N19 mailing new


Apr 25, 2019
08:00-09:00 Conference Registration Desk Open / Mesa de inscripción abierta
09:00-09:45 Conference Opening / Conferencia inaugural—Dr. José Luis Ortega Martín, Scientific Director, Common Ground Research Networks, Professor, University of Granada, Spain and Dr. Luis Roger Castillo, Conference President, Center of Byzantine, Modern Greek, and Cypriot Studies, University of Granada, Spain "Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships"

CONSCIERTO preformed by Musialma Project:

The Highest Wish …………………………………………………………………….P. Posadas
Cuenco y voz 
Obra gráfica “Andalucía”

Tú eres la paz…………………………………………………………………….P. Posadas 
Voz, guitarra, flauta y darbuka 
Obra gráfica “Isis”

Aad Guray Nameh…………………………………………………………………….P. Posadas
Voz, flauta y darbuka 
Obras gráficas “Shiva” “Vishnu” y “Brahma”

Om Mani Padme Hum…………………………………………………………………….P. Posadas
Voz, guitarra, flauta y Bendhir 
Obra gráfica “Tara Blanca”

Ave María Caccini…………………………………………………………………….V. Vavilov
Obra gráfica “Mighty Wind”
Voz, flauta y guitarra 

Aleluya……………………………………………………………………. L. Cohen 
Obra gráfica “Euterpe”
Texto adaptado de P. Posadas
Voz, guitarra, flauta y darbuka
09:45-10:45 Plenary Session / Sesión plenaria—Dr. Roger Ferrer Ventosa, Professor, University of Girona, Spain

Frenzy, Mania, Possession: Visual Arts and the Daimonic, from Plato's Phaedrus to The Exorcist

Roger Ferrer Ventosa earned his PhD in humanities in 2018. IN his thesis, he investigated the links between art theory, artistic practices, and magical/symbolic thinking. The goal in his research has been to shed some light on how ideas can transform themselves in visual material. This is crucial because it helps us to better understand mankind and how human beings conceive themselves and the universe. One of the consequences is that visual material serves as a thermometer to spot variations in the history of ideas in societies. Taking his articles and chapters into consideration, he has published for difference fields of knowledge, such as religious studies, film studies, literature, cultural studies, anthropology of art, visual culture, history of philosophy, aesthetics, etc.; that is evidence that he is capable of conducting transdisciplinary research, although his area of expertise hinges on how ideas become images, and why images are the best epistemological tool for referring to something spiritual, metaphysical, or related notions.

Furia, manía, posesión. Artes visuales y lo daimónico, del Fedro de Platón a El exorcista

Roger Ferrer Ventosa obtuvo el doctorado en humanidades en 2018. El contenido de su tesis refleja la investigación que llevó a cabo acerca de las conexiones existentes entre la historia del arte, las prácticas artísticas y el pensamiento mágico/simbólico. El objetivo de su investigación aspiraba arrojar cierta  luz respecto a cómo las ideas pueden transformarse a sí mismas en el material visual. Este es un aspecto primordial, debido a que nos ayuda a comprender con más profundidad a la especie humana y cómo los seres humanos se conciben a sí mismos y al universo. Una de las consecuencias de ello es que el material visual desempeña el papel de termómetro que registra las variaciones ocurridas en la historia de las ideas y las sociedades. Sus publicaciones —artículos y capítulos— versan sobre diferentes áreas temáticas: estudios religiosos, estudios cinematográficos, literatura, estudios culturales, antropología del arte, cultura visual, historia de la filosofía, estética, etc. Todo ello constata su evidente capacidad de llevar a cabo una investigación de carácter transdisciplinar, aunque su área dominante se articula en torno a cómo las ideas devienen en imágenes, y en por qué las imágenes constituyen la herramienta epistemológica óptima de referencia aplicable a ciertos conceptos de carácter espiritual y metafísico, además de a otras nociones estrechamente relacionadas.
10:45-11:15 Garden Conversation / Charlas de jardín

Garden Conversations are informal, unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet plenary speakers and talk with them at length about the issues arising from their presentation. When the venue and weather allow, we try to arrange for a circle of chairs to be placed outdoors.

Las charlas de jardín son sesiones informales no estructuradas que permiten reunirse con ponentes plenarios y conversar tranquilamente sobre temas derivados de su ponencia. Cuando el lugar y el clima lo permiten, se realizan en el exterior.
11:15-11:25 Transition Break / Pausa
11:25-12:10 Talking Circles / Mesas redondas

Held on the first day of the conference, Talking Circles offer an early opportunity to meet other delegates with similar interests and concerns. Delegates self-select into groups based on broad thematic areas and introduce themselves and their research interests to one another.

Celebradas el primer día del congreso, las mesas redondas constituyen una de las primeras oportunidades para conocer a otros participantes con intereses y preocupaciones similares. Los participantes eligen los grupos que prefieren según grandes áreas temáticas y se sumergen en grandes debates sobre los temas y problemáticas para el área correspondiente de la Red de Investigación.

Room 1: Bases religiosas (español)
Room 2: Comunidad religiosa y socialización (español)
Room 3: La política de la religión​ (español)
Room 4: Tema destacado 2019 - Símbolos religiosos universales: Influencias mutuas y relaciones específicas (español)

Room 5: Religious Foundations (English)
Room 6: Religious Community and Socialization (English)
Room 7: The Politics of Religion​ (English)
Room 8: 2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships (English)
12:10-13:10 Lunch / Almuerzo
13:10-14:50 PARALLEL SESSIONS
Room 1 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 2 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 3 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 4 The Spiritual Path

The Inauguration of Spirituality through Repentance: Christian Metanoia as a Way to Encounter the Other
João Pedro Javera, PHd Student, Clinical Psychology, Student/University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Gilberto Safra, Full Professor, Psicologia Clínica, UNiversidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Overview: Christian theology provides some criteria for evaluating the authenticity of the inauguration of a spiritual path, and repentance seems to be the most valuable and unanimous of them among its various denominations. This is so because Christianity regards repentance (or metanoia, from the Greek) as an event of profound and potent transformation in the way by which an individual comes to direct and use his energies and potentialities, since it decentralizes and weakens the confidence he has in himself and in his natural and intellectual powers. Such distrust in self-sufficiency can disclose in the human being a wound, that can, eventually, be actualized as a request for help and a search for the encounter with the Other. The word repentance is commonly understood as the range of psychological phenomena produced by feelings of guilt and regret for mistakes made in the past. However, metanoia (literally "change of mentality"), saves greater and clearer meaning of the completeness of the phenomenon of repentance, since it is the transformation that takes place in the human consciousness after the individual has lost the confidence in itself (through suffering), setting himself in readiness for an intimate encounter with the Other (the only possibility for real constitution). Our present aim is, in dialogue with some great Christian contemporary theologians - Christos Yannaras, Sergey Horujy and John Zizioulas -, to understand the place repentance occupies in Christian theology and in its anthropology, investigating in which ways it inaugurates and sustains an individual in his spiritual path.
Theme:Religious Foundations

The Voice and the Voiceless: Startling Sacred and Sacred Starting
Hermel Pama, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
Overview: The study explores voice as a paradigm of culturally-appropriated hierophanies, with its binary, the "voiceless" referring to silent manifestations employing visual and other experiential modes of communication. I posit that this is a common theme in the various religious phenomena in the Catholic cult of saints in the Philippines. Proceeding by way of exemplarity, the study devolves from a comparison of two most popular religious icons, that is, Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in the Bicol Region, and Our Lady of Manaoag in Manaoag, Pangasinan. The former attracts thousands of devotees in an annual fluvial procession in the Bicol River, where the sacred image has been fished out of, according to local religious myth. Our Lady of Manaoag gathers a daily influx of pilgrims from all over the country throughout the year. The shrine on top of a hill is the site where, according to local lore, the image appeared and called (manaoag), facilitating the natives’ conversion to the Catholicism. I argue that both revelatory models are found in the narratives of the sacred as Santong Boses (sacred voice), in the religious tradition surrounding Mount Banahaw in the Southern Tagalog region, which was a center of native resistance that eventually led to the Philippine Revolution of 1898, thereby highlighting a pre-colonial mediation in the present, and for the future. Throughout, the study explores voice as contested power, and as universal paradigm in God talk: as startling starts, and at the start/incipience of religion as a startling experience.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Comparing Biblical Writings with the Five-Factor Model of Personality
David Rawlings, Senior Fellow (honorary), School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Doncaster, Victoria, Australia
Overview: Psychologists who take a "dimensional" approach to personality description frequently argue for a Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality. According to this view, five hierarchically arranged broad traits, factors or dimensions underlie non-intellectual individual differences between people within a population. The summary labels often given to the dimensions are Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Openness to Experience (or Intellect or Imagination). The proposed paper attempts to connect the five-factor model with the conceptual frameworks that appear in biblical writings. My starting point is the view of Duke University theologian Douglas Campbell, who understands the apostle Paul’s model of salvation to include the central concepts of life, death and sin, enslavement verses freedom, love, and the Spirit. I will show how these concepts are connected, respectively, to the processes underlying the FFM dimensions listed above. In addition to Campbell’s view, further evidence for the association will be provided using the writings of other contemporary biblical scholars, other biblical sources such as the gospels and the Hebrew writings, and (by way of contrast) the writings of Epicurus, an ancient scholar with ideas opposed to those of St Paul. Some possible interpretations and implications of the proposed relationship will be briefly discussed.
Theme:Religious Foundations
Room 5 Symbolism in the Religious Agenda

Shared Religious Symbols amongst Faith Communities of the Subcontinent: A Case Study of the Ismaili Devotional Literature
Sahista Chawdawala, Student, Secondary Teachers Educator Programme, The Institute of Ismaili Studies , London, United Kingdom
Overview: Religion is often seen as a polarizing factor in dividing the nation due to both the religious nationalism and communalism (Asani, 2002). Yet by studying the religion, one cannot but notice that religious traditions have many commonalities and accommodate several encounters. This idea will be explored by using an example of the Nizari Ismailis (the branch of Shi’i Muslims) which evolved in the Indian-Subcontinent in the thirteenth century and their devotional literature called gināns (devotional hymns). The community narratives talk about the dā‘īs (one who invites people to Islam) being sent to the Subcontinent by the Imams (spiritual leaders) living in Persia. It is believed that dā‘īs (known as pirs) used gināns to propagate their faith amongst the people of Sindh and Gujarat. Pirs adopted the Indic languages, culture, music and built on the Indian Bhakti (love and devotion) tradition to invite locals to their faith, Islam (Khan, 1997). The present paper will look at how ginanic tradition creatively used shared vocabularies and religious symbols to communicate the message of Islam. One such example is "virahini," the word used for a woman longing for her husband. The idea is borrowed from the Bhakti tradition and the symbol of virahini and its related metaphors and imageries are used in the gināns to communicate the notion of separation and spiritual union in Islam. Being a teacher of religion, I will also discuss how this idea allows a practitioner to promote tolerance and pluralism amongst her students using examples of pedagogic practices.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Book of Esther and Symbols of Tree and Cross
Dr. Pawel Plichta, Ph.D., Department of Intercultural Studies, Jagiellonian University
Overview: The aim of the article is to analyze the symbol of tree and cross in the Book of Esther. The story of the Jewish queen and her intervention with the king contributed to the salvation of Jews. The enemy of Jews was killed. "So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified" (Est. 7:10). Interesting interpretations of the biblical motive are found in some works with crucified Haman. This selected topos from the Book of Esther is an example of different interpretation of universal symbols in the context of religious traditions.
Theme:Religious Foundations

"Oh, Cross! Oh, Nails! Oh, Thorn!": Does the Religous Symbolism of Lorca's Poetry Reflect His Shifting Idea of Faith?
Erin Sessions, Associate Academic Dean, -, Morling College, Sydney, Australia
Overview: Perhaps Spain's best poet and playwright, Federico Garcia Lorca, was a self-proclaimed "anarchical-Catholic" and "a poet from birth and unable to help it." Adding to our enduring memory of Lorca is the mysterious circumstances of his death, having been assassinated by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. His early "Libro de Poemas" (1921) traverses the themes of religion and isolation. Later, Lorca's affinity for "deep song" provides the context for his "Romancero Gitano" (1928) and "Poema del cante jondo" (1931). Their eroticism and existentialism mirror his own exploration of sexuality and self. His anguish is palpable as his conception of religion and sexuality shift and prove anathema to the Catholic faith of of his youth. By the time he was writing his 'Poeta en Nueva York', Lorca's poetry had abandoned the lyricism of his earlier work and moved to expressions of alienation and dislocation. This paper analyses the religious symbolism of Lorca's poetry and investigates whether his developing use of symbolism over time reflects his changing attitude toward, and philosophy of, religion.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Religious Symbols from the Visual Semiotics' Point of View
Edit Gerencsér Újvári, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
Overview: The paper focuses on the visual symbols of religions. I would like to analyse three religious symbols from viewpoint of how they can be used to express the idea of religious-philosophical, theological theories. The first is a tribal symbol of a shaman drum from Central-Asia, the second is a medieval Christian motif with the main animal symbols of Christianity in a concentric circle-structure and the third is the Chinese Taoist symbol of Bagua with the eight octagonal trigrams and the Yin and Yang motif in its centre. All of them have a central geometrical structure and a complex visual content. Naturally, they have absolutely different cultural-religious background, subject matters, and themes, as we can understand their accurate meanings by their semantic examination. However, when they are submitted to a syntactic analysis, the similar visual logic in their compositions is clearly visible. According to the syntactic analyses. With the help of the theory and method of visual semiotics, we could analyse the common cognitive schemes in different religious symbols.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Room 6 Race, Religion, and Politics

How Gentrification Can Contribute to Racial Reconciliation: A Case Study
Annie Blazer, Associate Professor, Religious Studies, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, United States
Overview: This paper presents a case study of one religious group that actively promotes racial reconciliation in a neighborhood undergoing rapid gentrification. East End Fellowship is a non-denominational, evangelical group that emerged from several home churches in 2007 with an explicit mission to focus locally in their gentrifying neighborhood of Church Hill in Richmond, Virginia. While most churches in the U.S. remain racially segregated and tend to have older congregations, East End Fellowship is evenly black and white and skews younger with the average age of membership at 27. I am conducting a larger study on the churches of Church Hill exploring themes of racism, economic inequality, and neighborhood change. For this paper, I will focus on East End Fellowship to highlight the role of social and new media in their self-presentation and, in particular, how they pursue racial reconciliation through these media tools. I will argue that media works in this context for self-fashioning a radically local agenda that takes seriously past and present racism while promoting a vision of achievable racial reconciliation through Christianity. This deserves our attention because it stands in stark contrast to most congregations in the U.S. that either do not prioritize racial integration or have not been able to racially integrate. I hope to use this conference paper to engage in a larger conversation about the role of religious communities in the pursuit of social justice and racial reconciliation.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

The Multi-racial Experiment in Two South African Churches
Eugene Baron, Research Fellow, Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Overview: South Africa is still a much racially-divided society. Religions have to be one of the stakeholders in efforts of unity and reconciliation. However, it some cases the religions also struggle internally to provide lasting remedies. The paper will analyze the reasons for the failure of "multi-racial" projects in two, former mono-racial, South African churches. The author analyses two recent incidents where a schism occurred in two congregations, as a result of the introduction of a "multi-racial" project. The author will present the findings of the interviews held with members as well as church leaders to explore the reasons behind the failure of a project in the interest of society and reconciliation.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 7 Reason and Faith

Enhancing Credibility : Persuasive Strategies in Sermon Titles and Openings
Martin Adam, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
Overview: Since the emergence of the Aristotelian idea of appeal within the framework of his understanding of poetics, the concepts of ethos, pathos, and logos have indicated the essence of what came to be labelled much later as persuasive strategies. Although persuasion seems to be present in virtually all text types and registers, in many ways it is the religious discourse that utilises persuasion as one of its pivotal instruments to convince the audience of the veracity of the doctrine presented through it. The present paper explores scripted sermons, particularly sermon titles and opening passages, in terms of the persuasive strategies employed. The main emphasis is placed on how particular linguistic realisations of persuasion enhance the credibility of the message.
Theme:Religious Foundations

The Exemplar Symbol of Lucifer: The Conflict Between Reason and Faith in Gabriele Biondo’s Theology
Vito Guida, PhD candidate, Warburg Institute, University of London, London, Greater London, United Kingdom
Overview: This paper investigates how the theologian and secular priest Gabriele Biondo employed in his texts the symbol of Lucifer to express the conflict between reason and faith as the tension between intellect and senses. This symbol indicates the creature inability to confront the mystery of the dual nature of Christ. Biondo distinguishes between two forms of truth. In its first sense, truth can be understood as the uncovering (aletheia) of the actual reality presented before the senses (both spiritual and physical). This meaning is closely related to the notion of perception (Wahrnehmung) as it was developed by the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988). In its second sense, truth originates from the creatural intellectual capabilities and, therefore, closely associated with fantasy. Based on this presupposition, Biondo identified in Lucifer two faults. Firstly, his refusal to accept Christ as the Mediator, since he envisaged that the dual nature of Christ allowed for the introduction of temporal elements within the transcendent realm of the Trinity ad intra. Secondly, his active rebellion, based on pride (superbia), directed specifically at the Person of the Son. The conclusion is that, for Biondo, the difficulties produced by the dichotomy between reason and faith can be resolved only by recognizing that the Christian revelation (Trinity ad extra) is inseparable from the Filial obedience to the Father, expressed as the divine Love of the Holy Spirit (Trinity ad intra).
Theme:Religious Foundations

The Spiritual Truth behind the Hindu and Nazi Swastika
Jayant Athavale, His Holiness Dr, Research, Maharshi University of Spirituality, Ponda, Goa, India
Dragana Kislovski, Spiritual Researcher, Maharshi University of Spirituality, India
Sean Clarke, Spiritual Science Research Foundation

Overview: Depending on the context, the Swastika is recognised as one of the most auspicious or heavily vilified symbols in the world. Originating as a sacred symbol in Hinduism and it was also used by other Eastern religions. Despite its sacred origins, the Swastika has become so widely associated with Nazi Germany that any contemporary usage of the symbol frequently incites controversy. So, is the Swastika symbol spiritually beneficial to society or not, and should it be embraced or discarded? With 37 years of spiritual research experience, the team at the Maharshi University of Spirituality has studied the Swastika in great detail from a spiritual perspective. This research has been conducted by using aura and subtle-energy scanners along with the advanced sixth sense of its research team. Listed below are some key spiritual research findings related to the form and the colour of the Swastika, which can significantly affect the subtle vibrations it emits. It was found that if drawn incorrectly like the Nazi Swastika, it emits negative vibrations. On the other hand, if drawn in a spiritually correct manner like the Hindu Swastika, it was found that the Swastika has the capability of attracting and emitting positive spiritual energy. In such a form, it can be utilised decoratively for auspicious occasions as it provides a spiritual healing effect to the immediate environment.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Worship as Experience: Aesthetic Problems Churches Experience in the Organized Life of the Community
Dr. Paul Shockley, Lecturer of Philosohpy, Division of Multidisciplinary Programs, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogodoches , Texas, United States
Overview: In his seminal work, Art as Experience (1934), American philosopher John Dewey offered an extensive account about the nature aesthetic experience, the origin and use of the arts, and the resultant problems of anemia (personally and collectively) when the arts are separated from the organized life of the community. The proposed paper applies Dewey's critique of the arts to common aesthetic problems churches experience. Dewey's account of aesthetics offers penetrating insight into what engenders aesthetic experiences in corporate worship but also explains how local churches can use the arts to bridge the culture gap in the communities in which they are embedded. The implications are far-reaching for authentic spirituality, community life, and religious expressions of worship. After summarizing Dewey's ideas of the nature of aesthetic experience, I will critique four major types of aesthetics problems churches face: isolation of aesthetics from community; reductionistic focus of aesthetics in corporate worship; sensational indulgence in worship; mindless mechanical routine in worship. Afterwards, I will integrate Dewey's aesthetics in such a way that it can be used by local churches to advance the arts, leaving a rich aesthetic legacy of spirituality that will qualitatively benefit communities in the most dynamic ways.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 8 Change Initiatives

