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Context and Catholicity in the Science and Religion Debate

Intercultural contributions from French-speaking Africa

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Klaas Bom and Benno van der Toren

For years the fact that the debate on science and religion was not related to cultural diversity was considered only a minor issue. However, lately, there is a growing concern that the dominance of ‘Western’ perspectives in this field do not allow for new understandings. This book testifies to the growing interest in the different cultural embeddings of the science and religion interface and proposes a framework that makes an intercultural debate possible. This proposal is based on a thorough study of the ‘lived theology’ of Christian students and university professors in Abidjan, Kinshasa and Yaoundé. The outcomes of the field research are related to a worldwide perspective of doing theology and a broader scope of scholarly discussions.

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Edited by Najeeba Syeed and Heidi Hadsell

The editors of Experiments in Empathy: Critical Reflections on Interreligious Education have assembled a volume that spans multiple religious traditions and offers innovative methods for teaching and designing interreligious learning. This groundbreaking text includes established interreligious educators and emerging scholars who expand the vision of this field to include critical studies, decolonial approaches and exciting pedagogical developments.

The book includes voices that are often left out of other comparative theology or interreligious education texts. Scholars from evangelical, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, religiously hybrid and other background enrich the existing models for interreligious classrooms. The book is particularly relevant at a time when religion is so often harnessed for division and hatred. By examining the roots of racism, xenophobia, sexism and their interaction with religion that contribute to inequity the volume offers real world educational interventions. The content is in high demand as are the authors who contributed to the volume.

Contributors are: Scott Alexander, Judith A. Berling, Monica A. Coleman, Reuven Firestone, Christine Hong, Jennifer Howe Peace, Munir Jiwa, Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Tony Ritchie, Rachel Mikva, John Thatanamil, Timur Yuskaev.

Jews in Dialogue

Jewish Responses to the Challenges of Multicultural Contemporaneity. Free Ebrei Volume 2

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Edited by Magdalena Dziaczkowska and Adele Valeria Messina

Jews in Dialogue discusses Jewish post-Holocaust involvement in interreligious and intercultural dialogue in Israel, Europe, and the United States. The essays within offer a multiplicity of approaches and perspectives (historical, sociological, theological, etc.) on how Jews have collaborated and cooperated with non-Jews to respond to the challenges of multicultural contemporaneity. The volume’s first part is about the concept of dialogue itself and its potential for effecting change; the second part documents examples of successful interreligious cooperation. The volume includes an appendix designed to provide context for the material presented in the first part, especially with regard to relations between the State of Israel and the Catholic Church.

Untouchable Bodies, Resistance, and Liberation

A Comparative Theology of Divine Possessions

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Joshua Samuel

In Untouchable Bodies, Resistance, and Liberation, Joshua Samuel constructs an embodied comparative theology of liberation by comparing divine possessions among Hindu and Christian Dalits in South India. Critiquing the problems inherent in prioritizing texts when studying religious traditions, Samuel calls for the need to engage in body and people centered interreligious learning. This comparative theological reading of ecstatic experiences of the divine in Dalit bodies in Hinduism and Christianity brings out the powerful liberative potential inherent in the bodies of the oppressed, enabling us to identify alternative modes of resistance and new avenues of liberation among those who are dehumanized and discriminated, and to find deeper and meaningful ways of speaking about God in the context of oppression.

Ibn Taymiyya on Reason and Revelation

A Study of Darʾ taʿāruḍ al-ʿaql wa-l-naql

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Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

In Ibn Taymiyya on Reason and Revelation, Carl Sharif El-Tobgui offers the first comprehensive study of Ibn Taymiyya’s ten-volume magnum opus, Darʾ taʿāruḍ al-ʿaql wa-l-naql. In his colossal riposte to the Muslim philosophers and rationalist theologians, the towering Ḥanbalī polymath rejects the call to prioritize reason over revelation in cases of alleged conflict, interrogating instead the very conception of rationality that classical Muslims had inherited from the Greeks. In its place, he endeavors to articulate a reconstituted “pure reason” that is both truly universal and in full harmony with authentic revelation. Based on a line-by-line reading of the entire Darʾ taʿāruḍ, El-Tobgui’s study carefully elucidates the “philosophy of Ibn Taymiyya” as it emerges from the multifaceted ontological, epistemological, and linguistic reforms that Ibn Taymiyya carries out in this pivotal work.

Everton E. C. Lima, José H. C. Monteiro da Silva and Vegard Skirbekk

We analyze cohort fertility by religion and education in Latin America from periods previous to the general decline in period fertility in 1950s. We reconstruct cohort fertility and parity progression ratios of women born in 1930–1970 in a number of countries in the region, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. Our main aim is to understand the past developments of cohort fertility in the course of fertility transition in Latin America and to assess the role of religious affiliation, as well as to understand these developments controlling for a number of socioeconomic characteristics. We also seek to grasp if religion becomes more or less important with rising school levels and human capital over time.

Marion Burkimsher

In most European countries more religious people have more children than the secular and are less likely to remain childless. However, in some ex-communist states this association is subdued or even inverted. This study investigates not only fertility and partnering outcomes, but also differences in the level of desire for a child. Four contrasting countries are compared: Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Georgia. We found the more religious had higher expectations that a child would bring joy into their life than the non-religious. The religious ‘nones’ tend to be very worried about the financial impact of a(nother) child and negative effect on their sex life; these concerns are much less prevalent among active Christians. In Georgia, where highly educated young people are more religious than the old, differentials by religiosity are small. History and context cause the impact of personal religiosity on fertility behavior and attitudes to be potentially divergent.

Todd Johnson and Peter F. Crossing

This article offers analysis of religious affiliation for 18 categories of religion for the globe and six continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Northern America, and Oceania. Estimates of religious affilia¬tion are made for four dates, 1970, 2000, 2018, and projections for 2030. Annual average growth rates are provided for two 30-year periods, 1970–2000 and 2000–2030. These global and continen¬tal tables are aggregated from country data in the World Religion Database.

José Navarro de Pablo

In this paper we focus on the top 10% of income earners, and within those at the individuals with more than 1 and 50 million in assets worldwide and their religion. This is a group of people with an inherent global outlook on their activities and social lives, who often share more interests in common with people along the same scale of wealth than with many of their fellow country-people at lower levels of income. The perception of political power gained by wealthy individuals punctually observed, has been found by research to be buttressed by the more active political participation by people in the upper ranges of income distribution and increased inequality is found to increase unequal political outcomes.

The social behaviour of this group of people at the top of the global income scale drives social policy, as these citizens tend to be better educated, connected, travelled and economically and politically active than the parts of the population that are worse off.

Religion, or the lack thereof, is a global social marker that influences behaviour on many levels, often at subconscious levels shared by whole societies, such as the perception of fairness and retribution, redistribution of resources and the wider relationship of society to economic resources.

Contemplated from a global perspective, religion as a shared cultural trait across nations may be a powerful unifier of interests and driver of political and economic action to tackle global problems such as climate change, environmental degradation, global poverty alleviation and other type of global externalities. Understanding the religious make-up of the group of people most active in shaping economic and cultural decisions globally should help in finding platforms for global cooperation.