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WORLD RELIGIONS

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  1. WORLD RELIGIONS STUDYING THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS

  2. GLOBAL VILLAGE • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY HAS DECREASED THE DISTANCE BETWEEN FORMERLY REMOTE AREAS OF THE WORLD • KNOWLEDGE OF PEOPLE, WHO WERE FORMERLY NEVER IN CONTACT, NOW IS NECESSITATED IN ORDER TO CARRY ON BUSINESS AND AVOID CONFLICT AROUND THE WORLD

  3. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF RELIGION?

  4. RELIGIOUS QUESTIONS • WHERE DID WE COME FROM? • WHY ARE WE HERE? • THE ANSWERS TO THESE MYSTERIES LED TO THE FORMATION OF RELIGIONS WHICH PROVIDE A WAY OF LIVING AND DYING MEANINGFULLY

  5. WHAT IS THE HUMAN CONDITION? • WHAT IS OUR ESSENTIAL NATURE? • OUR WE ENDOWED WITH SOME FORM OF SOUL? • WHY IS THERE SUFFERING? • RELIGIONS OFTEN DESCRIBE A MEANS OF OVERCOMING SUFFERING • ARE WE BY NATURE GOOD OR EVIL? • CREATION STORIES OFTEN ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

  6. WHAT IS SPIRITUAL PERFECTION? • IS THIS ATTAINABLE NOW OR IN AN AFTERLIFE? • IS IT ATTAINABLE WITHOUT DIVINE ASSISTANCE? • THREE BASIC QUESTIONS THAT RELIGION DEFINES SPIRITUAL PERFECTION • WHAT IS ETHICAL? • HOW DO WE TRANSCEND THE HUMAN CONDITION? • HOW DO WE ATTAIN SALVATION?

  7. WHAT IS ETHICAL? • TEACHING REGARDING WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG IN ORDER TO ATTAIN SPIRITUAL PERFECTION

  8. HOW DO WE TRANSCEND THE HUMAN CONDITION? • BRINGING ONE FACE TO FACE WITH THE HUMAN CONDITION, AND THEN RAISING ONE ABOVE IT OR TO SEE THROUGH IT. • BUDDHIST ENLIGHTENMENT • “CONTINUING TO INHABIT A PHYSICAL BODY WITH THE USUAL DISCOMFORTS AND NEEDS WHILE MAINTAINING A STATE OF INDESCRIBABLE SPIRITUAL TRANQUILITY AND BLISS.”

  9. HOW DO WE ATTAIN SALVATION? • “MOST RELIGIONSTEACH THAT SPIRITUAL PERFECTION IS CLOSELY RELATED TO SOME FORM OF SALVATION FROM THE LIMITATIONS IMPOSED BY THE HUMAN CONDITION: DEATH” • SOME RELIGIONS TEACH THIS IS ATTAINABLE IN THIS LIFE, OTHERS THAT IT AWAITS IN THE AFTERLIFE.

  10. WHAT IS OUR DESTINY? • THE DEGREE ONE HAS ATTAINED SPIRITUAL PERFECTION CORRESPONDS TO ONE’S REWARDS IN THE AFTERLIFE. • RELIGIONS THAT TEACH HUMAN BEINGS LIVE MORE THAN ONE LIFETIME, BELIEVE THAT LIFE AFTER DEATH IS JUST ANOTHER STEP TOWARD THE FINAL DESTINY.

  11. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF HE WORLD? • QUESTIONS ON THE CREATION OF THE WORLD • COSMOLOGY: UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE • RELIGIONS EITHER SUPPORT INTEREST IN SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY OR ARE SUSPICIOUS OF IT

  12. WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE REALITY AND HOW IS IT REVEALED? • ULTIMATE REALITY IS REVEALED TO HUMAN BEINGS THROUGH SACRED STORIES, MYTHS AND TYPES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES • THEISTIC RELIGIONS • BELIEF IN GOD OR MULTIPLE GODS • MONOTHEISM, POLYTHEISM, PANTHEISM • NONTHEISTIC RELIGIONS • NO BELIEF IN GOD RELEVANT TO HUMAN BEINGS • HUMAN BEINGS ARE PART OF THE ULTIMATE RELAITY

