‘ in the year [...] Read more.
Al-Qayrawān has long been figured, especially in the culture of the Islamic West, as the Islamic city par excellence, as the fourth sacred place after Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The prominence of this garrison city—supposedly founded by ‘Uqba b. Nāfi‘ in the year 50/670–671—is undeniable in the traditional account of the Islamic conquest of Ifrīqiyya. Through a case study of al-Qayrawān and an analysis of the sources recounting its miraculous foundation as well as the construction of its mosque, this article aims to study the process of sacralisation of space, how this is inserted into a given context and related to power and its consolidation, particularly in times of political, cultural, and religious transition, and how it uses, appropriates, or eliminates the previous reality. To this end, the article provides a context for the creation of al-Qayrawān as a sacred space, which relates directly to the region’s Christian past and the construction of a new Islamic identity. Full article
10 pages, 226 KiB  
Article
Practical Theology and Social Just Pedagogies as Decoloniality Space
by John Klaasen
Religions 2023, 14(5), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050675 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 942
Abstract
Higher education institutions in South Africa are still dominated by colonial traditions, course content, staff with colonial privileges and attachments, and discriminatory structures and systems. Practical theology and theologians are no exception. This article seeks to investigate the correlations between social just pedagogies [...] Read more.
Higher education institutions in South Africa are still dominated by colonial traditions, course content, staff with colonial privileges and attachments, and discriminatory structures and systems. Practical theology and theologians are no exception. This article seeks to investigate the correlations between social just pedagogies and social justice. Social just pedagogies consider the role of the students, lecturers, and non-human phenomena as contributing to epistemology and agency formation. Normative pedagogies remain important criteria for knowledge production and graduate attributes within the South African higher education landscape. Within practical theology, the pedagogies that are used to form students and impart knowledge are still dominated by classical teaching methods that are power-centred and biased towards the privileged. The aim of this article is thus not to replace the normative pedagogies but to challenge the normativity and essentialism that has characterised colonial, race-related, and top-down knowledge production. I will introduce a social just pedagogy of teaching practical theology that critically engages and challenges the privileged normative position of classical practical theology. A social just pedagogy will bring the centre of learning and teaching into the structure of the lecture room, a participatory method of knowledge production, students, and the lecturers. The hierarchical structure of the South African university system will be engaged with as an instrument of traditional classical knowledge production systems. Teaching practical theology through social just pedagogies will also contribute to social justice within democratic South Africa. The question that I will address is how teaching practical theology at higher education institutions can contribute to the agency of social justice in South Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decolonization of Theological Education in the African Context)
21 pages, 994 KiB  
Article
“God Has Wrapped Himself in a Cloak of Materialism”: Marxism and Jewish Religious Thought in the Early Soviet Union
by Isaac Slater
Religions 2023, 14(5), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050673 - 18 May 2023
Viewed by 1355
Abstract
Jewish religious life in the Soviet Union is typically the subject of dichotomous depictions that offer only a superficial rendering of this rich and complex environment. This paper aims to complicate this image by pointing out several religious thinkers who engaged with Communist [...] Read more.
Jewish religious life in the Soviet Union is typically the subject of dichotomous depictions that offer only a superficial rendering of this rich and complex environment. This paper aims to complicate this image by pointing out several religious thinkers who engaged with Communist and Marxist ideas and incorporated them into their religious thought, while upholding rabbinic culture. Among the figures and themes examined are Alter Hilewitz’s (1906–1994) Hasido-Marxism, Rabbi Avraham Yosef Guttman’s (1870–1940) crisis of faith, and Shmuel Alexandrov’s (1865–1941) use of Russian Nietzscheanism. Alexandrov was also the narrator who revealed these fascinating ideas to us in a rare collection of his letters, which possesses both a philosophical and a theological nature. These letters, which have received very little attention in previous studies, provide a small window into the conflictual world of rabbis and yeshiva students in the first decade of the Soviet Union. Reviewing the ideas generated in a struggle to make sense of one of the great crises of modern Judaism, and pondering questions of historical perspective and how empathy may distort it, this article wishes to go beyond the image of a defensive preservation of religious life and to re-envision this unique and innovative period of Jewish thought. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Jewish Thought in Times of Crisis)
22 pages, 900 KiB  
Article
“Our Freedom in Christ”: Revisiting Pauline Imagery of Freedom and Slavery in His Letter to the Galatians in Context
by Albert L. A. Hogeterp
Religions 2023, 14(5), 672; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050672 - 18 May 2023
Viewed by 1452
Abstract
The Letter to the Galatians is a polemical correspondence about the course of gospel mission that is at stake in the view of the apostle Paul. When Paul represents his own contacts with the Jerusalem church, he defends “our freedom which we have [...] Read more.
