Handout 1

Handout 1 - Handout 1 "What is Religion" RN 103 -...

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Handout 1 "What is Religion" RN 103 - Religions of the World: East Week 1: What is Religion? A Dictionary Definition of Religion 1. The service and adoration of God or a god as expressed in forms of worship. 2. One of the systems of faith and worship. 3. The profession or practice of religious beliefs. 4. Devotion or fidelity; conscientiousness. 5. An awareness or conviction of the existence of a supreme being, arousing reverence, love, gratitude, the will to obey and serve, and the like. (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1959) 1) Religion as an Encounter with the Sacred Excerpt from Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1959. Man becomes aware of the sacred because it manifests itself, shows itself, as something wholly different from the profane. To designate the act of manifestation of the sacred, we have proposed the term hierophany. It is a fitting term, because it does not imply anything further; it expresses no more than is implicit in its etymological content, i.e., that something sacred shows itself to us. It could be said that the history of religions--from the most primitive to the most highly developed--is constituted by a great number of hierophanies, by manifestations of sacred realities. From the most elementary hierophany--e.g., manifestation of the sacred in some ordinary object, a stone or a tree--to the supreme hierophany (which, for a Christian, is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ) there is no solution of continuity. In each case we are confronted by the same mysterious act--the manifestation of something of a wholly different order, a reality that does not belong to our world, in objects that are an integral part of our natural "profane" world. . . . The man of the archaic societies tends to live as much as possible in the sacred or in close proximity to consecrated objects. The tendency is perfectly understandable, because, for primitives as for the man of all pre-modern societies, the sacred is equivalent to a power, and, in the last analysis, to reality. The sacred is saturated with being. Sacred power means reality and at the same
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Handout 1 - Handout 1 "What is Religion" RN 103 -...

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