Defining Religion

Defining Religion - Key characteristics of religion The...

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Key characteristics of religion The linguistic roots: "religion" --> "to join together", "to reconnect" Latin: "re" --> "again"; "lig" --> "join"/"connect" (as in ligament) In classical Latin, the term “religio” meant "awe for the gods, prayer, ritual, and a moral code". What do some of the religious scholars think. ... EB Tylor (1832-1917 ) -- religion exists to control "spirits" (the ancestors), to avoid this spirits’ dangerous power and please the ancestors; James Frazer (1854-1941) -- religion exists for humans to influence nature, religion is an intermediary stage between magic and science; Freud (1856-1939) -- religion arises from an adult’s projection of powerful and long- lasting childhood experiences with one's parents (especially with one's father); religion helps people feel secure in an unsafe universe; William James (1842 -1910) -- religion fulfills people's psychological needs (safety, harmony with the universe); Rudolph Otto (1869-1937 ) -- religion emerges out of human encounter with the mysterious, awesome, frightening and forces us to tremble in numinous awe; Carl Jung (1875-1961 ) -- religion emerges out of individual’s need to arrive at personal fulfillment (individuation) and helps people to understand their place in the universe and prepare for death; religion is a noble human response to the depth of reality and to its complexity; Scholars hold that what we ordinarily call “religion” manifests to some degree the following eight (8) elements: 1. Belief system (or worldview); 2. Community; 3. Central myths --> the stories central to the religion that express the religious beliefs of the group that are retold and re-enacted (e.g., Hajj, the story of the Exodus, etc.); 4. Ritual --> beliefs that are re-enacted and made real through ceremonies; 1
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5. Ethics --> rules about human behavior, often being revealed from a supernatural realm but they can be also viewed as socially generated guidelines; 6. Characteristic Emotional Experiences --> dread, guilt awe, mystery, devotion, conversion, "rebirth", liberation, ecstasy, bliss, inner peace; 7. Material Expression --> statues, paintings, musical compositions (including
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Defining Religion - Key characteristics of religion The...

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