Introduction to Religion. What is religion?. Some Images. Religare Latin root Re plus ligare ‘again’ combined with ‘to bind’ meaning ‘to tie fast’ Religia Latin – ‘obligation’ or ‘bond’ Religian Old French. Religion . Gary Comstock.
Introduction to Religion
What is religion?
Re plus ligare
‘again’ combined with ‘to bind’ meaning ‘to tie fast’
Latin – ‘obligation’ or ‘bond’
“The sacred always manifests itself as a reality of a wholly different order from ‘natural’ realities. ...The first possible definition of the sacred is that it is the opposite of the profane.”
sacred: Set apart for worship of a deity or as worthy of worship.
profane: Nonreligious. Outside the sphere of religion.
Seven Dimensions of Religion.
Not a definition, but identifying features that help us understand the way academics think about the topic.
Formal or informal
Temporal and spatial
Mysterium tremendum fascinans – a mysterious something that draws you in and inspires both awe and fear
Bernini, GianlorenzoEcstasy of St. Teresa1647-52Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
Myth – a vehicle that relates a truth defying normal expression and sets pattern for human behaviors
Accounts of creation of the world
Accounts/Beliefs about the end of the world
Scriptural or canonical (kanon is Greek for measuring rod)
The principles of a tradition
Typically explain complex ideas
May or may not be familiar to the average believer, but is part of the scholarly tradition
Religions help us deal with a variety of human needs. For example:
Give us a way to think about our own mortality
Help us to find security in an insecure world
Organize us socially
Assist the poorest and the weakest with survival
Stimulate artistic production
Religion is about projecting our childhood experiences with our parents onto a God or gods
Individuation or personal fulfillment
Symbols particularly important
Religions based on a relationship with a divine being
The Divine in a Singular form
Multiple forms of the divine
Beneath multiple apparent forms of the divine there is one ultimate reality
Non-belief in any deity
No knowledge if the divine exists or can be known
Insight into other cultures and into the lives of other people. Religion is a key to the way many people live. Understanding religious practice helps us to better understand others’ lives and hopefully, to be tolerant of people not like us.
Improve your appreciation of new places because you can understand what you see and hear and experience more fully.
To assist in your own religious quest. Summed up simply: we can learn from others who do not practice as we do.
To appreciate every day life more fully. You cannot see a movie, read a book, hear a song, listen to a Presidential debate without some mention of religion it seems. Knowing more is a positive.
To make you a better citizen of the world