  13. SEVEN DIMENSIONS OF RELIGION • ALL RELIGIONS HAVE 7 DIMENSIONS (CHARACTERISTICS) THAT ARE UNIQUE TO EACH RELIGION EVEN THOUGH SOME DIMENSIONS ARE EMPHASIZED MORE THAN OTHERS IN A PARTICULAR RELIGION

  14. EXPERIENTIAL • RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE OF INDIVIDUALS • THEISTIC • FASCINATION; AWE-INSPIRING • NONTHHEISTIC • MYSTICISM; VISION QUEST

  15. MYTHIC • STORIES OR SACRED LITERATURE THAT CONVEY IMPORTANT TRUTHS OF THE RELIGION

  16. DOCTRINAL • THE BELIEF ASPECT OF A RELIGION IS CATAGORIZED AS THE DOCTRINAL DIMENSION OR BASIC BELIEFS • APOSTLE’S CREED • THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE RELIGION WHICH MAKES SENSE OF THE MYTHS AND EXPERIENTIAL

  17. ETHICAL • HOW DOES A PERSON ACT IN THE LIVING WORLD

  18. RITUAL • WORSHIP IN FORMALIZED SETTINGS, OFTEN REENACTING MYTHS OR SACRED STORIES

  19. SOCIAL • SENSE OF BELONGING TO A COMMUNITY • EMPOWERING A RELIGION THROUGH SHARED EXPERIENCE • FORTIFIES A COMMUNITY • INDIVIDUALS WHO EMBODY IDEALS OF SPIRITUAL PERFECTION: SAINTS

  20. MATERIAL • BOOKS, ARCHITECTURE, STATUES, NATURAL FORMS

  21. EMPATHY • THE CAPACITY OF SEEING A THING FROM ANOTHER’S PERSPECTIVE

  22. PRIMAL RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS • THE NATURE OF PRIMAL RELIGIONS • NATIVE INHABITANTS OF AUSTRALIA, AFRICA AND THE AMERICAS PRACTICE RELIGIONS WHICH ARE CONSIDERED PRIMAL • PRIMAL: TEND TO COME BEFORE RELIGIONS TRADITIONS HAVE BEEN ESTALISHED

  23. WHY STUDY PRIMAL RELIGIONS? • PROVIDE SPECIAL INSIGHT INTO THE MYTHIC ORIENTATION TOWARD LIFE • ALL RELIGIONS STEM MORE OR LESS DIRECTLY FROM PRIMAL BEGINNINGS • OFTEN ARE THE TRADITIONS OF NONLITERATE PEOPLE • TEND TO BE THE TRADITIONS OF TRIBAL PEOPLE, GENERALLY ORGANIZED IN SMALL GROUPS

  24. RELIGION OF THE AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES • MAINTAINED TRADITIONS THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD • HAD NO CONTACT WITH EUROPEANS UNTIL ABOUT TWO CENTURIES AGO

  25. THE DREAMING: THE ETERNAL TIME OF THE ANCESTORS • AT A CERTAIN POINT IN THE MYTHIC PAST, SUPERNATURAL BEINGS CALLED “ANCESTORS” EMERGED AND ROAMED THE EARTH • THEY GAVE SHAPE TO THE LANDSCAPE AND CREATED VARIOUS FORMS OF LIFE • ORGANIZED HUMANS INTO TRIBES AND DETERMINED THE TRIBE’S LANGUAGE, SOCIAL RULES AND CUSTOMS • WHEN THEY FINISHED THEY LEFT BEHIND SYMBOLS OF THEIR PRESENCE IN THE FORM OF NATURAL LANDMARKS • ROCK PAINTINGS AND SO ON

  26. THE DREAMING • MYTHIC PERIOD OF THE “ANCESTORS”: THE DREAMING • ABORIGINES BELIEVE THAT THE SPIRITUAL ESSENCE OF THE ANCESTORS REMAINS IN THE VARIOUS SYMBOLS THEY LEFT BEHIND • THESE SITES OF THESE SYMBOLS ARE BELIEVED TO BE CHARGED WITH SACRED POWER • ONLY CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS ARE ALLOWED TO VISIT THESE SITES • THE RITUAL APPROACH TO THESE SITES RE-ENACTS THE MYTHIC EVENTS OF THE “DREAMING” • THIS REENACTMENT GIVES THEM ACCESS TO ENDLESS SOURCES OF SACRED POWER OF THE SITES • ABORIGINAL COSMOLOGY PLAYS A CONSTANT ROLE IN ABORIGINAL RELIGION

