• Face to Face with Anti-Muslim Sentiment: A Qualitative Study into the Coping Mechanisms of Young College and University Muslim Students and Graduates in Flanders

      Ans De Nolf; Leen d’Haenens; Abdelwahed Mekki-Berrada (MDPI AG, 2021-02-01)
      This explorative study seeks to provide insights into the ways young Muslim adults experience and cope with Islamophobia in Flanders. For this purpose, in-depth interviews with 14 Muslims aged 19 to 33 were conducted in the spring of 2020. Our interviewees defined themselves as Muslims and all had been confronted with racism or anti-Muslim sentiment in their daily life. Depending on reported intentions, we identified seven coping strategies in the face of such sentiment: relativization, avoidance, communication, oppression, conciliation, reaction and passive coping strategies. These forms of coping are not mutually exclusive. They are often used in combination, and they may be interchangeable in some situations. This study seeks to complement and deepen the existing literature on anti-Muslim sentiment in Flanders. Its findings should be considered as a starting point for further deductive testing of the identified typologies, meant to inspire follow-up research and serve as evidence for future policymaking.
    • Facing the Issues Raised in Psalm 1 through Thinking and Feeling: Applying the SIFT Approach to Biblical Hermeneutics among Muslim Educators

      Leslie J. Francis; Ursula McKenna; Abdullah Sahin (MDPI AG, 2018-10-01)
      A group of 22 Muslim educators participating in a residential Islamic Education summer school were invited to explore their individual preferences for thinking and feeling (the two functions of the Jungian judging process). They were then invited to work in three groups (seven clear thinking types, eight clear feeling types, and seven individuals less clear of their preference) to discuss Psalm 1. Clear differences emerged between the ways in which thinking types and feeling types handled the judgement metred out to the wicked in the Psalm. The feeling types were disturbed by the portrayal of God in Psalm 1 and sought ways to mitigate the stark message. The thinking types confronted the dangers to which this image of God could lead and sought pedagogic strategies for dealing with these dangers.
    • Facing the Monsters: Otherness in H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and Guillermo del Toro’s <i>Pacific Rim </i>and <i>Hellboy</i>

      David McConeghy (MDPI AG, 2020-01-01)
      What happens when we imagine the unimaginable? This article compares recent films inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos with that author’s original early 20th century pulp horror stories. In Guillermo del Toro’s films <i>Pacific Rim </i>and <i>Hellboy</i>, monsters that would have been obscured to protect Lovecraft’s readers are now fully revealed for Hollywood audiences. Using the period-appropriate theories of Rudolf Otto on the <i>numinous </i>and Sigmund Freud on the <i>uncanny, </i>that share Lovecraft’s troubled history with racist othering, I show how modern adaptations of Lovecraft’s work invert central features of the mythos in order to turn tragedies into triumphs. The genres of Science Fiction and Horror have deep commitments to the theme of otherness, but in Lovecraft’s works otherness is insurmountable. Today, Hollywood borrows the tropes of Lovecraftian horror but relies on bridging the gap between humanity and its monstrous others to reveal a higher humanity forged through difference and diversity. This suggests that otherness in modern science fiction is a means of reconciliation, a way for the monsters to be defeated rather than the source of terror as they were in Lovecraft’s stories.
    • Facing the New Situation of Religious Education in Iceland

      Gunnar J. Gunnarsson (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
      Over the last two decades, Iceland has faced rapid societal changes in many ways, and cultural and religious diversity has grown faster than ever before. This has influenced the curricula of religious education. In 2011/2013, drastic changes were made to the National Curriculum Guide, and the curricula of individual subjects were merged into larger entities. Religious education thus became a part of the social studies curriculum, together with history, geography, sociology, life skills, ethics and philosophy. The aim of this article is to explore and discuss the influences of the societal changes in Iceland on religious education in compulsory schools. As little research exists on the consequences of the changes made to the curriculum for the practice of religious education, the focus will also be on some of the research that can shed light on the changing conditions of religious education in Iceland, such as Icelanders’ attitudes towards religion, and parents’ attitudes towards religious education in compulsory school. Particular attention will be paid to research into young people’s views towards the growing cultural and religious diversity in Iceland. The aim is to understand better the new situation of religious education in Iceland and the changes that have been made to the National Curriculum Guide.
    • Factor Structure of the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) in Persons with Chronic Diseases, Elderly and Healthy Individuals

