Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 51

Search results for: christianity

51 The Book of Lies: The Christian Bible's Colonialism over and Appropriation of Occultism

Authors: Samantha Huff

Abstract:

This research seeks to examine the relationship between occultism and the traditional religion of Christianity. The focus of this particular project is to deconstruct occultism and occult religion: how it develops, where it is applied, how and when it is applied. The next step is to make connections between the structure of occultism and the structure of Christianity. Do Christianity and the Occult appear, textually, the same way? What does that mean culturally? This project seeks to examine the historical similarities of occultism and Christianity practices and tradition, and how, as a whole, Christianity appropriates and colonializes occultism through examination into the Christian Bible and popular occult texts: The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley and The Secret Doctrine: The Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Through examining occultism and Christianity and applying it to popular cultural theories (Ritual Space by Nick Couldry, Muted Group Theory by Shirley Ardener, and Mythologies by Roland Barethes), it is entirely possible to see how Christianity appropriates occultism and uses their stronghold on society as a means to colonialize occult traditions and practices.

Keywords: appropriation, Christianity, colonialism, cultural theory, muted group theory, mythologies, occultism, ritual space

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50 Conversion in Islam: The Case of Iranian Converts to Christianity in Malaysia

Authors: Gholamreza Nuei, Faisal Ahmad Shah

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The way religion defines people’s identity is quite important in the majority of Muslim countries. Yet, in most such countries the number of Muslims converting to other religions is not documented. The present research investigates a population of Iranians who have converted to Christianity and live in Malaysia. This article focuses on this subgroup of ex-Muslims with the aim of providing a window into how they experience and justify their conversion. The data was collected in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was carried out through in-depth interviews with 13 people; also 45 people answered a questionnaire (quantitative). The research findings revealed some of the typical religious, social and personal reasons behind the conversion of this group of "ex-Muslims".

Keywords: conversion from Islam to Christianity, apostasy, Iran, Malaysia

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49 Towards a Dialogical Approach between Christianity and Hinduism: A Comparative Theological Analysis of the Concept of Logos, and Shabd

Authors: Abraham Kuruvilla

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Since the inception of Christianity, one of the most important precepts has been that of the ‘word becoming flesh.’ Incarnation, as we understand it, is that the ‘word became flesh.’ As we know, it is a commonly held understanding that the concept of Logos was borrowed from the Greek religion. Such understanding has dominated our thought process. This is problematic as it does not draw out the deep roots of Logos. The understanding of Logos also existed in religion such as Hinduism. For the Hindu faith, the understanding of Shabd is pivotal. It could be arguably equated with the understanding of the Logos. The paper looks into the connection of the primal Christian doctrine of the Logos with that of the Hindu understanding of Shabd. The methodology of the paper would be a comparative theological analysis with the New Testament understanding of the Logos with that of the understanding of Shabd as perceived in the different Vedas of the Hindu faith. The paper would come to the conclusion that there is a conceptual connectivity between Logos and the Shabd. As such the understanding of Logos cannot just be attributed to the Greek understanding of Logos, but rather it predates the Greek understanding of Logos by being connected to the Hindu understanding of Shabd. Accordingly, such comparison brings out the implication for a constructive dialogue between Christianity and the Hindu faith.

Keywords: Christianity, Hinudism, Logos, Shabd

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48 Indian Christian View of God: Exploring Its Trajectory in 20th Century

Authors: James Ponniah

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Christianity is the largest religious tradition of the world. What makes Christianity a world religion is its characteristics of universality and particularity. Its universality and particularity are closely interrelated. Its university is realized and embodied in its particularities and its particularity is recognized and legitimized through its universality. This paper focuses on the dimension of the particularity of Christianity in that it looks at the particularized ideas and discourses of Christian thinking in India in the 20th century and pays attention to the differing shifts and new shades of meaning in Indian Christian notion of God. Drawing upon the writings of select Indian theologians such as Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya, Sundar Sing, A.J Appasamy, Raymond Panikkar, Amalorpavadass and George Soares Prabhhu, this paper delves into how the contexts—be it personal, political, historical or ecclesial—bear upon the way Indian theologians have conceived and constructed the notion of God in their work. Focusing upon how they responded to the signs of their time through their theological narratives, the paper argues that the religion of Christianity can sustain its universality only when it translates its key notions such as God into indigenous categories and local idioms and thus makes itself relevant to the people among whom it is spread. Monotheistic God of Christianity has to accommodate plurality of expressions if Christian idea God has to capture and convey everyone’s experience of God. The case of Indian Christianity then reveals that a monolithic world religion will be experienced and recognised as truly universal only when it sheds its homogeneity and assumes a heterogeneous portrait through the acquisition of local idioms. Allowing culturally diverse idioms to influence theological categories is not inconsequential to—‘accommodating differences and accepting diversities,’ an issue we encounter within and beyond religious domains in our contemporary times.

Keywords: concept of God, heterogeneity, Indian Christianity, indigenous categories

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47 Women Education in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism

Authors: Nuzhat Fatima

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This is very misleading conception that Islam is the religion of terrorists or terrorism. It is also another misconception that women are not given due important in Islamic. And women are forced to use veil. But if we closely look at the other two religions they also have the same commandments about the veil. Then comes education, women are given the equal right of education in Islam. But there are certain people creating the bad image of Islam and not giving permission to their females to get education. This paper will present the brief description of education and status of women in all three religions.

