Religion 304 Study Guide
Religion 304 Study Guide RELI 304
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Jianna LoCricchio on Monday September 19, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to RELI 304 at University of Arizona taught by Alex Nava in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see The question of God in Religion at University of Arizona.
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Date Created: 09/19/16
THE QUESTION OF GOD STUDY GUIDE FOR FIRST EXAM Possible Questions for Exam (In addition to these questions, anything in the lecture notes is possible material for the exam): 1. Be familiar with the approaches, themes and definitions of religion by the following figures: Schleiermacher, Anselm, Marx. Schleiermacher Religion is intuition and taste of the infinite “The heart has reasons the mind does not know” Intuition: There are truths in the human experience that are not based on reason and logic Saint Anselm Believed religion was faith seeking understanding Faith is not the same as belief for Saint Anselm o Faith is an act of will similar to a marriage vow. Faith is a way of life, a particular mode of living. Faith is a risk taken in the face of something unknown or uncertain. o Belief is the confession of certain religious ideas, principles, or doctrines. o Saint Paul said, faith is knowledge of things unseen. Marx Marx viewed religion as both a positive and a negative He said, it is the "opium of the people" It is the "sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world" 2. What is an epiphany, as discussed in lecture? An epiphany is an experience of sudden and striking realization. It is a religious discovery. 3. Explain the story of Gilgamesh? What is he looking for? What is he told by the goddess that he meets? What is he told by Utnapishtim? Who is Utnapishtim? Version A Gilgamesh was a priest kind of a place called Uruk. He realizes that he too will die like any other living creature, despite being a powerful king. He begins a search to find a solution to the problem of death and dying. He comes across a Sun God, Shamash. Gilgamesh asks if it's possible for humans to be immortal and the Sun God tells him, "What is it that you seek? You will not find eternal life in your roaming." Next, Gilgamesh meets a goddess of wine and wisdom, Siduri. Siduri tells Gilgamesh, "when the gods created humankind, they kept eternal life for themselves and allotted death for humankind.” Like the Sun God's response, she tells him that eternal life is not meant for human beings, so be grateful and cherish the people in your life and live it to the fullest. Version B Gilgamesh hears of a man named Utnapishtim, who was granted immortality by the Gods, and he goes in search of him. Utnapishtim was the Noah figure from Mesopotamia, the survivor of a flood that destroyed the world. He gathered all living things in his boat to save them. Because of this, he was granted immortality. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh to find a plant whose root is like camelthorn, and it pricks like the thorns of a rose. If you can find it, eat it, and you will be given life everlasting. You will be given the powers to rejuvenate yourself and recover your youth. Gilgamesh attaches a rope and two stones to his feet and dives deep beneath the Earth and recognizes this plant and pulls it out in his possession. As he carries the plant, he begins a journey, but he decides to bathe himself in the lake as he is exhausted by the trek. A water snake emerges and snatches the plant from Gilgamesh. The myth says this is why snakes are able to rejuvenate. The story concludes with Gilgamesh returning to Utnapishtim and saying that he lost the plant forever. He learns that human beings are not destined for immortality. 4. According to Socrates, what is the meaning of philosophia? Socrates defined philosophy as selfexamination, the ability to question and evaluate one's life. Humans should not just be doers but should exist as knowers of themselves and their world. 5. Explain the basic understanding of God in Socrates and Plato? What are the major names for God in Plato? Socrates and Plato rejected the polytheism of Greece. He called God, the ONE. God is defined by a strong moral principle: The Good. He rejects the stories associated with Homer and the Greek poets. This idea of God is a nonpersonal figure…not like a person. God is indescribable and ineffable (words are inadequate): all names, images and descriptions of it fall short. 6. Explain the 3 major approaches to the study of religion and interreligious dialogue according to Diana Eck. Diana Eck: Approaches in the study of religion 1. Religious Exclusivism: ∙ My religion, belief system is the sole and exclusive truth; no other tradition shares the same truth. ∙ Fundamentalists and religious extremists. More likely to be so convinced by the absolute truthfulness of their own beliefs that they commit acts of violence against others. Those outside of my religion are confused, ignorant, heretics. 2. Religious Inclusivism: ∙ My religion is the fullness of the truth, but other religions, or belief systems, can have partial or imperfect understandings, truths. 3. Religious Pluralism: ∙ No one religion, or belief system, possesses the complete or full truth; all of them are hints, inklings, and guesses. More of a skeptical position. Assumes that all human knowledge is limited, fragmented, and imperfect (finite). ∙ St. Paul: We see through a glass darkly… translated as “we see through a mirror dimly”. This famous line is very much an illustration of the pluralist position. We only see Gd darkly, we don’t see it clearly. Only after we die do we see Gd. Diana Eck calls St. Paul the religious pluralist. 