Aliens Adored is the first full length, in-depth look at the Raëlian movement, a fascinating new religion founded in the 1970s by the charismatic prophet, Raël. Born in France as Claude Vorilhon, the former race-car driver founded the religion after he experienced a visitation from the aliens (the "elohim") who, in his cosmology, created humans by cloning themselves. The millenarian movement awaits the return of the alien creators, and in the meantime seeks to develop the potential of its adherents through free love, sexual experimentation, opposition to nuclear proliferation and war, and the development of the science of cloning.
Sociologist Susan J. Palmer has studied the Raelian movement for more than a decade, observing meetings and rituals and enjoying unprecedented access to the group's leaders as well as to its rank-and-file members. In this pioneering study she provides a thorough analysis of the movement, focusing on issues of sexuality, millenarianism, and the impact of the scientific worldview on religion and the environment. Rael's radical sexual ethics, his gnostic anthropocentrism, and shallow ecotheology offer us a mirror through which we see how our worldview has been shaped by the forces of globalization, postmodernism, and secular humanism.
Analogies of Transcendence
Stephen M. Fields Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1795.N36F54 2016 | Dewey Decimal 233.5
The problem of nature and grace lies at the heart of Christian theology. No dimension of divine revelation can be addressed without implicitly drawing reference to this issue.Analogies of Transcendence focuses on the central role that the analogies of being and faith play in developing a solution to the problem. These link God, as self-manifesting transcendence, to the human person as both fallen and justified, and to the material cosmos. Although the proposed solution draws on the work of Maréchal, de Lubac, Balthasar, and Rahner, it criticizes their approach for its underdeveloped analogies that diminish nature in grace's engagement with it. In redressing this weakness, Fr. Fields adapts its solution to the intellectual struggle of our time. This volume examines the origins and structure of modernity, which, it asserts, has not been superseded and is therefore critical of'postmodernism,' as well as of some ambiguous legacies of Thomism.
Angels and Demons
Serge-Thomas Bonino Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BT966.3.B6613 2016 | Dewey Decimal 235
Angels occupy a significant space in contemporary popular spirituality. Yet, today more than ever, the belief in the existence of intermediary spirits between the human and divine realms needs to be evangelized and Christianized. Angels and Demons offers a detailed synthesis of the givens of the Christian tradition concerning the angels and demons, as systematized in its essential principles by St. Thomas Aquinas. Certainly, the doctrine of angels and demons is not at the heart of Christian faith, but its place is far from negligible. On the one hand, as part of faith seeking understanding, angelology has been and can continue to be a source of enrichment for philosophy. Thus, reflection on the ontological constitution of the angel, on the modes of angelic knowledge, and on the nature of the sin of Satan can engage and shed light on the most fundamental areas of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. On the other hand, angelology, insofar as it is inseparable from the ensemble of the Christian mystery (from the doctrine of creation to the Christian understanding of the spiritual life), can be envisioned from an original and fruitful perspective.
St. Gregory of Nyssa Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BT1340.G74 2015 | Dewey Decimal 230.14
The translation is interweaved with a commentary to provide the reader with some guidance through the complexities of Gregory's arguments. The introduction includes an overview of the history of Apollinarianism and discusses the extent to which it is possible to reconstruct, from the fragments quoted by Gregory, the arguments of Apolinarius's Apodeixis to which he is responding. It also examines the background to and the chronology of both of Gregory's anti-Apollinarian works, and looks critically at the arguments that they deploy.
Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body catecheses has garnered tremendous popularity in theological and catechetical circles. Students of the Theology of the Body have generally interpreted it as innovative not only in its presentation of the Church's teaching on marriage and sexuality, but also as radically advancing that teaching. Aquinas and the Theology of the Body offers a somewhat different interpretation. Fr. Thomas Petri argues that the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas substantially contributed to John Paul's intellectual formation, which he never abandoned. A correct interpretation of the Theology of the Body requires, therefore, a thorough understanding of Thomistic anthropology and theology, which has been mostly lacking in commentaries on the pope's important contributions on the subject of marriage and sexuality.
The Bahá’í Faith is one of the fastest growing, but least studied, of the world’s religions. Adherents view themselves as united by a universal belief that transcends national boundaries. Michael McMullen examines how the Bahá’í develop and maintain this global identity. Taking the Bahá’í community in Atlanta, Georgia, as a case in point, his book is the first to comprehensively examine the tenets of this little-understood faith.
McMullen notes that, to the Bahá’í, Buddha, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are all divinely sent teachers of ‘the Truth’, whose messages conform to the needs of their individual cultures and historical periods. But religion—which draws from the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, a nineteenth-century Persian—encourages its members to think of themselves as global citizens. It also seeks to establish unity among its members through adherence to a Bahá’í worldview.
By examining the Atlanta Bahá’í community, McMullen shows how this global identity is interpreted locally. He discusses such topics as: the organizational structure and authority relations in the Bahá’í “Administrative Order”; Bahá’í evangelicalism; and the social boundaries between Bahá’ís and the wider culture.
Winner of the 2006 Distinguished Book Award of the Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association
Homosexuality has become increasingly accepted in mainstream America over the past two decades. Yet despite indications of progress that can be found everywhere from academia to popular culture, gay men and women remain the target of much discrimination and stigma, particularly within conservative Christianity.