      Arndt Büssing; Daniela Rodrigues Recchia; Harold Koenig; Klaus Baumann; Eckhard Frick (MDPI AG, 2018-01-01)
      The Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) is an established measure of psychosocial, existential and spiritual needs. Its 4-factor structure has been primarily validated in persons with chronic diseases, but until now has not been done in elderly and stressed healthy populations. Therefore, we tested the factor structure of the SpNQ in: (1) persons with chronic diseases (n = 627); (2) persons with chronic disease plus elderly (n = 940); (3) healthy persons (i.e., adults and elderly) (n = 1468); and (4) chronically ill, elderly, and healthy persons together (n = 2095). The suggested structure was then validated using structured equation modelling (SEM). The 4-factor structure of the 20-item SpNQ (SpNQ-20) was confirmed, differentiating Religious Needs, Existential Needs, Inner Peace Needs, and Giving/Generativity Needs. The psychometric properties of the measure indicated (CFI = 0.96, TLI = 0.95, RMSEA = 0.04 and SRMR = 0.03), with good reliability indices (Cronbach’s alpha varying from 0.71 to 0.81). This latest version of the SpNQ provides researchers with a reliable and valid instrument that can now be used in comparative studies. Cultural and religious differences can be addressed using their different language versions, assuming the SpNQ’s structure is maintained.
    • Faith and Forgetfulness: Homo Religiosus, Jean-Louis Chrétien, and Heidegger

      Jason W. Alvis (MDPI AG, 2019-04-01)
      Religion often is conceived as the sine qua non of the human, thus imbedding religious activity implicitly even within our cosmopolitical globalization processes and secular political concepts. This depiction of the human as ever-religious raises a host of concerns: Does it justify that we can believe ourselves to hold a religious identity without any existential choice or faith? Would it entail the presumption of God’s existence, thus possibly leading to God’s becoming a banal Faktum that inhibits the subject from being able to disavow God or not believe? And finally, how is it possible to relate authentically/existentially with our religious life without disregarding this quality of religion as always already operative? In order to provide more specificity to this latter question in particular, this paper focuses on an essential aspect of homo religiosus: faith. Focusing principally upon Heidegger and Jean-Louis Chrétien, this paper develops three ways “forgetfulness” is indispensable to faith; or in another sense, how faith itself also operates in, and is acheived through implicit ways. Indeed, if forgetting is essential to faith, and faith is essential to homo religiosus, then “forgetting” also to some degree is essential to religious life.
    • Faith and Form

      University of Helsinki, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies; Bacon, George (MDPI, 2016-11)
      To understand any aspect of being-in-the-world in general or cinematic experience in particular, both reductionist and holistic approaches are needed. Psychological accounts can give us only functional explanations of human behaviour or responses to signifying artifacts such as art. To understand the significance of these experiences the psychological must be complemented by a study on a level which may be termed spiritual. This line of thought is applied to analyses of Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket, starting from David Bordwell’s formalist and cognitive account of why many people experience this film as religious despite there being no explicit reference to religion. Paul Schrader’s analysis of the formal structure of this film in terms of his notion of transcendental style in film goes a step forward by explaining how the formal structure as he analyses it suggests a transcendental dimension which cannot be addressed directly. This approach connects in an illuminating way with Slavoj Žižek’s notions of the imaginary and the symbolic sphere. Bordwell’s approach, functioning on the psychological level, is basically reductionist, while Schrader’s, boosted with Žižek’s ideas as appropriated for the purposes of this article, is holistic and operative on the spiritual level. This two-tiered analysis reveals how cinematic form in Pickpocket serves as an indirect expression of faith.
    • Faith and Form on Screen

      Henry Bacon (MDPI AG, 2016-11-01)
      To understand any aspect of being-in-the-world in general or cinematic experience in particular, both reductionist and holistic approaches are needed. Psychological accounts can give us only functional explanations of human behaviour or responses to signifying artifacts such as art. To understand the significance of these experiences the psychological must be complemented by a study on a level which may be termed spiritual. This line of thought is applied to analyses of Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket, starting from David Bordwell’s formalist and cognitive account of why many people experience this film as religious despite there being no explicit reference to religion. Paul Schrader’s analysis of the formal structure of this film in terms of his notion of transcendental style in film goes a step forward by explaining how the formal structure as he analyses it suggests a transcendental dimension which cannot be addressed directly. This approach connects in an illuminating way with Slavoj Žižek’s notions of the imaginary and the symbolic sphere. Bordwell’s approach, functioning on the psychological level, is basically reductionist, while Schrader’s, boosted with Žižek’s ideas as appropriated for the purposes of this article, is holistic and operative on the spiritual level. This two-tiered analysis reveals how cinematic form in Pickpocket serves as an indirect expression of faith.
    • Faith and Freedom: The Qur’anic Notion of Freedom of Religion vs. the Act of Changing Religion and Thoughts on the Implications for Malaysia

