Statues of the Virgin Mary have been embarking on various types of movement and migration for centuries. They are the fixed points around which religious activities are carried out in communities in Spain and Latin America and play significant roles in the personal and social lives of their devotees. Until recently, however, scholarship has largely overlooked the potential richness of what religious material cultures can tell us about religious transformation in Latin America. This paper therefore offers a theoretical and methodological advance by way of a ground-up, ‘material’ approach to understanding religious change through the religious statues themselves. It utilises the statue of the Virgen de la Regla in Chipiona, Spain as a node on a map from which to trace the lines of movement from Spain into Cuba where a replica of the same Virgin, another nodal point, is worshipped as both Virgin Mary and Santeria Orisha Yamaya.
Focusing on the Brazilian spirit-incorporation religion of Umbanda, this article proposes a theoretical shift in conceptions of hybridity: a move from asking “what ingredients mix in what manner to produce what result?” to asking “how do we interpret religious innovation?” This approach sees meaning as simply the result of interpretation (not in terms of a representational relation between words and world). It also underlines the centrality of discursive claims of hybridity and purity, as opposed to historical issues of origins – a point clarified by comparing “hybridity” to “tradition.” Comparison of Umbanda and Candomblé leads to the conclusion that each can be considered both “Afro-Brazilian” and “hybrid” in different ways. Candomblé exhibits semantic polarity (all groups accept that a certain sub-type is more authentic and hybridity marks divergence from that norm). Umbanda exhibits semantic plurality (wide variation between groups is not subject to such a normative judgment).
Modern sciences and Islam are oftentimes perceived (or presented) as irreconcilable or even as mutually exclusive poles. In attempting to re-establish the dialogue on the topic and to find contemporary approaches that might enable one to keep personal religious beliefs while also engaging with modern sciences, this article discusses the works of contemporary physicist Nidhal Guessoum. Guessoum not only critically examines current developments in the realm of science in the Muslim world, but also provides the reader with a solution to what seems to be a problem of colliding epistemologies: reconciling the two traditions. According to Guessoum, both traditions – although using different methods – work towards advancing knowledge and should thus both be upheld and progressed. To illustrate his approach to scientific methodology and thinking, the article also provides an analysis of Guessoum’s videos on COVID-19 and thereby addresses a current topic which clearly proves the need for reliable modern science.
This article investigates the possible functions of empathic interpersonal engagement in the context of medicine and health care. While empathy can be understood in different ways on a theoretical level – as an embodied process of resonance and synchronization, as an affective process of emotional sharing, as a cognitive process of understanding the other, or as a narrative process of externalizing and communicating personal experiences – it is often called for on a normative level as a desideratum in the competence of medical professionals. We address this issue by introducing different models of the relationality between doctors and patients, in order to clarify which dimensions of empathy are relevant in which model and raise the question whether empathy is more than a nice-to-have virtue on the side of the professionals.
This contribution discusses the question whether there is a general interlinking between the fundamentalist perception and practice of Abrahamic religions by some believers or groups and their (in-)ability to cope with pandemics such as Covid-19, or if this assumption is misleading. With the help of selected examples from fundamentalist groups of the Abrahamic religions, it will be shown that some fundamentalist actors see Covid-19 as a divine punishment and make use of the pandemic for radical mobilization of their members, while other religious groups and leaders concentrate on the resilience and healing aspects of their followers during the pandemic. The different responses of coping lead to the question whether monotheistic religions might be more susceptible to fundamentalist reactions to pandemics than other religions.
Defining psychological resilience while taking into account all of its different facets has proven to be a difficult task, requiring an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach. This article will present some of the theologically relevant current findings of the new research group on “Resilience in Religion and Spirituality” (DFG-FOR 2686) working in cooperation between theology, philosophy, psychosomatic medicine, palliative care, and spiritual care (chapter 1). Even though our project builds on factors and mechanisms of resilience already intensively discussed (chapter 2), we will add some further aspects on resilience as a multidimensional and dynamic process of adaption (chapter 3) and on the integration of negative experiences, of endurance, of the formation of powerlessness and of the mediopassive (chapter 4). This will allow for some prospective considerations on understanding challenges and problems of the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (chapter 5).
The contributions of this issue show an understanding of disease(s) and religion in a multifaceted way. Covering traditions of Christianity, Islam, Taoism, indigenous Indonesian people, fundamentalism, and secularism discourses allow for an approach to liminal situations related to diseases and healing and resilience towards the challenges these situations mean. Philosophical reflections, empirical research, theological discussions, studying ideas on sciences, and theoretical reflections on practical dimensions of resilience contribute to a stimulating mosaic of ideas.
This article discusses how Tillich’s psychologically informed re-interpretation of dogmatic and biblical narratives may offer ways to cope with complex experiences of adversity that are characterized by a pressing need for resilience, along with extreme difficulties in communicating meaningfully. In tandem with the focus on the practical applications of Tillich’s theology, the source material comprises Tillich’s sermons (cf. The Shaking of the Foundations ; The New Being ; The Eternal Now ). The analysis concentrates on three aspects of Tillich’s treatise on healing, namely (a) Tillich’s discussion of the healer’s capability to heal “in spite of”; (b) his understanding of “in spite of” and the connected semantics of fighting; (c) his (implicit) approach to re-examining the idea of healing as narratively mediated, which allows to further the discourse on resilience in regard to semantic representations and narrations.
The article discusses the first reactions of many distinguished commentators to the impact that the CoViD-19 pandemic had on people’s religious life globally. Such across-the-board response is investigated against the background of Peter Sloterdijk’s exemplary reinterpretation of the religious vertical impulse in terms of anthropotechnics and is found defective. A more nuanced and ambivalent account of secularization is offered in the end as a viable alternative to the standard thesis of the disenchantment of the world.