Donald Broom argues that morality and the central components of religion are of great value, and presents two central ideas. He asserts that morality has a biological foundation and has evolved as a consequence of natural selection, and that religions are essentially the structures supporting morality. Many philosophers and theologians write about morality and its origins without reference to biological processes such as evolution. Likewise, biologists discuss phenomena of importance to human morality and religion without taking account of the thoughts (...) of others on these subjects. (shrink)
Religion is intrinsically social, and hence irretrievably organizational, although organization is often seen as the darker side of the religious experience--power, routinization, and bureaucracy. Religion and secular organizations have long received separate scholarly scrutiny, but until now their confluence has been little considered. This interdisciplinary collection of mostly unpublished papers is the first volume to remedy the deficit. The project grew out of a three-year inquiry into religious institutions undertaken by Yale University's Program on Non-Profit Organizations and sponsored (...) by the Lilly Endowment. The scholars who took part in this effort weree challenged to apply new perspectives to the study of religious organizations, especially that strand of contemporary secular organizational theory known as "New Institutionalism." The result was this groundbreaking volume, which includes papers on various aspects of such topics as the historical sources and patterns of U.S. religious organizations, contemporary patterns of denominational authority, the congregation as an organization, and the interface between religious and secular institutions and movements. The contributors include an interdisciplinary mix of scholars from economics, history, law, social administration, and sociology. (shrink)
Studies concerning the relationship between religion and mental health have provided substantial evidence for the existence of a positive relationship. Nevertheless, it remains largely unclear which aspects of both religion and mental health take part in this relationship. The present study uses multiple measures of religion and of mental health to obtain a more refined view of this relationship. The results show the importance of distinguishing between if a person believes and how a person believes . Religious persons (...) who have a symbolic attitude towards religion scored higher on positive aspects of mental health . No significant results were found for negative mental health. (shrink)
La comprensión de la muerte varía según la época, la cultura, la religión y la edad. Con anterioridad al desarrollo que la ciencia médica ha experimentado desde finales del siglo XIX, en la mayoría de las culturas y religiones había una aceptación de la muerte y se consideraba como parte del ciclo vital de la persona donde se trascendía a una forma celestial y puramente sobrenatural. Los avances científicos de la medicina han venido a cambiar esta situación. La muerte se (...) empezó a ver como un enemigo y dio comienzo a una lucha encarnizada entre ambas. El concepto de "muerte natural" se sustituyó por el de "muerte intervenida," dando origen a numerosas cuestiones relacionadas con la toma de decisiones y actuaciones a realizar en pacientes ingresados y en situación terminal. En este trabajo se realiza una reflexión teórica que tiene como objetivo el análisis bioético acerca de las diferencias entre los aspectos religiosos y culturales relacionados con la práctica de la limitación del esfuerzo terapéutico. The understanding of death varies according to time, culture, religion, and age. Previous to the development that medical sciences has undergone since the end of the XIX Century, in most cultures and religions there have been an acceptation of death and considered as part of the person vital cycle in which one would transcend to a celestial and purely supernatural form. The scientific advances in medicine have emerged to change this situation. Death began to be seen as an enemy and gave rise to an enraged struggle between both of them. The concept of natural death was changed into intervened death, which originated numerous related questions with decision and action taking to be performed in hospitalized patients and those in terminal situation. In this work a theoretical reflection is performed whose objective is the bioethical analysis on the differences among religious and cultural aspects related to the practice of therapeutic effort limitation. (shrink)
The various schools of the Indian classical philosophy have discussed the issue how we understand the meaning from an utterance. In the present paper, I analyse the ancient controversy on this issue between two schools, Naiyāyikas and Vaiśeṣikas, and attempt to show that it has two aspects of religious and epistemological natures. Vaiśeṣikas, on the ground that the process of the verbal understanding is identical with that of the inference, claim that the verbal understanding is merely a type (...) of the inference. Naiyāyikas oppose this and assert that the former is distinct from the latter. I summarise Vaiśeṣikas’ argument into two points: (1) the similarity of the objects of the cognition and (2) that of the relations between the object and what denotes it. Naiyāyikas rejects both thesimilarities. The above discussion, which may stimulate our epistemological interest, has a close connection with the issue of scriptures. The utterance as a source of knowledge seems to have stood, in the early period, only for the scriptures, as pointed out by Hiryanna. Taking this into consideration, Vaiśeṣikas’ thesis can be understood to imply that they deny the intrinsic authority of scriptures and reduce it to the rational faculty of human beings. Naiyāyikas also deny itsintrinsic authority, but their view on the cognitive process of the verbal understanding is different from that of Vaiśeṣikas. The reason of this divergence may lie in how they treat the reliability of the speaker in respect to the cognitive process. (shrink)
Are there trans-religious, trans-cultural constants in psychological aspects of religion across different religions and cultures? An excessively culturalistic approach may overlook this possibility, putting an emphasis on the uniqueness of the religious phenomenon studied as emerging from a complex of multiple contextual factors. This article reviews empirical studies in psychology of religion in the 1990s that mainly include participants from different Christian denominations, but also from other religions: Muslims, Jews and Hindus. It appeared, at first, that several (...) cross-cultural/religious differences can be documented , but the interpretation of these differences is not simple, as other factors may interfere. Secondly it turned out that an impressive series of psychological constants also exist across different denominations, religions, and cultures. These constants include personality correlates, gender and gender orientation, positive and negative values, cognitive and affective aspects, identity formation, social attitudes and consequences. (shrink)