Keywords: Islam, women, education, christianity, Judaism

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46 Constitutive Role of Light in Christian Sacred Architecture

Authors: Sokol Gojnik, Zorana; Gojnik, Igor

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Light is the central theme of sacred architecture of all religions and so of Christianity. The aim of this paper is to emphasize the inner sense of light and its constitutive role in Christian sacred architecture. The theme of light in Christian sacred architecture is fundamentally connected to its meaning and symbolism of light in Christian theology and liturgy. This fundamental connection is opening the space to the symbolic and theological comprehending of light which was present throughout the history of Christianity and which is lacking in contemporary sacred architecture.

Keywords: light, sacred architecture, religious architecture, phenomenology of architecture

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45 A Comparative Approach to the Concept of Incarnation of God in Hinduism and Christianity

Authors: Cemil Kutluturk

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This is a comparative study of the incarnation of God according to Hinduism and Christianity. After dealing with their basic ideas on the concept of the incarnation of God, the main similarities and differences between each other will be examined by quoting references from their sacred texts. In Hinduism, the term avatara is used in order to indicate the concept of the incarnation of God. The word avatara is derived from ava (down) and tri (to cross, to save, attain). Thus avatara means to come down or to descend. Although an avatara is commonly considered as an appearance of any deity on earth, the term refers particularly to descents of Vishnu. According to Hinduism, God becomes an avatara in every age and entering into diverse wombs for the sake of establishing righteousness. On the Christian side, the word incarnation means enfleshment. In Christianity, it is believed that the Logos or Word, the Second Person of Trinity, presumed human reality. Incarnation refers both to the act of God becoming a human being and to the result of his action, namely the permanent union of the divine and human natures in the one Person of the Word. When the doctrines of incarnation and avatara are compared some similarities and differences can be found between each other. The basic similarity is that both doctrines are not bound by the laws of nature as human beings are. They reveal God’s personal love and concern, and emphasize loving devotion. Their entry into the world is generally accompanied by extraordinary signs. In both cases, the descent of God allows for human beings to ascend to God. On the other hand, there are some distinctions between two religious traditions. For instance, according to Hinduism there are many and repeated avataras, while Christ comes only once. Indeed, this is related to the respective cyclic and linear worldviews of the two religions. Another difference is that in Hinduism avataras are real and perfect, while in Christianity Christ is also real, yet imperfect; that is, he has human imperfections, except sin. While Christ has never been thought of as a partial incarnation, in Hinduism there are some partial and full avataras. The other difference is that while the purpose of Christ is primarily ultimate salvation, not every avatara grants ultimate liberation, some of them come only to save a devotee from a specific predicament.

Keywords: Avatara, Christianity, Hinduism, incarnation

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44 Effectuating Theology of Culture: The Only Weapon to Confront 21st Century Global Godless Culture

Authors: Hram Bik

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This is an analytical paper on how to apply theology to the global godless culture. The paper will analyze and materialize theology of culture and come up with theo-cultural principles which will enable Christians to properly engage with today godless culture. If theology and daily life are in any way split apart, Christians will lose the authenticity essential to their calling. Living out godliness in the ungodly culture requires materializing theology into daily life. To do that has become an unbeatable challenge for Christians in 21st century with the overtaking in of global godless culture enforced by Information Technology resulting in rapid and chaotic change of global lifestyles wherein Christianity stands in danger of being swallowed up. Staying away from the culture will rob Christianity of its mission to witness and staying with and like it will rob Christianity of its effectiveness. Thus the question is how should today Christians apply theology to the culture wherein what are said to be sins in the Bible no longer look like sins? Should we forge an all-out war against it or should distance ourselves away from it? The extreme response to it could fruit Christian Jihadism on the right and the apathetic response would let it booming with no one attempting to stop it on the left. This paper calls for global Christians to essentially make theology a part of their daily lives to form a united global force to influence the godless global culture by influencing our own family and community.

Keywords: Christians, global culture, godliness, theology

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43 Religion and Sustainable Development: A Comparative Study of Buddhist and Christian Farmers’ Contribution to the Environmental Protection in Taiwan

Authors: Jijimon Alakkalam Joseph

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The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development claims to be a comprehensive and integrated plan of action for prosperity for people and the planet, including almost all dimensions of human existence. Nevertheless, critics have pointed out the exclusion of the religious dimension from development discussions. Care for the earth is one of the vital aspects of sustainable development. Farmers all over the world contribute much to environmental protection. Most farmers are religious believers, and studies have shown that religious ideologies influence their agricultural practices. This nexus between faith and agriculture has forced policymakers to include religion in development discussions. This paper delves deeper into this religion and sustainable development connection. Buddhism and Christianity have contributed much to environmental protection in Taiwan. However, interviews conducted among 40 Taiwanese farmers (10 male and female farmers from Buddhism and Christianity) show that their faith experiences make them relate to the natural environment differently. Most of the Buddhist farmers interviewed admitted that they chose their religious adherence, while most of the Christian farmers inherited their faith. The in-depth analysis of the interview data collected underlines the close relationship between religion and sustainable development. More importantly, concerning their intention to care for the earth, farmers whose religious adherence is ‘chosen’ are self-motivated and more robust compared to those whose religious adherence is ‘inherited’.

