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Displaying: 1-20 of 354 documents


articles
1. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Nan Nan, James R. Lewis Introductory Essay: Chinese New Religions
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2. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
James R. Lewis Danceageddon: Following the Money Trail Behind Shen Yun’s Revised Eschatology
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Falun Gong was originally a qigong group that entered into conflict with the Chinese state around the turn of the century. It gradually transformed into both a religious group and a political movement. Exiled to the United States, the founder-leader, Li Hongzhi, acquired property near Cuddebackville, New York, which he subsequently designated Dragon Springs. Dragon Springs, in turn, became the headquarters of Shen Yun Performing Arts, an ambitious touring dance and music company that claims to embody the traditional culture of China prior to its subversion by the Chinese Communist Party. Though Li’s earlier eschatology emphasized that individuals needed to become Falun Gong practitioners in order to survive the imminent apocalypse, the significant success of Shen Yun seems to have prompted Li Hongzhi to rewrite his eschatology, which now emphasizes that all one need do in order to be “saved” is to view live Shen Yun performances.
3. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Yu-Shuang Yao Masculinity and Femininity: Comparing and Contrasting Two Modern Buddhist Movements in Taiwan, Foguang Shan and Ci Ji
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This article examines how modern Chinese Buddhism has been influenced by its interactions with the modern world. For our purposes, ‘modern Chinese Buddhism’ refers to a form of what has become known in the West as ‘Engaged Buddhism,’ but in Chinese is known by titles that can be translated as ‘Humanistic Buddhism’ or ‘Buddhism for Human Life.’ This tradition was initiated on the Chinese mainland between the two World Wars by the monk Tai Xu (1890–1947). Its main branches have flourished in Taiwan, whence two of them have spread worldwide. The most successful, at least in numerical terms, has been Fo Guang Shan (the Buddha’s Light Mountain) and Ci Ji (the Buddhist Compassion and Relief Society), the former founded by a personal disciple of Tai Xu, Xing Yun, the latter founded by Zheng Yan. Both of them are now very old but remain powerful charismatic leaders.
4. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
WANG Chengjun Falling from Heaven to Earth: The Qigong Movement in Contemporary China
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The Qigong movement was one of the most remarkable New Religious Movements, and one of the most important social and cultural phenomena in China during 1980s–1990s. It rose rapidly and created what was termed a “fever” in a very short time in Post-Mao China, and then suddenly fell off the late 1990s. This paper analyzes how and why Qigong, as a new religion, endured such a drastic change within specific political, economic and cultural contexts in China across the course of twenty years. It argues that the rise of Qigong can be mainly ascribed to people’s urgent need for the promotion of health, eagerness to restore national pride, and the change of people’s lifestyle and mindset in response to the “Reform and Opening-up” subsequent to 1978. The collapse of the movement could be seen as an unavoidable result from certain intrinsic and extrinsic factors, namely, the natural tensions between Qigong itself and the national political authorities as well as the scientific establishment, harmful outcomes it produced among some practitioners, and the change in the social and cultural contexts that fostered qigong. In general, it is plausible to say that both its rise and fall were products of the time China underwent subsequent to the “Reform and Opening-up” period.
5. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
ZHANG Xinzhang The Potential Illegitimacy of the PRC’s Effort to Distinguish from “Cult” or “Destructive Cult”
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The PRC has a systematic, self-consistent theory and set of policies focused on xie jiao (邪教), a term that is often mistranslated as “destructive cults,” thereby causing disagreement throughout the international academic world. A more appropriate and accurate translation/interpretation agreeable to all within the PRC and beyond would contribute to bridging the confusion that often leads to misunderstanding. Our article addresses this problem by analyzing official Chinese documents and the critiques of certain international experts. Although the concept of xie jiao has its own philosophical logic, that it is often misunderstood in international communications leads to much dispute over interpretation and policy. Sino-western cultural differences explain much of this misunderstanding.
book reviews
6. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Ted Anton, Eros, Magic, and the Murder of Professor Culianu
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7. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Carlo Ginzburg and Bruce Lincoln, Old Thiess a Livonian Werewolf: A Classic Case in Comparative Perspective
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8. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Timothy Verhoeven, Sexual Crime, Religion and Masculinity in Fin-de-Siecle France: The Flamidien Affair
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9. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Christopher Hartney Paul Daley, On Patriotism
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10. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Monica Alice Quirk Steven J. Sutcliffe and Carole M. Cusack (eds.), The Problem of Invented Religions
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11. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Garry Trompf Daniele Miano, Fortuna: Deity and Concept in Archaic and Republican Italy
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articles
12. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Susan J. Palmer Media Treatment of New Religions in Quebec: After the Solar Temple
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This article focuses on how NRMs are depicted in the mass media in the province of Quebec, and examines some of the ethical, deontological and legal issues reflected in journalistic coverage of controversial groups known as “sectes” or “cults” in the francophone and anglophone medias. These groups include: Les Apôtres de l’Amour Infini, Le Mouvement Raëlien, L’Église essénienne chrétienne, L’Ordre du Temple solaire, La Cité Écologique de Ham-Nord, la Mission de l’Esprit-Saint, and Lev Tahor. News reports on these groups, collected over a period of fifteen years, will be analyzed within the framework of James A. Beckford’s 1994 study, “The Mass Media and New Religious Movements.” Relying on Beckford and models supplied by other sociologists, this chapter will identify various types of biased approaches used by journalists and analyzes the external pressures that shape their stories. Finally, it will attempt to explain why Quebec’s new religions are consistently portrayed by journalists as controversial and threatening, in a manner that tends to generate and perpetuate conflict.
13. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Kyungsoo Lee Disillusionment and Mourning in the FFWPU
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This paper will apply Peter Homans’s argument on mourning to the new religious movement phenomena of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU). Homans’s theory focused on the progressive and creative aspects of mourning and extended the discussion from the personal to the social, collective level of mourning. Sifting through the history of the FFWPU, I will show how the emergence, formation, and transformation of this new religious movement (NRM) arose as a creative response to absence, ranging from personal death to the loss of religious values and symbols.
14. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Dell deChant A Perspective on Popular Religious Idealism and Its Cultural Contexts
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This article explores the relationship of two “metaphysical” religious traditions, Christian Science and New Thought. The argument developed here is that the two traditions are closely related, using the category of Religious Idealism to identify similarities. The article offers a departure from traditional, long-standing assessments of the relationship between the movements, which focus on their differences. Specific problems considered are initially posed by questions related to the origins of the movements, and the study of origins is the focus of this paper. Three other categories of relevance will also be noted: (1) theology and cosmology, (2) the centrality of mental healing, and (3) biblical exegesis.
15. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Jakob D. Larsen, Mikkel Fruergaard Thomsen Positive Thinking: Cognitive Biases in New Age Religiosity
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Following the ideas of a Cognitive Optimum Position, this paper aims to illustrate how cognitive science of religion can be fruitfully applied to understand the appeal of certain metaphysical beliefs within modern New Age religiosity. By diving into the popular DVD version of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, this paper seeks is to uncover the cognitive mechanism and systematic biases involved when New Age sympathizers engage in ritual practices and beliefs related to positive thinking and the Law of Attraction. We propose to view the visualization rituals highlighted in The Secret as “internalized” similarity magic, possibly triggering the adaptive principle appearance equals reality. We further argue that the mind-over-matter belief promoted throughout The Secret—that thoughts affect or interact with physical reality—in certain cases are strengthened by a human bias to see a mental-physical causal relationship, a causation heuristic. The cognitive processes behind the general metaphysical belief that thoughts can affect reality are elaborated further by the concept core knowledge confusion. Finally we suggest that together with an illusion of control over uncertain future events, an optimism bias may incite people to engage in continual ritual practice.
16. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
András Máté-Tóth, Gábor Dániel Nagy Indicators of a Second Wave of Religiosity in Central Eastern Europe
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This article examines religion’s public role in Central Europe by investigating people’s expectations and perceptions regarding distinct facets of religion. The paper analyses factors related to the first wave and the second wave of religiosity along different lines such as church and government policies, the roles of churches in strengthening democracy, etc. According to the Aufbruch data research project and partially from the ISSP (International Social Survey Project), religious depiction of some post-communist countries are brought to the table. A deeper analysis is undertaken for 6 countries (Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Poland), considering that in the countries previously listed, the distinction in the general level of religiosity differ remarkably, in order of the extremely religious country (Croatia) to the extremely non-religious country (Czech Republic). The discoveries from the various indicators shows that there is a good reason to believe in a possible second wave or different form and kind of religiosity compared to the times of the transition or the mid-1990s in contemporary times.
17. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Murphy Pizza Encountering Contemporary Paganisms
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This is the Plenary speech presented by Murphy Pizza, Ph.D, the current president of the Upper Midwest American Academy of Religion, to an audience at the April 2019 Meeting for both the UM AAR and the UM Society for Biblical Literature at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, MN. The speech is an overview of the diversity of Paganisms in the movement, in practice and theological approaches, and it also references the community building efforts of the Pagan Community in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, the research area of the speaker.
18. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
George D. Chryssides Jehovah’s Witnesses in Britain—A Historical Survey
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Drawing on primary and secondary source material from internal and external sources, the author traces the history of the International Bible Students Association, popularly known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, in Britain, from 1881 to the present. The work of colporteurs led to the establishment of early congregations (“ecclesias”) and a branch office in London. The release of the audio-visual production entitled The Photo-Drama of Creation had an important role in bringing the Bible Student movement into prominence. Controversies shortly arose within the London congregation, which were exacerbated by intervention by Paul S. L. Johnson from the Brooklyn headquarters. The transition of leadership to Joseph Franklin Rutherford, following Charles Taze Russell’s death in 1916, caused the organization to change from the federation of independent congregations to a unified Society. Discussion is given to the effects of the two World Wars, the attempts of Bible Students to gain exemption from conscription through legal channels, and the penalties incurred by the conscientious objectors. Jehovah’s Witnesses have continued to expand their activities, through house-to-house visiting which became expected of all members, through expansion of premises, and through increased public visibility. It is concluded that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not allow their principles to be shaped by popular attitudes and values, believing that the world is currently governed by Satan rather than Jehovah.
book reviews
19. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Alana Louise Bowden Peter Connolly, Understanding Religious Experience
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20. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Carole M. Cusack Patrick Drazen, Holy Anime: Japan’s View of Christianity
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