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JMU / Religion / REL 101 / What is it called when you just believe in god?

What is it called when you just believe in god?

What is it called when you just believe in god?


Religions of the World Exam #1 Study Guide 

What is it called when you just believe in god?

Chapter #1

1. What is Religion? 

a. Religion is the voluntary subjection of oneself to God i. Some religions are nontheistic

∙ Buddhist  

a. They know that a God exists but has nothing to

do with their salvation

ii. Babies being baptized 

∙ They don't voluntarily give themselves to God

b. Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine  commands- Immanuel Kant

i. Divine command theory

∙ Morality  

c. Religion is the feeling of absolute dependence- Friedrich  Schleiermacher

i. Religion is a feeling of dedication to something bigger than oneself

What is understanding according to kant?

∙ Feeling is a big part of religion, but it is too narrow to  

be the “essence” of religion.

d. Working Definition for Class


i. Religion is (1) human involvement with what is considered  to be the realm of the sacred, (2) expressed in thought,  

action, and social forms, (3) constituting a total system of  symbols with deep meaning, and (4) providing a path of  

ultimate transformation.

∙ Realm of the Sacred:

a. Human existence is deficient

b. You will be told a problem you have, that needs


c. Sacred- perfection; deficit is removed We also discuss several other topics like How can you get rid of radiation in civilization?

∙ Thought, action, Social Forms:

a. Thought- myths

What defines someone as working class?

We also discuss several other topics like Which religion led william penn to settle the colony of pennsylvania in 1682?

b. Action- morality; rituals

c. Social forms- community

∙ Symbols:  

a. A sign that means something  

i. We use symbols because they are highly  

efficient, translinguistic, and powerful

∙ Path of Ultimate Transformation:

a. Religions always tell you how or a way to fix  

your solution or issue

∙ Path of ultimate Transformation and Realm of Sacred  

are most important when defining religion.

2. How Should We Study Religion? 


i. We study religion as an expression of human experience,  rather than from any particular point of view(religious)  

∙ Freud Reading

a. Tools that help us understand religion

b. Practical experience effects our understanding

ii. We should study religion as a general phenomenon of  human experience, with a variety of particular expressions

∙ Deming and Eliade Reading

a. Looking at religions comparatively helps us to  

understand religion better

b. Will Deming says, “the 1st step of comparison  

is the recognition of each religion is a coherent  


i. You can’t just compare superficial  

evidence we have to compare dynamic  We also discuss several other topics like What is a work of art that tells a story?

elements too

c. Eliade says, “religion is undeniably linked to  

nature or related to the sky. That people  

believe the natural world is sacred with  

meaning, but it's more supernatural than  


i. The sky is a good representation of the  

gods being divine.

iii. When we study Religions we temporarily set aside our own  moral judgements about them.

Chapter #2 & 3

3. What are Indigenous Religions? 

a. Class of religions made up of many smaller ones


i. Oldest form we can discover today

ii. Until about 2,000 years ago, it was one of the most popular religions

b. It’s Localized

i. Geographically  

ii. Linguistically

iii. Have existed in oral cultures

*once you have writing, you have a religion that can travel* c. World View (Cosmology

i. Mythology

∙ Greek and roman gods and goddesses

ii. Sacred power

∙ tapu=taboo

a. Two-sided- good and bad

i. Life giving and endangering

∙ Source of everything

a. Permeates everything

∙ Magic If you want to learn more check out Which molecules are capable of hydrogen bonding?

iii. Sacred beings

∙ Every aspect of nature, has supernatural elements to


a. Creator God/High God

i. Leaves for some reason


b. Other gods

i. Stay around

c. Local spirits

d. Ancestors

i. Expect to be respected

e. Animals

i. You can speak to them

ii. The trickster

f. Culture heroes

i. Often named prometheus

d. Rituals

i. 3 types

∙ Nature cycle

a. Aimed at maintaining the order

b. Gratitude is often the center of the cycle

∙ Life Cycle

a. Transitions in life are dangerous periods of time

b. Vested in making sure those transitions go  We also discuss several other topics like How does oxidation affect the environment?