7. Be familiar with the story of Abraham: where is he from, and what is distinctive about his idea of God? What happens to him at Mamre, and why is this important to the biblical idea of God? Abraham is from Ur Kasdim. He is the first monotheist. Monotheism: Everyone is made in the image and likeness of Gd (Central teaching from Genesis). This is a revolutionary concept because it insinuates that everyone has dignity and is equal. Abraham at the Oak of Mamre: Gd appears in the form of three strangers. Abraham and Sarah are hospitable when these three men enter their tent. They give them food and water. One of the men tells Sarah she will bare a child and she laughs because she is so old. The lesson from this is that you must treat strangers with hospitality and compassion. It is a very common theme in religions for Gd to appear as foreigners/strangers. 8. What happens to Lot at Sodom and Gomorrah? The people of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah were unjust and mistreated the poor and needy. Two angels came to Sodom saying "Love thy stranger, for you too were once strangers in the land of Egypt." (Deuteronomy, Chapter 10:19) 9. What is the story of Exodus about, and why is it important for understanding the idea of God in Judaism? The story of Exodus is when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. Gd "hears their cries" and sends them Moses to deliver them to the Promised Land from bondage. Gd's compassion for the weakest and most afflicted people: slaves, those treated with cruelty and violence. 10. What is the tetragrammaton? Be able to explain the story behind it and its significance. The tetragrammaton represents the incomprehensibility of Gd. It is YHWH. This is a way of naming the unnamable. Gd is ineffable: no word or description of it is possible. Story behind its significance: Moses and the Burning Bush Moses encountered a burning bush that continues to burn and he hears a voice saying, "The land for which you stand is holy ground." Moses takes off his shoes. Then, Gd tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and lead his people out of bondage. Moses asks Gd, "What is your name? Gd responds saying, "I am who I am." From this we see that Gd is radically OTHER, different than human beings. Gd is both transcendent and immanent. 11. What is a Jewish prophet? Be able to describe the themes discussed in lecture. Definition from Abraham Joshua Heschel: A prophet is the voice that Gd has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor, to the profane riches of the world. Characteristics of the Prophets: ∙ Messengers of Gd who speak on behalf of the poor and needy, the weak and vulnerable, the widows and orphans, etc. ∙ Harsh criticism of the mistreatment of the poor and needy. Often entailed a denunciation of excessive wealth and privilege. ∙ Denunciation of idolatry. Idolatry: substitute of some thing (material wealth, power, etc.…) or person, or nation, for Gd. ∙ Many would suffer persecution, rejection, and death for their message. (The prophets upset people and were criticized and often killed) ∙ They condemned a lot of the ruling establishments as being unjust and wicked. They’re very harsh and judgmental and standing up in the common person. ∙ People didn’t like the fact that they claimed to be an instrument of Gd ∙ They made enemies with wealthy figures ∙ These people are often killed because they disturb people 12. Explain the story of Ecclesiastes and Job. Be familiar with the plot and philosophical significance of each story. Story of Job: asks the question: why do innocent people suffer and wicked people thrive? The story is about a righteous man, Job who cares for the poor, shelters widows, orphans and is compassionate. Then he begins to lose all that he cherishes, his livestock, his land, and his children are described as dying. Then he gets ill, and feels abandoned by God, and is in mental, physical, and spiritual pain. He files a lawsuit against God, and wants to know why he’s suffering Then Job’s friends, the “sorry comforters” tell him he is suffering because someone close to him has sinned (suffering is a result of sin) When Job meets God in court, he compares him to an unjust warrior and feels God is causing his suffering. God responds by never condemning him for the confrontation, and says Job’s mind is too small to understand the ways and complexity of the universe After his experience with God, his trust in God is restored although he never gets an answer (there is no answer). He realizes God was beside him in his suffering, not causing it. Story of Ecclesiastes: 13. What is the allegorical method for interpreting the Bible? 14. According to Bono, what is Jubilee? Be familiar with the text from Leviticus that he cites in defense of Jubilee. What does he say that all religions (especially Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) agree upon? 15. On Judaism, be familiar with the following terms: Torah, Tanakh, Shema, Talmud, Israel, Mitzvot. Torah: The Five Books of Moses Tanakh: The bible; acronym for Torah (the Five Books of Moses) Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (the Writings) Shema: Translates to "hear". The daily declaration of faith, recited in the morning and evening prayers and before going to sleep at night. The Shema prayer states that Gd is one. These are meant to be a Jew's last words before he dies. Talmud: A collection of Jewish law. It includes the Gemara (Oral Torah) and the Mishnah. Israel: The homeland of the Jewish people. Gd promised the land to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Patriarchs of Judaism). For a Jew, the Land of Israel is more than a place. It is a body for the soul of a people. Mitzvot: "Commandment". The Torah is comprised of 613 mitzvot/ good deeds. The word mitzvah stems from the root 'tzavta', attachment, the mitzvah creating a bond between Gd who commands and man who performs. Tanakh: primary sacred Jewish text. Contains same books as Christian Old Testament but with a different order. Should not be referred to as the Old Testament Shema: means “hear” and begins the most important prayer in Jewish tradition Mitzvot: any of the collections of the 613 commandments in the Bible, relating to religious and moral conduct of Jews 16. What was the Babylonian Exile? In 6th Century BCE, Babylonians conquered Israel & and sent them into exile. 