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81. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Alexandre A. Martins Simone Weil’s Radical Ontology of Rootedness: Natural and Supernatural Justices
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This paper argues that Simone Weil developed an anthropology of the human condition that is a radical ontology of the human spirit rooted in reality. Weil begins her account from the real, but this real is not only the historical or social reality. It is also what is true about the human person as a created being in connection with the transcendent reality. She believes that affliction reveals the human condition and provides an openness to transcendence in which the individual finds the meaning of the human operation of spirit. Therefore, Weil’s radical ontology is based on a philosophy of the human being as an agent rooted in the world. In order to be rooted, a human being needs decreation (the creation of a new human) and incarnation (cross and love in the world). In her radical ontology derived from attention to the real, Weil argues for an active incarnation in social reality that recognizes others, especially the unfortunates, for the purpose of empowering them and promoting their dignity. Her radical ontology incarnates the human in the world between necessity and good, that is, between the natural and the supernatural.
82. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey S. Mayer “To Educate for the Practice of Freedom”: The Emergence of Mutuality in the Liminal Space of the Academy
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Sounding the call for an integral human development, CST invites considering the subsidiary nature of relationships at multiple levels of society as a spiritual matter. Drawing from diverse sources in theology, relational sociology, and evolutionary biology, this essay explores Catholic educational institutions and their role in fostering the moral agency of students and faculty. In the face of epidemiological evidence of the social ills of economic inequality, the question becomes: Do we have the freedom to imagine an alternative to current trends in the commodification of education? The partnership of Catholic Relief Services and the university offers hope as a relational subject from which emerges the good of mutuality. Integrating student experiences from the classroom to the field, this essay advances the development of a “pedagogy of liminal mutuality” in the reciprocal practices of solidarity-building at and from the margins.
83. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
David M. Leege, Michael Sweikar From Associational Value to Complementary Synergy: Eighteen Years of NGO-University Partnership
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Since 2000, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame) have collaborated on joint programs while growing their institutional partnership. The relationship started with capacity strengthening of CRS peacebuilding staff and partners by Notre Dame faculty, based on common values enshrined in Catholic social teaching. Over time, the collaboration expanded as staff at each institution developed a better understanding of each other’s respective objectives, and experienced increasing mutual benefit. The partnership grew further as both institutions responded to external pressures from donors for universities and NGOs to work more closely together for greater field impact and evidence generation. Lessons learned from the partnership helped to guide both institution’s interactions with each other. From the initial task-oriented collaboration (capacity strengthening) that provided the institutions with associational value, CRS and Notre Dame gradually progressed toward deeper phases of partnership including resource transfer, interaction and achieving synergistic value.
84. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Arthur Purcaro, OSA The Practice of Social Justice: An Augustinian Response to Contemporary Social Issues
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This paper presents the “signs of the times” methodology and proposes its use as an appropriate pedagogical tool for contemporary practical theology, particularly in the area of social justice. The author presents three examples of the application of the method by students in theological formation for the Augustinian Order, and also provides an explanation of the method’s suitability for other Catholic traditions and Christian denominations.
85. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Julie Ingersoll Classification Matters: Hiding Violence in Christianity in the United States
86. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Thomas W. Barton Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity. M. Lindsay Kaplan
87. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Karl Bell A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination, and Faith during the First World War. Owen Davies
88. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Sophie Bjork-James Christian Nationalism and LGBTQ Structural Violence in the United States
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This paper uses anti-LGBTQ bias within evangelical Christianity as a case study to explore how nationalist movements justify prejudicial positions through framing privileged groups as victims. Since Anita Bryant’s late 1970s crusade against what was dubbed the “homosexual agenda,” white evangelicals have led a national movement opposing LGBTQ rights in the United States. Through a commitment to ensuring sexual minorities are excluded from civil rights protections, white evangelicals have contributed to a cultural and legal landscape conducive to anti-LGBTQ structural violence. This opposition is most often understood as rooted in love, and not in bias or hate, as demonstrated during long-term ethnographic research among white evangelical churches in Colorado Springs. Engaging with theories of morality and nationalism, this article argues that most biased political movements understand their motivation as defending a moral order and not perpetuating bias. In this way they can justify structural violence against subordinated groups.
89. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Conor Q. Foley Reading Phinehas, Watching Slashers: Horror Theory and Numbers 25. Brandon R. Grafius
90. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Brad Stoddard God’s Favorite Gun: The Sanctuary Church and the (re)Militarization of American Christianity
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This article analyzes the Sanctuary Church in Pennsylvania, pastored by Reverend Hyung Jin “Sean” Moon, son of the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon. It specifically addresses the church’s history and the theology that motivated “Pastor Sean,” as he is commonly called, to host a marriage blessing ceremony where attendees brought crowns and AR-15 rifles to church. It argues that this ceremony, and Moon’s theology itself, are extensions of the unique political, cultural, and legal battles increasingly common in the United States. It also explores the church’s critics who used the blessing ceremony as an opportunity to “save” the categories of Christianity and religion from being tainted by Moon’s martial theology.
91. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Sean Durbin Violence as Revelation: American Christian Zionist Theodicy, and the Construction of Religion through Violence
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Drawing on Russell McCutcheon’s (2003) redescription of the theological category of theodicy as a socio-political rhetoric that functions to conserve social interests, this article examines the way that American Christian Zionists employ theodicies to explain historical, contemporary, and anticipated acts of violence. It argues that violence is central to Christian Zionists’ conception of God’s revelation, and thus to their identity. Rather than requiring the intellectual wrangling often associated with religious explanations for why violence is inflicted on or by a certain group of people, Christian Zionists identify acts of violence as either God’s punishment for insufficient support for Israel, or as God’s vengeance upon those who wish to harm his chosen people. In any given context, Christian Zionists draw on acts of violence to reaffirm their truth claims, and to ensure their desired social order is maintained.
92. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Cathy Gutierrez Children of Lucifer: The Origins of Modern Religious Satanism. Ruben van Luijk; and Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culture. Per Faxneld
93. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 3
Richard Newton Scared Sheetless: Negrophobia, the Fear of God, and Justified Violence in the U.S. Christian-White Imaginary
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The ideology of white supremacy is alive and well in the U.S. This paper argues that those attempting to understand how white supremacy works should delve into recent justifications of anti-black violence rather than simply waiting to spot the white sheets of the Ku Klux Klan. Doing so requires scholars to disabuse themselves of taking for granted the descriptions of what may be characterized as a U.S. Christian-White imaginary and to observe the dynamic, discursive shifts that Jean-Franc̜ois Bayart calls “operational acts of identification.” Drawing on incidents from antebellum slavery to the Black Lives Matter era and beyond, it is argued that white people have long been able to justify anti-black violence by appealing to a biblicist “Negrophobia,” wherein black people are rendered as frightening, even demonic creatures that must be stopped for the good of God’s kingdom. This paper presents a critical history of violence in America that is representative of a devastatingly effective strategy that continues to fortify the functional primacy of whiteness despite popular rejections of racism.
94. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Beatriz Reyes-Foster The Devil Made Her Do it: Understanding Suicide, Demonic Discourse, and the Social Construction of ‘Health’ in Yucatan, Mexico
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In the state of Yucatan, Mexico, the suicide rate more than doubles the Mexican national average. This article uses ethnographic data to argue that 1) local understandings of suicide in Yucatán reflect a logic of health among Yucatec Maya people hinging on the belief that spiritual, bodily, and spatial balance must be maintained in order to prevent “illness,” understood as bodily and spiritual suffering; and 2) that Yucatec Maya users of Mexico’s public health system readily adapt the biomedical model to existing paradigms that comingle spiritual, mental, and bodily health due in great part to the inherent contradictions in bothsystems that simultaneously attribute responsibility for suicide and take it away. This apparent contradiction is thus a sympathetic template on which biomedical discourse and its imperfect application can map itself.
95. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Rebecca Moore Rhetoric, Revolution and Resistance in Jonestown, Guyana
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Initial reports of the deaths that occurred in Jonestown, Guyana in November 1978 characterized them as mass suicides. As accounts of the deaths of children and old people emerged, however, the events began to be described as murder, especially by conspiracy theorists. But scholarship in New Religions studies over the last three decades has begun to claim that at least some of the deaths for some of the people were a type of martyrdom. A narrative of martyrdom pervaded life in Jonestown, as well as life within Peoples Temple, the group sponsoring the agricultural commune. Jim Jones, the group’s leader, appropriated and re-interpreted the Black Panther Party rhetoric of revolutionary suicide, calling upon residents to lay down their lives to protest capitalism. This act of protest was rehearsed many times in Jonestown, and in the Temple in the U.S. Some survivors who lived in Jonestown challenge the assertion that residents took these rehearsals seriously, although a number of audiotapes have parents providing the justification for killing their children to save them from torture; others on tape state that they are taking their own lives as a rejection of capitalism. In any event, by killing the children first, the mass suicides of the parents seemed virtually assured.
96. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Lynn S. Neal Suicide and Cultural Memory in Functional Television
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As the central storyteller in and of American life, television has played a profound role in the maintenance and dissemination of the cult stereotype. By emphasizing these stereotypical features, television shows firmly situate cults as abnormal and dangerous entities on the American religious landscape. Many of these televised portrayals include issues of cult violence, specifically suicide. This article analyzes how fictional American television shows from South Park to CSI have depicted the relationship between cults and suicide. In addition to episode analysis, this article addresses the role that popular culture plays in perpetuating anti-cult ideas and attitudes.
97. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Christopher Hartney Why Muslims Kill Themselves on Film: From Girard’s Victimage Mechanism to a Radical Constructivist Explanation
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In this article a methodological approach to representations of suicide on film is developed, sited between the Girardian victimage approach on one side, and a radical constructivist approach on the other. The argument does not start by considering Muslim suicide as a thing in and of itself; rather it contextualises suicide on film through examples ranging from adaptations of Romeo and Juliette by Zeffirelli and Luhrmann, to Ashby's Harold and Maude, Coppola's The Virgin Suicides, and Sono's Suicide Club. With thematics on cinema and suicide identified in this section of the article, the second half of the work demonstrateshow such thematics are developed or distorted when Muslim characters are introduced to the screen. The four case studies in this section include analysis on recent film examples. These include the Hollywood produced The Kingdom (directed by Peter Berg) and Gaghan's Syriana. It is clearly established that where Hollywood pays attention to white people who may be considering suicide and dedicates significant screen time to them, Hollywood presents Muslims as inherently suicidal. This fits into Jack Shaheen's work on racist stereotypes in the presentation of Arabs by Hollywood. To confirm this, the article concludes byanalyzing the place of suicide in Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry, and Abu-Assad's Paradise Now. The article concludes with an examination not of suicide per se, but of how suicide is represented generally in film, how layers of Arab and Muslim stereotypes in Hollywood have, almost criminally, distorted representations of Muslims on screen, and how serious and considered work by Muslim directors are not so much redressing this balance, but rather highlighting how impervious the Hollywood system is to redressing its long held biases.
98. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Helen Farley Self-Harm and Falun Gong: Karmic Release, Martyrdom or Suicide
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The teachings of Falun Gong explicitly forbid suicide, yet in 2001, five protesters set themselves ablaze in Tiananmen Square resulting in the death of two. Allegedly, their stated aim was to bring the world’s focus onto the repression of the movement by the Chinese government. Falun Gong spokespeople were quick to speak out in defence of founder Li Hongzhi, saying that the movement strictly forbids suicide in line with the traditional Chinese belief that says that suicide is an affront to the ancestors. They further claimed that the Chinese government had staged the suicides in order to stir up public opinion against the movement andindeed the tide of public opinion did turn against Falun Gong and its founder (Bell and Boas 2003, 285).Even given Falun Gong’s stated opposition to suicide, the movement does encourage its adherents to refuse to take medicine or accept medical treatment and some consider this refusal of treatment could be considered to be suicidal. Chinese state media seized upon Li's writing in which he expressed that illnesses are caused by karma, and claimed that in excess of 1000 deaths were the direct result of adherents following Li’s teachings. Authorities also maintain that several hundred practitioners had cut their stomachs open looking for the Dharma Wheel that turns in response to the practice of the five meditative exercises characteristic of the movement. Indeed, many of their fellow followers had been arrested in Tianjin, following condemnation of their movement by physicist He Zouxiu of the Chinese Academy of the Sciences. He had claimed that Falun Gong had been responsible for several deaths (Bejsky 2004, 190).This paper will examine the complex relationship between FalunGong and the Chinese government, exploring the reality behind the claims and counterclaims in relation to the former’s stated opposition to suicide. This will be contrasted with other Falun Gong writings which encourage adherents to refuse medical treatment and medication in order to rid themselves of karma.
99. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Kjersti Hellesøy Special Issue: Suicide: Why Do People Kill Themselves In The Name Of Religion?
100. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 1 > Issue: 3
Katarina Plank Living torches of Tibet – Religious and Political Implications of the Recent Self-Immolations
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Self-immolation is not an ordinary suicide or self-destructive act, but has a religious dimension since one’s own body is seen as a gift for a greater cause. This article highlights the specific Buddhist ritual and textual heritage when analyzing the recent wave of self-immolations in Tibet, and incorporates the act in a wider Buddhist set of practices called ”gift of the body”. The first political sacrifices made in the 1960s intended to save Buddhism at a time when it was perceived as being threatened in South Vietnam, and later focus shifted towards bringing an end to the Vietnam War. As a result, their sacrifices were addressed to Vietnamese politicians and to the global community. Nearly fifty years later, a new wave of self-immolations have occurred in Tibet – with previously no tradition of self-immolation – and this time, the fiery suicides by Tibetan monks and former monks can be seen as an expression of the nationalist struggle for a free Tibet.