      Siti Zubaidah Ismail; Muhamad Zahiri Awang Mat (MDPI AG, 2016-07-01)
      The issue of freedom of religion has always been situated at the intersection between human rights, personal freedom of choice, religious belief and apostasy. While freedom supporters argue that one is free to choose his or her religion, including changing religion, the Qur’an has made it clear that Islam allows changing of religion so long as it is from any religion to Islam and not from Islam to another religion. Apostatizing from Islam is one of the gravest enormities cautioned with eternal punishment. In interpreting the meaning of freedom of religion and restricting it from the “freedom” to change religion, Muslim scholars have been careful to draw a line distinguishing between the two. This article examines the different interpretations given by scholars on the issue of freedom of religion according to the Qur’an. By using historical and thematic analysis, the writers evaluate the mufassirins’ (scholars of exegesis) views on the related Qur’anic verses. Interpretations of the classical Islamic legal sources are also examined to identify their opinions on the consequences of leaving Islam, followed by contemporary opinions. The objective is to show the development and changes, if any, in the approaches taken regarding the limitations of freedom of religion. This will enlighten the ways to handle the issue of apostasy, as it is seen as a highly divisive and controversial issue, and to highlight an ideal approach for Malaysia.
    • Faith and Work: An Exploratory Study of Religious Entrepreneurs

      Jenna M. Griebel; Jerry Z. Park; Mitchell J. Neubert (MDPI AG, 2014-08-01)
      The influence of religion on work has not been fully explored, and, in particular, the relationship between religion and entrepreneurship as a specific type of work. This study explores the link between entrepreneurial behavior and religion. The study finds that religion, for entrepreneurs, is highly individualized, leading to the initial impression that religion and work have no relationship. Upon closer inspection, however, the study finds that religion does shape entrepreneurial activity. Entrepreneurial activity is impacted by a need for the entrepreneurs to reinterpret their work in religious terms, ending the tension for them between faith and work.
    • Faith in Numbers—Re-quantifying the English Quaker Population during the Long Eighteenth Century

      Andrew Fincham (MDPI AG, 2019-01-01)
      The Religious Society of Friends was traditionally disinclined to define “membership„ in pursuit of the Quaker mission to create a worldwide church. As a result, for almost two centuries before the first census of 1847, there are no records of the numbers within the Society. By the time of the census, Victorian Friends were seeking an explanation of what they generally perceived as a decline. The first, and still most widely accepted attempt to address this question, was John Stephenson Rowntree’s <i>Quakerism</i>, <i>Past and Present</i>, who grounded his 1857 essay on estimates extrapolated from summaries of Quaker records of marriages, births and deaths. This paper re-examines for the first time the assumptions made by Rowntree, and deploys both more recent demographic estimates and findings from the detailed Births, Marriages and Deaths records for over 33,000 Quakers in London from 1650 to 1809 to create an alternative population model charting stock and flows in the Quaker population of England by decade from 1650 to 1809. The paper seeks to reconcile such population estimates with accepted trends in English Quakerism across the period of the long eighteenth century.
    • Faith in the Ghosts of Literature. Poetic Hauntology in Derrida, Blanchot and Morrison’s Beloved

