This article describes three different readings of the creation story of Eve and Adam, occurring over the life span of Henny Dons, a Protestant Christian and first-wave feminist in early-twentieth-century Norway. I discuss her changing understandings of this creation account over the course of her life. More broadly I explore her approach to biblical reading (as receiving, arranging, and iterating) and how this shaped her as a religious feminist subject. I argue that what is going on in her iterated re-readings is not fully captured by the frame of self-cultivation. Rather, this religious feminist subject shows us a series of woman-word operations that receive and arrange a variety of material and discursive entities together in a circuit of “being created woman.”
Religious studies of Rwanda typically focus on Christianity’s involvement before, during, and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, also referred to as the Rwandan Genocide. Rwanda’s postgenocide reconstruction has witnessed new and changing political and social commitments by previously established religious organisations such as the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Adventist Churches. The Rwandan government has taken a more progressive stance on divisions of power and religious institutions, and the promotion of religious freedoms that has benefitted the domestic Muslim population. This essay examines how Judaism, a previously unknown religion in the region, is impacting Rwandan identity formation. Jewish identity is increasingly being tied to the nation’s own reconstructed identity, with a strong focus on historical persecution, rebuilding after genocide, and development. This essay suggests that Rwandan identity and religious studies should include the ever-growing ties with Jews and Israel to better understand its political and social reconstruction since 1994.
The phenomenon of faking orgasms has been the subject of extensive feminist inquiry, but in contemporary Iran, where sex and sexuality remain sensitive and controversial topics, the topic has not received much scholarly attention. This exploratory pilot study uses qualitative methods to explore the prevalence and the reasons for faking orgasms among a group of women living in urban Iran. The study addresses the possible consequences and implications of faking orgasms for women’s sexual life. Eleven female participants took part in the study. The data revealed that the topic was considered taboo even among highly educated working women. It also showed that faking orgasms were related to perceived female moral responsibilities and marital self-sacrifice and the lack of sexual education and knowledge, machismo, male infidelity, porn culture, and sexual performance ideals.
Based on extensive fieldwork across Belarus, this article analyses an ongoing discussion within the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC) regarding various issues that are key in assessing the country’s identity politics and politico-ideological developments. Since the independence of Belarus in 1991, the Church has continuously played an important public and societal function. A special agreement, signed between the Church and Belarusian Government in 2003, has fostered Church cooperation with various governmental institutions, including educational establishments. Discussing the contribution of the BOC to the construction of a distinct Belarusian national identity, we will address the national language, relationships with the state, foreign policy orientation and the Church’s autocephaly. The empirical part of this study is based on seventeen in-depth interviews with clergymen and laypeople from the BOC. Our study shows that Church representatives have not hesitated to develop their profound perspectives on the important issues of identity politics and the relationships of the BOC and state, and these perspectives were often reflective of wider debates within Belarusian intellectual circles.
In the debate on European secularization, it has been argued that conventional religion has given way to spirituality, and that religion is thus changing as opposed to diminishing. Focusing on northern Europe, this study uses semi-structured interviews and survey data from the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) to explore meanings and trends of spirituality and religious beliefs. Findings highlight a movement away from both religiosity and spirituality. Moreover, individuals who identify as ‘spiritual but not religious’ hold diverse beliefs about the supernatural and various interpretations of spirituality, some of which are in essence secular. Ultimately, this study suggests that current trends of spirituality are consistent with broader patterns of secularization in northern Europe.
Historically entangled with nation, race, and religion, questions of belonging are pressing and affective ones in Africa and Europe. Against the backdrop of anti-migrant hostility, globalization, and autochthonous claims, I consider how born-again Christians in London negotiate belonging between Kenya, their country of origin, and the United Kingdom, their country of residence. As ‘migrants’ and ‘diasporans’, they are seen as not belonging in either national context. Adopting a scalar approach, I argue that their identification as born-again Christians and claim to membership in a global Christian community allows them to ‘scale-jump’ and offers a morally and emotionally meaningful sense of belonging. At the same time, their encounters with various racial and religious Others locally, nationally, and transnationally mediate where they feel at ‘home’. In the face of contradictions and ambivalence, Pentecostalism helps them to navigate competing symbolic, material, and affective concerns as they seek belonging across multiple sociospatial scales.
Religious extremism presents an ideological perspective found in most major religions and is currently associated with various forms of religiously motivated acts of violence. A conceptual framework is adopted to study the warning features of religious extremism and apply it to case studies of Nigeria, Uganda, and the Central African Republic (CAR). The application of a religious jihadism model to Christianity provides a comparative basis for assessing Islamic radical jihadism, helping to understand religion as a security threat, with particular reference to Christian contexts and examples. Using extremist rhetoric and the mobilization of Christian rituals, members of religious groups attempt to renegotiate their position in the public space within a society from which they are excluded due to political, social, and economic dynamics based on their exclusion. This study finds no significant difference between Islamic jihad and Christian jihad, as each seeks to politically exploit religion for political ends.
This research interrogates how ulo ubu functioned, both as a trado-religious activity and simultaneously/presently as a social regulatory mechanism for the Amasiri people. It explores the religious underpinning and cultural practices in ulo ubu, as well as how it performs a regulatory function in relation to the marriage, justice, religious, economic, and education sectors of the Amasiri community. The qualitative research methodology was of great importance in this study, aiding in the discursive analysis, interpretation, and presentation of discoveries of the nuances of Amasiri ATR beliefs (ulo ubu), and how ulo ubu has informed and shaped the social practices of the community both in the past and the present. The pressure of modernization may have pushed the practice of ulo ubu away from the public space, but this research demonstrates that its imprints still thrive as a social regulatory mechanism The study concludes that ulo ubu performed a regulatory function through the age grade system that it birthed, an informal education process featuring women’s groups, an economic process through gifting during marriage celebrations, and others. This paper strongly recommends religio-cultural value education consistent with the realities of the present age to assuage the effects of the generational gap prompted by various factors.
Although a secular state by legislation, Ghana is highly considered a religious one with a significant number of the population being Christians. Using Christians in some selected municipalities in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, this study examines the opinions of believers toward Ghanaian churches. Through a quantitative method, the study revealed that prayer service is the least important practice of the church liked by Christians. In addition, majority of Christians disliked their churches because of unfaithful pastors, long sermons and late closure of church services. Again, the study revealed that churches concentrate on the message of personal prosperity more than repentance toward salvation. They have an overly monetized and materialistic leaning in their sermons. The study recommends the need for churches in Ghana to leverage on the importance of research on regular basis to ascertain the opinions of the members to give churches the right direction to develop.
Adorned with an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and other Christian emblems and text, the miraculous medal has been an important object of Catholic intercessory prayer since the mid-nineteenth century. The religious and social history of the medal in Europe is relatively well known. However, few scholars have connected the medal’s emergence with the spread of the European mission in the wake of nineteenth-century colonial expansion. This article uses the medal to shed new light on the material, corporeal, and gendered aspects of the Catholic Christianization of present-day Buganda, where it fulfilled a variety of functions for missionaries and Baganda alike. For missionaries it served as a key item for proselytizing and propaganda. For some Baganda, meanwhile, it played pivotal roles in a newly emerging form of local religious identity politics. Object analysis of an extant version from Buganda also reveals the medal’s material diversity and offers important insight into local agency in the reception and reshaping of Catholic objects. Thus when viewed in non-European contexts, miraculous medals were far more dynamic and multifaceted than has previously been understood.