  27. THE DREAMING (CON.) • EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS RESIDING WITHIN THEM THE SPIRITUAL ESSENCE OF THE ANCESTORS • A CHILD IS BORN WHEN THE MOTHER OR SOME OTHER RELATIVE MAKES SOME FORM OF CONTACT WITH A SACRED SITE • THIS USUALLY INVOLVES A RITUAL THAT DRAWS THE ANCESTOR’S SPIRITUAL ESSENCE INTO THE UNBORN CHILD • EACH ABORIGINE IS A LIVING REPRESENTATION OF AN ANCESTOR • THIS IS SYMBOLIZED BY A “TOTEM” : THE NATURAL FORM THE ANCESTOR APPEARED IN THE DREAMING • TOTISM: THE SYSTEM OF BELIEF AND RITUAL BASED ON TOTEMS

  28. ABORIGINAL SPIRITUAL PERFECTION • HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SUPERNATURAL, THE HUMAN WORLD AND THE WORLD OF NATURE

  29. ANIMATING THE POWER OF THE DREAMING: ABORIGINAL RELIGIOUS LIFE • MUST RECREATE THE MYTHIC PAST IN ORDER TO TAP INTO ITS SACRED POWER • IN ORDER TO ACCOMPLISH THIS CERTAIN RITUALS MUST BE PERFORMED • RITUALS WERE TAUGHT TO THE FIRST HUMANS BY THE ANCESTORS IN DREAMING

  30. TABOO: THE BASIS OF ABORIGINAL SOCIAL STRUCTURE • TABOO: CERTAIN ACTIVITIES, OWEING TO THEIR SACRED NATURE, ARE SET ASIDE FOR SPECIFIC MEMBERS OF THE GROUP AND ARE FORBIDDEN TO OTHERS • AGE AND SEX ARE OFTEN THE RESTRICTIVE FACTORS • OLDER MEMBERS OF THE TRIBE ARE IN CHARGE OF SUCH MATTERS • THE YOUNG ACHIEVE RELIGIOUS MATURITY THROUGH THE PROCESS OF INITIATION

  31. INITIATION • AWAKEN YOUNG PEOPLE TO THEIR SPIRITUAL IDENTITY (TOTEM) • THIS RITUAL BRINGS ABOUT THE SYMBOLIC DEATH OF CHILDHOOD AND A SPIRITUAL REBIRTH INTO ADULTHOOD • YOUNG ABORIGININES LEARN THE ESSENTIAL TRUTHS ABOUT THEIR WORLD AND HOW TO ACT WITHIN IT • THESE RITUALS MAY SEEM NONSENSICAL TO US, BUT TO ABORIGINES THEY ARE ESSENTIAL TO GIVE MEANING TO THEIR LIFE

  32. AN AFRICAN TRADITION: THE RELIGION OF THE YORUBA • RELIGION OF 10 MILLION AFRICANS THAT HAS EXISTED OVER ONE THOUSAND YEARS

  33. THE YORUBA AND THEIR UNIVERSE • LOCATED IN THE WEST-CENTRAL PORTION OF AFRICA IN THE COUNTRIES OF NIGERIA, BENIN AND TOGO • ORIGINATED WITH A COMMON CULTURE AND LANGUAGE • GENERALLY IN URBAN AREAS; IFE HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT CITY, SINCE IT IS BELIEVED THE GOD ORISHA-NLA FIRST BEGAN TO CREATE THE WORLD

  34. YORUBA COSMOLOGY • HEAVEN • INVISIBLE HOME OF THE GODS AND ANCESTORS • EARTH • NORMAL EXPERIENCE, VISIBLE HOME OF HUMAN BEINGS WHO DESCENDED FROM THE GODS • ALSO POPULATED BY PERVERTED FORMS OF HUMAN BEINGS SUCH AS WITCHES AND SORCERERS • CAUSE DISASTROUS HARM IF NOT CONTROLLED