Keywords: Buddhism, Christianity, environmental protection, sustainable development

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42 A Comparative Study of Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Quran in Islam

Authors: Najmeh Dehghanitafti

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Paradise Lost, John Milton's epic poem of theology and cosmology, gained substantial critical attention in the twentieth century. Milton's illustration of Satan and Eve and his allusions to the Bible can be an interesting source of criticism for the scholars who try to analyze Milton's works in terms of religious studies. Therefore, various studies of Paradise Lost try to investigate this epic in terms of religions beyond Christianity. Paradise Lost's comparison with religious books such as the Qur’an in Islam in terms of character illustration created multiple translations of this epic into Arabic. Accordingly, this paper aims to compare Miltonic Satan versus Quranic Iblis based on Inani’s translation of Paradise Lost into Arabic. This study also tries to investigate Miltonic and Quranic view of Eve to find out the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam in terms of feminism.

Keywords: Eve, feminism, Iblis, Paradise Lost, Satan, The Quran

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41 Philosophy, Geometry, and Purpose in Islamic and Gothic Architecture as Two Religious-Based Styles

Authors: P. Nafisi Poor, P. Javid

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Religion and divinity have always held important meaning to humans, and therefore it affects different aspects of life including art and architecture. Numerous works of art are related to religion whether supporting or denying it. Religion and religious scholars have influenced and changed art throughout history. This paper focuses on Islam and Christianity because these two religions have been the most discussed and most popular of all time, starting from the birth of Jesus to the arrival of Mohammad. Based on this popularity, these religions have influenced the arts and especially architecture. Islam on one hand changed Iranian and Arabian architecture and they applied it in different places around the world. From the appearance of Islam at 622 AD to this day, Islamic architecture has been evolving; however, one of the most important periods for this style was between 1501 AD and 1736 AD in Iran. Christianity, on the other hand, changed European architecture especially between 1150 AD and 1450 AD or the so-called "Gothic" era, which begins at medieval time and reaches its peak at International Gothic ages. At both of these periods, designing buildings based on spiritual concepts and divine statements reached its peak, and architects were considering God and religion as their center of attention. This article studies the focus on the religions of Islam and Christianity in terms of architecture and presents a general philosophy of both styles to comprehend the idea behind each one, followed by an analysis of their geometry and architectural aspects derived from the best examples, all to understand the purpose of each style and to realize, which one was more successful in reaching their purpose. Subsequently, a comprehensive review of each building is provided including 3D visualizations to help achieve the goal of the article. These studies can support diverse inquiries about both Islamic and Gothic architecture and can be used as a resource to support studies and research towards designing based on religion or for divine purposes.

Keywords: architecture, Gothic, Islamic, religion

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40 An Analysis of Fundamentals and Factors of Positive Thinking and the Ways of Its Emergence in Islam and the New Testament

Authors: Zahra Mohagheghian, Fatema Agharebparast

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The comparative study of religions is one of the ways which provides peace and makes the believers of religions closer together. Finding the common notions could be a foundation for the dialog among the monotheistic religions and a background to eliminate the misunderstandings and to reach common point of views. The cornerstone of all the common efforts of the believers of the religions is to reach an understanding for building a better world where true peace is established. So, the article seeks to verify the notion of positive thinking in the religious resources of Islam and Christianity. In order to understand the foundations of the religious teachings and to provide a better understanding among the believers, then, the article tries to discover the common fundamentals and the opposing points about the positive thinking in these two religions. We first try to explain the notion of positive thinking in Islam and Christianity and then offer recommended ways in both religions to create and to strengthen this way of thinking. As the different parts of the New Testament is not theologically homogeneous, this collection has been verified and explained in four different parts: Three Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), John's thoughts, thoughts and ideas of Paul and finally the Christian sects . The findings of the survey show that the notion of positive thinking in the monotheistic religions of Islam and Christianity can be traced back by the keyword "hope". It is only the hope which could finally create the soul of positive attitude and thinking inside the humankind. This hope is accompanied by the prospect and causes the humankind to work hard to reach their goals. However, there are some opposing points in these two religions about the basic foundation of this true hope. From the Quran viewpoint, the main foundation of the hope is God and the human is obliged to follow his worldly goals in accordance with this foundation as well as faith to God and avoidance of committing sins. On the other hand, the basic foundation of hope in the Three Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the teachings of Paul is the promise of a coming Kingdom. Although there are some opposing views about the meaning of this as well as the ways to attain this hope, this hope is generally related to the purpose of human life and afterlife. The Christ, in the John's thoughts, is the source of hope and everybody, believing in God, must also have hope for Jesus Christ. Effects and functions of such hope are strengthening the spirit of love and kindness to others. Hence, in Christianity, the hope and positive thinking about the future, along with good deeds, reflects different viewpoints. On the other hand, in Quran, this is faith to God and fulfilling the Sharia orders which ignite and strengthen this hope and way of thinking. This is the base that continues nowadays with Vilāya and the love for Ahlulbeit in the Shiite views.