In Be Not Deceived, Michelle Wolkomir explores the difficult dilemma that gay Christians face in their attempts to reconcile their religious and sexual identities. She introduces the ideologies and practices of two alternative and competing ministries that offer solutions for Christians who experience homosexual desire.
One organization—the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches—believes that God made people gay to suit divine purposes. Changing one’s sexuality is therefore impossible and a defiance of God. In contrast, Exodus International preaches that homosexuality is a sin and a symptom of disordered psychological development—one that can be cured through redemptive prayer. By comparing participant experiences in these ministries, Wolkomir explores the paths and processes by which members learn to become gay or ex-gay Christians.
Through careful analysis of the groups’ ideologies, interactions, and symbolic resources, Be Not Deceived goes far beyond the obvious differences between the ministries to uncover their similarities, namely that both continue to define heterosexuality as the normative and dominant lifestyle.
The pallium was effective because it was a gift with strings attached. This band of white wool encircling the shoulders had been a papal insigne and liturgical vestment since late antiquity. It grew in prominence when the popes began to bestow it regularly on other bishops as a mark of distinction and a sign of their bond to the Roman church. Bonds of Wool analyzes how, through adroit manipulation, this gift came to function as an instrument of papal influence. It explores an abundant array of evidence from diverse genres - including chronicles and letters, saints' lives and canonical collections, polemical treatises and liturgical commentaries, and hundreds of papal privileges - stretching from the eighth century to the thirteenth and representing nearly every region of Western Europe. These sources reveal that the papal conferral of the pallium was an occasion for intervening in local churches throughout the West and a means of examining, approving, and even disciplining key bishops, who were eventually required to request the pallium from Rome.
Children in New Religions
Palmer, Susan J Rutgers University Press, 1999 Library of Congress BP603.C48 1999 | Dewey Decimal 200.83
The late 1960s and early 1970s constituted a remarkable period for spiritual experimentation and for the proliferation of new religious groups. Now the children born into these religions have come of age. While their parents made the decision as adults to embrace alternative religious practices, the children have been raised with a very different orientation toward the larger society. While they take their religious communities for granted, many of these children gaze with curiosity at the surrounding secular world which their parents, not they, chose to reject. The contributors to this volume examine children from many different alternative religious movements worldwide, including The Family, Hare Krishna, Wiccans, and Pagans, Messianic Communities, and the Rajneesh (Osho) Movement. The essays explore two general questions: 1) What impact does the presence of children have on a new religion's lifestyle and chance of surviving into the future? 2) Is child abuse more likely to occur in unconventional religions, or are children born into them, the 'new' religions have grown up and have become an important and rapidly changing social force that we cannot reasonably dismiss or wisely ignore
Children of God in the World
Paul O'Callaghan Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BT701.3.O23 2016 | Dewey Decimal 233
Children of God in the World is a textbook of theological anthropology structured in four parts. The first attempts to clarify the relationship between theology, philosophy and science in their respective approaches to anthropology, and establishes the fundamental principle of the text, stated in Vatican II's Gaudium et spes, n. 22, "Christ manifests man to man." The second part provides a historical overview of the doctrine of grace: in Scripture (especially the teaching of the book of Genesis on humans 'made in the image of God', as well as Paul and John), among the Fathers (in particular the oriental doctrine of 'divinization' and Augustine), during the Middle Ages (especially Thomas Aquinas) and the Reformation period (centered particularly on Luther and the Council of Trent), right up to modern times. The third part of the text, the central one, provides a systematic understanding of Christian grace in terms of the God's life present in human believers by which they become children of God, disciples, friends and brothers of Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit. This section also provides a reflection on the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity), on the relationship between grace and human freedom, on the role of the Church and Christian apostolate in the communication of grace, and on the need humans have for divine grace. After considering the relationship between the natural and the supernatural order, the fourth and last part deals with different philosophical aspects of the human condition, in the light of Christian faith: the union between body and soul, humans as free, historical, social, sexual and working beings. The last chapter concludes with a consideration of the human person, Christianity's greatest and most enduring contribution to human thought.
Churching Of America
Finke, Roger Rutgers University Press, 1992 Library of Congress BR515.F56 1992 | Dewey Decimal 277.308
In this provocative book, Roger Finke and Rodney Stark challenge popular perceptions about American religion. They view the religious environment as a free market economy, where churches compete for souls. The story they tell is one of gains for upstart sects and losses for mainline denominations. Although many Americans assume that religious participation has declined in America, Finke and Stark present a different picture. In 1776, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans were active in church affairs. Today, church membership includes about 6 out of 10 people. But, as Finke and Stark show, not all denominations benefited from this growth. They explain how and why the leading eighteenth-century churches began their descent, while two newcomer sects, the Baptists and the Methodists, gained ground. They also analyze why the Methodists then began a long, downward slide, why the Baptists continued to succeed, how the Catholic Church met the competition of ardent Protestant missionaries, and why the Catholic commitment has declined since Vatican II. The authors also explain why ecumenical movements always fail. In short, Americans are not abandoning religion; they have been moving away from established denominations. A "sect-church process" is always under way, Finke and Stark argue, as successful churches lose their organizational vigor and are replaced by less worldly groups. Some observers assert that the rise in church membership rates indicates increased participation, not increased belief. Finke and Stark challenge this as well. They find that those groups that have gained the greatest numbers have demanded that their followers accept traditional doctrines and otherworldliness. They argue thatreligious organizations can thrive only when they comfort souls and demand sacrifice. When theology becomes too logical, or too secular, it loses people.
Although many Americans assume that religious participation has declined in America, Finke and Stark present a different picture. In 1776, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans were active in church affairs. Today, church membership includes about 6 out of 10 people.
But, as Finke and Stark show, not all denominations benefited. They explain how and why the early nineteenth-century churches began their descent, while two newcomer sects, the Baptists and the Methodists, gained ground. They also analyze why the Methodists then began a long, downward slide, why the Baptists continued to succeed, how the Catholic Church met the competition of ardent Protestant missionaries, and why the Catholic commitment has declined since Vatican II. The authors also explain why ecumenical movements always fail
In short, Americans are not abandoning religion; they have been moving away from established denominations. A "church-sect process" is always under way, Finke and Stark argue, as successful churches lose their organizational vigor and are replaced by less worldly groups.
Some observers assert that the rise in churching rates indicates increased participation, not increased belief. Finke and Stark challenge this as well. They find that those groups that have gained the greatest numbers have demanded that their followers accept traditional doctrines and otherworldliness. They argue that religious organizations can thrive only when they comfort souls and demand sacrifice. When theology becomes too logical, or too secular, it loses people.
Commentary on Genesis
Didymus the Blind Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BS1235.D4913 2016 | Dewey Decimal 222.1107
Blind since early childhood, the Egyptian theologian and monk Didymus (ca. 313-398) wielded a masterful knowledge of Scripture, philosophy, and previous biblical interpretation, earning the esteem of his contemporaries Athanasius, Antony of Egypt, Jerome, Rufinus, and Palladius, as well as of the historians Socrates and Theodoret in the decades following his death. He was, however, anathematized by the Fifth Ecumenical Council in 553 because of his utilization and defense of the works of Origen, and this condemnation may be responsible for the loss of many of Didymus's writings. Jerome and Palladius mentioned that Didymus had written commentaries on Old Testament books; these commentaries were assumed to be no longer extant until the discovery in 1941 in Tura, Egypt, of papyri containing commentaries on Genesis, Zechariah, Job, Ecclesiastes, and some of the Psalms.
2002 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Crossing the Gods examines the sometimes antagonistic and sometimes cozy but always difficult and dangerous relationship between religion and politics in countries around the globe.
Eminent sociologist of religion Jay Demerath traveled to Brazil, China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and Thailand to explore the history and current relationship of religion, politics, and the state in each country. In the first part of this wide-ranging book, he asks, What are the basic fault lines along which current tensions and conflicts have formed? What are the trajectories of change from past to present, and how do they help predict the future?
In the book’s second part the author returns home to focus on the United States the only nation founded specifically on the principle of a separation between religion and state and examines the extent to which this principle actually holds and the consequences when it does not. Highlighting such issues as culture wars, violence, globalization, and the fluidity of individual religious identity, Demerath exposes the provincialism and fallacies underlying many of our views of religion and politics worldwide.
Finally, Demerath examines America’s status as the world’s most religious nation. He places that claim within a comparative context and argues that our country is not “more religious” but “differently religious.” He argues that it represents a unique combination of congregational religion, religious pluralism, and civil religion. But the United States also illustrates the universal tendency for the sacred to give way to the secular and for the secular to generate new forms of the sacred.
Defending the Faith
William H. Marshner Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1396.D44 2016 | Dewey Decimal 273.9
At the dawn of the 20th Century, several writers who were to become famous under the title of "Modernists" were advancing a deep agenda for reform in the faith and praxis of the Roman Catholic Church. But their agenda met with serious and scholarly opposition from another group of writers, whose essays are here made available in English. They include the historian and university rector Pierre Battifol, the biblical exegete M.J. Lagrange, OP, the Jesuit historical theologians Eugène Portalié and Léonce de Grandmaison, and the philosophers Eugène Franon and Joannès Wehrlé. All welcomed the historico-critical methods of research, and far from thinking them fatal to orthodoxy (as the Modernists did), they thought the Church's faith would survive and be strengthened by rigorous scholarship. These thinkers, then, are the true predecessors of Pius XII (Divino afflante Spiritu) and Vatican II (Dei Verbum). At the same time, these men thought outside the boxes drawn by 19th Century Positivism (Loisy), anti-intellectualist pragmatism (LeRoy), and romantic mysticism (Tyrrell). Their concerns hold new significance in the light of John Paul II's 1990 encyclical Fides et Ratio. Reading these too-long forgotten writers, then, deepens in a new way one's understanding of the Catholic Church's decision to decline and even condemn the Modernists' agenda, whether one ultimately applauds that decision or deplores it.
