This book offers a clear, concise introduction to the meaning of problematic terms, and the ways in which they should legitimately be used. Each entry considers the following: – Why is this concept problematic? – What are the origins of the concept? – How is it used or misused, and by whom? – Is it still a legitimate concept in the study of religion and, if so, what are its legitimate uses? – Are there other concepts that are preferable when writing on religion? Concepts covered include: – Belief – Religion – Magic – Secularisation – Violence This is a jargon-free indispensable resource for students and scholars that encourages the critical use of terms in the study of religion.
This book investigates the nature and relevance of conjunctive explanations in the context of science and religion. It explores questions concerning how scientific and religious explanations for features of the world or phenomena within it relate to each other and whether they might work together in mutually enriching ways. The chapters address topics including the relationship between Darwinian and teleological explanations, non-reductive explanations of mind and consciousness, and explanations of Christian faith and religious experience, while others explore theological and philosophical issues concerning the nature and feasibility of conjunctive explanations. Overall, the contributions help to provide conceptual clarity on how scientific and religious explanations might or might not work together conjunctively as well as exploring how these ideas relate to specific topics in science and religion more generally.
The rapid global expansion of Pentecostal Christianity is one of the most striking religious phenomena in our contemporary world. Today, Pentecostalism is by no means some marginal or peculiar denomination within world Christianity. It is not simply a niche product in the global religious market, but the most dynamic and fastest growing religious movement within the contemporary Christian world. From Singapore over Brazil to Ghana, Pentecostal Christians are historically and presently rooted in many cultural contexts throughout the world. As such, Pentecostalism is a religious movement that is both shaped by globalization processes, but also a major contributor to the globalization of religion. Until recently, social-scientific approaches to Christianity have often been informed by a rather selective understanding of Christianity, stressing its ascetic components premised on a body-spirit dualism and seeing its importance mainly as a harbinger of secular modernity. Hence, where Christianity was studied outside the ‘West’ it has usually been peripheral and viewed as an alien intrusion, undermining local cosmologies. However, rather than a religious rejection of the world, Pentecostalism accommodates to the world and modernity. It transcends locality by promulgating a universal ‘imaginary of the world’, while at the same time incorporating itself successfully into the socio-cultural contexts of any new cultures it encounters. The fundamental ‘fluidity’ of the transnational Pentecostal network is conducive for its flexibility to react on the enormous upheavals and changes in a globalized world and to accommodate to them in constructive ways. Thus, Pentecostalism can be regarded as a paradigmatic case of a ‘glocalized’ religion: it has the ability to adapt itself to local conditions while maintaining and preserving its distinct religious features at the same time. This study focuses on the different theoretical attempts made to explain the massive global expansion of Pentecostalism, and its relation to broader processes of globalization. It discusses to what extent and in what complex ways the Pentecostal movement is interrelated to processes of cultural globalization. By looking at the internal religious characteristics of Pentecostal discourse and discursive practices, and their articulations within the external circumstances of globalization, it tries to untangle some of the complexities that emerge when theorizing the globalization of Pentecostalism.
This book provides a comprehensive and field-defining examination of the study of religions in Ireland. By bringing together some of the foremost experts on religions in an Irish context, it critically traces the development of an important field of study and evaluates the thematic threads that have emerged as significant. It thereby offers an assessment of contemporary religions in Ireland and their relationships to society, culture, economics, politics and the State. Contributors make connections between topics as diverse as Ireland's Revolutionary Period, the formation of the Irish State, the decline of Catholicism, the rise of migrant religions and New Religious Movements and the effects of secularisation on religions and society. This book emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of the study of religions whilst illustrating the coherent themes that have shaped the development of the field in Ireland, making it unique.
The topic of religion and globalization is complex, susceptible to a great variety of approaches. This book combines contributions from many authors who examine a wide range of subjects ranging from overall theoretical considerations to detailed regional perspectives. No single understanding of either religion or globalization is privileged.
Controversies over how to define the word religion have persisted for decades. It is a term of art and of academic study, but also one of governance, technologies, and of networks; it is a concept whose diversity is often its own worst enemy. Religion is as much a fuzzy set of conceptualizations and generalizations about a range of human activities as it is an authorizing system of persons, ideas, and practices. What is Religion?: Debating the Academic Study of Religion invites readers to eavesdrop on scholarly debates over the limits of, and uses for, a word commonly used but infrequently defined in a precise manner. This volume takes the temperature of the modern field of Religious Studies by inviting a diverse group of scholars to offer their own substantive contribution that builds on the shared opening prompt, Religion is.... Their essays document the current state of the field and its various sub-fields, assess the progress that has been made over the past generation, and propose new directions for future work. Seventeen of the international field's leading scholars show how they work with each other's definition, or, sometimes, the lack of a definition. Of interest to students, scholars, and general readers alike, What is Religion? will provoke debate and provide insights into the state of the field.