Keywords: God, new testament, positive thinking, Quran

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39 “Uninformed” Religious Orientation Can Lead to Violence in Any Given Community: The Case of African Independence Churches in South Africa

Authors: Ngwako Daniel Sebola

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Introductory Statement: Religions are necessary as they offer and teach something to their adherence. People in one religion may not have a complete understanding of the Supreme Being (Deity) in a certain religion other than their own. South Africa, like other countries in the world, consists of various religions, including Christianity. Almost 80% of South African population adheres to the Christian faith, though in different denominations and sects. Each church fulfils spiritual needs that perhaps others cannot fill. African Independent Churches is one of the denominations in the country. These churches arose as a protest to the Western forms and expressions of Christianity. Their major concern was to develop an indigenous expression of Christianity. The relevance of African Independent Churches includes addressing the needs of the people holistically. Controlling diseases was an important aspect of change in different historical periods. Through healing services, leaders of African churches are able to attract many followers. The healing power associated with the founders of many African Initiated Churches leads to people following and respecting them as true leaders within many African communities. Despite its strong points, African Independent Churches, like many others, face a variety of challenges, especially conflicts. Ironically, destructive conflicts resulted in violence.. Such violence demonstrates a lack of informed religious orientation among those concerned. This paper investigates and analyses the causes of conflict and violence in the African Independent Church. The researcher used the Shembe and International Pentecostal Holiness Churches, in South Africa, as a point of departure. As a solution to curb violence, the researcher suggests useful strategies in handling conflicts. Methodology: Comparative and qualitative approaches have been used as methods of collecting data in this research. The intention is to analyse the similarities and differences of violence among members of the Shembe and International Pentecostal Holiness Churches. Equally important, the researcher aims to obtain data through interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, among others. The researcher aims to interview fifteen individuals from both churches. Finding: Leadership squabbles and power struggle appear to be the main contributing factors of violence in many Independent Churches. Ironically, violence resulted in the loss of life and destruction of properties, like in the case of the Shembe and International Pentecostal Holiness Churches. Violence is an indication that congregations and some leaders have not been properly equipped to deal with conflict. Concluding Statement: Conflict is a common part of every human existence in any given community. The concern is when such conflict becomes contagious; it leads to violence. There is a need to understand consciously and objectively towards devising the appropriate measures to handle the conflict. Conflict management calls for emotional maturity, self-control, empathy, patience, tolerance and informed religious orientation.

Keywords: African, church, religion, violence

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38 The Diversity in the Concept of Existence from Kierkegaard to Sartre

Authors: Mohammad Motiee

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From Kierkegaard to Sartre, the concept of 'being' was debated over various angles in the philosophy of being. Then, the futility, nothingness and absurdity of human condition in the world were all justified and led to a kind of solution by different approaches like Christianity, loss of faith, authentic existence and responsibility. In an extreme concern, the human condition in the world was pondered in different ways and the philosophy of thought tried to render an awareness of such condition for human beings. The present study aims at illustration of some approaches presented by prominent existentialists to justify the controversies in the concept of existence in human life.

Keywords: existence, existentialism, alienation, being

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37 From Abraham to Average Man: Game Theoretic Analysis of Divine Social Relationships

Authors: Elizabeth Latham

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Billions of people worldwide profess some feeling of psychological or spiritual connection with the divine. The majority of them attribute this personal connection to the God of the Christian Bible. The objective of this research was to discover what could be known about the exact social nature of these relationships and to see if they mimic the interactions recounted in the bible; if a worldwide majority believes that the Christian Bible is a true account of God’s interactions with mankind, it is reasonable to assume that the interactions between God and the aforementioned people would be similar to the ones in the bible. This analysis required the employment of an unusual method of biblical analysis: Game Theory. Because the research focused on documented social interaction between God and man in scripture, it was important to go beyond text-analysis methods. We used stories from the New Revised Standard Version of the bible to set up “games” using economics-style matrices featuring each player’s motivations and possible courses of action, modeled after interactions in the Old and New Testaments between the Judeo-Christian God and some mortal person. We examined all relevant interactions for the objectives held by each party and their strategies for obtaining them. These findings were then compared to similar “games” created based on interviews with people subscribing to different levels of Christianity who ranged from barely-practicing to clergymen. The range was broad so as to look for a correlation between scriptural knowledge and game-similarity to the bible. Each interview described a personal experience someone believed they had with God and matrices were developed to describe each one as social interaction: a “game” to be analyzed quantitively. The data showed that in most cases, the social features of God-man interactions in the modern lives of people were like those present in the “games” between God and man in the bible. This similarity was referred to in the study as “biblical faith” and it alone was a fascinating finding with many implications. The even more notable finding, however, was that the amount of game-similarity present did not correlate with the amount of scriptural knowledge. Each participant was also surveyed on family background, political stances, general education, scriptural knowledge, and those who had biblical faith were not necessarily the ones that knew the bible best. Instead, there was a high degree of correlation between biblical faith and family religious observance. It seems that to have a biblical psychological relationship with God, it is more important to have a religious family than to have studied scripture, a surprising insight with massive implications on the practice and preservation of religion.