The Letter to the Galatians is a polemical correspondence about the course of gospel mission that is at stake in the view of the apostle Paul. When Paul represents his own contacts with the Jerusalem church, he defends “our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus” (Gal 2:4). In his aim to focus on the unity of all in Christ, Paul even goes at lengths to state that there is no difference between slave and free (Gal 3:28), while polemically associating both a former state of unbelievers (Gal 4:8) and the emphasis by missionary opponents on circumcision and the covenant of the law (Gal 4:12–31) with bondage and slavery. Yet, what did freedom (ἐλευθερία, Gal 2:4) and its opposite, slavery (δουλεία, Gal 4:24, 5:1), exactly mean in the ancient world in which Paul and his readers lived and communicated? Jews, Greeks, and Romans did not necessarily mean the same by these terms, nor did freedom necessarily mean exactly the same as modern conceptions of the term. This paper aims to contextualize Paul’s imagery with a view to biblical traditions, early Jewish notions of freedom, and Graeco-Roman registers of discourse, taking into account historical, literary, linguistic, and rhetorical-critical contexts of interpretation and revisiting the language of freedom and slavery with a view to insights from linguistic anthropology. The paper then revisits the Pauline position of “freedom in Christ” in relation to previous hypotheses of Paul’s gospel mission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biblical Texts and Traditions: Paul’s Letters)
17 pages, 1707 KiB  
Article
A Tale of Wonders in Performance: The Precious Scroll of Wang Hua in the Storytelling Tradition of Changshu, Jiangsu, China
by Rostislav Berezkin
Religions 2023, 14(5), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050670 - 18 May 2023
Viewed by 1076
Abstract
Baojuan (precious scrolls) are a type of prosimetric literature in the vernacular language that flourished in the lower Yangzi valley between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most baojuan texts are devoted to religious themes, often involving wondrous figures and events which [...] Read more.
Baojuan (precious scrolls) are a type of prosimetric literature in the vernacular language that flourished in the lower Yangzi valley between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most baojuan texts are devoted to religious themes, often involving wondrous figures and events which can be characterized as “supernatural”. The Precious Scroll of Wang Hua (Wang Hua baojuan 王花寶卷) is a comparatively late text centered on the marvelous apparitions leading to the salvation of a lay person. It is a widespread text of the southern “scroll recitation” tradition as it survives in Changshu, Jiangsu, but to date, it has not received attention from scholars of Chinese popular literature and religion. Still, it is important for understanding the origins, development, and functions of precious scrolls and their contribution to the field of Chinese popular religion. The original text of the Precious Scroll of Wang Hua formed ca. end of the nineteenth century, but the present research mainly uses the manuscript version of a modern performer from the vicinity of Changshu (ca. 1995). This narrative combines two major topics of the wondrous manifestation of Bodhisattva Guanyin and the descent to Hell. Both topics can be traced back to the early “miracle tales”. Here, they have been adapted to the local life and cultural setting. The figure of the skeptical and egoistic Wang Hua who initially rejected the injunctions of Guanyin is a type well known to the modern audiences of baojuan. Thus, the supernatural elements serve the purpose of reconfirming traditional beliefs and values in the contemporary society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Supernatural in East Asia)
12 pages, 280 KiB  
Article
Religious & Irreligious Freedom in Catholic Magisterial Teaching
by Patrick X. Gardner
Religions 2023, 14(5), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050671 - 17 May 2023
Viewed by 1159
Abstract
In the Second Vatican Council’s Dignitatis Humanae, the Catholic Church declares that all persons have a right to religious freedom. One question left unaddressed by this declaration, as well as by subsequent theological debate, is whether this notion of religious freedom extends [...] Read more.
