Browsing by Subject "theology"

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  • Hankela, Elina (2013)
    This study engages with ubuntu as a moral notion, and exclusionary social boundaries in the context of refugee ministry at the Central Methodist Mission (CMM) in inner-city Johannesburg. Ubuntu, a Nguni term that can be translated as humanity or humaneness, is often claimed to be the moral backbone of (South) African communities. According to the academic ubuntu discourse that scrutinises this notion, interdependence characterises human existence, as human beings only become, and exist, through other human beings, in a community. Virtues commonly attached to ubuntu include respect, hospitality and compassion. While the ubuntu discourse comprises the theoretical framework and dialogue partner in the study, international migration, socio-economic inequality and xenophobia are among the forces that defined the social location of the CMM. A praxis cycle framework informed the structure of this research, as it offered a way to combine ethnographic fieldwork with notions emphasized in grounded theory and an interest in patterns of socio-moral thinking invoked by the writer s training in systematic theology. Drawing, for instance, on emphases vocalized by liberation theologians, the praxis cycle also underlines the importance of questions about societal context and the researcher s agency. In 2009 when the fieldwork for the study was conducted, the CMM building, a six-storey church in inner-city Johannesburg, both served a large local congregation ( members ) and offered shelter to 2,000-3,000 international migrants and homeless South Africans ( dwellers ). The objective of the scrutiny of the tense relationship between these two groups is to understand grassroots meanings attached to being human(e) and factors that limited or enabled the actualization of ubuntu in this context. The study approaches these meanings and dynamics from two perspectives. Firstly, the liberation-theologically framed vision of the leader of the CMM, Bishop Verryn, is analysed and defined as a contextual Christian ubuntu vision. As the challenges in the vision s material application in the Refugee Ministry are examined, it is noted that the contestation of the notion of interdependence in community in the day-to-day managing of the ministry seemed to reinforce the often exclusionary member/dweller boundary; while, on the other hand, the preaching of the vision and the leader s lifestyle contributed to the bridging of the boundary. Secondly, the study explores the negotiation of exclusionary identities and boundaries within and between the members and the dwellers through examining the collective narratives of xenophobia and dirt circulating at the CMM. Attention is also paid to the forging of affirming relationships between the groups. On the basis of these dynamics the writer presents socio-moral patterns attached to ubuntu and being human(e) in the given context: they involve relational virtues that people were expected to embody; the rules of reciprocity and survival that regulated the actualization of these virtues; limiting structural elements external and internal to the CMM; and the enabling element of encounter.
  • Huttunen, Niko (Brill, 2020)
    In Early Christians Adapting to the Roman Empire: Mutual Recognition Niko Huttunen challenges the interpretation of early Christian texts as anti-imperial documents. He presents examples of the positive relationship between early Christians and the Roman society. With the concept of “recognition” Huttunen describes a situation in which the parties can come to terms with each other without full agreement. Huttunen provides examples of non-Christian philosophers recognizing early Christians. He claims that recognition was a response to Christians who presented themselves as philosophers. Huttunen reads Romans 13 as a part of the ancient tradition of the law of the stronger. His pioneering study on early Christian soldiers uncovers the practical dimension of recognizing the empire.
  • Pihkala, Panu (2018)
    This article addresses the problem of eco-anxiety by integrating results from numerous fields of inquiry. Although climate change may cause direct psychological and existential impacts, vast numbers of people already experience indirect impacts in the form of depression, socio-ethical paralysis, and loss of well-being. This is not always evident, because people have developed psychological and social defenses in response, including socially constructed silence. I argue that this situation causes the need to frame climate change narratives as emphasizing hope in the midst of tragedy. Framing the situation simply as a threat or a possibility does not work. Religious communities and the use of methods which include spirituality have an important role in enabling people to process their deep emotions and existential questions. I draw also from my experiences from Finland in enabling cooperation between natural scientists and theologians in order to address climate issues.
  • Botez, Andrei; Hietanen, Joel; Tikkanen, Henrikki (2020)
    In this study, we critically examine the ongoing adoption of various posthumanist influences into the fields of marketing and consumer research from a theological perspective. By conducting a theological-historical assessment, we propose that it is not posthuman notions of human/technology relations, nor their broader context in the emerging non-representational paradigms, that mark radically new disruptions in the continuing restructuring of the disciplines of marketing and consumer research. Instead, we argue that what is taking place is an implicit adherence to a contemporary form of age-old Christian dogma. As a radical conjecture, we thus propose that an identification of certain similarities between Christian dogma and the grounds for various posthumanist frameworks suggest that posthuman thought may well herald the global dissemination of a far more elusive, authoritarian, and hegemonic system than that which posthumanists typically claim to have abandoned. Consequently, we elaborate on implications to developments in marketing thought.
  • Visala, Aku (2020)
    Given how central free will and moral responsibility are for theology, Christian theologians should not remain at the sidelines when scientists and philosophers debate recent empirical results about human agency. In this article, the core notion of free will is identified with the agent's cognitive ability to exert control over his or her actions thereby making moral responsibility possible. Then three scientifically inspired arguments for free will skepticism are outlined: the argument from eliminativism, the argument from determinism and the argument from epiphenomenalism. The remainder of the article explores novel responses to these arguments and draws some theological implications from them.