      Elisabeth M. Loevlie (MDPI AG, 2013-07-01)
      Literature, this paper argues, is a privileged language that can give form to those specters of existence that resist the traditional ontological boundaries of being and non-being, alive and dead. This I describe as the “hauntology” of literature. Literature, unlike our everyday, referential language, is not obliged to refer to a determinable reality, or to sustain meaning. It can therefore be viewed as a negation of the world of things and sensible phenomena. Yet it gives us access to vivid and sensory rich worlds. The status of this literary world, then, is strangely in-between; its ontology is not present and fixed, but rather quivering or ghostlike. The “I” that speaks in a literary text never coincides with the “I” of the writing subject, rather they haunt each other. This theoretical understanding is based on texts by Jacques Derrida and Maurice Blanchot. The paper also draws an analogy between this spectral dynamic of literature and an understanding of religious faith or belief. Belief relates to that which cannot be ontologically fixed or verified, be it God, angels, or spirits. Literature, because it releases and sustains this ontological quivering, can transmit the ineffable, the repressed and transcendent. With this starting point, I turn to Toni Morrison’s book Beloved (1987) and to Beloved’s strange, spectral monologue. By giving literary voice to the dead, Morrison releases literature’s hauntology to express the horror that history books cannot convey, and that our memory struggles to contain.
    • Faith Manifest: Spiritual and Mindfulness Tourism in Chiang Mai, Thailand

      Jaeyeon Choe; Michael O’ Regan (MDPI AG, 2020-04-01)
      From books to movies, the media is now flush with spiritual and wellness tourist-related images, films, and fiction (which are primarily produced in the West) about Southeast Asia. Combined with the positive effects of spiritual practices, greater numbers of tourists are travelling to Southeast Asia for mindfulness, yoga, and other spiritual pursuits. Influenced by popular mass media coverage, such as Hollywood movies and literary bestsellers like <i>Eat Pray Love</i> (2006) and tourism imaginaries about particular peoples and places, spiritual tourists are visiting Southeast Asia in increasing numbers. They travel to learn about and practice mindfulness, so as to recharge their batteries, achieve spiritual fulfillment, enhance their spiritual well-being, and find a true self. However, there is a notable lack of scholarly work around the nature and outcomes of spiritual tourism in the region. Owing to its Buddhist temples, cultural heritage, religious history, infrastructure, and perceived safety, Chiang Mai in Thailand, in particular, has become a major spiritual tourism destination. Based on participant observation including informal conversations, and 10 semi-structured interviews in Chiang Mai during two summers in 2016 and 2018, our research explored why Western tourists travel to Chiang Mai to engage in mindfulness practices regardless of their religious affiliation. We explored their faith in their spiritual practice in Chiang Mai. Rather than the faith implied in religion, this faith refers to trust or confidence in something. Interestingly, none of the informants identified themselves as Buddhist even though many had practiced Buddhist mindfulness for years. They had faith that mindfulness would resolve problems, such as depression and anxiety, following life events such as divorces, deaths in family, drug abuse, or at least help free them from worries. They noted that mindfulness practices were a constructive means of dealing with negative life events. This study found that the informants sought to embed mindfulness and other spiritual practices into the fabric of their everyday life. Their faith in mindfulness led them to a destination where Buddhist heritage, history, and culture are concentrated but also consumed. Whilst discussing the preliminary findings through a critical lens, the research recommends future research pathways.
    • Faith Unchanged: Spirituality, But Not Christian Beliefs and Attitudes, Is Altered in Newly Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease

      Szabolcs Kéri; Oguz Kelemen (MDPI AG, 2016-06-01)
      In this study, we aimed at investigating the validity and characteristics of the concept of hyporeligiosity in Parkinson’s disease. Twenty-eight newly diagnosed, never-medicated patients with Parkinson’s disease and 30 matched healthy control individuals received the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS), the Stolz’s index of Christian religiosity, and the Francis Scale of Attitude to Christianity (FSAC). All participants identified themselves as Roman Catholic or Protestant. Parkinson’s patients displayed decreased positive and negative spirituality on the BMMRS, whereas beliefs and attitudes related to their Christian religion were unchanged. The severity of the disease was associated with reduced spirituality, but not with Christian faith. These results suggest a dissociation between general spirituality and traditional religious faith in Parkinson’s disease, which is consistent with the findings from patients with schizophrenia.
    • Faith, Food and Fettle: Is Individual and Neighborhood Religiosity/Spirituality Associated with a Better Diet?