We cannot disregard that the neuroscientific research on religious phenomena such as religious experiences and rituals for example, has increased significantly the last years. Neuroscientists claim that neuroscience contributes considerably in the process of understanding religious experiences, because neuroscience is able to measure brain activity during religious experiences by way of brain‐imaging technologies. No doubt, those results of neuroscientific research on religious experiences are an important supplement to the understanding of some types of religious (...) experiences. However, some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research on religious experiences are arguable. For example, one such conclusion is that religious experiences are actually nothing but neural activity, i.e. there is nothing ‘religious’ to the experiences at all. Another such conclusion is that a person’s religious experiences actually derive from some ultimate reality, meaning that religious experiences are real. It is the latter assertion that will be analyzed in the present paper. The question is asked whether neuroscience alone is able to affirm that religious experiences are real or whether there are, besides neuroscientific issues, also cultural‐religious assumptions that underlie this conclusion. (shrink)
The phenomenon of aspect recognition is at the core of Wittgenstein's later views on logic and language; it is also central to his reflections on religious language and experience. In both contexts, the uptake and use of pictures is the critical element in concept formation and in understanding. Clarity and confusion in religious thought lie in a domain defined by the structure, aesthetics, and functions of the pictures religious people use, and by the relations among them. The (...) argument is conveyed through analyses of experiences of characters in _The Wind in the Willows and Homer's _Odyssey. (shrink)
This paper discusses some aspects of foreign language learning within the divided school system of Northern Ireland. It is argued that an improvement of foreign language learning must be seen in a sociocultural context whereby a change in attitudes to languages in general, including Irish, may lead not only to a balanced interest among girls and boys in the language classroom, but also to a more tolerant approach to the cultural differences among the Catholic and Protestant communities.
Lower limb major amputations are both life-saving procedures and life-changing events. Individual responses to limb loss are varied and complex, some individuals experience functional, psychological and social dysfunction, many others adjust and function well. Some patients refuse amputation for religious and/or cultural reasons. One of the greatest difficulties for a person undergoing amputation surgery is overcoming the psychological stigma that society associates with the loss of a limb. Persons who have undergone amputations are often viewed as incomplete individuals. The (...) medical and physical consequences of amputation serve as the centerpiece in acute care and are commonly at the forefront of prosthetic rehabilitation. Prosthetic prescription aims to compensate for functional and/or cosmetic losses where possible. The aims of rehabilitation following amputation are to restore acceptable levels of functioning that allow individuals to achieve their goals, to facilitate personal health, and to improve participation in society and quality of life either with or without prosthesis. Our article aims at underscoring some medical, social and religiousaspects that can contribute to the wellbeing of patients who suffer a life changing event such as lower limb amputation. (shrink)
Religion is one of the most powerful forces running through human history, and although often presented as a force for good, its impact is frequently violent and divisive. This provocative work brings together cutting-edge research from both evolutionary and cognitive psychology to help readers understand the psychological structure of religious morality and the origins of religious violence. Introduces a fundamentally new approach to the analysis of religion in a style accessible to the general reader Applies insights from evolutionary (...) and cognitive psychology to both Judaism and Christianity, and their texts, to help understand the origins of religious violence Argues that religious violence is grounded in the moral psychology of religion Illustrates its controversial argument with reference to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the response to the attacks from both the terrorists and the President. Suggests strategies for beginning to counter the divisive aspects of religion Discusses the role of religion and religious criticism in the contemporary world. Argues for a position sceptical of the moral authority of religion, while also critiquing the excesses of the “new atheists” for failing to appreciate the moral contributions of religion Awarded Honourable Mention, 2010 Prose Awards. (shrink)
I don't know of any other book like it."--Wayne Proudfoot, Columbia University "This is a terrific book. -/- The essence of religion was once widely thought to be a unique form of experience that could not be explained in neurological, psychological, or sociological terms. In recent decades scholars have questioned the privileging of the idea of religious experience in the study of religion, an approach that effectively isolated the study of religion from the social and natural sciences. Religious (...) Experience Reconsidered lays out a framework for research into religious phenomena that reclaims experience as a central concept while bridging the divide between religious studies and the sciences.Ann Taves shifts the focus from "religious experience," conceived as a fixed and stable thing, to an examination of the processes by which people attribute meaning to their experiences. She proposes a new approach that unites the study of religion with fields as diverse as neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, and psychology to better understand how these processes are incorporated into the broader cultural formations we think of as religious or spiritual. Taves addresses a series of key questions: how can we set up studies without obscuring contestations over meaning and value? What is the relationship between experience and consciousness? How can research into consciousness help us access and interpret the experiences of others? Why do people individually or collectively explain their experiences in religious terms? How can we set up studies that allow us to compare experiences across times and cultures?Religious Experience Reconsidered demonstrates how methods from the sciences can be combined with those from the humanities to advance a naturalistic understanding of the experiences that people deem religious. (shrink)
Part I: The birth of religious naturalism -- Philosophical religious naturalism -- Theological religious naturalism -- Analyzing the issues -- Interlude religious naturalism in literature -- Part II: The rebirth of religious naturalism -- Sources of religious insight -- Current issues in religious naturalism -- Other current religious naturalists -- Conclusion: Living religiously as a naturalist.
This text provides a lively introduction to the developments in philosophy of language in this century, and to the way these have impinged upon religious language. Included is the relevance of analytical philosophy of language, but the text also covers important historical debates about religious language that have had increasing impact upon biblical studies and theology.
In recent years feminist scholarship has increasingly focused on the importance of the body and its representations in virtually every social, cultural, and intellectual context. Many have argued that because women are more closely identified with their bodies, they have access to privileged and different kinds of knowledge than men. In this landmark new book, Paula Cooey offers a different perspective on the significance of the body in the context of religious life and practice. Building on the pathbreaking work (...) of Elaine Scarry in The Body in Pain, Cooey looks at a wide range of evidence, from the Argentine prison narrative of Alicia Partnoy, to the novels of Toni Morrison and the paintings of Frida Kahlo. Drawing on current social theory and critique, cognitive psychology, contemporary fiction and art, and women's accounts of religious experience, Cooey relates the reality of sentience to the social construction of reality. Beginning with an examination of the female body as a metaphor for alternative knowledge, she considers the significance of physical pain and pleasure to the religious imagination, and the relations between sentience, sensuality, and female subjectivity. Cooey succeeds in bringing forward a sophisticated new understanding of the religious importance of the body, at the same time laying the foundations of a feminist theory of religion. (shrink)
This multi-authored book explores the ways that many influential ethical traditions - secular and religious, Western and non-Western - wrestle with the moral dimensions of poverty and the needs of the poor. These traditions include Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, among the religious perspectives; classical liberalism, feminism, liberal-egalitarianism, and Marxism, among the secular; and natural law, which might be claimed by both. The basic questions addressed by each of these traditions are linked to several overarching themes: (...) what poverty is, the particular vulnerabilities of high-risk groups, responsibility for the occurrence of poverty, preferred remedies, how responsibility for its alleviation is distributed, and priorities in the delivery of assistance. This volume features an introduction to the types, scope, and causes of poverty in the modern world and concludes with Michael Walzer's broadly conceived commentary, which provides a direct comparison of the presented views and makes suggestions for further study and policy. (shrink)
This book provides philosophical grounds for an emerging area of scholarship: the study of religion and dance. In the first part, LaMothe investigates why scholars in religious studies have tended to overlook dance, or rhythmic bodily movement, in favor of textual expressions of religious life. In close readings of Descartes, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, LaMothe traces this attitude to formative moments of the field in which philosophers relied upon the practice of writing to mediate between the study (...) of “religion,” on the one hand, and “theology,” on the other.In the second part, LaMothe revives the work of theologian, phenomenologist, and historian of religion Gerardus van der Leeuw for help in interpreting how dancing can serve as a medium of religious experience and expression. In so doing, LaMothe opens new perspectives on the role of bodily being in religious life, and on the place of theology in the study of religion. (shrink)
In this book Mark Wynn argues that the landscape of philosophical theology looks rather different from the perspective of a re-conceived theory of emotion. In matters of religion, we do not need to opt for objective content over emotional form or vice versa. On the contrary, these strategies are mistaken at root, since form and content are not properly separable here - because 'inwardness' may contribute to 'thought-content', or because emotional feelings can themselves constitute thoughts; or because, to put the (...) point a further way, in religious contexts, perception and conception are often infused by feeling. Wynn uses this perspective to forge a distinctive approach to a range of established topics in philosophy of religion, notably: religious experience; the problem of evil; the relationship of religion and ethics, and religion and art; and in general, the connection of 'feeling' to doctrine and tradition. (shrink)