Keywords: bible, Christianity, game theory, social psychology

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36 The Igbo People's Dual Religion Identity on Rite of Marriage in Imo State

Authors: Henry Okechukwu Onyeiwu

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To fully understand the critical role of marriage in society, it is important to view it as a social institution that provides some basic social needs for society. A ‘social institution’ is the network of shared meanings, norms, definitions, expectations, and understandings held by the members of society. It is what guides and governs how the members of the society are expected to act and interact, what is socially desirable and legitimate, what they should be striving for, and so on. One of the major social institutions is marriage. Marriage is and has often focused on children and what is best for them because the rising generation literally is the future of every society. However, according to the aforementioned definition, which notes that marriage may also be a union between two persons of the same sex with legal support, this study stands with the definitions that are based on marriage being a union between a man and woman that is the most appropriate in Igbo land and not the other way round. The issue to be evaluated concerns marriage as it associates with Igbo Catholic Christians in Nigeria. Pasts of Igbo culture should be better organized into the Christian faith. Igbo Christians actually convey a significant number of their customary thoughts, customs, and social qualities, particularly regarding marriage, in the aftermath of switching to Christianity. The analyst agrees that marriage among Igbo Christians warrants adequate evolution. This study, therefore, concentrates on the Igbo community’s interpretation of the concept of culture and religion and the religious implications of traditional marriage and Christian marriage ceremonies in Igbo. The research design of this study is a qualitative design that provides in-depth information on the dual religious identity of the Igbo people on the rite of marriage in Imo state. The study population was composed of both male and female members from each selected local government area in Imo State. Thematic analysis was used to elaborate on the result from the respondents. This survey found that reputation is a major concern for Ibo people. Parental discomfort can lead to the use of coping strategies such as displacement, in which parents pass on their own vulnerable sentiments to their children. Those who participate in marriage negotiations feel the pain of their parents because they are unable to communicate their own feelings. As a result, participants experience increased stress and a range of negative emotions related to their marriage, including worry, dissatisfaction, and ambivalence. It was concluded that when it comes to Igbo culture, marriage is seen as a need for the continuation of the family’s lineage of descent, according to the outcome. The Task at hand was to discover how the locals preparing to get married define the impending transition. Imo State is home to the practice of Igba-nkwu, where the woman is either inherited or taken in the place of another.

Keywords: Igbo, culture, Christianity, traditional marriage, Christian wedding

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35 Information-Controlled Laryngeal Feature Variations in Korean Consonants

Authors: Ponghyung Lee

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This study seeks to investigate the variations occurring to Korean consonantal variations center around laryngeal features of the concerned sounds, to the exclusion of others. Our fundamental premise is that the weak contrast associated with concerned segments might be held accountable for the oscillation of the status quo of the concerned consonants. What is more, we assume that an array of notions as a measure of communicative efficiency of linguistic units would be significantly influential on triggering those variations. To this end, we have tried to compute the surprisal, entropic contribution, and relative contrastiveness associated with Korean obstruent consonants. What we found therein is that the Information-theoretic perspective is compelling enough to lend support our approach to a considerable extent. That is, the variant realizations, chronologically and stylistically, prove to be profoundly affected by a set of Information-theoretic factors enumerated above. When it comes to the biblical proper names, we use Georgetown University CQP Web-Bible corpora. From the 8 texts (4 from Old Testament and 4 from New Testament) among the total 64 texts, we extracted 199 samples. We address the issue of laryngeal feature variations associated with Korean obstruent consonants under the presumption that the variations stem from the weak contrast among the triad manifestations of laryngeal features. The variants emerge from diverse sources in chronological and stylistic senses: Christianity biblical texts, ordinary casual speech, the shift of loanword adaptation over time, and ideophones. For the purpose of discussing what they are really like from the perspective of Information Theory, it is necessary to closely look at the data. Among them, the massive changes occurring to loanword adaptation of proper nouns during the centennial history of Korean Christianity draw our special attention. We searched 199 types of initially capitalized words among 45,528-word tokens, which account for around 5% of total 901,701-word tokens (12,786-word types) from Georgetown University CQP Web-Bible corpora. We focus on the shift of the laryngeal features incorporated into word-initial consonants, which are available through the two distinct versions of Korean Bible: one came out in the 1960s for the Protestants, and the other was published in the 1990s for the Catholic Church. Of these proper names, we have closely traced the adaptation of plain obstruents, e. g. /b, d, g, s, ʤ/ in the sources. The results show that as much as 41% of the extracted proper names show variations; 37% in terms of aspiration, and 4% in terms of tensing. This study set out in an effort to shed light on the question: to what extent can we attribute the variations occurring to the laryngeal features associated with Korean obstruent consonants to the communicative aspects of linguistic activities? In this vein, the concerted effects of the triad, of surprisal, entropic contribution, and relative contrastiveness can be credited with the ups and downs in the feature specification, despite being contentiousness on the role of surprisal to some extent.

Keywords: entropic contribution, laryngeal feature variation, relative contrastiveness, surprisal

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34 International Conference on Islam and Democracy – Religion and Political Stability in Indonesia

Authors: Mariel Encar H. Uy, Paula Marie G. Pacle

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The purpose of this research is to present a Single Country Comparative Contextual Description Study of Strong Islamic Influences in Relation to the Politics of Republic of Indonesia. This paper recognizes that even the coalition of secular and moderate Islamic parties protect the minority rights of all the constituents, Islam is still the dominant religion among the other recognized religions in Indonesia (Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism). In this study, it will also detail the involvement on the religions’ beliefs and techniques; participation of political actors, depending on what religion they belong and adhere to; the tensions whenever the government interferes with Islamists and other religions; the government’s solution or public policies implemented to maintain peace and order of Indonesia. This paper will develop a conceptual framework to describe how the Religion and Political Stability is interdependent with each other.