∙ Crisis

a. A rise in response to a threat of individuals or  

communities existence


b. Episodic-do in response to a particular threat

e. Religious leadership (The Shaman)

i. Tend to live in cultures that aren’t highly structured

ii. Shamans-mediator of sacred power

∙ Perform exorcisms and healings

∙ Make offering sacrifices to the gods

∙ Divination- read messages of gods and read the  


a. Ex. palm reading, astrology

f. Path of ultimate transformation

i. Harmony with the cosmos and the natural world and the  gods too

∙ Keep things in good order.

Chapter #4

4. What is Hinduism? 

a. Origins of term

i. Persian and a muslim term

ii. Indus river valley civilization

∙ “Indus-is”- problematic because it assumes a  

homogeneity in the area, that may no be here.

b. Vedic Religion

i. How the Indians refer to themselves

c. Hinduism


i. The indigenous religions of south asia (india) which have  been unified into a cohesive tradition by the political and  social unification of the culture Don't forget about the age old question of What are the steps in performing an experiment?

d. Pre-Vedic Period(C. 3500-1600 BCE)

i. Indus valley civilization

∙ Cities

a. harappa/ mohenjo daro

∙ Writing

a. hieroglyphics

∙ Religion

a. purity, fertility

∙ Contributions to hinduism

a. The swastika; yoga; shiva-like god?

e. The Vedic Period(c. 1500-500 B.C.E.)

i. Aryan Civilization

∙ Nomadic-central asia; migration

∙ Caste system- 3 classes

a. Priest, warrior, merchant/agricultural.

∙ Conquest of dark-skinned natives

a. Shudras & outcastes/untouchables

∙ Oral culture

a. No writing


ii. Aryan Religion

∙ Polytheistic-33 major gods

∙ An iconic at first  

a. No images of gods

∙ Sacrificial cult

a. The fire Sacrifice

i. Sustaining the gods and the cosmos  

through offerings, maintaining harmony

∙ Overseen by priests

a. Brahmin

∙ Important beliefs

a. Brahman(sacred power

b. Soul(at man)

c. duty(karma)

d. Rebirth liberation(samsara moksha)

∙ Sacred Texts

a. The vedas(rituals)

i. Rig, sama, yajur

b. Atharva

i. “Folk religion”  

1. For everyday person

f. Later Developments and Literature


i. Philosophy

∙ Upanishads

∙ Forest books

ii. Legends of the gods

∙ Mahabharata;  

∙ bhagavad Gita

a. A poem; longest in world

iii. Legal Statutes- Laws of Manu

∙ Manu- creator god

∙ 4 castes and their obligations

∙ 3,000 sub castes and untouchables

∙ Comprehensive social regulation centered around  


∙ 1950 constitution

a. Caste system was “eliminated”

g. Laws of Manu

i. Laws that regulate past social requirements that take place in Hindu

h. Marriage

i. Want to choose a woman with appearance of good health ∙ Someone whos sickly w/ red eyes; not desirable

ii. Driving ideas behind criteria


∙ All about men picking women

∙ Can marry down one caste

∙ In Brahmin, marries shudra,  

a. you go to hell caste laws are built on purity and

the idea of karma

∙ You’ve built good karma to be in your caste  

∙ Women are supposed to be taken care of because  

they might be guided towards evil (wicked people)  

sexually with someone

a. Brings sorrow to two families

∙ If you are with a woman and don’t know she's been  

always watched by a man you don’t know if she's  

been pure or not.

i. Bhagavad Gita

i. Origin of it

∙ Mahabarata

a. Which is a section of it

∙ Most popular/influential texts that they go to for  


j. Beliefs and Practices of Hinduism

i. Brahman

∙ Gods

∙ Universe

∙ Humans


∙ Animals and other things

ii. Problem of existence

∙ Worlds and its beings are sacred

a. Comes from brahmin, world is good place

∙ World and its beings are

a. Insufficient

k. Four stages of the Twice-born Man

i. Students

∙ Of vedas(teen/adolescent)

ii. Householders

∙ Family

iii. Forest

∙ Dweller  

iv. Renouncer

∙ Radical self-denial

a. May walk around naked, will become celibate,  

engage in heroic feats of self punishment


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