Movement for Unity and Reform as an Islam-oriented Movement
Dr Driss Bouyahya,
Overview: Since the beginning of the twenty century the Islam-oriented movements have attracted the attention of many scholars and intellectuals to dismantle the mysteries of these movements’ paradigms and ideologies on the one hand and to produce insightful literary scholarship on the flourishing, the massive support and sympathy that they got from their peoples, on the other hand, starting from the case of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and ending up with the Movement of Unity and Reform in Morocco. Yet, this literary scholarship is to be blamed for one important issue which is its deficiency in terms of deciphering some of the communicative ways and techniques that these Islam-oriented movements use as means to recruit and attract their adherents. In this vein, the present study tries to investigate and explores some of the ways that are utilized by the Movement for Unity and Reform as an Islam-oriented movement to address and attract students to join it. This paper is twofold. First, it tackles some of the essential mechanisms for the Islam-oriented social movements to mobilize. Second, it is an empirical study that uncovers the ways these religious movements endeavor to recruit new students on universities campuses. The rationale behind conducting this study is to identify some of the techniques and tools that are used by the Movement for Unity and Reform in the recruiting process. Besides, it is to highlight whether the contact takes place from the part of the movement or vice-versa.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Islam and Multiculturalism
Sobhi Rayan, Lecturer, Islamic Studies, AL Qasemi Academy, Baqa ELqarbiah, Israel
Overview: This paper aims to explain and analyze the concept of cultural difference/ Ikhtilaf in the Qur’ān. Islam introduces a model for human communication between cultures at the levels of individuals and groups. This model is based on human values that guarantee the dignity of man and his human rights. The principle of difference in Islam means the acceptance of the other different person by establishing relations that are based on acquaintance, dialogue, sharing and reciprocity. Difference became an important conceptual tool in the framework of willingness to accept diversity in traditional Muslim societies and has remained an important part of Muslim discourse. The "different" people possess evidence to prove their truths, since "difference" is used in a saying that is based on evidence, and the established truth that is based on this evidence grants its holder moral and logical confidence, thereby making him more open to the others. In addition, evidence indicates the power of argumentative logic and the high degree of the epistemological level of the ones who differentiate. Whereas the concept of difference is based upon rationality and logic, it also carries a moral dimension as a complementary unity, and thus difference turns out to be a fundamental element in the establishment of a civilized creative society.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Quran Reading and Arab Spring: Pro-Democratic Impact of Islamist Parties
Hüseyin Emre Ceyhun, Graduate Student, Economics, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey
Overview: The contestation of social contracts during the Arab Spring proved to be a wellspring of debate over the relationship between society and the state. Arab citizens began to question the fundamental underpinnings of civic identity, generating intense debate over the nature of governance, religion, and identity. One of the most potent dialectics that re-escalated after the Arab Spring is Islam’s compatibility with democracy. This work interrogates this question by evaluating the changing circumstances and environments. Using the Arab Barometer Wave I – IV data from 2007 to 2016, I measure pre- and post-Arab Spring attitudes towards democracy among Quran readers, the group most likely to form their attitudes towards democracy based on their interpretation of the holy manuscripts. After the Arab Spring, Quran readers became more likely to cite support for democracy than those who rarely read the Quran. Those who read the Quran frequently are more likely to: participate in politics; support for gender equality; be tolerant to outgroup members; and, believe that freedom of speech is one of the most important characteristics of democracy. The reason those who read the Quran more frequently become supportive of democracy after the Arab Spring, I argue, is related to the rise of Islamist parties and movements becoming an architecture of political environments in their countries after the Arab Spring. I find that Quran readers are more likely to support democracy if they support political Islam.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 9 Belief and Practice

Australian Multiculturalism and the Problem of the Religious "Other"
Greg Mac Donald, PhD Student, Centre for Islamic Thought and Education, University of South Australia, Magill, South Australia, Australia
Overview: Whilst Australia is clearly a very successful multicultural society, ironically, a notable feature of its policy is the absence of inclusion as a governing principle. The policy merely provides a neutral space in which the religious "other" has the right to their beliefs and practices, whilst the religious majority has the obligation of tolerance. In an effort to compensate for this absence, well-intentioned state promoters of interfaith dialogue have generally focused on our religious commonalities, in an effort to highlight a "sameness." This is intended to reduce our fear of the "other" and thereby promote greater levels of social cohesion. However this paper will argue that it is ultimately a cosmopolitanist emphasis on our religious differences that will not only be more ideologically aligned with multiculturalist theory, but more importantly, elevate us to an inclusivity that transcends the passivity of mere tolerance.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Ritual and Realism : Mediating the Sacred in Hinduism and Christianity
Sebastian Madathummuriyil, Associate Professor, Theology, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, United States
Overview: The human quest for experiencing the transcendent lies at the core of every religion. Ritual symbolic celebrations are crucial mediators of this transcendent reality. The worshiping assembly experiences the divine through these ritual symbolic enactments. This paper intends to explore these ritual symbolic dynamics that evoke and embody the divine presence with specific focus on the Sri Vaishnava worship and the Christian/Catholic liturgy. This is done by a comparative engagement of the theology of Arcāvatāra (divine presence in the idol/image) in Sri Vaishnavism and the notion of symbolic efficacy in contemporary Christian/Catholic theology. While the sacramental mediations in different religions take diverse forms of expressions and meaning, there seems to exist a collective identity in the scheme of realizing the divine-human encounter for the believing community. Finally, I will show how studying these various forms of divine-human encounter in a ritual symbolic mode across religious borders can promote better understanding and mutual respect among religious traditions.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Doors of Hope: Baha'i Western-women Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Shay Rozen, Givat Ada, Israel
Overview: Since its beginning, the Baha'i faith saw pilgrimage as one of the rituals that the believer should fulfill, at least once, during his lifetime. According to Kitab-i-Aqdas (the most holy book), the destination of the pilgrims should be the house of the Bab in Shiraz and the house of Bahaullah in Bagdad. However, during the time, especially after Bahaullah passed away, and due to difficulties reaching Iran or Iraq, the focus of Baha'i pilgrimage became the cities of Akko and Haifa (Palestine) that became the Baha'is "holy land." At the end of the 19th century, as the Baha'i faith started to spread around the western world, women became the core and majority of the believers of the new religion that emerge from the east and started to execute pilgrimage to Akko and Haifa. Among those early women pilgrims were Phoebe Hearst, Lady Bloomfield, Genevieve Coy and others. As part of their western culture, some of those women wrote diaries of their journey that became important source for studying Baha'is History, Geography spared and the development of Baha'is pilgrimage tradition, heritage, performance and rituals. Among those aspects will be the development of route and sites of the pilgrimage trail, the traditions and performance that became part of the pilgrimage heritage and the influence of eastern pilgrimage traditions and rituals on the new western believers.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Minorities in Pakistan: Blasphemy Law and the Injustice towards Aasia Bibi
Sulaiman Ahmed, PhD Candidate, Philosophy, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, United Kingdom
Overview: The treatment of minorities in Pakistan is a real life problematic issue. To a certain extent it was highlighted by the incarceration of a poor Christian woman in Pakistan, which was based on ‘Islamic’ blasphemy law. This paper will analyse the blasphemy laws in Pakistan and how this relates to the classical Islamic positions in legal jurisprudence. We will analyse the case of Aasia Bibi, the injustices that are linked to the case, and how the voice of religious fanatics seek to muddy any hope of the re-evaluation the law. The paper will introduce, analyse and compare the various positions within classical Islam in relation to the laws of blasphemy, as well as the treatment of minorities in Muslim majority countries. More recently, we had certain individuals who took the issue of blasphemy a step further my taking the law into their own hands and killing minorities who they claimed had committed blasphemy. These vigilante killings were applauded by some Muslim scholars. The recent appointment of Imran Khan as the prime minister of Pakistan and his vocal support of these archaic blasphemy laws has further compounded the problem. This paper will attempt to show that the treatment of Minorities in Pakistan is anti-Islamic and against the position of Islam.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
14:50-15:00 Coffee Break / Pausa para el café
15:00-16:15 PARALLEL SESSIONS
Room 1 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 2 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 3 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 4 Education, Spirituality, and Religion

Is Religiosity a Risk or a Protective Factor? : The Connection between Religiosity and Deviance among Religious Youths
Vered Ne'eman Haviv, DR., Criminology, Ariel University, Beit-Arie, Israel
Yael Wilchek Aviad, dr., Ariel University, Israel
Chaim Lahav, DR, Beit Berl Academic College, Israel

Overview: The purpose of this preliminary study was to examine the connection between religiosity and deviance, focusing on the phenomenon of risk behavior among Jewish orthodox national-religious youth at-risk. The study was conducted by using qualitative research methods, using interviews with 66 participants in six focus groups among teenagers and young people at-risk, normative youth and professionals social educators working among the adolescents and young adults within the national-religious sector. Analysis of the research findings exposes several main themes that touch upon the issue of religion as both a protecting and a risk factor for religious youths, beginning with the question of personal identity, and continue with the influence of social control and social labeling.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Religious Cognitive Beliefs, Emotional Attachment, and Behavioral Commitment and Its Relationship with the Self-regulation of Adolescents
Leslie Chaundy, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Overview: Research indicates that religion has played a vital role in the founding of the American nation as well as the American education system. However, over the years religion has been taken out of the educational realm and is no longer considered an important variable in impacting educational outcomes. Jeynes (2010) suggests that establishing a relationship with student outcomes is fundamental if one is to present a strong case for religious courses in schools. The purpose of this study is to examine the different aspects of the religiosity of youth and to determine whether they are associated with academic and behavioral outcomes. It is the hope that this study will distinguish among some of the different aspects of religiosity, shed further light on the potential impact of scripture reading and prayer in schools, and in some small way, demonstrate the importance of the role of religion in education. This study examined the National Study of Youth & Religion dataset which used both quantitative and qualitative methods along with cross sectional and longitudinal research designs. A randomized telephone survey of American youth was completed between 2002 and 2008 and participants included 3,290 adolescents ages 13-17, as well as their parents. To provide specific answers to the research questions, descriptive and inferential statistics were calculated on the original telephone survey (Wave 1 in 2003) using Statistical Produce and Service Solutions (SPSS) and included correlation, regression, and one-way anova tests. Overall, this study is important for education and has many implications for schools.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

The Spiritual Disciplines Project: Increasing Student Engagement in the World Religions Course
Alice Wood, Associate Professor of Religion, Religion, Bethune-Cookman University, Ormond Beach, United States
Overview: Students in an online world religion course are encouraged to try six traditional disciplines found in almost all of the world’s religions. Emphasizing common practices found in religious communities, including their own Christian tradition, encourages students new to religious studies to find commonalities instead of only differences. Practicing the disciplines in the Christian tradition allays fears of studying unfamiliar religions. The first three disciplines, to be practiced for three consecutive weeks, are the “inward” disciplines of prayer, fasting, and silence. The second three disciplines, to be practiced for another three consecutive weeks, are the “outward” disciplines of chastity, simplicity, and charity. After each of the three week periods, students write reflection papers on their experiences—both positive and negative—and connect their practice to spiritual disciplines around the world. Students’ personal accounts of both successes and failures with the disciplines themselves provide insight into the millennial generation’s values and struggles. The popularity of the project speaks to students’ desire for connection between learning and lived experience. Results and trends among student responses to the project will be presented, along with excerpts from student papers about their experiences of the various disciplines. Copies of teaching materials will be available to participants.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 5 Divisions and Conflicts

Cold War Evangelicalism’s Theology of Dissimulation
Dr. Taylor West, Researcher, Contemporary History, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Overview: The Cold War was a time in which religion, according to Hannah Arendt and Kevin M. Kruse, was thrust back into the realm of politics. At the forefront of this struggle were American evangelicals who began to vie for political power and who would eventually wield tremendous political influence. They navigated this shifting landscape with a theology of dissimulation. Through this developing theology, evangelicals could maintain the fiction that they were "in the world but not of the world," a notion that scholars have pointed to as irrefutable evidence of evangelical apoliticism—a consensus that has held sway until quite recently. The evangelical theology of dissimulation—of feigning holy remove yet engaging undeniably in politics—was communicated via concepts related to militarism, market capitalism, and organicism. The purpose of this paper is to explore what these concepts communicated, to whom they were directed, and how they made up an expanding constellation of politic discourse in the erupting tensions of the Cold War. Second, this paper means to demonstrate how evangelicals stepped away from merely spiritual notions of salvation and how they refashioned their faith into a theoretical avenue to various earthly ends: a way to save the nation, to destroy communism, to protect idealized notions of masculinity, to achieve worldly prosperity. Finally, this paper will demonstrate how evangelicalism qua political solution was used to thwart social movements and social change, which evangelicals believed threatened to blur the most deep-set contours of their identity.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Violence and Torture in Religion and Human Rights in Mexico and El Salvador
Ms. Gloria Velasquez, Adjunct Associate Professor, Foreign Language Department, Austin Community College, San Marcos, Texas, United States
Alba Elizabeth Melgar,

Overview: Violence, Torture and Human Rights are concepts intrinsically related. Violence and religion on the contrary are mutually exclusive given that Violence is "the intentional use of physical force against another person” and religion is based on respect and peace. Violence incited, perpetrated and justified in the name of religion is a shocking reality in different parts of the globe, and the brutality displayed in such acts frequently leaves observers speechless given that most Religions in one way or another are based on the Messianic principles of love, tolerance and mutual respect. Violence with religious undercurrents, moreover, is an extremely multifaceted phenomenon we will discuss in our presentation. It is known that Mexico and El Salvador are two of the most violent Countries in the Planet. In this work we will explore the causes and consequences of violence in those Countries. We will analyze if, in these countries Religion have been a cause or a deterrent of violence and torture. El Salvador offers a unique example in which the Catholic Church opposed violence to the point of sacrificing its priests defending the people against the violence committed by the governments against the citizens whose rights Government meant to safeguard. On the other hand, violence in Mexico also presents a unique case for its magnitude and the role of the Catholic Church.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

The Politics of Latinx Evangelicals in the Age of Trump
Dr. Liesl Haas Haas, California State University
Overview: As a result of immigration, Latinx membership in Evangelical churches is skyrocketing, and they are now the fastest-growing demographic within American Evangelicalism. Together with the increasing political liberalization of young Evangelicals, members of many Evangelical churches are rethinking their church’s conservative position on immigration. The emergence of a new cohort of young Latinx leaders makes it increasingly likely that this change at the base will translate in the next years into an Evangelical challenge to the Republican Party on immigration. The anti-immigration stance of a number of highly visible Evangelical leaders, such as Jerry Falwell, Jr., and their support for the hard-line anti-immigration policies of the Trump Administration, belie a more complicated immigration debate taking place within the Evangelical community. Key sectors within Evangelical Christianity have begun calling for immigration reform, framing the need for reform in theological terms (“welcoming the stranger”). Once policy issues become theological issues, they become “sticky” and resistant to change. My research argues that if a more progressive position on immigration takes hold within American Evangelical Christianity, it will pose an existential challenge to the Republican Party. How both the Republican and Democratic parties respond to this challenge will not only impact the national debate on immigration but could fundamentally alter electoral politics in the United States. This research aims to highlight the ways that shifts in public opinion within religious groups in the US have profound impacts on state and national politics.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 6 Cultural Universals

The Return to the Sacred: Culture and Religion in Daniel Bell
Esther Rodríguez Losada, Student, Philosophy Faculty, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
Overview: Daniel Bell, an American Jewish sociologist, explains how the attempt to justify the meaning of life through other instances different from religion, has turned out not to be enough. In the last two centuries there has been a decline of religious belief, due to capitalism and the presuppositions of modern culture, among other reasons. Either because it fragments existential unity and disintegrates man into three manifestation spheres: techno-economic, political and cultural, each of them governed by autonomous principles and without the possibility of a unitary sense; or because it seeks an immanent hold on the world based on the idolatry of the "I." The man, in the attempt to give himself meaning, has fallen into nihilism, where he does not find criteria to guide his action beyond individual experience which, far from allowing him to judge his actions with meaning, weakens social ties. Because of that, he proposes a return to the sacred through a resurrection of the memory, that is, to go back on the issues and "cultural universals" faced by the existing consciousness and provide a complete and concrete worldview that places the man in the world and gives him parameters of sense and meaning for his behavior. Bell's vision of religion will be examined and it will be determined if this vision ends up immanently reducing itself into culture or if, on the contrary, it is able to free itself from modern presuppositions and place itself over culture.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Cultivating Positive Dynamics amid Complex Identity Conflict: The Case of “Islam and the West”
Nathan Funk, Chair and Associate Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada
Overview: The unsettling polarization, politicization, and securitization of cultural and religious identities linked to “Islam” and “the West” is a complex transnational phenomenon, within which seemingly localized political and military conflicts have given rise to more widespread tensions and anxieties. These tensions and anxieties, in turn, have been harnessed by populist and often authoritarian political movements in a variety of different contexts, through consistent messaging about how the “other” represents a profound threat to the national, cultural, and religious “self.” Drawing on insights from interdisciplinary conflict analysis as well as from constructivism and identity theory, this paper outlines principles that can be applied both to generate better understanding of Islamic-Western identity politics and to enhance options for peacemaking. After noting dynamic processes through which religious symbols, identities, and values are being invoked to accentuate differences and sharpen hostilities, attention will be given to ways in which cultural and religious dimensions of contemporary conflicts might be transformed through intentional efforts to reframe fundamental issues, foster new narratives, and stimulate the cooperative pursuit of an inclusive, human security agenda.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Conversion, Residues and Ongoing Translation: Narratives of Conversion among South Asian Inter-religious Families
Amna Majeed,
Overview: In this paper, I hope to reformulate the notion of religious conversion and broaden the meanings that conversion has attained in the socio-cultural imagination of contemporary India. Focusing upon the narratives of conversion among inter-religious couples and families, I intend to provide descriptions of the diverse ways in which religious conversion is experienced within inter-religious domestic spaces. A study of conversion among inter-religious families is very crucial to understand the transformation of religious subjectivities in the everyday of multi-religious spaces. My research focuses mainly on the daily observance of piety, the engagement with religious beliefs, practices and also addresses questions of religious identity, All these are crucially tied to the gendered subjectivities and conjugal life of my interlocutors as the site of my research is the family and the inter-religious domestic space. Therefore, I engage with narratives of conversion placed at the interstices of gendered and religious difference. This paper shall be based upon fieldwork conducted among inter-religious couples and families in the cities of Delhi, Muzaffarnagar and also among the South Asian diaspora in Canada and the United States. The fieldwork was conducted in early 2016 and late 2017 as a part of my Masters and M.Phil research work. In detailing the narratives of my interlocutors I hope to investigate and problematize the ontological character of conversion in inter-religious domestic spaces and contribute to the discourse around inter-religious marriages, conversion and the everyday of religious life.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences
Room 7 Socio-functional Structure