Keywords: diversity of religion in indonesia, secularization in Indonesia, motivations of political actors, voter turnouts based on religion

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33 Religious Insurgency in Nigeria: A Bane to National Unity

Authors: Ayoola Adediran Amos

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Nigeria as a secular state that is characterized with various religions namely: Christianity, Islam and African Religion. Each of the religion adherents often claim that their religion is the only means of gaining eternity while others who do not belong to their sect may not be opportuned. Religious doctrine within those religious sects is another source of insurgency which serves as a threat to the unity of Nigeria. Similarly, Boko Haram Religious group has become a threat to the unity of the country in which its root has both political and religious undertones. Primary and secondary sources of collecting data were used. Historical method allowed enquiry into the past events and improvement to the current experience. Both published and unpublished theses were used. Interview was also conducted as part of the secondary sources. It was observed that all aspects of the system in Nigeria were affected with this scourge of religious unrest. i.e. education, political, economic and a host of others. Finally, it was recommended that religious leaders should be given adequate orientation on the needs not to preach against other religious groups. Government of Nigeria should not give priority to one religion at the expense of others.

Keywords: insurgency, national unity, religious, threat

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32 Bringing Ethics to a Violent System

Authors: Zeynep Selin Acar

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In international system, there has always been a cycle of violence, war and peace. As there travels the time, after Christianity and later Just War theorists, international relations theorists have been tried to limit violence and war. As pieces of international law, Peace of Augsburg, Kellog-Briand Pact, League of Nations Covenant and UN Charter were and are still not effective to prevent war. Moreover, in order to find a way around these rules, it is believed that a new excuse started to be used instead of violence or war, humanitarian intervention. However, it has neither a legal nor a universally accepted framework. As a result, it is open to be manipulated by states. In order to prevent this, Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) which gives a state the responsibility to protect its citizens against violence, is created. Additionally, RtoP transfers this responsibility to regional or international group of states at the time when a state is the origin of violence. In the lights of these, this paper analyzes RtoP as an ethical approach to war and peace studies because it provides other states as guardians and care-takers of people who do not belong to them or do not share any togetherness.

Keywords: ethics, humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, UN charter

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31 On the Difference between Cultural and Religious Identities

Authors: Mputu Ngandu Simon

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Culture and religion are two of the most significant markers of an individual or group's identity. Religion finds its expression in a given culture, and culture is the costume in which a religion is dressed. In other words, there is a crucial relationship between religion and culture which should not be ignored. On the one hand, religion influences the way in which a culture is consumed. A person's consumption of a certain cultural practice is influenced by his/her religious identity. On the other hand, cultural identity plays an important role in how a religion is practiced by its adherents. Some cultural practices become more credible when interpreted in religious terms just as religious doctrines and dogmas need cultural interpretation to be understood by a given people in a given context. This relationship goes so deep that sometimes the boundaries between culture and religion become blurred, and people end up mixing religion and culture. In some cases, the two are considered to be one and the same thing. However, despite this apparent sameness, religion and culture are two distinct aspects of identity, and they should always be considered as such. One results from knowledge, while the other has beliefs as its foundation. This essay explores the difference between cultural and religious identity by drawing from existing literature on this topic as a whole before applying that knowledge to two specific case studies: Christianity and Islam in some African and Asian countries.

Keywords: culture, religion, identity, knowledge, belief

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30 Islamophobia: A Study of Unfounded Fear of Islam in Nigeria

Authors: AbdulHameed Badmas Yusuf

Abstract:

Islamophobia is unfounded fear of Islam and, more accurately, of his adherents. This phenomenon has found a fertile terrain in Nigeria given her status as a multireligious society where Muslims and Christians co-exist. Over the years, Islamophobia has taken constitutional, diplomatic, educational, financial, and political dimensions in the country. Any move by Muslims to adhere to their religious dictates, within the constitutional framework, is misconstrued by Christians - their religious counterparts- as a systematic way of Islamizing the country. Against this backdrop, this paper casts a look at Islamophobia from the five dimensions mentioned above. It shall identify possible causes of Islamophobia and proffer solutions accordingly. Available resources as well as events in the recent past reveal that Islamophobia is not unconnected with orientalism and terrorism, which are informed by prejudice and ignorance respectively. As such, the paper suggests adequate knowledge and tolerance as inevitable tools to curtail the menace of Islamophobia. This will go a long way in enhancing mutual tolerance and peaceful co-existence among the adherents of Christianity, Islam, and other religions in Nigeria. Both historical and analytical methods are used in this paper.

Keywords: islamophobia, islam, Nigeria, orientalism, terrorism

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29 Female Dis-Empowerment in Contemporary Zimbabwe: A Re-Look at Shona Writers’ Vision of the Factors and Solutions

Authors: Godwin Makaudze

Abstract:

The majority of women in contemporary Zimbabwe continue to hold marginalised and insignificant positions in society and to be accorded negative and stereotyped images in literature. In light of this, government and civic organisations and even writers channel many resources, time, and efforts towards the emancipation of the female gender. Using the Africana womanist and socio-historical literary theories and focussing on two post-colonial novels, this paper re-engages the dis-empowerment of women in contemporary Zimbabwe, examining the believed causes and suggested solutions. The paper observes that the writers whip the already whipped by blaming patriarchy, African men and cultural practices as the underlying causes of such a sorry state of affairs while at the same time celebrating war against all these, as well as education, unity among women, Christianity and single motherhood as panaceas to the problem. The paper concludes that the writers’ anger is misdirected as they have fallen trap to the very popular yet mythical victim-blame motif espoused by many writers who focus on Shona people’s problems.

