Paths of faith introduction cheryl gaver cgaver@cogeco ca
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Paths of Faith Introduction Cheryl Gaver [email protected] First Religions Native American African Polynesian Eastern Religions Indian Religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Oriental Religions Taoism, Confucianism Buddhism, Shintoism. Western Monotheistic Religions Judaism

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Paths of faith introduction cheryl gaver cgaver@cogeco ca l.jpg

Paths of FaithIntroductionCheryl [email protected]


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First Religions

Native American

African

Polynesian

Eastern Religions

Indian Religions

Hinduism, Buddhism,

Jainism, Sikhism

Oriental Religions

Taoism, Confucianism

Buddhism, Shintoism

Western Monotheistic Religions

Judaism

Christianity

Islam

Sikhism

Miscellaneous Western Religions

Socialism, Capitalism

Evolutionism, Scientism

New Age religions

Wicca

Druidism

Families of Religions


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Challenge of Studying Religion

  • Too many religions; too little time

  • What do we mean be ‘religion’?

  • How do we study something we cannot define?

  • How do we study ‘religion’?

  • Why should we study ‘religion’?


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Religion Statistics

(Mary Pat Fisher, Religion in the Twenty-first Century, p. 49)


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Major World Religion Criteria

  • High proportion of world population

  • Wide geographic distribution

  • Spread beyond one nationality / race / culture

  • Parent of a major religion


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From the chart:

Christianity

Islam

Hinduism

Buddhism

Confucianism

Non-religious

To be studied:

Hinduism

Buddhism

Taoism

Confucianism

Martial arts

Oriental medicine

Feng shui

Judaism

Christianity

Islam

Sikhism

Native Spiritualities

Major Religions in the Course


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Where They Meet

Hinduism

Christianity

Buddhism

Irreconcilable (?) differences:

practice / doctrine

Judaism

Irreconcilable (?) differences:

practice / doctrine

Mystical Union Experiential

Indigenous

Tao/Confucian/Shinto

New Movements

Sikkhism

Jainism

Islam

(Mary Pat Fisher, Religion in the Twenty-first Century, p.105)


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Why Study Religion?

  • To explore philosophical questions

  • To explore theological questions

  • To explore social questions

  • To explore ethical questions

  • To learn about one’s self

  • To learn about others - from their perspective



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Same Wavelength?

Did I understand what I was supposed to understand?

Did I say what I meant to say?

Something was said

We hear what we expect to hear, and understand based on what we thought was meant


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Webster’s Definition

The service and adoration of God or a god as expressed in forms of worship, in obedience to divine commands, ... and in the pursuit of a way of life regarded as incumbent on true believers (Webster’s Dictionary from the 1950s)


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God exists

If not the real God, then some kind of god

God gives us commands / laws

We must serve God

We must worship God

We must obey God’s laws

Our lives must reflect our beliefs

Assumptions


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Standards (laws) exist

Duties / obligations of men, women, children

Role of the family

Role of work

Role of government

Obligations to society

Obedience is required

What are the Laws?

How do we learn them?

What about those who break them?

Extending the Definition


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God of values / standards

Ethics / morality

Education system

Justice

Legal system

Penal system

God of mercy

Hospitals

Orphanages

Sanctuary for victims

Charities for poor

Social programs

Implications of the Definition


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The Problem with the Definition

  • If definition is valid, then

    • We have an obligation to learn about God and God’s laws

    • We must learn what is right and wrong

    • We must learn about how we are supposed to live

    • We can learn about other religions and judge them against our own


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Eastern religions do not qualify as religions

Native spirituality does not qualify as religion

Some religions do not consider themselves ‘religions’:

They are a way of life

They are eternal righteousness

They are a way of aligning oneself with cosmic energy

Is the Definition Valid?


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If the definition is valid:

Is a religion true or not?

Is a religion is right or wrong?

What is right and wrong?

Problem:

Incorporates value judgements

Not intellectually honest, not objective –

We filter other religions

through what we understand is valid –

not for what they say about themselves

How Not To Study Religion?


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Questions

  • What is religion?

  • Where do we find religion in our society – what role does religion play?

  • How should we study religion?


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