Functionalists and Phenomenology
Functionalists and Phenomenology Relg 102 H01
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Relg 102 H01
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This 6 page Bundle was uploaded by Danielle Gibson on Friday December 4, 2015. The Bundle belongs to Relg 102 H01 at West Virginia University taught by Dr. Snow in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 48 views. For similar materials see Introduction world religions in Religious Studies at West Virginia University.
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Date Created: 12/04/15
Danielle Gibson Relg 102H01 – Intro World Religions Dr. Alex Snow Notes 08/19/15 Notes Theology is the study of whether or not God is real; religious studies is about the different religions, an attempt to understand whether it’s possible to communicate/ understand the “Gospels” and if not, what next? Essential question of religion, especially western Religion, is: How much attention are we really paying? Do we have access to the truth or not? The word “religion” has 2 old Latin connotations to it o Religere – “to pay attention” The thought about religion, the practice of religion, the importance and social construction of religion all over the face of the earth is to pay attention. Examples: Hindus are going to say, using the word “Maya”, meaning illusion Hindus believe our fundamental problem in life is not that we’re sinners, not that we’re bad as Christians believe, but that we’re being fooled by the things around us. Hindus questions: o Why are we being fooled? o Is there anything we can do about it? Some Hindus answers will say yes there is something we can do others will say no we’re screwed. (that’s where Buddhism comes in) In Hinduism, our fundamental goal in life is to see things right, to see them properly “Darsan” – to see the Gods o Putting yourself in the position that the Gods see you o Putting yourself in the proper frame of mind and frame of body so that the God’s will have access to you o Do we see, are we paying attention, correctly? o Buddha – he/she/they who are awakened to the truth There are alternative Christian Gospels Gospel of Thomas was not incorporated into the Bible but found years later and put out for the media to view. Suggests that Heaven is all around us, because Jesus says the kingdom of my father is all around you. (but you refuse to see it) The other books of the Bible suggest Heaven is outside this space and time, and definitely outside this Earth. o Holy Ghost was sent back down when Jesus went up, Holy Spirit descended and moved upon the earth, so kingdom is all around us. A lot of Christians disagree with this because they don’t “see” God around us. The night before Jesus’s crucifixion, he’s speaking to his disciples and they’re worried about his eminent death and Jesus says “Pay attention” Jesus says to Peter (“The Rock”), when he asks what they’re going to do, the kingdom of my father is spread out all around you, but you refuse to see it. o 40 days after Easter, Jesus goes up, Holy Ghost comes down. Easter Proclamation The word/ Title “Buddha” means he/she/they in the past, present, or future who shall see things (The Enlightened One) He/she/they who are awakened to the truth, who see things more clearly. o Religare Functionalist/Atheist Social Scientific Construction of religion o Examples: Carl Marx Sigmund Freud Emile Durkheim o Functionalists believe religion is false, religion doesn’t really exist, but religion functions to serve x, y, or z. o The classic functionalist phrase is “Religion is nothing but…” Religion doesn’t exist but it functions to do… “something” o Religion itself is a made up human construction, it’s irrelevant, it doesn’t matter, but religion functions to aid our psychological needs, emotional wellbeing, social cohesion o Most functionalists are atheists o Religion is an illusion, it’s false, we need to overcome it and grow up o From this perspective: Can we see? No, we can’t see the Gods, we can’t see the truth o Do not necessarily believe religion is a problem or that it needs to be gotten rid of completely (though some do believe that) o Darwin convinces a lot of people that evolution is true in a way that make it impossible for any Gods to exist, but people misinterpreted his writing in that way (Darwin was a Christian) o Marx wrote after this saying we need to evolve, we are evolving, not only biologically are we evolving, but sociologically and politically. Marx sees obvious progression in human kind o Religion is an illusion Carl Marx – believed God could be disproved, Atheist. Definition of religion by Marx “Religion is the opiate of the masses” – religion is nothing but a drug Puts you to sleep, get you to stop thinking, stop questioning, stop fearing Helps us overcome other insecurities “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed people” Marx believed the base of the world is the economy (money), everything else was a superstructure, including art, culture, and movies, music, and even religion all serve the base. Marx says, let’s start looking at what religions do: No positive functions to religion, only serves to keep the oppressed down – “beatitudes” those who are oppressed shall rise above in the next life, if you accept it now o If you don’t win in this life, you will in the next and your oppressors will lose Christianity– “the meek shall inherit the earth”, “the poor and the downtrodden shall live in eternity and their oppressor shall burn” Marx says, who wrote the beatitudes and came to the conclusion that oppressors did to keep the oppressed down, to keep them from fighting Christianity functions to keep the oppressed down, to tell people not to fight Marx calls for a revolution “FIGHT THE POWER!” Religion functions as a tool of social oppression – Religion is a tool of the oppressor. “Rich old white men” created the “beatitudes” and religion to keep the large majority of the oppressed down, to tell people not to fight. It FUNCTIONS to keep the majority down. o Those in power didn’t want those they oppressed to fight them so they created religion to keep them down, saying this will aid them in the next life. Hinduism – Caste System Says that if you were born into the “untouchables”, the oppressed, don’t do anything about it. Live the way your caste is supposed to live and in the next life you will rise up in the caste system. In other words, stay oppressed and you will be awarded, not in this life but in the next. Created by Rich Brahman priests who didn’t want people rising up against them. o Emile Durkheim never actually said he was an atheist, but he believed Religion/ God couldn’t be proved or disproved. Doesn’t practice a religion. (Heisenberg’s uncertainty theory is comparable to this) He believed religion wasn’t true but functions to pull people together, as a social function, with church, religious gettogethers, etc. Large groups of people come together to socialize and celebrate