Religion and Community Development: Malay Muslim Community in Southern Thailand
Muhammadrorfee E Musor, Assistant Professor, Social Science, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani campus, Pattani, Thailand
Overview: Islam has played very important role in Malay Muslim communities, the rules of belief and the rules of praxis, framed their ways of life. Moreover, Islamic principles also use as norm to strengthen the relationship among their members. Therefore, in this incident research attempts to explaining the social-functional structure of the Muslim community and to explore how religion plays in a part in development in a Malay Muslim communities which can be seen as minority group in Thailand. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 5 key informants (Imam and village administrative board in Malay Muslim communities in Pattani province of Thailand) in collecting data. The study found that Malay Muslim communities use "Mushawarah," means the consultation in different matters, to solve the solutions for any problematic affairs, by setting the Shura or Mushawarah council to give advice which conformed Islamic principles. Thus, Mushawarah is so called "community development process" where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems within community.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Preserving Ethnic Identity through Religion: A case Study of Malay Muslims in Southern Thailand
Munirah Yamirudeng, Dr. / Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Department of Malay Studies, Prince of Songkla University - Pattani Campus, Pattani, Thailand
Overview: The issue of religion and ethnic identity is extremely complex, some theorists observes that in the mainstream perspective, religion is not seen as an essential component of identity. However, this notion has been challenged and different studies have shown the importance of religion for many ethnic minorities and argue for a strong link between religion, identity, and group membership. From the Southeast Asian perspective, particular religions are linked with particular cultures because they are lexically the most appropriate to express culturally embedded concepts. Malay Muslims make up the largest religious/ethnic minority in Theravada Buddhist Thailand, their ethnic identity as Malay-Muslim in southern Thailand is rapidly dissolved in the melting pot of Thai society. The preservation of Malay-Muslim identity has been a challenge rather than something we can take for granted. The fact remains that there is a need to the continuity of their community, and the preservation of their ethnicity indeed binds the Malay Muslims into viable and cohesive ethnic entity. Therefore, this paper is an attempt to discuss how religion was used as an important component to preserve and sustain their religious and ethnic identity among the Malay Muslims of southern Thailand.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Life Skill Development Model of Medium-sized Islamic Private School in Southern Border Provinces of Thailand: A Case Study of Pattana Islam School, Pattani Province
Direak Manmanah, Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus, Pattani, Thailand
Muhummudrapee Makeng, Researcher, Walailak University, Thailand
Awang Lanui, Lecturer, Prince of Songkla University

Overview: The subjects of this qualitative research included 16 school administrators, teachers, students’ parents, religious teachers, community leaders, current students, and alumni, side by side with three experts. The data were collected through in-depth interviews, focus group, and observations. The collected data were, then, categorized and connected for conclusions and interpretation. The reliability of the conclusions and interpretations were examined by experts of Muslim youth’s life skills development. The result of the study was that there are six inside school factors/conditions associated with the Muslim youth life skills development: kinship organizational culture, systematic student care, a good example of the administrators, a role model teacher, relationship and peer groups learning, and relationship and learning between the seniors and juniors. In addition, there are outside of the school factors/conditions associated with the development: the basic knowledge of the youth from TADIKA, relationship and outside of the school peer groups learning, warmly family nurture, the cooperation between the school and the community, and the cooperation between the school director, the community leaders, and the religious leaders. Therefore, this study recommended that Islamic private school administrators and teachers must be having the development of teaching both in religion and academic to cause a concrete educational integration among Islamic lessons and academic lessons via raising and promoting to design well-rounded lesson plan included both content having studying and teaching management and model of daily routine so that the process of life skill development for Islamic youth through Islamic private school will be highly effective.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 8 The Sacred Feminine

Patriarchy and the Sacred Feminine: The Indian Context
Dr. Madhumita Duttta, Assistant Professor, English, Vidyasgar College for Women, Kolkata, India
Overview: The living goddess tradition in India has deep and ancient roots. Vedic-Puranic eulogies have given the Feminine the highest philosophical-theological status as the Supreme Creatrix of the universe. This concept was further reinforced by the pro-feminist Tantra. A daring philosophy of the Sacred Feminine, Tantra depicts the goddess in her most terrible, wild and powerful form, which is not only "a horror" to the intellectual sensibility, but one from which the patriarchal psyche recoils in awe. Over time the Brahmanical systems of thought supplanted the goddess-cult as the mainstream religious practice, and made of the woman a thing evil and impure. This patriarchal imaging of the feminine, working under the banner of religionism helped build up the oppressive social-religious structures, and the "fear" of the feminine resulted in marginalizing Goddesses into the periphery of established culture. This understanding of power as a masculine attribute is a misogynist deviation from the concept of the Divine Feminine. The ancient religious tradition of India violates any idea of the subdued, subjugated, colonized woman, and advocates instead the worship of Sakti---the feminine cosmic power. The condition of the woman today presents a picture of amazing contrast between the repressive masculine culture and the Sakti-cult of India. We need to get back in touch with the "feminine" in us, reclaim our inheritance of Sakti to rejuvenate the atrophied psycho-cultural realms. My paper focuses on how the feminist-oriented theology of India is not only an anti-dote to phallic culture, but also the means of spiritual regeneration.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Sacramentality in the Visions and Art of St. Hildegard of Bingen: Divine Eros, Bodies, and Prophet to Post-Critical Theory
Sarah Livick Moses, ROSLINDALE, MA, United States
Overview: In this paper, I will explore the artistic depictions of St. Hildegard of Bengin’s visions as they affectivity provide a redeeming cosmological and sacramental world-view. While certainly acting as signs to the higher realities presented in her visions, it is worth exploring the ways in which the art birthed from Hildegard’s mystical experience hold grace on its own account. Most importantly, the art pieces available provide new shades of perceiving reality which may better inform an appreciation for encountering the world as sacrament. While beauty baptizes the flesh of the world towards an aesthetic encounter with the incarnate Word, the ultimate end of both art and sacramental worship supersede an exclusive concern for an appreciation of “beauty.” Beauty, transformation, and grace are instead mediated through the world that is opened to the perceiver upon beholding the piece of art. The immediacy present in such an encounter is not just an aesthetic experience of something being depicted as it “should be.” The sacramental encounter mediated in art is instead one of being accosted. The depiction of divine eros and female bodies in Hildegard's visionary work capture this moment of capture, setting her up as a prophet both theologically and as a voice that reaches towards post-critical feminist theory.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 9 Understanding Sacred Texts

Living God’s Names : Deciphering the Symbolic Cosmology of Islam
William Rory Dickson, Associate Professor , Religion and Culture , University of Winnipeg , Winnipeg , Canada
Meena Sharify Funk, Associate Professor , Wilfrid Laurier University , Canada

Overview: The relationship between names and what they name, between signifiers and signified, has a rich history of discussion in a variety of religious and philosophical traditions. Within the Islamic tradition, names play a role the significance of which is hard to overestimate. In particular, the 99 Beautiful Names of God or asma’ al-husna remain a foundational, if understudied element of Islam. Islamic theology, philosophy, and mysticism are premised on the Names of God found in the Qur’an, which communicate something of God’s qualities in human language. For the famous Sufi master and metaphysician Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 1240), who’s influence on the later Islamic tradition is paramount, the names of God take ‘center stage’ in his voluminous works. This paper will explore how Ibn al-‘Arabi understands the Names of God in relation to his overall cosmology, underscoring how the Names are understood to correspond with and shape the various elements of space and time that make up our world.
Theme:Religious Foundations

A Structural Analysis of Qur’an 56: Whose Assessment is it Anyway?
Zakyi Ibrahim,
Overview: Muslim experts of Arabic literature generally believe that structurally, the Qur’an is a beautiful edifice, full of captivating and attractive eloquence. Sources show that, Al-Walid ibn al-Mughira, a non-Muslim contemporary of the Prophet, allegedly praised the Qur’an for its beauty. However, some modern non-Muslims are of different opinions altogether. Thomas Carlyle’s 1840 lecture on Prophet Muhammad and the Qur’an, though uniquely meant to dismiss and deflect the contemporary negative and harsh criticisms of both, nonetheless, painted a far less than flattery picture of the Qur’an. “It is a toilsome reading…wearisome confused jumble, crude, incondite; endless iteration, long-windedness, entanglement; most crude, incondite – insupportable stupidity, in short!” Carlyle insisted. (Carlyle, 198). This paper—without engaging in apologetics or attempting to come down on other side of the question of the Qur’an’s aesthetic qualities—will focus on the stylistics of chapter 56 (al-Waqi‘at) and analyze its internal structural consistencies. By recourse to contemporary theories of writing, I will show that Q. 56 is, in structure and form, an excellent example of “internal coherence,” consisting of a succinct preamble, a detailed elaboration with supporting elements, and finally, a summary and specific conclusion. Reference will of course be made to the work of Neuwirth (2007) and Cuypers (2009, 2011).
Theme:Religious Foundations

Mystical Theology as an Answer to Transreligious Identity Problems in the Letter to the Galatians of Paul, the Jew
Witkamp Theo, Head, Center for Professional Formation and Spirituality, Protestant Theological University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Overview: The famous dictum, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20), can be found in a highly polemical section of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. The context is one in which religious boundaries between Jews and non-Jews are transgressed at the common meal. This resulted in heated discussions about Jewish loyalty and identity. Paul, a Jew and an apostle of Christ, took a firm stance in these matters and advanced a prolific argument in favor of his transreligious position. It is the purpose of my paper to discuss the intersection of Paul’s mysticism and the communal life in early nascent Christianity. I contend that the way he deals with the problems he encountered in his days transcends the constraints of history and can be inspirational in a modern context.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
16:15-16:20 Transition Break / Pausa
16:20-17:35 PARALLEL SESSIONS
Room 1 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 2 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 4 Honoring Mother Earth

In the Lands of World Maker : Reclaiming Native Space in Northeastern California and Settler Colonialism
Deserea Langley, Native American Studies , University of California, Davis, Carmichael, United States
Overview: World Maker traveled throughout Northeastern California creating and naming the landscape for people. World Maker formed the world according to the resources found at each place designating places that were livable, places that should be cautionary and places that had resources for people to use. Native American responsibility to land is inherently tied to the transmission of knowledge which offer lessons and values that are shared through oral stories and religious ceremonies. Native American responsibility to land is inherently tied to the transmission of knowledge which guide the morality of people and communities, offering lessons and values that are shared through oral stories, religious ceremonies, and land management. Dispossession from traditional homelands serve as a primary factor to the fracture of Native American religious activities and responsibilities that tie Maidu, Paiute, Pit River and Washoe people to the Northeastern California landscape. My research focuses on the disruption of “Susanville Indians” knowledge systems under the Dawes Allotment Act of 1887. The act assisted in the surveying of Indian land to divide Indian communal land holdings into individual allotments. Exploitative economies and the outright selling of Indian land denied access to sacred sites and knowledge centers that are imperative to the identity, religious ceremonies, and land management of Susanville Indian tribal members. As a foundation, I use the Mountain Maidu creation story to shape the discussion on interaction by tribal members to revitalize religious practices, language and land management.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Nature as Object and Symbol: Qur'an as a Source for Islamic Environmental Ethics
Jakub Koláček, Research assistant, Department of the Middle East, Charles University in Prague, Praha, Czech Republic
Overview: If we look at texts of contemporary Muslim authors attempting to formulate appropriate ethical stance towards environmental issues, we can distinguish between two different notions of nature based on interpretation of the Qur'anic text. The first one is “objectual” and treats nature as actually existent entity present in the world and carrying specific qualities, being open to human discovery, encounter, use and management. The second one is that of a symbol referring to broader ethico-religious truths and meanings regarding the universe and creation. Whereas the first notion stands closer to modern scientific conceptualizations of nature and usually serves as a basis for linking of religion and science together in one pragmatic holistic approach towards the ecological questions, the second one attaches to nature more specific “sacred” quality which serves as a basis for more unique and categoric religious deontology. How are these two notions inferred from Qur'anic text, how are they employed in actual ethical statements and how are they combined together? Is there a relation between the preference of one of these notions and actual ethical stances towards concrete ecological questions? And is it, after all, possible to argue that one of these notions is closer to the original meaning of Qur'anic revelation than the other? The answer to these questions will be sought via discoursive analysis of contemporary ethical texts, textual analysis of Qur'an and theories of religious ethics of M. Weber, Ch. Taylor and T. Izutsu.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Room 5 Ecclesiastical Art and Artefacts

From Artefact to Art: Imagining a "Religiously Literate" Society through Contemporary Literary Practices
Irum Irum, London, United Kingdom
Overview: Modern religion as a set of institutionalized beliefs and practices is a development on the devotional elements of oral narratives and narrativized history which have been passed down from one generation to the next. This is as relevant to scriptural religions as non-scriptural ones. Over the course of time, however, the relationship between the sacred and the literary has become obscure to the point of being accused as blasphemous. Revered characters and stories of wisdom literatures (oral and written) have been claimed by one or another religious group and made into canonical history. Among the many consequences of this canonization, two are worth noting for the purpose of this discussion: first, they have become religious artefacts whose worth have ceased to exist except as part of a rote religious memory. Second, considering them as products of divine or ancestral creativity or historical events of unmatched significance, the notions of religious creativity are thought to be non-existent for worshippers in this age. I argue that fictional re-contextualization of these traditional metaphors can lead to a more integrative approach to understanding lived religious experiences. De-shelving these religious artefacts and re-shelving them as metaphorical wisdom of the present age can be seen as both a form of commemorative worship whereby sacred is integrated in everyday life and an attempt to make the religiously-exclusive a world heritage. My case studies will include novels written by contemporary Muslim Anglophone writers that reimagine religious names and themes in ahistorical scenarios and impart knowledge for modern readers.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Light as a Symbol and an Art Medium: Challenges of Making Contemporary Ecclesiastical Art
Pavlína Kašparová, PhD Student, Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Anglia Ruskin University; Cambridge Theological Federation, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Overview: Light as an ancient symbol adopted by many religions, Christianity included, recently became an independent medium of art which has the power to grasp attention and to achieve strong emotional reactions from its audience. Over the last few years, there was a boom in light installations used in fine art, architecture and the entertainment industries. Some of them were also presented at (or inspired by) sacred places, for example, Miguel Chevalier's installation Dear World… Yours, Cambridge, King's College Chapel, Cambridge, UK, in 2015 or the cathedral-like installation by Luminarie de Cagna light design company in Ghent, Belgium in 2018. However, only a few had the capacity to serve also for liturgical purposes without taking too much attention away from the liturgy. This conflict is a challenge for those contemporary light artists who want to revive this symbol in Churches. Practice-based research in theology and fine art reveals and develops new approaches in creating ecclesiastical art using light as a contemporary medium and a strong transcendental symbol, which can become a way of re-thinking the position of the visual arts in Protestant Churches and bring more contemporary art into the Catholic Church. In the presentation artwork in progress will be shown, allowing artists, church ministers, and others to understand the process of making art using the medium of light and following the Catholic Church requirements for the visual arts.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Vivekananda and the Unity of Religions: Exposition of Maya
Chris Zajner, Masters Student, Philsophy, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
Overview: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Vivekananda in order to visualize if his vision of a universal spirituality was tenable in his time, and if this idea still has relevance today. Vivekananda’s interpretation of reality and his understanding of maya can, I argue provide insight into the nature of the religious experience, and logically do result in his conclusion of the inherent unity of all religions. Using the notion of maya, and the false dichotomy of the phenomenal world and the real I wish to analyze whether or not a similar model can be used to understand the plurality of religions and spiritual experiences which exist in the world. Specifically with this model in mind, I will look at the use of religious symbols to convey ideas and meanings which have some ability to effectively communicate some sort of spiritual ideas or experiences.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Room 6 Theology and Doctrine

Religious Experience and Islamic Theology
Mustapha Tajdin, Assistant Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences, Khalifa University Abu Dhabi, -, United Arab Emirates
Overview: The systematization of theological precepts into organized doctrines threatens the very essence of any religious experience which, by definition, tries to escape the confinement of conformity. Spirituality and religious experience are generally overlooked by Islamic theologians allowing Sufism to grow along a different course. Although Islamic theology is generally speculative, this paper attempts to show that some Islamic theological concepts could, otherwise, help nurture a vivid religious experience owing to the fact that, the theological project in Islam is not limited to the nature and qualities of the transcendent God but also includes the need to account for His relationship with men. Not only does theology inform the religious experience, Sufism addresses questions of theological character. Islamic theology is the product of a speculative activity which started as a result of Muslims’ disagreements over issues of political succession (Imāmah) and human free will. Part of this activity was a response to external intellectual attacks on Islam. The paper discusses the possibility of building a spiritual religious experience in its universal form based on some theological doctrines. I concede to the fact that the issue of spirituality in Islam is to be found outside theology, but there are some schools of Kalām which proved to be in harmony with Sufism owing not only to preference but, more than that, to theological considerations. The example to be explored here is the Sunni Ashʿarite doctrine and how it is here assumed to provide solid grounds for a rich and universal religious experience.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Liberation Theology: Origin, Expansion, Retreat and Survival of the Excluded People Images from 1970 to Present Time
Dr. Alfredo Veiga, Psychologist, Research, Diocese de Campo Limpo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Overview: It focuses the historical and aesthetical process of the politic-religious art in Brazil from 1970 to present time, a period which gives birth and at the same time, a kind of disaggregation to an iconographic model that sets apart the traditional ones, consecrated by the church. Black people, Indians, migrants living in poor areas, marginalized women, offer their faces to Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ with the proposal of reaffirming the birth of a new man that revives from the ashes of colonization ruins and also from the politic and economic dependence which was imprinted in Latin America. Pictures, drawings, posters, body language become, themselves, documents produced by Liberation Theology during these decades. The focus will be not on style matters involved but, above all, through iconographic issues, the latency of an exuberant and effective Theology in its intention to become the voice of the poor and the marginalized. The originality of this research is to show how an ideal took shape through pictorial representations that facilitate its comprehension and acceptation from poor people, especially those who live at the margins of the big cities. In those places, thanks to this strategy, but also with songs, dances and new rituals, Liberation Theology had large acceptation and gained strength, spreading its seeds through the Cebs (Base Communities), and with them, cherished the possibility of creating a new society based on fraternal and fair relations, overcoming exploration and oppression that come from powerful people who serve the capitalist system
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Placing Gods in the Iconographic Program of Buddhist Temples: A Comparison Study of Early India Buddhist Sites and Chinese Temple Design
Tianshu Zhu, associat professor, Department of History , University of Macau, Macau, Macao
Overview: Depictions of various gods constitute a substantial part of Buddhist art. They are also essential in the iconographic plan of Buddhist temples in both India and China. In India, as shown at the early stūpa and cave sites survived to the present day, it is the images of gods that first appeared at the Buddhist monasteries even before the appearance of the Buddha image. Various supernatural beings are natural existence in the Buddhist cosmology. The Buddha and the Buddhist community of all the times were in the constant interaction with various deities. Gods of different natures function differently, and accordingly appear at different locations in Buddhist art. In India, images of chthonic territory deities, mainly yakṣas and nāgas, first appear in temple plans. Along with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the ideas about gods in Buddhist teachings and practices were also introduced into China. In China after the tenth century, the plan of a Buddhist temple became standardized. In a typical Chinese Buddhist temple, deities of different functions--as the protectors of the Dharma, the Buddhist community, the temple, and local earth god--are all incorporated into the iconographic program. This paper studies the layout of the images of various deities in temple plan and traces their history. By comparing and contrasting India and China, ultimately, the study aims to shed light on gods in Buddhism and the mechanism in culture transmission.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 7 Challenging Belief Systems

Bulletproof Shields: Magic and Religiosity in Colombian Armed Conflict
Johanna Perez Gomez, Doctoral Student, Anthropology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Overview: The paper analyses the rituals used by paramilitary right wing armed groups proliferating in Colombia since 1980, to obtain super natural protection. It focuses particularly on the magic used to obtain bulletproof shields, explaining it symbolism, the transaction with spiritual agencies it involves and its relation to people usages of everyday protection magic. Describing the imagery of the practice, is possible to disclose how this is embedded in local forms of religiosity. I examine the deep social transformation caused by paramilitary groups through the perspective of the syncretic form of religiosity they deployed in armed struggle.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Room 8 Media as Change Agent

