ISSN: 1522-5658
Volume 16 (2014)

The Bible, the Economy, and the Poor [ Supplement 10 ]

Edited by Ronald A. Simkins and Thomas M. Kelly, Creighton University


Five Options for the Relationship between the State and Sharia Councils: Untangling the Debate on Sharia Councils and Women’s Rights in the United Kingdom

Machteld Zee, Leiden University, The Netherlands
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Religious Modernism, Nationalism, and Antisemitism in Polish Catholicism and Egyptian Islam

Paul Brykczynski, University of Michigan
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

A Sign of the Times: Catholic Advocacy for Social Justice in Nkrumah’s Ghana, 1958

Baba G. Jallow, Creighton University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Tawḥīd al ’uluhiyya, Secularism, and Political Islam

Johan Eddebo, Uppsala University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Faith, Sport and Disengaged Youth

Ruth Graveling, Mike Collins, and Andrew Parker, University of Gloucestershire, UK
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Islam and Assimilation in the West: Religious and Cultural Ingredients in American Muslim Experience

John H. Morgan, Graduate Theological Foundation
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Revisiting Sacred Metaphors: A Religious Studies Pedagogical Response to the Rise of the Nones

Terry Shoemaker, Western Kentucky University
William Simpson, Louisville, KY
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

How Christians and Muslims Can Embrace Religious Diversity and Each Other: An Evangelical Perspective

Benjamin B. DeVan, University of Durham, UK and Emory University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

African Initiated Churches, Pivotal in Peace-Building: A Case of the Johane Masowe Chishanu

Obediah Dodo, Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe
Richard G. Banda, Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe
Gloria Dodo, Zimbabwe Open University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Welcoming the Stranger: Religion and Attitudes toward Social Justice for Immigrants in the U.S.

Theresa Davidson, Samford University
Carlos Garcia, San Jose State University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Aspects of Muscular Christianity in Norway and the United States: A Historiographical Comparison

Nils Martinius Justvik, University of Agder, Norway
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Biting the Poor: On the Difference between Credit and Debt in Ancient Israel and Southwest Asia

Roland Boer, Renmin University of China, Beijing, and University of Newcastle, Australia
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Essays &

Reshoring, Automation, and the Catholic Framework for Economic Life

William J. Raynor III, Southern Wesleyan University
[ Opinion PDF ]

Review Essays

Britain’s Pagan Heritage: A Review of Ronald Hutton’s Pagan Britain and Marion Gibson’s Imagining the Pagan Past

Ethan Doyle White, London, UK
[ Review Essay PDF ]

This study clarifies the positions in the debate on Sharia councils and women's rights in the UK by identifying the arguments for and against state accommodation of Sharia councils. In light of these arguments as well as practice and legal theory, a conceptual framework of five options a state may have is presented: i) full accommodation; ii) partial independent accommodation; iii) partial dependent accommodation; iv) no accommodation, no intervention; v) state intervention. It concludes that proponents argue in favor of "partial dependent accommodation," but that the UK, in reality, practices "no accommodation, no intervention," which has led to a bill in favor of state intervention.