  35. PURPOSE OF YORUBA RELIGION • MAINTAIN THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE HUMAN BEINGS OF EARTH AND THE GODS AND ANCESTORS OF HEAVEN, WHILE GUARDING AGAINST THE EVIL DEEDS OF THE SORCERORS AND WITCHES

  36. GODS AND ANCESTORS: THE INHABITANTS OF HEAVEN • SUPREME GOD: OLORUN • LESS POWERFUL GODS: ORISHAS • ALL THESE GODS INHABIT HEAVEN

  37. OLORUN, THE HIGH GOD • CHARACTERISTICS • ORIGINAL SOURCE OF POWER IN THE UNIVERSE • DISTANT AND REMOTE • NOT INVOLVED IN HUMAN AFFAIRS • OTHER GODS, ORISHAS, FUNCTION AS MEDIATORS BETWEEN OLORUN AND HUMAN BEINGS

  38. ORISHAS • SOURCES OF ALL SACRED POWER WHICH CAN HELP OR HARM HUMAN BEINGS, DEPENDING HOW WELL RITUALS, DESIGNED TO APPEASE THEM ARE CARRIED OUT • HUNDREDS EXIST • SOME ARE WORSHIPPED BY ALL YORUBA • SOME WORSHIPPED ONLY BY ONE FAMILY GROUP

  39. SIGNIFICANT ORISHAS • ORISHA-NLA • CREATOR OF THE EARTH • OGUN • GOD OF IRON AND OF WAR • ORIGINALLY A HUMAN BEING • INHABITS THE BORDER AREA BETWEEN THE ANCESTORS AND THE REST OF THE ORISHAS • ESU • CONTAINS BOTH GOOD AND EVIL PROPERTIES • MEDIATES BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH • HAS A PLACE AT EVERY SHRINE • TRICKSTER FIGURE • SIGNIFICANT IN MANY PRIMAL RELIGIONS

  40. THE ANCESTORS OF THE LIVING • DECEASED HUMANS WHO ARE ACQUIRED SUPERNATURAL STATUS • CAN HELP OR HARM HUMANS • TWO TYPES OF ANCESTORS • FAMILY ANCESTORS • DEIFIED ANCESTORS • KNOWN THROUGHOUT YORUBA SOCIETY AND NOW WORSHIPED BY LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE

  41. CONNECTING HEAVEN AND EARTH: RITUAL PRACTITIONERS • ALL PLAY THE ROLE OF MEDIATION AND MAINTAINING THE BALANCE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH • SEVERAL PRACTITIONERS MEDIATE BETWEEN HUMANS AND THE ANCESTORS DEPENDING UPON WHAT THE WORSHIPER WANTS FULFILLED • HEAD OF A FAMILY • DIVINERS • DIVINATION • THE PRACTICE OF PREDICTING THE FUTURE BY WISDOM STORIES • RITUAL SPECIALISTS • TRANSMITTING MESSAGES FROM THE DECEASED TO THE LIVING AT FESTIVALS

  42. RELIGION OF THE NORTH AMERICAN PLAINS INDIANS • “NATIVE AMERICANS” MIGRATED FROM SIBERIA OVER 20,000-30,000 YEARS AGO • MORE THAN 30 TRIBES, SPEAKING SEVEN DISTINCT LANGUAGES, RESIDED IN THE REGION OF THE GREAT PLAINS • THEIR CULTURE WAS GREATLY AFFECTED BY THE INTRODUCTION IF THE HORSE BY EUROPEANS IN THE 16TH CENTURY • THEIR RELIGION TODAY SERVES AS A MODEL PAN-INDIAN RELIGION, WHICH IS UNITING TRIBES FROM ACROSS NORTH AMERICA

  43. LAKOTA PEOPLE • LAKOTA (SIOUX) • KNOWN BEST FOR “CUSTER’S LAST STAND” (1876), WOUNDED KNEE (1890) • ABOUT 100,000 CURRENTLY LIVE ON RESERVATIONS

  44. BASIC BELIEFS • SUPREME REALITY: WAKAN TANKA (GREAT SPIRIT) • NAME REFERS TO 16 SEPARATE DEITIES • NUMBER 16 IS SACRED NUMBER TO THE LAKOTA

