• A Balinese ‘Call to Prayer’: Sounding Religious Nationalism and Local Identity in the <i>Puja Tri Sandhya</i>

      Meghan Hynson (MDPI AG, 2021-08-01)
      This article examines the <i>Puja Tri Sandhya</i>, a Balinese Hindu prayer that has been broadcast into the soundscape of Bali since 2001. By charting the development of the prayer, this paper summarizes the religious politics of post-independence Indonesia, which called for the Balinese to adopt the <i>Puja Tri Sandhya</i> as a condition for religious legitimacy in the new nation. The <i>Puja Tri Sandhya</i> is likened to a Balinese “call to prayer” and compared to Muslim and Christian soundings of religion in the archipelago to assert how these broadcasts sonically reify the national motto, <i>Bhinneka Tunggal Ika</i> (“Unity in Diversity”), and participate in a sounding of religious nationalism. Although these broadcasts are evidence of a state-sponsored form of religiosity, interviews concerning the degree to which individuals practice the <i>Puja Tri Sandhya</i> point to an element of secularism and position the prayer as an example that challenges the religion versus secularism dichotomy in studies of religious nationalism. This article also examines the sonic components of the <i>Puja Tri Sandhya</i> (when it is sounded, the vocal style, and the <i>gender wayang</i> and <i>genta</i> bell accompaniment), to argue how these elements infuse this invented display of religiosity with authority and facilitate a mediation between technology, space, and local identity. Exploration of the <i>gender wayang</i> accompaniment in particular, further confirms the contrived nature of the <i>Puja Tri Sandhya</i> and demonstrates how technologies used to broadcast the prayer have had a significant impact on the <i>gender wayang</i> musical tradition.
    • A Biblical Poetics for Filmmakers

      Dennis Packard; Preston Campbell; Jason McDonald (MDPI AG, 2014-06-01)
      In this paper, we present a poetics, or guide manual, for making narrative films that resemble biblical narratives. It is similar to Aristotle’s Poetics, only his was for creating drama (though it is of course often used for film now) and was based on Greek dramas and epics. Our poetics is specifically for making films and is based on an even more ancient body of narratives—the Hebrew Bible. In articulating a biblical poetics for filmmakers, we draw heavily on the work of a few of the many biblical-narrative scholars of the last half-century, who draw in turn from the even more extensive research that has been done on narrative theory in general. Our project is one that Aristotle might have undertaken if he had read the Bible and its commentators and known about film.
    • A Brief History of Medieval Monasticism in Denmark (with Schleswig, Rügen and Estonia)

      Johnny Grandjean Gøgsig Jakobsen (MDPI AG, 2021-06-01)
      Monasticism was introduced to Denmark in the 11th century. Throughout the following five centuries, around 140 monastic houses (depending on how to count them) were established within the Kingdom of Denmark, the Duchy of Schleswig, the Principality of Rügen and the Duchy of Estonia. These houses represented twelve different monastic orders. While some houses were only short lived and others abandoned more or less voluntarily after some generations, the bulk of monastic institutions within Denmark and its related provinces was dissolved as part of the Lutheran Reformation from 1525 to 1537. This chapter provides an introduction to medieval monasticism in Denmark, Schleswig, Rügen and Estonia through presentations of each of the involved orders and their history within the Danish realm. In addition, two subchapters focus on the early introduction of monasticism to the region as well as on the dissolution at the time of the Reformation. Along with the historical presentations themselves, the main and most recent scholarly works on the individual orders and matters are listed.
    • A Claim Forfeiting Its Own Right. Why Job Got It Wrong—and Why This Matters for the Rationality of Religion

      Heiko Schulz (MDPI AG, 2019-03-01)
      The article aims to uncover a deep ambivalence in the figure of Job, as it is presented in the book of the same title, especially in the latter’s “poetry” or dialogue section. This ambivalence corresponds to and in fact emerges from what appears to be a pragmatic paradox: Job is in the wrong (i.e., guilty) in relation to God, precisely by claiming to be right (i.e., innocent); conversely, he can be and must be considered right, if and to the extent that he honestly renounces the latter claim. Accordingly, he cannot both be right (or wrong) and claim to be right or (or wrong)—a special case of what is observed, within epistemology, as an incompatibility of truth and assertibility conditions. In the present text, this core thesis is developed in four steps: the first introduces and briefly contextualizes the claim; the second tries to demonstrate that it provides at least sufficient means for making narrative sense of the book as a whole and, in particular, the controversy between Job and his friends; a third paragraph tackles the (philosophical and/or theological) presuppositions and implications of the thesis from a Christian standpoint, whereas the conclusion addresses the question of if and how the previous findings bear upon the rationality issue. Here, a final paradox emerges: that which would appear to be most rational from a Christian perspective (the task of sin consciousness) must be deemed humanly impossible to fulfill; considering the latter possible renders the task futile, hence irrational.
    • A Cognitive Approach to Tantric Language