In the Second Vatican Council’s Dignitatis Humanae, the Catholic Church declares that all persons have a right to religious freedom. One question left unaddressed by this declaration, as well as by subsequent theological debate, is whether this notion of religious freedom extends to atheists. In the following, I attempt to answer this question by analyzing some of the Church’s most relevant Magisterial documents. I examine the most compelling reasons for thinking that the Church’s teaching does not extend religious freedom to the atheist, especially when the public propagation of atheism is in question. However, in the final section, I consider one sense in which the Church does acknowledge religious freedom for the atheist: the sense in which all “unbelievers” must be free to make the act of faith and formally embrace the Christian religion. In this sense, I conclude, the atheist and other unbelievers enjoy even greater religious freedom than baptized Christians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue History of Christianity: The Relationship between Church and State)
16 pages, 304 KiB  
Article
Three Discourses of Religious Freedom: How and Why Political Talk about Religious Freedom in Australia has Changed
by Elenie Poulos
Religions 2023, 14(5), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050669 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2028
Abstract
Since 2015, religious freedom has become a heated and divisive political and public policy issue in Australia. While rarely defined or interrogated, ‘religious freedom’ does not exist as a value-neutral principle with a single meaning. Rather, its discursive constructions are varied and serve [...] Read more.
Since 2015, religious freedom has become a heated and divisive political and public policy issue in Australia. While rarely defined or interrogated, ‘religious freedom’ does not exist as a value-neutral principle with a single meaning. Rather, its discursive constructions are varied and serve to promote certain interests at the expense of others. Offering a new perspective on the politics of religious freedom, this paper draws together four separate studies of the public discourse of religious freedom in Australia (spanning 35 years from 1984 to 2019) to chart how its framing has changed over time and to explore the implications of these changes. This analysis reveals three major discourses of religious freedom emerging over three phases: ‘religious diversity’; ‘balancing rights’; and ‘freedom of belief’. This paper demonstrates how, once used to promote a progressive social agenda, religious freedom has become weaponised by the Christian Right and culture warriors in their battle to entrench in law the ongoing acceptability of discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people. Full article
17 pages, 308 KiB  
Article
Proposing a Social Justice Approach to Diaconia for a South African Context
by Jacques Walter Beukes and Laurika Elouise Beukes
Religions 2023, 14(5), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050668 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1109
Abstract
South Africa, although a “young” democracy, has quickly become one of the most economically uneven nations due to its history of segregation and discrimination as contributing factors. South Africans have seen an increase in the number of protests over the past several years [...] Read more.
South Africa, although a “young” democracy, has quickly become one of the most economically uneven nations due to its history of segregation and discrimination as contributing factors. South Africans have seen an increase in the number of protests over the past several years because of the frustration that has been caused by unbearable living circumstances, a lack of service delivery, and empty promises made by the government. Poverty, unemployment, and social injustice are seen by the South African government as the most important obstacles that need to be overcome to construct a prosperous nation. Despite the government’s commitment to a “better life for all” since 1994, the post-apartheid South African government has predominantly prioritised civil and political rights in its efforts to address social injustices, while the socio-economic needs of the country’s impoverished and marginalised populations have remained largely unfulfilled. The degradation of human dignity that results from conditions such as poverty and unemployment is significant. A violation of one’s dignity can also occur when one is excluded from efforts to combat issues such as poverty and unemployment, which should be considered. Amidst all of this, the church is criticised for remaining silent and doing little to address the situation. This article proposes social justice as an ideal approach to diaconia and development. Therefore, it seeks to understand and include social justice principles as a means of empowering people to ensure effective development. The objective of long-term poverty reduction cannot be accomplished unless there is an emphasis placed on social justice. This article conducts an in-depth analysis of a variety of social justice theories to rationalise a social justice approach to diaconia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diaconia and Christian Social Practice in a Global Perspective)
12 pages, 259 KiB  
Article
The Long Ninth Century: Christian Reactions to Islamization and Islamication in Palestine and Al-Andalus
by Michael Ehrlich
Religions 2023, 14(5), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050667 - 17 May 2023
Viewed by 1376
Abstract
Christian communities in Palestine and Al-Andalus faced similar challenges during the ninth century. Although Muslim authorities tolerated Christianity and enshrined a certain degree of religious freedom, they downgraded these communities and encouraged conversion to Islam. In the long span, Christian communities decreased because [...] Read more.