"Book Abstract: The sociology of the Middle East has been an expanding field of inquiry since the aftermath of WWII when phenomena as diverse as urbanization, internal and international migration, and peasant societies attracted the attention of scholars working on the region. The Middle East became central in key sociological debates on modernization theory and the critical responses. The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East connects this historical trajectory with the emergence of the sociology of Islam, inspired by Max Weber. It explores how within the global community, the Middle East has become a terrain of heightened concern within the post-Cold War context, where the promising rise of civic (and often religiously-inspired) sociopolitical movements in the 1980s and 1990s has been slowly overwhelmed by the affirmation of jihadist networks, authoritarian states, and complex supranational security apparatuses. This foundational volume starts by engaging in a critical examination of the field itself, starting with a historical sociology of the making of the idea itself of the Middle East and linking it with the legacy of colonialism and the evolving dynamics of global power. In repurposing the sociology of the Middle East within a growing interdisciplinary multifield, the Handbook develops the critical argument that the exploration of social dynamics in the Middle East cannot be disjoined from the analysis of culture and politics. By connecting the vexed state-society relations in the region with movements of transformation and the affirmation of rights and creativity in the public arenas, it provides a comprehensive perspective to investigate longstanding regional and new transregional and global dynamics and their impact on the life of people in the region. Keywords: sociology of the Middle East, sociology of Islam, Max Weber, historical sociology, Middle East and North Africa region, MENA"--
This book introduces the study of Biblical studies, theology, religion and philosophy from an African perspective. The book comprises twenty six chapters divided into four sections. The first section deals with Biblical studies, the second with theology, the third with religion and the fourth with philosophy. The contributions are from 20 eminent scholars from African and Caribbean universities.
How natural is religion? Is it a phenomenon written in our genes or brains, naturally developing with the development of the human race? The book considers the findings of evolutionary psychology from scientific, philosophical and theological perspectives and critically examines the relation between empirical, epistemological and theological notions. Chapters in the book deal with the naturalness of religion and religious experiences as based on genetics, biology and social psychology. Other authors examine the relationship between religion, science and theology with regard to the naturalness of religion from a more general perspective. The last part of the book includes views from a Muslim scholar and a historian.
Religion, Education, Dialogue and Conflict analyses the European Commission-funded REDCo project, which addressed the question of how religions might contribute to dialogue or conflict in Europe. Researchers in education from eight countries – the UK, Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, Norway and Spain – studied how young Europeans of different religious, cultural and political backgrounds could engage in dialogue in the context of the school. Empirical studies conducted with 14-16 year old students included them offering their own perspectives and analyses of teaching and learning in both dialogue and conflict situations. Although there were some different national patterns and trends, most students wished for peaceful coexistence across differences, andbelieved this to be possible. The majority agreed that peaceful coexistence depended on knowledge about each other’s religions and worldviews, sharing common interests and doing things together. The project found that students who learn about religious diversity in school are more willing to discuss religions and beliefs with students of other backgrounds than those who do not. The international range of expert contributors to this book evaluate the results of the REDCo project, providing examples of its qualitative and quantitative studies and reflecting on the methods and theory used in the project as a whole. This book was originally published as a special issue of the British Journal of Religious Education.
This volume examines the different and sometimes contradictory approaches of four UN human rights committees to the concept of religion. Drawing on critical perspectives from religious studies, the book combines a genealogical assessment of the role of religion in international law with a detailed textual study of the reporting practice of the committees monitoring racial discrimination, civil and political rights, women's rights, and children's rights. Årsheim argues that the role of religion within the rights traditions monitored by the committees varies to the extent that their recommendations risk contradicting one another, thereby undermining their credibility and potential to bring about real change on the ground: Where some committees view religion singularly as a core individual right, others see religion partly as an inherent threat to the realization of other rights, but also as a potent social force to be reckoned with. In order to remedy this situation, Årsheim proposes the publication of a joint general comment by all the committees, spelling out their approach to the role of religion in the implementation of human rights.