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Global Spread II

Session Chair: N.N. | Tuesday, August 25, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Nomatter Sande

The impact of democratization on Pentecostalism in Zimbabwe: The case of Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM)

The continuous political change, instability and fluidity in Zimbabwe have marginalized and disfranchised religious communities’ from the democratization processes. The existing body of knowledge have centered on role and church-state relations, however there is a growing need to focus on the impact of changing environments of political change, instability and fluidity on Pentecostalism. This paper through historical and contemporary perspectives keenly explores how political change, instability and fluidity influences and affects Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) institutionalized beliefs, rituals and myths. It further seeks to understand the ambivalence of these political change and instability to transform the Zimbabwean society. This paper utilizes the Critical Social Theory (CST), and co-opts cultural hermeneutics to analyze how AFM adapts to the changing political environments. Participatory Observation (PO) is employed for data collection of this paper. This paper contributes constructively and affords an understanding on how AFM adapts to political change and fluidity.

Liisa Berezkin

Non-japanese followers of Shinnyo-en

Buddhist-based Japanese NRM Shinnyo-en has been attracting enough non-Japanese followers to call it an international movement since 1990s. Shinnyo-en has been increasingly active in promoting peace and organizing public-focused events on a global scale. My research is based on interviews conducted with non-Japanese Shinnyo-en representatives from USA, Europe and Australia. The results aim to explain some of the appeal and also trouble points of Shinnyo-en. All of the interviewees having previous religious affiliations and interests, stress that Shinnyo-en is unique in being a very practical religion that helps them to make decisions and overcome difficulties every day, largely thanks to a medium-based meditation practice sesshin. Outside Japan, Shinnyo-en represents Buddhism as such and the image of it as a Japanese religion has greatly diminished in recent 15 years. Yet the possibility of a more exponential growth is impeded by a strict temple-based organizational structure and a complicated doctrine.

Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

Integrationist Sufism in the Context of Modern West

As the major mystical trend in Islamic tradition, Sufism has entered the modern Western discourse in three major phases: first, during the Romantic era, when a few Sufi classics were rendered into European languages; second, around the turn of the twentieth century, when some spiritual teachers fascinated by Oriental traditions started to incorporate Sufism into Western esotericism; and third from the 1960s onward, when Sufism participated in the “resacralization” of Western societies and various Sufi orders became active in the West. Such long-lasting Sufi presence witnesses three different, yet overlapping, attitudes of Sufi movements towards their Western surroundings, namely isolationism, rejectionism, and integrationism. This paper offers a typological overview of these three approaches while paying special attention to the latter one, in which the transformation of ideational, practical and institutional aspects of Sufism through its contextualization into the modern Euro-American milieu can well be examined. The paper argues that it is particularly within Sufi movements having such integrationist attitude that one can investigate the congruity between (Islamic) mysticism and modernity.

Norihito Takahashi

Multicultural Coexistence and Faith-Based Organizations in Contemporary Japan: A Case Study of Support Activities for Indochinese Refugees

In this study, I consider the relationship between Tabunka-Kyosei, a concept of multicultural coexistence (or symbiosis) peculiar to Japan, and faith-based organizations (FBOs). In Japan, many organizations have conducted support activities based on the concept of Tabunka-Kyosei for foreign residents, especially for newcomer immigrants whose numbers have increased since the 1980s. Various FBOs, including the Catholic Church, have actively engaged in these support activities. Such activities, however, have been rarely examined through the perspective of religious studies. Therefore, I consider the support activities offered by FBOs to Indochinese refugees for their protection and resettlement in Japan since 1975. In addition, I discuss conflicts and problems requiring resolution in order to build better relationships between Japanese FBOs and foreign residents where Tabunka-Kyosei has not yet been achieved.


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