Christian communities in Palestine and Al-Andalus faced similar challenges during the ninth century. Although Muslim authorities tolerated Christianity and enshrined a certain degree of religious freedom, they downgraded these communities and encouraged conversion to Islam. In the long span, Christian communities decreased because many of their leading members emigrated or converted. Moreover, many of those that remained adopted the Arabic language, dressed like Muslims, and became increasingly assimilated into the ruling elite Muslim culture. This article suggests that the contacts and reciprocal influence between Christian communities from Palestine and Spain during this period were more substantial than hitherto perceived. Thus, they used the same methods with some local adaptations to tackle their critical situation. They introduced a growing use of Arabic in religious life, established and upgraded important pilgrimage shrines, and some extremist monastic communities fostered and encouraged martyrdom. Full article
13 pages, 1564 KiB  
Article
Rereading the Hudaybiyya Treaty: With Special Reference to Ibn ʿUmar’s Role in Fitan
by Mursal Farman and Salih Yucel
Religions 2023, 14(5), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050666 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3575
Abstract
The Treaty of Ḥudaybiyya is a brilliant chapter in Islamic history. It can be called umm muʿāhadāt al-salām (the mother of peace treaties) in Islamic history. Just as migration to Medina is a dividing line between the periods of religious oppression and political [...] Read more.
The Treaty of Ḥudaybiyya is a brilliant chapter in Islamic history. It can be called umm muʿāhadāt al-salām (the mother of peace treaties) in Islamic history. Just as migration to Medina is a dividing line between the periods of religious oppression and political independence for Muslims, Ḥudaybiyya is a boundary between the phases of struggle and domination. The role of this treaty in the spread of Islam was evident from the beginning, and much has been written about it. However, nothing has been produced about the role of ʿAbd Allah b. ʿUmar, inspired by the Ḥudaybiyya treaty, in peacemaking. This paper argues that due to his circumstances, Ibn ʿUmar became the first person to discover the spirit of the Ḥudaybiyya treaty for procuring peace during the fitan (civil wars). His efforts were not limited to intellectual achievements, but amid the worst wars of the fitan, he tried to practically implement the soul of the Ḥudaybiyya agreement that impacted later generations. He believed that Islam could flourish in a peaceful society, as had happened after the Ḥudaybiyya treaty. The role he played in a tribal society without holding any official position makes Ibn ʿUmar’s leadership highly relevant to today’s world, where intellectual and spiritual leaders can play a role more pivotal than ever. Full article
11 pages, 2084 KiB  
Article
The Burden of History: Kirkjubæjarklaustur and the Biography of Landscape
by Sigrún Hannesdóttir
Religions 2023, 14(5), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050665 - 16 May 2023
Viewed by 1034
Abstract
The importance of landscape has long been recognized within monastic studies, both as an economic and spiritual resource. This paper focuses on the surrounding landscape of a single monastic site, that is Kirkjubæjarklaustur on Síða (south Iceland), one of the two female monasteries [...] Read more.
The importance of landscape has long been recognized within monastic studies, both as an economic and spiritual resource. This paper focuses on the surrounding landscape of a single monastic site, that is Kirkjubæjarklaustur on Síða (south Iceland), one of the two female monasteries established in Medieval Iceland. Through written sources, legends, and placenames, the aim of this paper is to reconstruct the biography of the landscape from before the founding of the monastery to after the Reformation. In particular, the paper considers how the perceived sacredness of the site of Kirkjubæjarklaustur may have been shaped by stories of Christian settlers prior to the monastic foundation and how the monastic memory informed the way in which the landscape was experienced after the Reformation and beyond. Full article
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13 pages, 341 KiB  
Article
Making loca sacra in Visigothic Iberia: The Case of Churches
by Pablo Poveda Arias
Religions 2023, 14(5), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050664 - 16 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1338
Abstract
Curiously, we have no previous studies that deal monographically with the question of the sacralisation of spaces in Visigoth Iberia. It is intended in the following pages to fill this historiographical gap by focusing on the particular case of the churches. By means [...] Read more.