      Sthaneshwar Timalsina (MDPI AG, 2016-11-01)
      By applying the contemporary theories of schema, metonymy, metaphor, and conceptual blending, I argue in this paper that salient cognitive categories facilitate a deeper analysis of Tantric language. Tantras use a wide range of symbolic language expressed in terms of mantric speech and visual maṇḍalas, and Tantric texts relate the process of deciphering meaning with the surge of mystical experience. In this essay, I will focus on some distinctive varieties of Tantric language with a conviction that select cognitive tools facilitate coherent reading of these expressions. Mystical language broadly utilizes images and metaphors. Deciphering Tantric language should therefore also provide a framework for reading other varieties of mystical expressions across cultures.
    • A Cognitive Science View of Abhinavagupta’s Understanding of Consciousness

      Loriliai Biernacki (MDPI AG, 2014-08-01)
      This paper offers a comparative analysis of the nature of consciousness correlating the insights of the 11th century Śaiva philosopher Abhinavagupta with the work of some contemporary philosophers of consciousness. Ultimately these comparisons especially bring to light possibilities for constructing a materialist paradigm that might operate from a prioritization of subjectivity rather than objectivity. I propose that the Hindu, nondual Śaivite system that Abhinavagupta lays out offers a framework that may be useful for contemporary cognitive science and philosophy of mind precisely because Abhinavagupta offers a theory for connecting the material with the phenomenal.
    • A Commentary on Michael King. “The Challenge of Research into Religion and Spirituality.” Journal for the Study of Spirituality 4 (2014): 106–20

      Fiona Timmins; Sílvia Caldeira; Margaret Theresa Naughton; Sotirios Plakas; Harold G. Koenig (MDPI AG, 2016-04-01)
      King’s publication based on a key note presentation at the 2014 British Association of the Study of Spirituality (BASS) conference, a well written and thought provoking paper, leads us to consider the contribution of this critique of spirituality research to contemporary debates on the topic The views expressed within the paper are important and foster debate about the validity of research in the field of spirituality and religion. However, at the same time, this debate is reminiscent of the negative responses sometimes expressed about research publications in this field. At the same time, it must be recognised that there is a view held that there is an extra yard stick required for researchers in this field, who can be subjected to much higher standards and expectations than other researchers simply because of the topic and the deep seated conflicting views that advocates and critics hold. This paper considers the merits and challenges of this paper in light of this.
    • A Comparative Survey Study on Meaning-Making Coping among Cancer Patients in Turkey

      Önver A. Cetrez; Fereshteh Ahmadi; Pelin Erbil (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
      (1) Background: The role of culture in secular, spiritual, and religious coping methods is important, but needs more attention in research. The aim has been to (1) investigate the meaning-making coping methods among cancer patients in Turkey and (2) whether there were differences in two separate samples (compared to Study 2, Study 1 had a younger age group, was more educated, and grew up in a big city), (3) paying specific attention to gender, age, education, and area of residence. (2) Methods: Quantitative study using a convenience sampling in two time periods, Study 1 (<i>n </i>= 94) and Study 2 (<i>n </i>= 57). (3) Results: In Study 2, there is a significant increase in several religious and spiritual coping strategies. Additionally, there is a positive correlation between being a woman and using more religious or spiritual coping strategies. Secular meaning-making coping strategies also increase significantly in Study 2. The results confirmed the hypotheses for gender, educational, and age differences in seeking support from religious leaders. The results also confirmed the hypotheses for gender and educational level in a punishing God reappraisal and demonic reappraisal. (4) Conclusions: As Turkey is a country at the junction of strong religiosity and deep-rooted secularism, dividing up the meaning-making coping methods into the religious and spiritual, on one hand, and the secular, on the other, reveals interesting results.
    • A Complex Religion Approach to the Differing Impact of Education on Black and White Religious Group Members’ Political Views

      haley pilgrim; Wensong Shen; Melissa Wilde (MDPI AG, 2020-09-01)
      This paper examines the interaction of education for both Blacks and Whites in all major religious groups on four key political issues: Abortion, gay marriage, feelings toward redistribution, and political party identification. We find that for most Blacks, race is the most salient factor across all four political dimensions; whereas there is significant variation by religion and education for Whites, there is very little difference for Blacks. As previous research has noted, Blacks are generally more conservative on gay marriage and Blacks are generally positive about redistribution, much more so than most Whites regardless of education and religion. We find education is more liberating to Whites than Blacks. The only issue for which education has significant effects for Blacks is abortion, but even in this case, unlike for Whites, there are not large religious differences among Blacks. This study corroborates previous research that abortion and gay marriage are less politically central to Blacks, who at all education levels are more likely to be Democrat than the most Democrat identified Whites.
    • A Complex Ultimate Reality: The Metaphysics of the Four Yogas

