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Paths of Faith Introduction Cheryl Gaver email@example.com. 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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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
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’?
Religion Statistics (Mary Pat Fisher, Religion in the Twenty-first Century, p. 49)
Major World Religion Criteria • High proportion of world population • Wide geographic distribution • Spread beyond one nationality / race / culture • Parent of a major religion
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
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)
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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?
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?
Questions • What is religion? • Where do we find religion in our society – what role does religion play? • How should we study religion?