Curiously, we have no previous studies that deal monographically with the question of the sacralisation of spaces in Visigoth Iberia. It is intended in the following pages to fill this historiographical gap by focusing on the particular case of the churches. By means of the compilation and exhaustive analysis of all the available documentary sources, particularly the available conciliar canons, it is aimed to identify the different prescriptions and strategies that were used to sacralise new places of worship in Iberia during the Visigothic period. Particular emphasis will be placed on ritual procedures, which are mandatory for the consecration of any church, but also on material and sensorial factors as complementary determinants in the definition of sacred space. The final result obtained provides us with a reality dominated by a heterogeneity of situations that were sometimes far from conforming to the reality desired by canon law. Full article
13 pages, 12887 KiB  
Article
The Dynamic Characteristics of “Jeong 情”: A New Perspective on the Korean Neo-Confucian Four–Seven Debate
by So-jeong Park
Religions 2023, 14(5), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050663 - 16 May 2023
Viewed by 1302
Abstract
This article aims to elucidate the semantic gap between Jeong 情, discussed in the traditional Confucian intellectual society, and Jeong 정, understood as a conceptual cluster in contemporary Korean language and life. During the period when Joseon Korea was converted into Confucianism, part [...] Read more.
This article aims to elucidate the semantic gap between Jeong 情, discussed in the traditional Confucian intellectual society, and Jeong 정, understood as a conceptual cluster in contemporary Korean language and life. During the period when Joseon Korea was converted into Confucianism, part of the centrality of a native word, tteut, shifted to jeong, a naturalized word. In other words, “jeong” has grown into a new concept cluster with centrality in relation to the emotional aspect of the mind, while “tteut” still remains as a concept cluster associated with the mind. This phenomenon could be related to the spread and sharing of discourse on various emotions represented by “sadan 四端” and “chiljeong 七情” in the Confucian literature. As the discussion on the Four–Seven continued, emotional vocabulary extracted from Chinese Confucian literature was reconstructed by reflecting the Korean people’s pursuit and understanding of emotions. From this, we can evaluate that the Four–Seven debate not only contributed to the elaboration of Neo-Confucian emotion theory, but it also developed in the direction of moral emotion with social values implied by Korean “jeong”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on Korean Confucianism)
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14 pages, 254 KiB  
Article
Normative Reasons, Epistemic Autonomy, and Accountability to God
by Brandon Rickabaugh
Religions 2023, 14(5), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050662 - 16 May 2023
Viewed by 1011
Abstract
According to many, human autonomy is necessary for moral action and yet incompatible with being morally accountable to God’s divine commands. By issuing commands that ground normative facts, God demands our accountability without understanding our normative reasons for moral action, which crushes human [...] Read more.
According to many, human autonomy is necessary for moral action and yet incompatible with being morally accountable to God’s divine commands. By issuing commands that ground normative facts, God demands our accountability without understanding our normative reasons for moral action, which crushes human autonomy. Call this the Autonomy Objection to Theism (AOT). There is an unexplored connection between models of normative reason and AOT. I argue that any plausible AOT must be stated in terms of an adequate model of normative reason. There are two broad metaethical categories for models of normative reason: anti-realist or realist views. I defend the thesis that both anti-realism and realism about normative reasons fail to support AOT by means of a dilemma. If the AOT defender adopts anti-realism about normative reasons (subjectivism and constructivism), AOT loses its force. However, if the AOT defender adopts moral realism, they face the same problem as the theist, as normative fact constrains autonomy. Consequently, AOT is a problem for all moral realists, including non-theists, such as Russ Shafer-Landau, David Enoch, and Erik Wielenberg, among others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue God and Ethics)
21 pages, 8331 KiB  
Article
Deities System and Ritual Practice: A Case Study of the Daur Shamanic Oboo Ritual
by Minna Sa
Religions 2023, 14(5), 661; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050661 - 16 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1230
Abstract
The restoration and reconstruction of Daur shamanism is classical and representative of the revival of shamanism in contemporary China. The case study of the Daur shamanic oboo ritual in this paper discusses the connotation and classification of oboo. Through a brief description [...] Read more.
