Fears and stories about an underground religion devoted to Satan, which demands and carries out child sacrifice, appeared in the United States in the late twentieth century and became the subject of media reports supported by some mental health professionals. Examining these modern fantasies leads us back to ancient stories which in some cases believers consider the height of religious devotion.
Horrifying ideas about human sacrifice, child sacrifice, and the offering to the gods of a beloved only son by his father appear repeatedly in Western traditions, starting with the Greeks and the Hebrews. In
Flesh and Blood: Interrogating Freud on Human Sacrifice, Real and Imagined, Beit-Hallahmi focuses on rituals of violence tied to religion, both imagined and real. The main focus of this work is the meaning of blood and ritual killing in the history of religion. The book examines the encounter with the idea of child sacrifice in the context of human hopes for salvation.
The 30th volume of
Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion consists of two special sections, as well as two separate empirical studies on attachment and daily spiritual practices. The first special section deals with the social scientific study of religion in Indonesia. Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country whose history and contemporary involvement in the study of religion is explored from both sociological and psychological perspectives. The second special section is on the Pope Francis effect: the challenges of modernization in the Catholic church and the global impact of Pope Francis. While its focus is mainly on the Catholic religion, the internal dynamics and geopolitics explored apply more broadly.
Science and religion represent important facets of human experience. Yet, they are related in complex and sometimes conflicting ways. The present study examines how religious people think about the science-religion relations by focusing on their epistemic cognition, i.e. thoughts about the nature and justification of knowledge when making sense of competing claims to truth. The study’s main question was whether people express different beliefs with regards to “religiously-neutral” vs. “religiously-loaded” issues in the social-psychological and biological domains. The religiously-neutral issues explored were (a) motivation and work performance, and (b) sugar as the cause of obesity; while the religiously-loaded issues were (c) homosexuality as a disorder, and (d) human evolution. On each of the four issues, undergraduate students from Islamic and Christian backgrounds (N = 317; mean age = 21.4 years; 74.1% female) were asked to express their epistemic beliefs along the three dimensions: (1) ontology, i.e. whether there is a single, objective truth (ontology); (2) fallibility, i.e. whether knowledge of the issue could be wrong; and (3) decidability, i.e. whether there are rational ways to decide on truth. The findings show when thinking about religiously-loaded scientific issues such as homosexuality and evolution, people tend to believe that there is a single objective truth, that their own beliefs are infallible, and that there is no rational method to evaluate knowledge claims. This thinking pattern may be one reason underpinning the difficulty of learning about science concepts which are seen to contradict religious doctrine. Some implications for science education are also entered into the discussion.
Religious studies in Indonesia mostly examined the relationship between religiosity and student psychosocial variables, such as emotional regulation, self-concept, and well-being in educational settings, but those studies mostly used religious construct from the West while religious construct based on Indonesia seemed to get less attention. Religiosity measurement in Indonesia in the past was an adaptation of religiosity scales developed in Western cultures. Furthermore, the adaptation process was limited by the homogeneity of subject religious belief, which mainly consisted of the Muslim sample. This study aims to explore religiosity within Christians by incorporating local religious leader perspectives on the meaning and expression of religiosity to develop religiosity construct based upon Indonesian context. The data were gathered from focused group discussions consisting of the local representatives of Christian denomination leaders and were analyzed using a thematic analysis. Three themes identified during the discussion were religion as self-identity, comprehensive measurement, and local incorporation. Further studies could include these themes to measure religiosity.
As demonstrated by Benedict Anderson, media are powerful means in creating imagined community, and accordingly, mighty poles of both nationalism and cosmopolitanism. While the former gains much popularity in scholarly analysis, the latter needs to be considered as well, in understanding religious expression in present-day Indonesia, and both in particular with regard to the tensions of “nationalism” (often appeared in term of neo-tribalism and political populism) and religious transnationalism.
The present article takes Anderson’s insight and through it explores the rhetoric represented in the series of historical comic entitled Baladeva, published by Tantraz Comics Bali, Denpasar. The analysis sought inspiration from the notions of micro-cosmopolitanism and cosmopatriotism. A micro-cosmopolitanism is a cosmopolitanism from below that is concerned with freedom, openness, tolerance, and respect for difference, while cosmopatriotism is a double articulation of patriotism and cosmopolitanism that grapples with the condition of territorialism and de-territorialism in the context of postmodern society. Through those conditions and framing, the analysis might reveal the complicated meaning of cosmopolitanism, beyond the popular understanding of the celebration of being the global citizen and the transcendence of traditional and national boundaries.
Taking the last period of the Medang Kingdom (Hindu-Buddhist Mataram) as the historical context of the comic’s plot, the author consciously portrayed the glory and power of the pre-Islam, pre-colonial ‘Indonesian’ past. This narrative directly and indirectly became a critical position against the present condition of Indonesia, which is presumably Westernized, modernized, and implicitly Islamicized. Balinese socio-political and religious dynamic as the immediate context for the author is also part of the equation. Hence, the analysis might touch upon where the pressing questions of nationalism and cosmopolitanism, counter-transnational religious discourse, and religious minority are played out.
Spiritual experiences are related to a plethora of personal and relational outcomes. In this study, we examined if daily spiritual experiences buffer the impact of stressors on compassionate love, which is a salient aspect of personal and professional relationships. We used a smartphone-based, experience sampling method (S-ESM) to test the moderating effect of daily spiritual experiences on stressors and love in 1,691 participants, using mixed-effects multilevel regression models. Our analyses indicated that increased stressors predicted reduced attitudes of love for others while increased daily spiritual experiences were associated with greater attitudes of love. We also found that increased daily spiritual experiences over time moderated the negative effect of stressors on love. Specifically, we found that daily spiritual experiences that were higher than the individual’s average, rather than merely a higher average spiritual experience, were key to this moderating effect. Implications are discussed.