world religions rel 2300 lake sumter state college n.
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World Religions REL 2300 Lake-Sumter State College

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  1. World ReligionsREL 2300 Lake-Sumter State College Foundations to Religion and Ch. 1 Religious Responses Textbook: Living Religions

  2. The Universality of Religion • “…from the great metropolitan capitals to the least developed areas of the world, there are temples, pyramids, megaliths, & other monuments that societies have raised at tremendous expense as expressions of their religions. Even as we explore the backwaters of time in prehistoric civilizations, we find altars, cave paintings, & special burials that point to our religious nature. Indeed, no other phenomenon is so pervasive, so consistent from society to society, as is religion.” (Hopfe & Woodward p. 4)

  3. Religion: Attempts to Connect with the Greater Reality • Takes many forms: Organized institutions: complexes with elements of leaders, beliefs, rituals, symbols, myths, scriptures, ethics, spiritual practices, cultural components, historical traditions, and management structures. Simple labels such as “Buddhism” and “Christianity” are abstractions

  4. Roles in Religion Shamans Medicine Men (or women) Healers Priests Prophets Mystics Sages Religious Teachers Scribes Religious Clerics (Rabbis, Pastors, Bishops, Cardinals, Popes, Imams, etc.)

  5. Nature of Religion • It deals with the ineffable, the supernatural, God, or unseen forces throughout nature • It deals with the sacred • It exercises belief • Genuine religious experience expressing itself thru various rituals, rites, ceremonies • Prayer, meditation, chanting/singing are key practices • It has fashioned & passed down myths (stories) • Its distinct from the affairs of the state

  6. Defining Religion (1) • Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary • Fisher textbook: prob. From Latin word meaning “to tie back,” “to tie again” • Hopfe & Woodward textbook: from Lat. Religio, the fear or awe one feels in the presence of a spirit or god • Prof. W. Oxtoby: scholars applied assumptions based on Christian model • Spirituality: a part of religion: inner dimensions of religion

  7. Defining Religion (2) • Frederich Streng (1933-1993) means to an ulitmate transformation • Paul Tillich: of ultimate concern • William James: (Variety of Religious Experiences) a collective name-concept too large for one definition

  8. Defining Religion (3) • Common Threads that holds the tapestry of Religion together: They all: • Deal with the greater and unseen reality • Have a sense of the sacred • Have beliefs • Have rituals with deeper meaning • Have spirituality • Have values • Have stories that tell their sacred story, history, and story of cosmos

  9. The Following Slides 9-17 have introductory, overview, and foundational material very helpful to students including Review for the Comprehensive Final Exam (not just Unit 1 Test) This material is NOT in the Mary Fisher textbook in this Overview fashion

  10. Classifications of Religions: • Classification by theism: Monotheistic Polytheistic Non-Theistic • Classification by Revelation: Revealed Non-revealed

  11. Types of Religions:from cultural developmental perspective • Basic Religions: = indigenous sacred ways/traditions main characteristic: pre-literate peoples’ religions (see the characteristics for “Basic Religions” in the Ch. 2 PPT) • Developed Religions: organized, institutional

  12. Religions by Geographic Origins(Overview of Course from Hopfe & Woodward Religions in the World textbook) • Basic Religions (every continent) • Religions originating in India • Religions originating in China & Japan • Religions originating in the Middle East including Persia

  13. Religions originating in India and their Ultimate Concern • Religions that originated in India: Hinduism Jainism Buddhism, and Sikhism • Ultimate concern: release from the ongoing, endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth

  14. Religions originating in China & Japan and the Ultimate Source, Monism, and Inclusivism • Religions originated in China and Japan: Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto • They have a monistic understanding of Realty including the Ultimate Source w/ the former two non-theistic and a strong tendency to an immanent view for theistic Shinto • A strong tendency to hold to inclusive views of various religious expressions, thus practicing syncretism

  15. Religions originating in the Middle East and the Ultimate Source, Goal, and Exclusivism • Religions originated in the Middle East: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Baha’i • Transcendent view of God who is Creator & Ultimate Source • Ultimate Goal is generally Heaven/ Paradise • Strong tendency to exclusive view of their religion

  16. Religion is multifaceted • Ninian Smart distinguished seven dimensions of religion: • 1. Ritual • 2. Narrative and mythic • 3. Experiential and emotional • 4. Social and institutional • 5. Ethical and legal • 6. Doctrinal and philosophical • 7. Material

  17. Why are there religions? • Religion has been the basic foundation to life in many cultures and times • Theorists/ Scholars three basic perspectives for the reason why religion exists: Materialist, Functional, and Belief

  18. Materialist Perspective: Humans invented Religion • Philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872)- • Philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883)

  19. Functional Perspective: Religion is Useful • Sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) • John Bowker • Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1938) • Psychoanalyst Erich Fromm (1900-1980) • Frederick Streng (1933-1993)

  20. Small Group Discussion • In the Functional Perspective, discuss with your neighbor whether you agree or disagree with Mata Amritanandamayi’s statement and why:“Faith in God gives one the mental strength needed to confront the problems of life. Faith in the existence of God makes one feel safe and protected from all the evil influences in the world” (p. 5)

  21. Belief Perspective: Ultimate Reality Exists • S. Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) philosopher and past president of India • Martin Luther (1483-1546) • William James (1842-1910)

  22. Mysticism • George W. Russell (1867-1935) • Encounters with the Unseen: various names: • Enlightenment, realization, illumination, satori, awakening, self-knowledge, gnosis, ecstatic communion, “coming home” • Kabir, Indian reformer & mystic • Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) “Wholly Other” • Joachim Wach (1898-1955)