Negotiating Spirtitual Entitlement: Discursive and Conversational Aspects
Alexandra Regina Kratschmer, Associate Professor, Communication and Culture, Aarhus University
Overview: In New Age communities, social media can be used to claim or defend one’s own spiritual entitlement or to contest the one of a dialogue partner. We define ”spiritual entitlement” as the right to teach or counsel others on the basis of self-defined indices of being the receptor of insights from a metaphysical source. We will use discourse and conversation analysis to show how dialogue partners negotiate their respective spiritual entitlement in social media exchanges. Our analyses will show that the dialogue administers an intricate two-stringed discourse of simultaneously negotiating one’s entitlement and affirming mutual appreciation.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Religious Media in the Middle East: Roles and Influences
Dr. Khuldiya Al Khalifa,
Overview: The wide spread of religious media in the Arab and Islamic societies confirms the great role religion plays in these societies. Despite the important success of this kind of production, we need to review the development of religious media, the content and the possible effects of such current productions, as some can hold messages of hatred, violence and terrorism. This will help establishing a new content based on peace and tolerance, and deepening the spirit of citizenship and religious and cultural pluralism. Thus, this critical study aims to examine the concept of religious media as a wide field of means, its roles in societies with multiple doctrines and doctrinal tendencies and the influences that may affect its consumers in an environment where politics and religion work together in producing the content themes. This paper can bring a better understanding the role of the religious media as a vehicle of concepts that may build or demolish peace in societies where pluralism exists. Countries like Egypt may be used as an example of a plural society.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Catholic Media Communicating the Abuse Crisis : Case Study of the Vatican News
Tereza Zavadilová, Postgradual Student, Department of Media Studies, Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Overview: The communication of abuse of power including sexual abuse in the Catholic church in its own media changed dramatically. The official Vatican news service (Vatican News) is occupied with the theme practically daily nowadays. The aim of this paper is to map the standpoint of the Secretary for Communication established by Pope Francis as the model of reform of whole Roman Curia. The quantitative content analysis of the newscast will be used as a method for understanding the period 2018-2019. The patterns, genres, insists and other forms will be analyzed and interpreted. There will be also put effort into an understanding of broader and long-lasting communication trends the Church uses in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and which also enables broad possibilities of employing digital communication technologies.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 9 Social Agendas

Ways to Minimize the Challenge between Islamic Law and Modernity
Meysam Kohantorabi, Assistant Professor, Jurisprudence and Islamic Law, Bozorgmehr University of Qaenat
Overview: Modernity does not merely mean the technology appearance, but it has made a new human with new demands. These new demands made a new problem for religion in the modern world. This challenge is most common in the field of jurisprudence and Islamic law. There are two basic perspectives on this issue. Some believe that should stand up to modernity and fully adhere to Islamic law, and some believe that religion and jurisprudence are not able to confront with modernity and should be abandoned. The hypothesis of this paper provides a solution for adaptation between religion and modernity. It should be noted that legal rulings are issued in a historical context and can be changed by changing the history of law. Another important point is permanent measure the law by religious ethics. If ethics are based and law are determined on the basis of it, many religious problems will be resolved with modernity. This does not mean that achievement of modernity must be correct and must be accepted. But what is accepted by reason and ethics cannot be ignored. The third point is that Islamic jurisprudential rulings should not be regarded as completely sacred and God's view, because it is human action and can be changed. Reviewing the jurisprudential rulings and considering the historical conditions by referring to the rational ethics can return calm to the religion and minimize the challenges. The realization of this will reduce religion's challenge with modernity and modern man with religion.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Jean-Luc Nancy and the Political Atheology of the Body: Against the Body Politics Metaphor
Almudena Molina, Master student, Philosophy, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom
Overview: In this article, I examine the thinking Jean-Luc Nancy about the body, focusing on the metaphor of the body politics, which Nancy manifests against and aims to deactivate it. This metaphor refers traditionally to the political aggrupation as a totality. In fact, this metaphor may be found in political theorists such as Hobbes or Hegel. Furthermore, in the light of the work of Ernst Kantorowicz The King’s two bodies, this traditional metaphorical sense is associated with a theological-political foundation. However, the thinking of the relationship between body and power in the 20th Century Philosophy breaks with this interpretation. By addressing the body politics metaphor on Nancy, the present paper reflects on the rupture with the traditional sense of the metaphor. Nancy claims against such metaphorical value by arguing that, eventually, it involves a totalitarian vision of the political sphere. Attempting to grasp the topic, this article first examines the foundations and the specific use of the traditional sense of the body politics metaphor; then, it looks at the new sense that Nancy grants to this metaphor: the "atheology" of the body. In this regard, this paper argues that, although Nancy grants to the body politics metaphor a new sense, he finally develops a metaphorical and abstract sense of the body to symbolize the relationships of power in the society without losing an (a)theological foundation. In doing so, Nancy does not eliminate the body politics metaphor, but he rather displays a new unexplored use of it.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

The H2020 RETOPEA Project: Imagining Religious Toleration and Peace
Laura Galián, Postdoctoral Researcher, Departamento de Estudios Semíticos, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain
Nadia Hindi, Postdoctoral Researcher, Universidad de Granada, Spain

Overview: Using a broad historical and geographical perspective, the proposed comparative and multidisciplinary project RETOPEA: Religious Toleration and Peace funded by the H2020 program of the European commission, will examine various types and elements of co-existence of diverse religious and non-religious communities in Europe and beyond today and in the future. Within the research working units of the project, we will introduce two of the research lines that the project is developing within the consortium: Research on Islamic initiatives for religious understanding promoted mainly by non-European stakeholders and contemporary representations of religious coexistence, concretely concerning religious pluralism in political speech in Spain and Europe. By providing a historical and comparative perspective, our research aims at enabling European citizens to better grasp the conditions needed for religious and non-religious coexistence. The purpose is to translate into innovative dissemination tools in order to be used for education purposes of any type (e.g. formal, informal) and discipline (history, political science, civic education) and in proposals for appropriate changes in national educational systems.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
20:30-22:00 Conference Dinner / Cena del Congreso

Apr 26, 2019
08:30-09:00 Conference Registration Desk Open / Mesa de inscripción abierta
09:00-09:20 Daily Update / Noticias del día—Dr. José Luis Ortega Martín, Scientific Director, Common Ground Research Networks, Professor, University of Granada, Spain
09:20-10:20 Plenary Session / Sesión plenaria—Dr. Victor Borrego Nadal, Professor, University of Granada, Spain

Eye on the Flame: the Imaginable Sacred

Víctor Borrego Nadal; sculptor, and professor, Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Granada, since 1999. He has authored books as well as critical texts for catalogs and exhibitions. Director, from 2001 to 2019 of the residence grants for art students alRaso and, since 2011, of the film-forum El Cisno. He has taught numerous courses, seminars, and workshops his theoretical topics and practical investigations: analysis of artistic languages, semiotics of the image, cultural diversity, symbolism, emblematic, art of memory, dreams, magical thinking, visionary images, Art Brut, life of objects, cinema-poetry, etc. He has directed and conducted various audiovisual experiments based on creative processes.

El ojo en la llama. Lo sagrado imaginable

Víctor Borrego Nadal es escultor, doctor en Bellas Artes y profesor Titular del Departamento de Escultura de la Facultad de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de Granada, desde 1999. Autor de libros, textos críticos para catálogos, exposiciones y comisariados. Director, desde 2001 a 2019 de las Becas de residencia para estudiantes de arte alRasoy, desde  2011, del cine-fórum El Cisne. Ha impartido numerosos cursos, seminarios y talleres sobre los temas en los que centra sus investigaciones teóricas y prácticas: análisis de los lenguajes artísticos, semiótica de la imagen, diversidad cultural, simbolismo, emblemática, arte de la memoria, sueños, pensamiento mágico, imágenes visionarias, Art Brut, vida de los objetos, cine-poesía, etc. Ha dirigido y realizado diversos experimentos audiovisuales basados en procesos de creación condicionada.
10:20-10:50 Garden Conversation / Charlas de jardín

Garden Conversations are informal, unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet plenary speakers and talk with them at length about the issues arising from their presentation. When the venue and weather allow, we try to arrange for a circle of chairs to be placed outdoors.

Las charlas de jardín son sesiones informales no estructuradas que permiten reunirse con ponentes plenarios y conversar tranquilamente sobre temas derivados de su ponencia. Cuando el lugar y el clima lo permiten, se realizan en el exterior.
10:50-11:00 Transition Break / Pausa
11:00-12:40 PARALLEL SESSIONS
Room 1 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 2 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 3 Meaning Making

The Nexus of Religion and Culture: An Anthropological Analysis of Interpretation of Dreams in Pakistan
Latafat Aziz, Lecturer, Bahria University, Pakistan
Mr. Asim Muneeb Khan, Senior Lecturer, Humanities & Social Sciences, Bahria University Islamabad Pakistan, Islamabad, Pakistan

Overview: The present study is about the religious narrative & interpretation of dreams in a culture. The study was carried out in the rural areas near Islamabad Pakistan. One of the aims of this study was to examine the folk knowledge about the dreams and symbolic significance of dreams in a culture under the religious interpretations of dreams. The study was conducted under qualitative research design. Anthropological research methodology is employed in which cluster of tools were used for data collection including rapport building, participant observation, interview guide, in-depth interviews, key informants, case studies, field notes, diaries and visual aid. A total of 47 respondents on the basis of snow ball sampling were interviewed for the purpose of this study. The unit of data collection was natives and dream interpreters. The study was designed under the course of certain research objectives including natives’ perceptions about dream and reality. The study portrayed that dreams are generally considered in Islamic societies because of religious factors. Majority (70 percent) of the respondents believed that dreams reveal meaningful information about themselves and their surroundings. It has been ascertained that two accustomed systems of dream interpretation i.e. cultural (individual & traditional) and religious interpretation of dreams were followed by the natives. The study proclaimed that dreams are source of making sense of the world in a relational and inter-subjective manner as well as instances of the human dexterity to formulate new forms.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Discursive Constructions of "God" in the Bible, the Qur'an, and the Baha'i Scriptures
Robert Bianchi, Assistant Professor of English, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar
Overview: The word “God” (aka Yahweh/Elohim, Theos, Allah) is considered to refer to the same entity in the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and more recently, the Baha'i Faith. This paper puts this assumption to the test. Using corpus linguistics (CL) and discourse analysis (DA) methodologies, (McEnery & Baker, 2015), this paper contrasts specific textual references to lexical items that refer to “God” in the King James Version of the Old Testament and New Testament (cf. Oosting, 2016), in Yousef Ali's translation of the Qur’an (cf. Al Ghamdi, 2015), and in the authorized English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha'ullah's book of laws (see Danesh, 2015). The paper highlights areas of convergence and divergence in these scripture-specific discursive constructions of “God.” The paper concludes with a discussion of potential reasons for differences in terms of strategic intertextuality (Pregill, 2007). Al Ghamdi, S. A. (2015). Critical and Comparative Evaluation of the English Translations of the Near-Synonymous Divine Names in the Quran. University of Leeds, Danesh, R. (2015). Some Reflections on the Structure of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The Journal of Baha'i Studies, 25(3), 81. McEnery, A., & Baker, P. (2015). Corpora and discourse studies: Integrating discourse and corpora: Springer. Oosting, R. (2016). 11 Computer-Assisted Analysis of Old Testament Texts: The Contribution of the wivu to Old Testament Scholarship. In The Present State of Old Testament Studies in the Low Countries (pp. 192-209): Brill. Pregill, M. E. (2007). The Hebrew Bible and the Quran: the problem of the Jewish ‘influence’on Islam. Religion Compass, 1(6), 643-659.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

In a Galaxy Not So Far Away: Religion In the Face of Popular Culture
Anna Mazurek, Doctoral Student, Philosophy, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Overview: One of the most important elements through which an individual identifies himself is his belonging to various social and religious groups. Everyone discovers which form of religious practice is the best suited for them. In my presentation, I focus on alternative religions, especially fiction based religions which promote a new understanding of religion and are a reflection of contemporary cultural trends; with emphasis being given to individualization and the promotion of pluralism. My thesis is that religion is given a new social role, it serves as a tool of self-identification of the individual and express the “I” of the individual. In order to be capable of doing that, religion has to anchor itself in something specific and individual for the person, even if this is this person’s favorite movie or book. As such, fiction becomes a tool of self identification and is taken to the level of religious practice. Examples of this trend can be found in religious movements which follow works of popular culture, with this presentation focusing on the example of Jediism, Tolkienesque cults, and Lovecraftian cults. Issues discussed include the characteristics of these aforementioned fiction based religions, its influence on the definition of religion as such, and the consequences of this kind of approach to religion. Included with this is an analysis of the cultural and social backgrounds from which these movements emerge.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Existence of Miracles
Prof. Samuel E. Moskowitz, Research Professor and Emeritus Professor of Applied Mathematics, Research Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Overview: A miracle is an event that is not explicable by all natural laws known at the time of occurrence. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints serves the Catholic Church in establishing the authenticity of a miracle. Prior to becoming a saint, the individual must have performed at least two miracles. A miracle is scrutinized by medical and theological panels. One salient example is the recovery of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre from Parkinson’s disease, a miracle attributed to Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a movement disorder marked by tremors of hands, arms, legs, and face. PD is caused by a reduced supply of neurotransmitter dopamine secreted from nerve cells within the brain. Dopamine is needed to regulate muscular movements, and provide other neurological functions. Neurons reside within the substantia nigari, and die as the disease progresses. Eventually cognitive abilities are adversely affected. There is no known cure. Recent research has shown that certain emotions can increase the production of dopamine. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre fervent and solemn prayers may have increased dopamine secretion to levels that arrested her tremors. We shall discuss the possibility of inferring a rationale of a miracle from future scientific discoveries. A miracle has no apparent explanation. Sister Marie Simon-Pierre was cured of Parkinson’s disease after fervent and prolonged prayers. The event was declared a miracle. Parkinson is caused by an insufficient amount of dopamine. Certain emotions can increase production. Prayers may have arrested her tremors. Rationale must await scientific discovery.
Theme:Religious Foundations
Room 4 Governance of Faith

The Rising Emphasis on Tolerance in the Middle East
C Donald Smedley, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Muslim--Christian Track Two Diplomacy and Religious Freedom, Rivendell Institute, New Haven, United States
Overview: In the recently released 2018 Muslim document “The Washington Declaration,” the authors desire to offer a more robust version of religious freedom than has previously appeared by either a Muslim majority state actor or an influential civil society actor. Central to their position is that, all people, regardless of faith, are entitled to religious liberty. Building, at times, on previous documents, particularly the related, just fully released, 2016 “Marrakesh Declaration,” as well as medieval and contemporary works, the Washington Declaration attempts to offer an explanation of what this liberty entails. No one declaration can speak for all Islam, but the Washington Declaration serves as an excellent representative because of the breadth of its adherents, because of what it affirms, and because it gives context to an aspect of religious freedom being instituted in different states in the Middle East. In the UAE, as one example, a concerted and robust effort is being made to highlight the value of tolerance through policy change and cultural events to emphasize its significance not only within the Emirates but within Islam. Tolerance is one aspect of religious freedom with important consequences and implications. This paper examines the movement and its potential impact on Muslim majority countries, particularly the UAE, and on the specific concept of religious liberty.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Liberal Democracy: Freedom of Religion or Freedom from Religion?
Vijay Mascarenhas, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, United States
Overview: I argue for two highly controversial points: liberal democracies need not and should not grant special religious freedom in addition to the regular freedoms that must be granted to all citizens, and, sincere commitment to an eschatological religion (Christianity, Islam) is incompatible with liberal democracy. On the first point, I show that Kant’s conception of enlightenment as humanity’s emergence from Unmündigkeit to self-legislating autonomy grounds liberal democracy and that arguments for special treatment of religious expression surreptitiously rely upon treating religion as a type of ethnicity that crystalizes belief into dogma unamenable to rational reflection. Special reservations for the religious thus treat them as unmündige adults. Moreover, any freedom granted to the religious (e.g, use of peyote) should be granted to all if it does not conflict with the liberties of others; where it does, no religious nor irreligious person should that freedom (e.g., discrimination). On the second point, I built upon Mill’s observation that religious freedom never flourishes except where “religious indifference,” prevails in society. No one sincerely committed to an eschatological religion, i.e., who sees salvation as the most important goal of life, can have the “religious indifference” necessary to honestly engage in a liberal democracy. This explains why no deeply religious society has or has ever had true freedom, including freedom of religion
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Regulating Religious and Faith Based Organisations in Uganda: Fears and Dilemmas of Born Again Churches
Alexander Paul Isiko, Lecturer, Religious Studies and Philosophy, Kyambogo University, Kampala , Uganda
Overview: Since the announcement by the government of Uganda of its intention to enact a policy/law about regulating religions and Faith based organisations, there have been contrasting responses from those this policy intends to regulate. The traditional religious groups especially the Moslem community, Anglican Church of Uganda, the Roman Catholic Church and generally all those who subscribe to the Inter-religious council of Uganda have welcomed the State's proposal. On the other hand, the proposal has met both stiff and liberal minded resistance from both the born again churches and relatively newly founded religious faiths and groups. This is partly so due to the historical relationship between the State and Religious institutions which has been characterised by uncertainty at one time and flowering at another. This paper analyses this historical relationship, showing how this influences the reactions of Religious institutions to State's attempt to provide a regulatory framework over them. The paper uncovers power struggles between and among born again churches as a roadblock to state control.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 5 Affirming Diversity

The Challenge Posed by Religious Pluarlism: Responses by Italian Schools
Carlo Macale, Post-doctoral research fellow , Department of History, Humanities and Society, University of Rome "Tor Vergata"
Overview: Currently, in Italy, there is a great debate about religious teaching in schools. In recent times the issue has become even more imminent after the increase of the immigration phenomenon in European countries. In the Italian schools the number of students with different cultural and religious backgrounds is increased and this has posed a significant intercultural educational issue within the aims of the Italian education system. In the past the debate around this topic was exclusively focused on the laicity of teaching; now, seen the presence in Italy of religious experiences that are different from Catholicism, the issue has gone from a “secular phase” to a “post-secular phase." The paper aims to describe the current situation of Italian schools about religious pluralism and it is organized in three parts: Brief analysis of European documents about the relation between education and religious pluralism and how Italian Education System has implemented these guidelines in the schools; The specific case of Catholic religious teaching in Italy and the challenge of pluralism religious; Presentation of first outcomes of my postdoctoral research on case study of some school that have addressed the theme of religious pluralism.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Identity Politics in India: The Case of Gujarat
Nahid Afrose Kabir, Associate Professor, Department of English and Humanities, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Overview: Muslims in India have lived alongside Hindus peacefully for many centuries. Yet in the contemporary period some politicians have orchestrated division for political ends, for example, during the Godhra-Gujarat riots in India in 2002 which caused many Muslim casualties. Critics alleged that the ruling party in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its leader Chief Minister Narendra Modi (now the Prime Minister of India) were responsible for the Godhra-Gujarat riots. The BJP is influenced by India’s Hinduvta ideology, which demands the assertion of India’s national identity as a Hindu state. It defines Hinduism as a cultural construct rather than a religious one. As such, it demands that India’s minorities including Muslims adopt Hindu values. In the 2017 election in Gujarat, India’s Congress Party, which generally remains secular, embraced Hindu identity politics and won several BJP seats. In the framework of identity politics in India, where religion seems to dominate the social, economic and political spheres, this paper examines the position of Muslims in Gujarat. This paper is based on interviews with Muslims (aged 15 years and over) that I conducted in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in 2012. I will examine the social, economic and political issues that are impacting some Muslims in Gujarat. I conclude that, in the era of identity politics when Muslims form a voiceless minority, national and international policy makers should promulgate policies that would improve the social cohesion and inter-communal understanding of Muslims in India in general, and Gujarat in particular.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Mobilizing "God’s Army": Race, Religion and Cooperative Politics at the National Training School for Women and Girls
Dr. Angela Hornsby-Gutting, Associate Professor, History, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, United States
Overview: Absent from scholarly accounts of Nannie Helen Burroughs, a black Baptist women’s leader and race activist in the United States, is how she configured the Christian-based National Training School for Women and Girls to educate her students and the black masses about civil engagement, economic justice, and non-violent public agitation, ideals that were emblematic of existing and future Civil Rights Movement strategies. The School’s status as a meta institution--it housed a printing plant and economic cooperative --stretched its pedagogy, as premised on a “discourse of resistance,” beyond the physical borders of the school. Burroughs, who served as corresponding secretary and president of the Woman’s Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention, utilized her curriculum, religious writings produced at the school, such as The Worker, along with an economic cooperative housed on the campus, to provide African-Americans communal lessons in race ideology and strategy while advocating for an elevated collectivist and feminist race consciousness. A foremother of Womanist theology, Burroughs’s public sector work was informed by revisions to Biblical scripture that empowered women and liberated them from restrictive roles in the church and society. Such theology held that men and women were equal in the eyes of God, and as such should play active roles in foreign, domestic fields and other applicable Baptist terrain. Burroughs’s religious-inspired activism thus demonstrates the nexus, rather than divergence, between her religious activity, educational philosophy/pedagogy, and communally-centered political protests for racial justice.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 6 Coexistence with the Political

