Terror Management Theory: A Practical Review of Research and Application, Robert B. Arrowood and Cathy R. Cox discuss relevant research from the experimental, existential psychology tradition. Outlining the past thirty years of research within terror management, the authors discuss such topics as religion, close relations, politics and law, existential growth, and physical and mental health.
Although the inevitable outcome of all humanity is death, according to terror management theory we adhere to cultural worldviews and establish close relations in order to boost our self-esteem. With heightened self-esteem, we deny our death and attain a degree of immortality, staving off existential fear by being part of an enduring cultural system that will outlive any individual member.
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.
Multiple forms of oppression, injustice, and violence today have roots in histories of colonialism. This connection to the past feels familiar for some and less relevant for others. Understanding and responding to these connections is more crucial than ever, yet some resist rather than face this task directly. Others resist oppressive postcolonial conditions.
Using intercultural stories and pastoral care scholarship, this book charts pathways through five resistances (not me, not here, not now, not relevant, not possible) to awaken creative pastoral care in a postcolonial world. McGarrah Sharp recommends practices that everyone can do: believing in each other, revisiting how histories are taught, imagining more passable futures, heeding prophetic poets, and crossing borders with healthy boundaries.
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.