Demands on Hospital-based Chaplains: An Observational Study

This study examined the demands on a hospital-based chaplaincy department; the time spent meeting those demands; and the barriers they experienced. It was conducted over a period of four days with a team of trained data collectors who gathered quantitative and qualitative data associated with nine core processes. While the results revealed a number of notable findings, some of which were consistent with previously published studies, there were a number of unique discoveries. For example, despite concealing their feelings from the public, many of the chaplains expressed feeling devalued and underappreciated based on a perceived disregard for their spiritual contributions to the care of patients, their families and friends, and staff members. This study benefits healthcare chaplaincy in that it draws attention to issues that can seriously impede quality of service and decrease operational efficiency. Opportunities for future research are also presented.

Religious Homophily and Biblicism: A Theory of Conservative Church Fragmentation

According to the most recent demographic datasets, the number of new Christian congregations throughout the world is outpacing the total number of new Christians, suggesting that institutional Christianity has become more proficient at internal division than it has at outward multiplication. Using the psychological phenomenon known as “homophily,” the purpose of this article is to provide a brief elaboration on the sociopsychological reasoning for why conflicts over biblical interpretation may be one of the dominant causes, among other factors, for conservative church splits and for why “biblicism” may cause fragmentation among evangelicals more than their liberal Protestant counterparts. The article will first define and characterize theological conservatism, homophily, and biblicism before discussing the possible correlation between conflicts over biblical interpretation and church fragmentation. The article proposes that theological disagreements over exclusivist scriptural interpretations is a viable explanation for the destabilization of conservative congregations. Church splits among evangelicals are explainable partly because of the conservative tendency toward religious homophily and the need to establish rival congregations built around competing biblical interpretations.

The Significance of Communal Religious Freedom for Liberal Democracy

Leading US scholar of constitutional interpretation Michael Paulsen has developed an interesting theory of religious freedom called “The Priority of God.” Paulsen distinguishes, first of all, a liberal conception of religious freedom, according to which it is widely assumed that religious truth exists in a society and the state is tolerant towards various faiths and other traditions. The US, however, has developed in the direction of a modern conception of religious freedom, which no longer recognises religious truth although the state remains tolerant. Moreover, still according to Paulsen, several European countries have adopted a postmodern conception of religious freedom. This conception does not only no longer recognise religious truth, but also implies a considerably less tolerant state, as secularism becomes the established “religion.” This view paradoxically resembles the preliberal stance of religious intolerance out of the conviction that religious truth exists. In response to such developments, the current article makes a case for the classical liberal position with respect to religious freedom. A liberal religious freedom conception forms the best guarantee that societal institutions will be able to fulfil their constitutional functions of a check on the government and as “seedbeds of virtue.”