The restoration and reconstruction of Daur shamanism is classical and representative of the revival of shamanism in contemporary China. The case study of the Daur shamanic oboo ritual in this paper discusses the connotation and classification of oboo. Through a brief description of the main process of the ceremony, the shaman spirits, and the main contents of the divine songs, this paper analyzes the characteristics and functions of the contemporary Daur shaman sacrificing oboo ceremony. The contemporary Daur shamanic oboo ritual also puts forward the concept of “mokun kurə” (mokun circle), which restores the function of the traditional clan organization of mokun, enhances the cohesion of the mokun family, and inspires a sense of responsibility and motivation in the mokun members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Revitalization of Shamanism in Contemporary China)
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16 pages, 291 KiB  
Article
Is There a Root of Being? Indic Philosophies and the Parmenidean Problem
by Winfried Corduan
Religions 2023, 14(5), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050660 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1014
Abstract
This article is a survey of various philosophical schools, focusing primarily on South Asian ones, and how they address the problem of being and nonbeing. The early Greek poet Parmenides stated that nonbeing is something that we cannot actually conceptualize and, thus, cannot [...] Read more.
This article is a survey of various philosophical schools, focusing primarily on South Asian ones, and how they address the problem of being and nonbeing. The early Greek poet Parmenides stated that nonbeing is something that we cannot actually conceptualize and, thus, cannot speak of meaningfully. Plato and Aristotle are two examples of Western philosophers who came up with different ways of resolving the issue. As we turn to Indic schools of philosophy, we encounter a colorful array of different approaches. The Upanishads gave rise to a variety of points of view, though the Advaita Vedānta school of Adi Śaṅkara has dominated the discussion over the last few centuries. Other schools represented in this survey are Sāṃkhya, Buddhism (Therāvada, Sarvāstivāda, Sautantrika, Yogācāra, and Mādhyamaka), Vaiśeṣika, and Nyāya. Unsurprisingly, each comes up with different constructs that are frequently mutually exclusive, despite efforts by some writers to look past some obvious differences that are not reconcilable. There are also some conceptual similarities with Western philosophy, but the different cultural backdrops limit the ability to easily transfer ideas from one context to the other. My method is to quote short passages from the central writings (usually the “official” sutras) and show how they fit into their particular systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Philosophical Theology)
10 pages, 800 KiB  
Article
Interstate Relational Ethics: Mengzi and Later Mohists in Dialogue
by Ting-mien Lee
Religions 2023, 14(5), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050659 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1035
Abstract
The popular interpretation holds that Mengzi was strongly critical of Mozi because the Mohist moral theory was antithetical to Confucian relational ethics. According to this interpretation, Mohism promotes the norm of “impartiality” or “impartial care”, which violates the Confucian norms of “filial piety” [...] Read more.
The popular interpretation holds that Mengzi was strongly critical of Mozi because the Mohist moral theory was antithetical to Confucian relational ethics. According to this interpretation, Mohism promotes the norm of “impartiality” or “impartial care”, which violates the Confucian norms of “filial piety” and “graded love”. Accordingly, Mengzi thought that the Confucian ideal would not be realized if Mohism continued to prevail. Scholars have tried to nuance and revise this dominant interpretation. For example, some have pointed out the importance of family-oriented values in Mohist ethical theory, arguing that Mengzi likely misunderstood or purposefully mispresented Mohism. This article is an initial attempt to modify the popular interpretation by arguing that the debate between Mengzi and Mohist regarding relational ethics is predominantly about the relations between states rather than individuals. This interpretation sheds light on a core difference between Confucian and Mohist ethical theories and can help make better sense of some later Mohist passages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethical Concerns in Early Confucianism)
18 pages, 341 KiB  
Article
Importing Religion into Post-Communist Albania: Between Rights and Obligations
by Enika Abazi
Religions 2023, 14(5), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050658 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1668
Abstract
After the communist regime seized power in Albania in 1944, the vilification, humiliation, persecution and execution of clergy of all faiths, including Muslim, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, were conducted publicly. Religious estates were nationalized in 1946, and around the same time, religious [...] Read more.