Keywords: cultural practices, female dis-empowerment, patriarchy, Shona novel, solutions, Zimbabwe

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28 Squaring the Triangle: A Stumpian Solution to the Major Frictions that Exist between Pragmatism, Religion, and Moral Progress; Richard Bernstein, Cornel West, and Hans-Georg Gadamer Re-Examined

Authors: Martin Bloomfield

Abstract:

This paper examines frictions that lie at the heart of any pragmatist conception of religion and moral progress. I take moral progress to require the ability to correctly analyse social problems, provide workable solutions to these problems, and then rationally justify the analyses and solutions used. I take religion here to involve, as a minimal requirement, belief in the existence of God, a god, or gods, such that they are recognisable to most informed observers within the Western tradition. I take pragmatism to belong to, and borrow from, the philosophical traditions of non-absolutism, anti-realism, historicism, and voluntarism. For clarity, the relevant brands of each of these traditions will be examined during the paper. The friction identified in the title may be summed up as follows: those who, like Cornel West (and, when he was alive, Hilary Putnam), are theistic pragmatists with an interest in realising moral progress, have all been aware of a problem inherent in their positions. Assuming it can be argued that religion and moral progress are compatible, a non-absolutist, anti-realist, historicist position nevertheless raises problems that, as Leon Wieseltier pointed out, the pragmatist still believes in a God who isn’t real, and that the truth of any religious statement (including “God exists”) is relative not to any objective reality but to communities of engaged interlocutors; and that, where there are no absolute standards of right and wrong, any analysis of (and solution to) social problems can only be rationally justified relative to one or another community or moral and epistemic framework. Attempts made to universalise these frameworks, notably by Dewey, Gadamer, and Bernstein, through democracy and hermeneutics, fall into either a vicious and infinite regress, or (taking inspiration from Habermas) the problem of moral truths being decided through structures of power. The paper removes this friction by highlighting the work of Christian pragmatist Cornel West through the lens of the philosopher of religion Eleanore Stump. While West recognises that for the pragmatist, the correctness of any propositions about God or moral progress is impossible to rationally justify to any outside the religious, moral or epistemic framework of the speakers themselves without, as he calls it, a ‘locus of truth’ (which is itself free from the difficulties Dewey, Gadamer and Bernstein fall victim to), Stump identifies routes to knowledge which provide such a locus while avoiding the problems of relativism, power dynamics, and regress. She describes “Dominican” and “Franciscan” knowledge (roughly characterised as “propositional” and “non-propositional”), and uses this distinction to identify something Bernstein saw as missing from Gadamer: culture-independent norms, upon which universal agreement can be built. The “Franciscan knowledge” Stump identifies as key is second-personal knowledge of Christ. For West, this allows the knower to access vital culture-independent norms. If correct, instead of the classical view (religion is incompatible with pragmatism), Christianity becomes key to pragmatist knowledge and moral-knowledge claims. Rather than being undermined by pragmatism, Christianity enables pragmatists to make moral and epistemic claims, free from troubling power dynamics and cultural relativism.

Keywords: Cornel West, Cultural Relativism, Gadamer, Philosophy of Religion, Pragmatism

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27 Geo-Additive Modeling of Family Size in Nigeria

Authors: Oluwayemisi O. Alaba, John O. Olaomi

Abstract:

The 2013 Nigerian Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) data was used to investigate the determinants of family size in Nigeria using the geo-additive model. The fixed effect of categorical covariates were modelled using the diffuse prior, P-spline with second-order random walk for the nonlinear effect of continuous variable, spatial effects followed Markov random field priors while the exchangeable normal priors were used for the random effects of the community and household. The Negative Binomial distribution was used to handle overdispersion of the dependent variable. Inference was fully Bayesian approach. Results showed a declining effect of secondary and higher education of mother, Yoruba tribe, Christianity, family planning, mother giving birth by caesarean section and having a partner who has secondary education on family size. Big family size is positively associated with age at first birth, number of daughters in a household, being gainfully employed, married and living with partner, community and household effects.

Keywords: Bayesian analysis, family size, geo-additive model, negative binomial

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26 Repositioning Religion as a Catalyst for Conflict Resolution in Nigeria

Authors: Samuel A. Muyiwa

Abstract:

Religious chauvinism has attained an alarming status in Contemporary Nigerian society. Arguably, Nigeria is the largest economy and most populous nation in Africa with over 182 million people, the advantages offer by vibrant economy and high population have been sacrificed on the altar of religion. Tolerance, sacrifice, humility, compassion, love, justice, trustworthiness, dedication to the well-being of others, and unity are the universal spiritual principles that lie at the heart of any religion either Christianity or Islam even traditional. Whereas traditional religious practices foreground the beliefs, norms and ritual that are related to the sacred being God because of its quick and immediate consequence of its effect, the new-found religious sentiments have deviated from the norms, thus undermining cosmic harmony in Nigeria because of its long-time consequence of its effect. Religion, which is expected to accelerate growth and motivate people to develop spiritual nuances for the betterment of their communities, has, however occasioned conflict and violence in Nigeria socio-political cosmo. Therefore, this study examines the content of religion in the promotion of peace and unity and its contextual missing link in the promotion of conflict and violence in Nigeria.