Erasmus's Life of Origen
Thomas P. Scheck Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BR1720.O7E7313 2016 | Dewey Decimal 270.1092
Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536) hailed Origen of Alexandria (185-254) as a holy priest, a gifted homilist, a heroic Christian, and a celebrated exegete and theologian of the ancient Church. In this book Thomas Scheck presents one of the fruits of Erasmus's endeavors in the field of patristic studies (a particularly neglected field of scholarship within Erasmus studies) by providing the first English translation, annotated and thoroughly introduced, of Erasmus' final work, the Prefaces to his Edition of Origen's writings (1536). Originally published posthumously two months after Erasmus's death, the work surveys Origen of Alexandria's life, writings, preaching, and contribution to the Catholic Church. The staggering depth and breadth of Erasmus's learning are exhibited here, as well as the maturity of his theological reflections, which in many ways anticipate the irenicism of the Second Vatican Council with respect to Origen. Erasmus presents Origen as a marvelous doctor of the ancient Church who made a tremendous contribution to the Catholic exegetical tradition and who lived a saintly life.
Scholars have long assumed that industrialization and the growth of modern cities signaled a decline of religious practice among urban dwellers - that urban commercial culture weakened traditional religious ties by luring the faithful away from their devotional practice. Spanning many disciplines, the essays in this volume challenge this notion of the "secular city" and examine how members of metropolitan houses of worship invented fresh expressions of religiosity by incorporating consumer goods, popular entertainment, advertising techniques, and marketing into their spiritual lives. Faith in the Market explores phenomena from Salvation Army "slum angels" to the "race movies" of the mid-twentieth century, from Catholic teens' modest dress crusades to Black Muslim artists. The contributors-integrating gender, performance, and material culture studies into their analyses-reveal the many ways in which religious groups actually embraced commercial culture to establish an urban presence. Although the city streets may have proved inhospitable to some forms of religion, many others, including evangelicalism, Catholicism, and Judaism, assumed rich and complex forms as they developed in vital urban centers.
Religion—both personal faith and institutional tradition—plays a central role in the lives of the 12.5 million Asians in the United States. It provides comfort and meaning, shapes ethical and political beliefs, and influences culture and arts. Faithful Generations details the significance of religion in the construction of Asian American identity. As an institutional base for the movement toward Asian American panethnicity, churches provide a space for theological and political reflection and ethnic reinvention.
With rich description and insightful interviews, Russell Jeung uncovers why and how Chinese and Japanese American Christians are building new, pan-Asian organizations. Detailed surveys of over fifty Chinese and Japanese American congregations in the San Francisco Bay area show how symbolic racial identities structure Asian American congregations. Evangelical ministers differ from mainline Christian ministers in their construction of Asian American identity. Mobilizing around these distinct identities, evangelicals and mainline Christians have developed unique pan-Asian styles of worship, ministries, and church activities. Portraits of two churches further illustrate how symbolic racial identities affect congregational life and ministries. The book concludes with a look at Asian American–led multiethnic churches.
This engaging study of the shifting relationship between religion and ethnicity is an ideal text for classes in ethnicity, religion, and Asian American studies.
Jean-Luc Marion advances a controversial argument for a God free of all categories of Being. Taking a characteristically postmodern stance, Marion challenges a fundamental premise of both metaphysics and neo-Thomist theology: that God, before all else, must be. Rather, he locates a "God without Being" in the realm of agape, of Christian charity or love.
This volume, the first translation into English of the work of this leading Catholic philosopher, offers a contemporary perspective on the nature of God.
"An immensely thoughtful book. . . . It promises a rich harvest. Marion's highly original treatment of the idol and the icon, the Eucharist, boredom and vanity, conversion and prayer takes theological and philosophical discussions to a new level."—Norman Wirzba, Christian Century
For Francis Cardinal George, the Catholic Church is not a movement, built around ideas, but a communion, built around relationships. In A Godly Humanism, he shares his understanding of the Church in lively, compelling prose, presenting a way to understand and appreciate the relationships of God to human beings and of human beings to one another. These loving relationships are continually made present to us in and through the Church, from the time of Jesus' first disciples down to our own day. We are introduced to how the spiritual and intellectual life of Christians, aided in every generation by the Holy Spirit working through the Apostles and their successors, resist the danger of splitting apart from one another. Though they take different outward forms at different times, both wisdom and holiness are made possible for every Christian of every station of life. Sign-posting his conversation by the milestones of his own spiritual and intellectual journey, Cardinal George invites us to view the Church and her history in ways that go beyond the categories of politics - through which we find merely human initiative, contrivance, and adjustment - and rather to see the initiative as God's first and foremost. God is the non-stop giver, we are non-stop recipients of his gifts, and the recent popes, no less than the Father of the Church, have made every effort to make us aware of the graces - that is, of the unearned benefits - that God confers on us as Catholics, as Christians, as believers, and simply as human persons. Pope Francis, he reminds us, contrasts human planning with God's providence, and this book is at once an exposition of that providence and a personal response of gratitude for the way it has operated in one man's life.