After the communist regime seized power in Albania in 1944, the vilification, humiliation, persecution and execution of clergy of all faiths, including Muslim, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, were conducted publicly. Religious estates were nationalized in 1946, and around the same time, religious institutions were closed or converted into warehouses, gymnasiums, workshops or cultural centers. In the communist constitution of 1976, Albania became the first constitutional atheist state in the world. In Article 37 of the Constitution was stated “the state does not recognize any religion”. Albanians were forced to deny their religion, change their belief system and adopt the new socialist way of life that praised secular gods such as the Communist Party and its leaders. The image of the party leader replaced religious icons. Young people were encouraged to follow worldly pursuits, including offering their life for communist deities. With the fall of communism, Albanian clerics and foreign missionaries encouraged the revival of religiosity in the country. Because in Albania, religious institutions and clergy did not exist for more than 3 decades, foreign actors played a major role in the return of religion to social life and among young people. Post-communist Albania represents a quintessential case study of importing religion into a formerly atheistic country that lacked qualified clergy, religious institutions and strong religious beliefs. In the permissive post-communist Albania, people, especially young people, attributed different meanings to religion and religiosity. Mere investigations and surveys of faith communities along traditional lines would fail to provide useful insights into the significant transformations that have impacted the religious field in Albania after the fall of the communist regime and the current challenges faced by new and “traditional” denominations. The post-communist religious context is dominated by two opposing currents: The first trend is marked by the legal organization of religious practice in the public space, which grants freedoms and equality to the “traditional” religions recognized by the state, but autonomous and independent from it. The other trend is shaped by the rituals and practices of believers from abroad who are pushing for the creation of new autonomous religious communities. This paper is not investigating religious “communitarianism” along traditional lines but rather examines salient religious identification and societal relationships and discusses their implications. This analysis rests on survey data and free-flowing and open-ended interviews conducted mainly with students of the Political Science Department of the University of Tirana and of the European University of Tirana, as well as research of different social networks. The article is divided into three parts, which present the following: literature insights, the historical background of Albania’s secularization and current religious trends and practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Human Rights in Post-communism)
12 pages, 856 KiB  
Article
How Did Bhikṣuṇī Meet Indian Astrology? Viewing the Buddhist Narration and Logic from the Story of the Mātaṅga Girl
by Liqun Zhou
Religions 2023, 14(5), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050657 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1031
Abstract
The story of Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna consists of stories of the present life and past life. The former is about a girl from the low-caste Mātaṅga tribe who pursues Ananda, a disciple of the Buddha, but her pursuit ends in vain, and she eventually converts [...] Read more.
The story of Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna consists of stories of the present life and past life. The former is about a girl from the low-caste Mātaṅga tribe who pursues Ananda, a disciple of the Buddha, but her pursuit ends in vain, and she eventually converts to Buddhism. The latter is about a low-caste king demonstrating his knowledge of the Vedas and astrology in a bid to marry the daughter of a great Brahmin for his son. The story could be seen in various Buddhist texts, such as the Divyavadāna from Nepal and the Mātaṅga Sutra in China. This paper studies the narration and logic of Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna stories, and it makes conclusions on the commonalities in the compilation of Buddhist narratives by analyzing the beginning and end of the story, as well as its narrator, narratee, and the four conflicts (i.e., the caste barriers, the violation of precepts, the use of incantations, and the use of expertise in seeking marriage). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Narrative Literature)
15 pages, 869 KiB  
Article
Transcendental Time and Empirical Time: Two Types of Time and Their Internal Connection in the Laozi
by Zhongjiang Wang and Qiuhong Li
Religions 2023, 14(5), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050656 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1018
Abstract
The concept of time in Laozi’s philosophy is more complicated than it appears. Its complexity stems from the fact that there are two distinct concepts of time: the temporality of empirical things, which is constructed as a finitely continuous temporal succession that is [...] Read more.
