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Chapter 14 Religion and World View
Chapter Outline • Defining Religion • Theories of Religion • Supernatural Explanations of Misfortune • Varieties of Religious Organization • Revitalization Movements
Components of Religion • Beliefs about nature and character of supernatural powers. • Oral or written stories (myths) about the actions and deeds of supernatural powers and cultural heroes. • Rituals intended to include or direct these powers for the benefit of the group.
Beliefs • Animism • Belief in spiritual beings. • Myths • Oral or written stories about the actions and deeds of supernatural powers and cultural heroes. • Ritual • The organized performance of behaviors intended to influence supernatural powers.
Theories of Religion • Intellectual • Humans want explanations for the world around them. • Psychological • Religion helps people cope with times of difficulty. • Sociological • Religion has a useful effect on human societies.
Theories of Religion • Intellectual/cognitive theory • The notion that religious beliefs provide explanations for puzzling things and events. • Psychological theory of religion • The emotional or affective satisfactions that people derive from religion.
Theories of Religion • Sociological theory • The effects of religion on maintaining the institutions of society as a whole by instilling common values, creating solidarity, controlling behavior, and so forth.
Supernatural Explanations of Misfortune • Belief that common misfortunes are caused by spiritual powers. • Belief that misfortunes are caused by the action of some evil human who is using supernatural powers against the affected person.
Sorcery • Based on two kinds of logical principles. • imitative principle - the premise that like produces like (voodoo doll). • contagious principle - assumption that power comes from contact.
Views of Witchcraft • Navajo - associate witches with the worst imaginable sins (incest, bestiality, necrophilia, cannibalism). • Nyakyusa of Tanzania - motivated by lust for food, witches suck dry the udders of cattle and devour internal organs of humans while they sleep.
Views of Witchcraft • Azande of southern Sudan - witches possess a substance that leaves their bodies at night and eats the flesh and internal organs of their victims. • Ibibio of Nigeria - witches remove the spiritual essence of their enemies and place it in an animal who dies when the witch slaughters and eats the animal.
Interpretationsof Witchcraft and Sorcery • Cognitive • Explains unfortunate events. • Witches serve as scapegoats. • Sociological • Reinforces cultural norms that help people live harmoniously. • Provides an outlet for repressed aggression.
Types of Religious Organizations • Individualistic Cults - emphasize direct, personal interactions between people and the supernatural. • Shamanistic Cults - some individuals are believed to have contact with the supernatural that ordinary people lack.
Types of Religious Organizations • Communal Cults - members gather periodically for rituals that are believed to benefit the group as a whole. • Ecclesiastical Cults -religion is carried out by specialized officials who perform rituals that that benefit the society as a whole.
Vision Quest • An active search or quest to acquire a vision.
Shaman • A person with a culturally defined special relationship to supernatural powers, which he frequently uses to cure sickness.
Ancestral Cults • Beliefs and rituals surrounding the interactions between the living and their departed relatives.
Totemism • The cultural belief that human groups have a special mystical relationship with natural objects, such as animals, plants, and sometimes, nonliving things.
Priests • A kind of religious specialist, often full-time who officiates at rituals.
Revitalization Movements • Organized movements that help people cope with rapid changes. • Originate with a prophet who has a revelation that includes: • Statement about what is wrong with the world. • Vision of a new world and a prescription for how to bring it about.
Cargo Cults • Melanesian revitalization movements in which prophets claimed to know secret rituals that would bring wealth (cargo).
1. The belief in spiritual beings is called: • animism • mana • sorcery • all of the above
Answer: a • The belief in spiritual beings is called animism.
2. The organized performance of behaviors intended to influence spiritual powers is called: • animism • mana • ritual • myths
Answer: c • The organized performance of behavior intended to influence spiritual powers is called ritual.
3. The use of psychic power alone to cause harm to others is called: • sorcery • divination • witchcraft • voodoo
Answer: c • The use of psychic power alone to cause harm to others is called witchcraft.