Toumey focuses the tools of his discipline on a group whose distance from the twentieth-century American mainstream is measured not in decades or miles but rather in existential understandings about reality. Toumey studies both the national scientific creationism movement and the operation of a local creationist study group in his state's Research Triangle in the mid-1980s, seeking to understand the underlying beliefs--about morality, the Bible, science itself--that modern scientific creationism embodies, as well as the reasons this "system of cultural meanings" helps many conservative Christians "make sense of the realities, anxieties, changes, and uncertainties of life in the United States in the late twentieth century." A perceptive and respectful analysis by a nonbeliever
What is "good sex" in the globalized world of the twenty-first century? This volume brings together essays by feminist scholars from different religions and cultures to consider how women are redefining sexuality for the common good. The essays explore sexual and social restrictions on women; religiously and socially acceptable avenues of sexual expression; constructions of sexual identities; and attitudes toward women's sexual desires. How is sexual desire constructed within specific cultural and religious contexts? What sacrifices must women make (and how do they make them) simply to have sexual lives? What options and strategies are available to women to dissolve the many restrictions imposed on their sexuality? These are some of the questions being explored.
History of the Church
Phillip R. Rufinus of Aquileia Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress BR160.E5E5 2016 | Dewey Decimal 270.1
Rufinus of Aquileia's History of the Church, published in 402 or 403, is a translation and continuation of that of Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius's history tells the story of Christianity from its beginning down to the year 325; Rufinus carries the story forward to 395, the year of the death of Theodosius I. Rufinus demonstrates both a superb understanding of Eusebius's text and a tendency to translate it freely or even to misrepresent it when he judges that it does not do justice to the unity of faith and order which he is convinced is an essential element of the churchs constitution. He excises and rewrites passages liberally, but he retains in his translation Eusebius's revolutionary citation of sources, a historiographical method which would eventually prove so fruitful in the literature of the Latin church.
The Ideal Bishop
Michael G. Sirilla Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress BV670.3.S57 2017 | Dewey Decimal 262.12
St. Thomas Aquinas’s commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles are distinctive and overlooked theological resources, offering invaluable insights into the exercise of the episcopal office in bringing about the spiritual perfection of the faithful in Christ. The Ideal Bishop includes a review of the theology of the episcopacy found in St. Thomas’s principal contemporaries, including Peter Lombard, St. Albert the Great, and St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. The heart of this book is an examination of the theology and spirituality of the episcopacy found in the lectures on 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. Particular attention is devoted to Aquinas’s treatment of the nature, purpose, requisite virtues, disqualifying vice, special duties, and particular graces of the episcopal office.
How can one think and name an inconceivable and ineffable God? Christian mystics have approached the problem by speaking of God using "negative" language—devices such as grammatical negation and the rhetoric of "darkness" or "unknowing"—and their efforts have fascinated contemporary scholars. In this strikingly original work, Thomas A. Carlson reinterprets premodern approaches to God's ineffability and postmodern approaches to the mystery of the human subject in light of one another. The recent interest in mystical theological traditions, Carlson argues, is best understood in relation to contemporary philosophy's emphasis on the idea of human finitude and mortality.
Combining both historical research in theology (from Pseudo-Dionysius to Aquinas to Eckhart) and contemporary philosophical analysis (from Hegel and Nietzsche to Heidegger, Derrida, and Marion), Indiscretion will interest philosophers, theologians, and other scholars concerned with the possibilities and limits of language surrounding both God and human subjectivity.
Matthew J. Ramage Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress BT203.R35 2017 | Dewey Decimal 232.8
In this sequel volume to his Dark Passages of the Bible (CUA Press, 2013), author Matthew Ramage turns his attention from the Old to the New Testament, now tackling truth claims bearing directly on the heart of the Christian faith cast into doubt by contemporary New Testament scholarship: Did God become man in Jesus, or did the first Christians make Jesus into God? Was Jesus' resurrection a historical event, or rather a myth fabricated by the early Church? Will Jesus indeed return to earth on the last day, or was this merely the naïve expectation of ancient believers that reasonable people today ought to abandon?
Legitimating New Religions
Lewis, James R Rutgers University Press, 2003 Library of Congress BP603.L49 2003 | Dewey Decimal 200.904
James R. Lewis has written the first book to deal explicitly with the issue of how emerging religions legitimate themselves. He contends that a new religion has at least four different, though overlapping, areas where legitimacy is a concern: making converts, maintaining followers, shaping public opinion, and appeasing government authorities. The legitimacy that new religions seek in the public realm is primarily that of social acceptance. Mainstream society's acknowledgement of a religion as legitimate means recognizing its status as a genuine religion and thus recognizing its right to exist. Through a series of wide-ranging case studies Lewis explores the diversification of legitimation strategies of new religions as well the tactics that their critics use to de-legitimate such groups. Cases include the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness, Native American prophet religions, spiritualism, the Church of Christ-Scientist, Scientology, Church of Satan, Heaven's Gate, Unitarianism, Hindu reform movements, and Soka Gakkai, a new Buddhist sect.
Since many of the issues raised with respect to newer religions can be extended to the legitimation strategies deployed by established religions, this book sheds an intriguing new light on classic questions about the origin of all religions.
Local Church, Global Church
Stephen J.C. Andes Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1426.3.L63 2016 | Dewey Decimal 261.80882828
This important volume investigates the many forms of Catholic activism in Latin America between the 1890s and 1962 (from the publication of the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum to the years just prior to the Second Vatican Council). It argues that this period saw a variety of lay and clerical responses to the social changes wrought by industrialization, political upheavals and mass movements, and increasing secularization. Spurred by these local developments as well as by initiatives from the Vatican, and galvanized by national projects of secular state-building, Catholic activists across Latin America developed new ways of organizing in order to effect social and political change within their communities.