Keywords: religion chauvinism, Nigeria, conflict, conflict resolution

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25 Deciphering Chinese Calligraphy as the Architectural Essence of Tao Fong Shan Christian Center in Hong Kong

Authors: Chak Kwong Lau

Abstract:

Many buildings in Hong Kong are graced with enchanting works of Chinese calligraphy. An excellent example is Tao Fong Shan Christian Center founded by a Norwegian missionary, Karl Ludvig Reichelt (1877-1952) in 1930. Adorned with many inspiring works of Chinese calligraphy, the center functions as a place for the study of Christianity where people of different religions can meet to have religious discussions and intellectual exchanges. This paper examines the pivotal role played by Chinese calligraphy in creating a significant context for the center to fulfill her visions and missions. The methodology of this research involves stylistic and textual analyses of works of calligraphy, in particular through an examination and interpretation of their extended meanings in terms of architectural symbology and social and cultural contexts. Findings showed that Chinese calligraphy was effectively used as a powerful vehicle for a purposeful development of contextual Christian spirituality in Hong Kong.

Keywords: Chinese calligraphy, Hong Kong architecture, Hong Kong calligraphy, Johannes Prip-Møller, Karl Ludvig Reichelt, Norwegian missionary, Tao Fong Shan Christian Center, traditional Chinese architecture

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24 Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction in Mizoram, India

Authors: Lalrokima Chenkual

Abstract:

Legal provision and various guidelines issued by the National Disaster Management Authority in India strives for setting up of disaster management authority from the central government to the district level. Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction practice is still relevant as the communities are the victim as well as the first responder in any incidents. The primary goal of Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction is to reduce vulnerability of the concerned community and strengthen its existing capacity to cope with disaster. By involving the community in the preparedness phase, it not only increases the likelihood of coordinated action by the communities to help in mitigating disasters and lessening the impact of disaster but also brings the community together to address the issue collectively. Community participation ensures local ownership, addresses local needs, and promotes volunteerism and mutual help to prevent and minimise damage. Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction is very much relevant for Mizoram as the society is closed knit, population is very less, religion homogeneity i.e Christianity, very active and widespread community-based organization viz, Young Mizo Association, MHIP (Women Federation), MUP (Elders Clubs which are guided together by Mizo code of morals conduct termed as Tlawmngaihna.

Keywords: community, close-knit, first responder, Tlawmngaihna

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23 Vision of Justice in the Future of Humanity

Authors: Morteza Khorrami

Abstract:

The idea of final triumph of peace and justice on evil force, conflict and global spread of the religious faith, the full deployment of human values, constitute a utopia and the ideal society is discussed by many of religions. Thus, mankind has always been waiting for a savior and has received good tidings for coming of Great Savior at the end of Time. Of course, various persons were introduced as the Promised Saviors by different religions, but all of the religions share in this fact that the future of humanity is very bright and promising and the future will belong to the righteous and justice. In this article which is written with a descriptive and analytic method, the author tries to show the vision of global justice at the end of time. The opinion of various religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islam and even idolatry about the great savior as well as the justice status in his era in the world will be discussed. Also the viewpoint of Muslims and specially Shiites, which is explained clearly in their scripts, will be depicted. Current human responsibility towards this golden era will be discussed, too. Based on paper findings, religious doctrine promises that a heaven person and sacred character will come as a reformer of the world. In his era, humanity will be saved from tyranny, oppression and inequality, and the earth will be filled with peace, security, justice, and equity. Moreover promoting justice, truth and spreading religion in the world, economic, scientific, political and moral development will be happened.

Keywords: future of humanity, global justice, islam, religions

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22 Existential Anguish and Its Influence on Personal Growth

Authors: Lavanya Mohan, Suneha Sethi

Abstract:

This paper seeks to study the concept of existential anguish and its relation to personal growth. Generally, existential anguish is taken to be an all-pervading negative feeling arising from an individual’s knowledge of their absolute freedom. However, this paper investigates the possible positive impact of this sense of anguish, such as its role in commencing an individual’s journey towards authentic living, characterized by an internal locus of will, and acceptance of absolute freedom. This journey towards authentic living is what is referred to as personal growth, in this paper, in the context of existential philosophy. The work of four prominent existentialists has been used to elucidate existential anguish. A human’s scope for personal growth in the existential framework has been compared to that in the teleological framework of religion. In the latter, individuals must abide by the moral code of an external authority and work towards a pre-ordained purpose of life. This is illustrated by the examination of Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. To test people’s levels of existential anguish, religiosity, and personal growth, a survey using an originally constructed questionnaire has been undertaken. Simple and partial correlation analyses have been used to ascertain the relationships between these three variables. Contrary to the hypothesis, the results indicate that existential anguish has a detrimental effect on personal growth, while religiosity does not affect it at all. Through their responses, it was also evident that the respondents do not adhere to teleological concepts of morality, despite a belief in God. This study has further scope in determining how variations in sample demography may influence the relationship of existential anguish with personal growth.

Keywords: existential anguish, existentialism, personal growth, religiosity, teleology

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