      Jeffery D. Long (MDPI AG, 2020-12-01)
      This essay will pose and seek to answer the following question: If, as Swami Vivekananda claims, the four yogas are independent and equally effective paths to God-realization and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, then what must reality be like? What ontology is implied by the claim that the four yogas are all equally effective paths to the supreme goal of religious life? What metaphysical conditions would enable this pluralistic assertion to be true? Swami Vivekananda’s worldview is frequently identified with Advaita Vedānta. We shall see that Vivekananda’s teaching is certainly Advaitic in what could be called a broad sense. As Anantanand Rambachan and others, however, have pointed out, it would be incorrect to identify Swami Vivekananda’s teachings in any rigid or dogmatic sense with the classical Advaita Vedānta of Śaṅkara; this is because Vivekananda’s teaching departs from that of Śaṅkara in some significant ways, not least in his assertion of the independent salvific efficacy of the four yogas. This essay will argue that Swami Vivekananda’s pluralism, based on the concept of the four yogas, is far more akin to the <i>deep religious pluralism</i> that is advocated by contemporary philosophers of religion in the Whiteheadian tradition of process thought like David Ray Griffin and John Cobb, the classical Jain doctrines of relativity (<i>anekāntavāda</i>, <i>nayavāda</i>, and <i>syādvāda</i>), and, most especially, the <i>Vijñāna Vedānta</i> of Vivekananda’s guru, Sri Ramakrishna, than any of these approaches is to the Advaita Vedānta of Śaṅkara. Advaita Vedānta, in Vivekananda’s pluralistic worldview, becomes one valid conceptual matrix among many that bear the ability to support an efficacious path to liberation. This essay is intended not as an historical reconstruction of Vivekananda’s thought, so much as a constructive philosophical contribution to the ongoing scholarly conversations about both religious (and, more broadly, worldview) pluralism and the religious and philosophical legacies of both Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. The former conversation has arrived at something of an impasse (as recounted by Kenneth Rose), while the latter conversation has recently been revived, thanks to the work of Swami Medhananda (formerly Ayon Maharaj) and Arpita Mitra.
    • A Concept Analysis of Spiritual Care Based on Islamic Sources

      Rahmatollah Marzband; Seyed Hamzeh Hosseini; Zeinab Hamzehgardeshi (MDPI AG, 2016-05-01)
      The cultural and religious resources of every community influence the definition of spiritual care. This paper discusses a concept analysis of spiritual care in an Islamic context. The Quran, narrations (Shie’h) and commentarial books were searched, for information data. The data was used to provide a comprehensive definition of the concept of spiritual care from Islamic literature. We identified the attributes, antecedents and consequences of spiritual care according to Roger’s concept analysis approach. The review of the Islamic text showed that spiritual care is a series of spiritual skills or competencies that help patients to achieve excellent life. It is grouped into categories and has numerous positive effects on patients and caregivers. This study will be useful to Muslim clinicians and nurse educators as they strive to understand and incorporate spiritual care within their practice for Muslim patients.
    • A Confucian Defense of Shame: Morality, Self-Cultivation, and the Dangers of Shamelessness

      Mark Berkson (MDPI AG, 2021-01-01)
      Many philosophers and scholars in the West have a negative view of shame. In much of post-classical Western ethical thought, shame is compared negatively with guilt, as shame is associated with the “outer”, how one appears before others (and thus is merely a matter of “face”), and guilt is associated with the “inner” realm of the conscience and soul. Anthropologists and philosophers have used this framework to distinguish more morally evolved Western “guilt cultures” from Asian “shame cultures”. Many psychologists also have a negative view of shame, seeing it as damaging to the self and “devastating in its consequences”. In this paper, I argue that the understandings of shame found in these philosophers and psychologists are misguided, and that their flaws can be revealed by looking at the understanding of shame in the classical Confucian tradition. In response to philosophers who see shame as a “lesser” moral emotion than guilt, Confucius (孔子 Kongzi) and Mencius (孟子 Mengzi) will articulate an understanding of shame that has a deeply internal dimension and is more essential in the process of moral cultivation than guilt. In response to the psychologists who warn about the harm of shame, the Confucians will help us distinguish between moral and pathological shame, showing us why the latter is harmful, but the former is something that no moral person can be without. I will show that the Confucian perspective on shame and guilt is profoundly relevant to the historical moment we are living in (particularly the years of the Trump Administration), and that the Confucian view demonstrates that there is something much worse, and far more devastating, than shame in its consequences—shamelessness.
    • A Context-Grounded Approach to Religious Freedom: The Case of Orthodoxy in the Moldovan Republic