  23. Understandings of Sacred Reality (1) • Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)-“sacred” and “profane” • Immanent • Transcendent • Theistic • Polytheistic • Monistic • Nontheistic • Incarnations • Exclusivist religions • Universalism

  24. Understandings of Sacred Reality(2) • Atheism: • Richard Dawkins, Oxford Prof. • Agnosticism • Secularism • Maimonides (1135-1204) • All religions come from 1 Divine Source: • Bede Griffiths (1906-1993)

  25. Ritual, Symbol, and Myth • Ritual • Prof. Antony Fernando of Sri Lanka • Akka Mahadevi13th cent Hindu saint • Psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) • Allegories and symbols • Myths • Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) • 4 primary functions of myths: 1)mystical 2)cosmological 3)sociological 4) psychological

  26. Absolutist and Liberal Interpretations • Orthodox • absolutists • Fundamentalism • Liberals • Conservatives

  27. Encounter between Science and Religion • 17th century • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) • David Bohm (1917-1994) • Metaphysics • Gaia Theory • Creationism • Intelligent Design

  28. Women in Religions • They are challenging: • 1)patriarchal religious institutions • 2)gender-exclusive language in holy texts, authoritarian masculine images of the divine

  29. Negative aspects of Organized Religions(1) • 1)  Institutionalization of religion • 2)Charismatic leaders can dominate and control their followers • 3)The potential for the exaggeration of guilt • 4)Escapism • 5)When church and state are one, the dominate national religion may be used to oppress those of other beliefs within their country • 6) Dangerous politicized polarizations between religions on increase today

  30. Negative aspects of Organized Religions(2) • Max Weber (1864-1920)-the “routinization of charisma” • Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the Isma’ili Shia Muslims: real problem today is a “clash of ignorance.”

  31. Lenses for Studying Religions • Historical • Sociological • Psychological • Anthropological • Theological • Political • Economic • Feminist perspectives • Phenomenological

  32. Ch. 1 Terms/ Concepts (1) • Religion Spirituality Comparative Religion • Sacred Profane Secularism • Ritual Symbol Myth Allegory • Theism/Theistic Monotheistic Polytheistic • Monistic Immanent Transcendent Incarnations • Atheism AgnosticismGnosis • Scientific Materialism Metaphysics • Absolutist Exclusivism Fundamentalism • Dogma Orthodox Institutional religion • Liberal Hermeneutics Redaction • Creationism Intelligent Design • Enlightenment Illumination Awakening • Realization Satori “coming home” • Ecstatic communion Self-knowledge Mysticism • Phenomenology Charisma Universalism

  33. Ch. 1 Terms: Theorists, Analysts, Philosophers, Scholars, & Religious Leaders (1) • Ninian Smart • Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) • Karl Marx (1818-1883) • Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) • John Bowker • Sigmund Freud (1856-1938) • Erich Fromm (1900-1980) • Frederick Streng (1933-1993) • S. Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) • Martin Luther (1483-1546)

  34. Ch. 1 Terms: Theorists, Analysts, Philosophers, Scholars, & Religious Leaders (2) • George W. Russell (1867-1935) • Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) • Joachim Wach (1898-1955) • Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) • Richard Dawkins • Maimonides (1135-1204) • Bede Griffiths (1906-1993) • Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) • David Bohm (1917-1994) • Max Weber (1864-1920)

  35. Review Questions • In what ways has the term “religion” been defined? • What are some of he different perspectives available for understanding religion? • What are some of he different perspectives available for understanding religion? • Describe absolutist and liberal interpretations of religious traditions

  36. Discussion Questions • What relationship does spirituality have to institutional religion?

  37. The following slides are material from the Overview chapter of Hopfe and Woodward Religions of the World For students reference; you will not be tested on this material

  38. Theories of the Origin of Religions:Overview(1) • Animistic Theories: • ·Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) • ·Bishop R.H. Codrington (1830-1922) • The Nature-Worship Theory • ·Max Muller (1823-1900) • ·Muller’s mythology basis • The Theory of Original Monotheism • ·Wilhelm Schmidt (1868-1954) • ·Schmidt’s theory High God and lesser deities

  39. Theories of the Origin of Religions:Overview(2) • The Magic Theory • ·Sir James George Frazier (1854-1941) • Theories of Religion as Projections of Human Needs • Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) • Karl Marx (1818-1883) • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

  40. Animistic Theories • Tylor maintained that “primitive” people developed a sense of other and soul from experience w/ death and dreams. • (Lat. Anima lit. means “soul,” spirit) found not only in people but in all of nature: in stones, trees, rivers, mountains… The entire world including air seen as being alive with spirits of all kinds. Codrington: mana: supernatural power that belonged to the region of the unseen.

  41. The Nature-Worship Theory • M. Muller-personification of the forces in nature: sky, sun, moon, etc.), and tales that eventually became mythology; the key to the origin of all religions.

  42. The Theory of Original Monotheism • Wilhelm Schmidt--originally, “primitive” societies were monotheistic, but because the worship of one god was difficult, religion corrupted into polytheism.

  43. The Magic Theory • G. Frazier defined a linear development of the human mind: first phase: Magic, peoples attempted to control the world through magic. When humanity realized that nature could not be coerced through magic, it turned to the second phase: religion.

  44. Theories of Religion as Projections of Human Needs (1) • L. Feuerbach--religions were essentially projections of the wishes and needs of humanity • Karl Marx socialized Feuerbach’s theory: saw the origin & development of religion in terms of view of history as economic and social struggle between classes • Sigmund Freud: religion is a result of the projection of human needs out on the comic canvas; the Oedipus Myth/ Syndrome

  45. Religion and Violence • Hopfe and Woodward Textbook has plenty of discuss of religion and violence • It states 3 basic varieties of “religious violence” • It explains why religious violence is particularly pernicious