In the 1950s, 99 percent of adult Americans said they believed in God. How, James Hudnut-Beumler asks, did this consensus about religion turn into the confrontational debates over religion in the 1960s? He argues that post-World War II suburban conformity made church-going so much a part of middle-class values and life that religion and culture became virtually synonymous. Secular critics like David Riesman, William Whyte, C. Wright Mills, and Dwight Macdonald, who blamed American culture for its conformism and lack of class consciousness, and religious critics like Will Herberg, Gibson Winter, and Peter Berger, who argued that religion had lost its true roots by incorporating only the middle class, converged in their attacks on popular religion.
Although most Americans continued to live and worship as before, a significant number of young people followed the critics' call for a faith that led to social action, but they turned away from organized religion and toward the counterculture of the sixties. The critics of the 1950s deserve credit for asking questions about the value of religion as it was being practiced and the responsibilities of the affluent to the poor—and for putting these issues on the social and cultural agenda of the next generation.
Pim Valkenberg Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1784.N67 2016 | Dewey Decimal 261.2
The contents of this book originated in a conference at the Catholic University of America in May 2015. The essays and lectures contained within focus on the relationships of the Catholic Church with the other "Abrahamic" faiths, primarily Islam and Judaism. There is some discussion of the Asian religions as well. This volume, in structure, loosely follows the document Nostra Aetate itself. The first part of the book gives a broad view of the document and its importance. The following parts concentrates on the relationships between the Catholic Church and the Asian, Muslim and Jewish religions. The concluding section of the book surveys the reception Nostra Aetate received in various ecclesial and academic contexts.
Perfection in Death
Patrick M. Clark Catholic University of America Press, 2015 Library of Congress B765.T54C518 2015 | Dewey Decimal 236.1
Perfection in Death compares and contrasts the relationship between conceptions of courage and death in the thought of Aquinas and his ancient philosophical sources. At the center of this investigation is Aquinas' identification of martyrdom as the paradigmatic act of courage as well as "the greatest proof of the perfection of charity." Such a portrayal of "perfection in death" bears some resemblance to the ancient tradition of "noble death", but departs from it in decisive ways. Clark argues that this departure can only be fully understood in light of an accompanying transformation of the metaphysical and anthropological framework underlying ancient theories of virtue. Perfection in Death aims to provide a new, theological account of this paradigm shift in light of contemporary Thomistic scholarship.
In The Practice of Catholic Theology: A Modest Proposal, Paul J. Griffiths has written a how-to book for Catholic theologians that will both instruct beginners and challenge long-time practitioners to sharpen their understanding of their craft. He defines Catholic theology as the practice of thinking, speaking, and writing about the God of Christian confession; so understood, it's something that anyone can learn to do. Personal sanctity is not required, but as with any other practice, practitioners of this beautiful and elevated thought-performance need to know some things and to develop some skills in order to be able to perform it.
Gary B. Selin Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1912.85.S45 2016 | Dewey Decimal 253.252
Pope Francis has called mandatory priestly celibacy a "gift for the Church," but added "since it is not a dogma, the door is always open" to change. As this Church discipline continues to be debated, it is important for Catholics to delve into the theological and not merely pragmatic reasons behind its continuation. Priestly Celibacy: Theological Foundations, therefore, fills a critical gap in the current theological literature on this important topic of ecclesial ministry and life, and also helps to contribute to the advancement of the rather underdeveloped theology of priestly celibacy.
The Quotable Augustine
Phillip H. Melton Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BR65.A52E6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 270.2092
This book is ideal for those who wish to read some of the wisest and most wonderful sayings of Augustine. It will help all those who wish to pepper a speech, or a sermon, or an essay with the wisdom of Saint Augustine. The book is a valuable resource, too, for anyone who wants to find out "Did Augustine really say that?" and, if he did, in which of his voluminous writings it appeared. Drawn from the internationally acclaimed and successful series, the 'Fathers of the Church,' The Quotable Augustine presents a wide-ranging sample of the writings of a towering figure of the early church.
"An engrossing account of the appeal of religious orthodoxy to formerly secular women, many of them once feminist, radical members of the counterculture. . . . This outstanding work of scholarship reads with the immediacy of a novel."ÐÐCynthia Fuchs Epstein, author of Deceptive Distinctions: Sex, Gender, and the Social Order
Debra Kaufman writes about ba'alot teshuva women who have returned to Orthodox Judaism, a form of Judaism often assumed to be oppressive to women. She addresses many of the most challenging issues of family, feminism, and gender. Why, she asks, have these women chosen an Orthodox lifestyle? What attracts young, relatively affluent, well-educated, and highly assimilated women to the most traditional, right-wing, patriarchal, and fundamentalist branch of Judaism? The answers she discovers lead her beyond an analysis of religious renewal to those issues all women and men confront in public and private life.
Kaufman interviewed and observed 150 ba'alot teshuva. She uses their own stories, in their own words, to show us how they make sense of the choices they have made. Lamenting their past pursuit of individual freedom over social responsibility, they speak of searching for shared meaning and order, and finding it in orthodoxy.