      Davide N. Carnevale (MDPI AG, 2019-05-01)
      This paper explores the relationship between human rights and social analysis within the main historical and theoretical perspectives adopted by social sciences. In particular, religious freedom will be analysed as one of the central issues in the recent engagement of the social sciences with human rights. After examining current narratives and mainstream approaches of the social sciences towards the right to religious freedom, this article will then underline the importance of a social epistemology which goes beyond a normative and legal perspective, bridging the gap between the framework of human rights and the social roles of religion in context. Within this framework, religious freedom represents a social construct, whose perception, definition and implementation dynamically evolves according to its influence, at different levels, in the lived dimension of social relations. The second part of the article proposes a context-grounded analysis of religious freedom in the Republic of Moldova. This case study is characterised by the impressive growth of Orthodoxy after the demise of the Soviet Union and by a complex and contradictory political approach towards religious freedom, both as a legal standard and as a concept. Emerging through the analysis of local political narratives and some preliminary ethnographical observations, the social importance of religion will be investigated both as a governmental instrument and as an embodied means of dealing with widespread socio-economic insecurity, creating tensions between religious rootedness and religious freedom. The local debate on religious freedom will then be related to the influence of geopolitical borders, the topic of traditional identity and the religious form of adaptation to the ineffectiveness of the new secular local policies, with orthodox institutions and parishes having new socio-political roles at both a global and local scale.
    • A Contribution to Comparative Theology: Probing the Depth of Islamic Thought

      Mouhanad Khorchide; Ufuk Topkara (MDPI AG, 2013-01-01)
      Muslim theologians, as much as ordinary Muslims, will immediately agree with the characterization of God as all compassionate. However, it remains rather opaque how God’s compassion can be fully explained in terms of comparative theology. How can Muslims relate to God’s compassion? What role does God’s compassion precisely play in the Quranic revelation and the daily practice of Muslims?
    • A Cristo moreno in Barcelona: The Staging of Identity-Based Unity and Difference in the Procession of the Lord of Miracles

      M. Esther Fernandez-Mostaza; Wilson Muñoz Henriquez (MDPI AG, 2018-04-01)
      The procession known as “Lord of Miracles” is a massive religious phenomenon that takes place in various cities around the world in October. The purpose of this study is to describe and analyze certain elements of the procession, which champion not only the idea of unity (religious, cultural, ethnical, and national), but also the sociocultural differences. With this in mind, we conducted ethnographical research focused on the processions that took place in Barcelona, Spain, in 2016 and 2017. Along with a number of practices and talks intended to activate and strengthen the image of religious unity (Brothers in Christ) and national unity (Brothers of Peru), there are certain dynamics that point to differences, which call that unity into question. Specifically, we focused our study on two seasons of the procession: the scissors dance and the Marian, both dances for the Lord. However, the type of interaction that happens with each of them shows inner differences, which the members establish with the image of the Cristo moreno. These differences are expressed in the special-temporal location of certain stations—which represent subordinate sociocultural manifestations—and in the type of interaction, which the members establish with the image of the Cristo moreno.
    • A Critical Evaluation of Religious Education in Korea

      Chae Young Kim (MDPI AG, 2018-11-01)
      This essay will discuss the general orientation of Korean religious education and some of the problematic issues that are related to its position within the current Korean educational systems. It will focus especially on four critical aspects pertaining to religious education as found today in the Republic of Korea (we will not consider the situation of religious education in North Korea because it is so difficult to get accurate information). The first section will begin to identify the contemporary ‘communicational dilemma’ of religious education in Korea and its roots in the lack of a proper understanding of religious education from a non-confessional academic perspective. The second section will place the problem in the context of Korean religious demography as it pertains to the necessity of religious education and the conventional image of religious education within schools. The third section will enumerate a number of critical issues and analyze their impact on the direction of religious education policy since the establishment of the government’s equalization educational policy in 1969. The fourth section will critically examine a number of constitutional issues as they bear on the question of where compulsion exists in current religious education.
    • A Critical Examination of Research on the Legacy of Daehaeng