The concept of time in Laozi’s philosophy is more complicated than it appears. Its complexity stems from the fact that there are two distinct concepts of time: the temporality of empirical things, which is constructed as a finitely continuous temporal succession that is perceptible, and the temporality of the shapeless dao 道, which is conceived of as a transcendental and infinitely continuous temporal succession that is imperceptible. Referring to the excavated Laozi texts, we find that most of the heng 恆 characters were replaced by the character chang 常 in the transmitted versions of the text. In addition, inspired by the excavated text Hengxian 恆先, the concept of heng in Spring and Autumn period philosophy has become an important subject of study. These two factors collectively lay a thought-provoking foundation for understanding Laozi’s ideas about the continuous, large-scale temporal eternality of dao. This article argues that both the daoheng 道恆 and hengdao 恆道 are used in the Laozi to describe the temporality of dao but that the latter has long been forgotten and overlooked by modern scholars. In the compound word hengdao, the character heng is a noun that acts as an attribute; whereas in the compound word hengdao, the character heng is a noun that acts as the predicate. This article argues that Laozi introduced the theory of “dao is eternal” (dao yongheng 道永恆) as evidenced by the use of heng and several time concepts such as “it seems to have even preceded the first ancestors” (xiangdi zhi xian 象帝之先), “the spirit of the valley never dies” (gushen busi谷神不死), “he who lives out his days has had a long life” (si er buwang 死而不亡), “the way … by which one lives to see many days” (changsheng jiushi 長生久視). The temporality of material things originates from the temporality of dao. Moreover, things can possess and expand their own time if they act in accordance with the universal law of dao. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Pathways into Early Daoist Philosophy)
16 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
Ernesto Cardenal: A Latin American Liberation Mystic
by Marcela Raggio
Religions 2023, 14(5), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050655 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1052
Abstract
This paper explores mysticism as seen in Ernesto Cardenal’s El Evangelio en Solentiname (The Gospel in Solentiname), aiming at both defining Cardenal as a revolutionary and a traditional mystic, shaped by Thomas Merton’s influence and by Latin American political circumstances. Mysticism [...] Read more.
This paper explores mysticism as seen in Ernesto Cardenal’s El Evangelio en Solentiname (The Gospel in Solentiname), aiming at both defining Cardenal as a revolutionary and a traditional mystic, shaped by Thomas Merton’s influence and by Latin American political circumstances. Mysticism is usually defined as individual contemplation of God, immediate and unmediated. Yet, in the context of Latin American 20th-century struggles for liberation, mysticism became contemplation of God while the individual is committed to the community. This perspective is studied in Cardenal’s book, supported with his memoir Las ínsulas extrañanas (The Strange Islands), to show that Cardenal is a mystic, notwithstanding his political commitment, or precisely because of that. The theoretical background draws notions from liberation theology and liberation philosophy. Paradoxically, in spite of its revolutionary claims, Cardenal’s The Gospel in Solentiname can be seen in the line of traditional mysticism, in its challenge of power from the margins and its presentation of alternative modes of communicating with the divine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mysticism and Social Justice)
14 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
‘We’re Islam in Their Eyes’: Using an Interpellation Framework to Understand Why Being a Woman Matters When Countering Islamophobia
by Susan Carland
Religions 2023, 14(5), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050654 - 15 May 2023
Viewed by 1075
Abstract
Australian Muslim women are far more likely to be the target of Islamophobic attacks than men, and common narratives often paint Muslim women merely as victims of Islamophobia. This article takes a new approach and considers how Muslim women may counter Islamophobia and [...] Read more.
Australian Muslim women are far more likely to be the target of Islamophobic attacks than men, and common narratives often paint Muslim women merely as victims of Islamophobia. This article takes a new approach and considers how Muslim women may counter Islamophobia and the various audiences they must contend with in their work. Using de Koning’s interpellation framework, this research investigates why Australian Muslim women believe gender matters in public countering Islamophobia work and proposes new developments to the framework based on the way Australian Muslim women must mediate the ascriptions of both non-Muslims and Muslim men. This research draws on in-depth interviews with Sunni, Shi’i, and Ahmadiyya women from around Australia who are active in public countering Islamophobia education initiatives. Full article
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