      Min-Min Tan; Carina K.Y. Chan; Daniel D. Reidpath (MDPI AG, 2014-08-01)
      Diet is an important contributor to many non-communicable diseases. Religion and spirituality (R/S) has a salutary effect on physical health, and one of the possible links between R/S and positive health outcomes is a better diet. Religious neighborhoods might also play a role in influencing the adoption of a healthier diet. Suggestions for future research in R/S and diet are included.
    • Faith, Religion, and Spirituality: A Phenomenological and Hermeneutic Contribution to Parsing the Distinctions

      Christina M. Gschwandtner (MDPI AG, 2021-06-01)
      Religion and spirituality are contested terms in the fields of Religious Studies, Theology, Sociology or Anthropology of Religion, and other areas, and the notion of faith has often been abandoned altogether. The present article attempts to make a distinctly philosophical contribution to this debate by employing phenomenological parameters, as they are articulated in the work of Martin Heidegger, for proposing distinctions between faith, religion, and spirituality. It then goes on to “fill” these structural distinctions in more detail with hermeneutic content by drawing on Paul Ricœur’s work on faith and religion, as well as Johann Michel’s analysis of Ricœur’s account of the self as a “spirituality”. The article thus employs Heidegger’s phenomenological categories and Ricœur’s hermeneutic project in order to think through the possibility of making phenomenological distinctions between personal confession of faith, religious adhesion to a tradition via myth and ritual, and a broader spirituality as a fundamental dimension of the human being.
    • Faith-Based International Development Work: A Review

      Dan Heist; Ram A. Cnaan (MDPI AG, 2016-02-01)
      In the wake of the Faith-Based Initiative in the USA, substantial research has resulted in an increased awareness of religious congregations and faith-based organizations as welfare service providers. The next frontier appears to be the role of religious organizations in international social and economic development, a topic that only recently started to attract academic interest. In this paper, we review available literature on the role that religious, or faith-based, organizations play in international social and economic development. We also provide results from our own study of USA international NGOs1 that are faith-based. We divide the paper into the positive contributions of faith-based international NGOs and the drawbacks of these NGOs. We find that faith-based nonprofits constitute almost 60 percent of USA-based international development organizations, and their contribution to international social development is quite considerable. We conclude with a call for further research and nuanced understanding of the role religion plays in international development.
    • Faith-Based Intervention: Prison, Prayer, and Perseverance

      Shona Robinson-Edwards; Stephanie Kewley (MDPI AG, 2018-04-01)
      This qualitative article explores the impact of faith-based interventions through the lens of a self-identified practicing Christian: Joanna. For over a decade, Joanna has visited several prisons in the United Kingdom in a faith-based capacity: supporting prisoners, families, and prison chaplaincies. Joanna professes the role of faith and religiosity to be a positive and influential component in the lives of those imprisoned. This paper explores Joanna’s journey of supporting individuals within the prison walls, reflecting on the impact of labels, imprisonment, faith-based intervention, and religiosity. Much of the current research pertaining to faith-based interventions are limited; therefore, the experiences of those who volunteer within prisons in a faith-based capacity is often overlooked. Yet, faith-based intervention and religiosity within a criminal justice context provides several benefits which impact on those in prison, their families, and people working within a prison environment.
    • Faith-Based Mentoring of Ex-Felons in Higher Education: Colson Scholars Reflect on Their Transitions

      Judith A. Leary (MDPI AG, 2018-06-01)
      This qualitative study employs the framework of Schlossberg’s Transition Theory to offer readers an introduction into recently-conducted research on ex-felons transitioning into, through, and out of higher education within the context of the Colson Scholarship program at Wheaton College1, in Wheaton, Illinois. Through the material gathered from personal interviews of six completed Colson Scholars, faith-based mentors were consistently seen as significant sources of support in each stage of the college-going transition. Faith-based mentors played an important role in the outcomes of, specifically, faith-worldview development and emotional development. This article seeks to illuminate the problem of the lack of supportive mentors for ex-offender populations in our communities, and to illustrate how those mentors might be found in faith-based organizations, institutions, and houses of worship, as Johnson (Johnson 2011) asserted and also what gains could result from the involvement of faith-based mentors in the lives of correctional populations post-release.
    • False Gods and the Two Intelligent Questions of Metapsychiatry

      Bruce S. Kerievsky (MDPI AG, 2012-04-01)
      This paper explains how the spiritual teaching known as Metapsychiatry, developed by psychiatrist Thomas Hora, employs two questions as its focal educational method. Those questions facilitate phenomenological discernment of the source (<em>i.e.</em> the meaning) of our problems in living and help students and patients to understand the real nature of God. Perceiving our existentially invalid attachments and the inevitable suffering they produce encourages us to seek inspiration from God.