The laws and customs of Orthodox Judaism have been formulated by men, and it is men who enforce those laws and control the Orthodox community. The leadership is dominated by men. But the women do not experience theologically-imposed subordination as we might expect. Although most ba'alot teshuva reject feminism or what they perceive as feminism, they maintain a gender consciousness that incorporates aspects of feminist ideology, and often use feminist rhetoric to explain their lives.
Kaufman does not idealize the ba'alot teshuva world. Their culture does not accommodate the non-Orthodox, the homosexual, the unmarried, the divorced. Nor do the women have the mechanisms or political power to reject what is still oppressive to them. They must live within the authority of a rabbinic tradition and social structure set by males. Like other religious right women, their choices reinforce authoritarian trends current in today's society. Rachel's Daughters provides a fascinating picture of how newly orthodox women perceive their role in society as more liberating than oppressive.
Religion has jumped into the sphere of global and domestic politics in ways that few would have imagined a century ago. Some expected that religion would die as modernity flourished. Instead, it now stares at us almost daily from the front pages of newspapers and television broadcasts. Although it is usually stories about the Christian Right or conservative Islam that grab headlines, there are many religious activists of other political persuasions that are working quietly for social justice. This book examines how religious immigrants and religious activists are working for equitable treatment for immigrants in the United States.
The essays in this book analyze the different ways in which organized religion provides immigrants with an arena for mobilization, civic participation, and solidarity. Contributors explore topics including how non-Western religious groups such as the Vietnamese Caodai are striving for community recognition and addressing problems such as racism, economic issues, and the politics of diaspora; how interfaith groups organize religious people into immigrant civil rights activists at the U.S.–Mexican border; and how Catholic groups advocate governmental legislation and policies on behalf of refugees.
For most of the last twenty years, sociologists have studied the “decline” of religion in the modern world—a decline they saw as a defining feature of modernity, which promotes materialism over spirituality. The revival and political strength of varying religious traditions around the world, however, has forced sociologists to reconsider.
This paradox has led Hervieu-Léger to undertake a sociological redefinition and reexamination of religion. For religion to endure in the modern world, she finds, it must have deep roots in traditions and times in which it was not defined as irrelevant. This reasoning leads her to develop the concept of a “chain of memory”—a process by which individual believers become members of a community that links past, present, and future members. Thus, like cultural tradition, religion may be understood as a shared understanding with a collective memory that enables it to draw upon the deep well of its past for nourishment in the increasingly secular present.
Hervieu-Legér also argues that the modern secular societies of the West have not, as is commonly assumed, outgrown or found secular substitutes for religious traditions; nor are they more “rational” than past societies. Rather, modern societies have become “amnesiacs,” no longer able to maintain the chain of memory that binds them to their religious pasts. Ironically, however, even as the modern world is destroying and losing touch with its traditional religious bases, it is also creating the need for a spiritual life and is thus opening up a space that only religion can fill.
America’s religious landscape is in flux. New churches are springing up and many older churches are redefining themselves to survive. At the forefront of this denominational free-for-all are evangelical “seeker” churches.
These churches target “seekers”—individuals of any faith or denominational background who seek spiritual fulfillment but are not currently affiliated with any specific church. By focusing on this largely untapped group, seeker churches have become one of the fastest-growing religious movements in the country. In his study, Kimon Sargeant provides a sociological context for the rise of these churches by exploring the rituals, messages, strategies, and denominational functions of this emerging form of American evangelical Protestantism.
Featuring live bands, professional lighting and sound systems, and multi-media presentations, seeker churches are attracting many people who have “dropped out” of organized religion. To broaden their appeal, they offer attenders advice on everyday issues ranging from relationships to finance.
Sargeant focuses on the success of the Willow Creek Association, the seeker church association started by the Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. With over 5,000 member churches, the seven-year old association has already outdistanced 90 percent of American denominations and is the leader of the seeker church movement. Through eyewitness accounts and careful research, Sargeant reveals the “seeker” movement to be a “reformation” of American Protestantism.
A Service of Love
Paul McPartlan Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1805.M398 2016 | Dewey Decimal 280.2
"Msgr Paul McPartlan's book constitutes a significant contribution to the theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. It combines valuable historical information with deep theological insights by presenting the development of papal primacy in the two millennia of Church history in close connection with collegiality and the Eucharist. A scholarly work with particular importance for the discussion of one of the most crucial issues in ecclesiology and ecumenism. It is warmly recommended for study by all those interested in the promotion of Christian unity." -Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon
Sin in the Sixties
Maria C. Morrow Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX2260.M68 2016 | Dewey Decimal 202.2
Confession reached its peak attendance in the early 1950s, but by the end of the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of the sacrament plummeted. While this decline is often noted by historians, theologians, priests, and laity alike - all eager to provide possible explanations - little attention has been paid to another dramatic shift. Coincident with the decreasing popularity of the sacrament of penance in the United States were changes to non-sacramental penitential practices, including Lenten fasting, Ember Days, and the year-round Friday meat abstinence. American Catholics - sometimes derisively called Fisheaters - had assiduously observed Friday abstinence, regardless of ethnicity or geographic location.