their common interest, that is their religion. Anything you spend a semi vast amount of time, money, or energy on is your religion. Religions functions to create friendships and socialism in a world where everyone is very isolated and depressed, but it has the positive function of bringing people together. o Sigmund Freud – creates his own myth for origin of all religion. (Believes God can be disproved) Homolupas – Man of the wolf It’s very interesting and probable that human religion everywhere evolved over time and is nothing but a product of human revolution, human insecurity. Religion is nothing but wish fulfillment. Story: (25 Years after publication of Origin of Species by Charles Darwin) Homo sapiens are animals that have evolved over millions of years into what we are today (he believes this is fact), so consider what is now human, which only came into existence about 10,000 years ago, has been evolving in a million years. We go back to the planes of Serengeti, Africa. Imagine humans before they’re humans living in a not so safe environment where it’s competition for water, space, food, and shelter and there’s danger. Consider one of two different animal groups, wolves or silverback apes. (analogy) Male dominated alpha way of running society. If you’re willing to imagine this, there was a silverback ape, a male who was an alpha, with all his sons. He took the day off to go fishing with his sons even though he was busy, because they’d been begging him to. He didn’t know that they’d been planning this for a long time, they were going to kill him. They take the father to favorite fishing hole, they’ve been angry and jealous of their father, wanting what he had. So, imagine that out of their jealousy, need, aggression, and want, they kill the father. So what if this happened, or happened frequently in human revolution, and the killers stepped back for a moment and think what should we do we just killed dad? They decide to eat the father, get rid of the evidence. They start to feel guiltier about the sacrificial meal they created. Out of the guilt, the horror, and the murder, they create another story that the father the father they just killed and ate should be a God and they will now raise his name, image, and memory into the sky. Not only will they make their father a God, but now for good measure make up some new rules Rules: Don’t kill, Honor mother and father, Don’t eat people Freud believed religion is an illusion that only served to aid the immature psychological oppressed attempt to overcome millions of years of death, killing, murder, rape, and survival Just a reaction to human survival and an attempt to understand our part in it. Phenomenology o 1917, Writer named Rudolph Otto writes a small book in German called Das Heilig (the Holy) 6070 pages long but most influential book in 20 century religion Otto disagreed vehemently with Freud, Marx, and Durkheim. He suggests that there is something about human experience, and human place in universe, and social predicament in all of time and space that is just barely out of our reach, something we just don’t have access to, something else; something other. In the last 150 years in science, we’ve been splitting things over and over and over again. Things keep getting smaller and smaller. So science is saying there will always be something just out of our reach, something that will always remain a mystery. Kirk Gödel (crazy and killed himself) wrote the incompleteness theorem which says that no matter what you can prove in mathematics and logical theory, there is always something outside the frame, incomplete that we don’t have access to. Otto believed there is something that has an effect on you – which he calls mysterium tremendum fascinans (experiences all humans have that goes beyond the bounds of rational understanding and linguistic expression) There are a lot of things that create a feeling of mystery, tremendousness, and fascination. Unable to control or understand it therefore you’re drawn to it, Drawn to what you do not have access to. – the “other” For Otto, that is where religion begins. It isn’t about studying the Bible, the Toro, or the Koran, it’s about the study of what we do not know. The study of mystery and what is just out of our reach. The study of Gödel’s Incompleteness, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty. For Otto, all religions have something in their religion that is beyond the comprehension of human minds. This is the study of Phenomenology, says Otto. 1940s and 50s, this saved Religious studies as an academic discipline because if functionalism wins the day, religion is gone. Religious studies would then be psychology and econ. It would be reduced to something else unless there is something those other somethings don’t have access to (Phenomenology) o Phenomenologists won’t necessarily say yes to the question “can we see”, but what they will say is that there are a lot of experiences and a lot of moments in a human life and in a human brain where we don’t have enough information to make a valid claim. A little bit less certain about claims of what can and cannot be true o Philosophic term which essentially means the study of phenomenon, the study of process. o Ontology – the study of things Ology means the study of Ontos means thing in Greek Ontology is the study of real, hard, noun like things Ontological approaches to the study of anything are really problematic for some philosophers because of the uncertainty about whether or not anything is truly real, or what we think is real. We can’t really know what things are or what a thing is so all we can know is the study of things phenomenologically o How did they come to be? o What are they doing now? o What is there processual change like? o Where are they going in the future? o Phenomenologists tend to suggest that though they cannot prove whether religion is right or wrong, that there is an aspect to human experience that lies just beyond human rationale and linguistics. o Phenomenology is generally suggesting that there is “something other”, just something else, just something outside the bounds of what we can know and what we can say. o “We can never know more than half the truth.” – Werner Heisenberg Example/meaning of this statement: In Physics, if you know where a particle is located, you can’t know how fast it’s moving and if you know how fast it’s moving, you can’t know where it’s located Called Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Theory o Human beings can never know more than 50% of the truth, ever. o You can only fail your entire life in knowing anything Then your other option is to come to the perspective: how to we approach or how do we react to the inability to know? What next? Do we just get mad? Shoot ourselves, give up? Or do we try to create some sort of constructive move forward individually and socially without having access to truth.
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