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What is Religion. Tuesday, September 1, 2009. Learning Outcomes The student will be able to state what religion means to them and compare their definition with that of another

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What is Religion

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

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Learning Outcomes

  • The student will be able to state what religion means to them and compare their definition with that of another

  • The student will be able to state the 7 basic elements making up religions and give an example for each dimension from the religion with which they are most familiar.


  • Opener – in notebook

  • Partner discussion – compare your definition of religion with theirs. Are there other things that should be included in the definition?

  • Small group discussion

  • Presentation on 7 dimensions

  • Summarizer – give example from religion with which they are most familiar

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  • In your notebook, reflect on the following: Read paragraph 1 under the Nature of a Religious Tradition on page 13 of the textbook. Huston Smith, renowned author and lecturer on World Religions says that authentic religion is about the “soft voice of intimate religion, mysterious and loving that flows through all the world’s faiths. Do you agree with the book? With Smith? In what way?

  • What do you think Religion is? Describe it.

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With a partner from the opposite side of the room

  • State your definition of religion

  • Compare the two. Where do you agree? Disagree?

  • Is there anything that should be added or changed with your definition?

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In groups of Four

  • Review definitions of religion. Is there anything you would like to add or change to your definition?

  • What areas of life do religions deal with? Truth?

  • Can a person be spiritual without practicing a religion? In what way?

  • Are religions important?

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  • Have you ever had an experience in which you realized that there was more to life than meets the eye – a sacred moment ?

  • Experiential begins with the religious experiences of the individual e.g. the Buddha

  • Theistic – God experienced as a holy presence

  • Non-theistic – mysticism – become one with the divine

  • Faith generally belongs to the category of Religious Experience

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Sources of sacred truth - take the form of sacred stories

  • They do not necessarily conflict with history and science, nor are they necessarily false or irrational

  • Express Sacred Truth


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  • The belief aspect of a religion – creeds, doctrines or teachings of the religion

  • come from experiential

  • come from myths

  • What is the difference between the beliefs of a religion and faith?

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  • How we are to act while living in the world e.g. the “Golden Rule”

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  • Worship, taking a variety of forms and occupying much of an individual’s religious life

  • many reenact a sacred story or myth e.g.

  • Hajj

  • Eucharist

  • Seder

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awl1KCo_oZ0

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  • communal aspect of religion

  • Belonging to a group – such as a tribe, parish or congregation

  • hierarchy of leadership

  • Embodiment of spiritual


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  • Sacred architecture

  • structures of worship,

  • art within them,

  • sacred books of scripture

  • sacred entities (mountains, cities, rivers etc.)

    Golden Temple of Amritsar, India – sacred to Sikhs

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  • Identify the examples of the 7 dimensions from the religion with which you are most familiar

    • Experiential - Ritual

    • Mythic - Social

    • Doctrinal - Material

    • Ethical