  45. COSMOLOGY • CREATION AND APPEARANCE OF HUMAN BEINGS EXPLAINED IN DETAILED MYTHS CELEBRATING SUPERNATURAL BEINGS INVOLVED • KEY DEITY: INKTOME-”SPIDER” (TRICKSTER) • BELIEF THAT, IN DEATH, FOUR SOULS DEPART FROM A PERSON AT DEATH • ONE JOURNEYS TO THE “SPIRIT PATH” (MILKY WAY” • ONE MEETS AN OLD WOMAN WHO JUDGES IT • ALLOWS IT TO CONTINUE TO THE OTHER WORLD OF ANCESTORS OR SENDS IT BACK TO EARTH AS A GHOST • OTHER SOULS ENTER UNBORN CHILDREN AND ARE REBORN IN NEW BODIES

  46. THE VISION QUEST • COMMON TO MANY PRIMAL RELIGIONS • PRIMARY MEANS FOR AN INDIVIDUAL TO GAIN ACCESS TO SPIRITUAL POWER IN ORDER TO ENSURE GREATER SUCCESS IN HUNTING, WARFARE AND CURING THE ILL. • BOTH MEN AND WOMEN EXPERIENCE THE QUEST • OVERSEEN BY A MEDICINE MAN OR WOMAN • ISSUES SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS BEFOREHAND AND INTERPRETS THE CONTENT OF THE VISION AFTERWARD • PARTICIPANT UNDERGOES A RITUAL PURIFICATION IN THE SWEAT LODGE BEFORE THE QUEST

  47. VISION QUEST (CON.) • SWEAT LODGE: REPRESENTS THE UNIVERSE • PROCESS OF PROFUSELY SWEATING SYMBOLIZES BOTH A PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL CLEANSING • THE VISION QUESTER THEN GOES TO A DESIGNATED SECLUDED SPOT FOR A PERIOD OF TIME WITH NO FOOD OR WATER, PERFORMING CERTAIN RITUALS AS INSTRUCTED BY THE MEDICINE MAN OR WOMAN • THE VISION APPEARS IN THE FORM OF AN ANIMAL, SOME OTHER OBJECT OR FORCE OF NATURE • THE VISION IS THEN INTERPRETED BY THE MEDICINE MAN AND THESE LESSONS WILL INFLUENCE THE QUESTOR FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE

  48. THE SUN DANCE • FOCUSES ON THE TRIBE • OCCURS AT THE BEGINNING OF SUMMER: A CELEBRATION OF THE NEW YEAR AND AS A PREPARATION FOR THE ANNUAL BUFFALO HUNT • CEREMONY CONDUCTED BY MEDICINE MAN OR A WOMAN OF OUTSTANDING CHARACTER • CEREMONY CENTERED AROUND THE “SUN DANCE” LODGE • COTTONWOOD TREE REPRESENTING THE “AXIS MUNDI” CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE • TWENTY-EIGHT POLES COMPOSE THE LODGE REPRESENTING THE 28 DAYS OF THE LUNAR MONTHLY CALENDAR • THE LODGE REPRESENTS THE UNIVERSE AND THE FOUR COMPASS DIRECTIONS

  49. A MESOAMERICAN RELIGION: THE AZTECS AND THEIR LEGACY • POPULATION OF ABOUT 15 MILLION; MAKES THEM EXCEPTION OF PRIMAL RELIGIONS • CENTERED IN CITY OF TENOCHTITLAN (MEXICO CITY) • EMPHASIZED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MYTH AND RITUAL • INFLUENCE STILL FOUND IN MODERN RELIGIOUS PRACTICES

  50. THE AZTECS AND MESOAMERICAN CULTURE • CULTURE CENTERED IN REGION FROM MEXICO SOUTH TO COSTA RICA • NATIVE AMERICANS ARRIVED ABOUT 20,000 YEARS AGO • FROM ABOUT 2,000 B.C. UNTIL ABOUT THE TIME OF THE ARRIVAL OF COLUMBUS, AREA DOMINATED BY SOPHISTICATED DIVERSE CULTURES • OLMECS, MAYA, TOLTEC, AZTEC