The United States versus the Amish Minority: The Protection of Minority Religious Rights in a "Secular" Land
Frederique Green, Private tutor, Modern Languages, Self-employed
Frederique Green,

Overview: The Amish have largely resisted acculturation since their arrival in America in the eighteenth century. Given that over time the American authorities have increasingly developed laws, rules and regulations, the U.S legal system has come into regular conflict with Amish religious practices over matters such as education and conscription. Pioneers in Amish scholarship have mostly suggested that the Amish have been open to negotiation with the State, reflecting the peaceful way Amish people deal with life in general. Sociologist Donald Kraybill for example has discussed a "negotiation mode" in which the Amish have sometimes "compromised" their ideals. This paper presents an alternative legal view: based on interviews, legal documents and case studies, it argues that when challenged by the American authorities the Amish have not compromised but have used the legal tools provisioned by the American Founders to all citizens, i.e. the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the American Constitution. My theory is that the Amish have not always needed to ‘bargain’ with the American authorities or compromise but as American citizens have lawfully and successfully challenged rules that impinge on their religious practices. In this way, the paper shows that a secular constitution can still protect counter-cultural minority religious rights. This paper thus offers a contribution to the wider discussion of secularism, for example the work of Saba Mahmood, about how religious rights interact with the processes of liberal democracies.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Envisioning the Khalsa State Modeled after the Vatican State: Seeking the Goodwill of the Indian Government
Dr. Tennyson Samraj, Burman University, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada
Overview: The intent of this paper is to present a trifold solution to the tripartite desire of the Sikh community of believers. The Sikh’s aspiration for the Khalsa state where they can define and defend Sikhism as they see fit. The Sikhs yearning that the Harmandir Sahib (abode of God) or the Golden Temple at Amritsar be the supreme center of Sikhism, and be the sacred site and seat of authority of Sikhism--the reason for the Khalsa State where Sikhs can go to and understand the practice of their faith. The Sikhs vision to live with non-Sikh fellow Indians who live within the Punjab state and the rest of the country where they live, work and what they call as their country. Sikhs can achieve these aspirations by seeking the ‘goodwill’ of the Indian government. It is proposed: to create the Khalsa State modeled after the Vatican state, where the Chief Guru like the Pope, can be both the temporal head of the Khalsa state and the spiritual leader of the Sikhs in India and around the world. The Khalsa state is formed from the area around the Harmandir Sahib temple of Amritsar, like the Vatican state around St Peter’s Cathedral. The Punjab state continue and maintain the current relationship with the federal or central government of India. The Khalsa State accept India’s sovereignty and consign foreign policy to the Indian Government. This would create a religious concave for the Sikh people similar to the Vatican state
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Political Science of Religion: A Paradigm Shift in the Study of Political Roles of Religion
Maciej Potz, Professor, Department of Political Systems, Faculty of International and Political Studies, University of Lodz, Poland, Lodz, Poland
Overview: The paper proposes a new theoretical framework for the analysis of the relationship between religion and politics – “political science of religion.” It departs from the Church and State and Religion & Politics paradigms which are, respectively, too narrow, legalistic and normatively loaded and too methodologically eclectic to provide a thorough account of political significance of religion. Instead, it offers a coherent approach firmly embedded in political science and political theory, whereby religion is viewed analogously to other social phenomena impacting the sphere of politics. Political science of religion assumes that: Religion is a social phenomenon which motivates people to various types of social, including political behavior. Religious doctrines serve important political functions: they legitimate political power on structural/institutional, normative and personal levels; guide segments of the public in their political views and attitudes; are posited as source of public morality; and may drive political protest and dissent. Religious organizations are social entities which, insofar as they enter the political system to influence power relations, become political actors. These religious political actors should be analyzed in the same way as their secular counterparts (parties, social movements, interest groups) – in terms of their goals and strategies. It is not necessary to assess the truth status of religious beliefs; they are “real” as a subject of study insofar as they stimulate actors to adopt certain political views and express them in political behavior. Normatively evaluating religion-state relations is the job of political philosophers, not political scientists.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 7 Modernity and Religions Frameworks

The Sign of the Cross as Comfort among American Christians
Regina Pefanis Schlee, Professor of Marketing, School of Business, Government, and Economics., Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA, United States
Overview: This study focuses on the use of the Christian symbol of the cross for emotional support and comfort in contemporary American students. Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and some Protestant denominations use the symbol of the cross, crossing one’s self, as a way of asking for a blessing. The act of crossing oneself is frequently used by traditional Greek Orthodox believers whenever they see a church, a religious icon, or when they pray. Roman Catholic believers also cross themselves as part of prayer rituals. While numerous studies have focused on the effect of prayer and religiosity on health and wellbeing, there is very little research on the amount of comfort experienced by those who cross themselves, as well as the use of other religious symbols for emotional support. The use of religious symbols will be examined using a sample of undergraduate students at a private religiously affiliated university in the United States. Most students attending the university are Protestant Christians, but a significant percentage (about 40%) come from a variety of religious traditions; mostly Roman Catholic, some Greek Orthodox, and a number of other religious traditions. A questionnaire will be used to focus on students’ own religious practices and possible use of the Cross or other religious symbols for personal comfort.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Reverse Engineering Traditional Catholicism in the Internet Age: Rad Trads
Brian Panasiak, Ph.D., The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Overview: Ever since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council there has been within the Catholic Church a small yet ardent sub-culture of followers of the traditions that were abandoned by the Church at large. Focusing primarily around the Latin language celebration of the Catholic Mass, these “traditionalists” form a community of like minded individuals who wish to practice their faith in a way that is, at best, no longer the way commonly used by the Catholic Church at large. This community faces two problems, a small number of followers as well as a hierarchy that is somewhat in opposition to the yearnings of this flock of old school believers. As such, community organization and the preservation or learning of certain religious devotions can be difficult at times. To counter this, these traditional Catholics take to the internet in order to communicate, organize, as well as share, preserve, and educate one another on traditions long believed to be dead by the world at large. This paper presents an overview of the online activities of these “rad trads” and provides an examination of the digital frameworks, websites, and social networks used to both foster the faith and continue the traditions of the Catholic Church as they were before the Second Vatican Council. Specific attention is given to the way in which modern meme culture, social media, and databases are used by traditional Catholics in the practice of their ancient faith.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Jedi Online and Buddhist Firefly: Poaching from Fandom and Tradition in a Virtual World
Jean-Paul Lafayette DuQuette, Senior Instructor, Faculty of Arts and Humanities / English Language Centre, University of Macau, -, Macau, Macao
Overview: New religious movements (NRMs) drawing inspiration from science-fiction and fantasy literature, films and television programs have become part of the landscape of religious experience since the late 20th Century. What do some adherents of such NRMs choose to borrow from established traditions, and what do they take from popular fandom? What appeal can fandom have in the construction of personal religious systems? This case study examines two individuals exploring their own spirituality through fandom-inspired practices both offline and in the online virtual world of Second Life: a Jedi, based on characters created by George Lucas for his Star Wars films, and a Companion, from Joss Whedon's Firefly television series. Through interviews, social media posts and two years of participant observation, this study explores the participants' attraction to sci-fi based philosophy and religion and also examines what they have borrowed from Buddhism in their hybrid spiritual practices. By identifying the overlap between religious tradition, new age philosophical individualism, and the worlds of popular fantasy media, this study illuminates the impulse to transform fandom into a spiritual practice. It also shows how the affordances of an avatar-based virtual chat environment can enable fandom-based spirituality.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 8 Wellness Intersections

Spirituality and Mental Well-being: Exploring the Interrelationship between Sufism and Mental Well-being among British Sufis
Merve Cetinkaya, Phd Student, Brain Sciences/ Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, United Kingdom
Overview: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between Sufi spirituality and mental well-being. It is a qualitative research project involving in depth interviews as part of a series of focus groups. Previous published studies have focused on exploring the effects of spiritual practice on different well-being variables. This large body of research has predominantly concentrated on practice as a key element of spirituality. In this proposed research, an empirical study of spirituality will be undertaken in order to identify the relationships that exist between Sufi practice and mental well-being. The study will interview British Sufis in different contemporary groups. Previous research into spirituality has been derived from Christian or Buddhist religious norms and beliefs. Sufi groups have not featured in these inquiries into spiritual well-being and this absence will be the focus of the proposed study. In particular there will be a focus on how Islamic-based spirituality as expressed by British Sufis may contribute to their well-being.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Clinical Psychology and Mysticism: Mutual Contributions
Paulo Henrique Curi Dias, PhD student, Clinical Psychology, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Overview: This paper aims at understanding aspects of the dynamic interface between clinical psychological practice and studies within the field of mysticism, through the perspective that these areas of human knowledge offer a vast potential of mutual contributions. While mysticism will be understood through a phenomenological reading of the spiritual relationship between the mystic and the absolute, clinical practice will be understood as the dialogical experience built as an intersubjective relationship between patient and therapist, which enables a mirroring of the latter’s ethical positions throughout existence. The question addressed, therefore, remains: in which particular way these two different aspects (and methods) of human experience may establish a valid and rigorous form of interaction? In such regard, the research intends to approach both the ways in which mystical studies may broaden the ethical and ontological conceptions inherent to clinical practice as well as the way through which the clinical method implies at a new comprehension of spiritual phenomena. In dialogue with the psychoanalytic perspectives of authors such as Bion, Winnicott and Safra, we intend to regard the position of mysticism within clinical practice. Such study will be realized through a brief exposition of the concept of mysticism and its relations to psychology and psychoanalysis as it regards a way of questioning the epistemological and ontological basis of clinical practice and establishes a particular way of inscribing spiritual pathological phenomena within the interface between psychology, spirituality, mysticism and religiosity in its hermeneutical multiplicities.
Theme:Religious Foundations

The Material Moral Economy of Spirit Possession in Chinese Folk Religion
Peter Zabielskis, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Macau, Sociology, University of Macau, Taipa, Macao, Macao
Overview: This paper is based on more than two years of field research in the city of George Town, Penang, Malaysia. Though specific to this culture and region, the discussion is relevant to trance possession elsewhere; it analyzes the role of the materiality of objects in the religious systems that such phenomena embody. The methods used were participant observation, video and still photography, and interviews. Research assistants allowed me to converse with participants in their native language. I attended more than 100 spirit possession sessions in several different temples. My questions to participants included the eliciting of details about all the often very colorful objects and equipment used in such events; I recorded many hours of conversations and kept voluminous notes about my observations. My conclusions are framed within existing theories of Chinese folk religion that hold that -- contrary to some of the major themes and ideas of spirituality and religious practice in Western traditions -- this is a practice of action and the materiality of concrete offerings and physical exchanges rather than concern to elicit any interior state. I combine this framework with contemporary theories regarding material culture and the power of objects, resulting in a new way of articulating what previously been called magic in older scholarly approaches. My results indicate that when such concretely material objects play such important roles in community rituals and spiritual thinking a somewhat different logic with different standards is at work than in more mainstream religious traditions.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Room 9 Epistemologies

Back to the Future: Religious Thinking between Progress and Return
Piotr Sawczynski, PhD Student, Department of International and Political Studies, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Krakow, Poland
Overview: In my paper I would like to critically analyze the dispute between two prominent Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century – Leo Strauss and Gershom Scholem – over the religious meaning of progress and return. With reference to the messianic idea in Judaism, Strauss argued that the role of religious thinking is to “redeem” modern people of progress, bring them back to tradition and restitute the origins. Scholem accused Strauss of misreading Jewish messianism and accentuated its dialectical spin: the function of religion is neither restorative, nor progressive but restorative and progressive at the same time. In other words, the return in Judaism shall not be associated with restoration but with a utopian figure of “return to what has never been.” The aim of my paper is not only to reconstruct the debate (Strauss’s "Progress or Return?" and Scholem’s "Toward an Understanding of the Messianic Idea in Judaism" being of primary importance here) but also use it to deconstruct the apparent opposition of progress and return in the religious discourse.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Rupture and Continuity in Orthodox Christianity: The Construction of Religious Truth in Romanian Orthodox Christianity
Eliza Lefter, Graduate Student, Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Overview: The paper aims to discuss the topic of religious truthfulness within Orthodox Christianity. To understand the construction of Orthodox religious truth one needs to underline an ontological differentiation between politics of religious truth, as an indicator of religious continuity, and religious truthfulness, as an indicator for analysing rupture within the subjectivity formation. Much of the recent debates within Anthropology of Christianity concerned rupture vs. continuity. Rather than discussing the two from a dichotomy perspective, the paper will look at how a religious tradition associated by scholars with continuity, Orthodox Christianity, can offer ethnographic material to illustrate how both continuity and rupture (reflected in the theological term of “metanoia”) can coexist. The paper will present the case study of a Church congregation from a Romanian urban industrial landscape. Dealing with the diversity of religious commitment within a religious group, the paper will address how in post-socialist Romania, an Orthodox Christin becomes a particular type of Orthodox Christian, what are the prioritisation tools by which religious truths are claimed, forming different subjectivities within the same tradition. Within the ethnographic context, the believer harvests mystical experience, affects towards Saints and narratives of people with harisma, the historicity of martyrs of communism, and eschatological discourses. These elements are piled and folded into forming religious subjects in intimacy with the divine to create the sensation of truthfulness, determining rupture within the individual and transfer from one form of subjectivity to another, from “lukewarm Christian” towards a “true Christian.”
Theme:Religious Foundations

Theological Elaboration of Missionary Catechesis from the Biblical Paul
Mary Erika Bolanos, Principal, Senior High School, University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines
Overview: Theological Elaboration of Missionary Catechesis from the Biblical Paul Today mission Ad Gentes is pursued in a more complex and changing reality. John Paul II expanded and enriched the idea of mission and missionary activity by citing situations and circumstances to which mission is directed . Mission is also for those baptized but have lost a living sense of the faith or those who no longer consider themselves members of the Church and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel. Drawing inspiration from Acts 17:22-31, Redemptoris Missio describes St Paul in the Areopagus as an ancient metaphor for reaching out to this intermediate group. Paul had spoken without inhibition to a learned assembly in one of the great cultural centers of the ancient world. He proclaimed Christ to an audience that was intellectually and philosophically sophisticated – whose religious practices manifests a search for life’s meaning and so a special concern of the new age. And today it can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed. These situations clearly manifest an all-embracing point of missions as clearly seen in Paul’s missionary work of catechizing. It is the objective of the researcher to present the biblical Paul as model for the understanding and appreciation of Missionary Catechesis today.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Discerning Epistemic Worth for the Philosophical Theology of Aquinas in the Decolonial Academy
Callum Scott, Associate Professor, Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Overview: As the ideological constructor of the destruction of colonised peoples and knowledge, Western philosophy must bear its burden for complicity. Decoloniality is amid the discourses of critique contra Modernity and its denigration of the colonised. In the South African academy, for instance, much support has been validly rendered to decoloniality, consequently those employing “Western” frameworks - both philosophical and religious - should be challenged to constant re-evaluation. Here, the virtues and vices of decoloniality will not be considered. Rather a discernment will be undertaken of the “epistemic worth” of specifically mediaeval and Western philosophy/theology within the tradition of Saint Thomas Aquinas, amid societal calls for the decentring of Western epistemological dominance. The argument is proffered that Aquinas, as both pre-modern and pre-colonial, does have relevance to the decolonial society. The case is defended that Arabic philosophers importantly influence Aquinas’ work, thus, demonstrating his openness to non-Western thought. Furthermore, from an epistemological perspective, it is contended that Aquinas’ placing of the subject at the focal point of adequations to truth by credencing the situatedness of the perceiver, deconstructs Modern objectivity, which in itself has caused considerable damage to non-Western epistemologies. Aquinas’ epistemic relevance as a philosopher-theologian always centred upon God, it is argued, may contribute to a median between demonstrable science and the multi-layered context of the epistemic subject.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
12:40-13:40 Lunch / Almuerzo
13:40-14:55 PARALLEL SESSIONS
Room 1 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 2 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 3 Praxis of Faith

Trajectories of Mutual Zombification in the Praxis of Post-colonial Faith in South Africa: A Need for African Decoloniality Theology
Bekithemba Dube, Lecturer, Education, university of the Free State, QwaQwa, South Africa
Overview: In this theoretical paper, I tap into Mbembe’s (1992) concept of mutual zombification to start a debate about the need for African decoloniality theology (ADT) for contemporary praxis of Christian faith. Observing the praxis of faith in post-colonial states among the ‘new’ religious movements, I argue that there is a need for theologians to rethink theology in the context of religious mafiarisation, extortion, abuse, constitutional delinquency, political oppression and coloniality of God. I use decoloniality theory to articulate and suggest the need for ADT. I answer the question, what are the trajectories of mutual zombification and how will ADT involve? I submit in this paper that ADT can provide meaning to faith in post-colonial states that is devoid of coloniality, oppression, extortion and constitutional delinquency, a Christian faith where people tap into both modernity and post-modernity, as opposed to mutual zombification that favours abusive religious leaders.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Integrating the Buddhist Practice of Mindfulness into the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress
Timothy Pedigo, Assistant Professor, Division of Psychology and Counseling, Governors State University, University Park, IL, United States
Patricia Robey,

Overview: Many of our public health problems are the result of compensatory behaviors like smoking, overeating, and alcohol and drug use, which provide immediate comfort from the emotional problems caused by traumatic childhood experiences but never really address the root cause. Prevention practices that address avoidant and compensatory behaviors are particularly relevant in order to address the root traumas and distress and begin a path towards wellness. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness is a method of prevention and a way to realize improved health. Living mindfully means staying engaged and open to others and ourselves with gentleness and empathy. While this way of living has inherent value, it is also correlated with the realization of health and happiness. Mindfulness practices such as breath meditation or Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) and other compassion based practices are designed to help rework negative deep self-structures that effect many people but especially traumatized individuals. The use of mindfulness practices in therapy provides a great opportunity for transformation, but can also be misused and cause damage to vulnerable clients such as those who are working through trauma. The presenters will discuss the potential challenges, benefits, and guidelines for best practice of mindfulness when used as a therapeutic approach for trauma.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