The Arbitration Act of 1996 provides legal jargon for religious tribunals, and under the alternative dispute resolution Sharia councils have been able to function. Sharia councils, however, do not mediate or arbitrate. The raison d'être of Sharia councils is dealing with one-party divorce requests based on religious law.
The two regions most commonly associated with antisemitism, whether fairly or not, are interwar Eastern Europe and, more recently, the Arab Middle East. However, while East European antisemitism is usually seen as "primordial" and having deep roots in Christianity, its Middle Eastern counterpart is generally perceived as exquisitely modern and having relatively little to do with traditional Islam. Therefore, even though Christian East European and Muslim Middle Eastern variants of antisemitism may make use of the similar myths and tropes, their respective histories and underlying causes appear to be quite different, and it may seem that little could be gained from studying them side by side. This paper presents the argument that studying East European and Middle Eastern antisemitism side by side is not only methodologically admissible but can lead to illuminating insights. The paper focuses on the two regions' largest states, Poland and Egypt, and lays the groundwork for a more detailed examination of the manner in which Christian and Islamic traditions interacted with modern nationalist ideologies in the discursive construction of "the Jews" as a universal enemy.
The Ghana Catholic Church's advocacy for social justice predated Vatican II thanks to her early encounter with independence in 1957. Throughout 1958, the Church in Ghana engaged the government of Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah in a robust dialogue on social justice. Through The Standard, her National Catholic weekly, the Church directed a steady stream of communication to the state on issues of social justice that approximate key lessons of Catholic Social Teaching on respect for human dignity and concern for truth and justice. The Ghana Church's advocacy for justice was a sign of the times that reflected the mind of Pope John XXIII and what happened at the Second Vatican Council.
In this paper, a particular aspect of the Islamic notion of tawḥīd is described and explored with regard to its consequences for Islam's relationship to secular society. It is argued that strains of Islam informed by the widespread, orthodox interpretation of this tawḥīd al 'uluhiyya, or "the oneness of creation's worship of God," cannot be coherently harmonized with the notion of a secular, political order wherein religion and the public sphere are strictly separated. On this basis, it is then argued that inclusion of non-secular political Islam within the framework of liberal democracy is likely a preferable development in the interests of minimizing future international and domestic conflict, and supporting autonomous popular rule in Islamic states.
Set against a backdrop of faith-based explorations of sport with disengaged youth, the present paper presents findings from a project which sought to re-engage young people with sport via Christian youth ministry. Locating project participants at the center of the analysis, the paper draws on empirical data from participant-observation and semi-structured interviews with six respondents to analyze the effects of sports training provision on the lives of those concerned. Although several sports ministry organizations work with both Christians and non-Christians, to date none appear to have been focused on the training of non-Christian young people to become sports leaders while at the same time exploring the Christian faith. The principal aim of the present study is to explore whether sports leadership training is a relevant and successful way of exploring a series of Christian beliefs, principles, and values. The secondary aim is to assess the impact of the sporting provision on the participants themselves. Findings suggest that all project participants reported that the Academy had a significant impact on their lives. The paper concludes that the project was successful in broadening the personal and spiritual life experiences of participants citing opportunities around inclusion, achievement, and increased self-worth as the most important outcomes.
This essay is an exploration into the social inevitabilities of culture shifts within the American Muslim community's self-understanding of their faith. Rather than a theological explication of the reasons Islam may or may not, or can or cannot, assimilate in America, my approach will be strictly sociological, thereby side-stepping the intricate dialectic of theological niceties in deference to the social realities of culture change. As a social psychologist, my duty is to acknowledge the inevitabilities of behavioral shifts brought about by social and cultural pressures resulting from immigration into an alien cultural weltanschauung, i.e., worldview. Therefore in this essay, I will explicate the meaning and nature of de-ethnicization and re-enculturation as I endeavor to disentangle religion from culture, recognizing that much of what goes under the flag of religious orthodoxy is really culturally mandated behavior and worldview. Because the assimilation process bears heavily upon the necessity for Muslim clergy in America to become professional by western standards, this essay explores the complexities of religious secularism as a way of becoming an "American" Muslim. Finally, I suggest liturgical and architectural "adjustments" to western modes of public worship and indicate linguistic niceties that will prove helpful in the assimilation process that I call the "Islamicization of America."
The emergence of the religious nones can create pedagogical challenges due to the multifarious and institutionally disaffiliated nature of this classification. Thus, this article supplies a potential pedagogical technique by revisiting Peter Berger's sacred canopy metaphor. We submit that the religious nones can be understood functionally and structurally by employing "sacred metaphors" based on the sacred canopy. Three metaphors are provided herein to address the three central categories of the nones: unaffiliated believers, agnostics, and atheists. We introduce these sacred metaphors, detail their relevance, and suggest that these "sacred metaphors" present a new way of explaining the complexities of classifying the religious nones.
Can Evangelical Christians and Muslims embrace religious diversity and each other? This essay argues a qualified "yes" marshaling historic, classical, and contemporary resources by and relevant to Evangelical Christians and Muslims, sustaining mutual empathy, humanity, tolerance, religious liberty, integrity in wrestling with seemingly irreconcilable differences, cooperation, theological sharpening, a dynamic open marketplace of ideas, and love. These priorities often extend beyond Muslim and Evangelical relations with each other to invigorate constructive interaction generally among Muslims, Christians, and religiously diverse people in a multi-faith world.
Western culture and ideology have indoctrinated Africans into believing that the West provides the best solutions for any crisis. Africa, a haven for some of the most threatening and destructive conflicts, Zimbabwe included, has failed to realize the power and wisdom of Africans toward solutions and nurturing peace and development. There is an African Initiated Church called Johane Masowe Chishanu (JMC), founded in Salisbury in 1931, which has prescribed, developed, and nurtured some of the best peace-making, "peacekeeping," and peace-building mechanisms for both social and political systems. Some of these prescriptions have laid the foundations for lasting peace, sustainable development, and constructive dialogue in Africa. This paper discusses some of the JMC practices regarding prophecy, confession, hymns, baptism, marriage, and self-employment that have fostered peace in Zimbabwe. JMC works mainly by instilling fear, threatening to foretell secrets, and identifying every church member as a close relative. It has been established that JMC has played an invaluable role in building peace socially, politically, and economically.
Every major religious tradition contains edicts for social justice on behalf of the marginalized, or, the stranger. However, the influence of religion on attitudes toward immigrants has been understudied. Along with other factors, this project analyzes the influence of religion on public sentiment regarding immigration policy in the United States. We find some effects of religious identification and religious behavior on attitudes toward the right to remain in this country, access to social services, and entitlement to public education. Religious measures show no influence on attitudes toward citizenship rights for children of immigrants born in the United States. Religious individuals and communities may play an important role in the acceptance and integration of immigrants.
An evaluation of Norwegian historians' scholarly works concluded that the local and national scopes with respect to impulses and processes were taken for granted. In this article this contention is questioned. A comparison is made between my doctoral thesis on Sport and Protestantism in Southern Norway and three American studies within the scholarly field of muscular Christianity restricted to three topics: theology, Sunday observance, and manliness and masculinity. First, such a comparison has never been done before, and second, it produces important results. Theology is addressed widely in all the studies and plays a significant part in the studies. Sunday observance in the two groups of studies is treated differently, due to the difference of the two contexts. Similarly, the topic of masculinity is a main theme in the U.S. studies, but is hardly mentioned in the Norwegian context.
This article argues for a distinction between credit and debt, for although the two overlap, they are distinct. Thereby, the argument differs from the more common approach that sees them as coterminous, as part of the same economic function. The analysis has two parts, the first of which outlines the distinct functions of credit and debt. In the second part, they are located in their specific social and economic contexts. While credit is primarily the feature of what may be called the subsistence economic regime, based on village communities, debt functions within the system of palatine and temple estates. The argument draws on material from ancient Southwest Asia in order to understand the differences between credit and debt in ancient Israel.