The Spiritualiity of Martyrdom
Servais Pinckaers Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BR1601.3.P5613 2016 | Dewey Decimal 272
Originally published in French in 2000, The Spirituality of Martyrdom is a brief and accessible yet sweeping study of the spiritual significance attached to martyrdom in the early centuries of the Christian Church. Although studies of early Christian martyrdom have proliferated in recent decades, this book stands out by conveying to a wider audience the essence of this spirituality in its relevance to both theology and the life of every astute Christian today.
A popular new image of Witches has arisen in recent years, due largely to movies like The Craft, Practical Magic, and Simply Irresistible and television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Charmed. Here, young sexy Witches use magic and Witchcraft to gain control over their lives and fight evil. Then there is the depiction in the Harry Potter books: Witchcraft is a gift that unenlightened Muggles (everyday people) lack. In both types of portrayals, being a Witch is akin to being a superhero. At the other end of the spectrum, wary adults assume that Witches engage in evil practices that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst.
Yet, as Helen A. Berger and Douglas Ezzy show in this in-depth look into the lives of teenage Witches, the reality of their practices, beliefs, values, and motivations is very different from the sensational depictions we see in popular culture. Drawing on extensive research across three countries--the United States, England, and Australia--and interviews with young people from diverse backgrounds, what they find are highly spiritual and self-reflective young men and women attempting to make sense of a postmodern world via a religion that celebrates the earth and emphasizes self-development.
The authors trace the development of Neo-Paganism (an umbrella term used to distinguish earth-based religions from the pagan religions of ancient cultures) from its start in England during the 1940s, through its growing popularity in the decades that followed, up through its contemporary presence on the Internet. Though dispersed and disorganized, Neo-Pagan communities, virtual and real, are shown to be an important part of religious identity particularly for those seeking affirmation during the difficult years between childhood and adulthood.
Theology Needs Philosophy
Matthew L. Lamb Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX1795.P47T44 2016 | Dewey Decimal 230.01
Theology Needs Philosophy brings together essays by leading theologians and philosophers on the fundamental importance of human reason and philosophy for Catholic theology and human cultures generally. This edited collection studies the contributions of reason, with its acquired wisdom, science, and scholarship, in five sections. Those sections are: (1) the inevitable presence and service of philosophy in theology; (2) the metaphysics of creation, nature, and the natural knowledge of God; (3) the history of Logos as reason in the fathers, in St. Thomas Aquinas, and Medieval Biblical commentaries; (4) the role of reason in Trinitarian theology, Christology, and Mariology; and finally (5) reason in the theology of Aquinas.
Religious orders for women have existed for fifteen centuries, but their future in this century is bleak. In 1966, 180,000 women belonged to Catholic orders; by 1986 that number had decreased to 126,000. Helen Rose Ebaugh tells the story of the decline of these orders, set against the back drop of rapid social change and religious reform.
To illustrate the problem, Ebaugh takes us into a declining order, here named the Sisters of Service. In 1990, only one candidate sought admission to the order, and the median age of members reached 70. While these demographic changes were occurring, the sisters adapted themselves to the reforms of Vatican II. The concept of a cloistered life faded. Nuns sought college degrees, gave up their habits, moved into apartments, and began to identify with the outside world. Vatican II further encouraged the nuns to democratize and decentralize. Many nuns accepted jobs that paid poorly but were consistent with their goal of social service. They identified with the feminist movement and in turn influenced it.
Ebaugh shows how declining orders have not followed the sociological model of organizational decline, one typically marked by centralized authority, a fear of risk taking, lack of direction, internal conflicts over turf, and low morale. Rather, they have established democratic structures, reduced internal positions in favor of committing resources to empowering the poor, abandoned security in favor of diversity in jobs and missions, minimized conflicts over scarce resources, and exhibited a sense of freedom rather than poor morale.
Although Ebaugh is convinced that Catholic orders in the U.S. will not continue for long, non-canonical communities of women and associate programs are growing. Dedicated women can perpetuate the mission and spirit of the order without becoming vowed members.
Writings Against the Saracens
Peter the Venerable Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BP172.P45413 2016 | Dewey Decimal 239
Peter the Venerable's extensive literary legacy includes poems, a large epistolary collection, and polemical treatises. The first of his four major polemics targeted a Christian heresy, the Petrobrussians (Against the Petrobrusians); the rest took aim at Jews and Saracens. Catholic University of America Press has published his Against the Inveterate Obduracy of the Jews. This present volume will make available in their entirety Peter the Venerable's twin polemics against Islam - A Summary of the entire heresy of the Saracens and Against the sect of the Saracens - as well as related correspondence. These works resulted from a sustained engagement with Islam begun during Peter's journey to Spain in 1142-43. There the abbot commissioned a translation of sources from the Arabic, the so-called Toledan Collection, that include the Letter of a Saracen with a Christian Response (from the Apology of [Ps.] Al-Kindi ); Fables of the Saracens (a potpourri of Islamic hadith traditions); and Robert of Ketton's first Latin translation of the whole of the Qur'an. Thanks to Peter's efforts, from the second half of the twelfth century Christians could acquire a far better understanding of the teachings of Islam, and Peter may rightly be viewed as the initiator of Islamic studies in the West.