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C ULTURAL A NTHROPOLOGY C HAPTER 15 R ELIGION AND M AGIC Religion is a set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices pertaining to supernatural power , whether that power be forces, gods, spirits, ghosts, or demons. What is considered supernatural , powers believed to be not human or not subject to laws of nature, varies from society to society. Pg. 268 The Universality of Religion Religion is found in all know contemporary societies. They have found signs of religion with humans who lived at least 60,000 years ago. Some of the artistic productions from humans after 30,000 years ago may have been used for religious purposes. Sculptures of females may have been sexual charms. People believed in the existence of supernatural spirits and tried to communicate. Herodotus made comparisons among religions in 50 societes. Why is religion found in all societies and how and why it varies. Most think that religion is created in response to certain needs or conditions: (1) a need for intellectual understanding. (2) reversion to childhood feelings. (3) anxiety and uncertainty. (4) a need for community. Pg. 270 The Need to Understand One of the earliest to propose major theory of origin was Edward Tylor. In his view it originated in people speculation about dreams, trances and death. He thought the belief in souls was the earliest form of religion; animism is the term he used for belief in souls. But many said it did not deal with the emotional component, like R. R. Marett and suggested animatism , a belief in impersonal supernatural forces preceded the creation of spirits. When people believe in gods, they are anthromorphizing , attributing human characteristics and motivations to nonhuman supernatural events or an attempt to understand what is disturbing. Reversion to Childhood Feelings Sigmund Freud believed that early humans lived in groups. He believed that early practices transformed into gods modeled after the father. Most do not accept this belief, but that childhood events can have long lasting effects. Anxiety and Uncertainty Freud thought that people would turn to religion during times of uncertainty. Bronislaw Malinowski noted that people in all societies have anxiety and that religion is for comfort. Theorists such as William James, Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, and Abraham Maslow have view religion positively. They thought that it is therapeutic. It is supported by a study of fisherman by John Poggie and Richard Pollnac. Pg. 271 The Need for Community All theories agree on one thing: Whatever the beliefs or rituals, religion may satisfy psychological needs common to all people. Emile Durkheim believed that religion serves as a social need. Guy Swanson accepted her belief but thought that she was too vague about exactly what generated belief. Swanson suggested that the belief of spirits comes from the existence of sovereign groups in a society. These are goups that have independent jurisdiction over the family, clan, village and state. Pg. 271
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This note was uploaded on 09/12/2011 for the course ANTHRO 100 taught by Professor Drover during the Spring '11 term at Golden West College.

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