17. Be able to explain the basic themes of the Jewish festivals: Passover, Shavuot, Purim, Hanukkah, Sukkot. Passover: The seven/eight day holiday (depending if you are inside or outside of Israel) commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. A Seder is held in which the story of being freed by G d from Egypt is told. It is forbidden to consume leavened bread during the eight days. Shavuot: The holiday that commemorates the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It is customary to eat dairy foods. Purim: The holiday that commemorates the Jews' salvation from Haman's plot to annihilate them. The story is written in the Book of Esther (the Megillah). Hanukkah: An eightday holiday celebrating the Maccabees' recapture of the second Temple from the Syrian Greeks. It is marked by the kindling of lights on a menorah or chanukiah. Sukkot: A sevenday holiday. It is customary to build a 'sukkah' (dwelling place). While the Israelites wandered through the Sinai Desert following the Exodus from Egypt, Gd shielded them from dangers and discomforts. This holiday commemorates Gd’s kindness and reaffirms trust in him by dwelling in a sukkah. 18. In Speaking of Faith, how does the author understand the meaning of ‘faith’ (p.23)? Tippet believes faith is as much about questions as it is about answers. It is possible to be a believer and a listener at the same time. To be in search of meaning, while being confident in your beliefs. 19. Who was Dietrich Bonhoeffer? See Speaking of Faith, pp.3335? Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian theologian. Bonhoeffer was a pastor and a pacifist who became involved in the 1944 plot to kill Hitler. He was later executed. He helped to found the Confessing Church, the center of Protestant resistance to Fascism. 20. In Speaking of Faith, the author discusses the affinities between art and religion. Be able to discuss the similarities between art and religion (see pp.4446). “Its territory is the drama of human life, where art is more precise than science, where ideas are lived and breathed. Our minds can be engaged in this realm as seriously as in the construction of argument or logic, but in a different way. Life and art both test the limits and landscape of argument and logic. We apprehend religious mystery and truth in words as often, perhaps, beyond them:: in the presence of beauty, in acts of kindness, in silence.” Art is like religion because in some realities art is more precise than science. It makes people feel closer to the answer even if it isn’t really saying anything factual. The important part is that people can relate to art and religion on more than just a factual level. They can see beauty and put their faith into something that makes them feel something rather than just explaining it. 21. According to the prophet, Ezekiel, what was the sin of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (p.51)? The prophet Ezekiel says that they were condemned because they had “pride, surfeit of food, prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy” 22. Explain the importance of the patriarch Jacob for understanding Judaism (pp.5253). Someone please write more on this, I couldn’t figure out the answer Jacob embodies the intense interplay of devotion and struggle at the heart of Jewish tradition. 23. How does Krista Tippett, the author of Speaking of Faith describe the relationship between science and religion (pp.6768)? Krista thinks that religion and science are complementary disciplines that can mutually enrich and illuminate the deepest questions and frontiers of human life and of faith. She says that if you ask Americans to choose between God and Darwin, they will say God, but she doesn’t think there needs to be a choice, she believes that they can rely on each other to explain the world. 24. How does Tippett describe the relationship between Darwin and religion (pp.6974)? Trippett describes the relationship between Darwin and religion as coexisting. After writing Origin of Species, Darwin knew that there would be questions about it conflicting with religion, but he never stopped using the word creation. Darwin used things from the bible, like the Tree of Life, to illustrate the theory of Natural Selection. “He drew species sprouting like branches from the same trunk, some flourishing and some withering away and falling to nourish the ground, in which the whole is sustained” 25. According to Einstein, what factor “engendered” religion? (p.100ff). “It was the experience of mystery, even if mixed with fear, that endangered religion” 26. How does Tippett distinguish between charity and justice (pp.194)? Charity is something we can control, and that we do in a profound sense for ourselves. Justice is engaging the structures that make inequalities possible. Justice makes charity less necessary. 27. How does Tippett describe the meaning of ‘mystery’ in religion (p.226)? Mystery is the crux of religion that is almost always missing in our public expression of religion. It opens a window for us to disagree.
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