21st Century English Pedagogies of Private Islamic School Teachers in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore
Yusop Boonsuk, English Lecturer, Western Languages, Prince of Songkla University
Muhammadafeefee Assalihee, Lecturer, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand
Nachima Bakoh, Lecturer, Yala Rajabhat University, Thailand
Ibrahima Lamine Sano, Lecturer, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand

Overview: Private Islamic schools have been a popular choice for education among Muslims in ASEAN. These education institutions play vital roles in education management and student development. For the Muslim students to become a quality 21st-century citizen, they should possess desirable characteristics with adequate global-scale competing capacity. It is inevitable that one of the qualities required to fulfill such grand-scale adequacy is English proficiency. Since the more people have become competent at English, the more diverse English-speaking individuals are, i.e., not every English-speaking person out there is a native speaker. To address this, private Islamic schools should not continue to employ conventional English teaching strategies. The 21st-century Muslim students deserve a more practical teaching approach that can prepare them for the new challenge of diverse English environments. This study aims to analyze and synthesize English pedagogic countermeasures of private Islamic school teachers against the 21st century learning challenges. Purposively selected, the samples were 9 private Islamic school teachers in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. The data were collected using a semi-structured interview and focus group discussion. The derived qualitative data were then processed with content analysis. The findings revealed 6 ELT strategies that are effective for language acquisition in Islamic environments: new teaching roles and functions; active and collaborative learning; technological integrations; localized learning materials; English communication in other learning areas; and 6) learners’ learning reevaluation. The findings can be adapted as English teaching strategies for Muslim students in both the secular education section and religious schools.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 4 Social Impacts of Religious Movements

No Roof Has Weighed Me Down, But Chains Threaten My Fingers : The Quest of Jewish Poetry after a New Religion
Carina P. Alexandroff, Leading educator, English, Ministry of Education, Tel Aviv, Israel
Overview: The Jewish Haskala movement in the 18th century introduced to the world a new elite which strived to embrace Western culture, its liberty of mind and creativity. This eager quest after change was also accompanied by an identity crisis and a loss of a sense of belonging. Jewish scholars of the Haskala viewed their families as "a folk of wild grass grown on foreign earth/Dust-bearded nomads/grandfathers of dearth…" (Mani Leyb) . Feeling spiritually uprooted, they failed to adopt a new kinship. For some, the idea of Zionism and the revival of the holy land, Eretz Israel, became a new secular religion. Nevertheless, those who chose to immigrate to America found no such spiritual replacement. These displaced Jews were still struggling to fashion their identity in the context of religion and its ideology. My paper will examine the way this conflict is reflected in a selection of poems composed by Yiddish American poets in the turn of the 20th century. It will demonstrate the creative ways poetry dealt with this fascinating contradictory desire - to let go of religion, while at the same time to go on being artistically nurtured by it, form the center of this paper.
Theme:Religious Foundations

The Amazons of Matinino: Women in Taino Society
Rosalina Diaz, Associate Professor, Multi-Cultural Education, Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Brooklyn, NY, United States
Overview: In 2005, a group of “Taino” reclaimed the Caguana Ceremonial Center, in Utuado Puerto Rico, in the name of their ancestors demanding, “End the destruction & desecration of our sanctuaries, sacred places, archeological sites, coaibays (cemeteries) & ceremonial centers now!” The Taino had used the site for years to celebrate traditional rituals, but due to changes in the Center’s policies, were now restricted to certain hours. For the Taino, this was the final straw in an ongoing and escalating patrimony conflict with the site managers, The Institute for Puerto Rican Culture, charged by the Puerto Rican Legislature in 1955 with the task of “conserving, promoting, enriching & disseminating the cultural values of Puerto Rico.” The result was a 17-day occupation and hunger strike that brought to the fore issues regarding Puerto Rican identity that had long lay dormant. The period of European colonization in the Americas was one of cultural disruption/loss. As a result of Spain’s assimilationist policy, concubinage with native women was widespread. As a result, indigenous culture/spirituality survived. Taino society was based on a matrilineal system. Women were artisans, warriors, healers & chieftains. The primary deity of the Taino cosmology is Attabeira, the Great Mother. Many years of colonialism served to relegate the female descendents of the Taino to a subservient status. But recently there has emerged a Taino movement that seeks to restore the feminine aspect to it’s once revered and respected status. My research explores how these groups are rewriting the story of the Taino Woman.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

The Partition of Hindi and Urdu: Reflections on Religious-linguistic Polarization
Imran Visram, Graduate Student, Department of Graduate Studies, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, United Kingdom
Overview: This paper reflects on the parallel polarization of religion and language that took place alongside the creation of the nation of Pakistan. The first section presents a historical overview on the process by which Hindi and Urdu grew to be distinct categorical units, reviewing various factors that contributed to their linguistic partition. This section can, in a broader sense, be seen to investigate the evolution of Hindi and Urdu in the modern period—until and through the partition of British India in 1947. Our conclusions suggest the departure of Hindi and Urdu from Hindustani was reflective of the colonial power structures which heightened ideological self-awareness of local populations, leading to India and Pakistan’s religious-linguistic polarization. It was the reinforcement of Muslim-Urdu as different from Hindu-Hindi, in this regard, that allowed religious nationalism to flourish through the nineteenth century. Ultimately, these two camps would hold different imaginations and realities that would shape the outcome of their respective nations.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 5 The Search for Spiritual Meaning

Spirituality and Shamanism in the Indus Valley Culture
Mr. Matthew Brown, Prague, Czech Republic
Overview: The sophisticated Indus valley culture flourished for over 700 years before inexplicably abandoning their cities to return to ways more pastoral, even in the face of great regional climatic changes. Many scholars have made attempts to account for this abandonment, citing varying factors, yet these people were some of the most adaptable communities of their time and seemingly the least susceptible to collapse. Thus the effects that the transposition of earlier shamanistic beliefs and practices had on the latter cultural cosmography could go some way to explaining this reversion to the pastoral lifestyle. Hence a framework will be outlined for the presence of shamanism and folk magic within the culture of the earliest known people in the region, those of Mehrgarh, Balochistan. Connections explored between their shamanistic relationship with nature, the spirits that occupied the higher realms in these regions and perception of time and space. Giving an overview of some uses of folk magic and shamanism within this context allows for the elucidation of advantages these practices would have afforded them, hence diminished, during their oppidan existence. The continuum this talk promotes is one that begins with exploration of folk magic and the presence of shamanistic practices to attain alternate states of consciousness. The decline of culture through global meteorological and botanical changes and how a newly developed methodology to access higher plains of consciousness became a catalyst for the reversion, from their more materialistically-complex societies in favour of reconnecting with folk magic, shamanism and Nature herself.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Concept of Spirituality among Millennials of De La Salle Philippines
Myra Patambang, Full Professor, Religious Education Unit, Integrated Humanities Department, De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, Dasmarinas, Cavite, Philippines
Overview: Filipino Millennials constitute one third of the country’s population (De La Cruz, 2016). This study sought to determine the following: the profile of Millennial respondents from selected Lasallian Institutions in the Philippines; their concept of spirituality based on the four general elements/indicators of spirituality (meaning and purpose, relatedness/connectedness, beliefs and belief systems, expressions); the significant difference in their concept of spirituality when grouped according to specific items that comprise the profile and the political, cultural and socio-economic issues that the Millennials consider to have a connection with their concept and experience of spirituality. A self-constructed questionnaire was designed to accomplish the objectives of the study. There had been 1,185 Millennial participants. Results showed that the over-all concept of spirituality has a qualitative interpretation of very strong concept of spirituality. When individual over-all means of each element were compared, the highest was on beliefs and belief systems and the lowest mean was on the area of expressions of spirituality. It has been established that there is a significant difference when means were compared according to gender, religious denomination, type of elementary school attended, membership in school organization/s, religious and social activities with the family, time spent in using gadgets and family income. There is no significant difference when means were compared according to age, living condition and type of high school attended. The top 5 social issues important to the Millennials are: peace and order, human rights, education, environment and marriage and family life.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Postmodern Theology as Spiritual Autobiography: The Joyful Suffering of Four Female Medieval Mystics
Jean Pierre Fortin, Assistant Professor of Spirituality, Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago
Overview: This paper proposes to listen to the crying voices of four “saints” of joy, faithful women who attempted to live out their Christian vocation in 13th and 14th century Europe: Hadewijch of Antwerp, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Catherine of Siena, and Julian of Norwich. By means of a contextual comparative study, it will show that these medieval mystics further our understanding of the nature of joy by teaching twenty-first century westerners how to perceive and reflect on a joy taking hold of the human heart amidst relentless suffering. These female medieval mystics teach us how to do theology without using abstract language and categories, that is, how to perceive and articulate in the mode and format of spiritual autobiography the transformative presence of God in our lives, even and especially in suffering. Understanding human existence as intimate transformative interaction with God, they have, in their persons and works, explored the conditions under which the experience and reality of suffering become the medium within which true and lasting joy can be accessed. The four landmark texts to be considered are the Poems, Visions and Letters, The Flowing Light of the Godhead, The Dialogue on Divine Providence and the Showings. These works convey the voices of gifted women called to teach both church and world on the true nature and purpose of human existence. The theology and struggle of these medieval mystics will inspire women and men striving to live authentic lives today, as they attempt to speak and minister in challenging times.
Theme:Religious Foundations
Room 6 Lifeworld Practices

Testing the Limits of Diversity: What Does the Same-sex Marriage Debate Tell Us about Religion in Australia in the First Quarter of the Twentieth Century?
Andrew Dutney, Principal, Uniting College for Leadership & Theology, UCA Synod of South Australia
Overview: In December 2017, after years of public debate and in response to a controversial “non-compulsory opinion survey” the Australian Parliament voted to approve same-sex marriage, preserving the right of religious celebrants to refuse to marry same sex couples. In July 2018, after decades of wrestling with the same matter the Uniting Church in Australia (the third largest Christian church in Australia) gave permission for its ministers to solemnise same-sex marriages. The UCA decision also preserved the right of ministers and congregation to continue to uphold a traditional view of marriage and to refuse to conduct same-sex marriages. The intense debate within the church following this decision throws light on a wide range of the key features of religion in contemporary Australia including the diversity of faith and practice, cultural and linguistic diversity, and the changing relation between the churches, society and government. This project maps and discusses those features, and asks what they suggest for the medium term future of a religious organisation like the Uniting Church in Australia.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Risky Romance: Illicit Intimacy and Moral Policing in Contemporary Malaysia
Nurul Huda Mohd. Razif, Postdoctoral Affiliate, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Overview: Malaysia is a Muslim-majority nation with an Islamized state that has little tolerance for its Muslim subjects indulging in sexual intimacy outside of marriage. Such transgressions classified as “khalwat” – being in close physical proximity to a non-kin member of the opposite sex in an intimate or sexual way that “arouses suspicion” – are recognized as a criminal offense under Malaysia’s Shariah laws; any couple caught in an act of khalwat is liable to being arrested by a state-led moral police unit, summoned to a hearing in court, and subjected to a hefty fine for their indiscretions. This paper examines the role of the Vice Prevention Unit (Unit Pencegah Maksiat) operating under the payroll of the state in clamping down pre- and extra-marital sexual intimacy, both in public spaces and behind closed doors. Under the guise of “enjoining good and forbidding evil”, the Unit, in collaboration with a prying public, engages in indiscreet acts of shaming such as propagandized arrests and trials to form a kind of public morality that is intolerant of illicit intimacy. This intrusive interest in its Muslim citizens’ intimate pursuits reveals the conspiring machinations in the way the Malaysian state colludes with Islam and Malay culture and traditions (adat) to protect access to intimacy as a conjugal privilege. I thus examine moral policing here – both state-led and community-driven – as attempts to maintain the ethical order through repressing unlawful desires that threaten the very moral foundations of the society and the ummah (global Muslim community).
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

A Society without God? : On Secularity, Religiosity and Prosperity in Scandinavia
Kjell Olof Urban Lejon, Accociate Professor, Faculty of Theology, Lund University
Overview: Sweden and Denmark have by American sociologist Phil Zuckerman been described as prosperous “societies without God,” as secular “heavens.” But are these societies truly secular? And is it true that secularity has caused prosperity in Scandinavia? This paper deals with the modern religious situation in “the public square” in Scandinavia, with new research findings and will give essential references to Scandinavia's cultural and religious history. It will display the impact of the Lutheran heritage in creating the Swedish/Scandinavian welfare states, and discuss Zuckerman's attempt to describe Sweden and Denmark as secular ideals.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 7 Foundations of Belief

Dostoevsky and the Icon: Faith beyond Reason
Andrea Serra, assistant of research, Department of Social Sciences and Institutions, PhD in History of political thought , Cagliari, Italy
Overview: For Dostoevsky, reason represent a twentieth part of the human essence and reducing a human being to the sole dimension of reason have the same meaning of considering him as a number. In his Notebook, a little bit before die, we can read: "my hosanna has passed through an enormous furnace of doubt." Dostoevsky was tormented by doubt - in a letter to his friend Fonvizina (1854) he called himself "child of unbelief." However, it was precisely the incompleteness of reason compared to the divine infinity that made him produce an authentic faith. What I would like to show in my speech is precisely this relationship (faith and reason) in the Fyodor Dostoevsky's thought. Citing authors such as Paul Evdokimov, Hans Küng, Father Pavel Florensky etc. I would like to analyze this relationship in the light of the "symbol," the orthodox icon, which in Dostoevsky's novels presents itself as a painting (Holbein, Lorrain) and which contains in itself that mystery (apophatic thought) that, since the age of seventeen, our author discovered as a main characteristic of human being: man is a mystery.
Theme:Religious Foundations

The Map of Life: Quaker Religious Practice in the Early American Republic
Janet Moore Lindman, Professor, History, Rowan University, Glasboro, New Jersey, United States
Overview: From the Buddhist Eight-fold Path to the Native American Red Road, spiritual practice as a well-trod track through life has been a dominant trope among several faith traditions. As a metaphorical construct, the path framed the spiritual identity of the Religious Society of Friends in the early American Republic. Both as a symbol and allegory, life as a journey has a long history in Christianity. The Bible as well as the medieval literature and art of Europe abound with this image. Instead of physically traveling to a holy site like Catholics, however, Protestants journeyed inward in their minds and hearts to affirm and experience faith. This was evident in the faith practice of Quakers, who envisioned their piety as an active, daily undertaking. Friends followed a series of meandering pathways, in which they advanced or retreated repeatedly before reaching their journey’s end. George Dilwyn, an American Quaker, portrayed this religious trek in an image entitled “The Map of Various Paths,” which outlined the possible routes a Friend might follow during their lifetime. Analysis of this material artifact will demonstrate the ways in which American Quakers visualized spirituality. Study of this image is particularly important for religious history because it provides striking evidence of Friends’ spiritual path that--as inward, silent and atomized--is not always readily discernible.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

An Abiding Engagement: Prayer, Power, and Politics in Pentecostal Spirituality in Africa
Akintunde Akinade, Professor, Theology, Georgetown University, United States
Overview: African Christianity has engendered many creative paradigms in theology, liturgy, and mission studies. In the twenty-first century, African Christianity continues to experience exponential growth, renewal, and transformation. Pentecostal congregations have radically reshaped the Christian faith in Africa. Through intentional and active engagement in the public square, pentecostal churches in Africa have established creative connections between prayer and politics. This paper examines the power of prayer in pentecostal spirituality. I argue that the discourse on prayer in African Christianity is located in the intersection of actuality and possibility. This process can described as the quintessential crossroad of hope and promise, human brokenness, and redemption. This juxtaposition indicates the perennial paradoxical nature of the Christian faith. This paper critically interrogates the complex linkages between spirituality and politics from the vantage point of pentecostalism in Africa. I will grapple with these connections from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 8 Sacred Spaces

Exitus and Reditus: The Significance of Place
M Isabell Naumann, Prof Dr , Theology, Catholic Institute of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Overview: Sacred places are known to us from different religious traditions, sacred texts and from the history of the Church. In this paper I will discuss the prevailing character of sacred places, and their importance toward human harmony and peace. Such places take on a prophetic significance, because they are signs of that greater hope that points to the final and definitive human destination. In a sense, they become a constant call to critique the myopia of all human endeavour which would impose themselves as absolutes. It is my conviction that a sacred place (e.g. a Marian Shrine), not only generates in people a sense of belonging but also enables them to live their unique calling, attesting to genuine humanness as a reflection of ultimate, divine love and the ability to respond to God’s different modes of communication.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Women's Participation and Access to Mosques in Karachi, Pakistan: A Question of Piety and Modernity
Shaheera Pesnani, Post Graduate Student, Islamic Studies, Habib University, United States
Overview: Historically, mosques have served as public spaces intended for communal worship. Not only have they played a significant role in creating a cohesive community but have operated as symbols of belonging and identity for the Muslim communities. However, men and women do not experience accessibility to and participation in mosques equally, particularly in the context of Pakistan. It remains a “contested” space that reflects the cultural and societal values of the communities in which they are built. It has been observed that in Pakistan fewer women frequent mosques to offer their prayers. A commonly cited cause by many scholars is that female presence in a mosque is seen as sexually enticing and therefore distracting in prayer, which, by extension, restricts women’s access to space and excludes them from the community-building process. While that may be the case, factors behind women’s lesser participation in a mosque are complex and multifaceted. In an attempt to understand the reasons behind the marginalisation and near exclusion of women in public spaces in the Pakistani society, a post-structuralist lens has been used which analyses women’s role, by situating it within the socio-cultural and political context of the Pakistani society. In light of this, the research explores the perceptions of young Sunni university-going women on their access and participation in mosques in Karachi, Pakistan. An exploratory qualitative study was undertaken to analyse the diverse perceptions of young women on the mosque as a public space and the factors behind lesser participation of women in mosques.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 9 Spirituality, Seeking, and Conflict

Extremism within the Deobandi Movement in Britain: Historical, Geopolitical and Ideological Factors
Farid Harouit, Lecturer, LEA, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris, France
Overview: The Deobandi movement was founded in 1867 in the Indian sub-continent and was imported to Britain during the 1950’s. By building on Quintan Wiktorowcz’ model, according to which radicalisation is the result of political grievances and ideology, and Robert Pape’s study, which demonstrates that nationalism is at the heart of terrorism, this paper purports to examine the historical, geopolitical and ideological factors leading to the rise of an extremist violent fringe within the Deobandi movement in Britain. The study shows that concerns and grievances over colonial history, Bangladesh’s secession war in 1971, the conflict in Kashmir, the military intervention in Afghanistan and the war on terror led to the rise of radicalisation within the Deobandi movement not only in the Indian sub-continent but also in Britain.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Fragments of a Black Woman: Spirituality in the Context of Empire
Dr. Fundiswa Kobo, Lecturer, Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Overview: A number of scholars articulate the traditional African way of life as interconnected with a strong sense of community. Worship and spirituality in such a community is a fusion of various aspects of life. There is no life without spirituality and no spirituality without life. In the African heritage that is marked by interconnectedness as suggested by several scholars, nuanced in the Xhosa proverb umntu ngumntu ngabantu, dialogue is fundamental. But the fragmenting of a black woman in this heritage poses critical questions on the comprehensive liberation of black Africans as a whole. The fragmenting of a black woman, which cannot be separated from the fragmenting nature of the ethos of Empire. The continuation of the imperial spirit, inaugurated by a civilization that marked black bodies since 1492 at least, has left and rendered black women in particular into fragments. The struggle and resistance to liberate her African heritage of interconnectedness of life is now at risk of crumbling, life threatening and truly spiritual.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Voodoo Spiritualism and Ecology
Dr. Alan S. Weber, Professor, English, Cornell University
Overview: Although Haitian Voodoo–a syncretic new world religion based on West African cults such as the Vodun of the Ewe and Fon – has been well documented by sociologists and theologians, the practices of Voodoo have not received sufficient attention in ecocritical and ecotheological scholarship. The religion’s relationship to fetishes and nature worship is founded on the worship of ancestral spirits, called the Lwa (Loa) who “have dominion over natural elements, such as fire, water, wind, trees, and plants, including the secrets of the medicinal properties of these elements and illnesses and their cures.” Ironically, Haiti has suffered some of the world’s greatest anthropogenic ecological disasters in the modern period – deforestation from charcoal production, soil erosion and degradation, water pollution, and unregulated solid waste accumulation. Thus the question arises of how a theology rooted in the natural world should confront unwise stewardship of natural resources that results in real-world human harms such as malnutrition, over-population, disease, and poverty.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
14:55-15:05 Coffee Break / Pausa para el café
15:05-15:50 PARALLEL SESSIONS
Room 1 Spanish Language Parallel Session - Focused Discussion (ES)
Room 2 Spanish Language Parallel Session - Virtual Lightening Talk (ES)
Room 3 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 4 Virtual Lightening Talks

The Symbolic Language of Hindu Iconography and Its Impact on Indian Society
France Azema, Teacher, Sciences of Theology and Religions, ISTR, Toulouse, France
Overview: The interpretation of religious symbolism in Hinduism is one of the main tools for understanding the religion and all the rituals around. This paper faces with the task of recognizing and understanding the meaning of both religious symbols and the whole process of their application in the social everyday life. I examine the phenomenon of implicit learning, the process by which behaviors and beliefs are acquired independently of conscious wills to do so. Hindu iconography is very rich in symbolism. I will focus here on the various representations of the same goddess: Kāli, and attempt to decipher the complexity of her iconographic symbols. Assuming that Kāli represents the Goddess, mother of all Hindus, loving and protector, why does she look terrifying? (holding weapons and men's bloodied decapitated heads, in her hands) This paper wants to clarify these two seemingly opposite paradigms. Implicit learning of the religion produces a tacit abstract knowledge base that is representative of the structure of the societal environment. Such knowledge is optimally acquired independently of conscious efforts to learn but is very deeply integrated by the whole society.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Mimesis: The Scapegoating Function of Christianity
Ogechi Ibeanusi, Undergraduate Student, University of Southern California, Pacifica, United States
Overview: In my poster, I will discuss Rene Girard’s theory of mimesis and the scapegoating function of Christianity. In Girard’s theory of religion and culture, he offers what he calls to be the science of humanity that can answer the questions surrounding the origins of culture and religion. The components that comprise of these theories are mimetic desire and violence, the second being the scapegoat, the third is religious awe, and finally the Bible and the revelation of Jesus Christ. Girard differentiates mimetic desire with imitation in that imitation is copying while mimetic desire functions as a triangle with subject, object, and mediator. Furthermore, violence is added because mimetic desire unlike imitation later leads to rivalry over object desire. Thus, the mediator becomes both the model and obstacle and mimetic desire intensifies rivalries, which Girard believes early modern societies experienced paroxyms. This explains the situation in which human beings revert to the Freudian death instinct, which eventually leads to a single victim or outsider on the margins, whom the community thrusts their bane upon and blames for the problems apparent in all members of the community (otherwise known as the scapegoat.) After the scapegoat has been sacrificed, the community begins to experience greater peace and deifies the scapegoat as a god. The act of killing the scapegoat becomes holy and is at the center of Christ’s cruxification on the cross and Christian-Judeo culture.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Anatomy, Flesh, and Resurrection: Sculptures of the Supine Dead Christ in Counter-Reformation Spain
Dr. Ilenia Colon Mendoza, Associate Professor of Art History, School of Visual Art and Design, University of Central Florida, Orlando, United States
Overview: The University of Valladolid was the first Castilian institution where anatomy was taught from human dissection. In 1551 Bernardino Montaña de Monserrate published in Valladolid, Spain El Libro de la anathomia del hombre, the first book in Spanish to address the subject. By the time of its publication the theories of the book were outdated but the illustrated plates were copies of the images found in Vesalius’ influential De humanis corporis fabrica. Like Montaña Juan Valverde and Dionisio Daza Chacón also published in Spanish their respective books: Historia de la composicion del cuerpo humano (Rome, 1556) and Práctica y teorica de la chirugía (Valladolid, 1580). The anatomical accuracy of the seventeenth-century Cristos yacentes by Gregorio Fernández and Francisco Fermín relied on these Spanish anatomical treatises because they would have been more accessible to artists in their native city of Valladolid. It was through the use of these publications that the body of Christ was accurately rendered as a dead body that would later resurrect. The Catholic belief in the resurrection of the flesh ties directly to its anatomical representation. The focus on Christ’s physical suffering connects to the Eucharistic meaning of the work and Counter-Reformation devotional practices. The lacerated body of Christ with its wounds are noted by contemporary mystics as windows to paradise that serve to elevate the viewer to higher state of empathetic contemplation. Scientific anatomical representation was used in service of the Church to produce a work that used verisimilitude and hyperreality to engage the viewer.
Theme:Religious Foundations

The Way: The Spiritual Practices of Jesus
Charles Neff, Vice-President for University-Church Relations and Dean of the Chapel, University-Church Relations, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Overview: Early Christians referred to their fledgling religious tradition as "The Way." Using primary and secondary sources from Late Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity, the author has endeavored to reconstruct the spiritual practices of Jesus that may have constituted the The Way for his earliest followers. The author examined Biblical and extra-biblical texts to search for continuance, divergence, discontinuance, and new development of spiritual practices from Judaism to Christianity. The research revealed that Jesus engaged in the traditional Jewish practices of prayer, hospitality, Sabbath observance, pilgrimage, Temple and synagogue worship, and festival observance. The research also revealed that Jesus engaged in asceticism, solitude, feasting (not fasting), and open table fellowship. In terms of spiritual practice, "The Way" for the earliest Christians likely included these elements.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization
Room 5 Focused Discussions

Reason, Faith and Intuition
Tina Lindhard Lindhard, IUPS, Madrid , Spain
Overview: In this discussion, we take the point of view that reason and intuition rest on two different epistemological ways of obtaining information about nature, the Cosmos and ourselves. Faith is the common factor that underlies the reliance on either method. Reason and intuition are seen here as being linked to two different principles, the Male and the Female Principle. Science is primarily based on reason, the Male Principle and Spirituality mainly on intuition, the Female Principle. As the latter has been depreciated for over two thousand years, it has resulted in religions being considered as separate from the Spirituality. This shift in perspective from faith in a Religion to faith in a way of obtaining knowledge helps us realize that Spirituality underlies and is at the heart of all religions. It also gives us clues regarding the methods used by all great Spiritual leaders to connect to and discover their true identity or Self, as well as pointing how to follow in the different leaders' footsteps and become disciples rather than just believers. This shift also foments respect for others following variations in the spiritual path.
Theme:Religious Foundations

A Living Sense of Brotherhood and Sisterhood
Cooper Michael, Assistant Professor, Theology, Saint Leo University
Overview: These words from the Book of Genesis remind us that we are called to hold each other in sacred trust. Thus, a living sense of “Brotherhood and Sisterhood” stand as the religious and spiritual symbols of Hope and Promise. Yet many silos of religious deception, sexual abuse, individual and corporate greed, et cetera exist locally and globally. The cover-up of sexual abuse of children and young people not only by the American Catholic bishops in Pennsylvania but also by bishops worldwide stands as one of the most egregious and disheartening factors in destroying the bonds of trust. This paper will begin by exploring the dynamics of secrecy and of individual- and collective cover-up for the sake of protecting the Catholic Church at the cost of being Sister and Brother to vulnerable children. The needed spiritual and emotional healing and transformation for this and many other abuses can only come through a shared spirituality. We will first explore the dynamics of German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher for facing threats and change by dealing with that underlying inferiority masking as superiority as well as by owning any latent fears. In addition, the discernment of spirits of Ignatius Loyola will help us sort through that path to Sisterhood and Brotherhood. By letting go of the false protections and the fear of something new as well as confronting any individual and collective self-serving attitudes and behaviors through discernment, we will be freed to embrace each other as Sisters and Brothers here and afar.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

The Divine Psychotic Break: Surviving in a Patriarchy, Nurturing the Sacred Feminine
Judith Pentz, Assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry , University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Dr. Melanie Richardson, DOM, Private Practice

Overview: In this era of #MeToo it becomes imperative to address the insanity that has been created by the severing of the feminine from the Divine Triarchy. An inflammation of the spirit, a psychosis, has supported the degradation, debasement, and diminishment of females in the reign of the Patriarchy. Held hostage by gender roles, exclusion, and violations the Sacred Feminine has survived abuses and repression, by hiding in plain sight. Explorations of the Dark Goddesses which symbolize the cunning and sexual nature of the female to the Archetype of the cast out female in the salvation of Mary Magdalene are needed to bring the reverence back to the Sacred Feminine. This undertaking sets the stage for the analysis of the mental and spiritual illness created by the severing of half the Divine Self in each member of society. The imbalance of a Patriarchy or Matriarchy is equivalent to living in a spiritual family with divorced parents. The fullness of a relationship with both parents is denied and gaps in psychospiritual development occur. If the Sacred Feminine is brought out of the shadows, we can bask in the light of our nurturer, protector, and teacher. In this act the Patriarchy can be transformed into the Divine Masculine. With challenging the values and images we have been given in this era, we can set the stage for a Divine reunion. A healing opportunity starts with the first admission that we are under the ravages of a spiritual disorder; A divine psychotic break.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Suffering in the Islamic Tradition and Its Influence on Spirituality
Tuba Erkoc Baydar, Assistant Professor, Theology, Ibn Haldun, Istanbul, Turkey
Overview: There have always been illnesses that become a source of sorrow, pain and suffering for human beings, since the ancient times until the day. Hence, the first Islamic philosopher al-Kindî (d. 252/866) stated that suffering, including the one sourcing from an illness or the one resulting in death, is a part and inevitable aspect of life, and that if an individual does not suffer a bit in this world, it means s/he does not exist at all. Therefore, since suffering due to illnesses, problems, troubles and negative life events is the most important part of one’s existence, how this suffering will be interpreted and given a meaning should be paid special attention. In the Islamic tradition, pain and troubles are considered to have a role in the training of people, bringing them to maturity, and giving them the strength and will to tolerate and endure in the face of heavy troubles of this life. In order to explain the meaning of suffering in the Islamic tradition, firstly the words used in the literature in relation to suffering, and their epistemological roots will be examined. Secondly, philosophical and sufistic grounds of suffering in the Islamic literature will be presented and their effect on the generation of juridical verdicts in the Islamic law will be discussed. After these chapters that aim to build the theoretical grounds for the issue, the interpretation of the suffering in an intercultural context will be examined through a case example.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences
Room 7 Spanish Language Session
Room 8 Posters and Virtual Posters

The Impact of Religiosity on US Latinos’ Openness to Pregnancy
Mayra Cazares, PhD Student, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
Overview: When examined by race and socioeconomic status, the association between religiosity and attitudes about pregnancy is unclear. This study’s objective was to explore the relationship between Latinos’ religiosity and openness to pregnancy. We analyzed survey data from 1442 fecund Latinos (ages 18-39) in the U.S. who were not pregnant or trying to become pregnant. The primary outcome was lack of openness to pregnancy, indicating that participants did not currently want to become pregnant and would not find a pregnancy acceptable. Religion indicators included affiliation (including Christian, non-Christian, none/atheist/agnostic), personal importance of religion, frequency of religious service attendance, and prayer. Using adjusted logistic regression models, we examined the relationship between each religion indicator and openness to pregnancy. Adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, indicators of weaker or no religiosity were positively associated with lack of pregnancy openness. For example, individuals reporting no religious affiliation had elevated odds of being not open to pregnancy compared to Christians. Individuals reporting religion to be unimportant were more likely to not be open to pregnancy compared to those for whom religion was very important. Those who never or seldom prayed were more likely to be closed to pregnancy compared to those praying daily. Findings suggest that lower religiosity is associated with lack of pregnancy openness among Latinos in the U.S. Future models will explore multidimensional measures of religiosity.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Bipolar Disorder and Religion and Spirituality
Daniel Jackson, Clinical Assistant Instructor, Psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, United States
Overview: Religion and psychiatry have had a unique relationship since psychiatry’s inception. It has been historically a negative one, beginning with Freud’s assertion that religion leads to neuroticism. Today, the interplay between the two is more nuanced, with burgeoning research on the potential negative or positive effects of religion on mental health, especially with regards to conditions such as major depressive disorder. One area of research that is still scarce is how religion and/or spirituality affects bipolar disorder and vice versa. A review of both qualitative and quantitative studies was done to show what the current state of research is regarding religion/spirituality and bipolar disorder. Sixteen relevant studies were found, the results of which highlighted the importance of distinguishing intrinsic religiosity, organized religious activity, and private religious activity when referring to the effect of religion/spirituality on bipolar disorder. Other important themes found in these studies were the struggle that bipolar patients with strong religious beliefs face when talking to mental health professionals about religion as well as the difficulty of navigating what their religious experiences mean in the context of their medical condition. The relative paucity of research done on the topic highlights the need for more original studies, yet the current level of research shows that religion/spirituality and bipolar disorder have profound effects on one another in the lives of patients.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Designer Beliefs: A View from an Artists Perspective
Slate Grove, Glass Facilities Manager, School of Art, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, United States
Overview: The emphasis for my current body of sculptural artwork, entitled Designer Beliefs, stems from current social and political issues. I'm consistently thinking about faith, hypocrisy, marketing, consumption, and the false sense of agency and/or choice we as consumers overlook. Glass visually illustrates the ease with which people can design their own belief system, but also the transparency, and fragility of those constructed beliefs. There are those who translate the text of their beliefs very concretely with respects to some teachings and forget, altogether, that others were mentioned at all; effectively designing their own religions in order to fulfill their personal/political agendas. In stark contrast to those who focus on their beliefs, are those who idolize the symbols and designers in the couture fashion world. Brands that were solidified by founders that prided themselves on high quality craftsmanship and unique design, have become exclusionary; those labels now being worn as badges of wealth, power, and status. I try to utilize this combination of seemingly disparate sects of society by visually suggesting thoughts of religion to underscore the idolization of exclusivity and our quest for status; and to question whether identity formation has become more material than spiritual in today's world.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Immigrant Religious Identity Development: Variation in Religious Identities Post-Migration in Filipino-Canadians
Drexler Ortiz, Graduate Student, Psychology, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
Dr. Catherine Costigan, Professor, University of Victoria, Canada

Overview: Religious identity development of immigrants is not well understood. According to identity formation theory, religious identity is formed through the exploration of and commitment to different religious beliefs and practices. A small body of literature on non-immigrants suggests that there are several types or variations of religious identities, such that people can be grouped into five clusters of religious identities that differ in the strength of exploration and commitment to different religious beliefs, practices, and ideologies. Identity formation in general is a normative part of adolescent development, but religious identity formation in particular may be more relevant later in development during emerging adulthood. Importantly, immigration may change how, when, and what types of religious identities develop because immigrants must renegotiate and reform their religious identity when societal norms for religiosity differ substantially between the sending and receiving cultures (e.g., Philippines to Canada). The current paper uses cluster analysis and prediction analysis to examine the types of religious identities that emerge from a sample of 210 Christian-affiliated Filipina/o/x immigrants to Canada, and observes the developmental trajectory of religious identity from age 14 to 25. The paper also takes into account whether religious identity types differ by acculturation level, gender, and other key demographic variables. The study provides insight to the different ways Filipino immigrant youth make meaning of religion post-migration. The findings also provide a basis for understanding differences in religious identities within immigrant families, particularly among parents and children.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

The Paradox of Mind Concept and the Concept of Ego from the Viewpoint of Islamic Philosophers and Western Philosophers
Mahmoud Reza Qasemi,
Seyed Mohammad Ali Dibaji, Student, University of Tehran, Iran

Overview: The purpose of the present article is to distinguish between Marc Johnson's and George Lakoff's views on the physical aspect of the mind with other philosophers of the mind. The applied methodology is a library field. George Lakoff and Marc Johnson stated that the mind is essentially physical, thought is largely unconscious, and abstract concepts are mostly in metaphorical state. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson stated that: "The serious perception of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophies from the beginning, in a way that makes it more in touch with the reality of our thinking." The oldest intellectual evidence of Ancient Greece are sonnets of Homer, referred to as Iliad and Odyssey. in these verses, human being recognized as a combination of the soul and the body. Descartes believed that there exist two kinds of materials; one physical and the other is mental. The trait of the material body is the expansion of space and the trait of the mental object of thought. Other Western philosophers have come up with different opinions. Islamic philosophers, like some Western philosophers, do not accept the physicalization of the mind, especially Ebn-sina, which proved the subtlety of the soul and the body, and they are related only to the tendencies of them.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Speech Sounds as Symbols: The Explanatory Power of Phonological Universals and Phonological Patterns across Human Languages
Raul Prezas, Associate Professor of Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders , Stephen F. Austin State University
Dr. Paul Shockley, Lecturer of Philosohpy, Division of Multidisciplinary Programs, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogodoches , Texas, United States

Overview: In this collaborative interdisciplinary approach we will explore phonological universals and phonological patterns that exist in human speech sound acquisition. If this inquiry can empirically demonstrate that cross-cultural phonological universals and patterns exist, then how can we best explain their existence? This inter-professional project will analyze empirical and statistical analysis in multiple areas to determine potential contribution to contemporary discussions for God's existence. If this investigation provides evidence for the existence of God, then this collaborative project will be the first of its kind that integrates speech and language development, philosophy of religion, and universal phonological speech sounds that point us to God.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships

Creating the Virtual Yantra: The Cycle of Enjoyment, Secrecy, and Power in Kumārī Pūjā
Dr. E. Sundari Johansen Hurwitt, PhD Candidate, Asian Philosophies & Cultures Program, Department of Philosophy & Religion, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, United States
Overview: The kumārī pūjā is one of the most important rituals performed at the Kāmākhyā temple in Assam, one of the oldest and most important sites of Tantric goddess worship in the world. The three primary participants of the pūjā are the kumārī, who is also the goddess, the devotee, who directly offers worship to the goddess in the form of the kumārī, and the priest, who facilitates this worship with both overt and secret knowledge. Among these various participants is a cycle of ritual relationships that can be distilled into three primary points. Each point is a locus at and through which a different kind of transmission, convergence, and/or exchange happens, typically uniting two of the three participants at any given time. These interactions happen continuously and simultaneously, creating a constantly moving cycle of worship and transmission of power throughout the ritual. The three loci together create an energized triangle within the circle of ritual time and space. When the ritual is performed to the satisfaction of the priest and devotee, and the kumārī is calm and pleased with the ritual throughout, representing the approval of the goddess, each locus escalates in power throughout the course of worship, fueling each other in a continuous cycle until the end of the pūjā. When taken together, this invisible yantra of continuously moving and shifting energies is the framework through which power is summoned, circulated, transmitted, and directed. These primary interactions represent three loci of enjoyment, power, and secrecy.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
15:50-15:55 Transition Break / Pausa
15:55-17:10 PARALLEL SESSIONS
Room 1 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 2 Spanish Language Parallel Session
Room 3 Theologies and Representation

Negative Theology, Apophasis and Contemporary Painting
Michael Evans, Senior Lecturer in Painting, Fine Art, University of Northampton, Northampton, United Kingdom
Overview: This paper will explore what could be desribed as an "apophatic attitude" encountered in painting. It can be seen within Expressionism and later Absract Expressionism but in this paper the focus will be on contemporary painters such as Ian McKeever and particularly Gerhard Richter. This apophatic sensibility could be seen as a form of thinking which has been present in many cultures and periods of time (as charted by William Franke). It is easily recognizable in negative theology and characteristic traits can be seen within aspects of postmodernism. Writers and theorists such as James Elkins have helped to promote discussion around aspects of painting which may be termed 'spiritual' or more acceptable to the artworld - numinous. It is this loss of a collective language for this experience of meaning which may previously have been termed religious or spiritual that this paper wishes to address. When considering the way a number of painters and theorists describe how they experience painting as a way of working with what may be unsayable or unknowable it begins to become apparent that there may certainly be some form of shared experience occurring even if the language for this experience is fragmented. The paper would attempt to begin to establish a language for this experience which acknowledges both the historical precedents in religion and spirituality but also takes into account the complexity of this experience (and its articulation) within the often indifferent and sometimes even hostile world of contemporary art.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Devotion in Secular Societies East and West
Mario Wenning, University of Macau, Macau, Macao
Overview: The paper contrasts forms of devotion in the Western European and in Asian religious traditions. Special attention will be given to the Confucian greeting ritual of the kowtow as well as the role of kneeling in the Judeo-Christian traditions. The underlying conceptions of respect, it is shown, are not as neutral and independent of cultural presumptions as it is often assumed. During the second part of the paper, it will be shown how the function of devotion has been transformed in increasingly secular societies.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Room 4 Violence and Non-violence

Religion as a Source of Both Tolerance and Intolerance in Society
Quinn Galbraith, Provo, Utah, United States
Adam Callister, Research Assistant, BYU, United States

Overview: Given society’s ever-changing beliefs about religion’s proper role in the public sphere, this study seeks to analyze the dichotomy of religion as both a source of tolerance and intolerance in society. In order to address this topic of interest, researchers conducted interviews with 172 religious individuals living in Ireland and the United Kingdom in June and July of 2016. Interview participants came from a variety of different faith backgrounds including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Baha’i. In regards to religious tolerance, researchers identified a number of themes from the data which suggest that religion’s role in promoting interfaith interaction as well as teaching inclusion leads religious adherents to be more tolerant of different religious groups. In contrast, researchers identified themes related to religious intolerance which suggest that religious differences have the potential to engender intolerance between religious adherents of the same faith, between religious adherents of different faiths, and within families and communities in general. Additionally, many participants expressed their belief that the increasing secularization of society has led people to become less tolerant of religion in the public sphere. The implications of these findings with regards to prior research on the topic are discussed and suggestions for further research are offered.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Violence as a Tool: Changing Nature of Religious Violence in North-Western Maghrib in the 20th Century
Lenka Hrabalová, PhD. student, History, Palacky univerzity, Olomouc, Czech Republic
Overview: This contribution explores the changing nature of the relationship between religion and violence in Morocco, Mali, and Mauritania between 1899 and 2003. These three countries share many cultural, social and religious similarities, while one of them is a long tradition of jihadi movements and Islamic resistance. The main question of the research is if that the nature of violence perpetrated by religiously motivated groups or individuals changed during the past hundred years. Analysis of historical sources, such as reports, newspapers and books and comparative approach in the study of rhetorics of different jihadi leaders resulted in the identification of motivations of different actors and observation of a radical shift in perpetrators of the violence. While at the beginning of the century violent jihad was a mere attempt to unite populations of the region in a common cause and therefore religion was a tool of violent movements, at the end of the century, violence became a tool of anti-system religious groups. The paper will conclude that the relation of violence and Islam has a profoundly changing nature, and is always influenced by external conditions and implications and cannot be associated with one Islamic stream while excluding others. The changing nature of violent religious behavior in the region will be presented in the broader context of regional and international development.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

A Feeble Folk to Whom No Concern is Accorded: “Apocalyptic Responses” to ISIS and Their Contextualization
Bronislav Ostransky, Research Fellow, Deputy Director, The Department of Middle East, The Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Overview: This paper provides the listener with a quite different perspective on the apocalyptic visions of ISIS than usual. “A Feeble Folk to whom no Concern is Accorded” (this enigmatic title is a borrowed quotation from an apocalyptic prophecy recorded by sheikh Nuʽaym ibn Hammad al-Marwazi in his famous Kitāb al-Fitan / the Book of Apocalyptic Tribulations) discusses, above all, how the activities of ISIS are placed into an apocalyptic context by their Muslim opponents. This paper elaborates pivotal Sunni patterns as well as particular examples of such a fighting against the ISIS propaganda “in eschatological terms.”
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 5 Rites and Rituals

The Dievturi Movement in Latvia: Development of Doctrine and Ritual Practices
Gatis Ozolins, Researcher, Archives of Latvian Folklore, Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia
Overview: The aim of this paper is to view the Dievturi movement in Latvia as a religious movement. The formation of Dievturi movement in the middle of the 1920s closely related with the endeavour to find a religious answer to the question about the place of ethnic Latvians in the newly created Latvian state, to reconstruct the traditional religion of ancient Latvians based on study of Latvian folk songs, folk beliefs and practices, and efforts to create an alternative religion to Christianity. After the official annexation of Latvia into the USSR in 1940 Dievturi movement was closed down. Legal activity of Dievturi was possible only in exile. The exiled Latvians, who wanted to find a way to retain their ethnic identity outside their ethnic home country, joined them. During the Soviet regime in Latvia, Dievturi were not part of an organised religious movement, its teaching and ritual practice were not further developed. The Dievturi movement in Latvia gradually resumed its activity at the end of the 1980s on the basis of the folklore movement, but it was officially registered as a religious organisation Dievturi Fellowship in 1990. The return of Dievturi from exile to Latvia was a significant impetus for the reconstruction of Dievturi movement. Members of the contemporary Dievturi movement emphasise that Dievturība is the renewal of the Latvian worldview contained in folk songs while religious practice is shaped on the basis of Latvian traditional lifestyle evidence, mainly ethnographic descriptions.
Theme:Religious Community and Socialization

Religion Does Not Stand Alone: The Common Origins of Religion, Science, and Philosophy
Dr. Ken Baskin, PhD, English Literature, University of Maryland, Philadelphia, PA, United States
Overview: Faced with the powerful forces that evoke awe and terror, in a world where life lives on death and both abundance and disaster are always possible, all human groups must learn to know and adapt to these forces. This paper will draw on findings in sciences ranging from neurobiology to paleoanthropology to examine how meeting the challenge of such forces would lead to religion, science, and philosophy, each of which explores these forces with a different habit of thought: With religion, people use myth and ritual; with science, they study the natural world; and with philosophy, they discuss the human dimensions of meeting these forces. In pre-literate societies, these three habits of mind are braided together in religion. As late as Babylonia, priests invented and practiced astronomy, and Ancient Egyptians expressed a sophisticated philosophy of justice embodied in the goddess Ma’at. By the Axial Age, however, as writing became a cultural tool, these three habits of mind began to diverge, especially in science and philosophy that would develop in Greece, India and China. This paper will conclude by discussing how Modernity has separated these habits of mind, but also examine how current sciences such as quantum physics are reintegrating them.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Primogeniture, Purgatory, and the Needs of the Dead
Paul Delany, Emeritus Professor, English, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Overview: Philosophers have debated whether it makes sense to say that the dead have rights. In a pragmatic view, the dead may have some control over posthumous events, in particular the disposal of their property. Medieval rules of inheritance required the transfer of landed estates to the eldest son, known as primogeniture. From the 13th century on, the new doctrine of Purgatory gave people an incentive to provide prayers and good works that would shorten their period of suffering after death. This had three important consequences: greatly increased wealth for the Catholic Church; the establishment of endowments to yield a perpetual income; and a rule of testamentary freedom that partially supplanted primogeniture.
Theme:The Politics of Religion
Room 6 The Sacred and the Spiritual

Sustainability in the Religious Sources of Western Culture
Bina Nir, Director, Honors B.A Program, Communication, The Academic College of Emeke Yezrael, Afula, Israel
Overview: Discussions about sustainability or actually non-sustainability primarily focus on the relationship between human beings and nature. The complexity of the issue derives from the idea that humans are the masters and owners of nature. The cultural approach popular in Western civilization maintains that humans are separate from nature and dominate it; this approach shapes humanity’s attitude towards the planet, and the plants and animals that inhabit it. In this paper, I will present the cultural and religious roots of this concept in Judeo-Christian monotheism – based on the biblical text, particularly the myth of Creation in the book of Genesis. Humanity’s alienation from nature forms an axis that passes throughout the history of Western culture. It is firmly established on deep religious foundations that develop into secular modes.The separation of humanity from nature in the Judeo-Christian Creation myth is expressed in two respects. The first is the separation of the divine from nature. The second is to separate humanity from nature, place him atop a hierarchy of living creatures, and stress his ability to act as a partner in creating natural reality. This separation means the reduction of nature to an object of human will. The concept completely transformed the religious world of the ancient Near East, in which the gods were subject to nature and fate. This religious revolution, although it has undergone many transformations, is still present in our culture, and has far-reaching implications to this day.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Loving without Limits: Conscientization as a Spiritual Praxis
Dr. Christopher Tirres, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Religious Studies, DePaul University
Overview: This paper explores the spiritual dimensions of Paulo Freire's idea of conscientization. Freire, who is widely recognized as one of the most influential educators of the twentieth century, understands conscientization as the process of developing a critical awareness of one's social reality through reflection and action. While it is clear that Freire understands conscientization is an authentic form of praxis, what is less obvious is how this concept accords with his spiritual vision. In this paper, I unpack Freire's "implicit spirituality" by focusing on his ideas of humanization, communion, and conversion. This study helps to establish Freire as an important bridge figure between liberation philosophy and liberation theology, and it underscores the unmistakable centrality of a critical pedagogy for any philosophy or theology that aspires to be a tool for social criticism.
Theme:Religious Foundations
Room 7 Practices of Faith

From Design in Religion to Sacred in Design
Zoltán Körösvölgyi, Lecturer, Department of Musicology, Liszt University of Music (Liszt Academy), Budapest, Hungary
Overview: “There is something deeply hypocritical about praying for a problem you are unwilling to resolve.” Following the quote from Miroslav Volf, the presentation attempts to investigate questions raised by the author’s research of contemporary sacred art embedded in the field of design culture studies, with regard of the relation of design and religion. What can design learn from religion—and vice versa—in the era of the Capitalocene? Theories of sacred design to sacred service design suggest a wide range of approaches. The paper suggests that design culture and its academic studies, as “it forces one to move beyond the enervated position of the detached or alienated observer overwhelmed by images” to become “mobilized not merely as analysis, but as a generative mode that produces new sensibilities, attitudes, approaches, and intellectual processes in design practice” and the sacred, as it “inhabits this gap between knowing and doing, and could thus be a powerful counterforce to akrasia” show analogies, and can thus cooperate in providing a relevant and effective answer for major current challenges. In support of the arguments, the presentation uses works from Ferenc Svindt’s oeuvre as a case study.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Spirituality, Transpersonal Psychology and Eastern Traditions: Interdependencies and Mutual Influences
Milica Zegarac, Yoga/meditation Teacher, Transpersonal Psychology Independent Researcher, Chicago, United States
Overview: Contemporary Western spirituality with its main theme being the evolution of consciousness (i.e., psychospiritual development) on the one hand, and the ancient Eastern contemplative traditions on the other, are significantly interrelated. Also, the central theme of transpersonal psychology from its inception in the late 1960s to the beginning of the 21st century has been - its position as a liaison between the Western mainstream psychology and the Eastern spirituality. There has been an overwhelming interest in those spiritual traditions and many of their concepts such as healing, self-realization, expansion of consciousness, transformation, self-transcendence and immanence, and others. This study discusses the psychological and spiritual structures, functions, and developmental values expounded by both Yoga (e.g., subtle energy system) and Buddhism (e.g., nonduality, mindfulness). Those concepts significantly overlap with some contemporary transpersonal theories that focus on nondual states and stages, cartographies of consciousness, positive transpersonal emotions (e.g., joy and loving-kindness) and recent neuro-cognitive research. The author also investigates how the work of some of the forefathers of transpersonal movement such as William James, Roberto Assagioli, and Carl G. Jung, as well as its eminent founders such as Abraham Maslow, Stanislav Grof, and Ken Wilber, was influenced by the central tenets of Buddhism and Yoga as systems of philosophy/psychology. Furthermore, their mutual interdependence and manifestations are analyzed, while the findings of this study reveal some possible future developmental, therapeutic and clinical implications. Some of the offered postulates have a heuristic origin, while others are based on the literature review.
Theme:Religious Foundations
Room 8 Scripture as Structure

The Ancient Hope: Nationalism, Archeology, and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dr. Ian Werrett, Professor, Religious Studies, Saint Martin's University, Lacey, WA, United States
Overview: The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls - occurring on the eve of the birth of the modern Israeli nation-state in 1948 - provided a deep and meaningful symbol for the Zionist movement’s claims to the land and its sovereignty. Not only were the scrolls written by Jews who lived in the Judaean Desert some two millennia earlier, but these documents record the beliefs and practices of a pious community who understood themselves to be the rightful heirs to the Abrahamic Covenant and the one true Israel.  Like the Jews of the Diaspora, the Dead Sea Scroll community lived in exile (albeit self-imposed), struggled under the weight of foreign rulers, and wrestled with their co-religionists over the right to define what it meant to be a Jew.  In short, the Dead Sea Scrolls have, according to Neil Asher Silberman, provided the architects of the Israeli nation-state with a “poetic validation for modern Jewish settlement …” In this paper, I will compare the nationalistic aspirations of the Dead Sea Scroll community with those of the modern state of Israel and show how archaeology, and the scrolls themselves, have been pressed into service by politicians and patriots alike in an ongoing effort to buttress the legitimacy of the nation-state.
Theme:The Politics of Religion

Aftermaths of Babel: Translation and the Abrahamic Faiths
Emad Mirmotahari, Associate Professor, English, Duquesne University
Overview: In this paper I will explore the scriptural--meaning biblical, Judaic, and Quranic--ancestry of contemporary attitudes toward translation as a linguistic phenomenon. I am interested specifically in exploring religious origins of the commonly suspicious and prejudicial attitudes toward translation. I argue, ultimately, that the prevailing negative attitudes toward translation are founded in misreadings and mis-characterizations of religious doctrine. Instead, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam encourage and practice translation, even as Islam and Judaism in particular place particular emphasis on Hebrew and Arabic as divine languages.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Searching for a Universal Scripture and Way via Numbers: Metaphysical Numerological Symbolism
Nkosi Aberdeen, Teacher III, Secondary School --Modern Studies/Humanities, Ministry of Education , Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Overview: The paper consists of four sections—each related to a different aspect of Metaphysical Numerological Symbolism (M.N.S.). The main thesis statement of the first section is M.N.S.-- Add up/Compile/Put together its puzzle pieces (code of numbers) in each Scripture etc. and you will get a broader Universal Scripture. The first part of the second section suggests that a substantive quintessential link exists between M.N.S. and the TAO. The Thesis Statement made in this section is such that: “TAO is a Metaphysical-Synonym for 9.” The thesis statement of Section three is such that M.N.S. has the potential to spur positive Socio-Economic Development in all human milieus—especially/specifically in Developing Cosmopolitan Societies. The fourth section discusses games of chance played in the Caribbean Region; this section argues that Metaphysical Numerological-Symbolism (M.N.S.) has effectively transformed them into a form of religion in the Caribbean. The paper concludes initially with a discussion of the M.N.S. Trail. The thesis statement is such that the M.N.S. Trail that connects religions is a universal scripture directly pointing to the Universal Essence. Abstractly removed from the Local Settings of the diverse World Religions, the M.N.S. Trail has efficacy for sudden awareness of a Universal Essence. The conclusion of the paper then proceeds to discuss the connection between M.N.S. and new religious/spiritual movements.
Theme:2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
Room 9 Late Additions

The Islamic Traditions: Adaptation or Innovation?
Auranzaib Noor Ali, Postgraduate Student, Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP), Institue of iIsmaili Studies London (IIS), London, United Kingdom
Overview: The comprehensive study of the formative period of Islam is a complex exercise (Lapidus, 2002). The earliest available biography of Prophet Muhammad was written after two-hundred years of Prophet’s demise (Janin, 2004), which makes many narrated account to be academically absurd. Firstly, many historians cite anecdotes and events about the life of Prophet Muhammad and early Islamic history, which contradicts with the Islamic sources like hadiths (Reynolds, 2012). Secondly, early Muslim historians regard pre-Islamic Arabia as Jahiliya (age of ignorance) and consequently misinterpret the existing practices and beliefs of Arabia before Islam, which were essentially the building blocks of a new Islamic system (Peters, 1994). Finally, non-Muslim historians, to most extent, describe the Islamic history in a political context (Robinson, 2003). Owing to the contradictory pronouncements and limitations related to the formative period of Islam, it is difficult to appraise information and study Islamic traditions in a social and cultural milieu. This paper critically analyses the ways in which Prophet Muhammad built on most of the existing pre-Islamic traditions (practices) and introduced many new traditions which changed the dynamics of Arab society for centuries to come. The paper examines the Islamic traditions on the basis of cultural and social grounds to develop a deeper understanding of Islam as the continuation of monotheistic religions but influenced by pre-Islamic Arabia.
Theme:Religious Foundations

Narrative Differences within Krishnaguru Faith: Healing Practice and Influence
Baburam Saikia,
Overview: Krishnaguru is an institutional faith centered around a person called Arundeva Goswami (1934-2017). During his lifetime Arundeva Goswami had received a healing power through his deep meditation under a tree in an isolated place. After receiving the power, he started to solve various problems of people by applying his magical power. Gradually those who benefited from his treatments had started to consider him as more than a simple human being. Eventually, this led him to the position of divinity in human form. Devotees recognized him as an incarnated person by naming him Krishnaguru. In 1974 individual practice turned into an institutional set while establishing Krishnaguru Sewashram at Nasattra, Sarthebari (Assam) by him. He established the institutional set known as ashram in a place where people used to pray pāglā-bābā (mad ascetic). However, earlier the area was known as Phulbari. Since the establishment of a Sattra (monastery-like institution) by Manohardeva, the place came to be known as Nasattra. This paper aims to discuss the life struggle of Arundeva Goswami and his healing process. Narratives of the benefited devotees along with the emphasis on continuing the trend of the faith will also be brought into for analyses. Further, the paper will explore non-believer´s interpretation of Krishnaguru.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences

Future of Religion: A Survey of Religious Views in a Mid-sized Southern Town
Prof. Mahmoud Sadri, Professor, Sociology, Texas Woman's University
Overview: Based on the theoretical predictions that the American faith tends to become less doctrinaire and more spiritual, this survey will analyze the opinions of church leaders and members in 15 churches, chosen from among 117 churches, in a mid-sized south-eastern American city. The selection has been based on their representativeness of the religious diversity in the town. The main thrust of the research will be opinions concerning three interrelated maters: the role and challenges of religion, relationships (of comity and cooperation) among churches, and views on the future of religiosity.
Theme:Religious Commonalities and Differences
17:10-17:40 Conference Closing and Award Ceremony / Clausura del Congreso—Dr. José Luis Ortega Martín, Scientific Director, Common Ground Research Networks, Professor, University of Granada, Spain; Dr. Luis Roger Castillo, Conference President, Center of Byzantine, Modern Greek, and Cypriot Studies, University of Granada, Spain
19:00-20:30 Conference Closing Reception and Flamenco / Cóctel de despedida y flamenco