Chapter 15 Religion
Chapter Questions • What is religion? • What does religion do in a society? • How are religious beliefs and rituals different in various cultures? • What roles do sacred stories and symbols play in relation? • What are some common key elements in religious rituals? • What are the differences between prayer, sacrifice and magic? • How do priests differ from shamans? • Under what conditions do religions change, and when do new religions form?
A Human Universal • Defining Religion • Belief in the supernatural. • Religion origins. • No religion is more evolved.
Origins of Religion • Neanderthal graves • Paleolithic art- 200,000 to 300,000 years ago.
Functions of Religion in Society • Explains aspects of the physical and social environment. • Helps people understand the world. • Preserves the social order. • Includes practices aimed at ensuring success.
Religion Preserves Social Order • Sacred stories and rituals. • Function of rituals. • Important educational institution.
Sacred Narratives • Stories of historical events, heroes, gods, spirits, and the origin of all things. • Have a sacred power that is evoked by telling them or acting them out ritually. • Validate or legitimize beliefs, values, and customs.
Ritual • Act involving the manipulation of religious symbols. • Certain patterns of religious behavior.
Rite of Passage Three phases: • Separation • Liminal • Reincorporation
Addressing the Supernatural • Prayer • Sacrifice • Magic • Divination
Prayer • Communication between people and spirits or gods. • Results- spirit world rather than human actions. • A request, a pleading, or a praise. • Healing power?
Image of the Witch • Two Universal constants • Witches represent people’s deepest fears of selves & society • Witches represent a reversal of all normal behavior
Witch Craze of Europe • Plague swept through Europe, and the medieval social and religious order collapsed in war and chaos. • People believed witches were the cause of their misery. • Thousands of suspected witches were put to death.
Shaman Part Time Practitioner Personal communication with supernatural being Get powers by “divine stroke” Present in food-gathering cultures Priests Full Time Practitioner Trained specialist Power from codified rituals Agricultural/industrial societies Priest & Shaman
Religions and Change • Revitalization movements. • Result from oppression, cultural loss and loss of identity. • Examples: Native American Ghost Dance and Native American Church • Cults
Religion in the U.S. • Roman Catholicism is the largest with 24% of the adult population. • Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant comprising 220 denominations, represent 36% of the adult population. • Approximately 1.5% of the population is Jewish. • Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the U.S. with 1% of the adult population.