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In a decade, Francis has transformed Catholicism into a dynamic institution that openly deliberates on urgent questions of society and religion, standing at the forefront of digitally driven public opinion. With this in mind, Portrayals of Pope Francis’s Authority in the Digital Age: Flicks and Media Discourses, and User Perspectives explores the digital portraits of Pope Francis in various types of media content and productions. It investigates how digital Catholic users articulate and negotiate papal authority and through which media they do so.
Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 34 takes an intersectional approach to the study of religious and non-religious belief, in different geographical contexts, using a variety of methods and always privileging the layered identities of those who 'live' religion and non-religion in their daily lives. The Open Section includes articles on topics of everyday significance such as experiences of Zakat in Qatar, Muslim marriages in Britain and Indian migrants living in Indonesia. The Special Section (A Sociology of Religion or Belief in South Asia) includes articles that interrogate the politics of religious identity in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Throughout, this volume demonstrates how experiences of belief are shaped by local and historical contexts, in addition to theology.

Abstract

Taking its cue from the Islamic Ecological Paradigm, deeply rooted in Islamic religious traditions, which emerged more than 1400 years ago, this paper reimagines the human-nonhuman relationship against the backdrop of the arguably assumed superiority of mankind in (Islamic) theological discourses. Using Qurʾānic narratives as a key point of divergence in the natural superiority of man within the idea of vicegerency, we argue that the Qurʾān’s egalitarian ethos presents animals as ‘intentional political agents’ (Pepper 2021: 30) independent of human intercession. This agency enables them to be key players in deciding the outcomes of political conundrums; in so doing, it also rebuts and destabilises arrogant anthropocentric presuppositions associated with the idea of vicegerency. We particularly read, in ‘signs themed’ Qurʾānic narratives, a dynamic relationship between humans and animals through the animal’s role as Allah’s warriors and agents against human oppressors and transgressors. Drawing on the Islamic Ecological Paradigm, Angie Pepper’s idea of intentional political agency and Sarra Tlili’s de-anthropocentric reading of the Qurʾān, we suggest that the Qurʾān robustly invites humans to reflect on the animal world by foregrounding animals as political agents while epitomising human accountability and responsibility towards them instead of establishing a relationship of dominance.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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Abstract

Bees for Peace promotes pollinator protection by establishing blooming feeding sites for bees and other pollinators on the grounds of houses of worship. In Canada, the project’s primary aim was to educate people about native bees, invoking positive feelings that moved people to protect these relatively unfamiliar creatures. To do so, I developed fun, educational games and talks on the cultural history of bees, which I presented at numerous churches in the Greater Toronto Area. Despite ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project and its student researchers were able to partner with two churches to plant pollinator gardens. The educational activities that accompanied the care and maintenance of these gardens resulted in individuals in and around the churches experiencing an expanded sense of community as well as a heightened awareness of native pollinators and the desire to protect them.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Abstract

Origin stories reveal the myriad causes that converge to birth a new initiative. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, this essay looks back to document the context and intellectual lineage out of which the Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) emerged in 2013, and suggests some possibilities for the future of transdisciplinary education and the fields of religion and ecology (e.g. Tucker and Grim 2001), religion and nature (e.g. B. Taylor 2010), and spiritual ecology (e.g. Sponsel 2012) more broadly.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Abstract

Shemitah, the Jewish sabbatical year, is increasingly being explored in ecological contexts. This research delves into the concept of stewardship examining the evolving discourse on Shemitah across different community sectors in the Israeli press during the last three sabbatical cycles (2007–2008, 2014–2015, and 2021–2022). Our analysis reveals stewardship worldviews that portray Jewish law as either the practical pathway to implement these worldviews or as an inspiration for contemporary socio-environmental initiatives. The secular-liberal sector emphasizes universal stewardship, aligning with Western environmental concepts, while the national-religious sector integrates both universal and particular stewardship, emphasizing the land’s moral dimensions and connecting religious observance with environmental ethics. The ultra-Orthodox sector, though not explicitly expressing eco-theological views, focuses on soil regeneration. This empirical investigation serves as a significant case study and offers valuable guidance for addressing the challenge of instigating behavioral change in religious and traditional populations.

Open Access
In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Abstract

This article contributes to the religion and environment field by analyzing the environmental impact of two divergent ethical responses within Nigerian Christianity. Based on different interpretations of a specific aspect of African spiritual cosmologies, African Indigenous churches (AIC s) and African independent Pentecostals (AIP s) in Nigeria have formulated conflicting spiritualities that shape their ecotheologies. Based on this same cosmology, the ecotheology of the AIC s shows continuity with the indigenous notion of sacred space which also encourages the preservation of the ecosystem especially trees and wet forests. The AIP s, on the other hand, interpret the same notion differently by segregating the public space into holy and evil ecologies. To rid these habitats of perceived evil spirits in the ecosystem, some AIP s have constructed a theology of evangelism and spiritual warfare to expel these spirits by destroying their habitats and converting such habitats into holy use such as building churches and prayer camps. Based on data obtained through observation and literature, the proliferation of prayer camps along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is analysed as a product of these notions of holy and evil ecologies.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology