Description : Increasingly, the modern neo-liberal world marginalises any notion of religion or spirituality, leaving little or no room for the sacred in the public sphere. While this process advances, the conservative and harmful behaviours associated with some religions and their adherents exacerbate this marginalisation by driving out those who remain religious or spiritual. And all of this is seen through the lens of social science, which seems to agree that religion remains important, if not in spiritual sense, at least as a source of folklore and a means of identification: religions remain rooted in the societies from which they emerged, and the legal systems of many of those societies emerged from religious sources, even if those societies remain unwilling to admit that fact. In the modern materialistic world of conformity, religion is less a source of guidance than a label of identification. The world therefore faces two issues. First, the decreasing level of spirituality in the ‘West’ widens the gap between worshippers and those who have left their faith (eg agnostics and atheists, or those who look at religion as a matter of ‘picking and choosing’ from a range of options). And, second, the strong connections to religion which remain in many nations, but which are often misused in the secular public sphere (both in the West and internationally). In such divided worlds, both religious and secular forces tend to lock themselves into closed groupings of ‘pure truth’ and in so doing increase the level of disagreement, in turn producing radicalism. In short, the modern world is divided in two ways: between religious and non-religious (although some have argued that the non-religious secular is itself a form of civil religion), and between those subscribing to divergent understandings of the same religious tradition. While hyperbolic and histrionic, the term ‘culture wars’ nonetheless best captures what we see happening in the public sphere today. The question emerges, then: how best to accommodate the democratic principle which posits that the majority should feel that it lives in a society of its own with the human rights principle, holding that is necessary to ensure the full protection of the minority’s rights? How to balance these seemingly opposed principles? We are very familiar with the differences that appear between secular and sacred in the modern world; yet, what of the similarities amongst scriptures and laws which seek to encourage mutual understanding, cooperation and even cohabitation? Because religion itself is a source of law, a set of exhortations or commands as much as a set of rights, every major religion offers an approach to encountering ‘the Other’ in a positive, constructive, affirming way; and it is here that religions reveal much that they have in common. This book draws together the work of scholars engaged in exploring the possibilities for a ‘utopian’ world in the sense fostered by St Thomas More. The essays explore those dimensions of religious and civil law where ‘love’ – however that is defined by relevant texts – fosters and encourages acceptance of ‘the Other’ and will offer perspectives on the ways in which religious or civil/state law command one to act in the spirit of ‘love’.
Description : Although the Islamic religion is well known, many people are less familiar with Sufism—the esoteric component of Islam. The Secret of Islam explores the mystical path of Sufism, which focuses on love and compassion. Sections proceed through the levels of Sufism: Journey of the Disciple, Actions, Spiritual Journey of the Seeker, and Flowering of the Perfect Human.
Description : Studying the interplay of figurative language, law, and religious thought, Yochanan Muffs brings us a new understanding of both the Bible and ancient Near Eastern cultures. This first single-volume collection of the pivotal writings of this great religious humanist includes his studies of love and joy as metaphors, the laws of war in ancient Israel, the figurative nature of legal language, the role of the prophet and prophetic speech, and the expressions of belonging which united a culture.
Description : Following landmark trade agreements between Japan and the United States in the 1850s, Tokyo began importing a unique American commodity: Western social activism. As Japan sought to secure its future as a commercial power and American women pursued avenues of political expression, Protestant church-women and, later, members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) traveled to the Asian coast to promote Christian teachings and women's social activism. Rumi Yasutake reveals in Transnational Women's Activism that the resulting American, Japanese, and first generation Japanese-American women's movements came to affect more than alcohol or even religion. While the WCTU employed the language of evangelism and Victorian family values, its members were tactfully expedient in accommodating their traditional causes to suffrage and other feminist goals, in addition to the various political currents flowing through Japan and the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century. Exploring such issues as gender struggles in the American Protestant church and bourgeois Japanese women's attitudes towards the "pleasure class" of geishas and prostitutes, Yasutake illuminates the motivations and experiences of American missionaries, U.S. WCTU workers, and their Japanese protégés. The diverse machinations of WCTU activism offer a compelling lesson in the complexities of cultural imperialism.
Description : If you learned one of your friends were gay, or you had to decide whether to let a gay person participate in your church, would you stop to ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?" Juliet Jacky Hodge was forced to ask herself that question when she discovered she belonged to a Bible study group made up of homosexuals. Shocked and conflicted, Juliet went on a soul-searching journey to explore an issue that has torn apart families and divided religious communities. After balancing arguments about homosexuality, praying for insight, and remembering that only God can judge, Juliet came to several surprising conclusions. Is Being Gay a Sin? provides readers with much spiritual food for thought. Juliet reveals what God's Word says about homosexuality, and she analyzes issues of gay people being active in the church, gay marriage, and the belief that heterosexuality is somehow "better" than homosexuality. Her answers will surprise and enlighten.
Description : While the law can create conflict between religion and health, it can also facilitate religious accommodation and protection of conscience. Finding this balance is critical to addressing the most pressing questions at the intersection of law, religion, and health in the United States: should physicians be required to disclose their religious beliefs to patients? How should we think about institutional conscience in the health care setting? How should health care providers deal with families with religious objections to withdrawing treatment? In this timely book, experts from a variety of perspectives and disciplines offer insight on these and other pressing questions, describing what the public discourse gets right and wrong, how policymakers might respond, and what potential conflicts may arise in the future. It should be read by academics, policymakers, and anyone else - patient or physician, secular or devout - interested in how US law interacts with health care and religion.
Description : This book argues that despite the tensions existing in all societies between religious faith and legal order, they inevitably interact. In the course of his discussion Berman traces the history of Western law, exposes the fallacies of law theories that fail to take religion into account, examines key theological, prophetic, and educational themes, and looks at the role of religion in the Soviet and post-Soviet state.
Description : Through Biblical study and observation in Heaven, Mr. Whipple concludes that love and forgiveness are the most essential of all beliefs, yet they are lacking in most of the worlds major religions.