      Kyungrae Kim; Cheonghwan Park (MDPI AG, 2021-08-01)
      Over recent decades, Venerable Daehaeng has increasingly become a subject of academic research, much of which has been sponsored by her own followers in an effort to reinforce the legitimacy of her teachings and her authenticity as a Korean <i>seon</i> master. Nevertheless, since her passing several controversies have arisen with critics charging that Daehaeng’s teaching fall outside of Korean Buddhist orthodoxy. Given the ongoing and often contentious debate over Daehaeng’s identity as Buddhist master, this article scrutinizes these recent controversies along with the current trends in academic research surrounding both Daehaeng and the Hanmaum Seonwon. It then identifies critical questions within this growing field of Daehaeng studies and suggests directions worthy of research exploration.
    • A Day in the Life of an Aesthetic Tāntrika: From Synaesthetic Garden to Lucid Dreaming and Spaciousness

      Kerry Martin Skora (MDPI AG, 2018-03-01)
      This essay addresses the question of the relationship between Aesthetics and Tantra, in the world-view and life-world of Hindu Tantric visionary Abhinavagupta (ca. 975–1025 C.E.) and his tradition. I respond to a classic work on Abhinavagupta’s understanding of aesthetic experience and religious experience by shifting the focus from ultimate experience to the life of a liberated being. I argue that Abhinavagupta’s blending of Aesthetics and Tantra naturally follows from his view of liberation, which re-integrates the body and senses into the religious life, and affirms the reality of the material world in which the liberated being is embedded. I recover the very humanness and boundedness of Abhinavagupta as an additional way of understanding liberation. I draw on hymns of praise, descriptions of ritual, thoughts on hermeneutics of Being, and complex metaphors, from Abhinavagupta’s tradition, and engage with various thinkers, including Performance Theorist Richard Schechner and neurologist James Austin, to flesh out complex metaphors depicting the relationship between consciousness and the world. I conclude by reflecting on similarities between the Trika model of Self, as interpreted by Abhinavagupta’s student Kṣemarāja, and lucid dreaming.
    • A Deep-Language Mathematical Analysis of Gospels, Acts and Revelation

      Emilio Matricciani; Liberato De Caro (MDPI AG, 2019-04-01)
      The paper aims at casting some light on the interrelations among the Gospels, Acts and Revelation. We do not consider words ranking and their frequency of occurrence, as largely done in the literature, but we analyze, statistically, some mathematical aspects of the texts, which the authors were not conscious of. We use mathematical methods developed for specifically studying deep-language parameters of literary texts, such as the number of words per sentence, the number of characters per word, the number of words per interpunctions, the number of interpunctions per sentence, all very likely peculiar to the writer’s style, after having recalled the punctuation in classical languages. First, we consider the full texts of the canonical Gospels, Acts and Revelation, then the partial texts attributable to the Triple Tradition (Matthew, Mark and Luke), to the Double Tradition (Matthew and Luke), Own Tradition (Matthew and Luke) and Q source. The mathematical/statistical tool used confirms and reinforces some general results concerning the Gospels, Acts, Revelation and Q source, but also evidences some interesting differences concerning the number of words per sentence and words per interpunctions, likely casting some light on the capacity of the short-term memory of the readers/listeners of these texts. All these New Testament writings fit very well in the larger Greek literature of the time. The existence of a proto gospel seems more probable than other possible hypotheses.
    • A Divine Rebellion: Indigenous Sacraments among Global “Lamanites”

      Daniel Hernandez (MDPI AG, 2021-04-01)
      This essay engages with some of the experiences and metaphysics of Indigenous peoples who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism/LDS/the Church) by responding to their structural construction as “Lamanites”. Lamanites have been interpreted within Mormonism to be ancestors of various global Indigenous peoples of the “Americas” and “Polynesia”. This essay reveals how contemporary Indigenous agency by presumed descendants of the Lamanites, who embrace both an Indigenous and a Mormon identity, shifts the cosmology of the Church. Interpretations of <i>The</i><i>Book of Mormon</i> that empower contemporary Indigenous agency paradoxically materialize a divinely inspired cultural rebellion within the Church itself. However, this tension that is mediated by Lamanites in the Church is not framed as an exclusive response to the Church itself but, rather, to a larger global hegemony of coloniality to which the Church is subject. These Lamanite worldviews can be understood as a process of restoring ancestral Indigenous sacraments (rituals) through Mormon paradigms, which are found and nurtured in the cracks and fissures of both the material and ontological infrastructure of Mormonism’s dominant paradigm. When Indigenous Mormons assert autonomous authorship of their own cosmogony and metaphysics, the Church beliefs of restoring a ‘primitive Christian church’ and ‘becoming Gods’ is creatively transformed into a more relevant and liberating possibility here and now.