Lecture 1-What is religion?

Lecture 1-What is religion? - I. II. What is Religion? a. I...

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I. What is Religion? a. “I know it when I see it.” b. Religio c. Is a divine being required? i. Not necessarily (Example: Buddhism) d. System of ethics and morals? i. Not necessarily, but can be part of it e. Personal or process f. S.A. Nigosian’s definition: i. Religion is a human activity that satisfies one’s inherent spiritual needs and desires. II. “Primitive” or primal religions a. Primitive or Primal? b. Primitive background i. 19 th century Imperialism ii. Teleological and evolutionary viewpoint c. Primal background – Europeans coming into contact with them as they expand (Aborigines, Native Americans, etc.) i. Less pejorative ii. Romantic d. Components i. Ethnocentric ii. Non-proselytize iii. No user guide – No sacred text iv. Non-transcendental afterlife – mundane afterlife e. Primal Religions i. Awe before the Sacred ii. Expression of Anxiety in Ritual – Fear God iii. Ritual and Expectancy – You do the ritual and you expect something I return iv. Myth 1. Cosmogonic myth (creation myth) 2. Culture heroes (Prometheus, Johnny Appleseed, George Washington, Santa Claus) v. Magic (forces spirits to do things for you) 1. Sympathetic (If you imitate something, you can gain some of its power) a. Productive (Imitate thunder and get rain for crops) b. Aversive (Ex: voodoo dolls) c. Contagious (Ex: eye of newt and wing of bat combine to make a potion, but have no magical properties on their own) 2. Methods of control a. Fetishism (inanimate object that has power—Staff, wand, lucky charms)
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b. Shamanism (Inner Asia, Siberia, Mongolia, Manchuria— Medicine men, witch doctors, wizards, druids, etc.) i. Control spirits using trances, dancing, chanting, drums, etc. vi. Prayer (Usually very ritualistic; has set form) vii. Divination (Trying to bypass prayer) 1. Fortune telling, augury, bone-reading, tarot cards, tea leaves, etc viii. Belief in Mana (Melanesian word meaning belief in supernatural power) 1. Objects have an innate power ix. Animism 1. Existed since Paleolithic Period (100,000-12,000) 2. Spirit world is parallel to mundane 3. Objects are animate 4. Spirits interact 5. Role of dreams ( Your soul leaves your body and enters the spirit
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course HIST 2860 taught by Professor May during the Spring '08 term at N. Georgia.

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Lecture 1-What is religion? - I. II. What is Religion? a. I...

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