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Midterm Study Guide-

by: Cristy Laverde

Midterm Study Guide- REL2011

Cristy Laverde

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Intro to Religion
Ivanessa Arostegui
Study Guide
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This 16 page Study Guide was uploaded by Cristy Laverde on Monday November 2, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to REL2011 at DCH Regional Medical Center taught by Ivanessa Arostegui in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 66 views. For similar materials see Intro to Religion in Religious Studies at DCH Regional Medical Center.


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Date Created: 11/02/15
Midterm Review 10/12/2015 ▯ Rudolf Otto ▯ “Religion is that which grows out of, and gives expression to, experience of the holy in its various aspects.”  Focuses on the affective, or emotional feeling dimension of religious experience  Numinous (spiritual power) is the distinctive core of religiousness ▯ Karl Marx ▯ “Religion is the sign of the oppressed creature… it is the opinion of the people… Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”  Explanatory- claim to explain why or how religion came into being and why it persists  “Illusory happiness”  Regards religion as something infantile that must be overcome  Religion is the “opium” of the people  Mankind must first eat, drink, have shelter before it can pursue religion ▯ ▯ Sigmund Freud ▯ “Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.”  Explanatory- claim to explain why or how religion came into being and why it persists  “Psychological neurosis”  Regards religion as something illusory that must be overcome  Thought that as we grew as humanity, we would overcome religion ▯ ▯ Emile Durkheim ▯ “The notion that sacredness is a value that a given society places on objects, that such objects shape and generate the religious feelings of its members, and that religiousness is therefore a function of social belonging”  Social structure and religious beliefs  No sacred power (Gods/Goddesses)  Religion is the reflection of who we are and what we do  It is the authority and beliefs of a society that makes things sacred or profane ▯ ▯ Friedrich Max Muller  Father of comparative religion  Historical and linguistic approach  Undertook an investigation of world religious tradition when presented with archaeological excavations that revealed some scriptural texts  Impact of study- scholars were making religion an object of systematic inquiry and his approach was adopted in many European and Japanese universities ▯ ▯ Beginning of Comparative Study of Religion  Has been studied since the colonial period th  Usually traced back to the 19 century ▯ Ontology- theory of being  forms of scientism includes moral ideas that are inconsistent with their ontology ▯ ▯ Ineffable- too great or intense to be expressed in words, too sacred to be uttered, taboo  William James ▯ ▯ Literary Criticism  find out if sacred text is the work of one or several authors, if it’s a version or translation of a more original text, what the authors purpose was, when the text was composed… etc.  events, beliefs, and authoritative teachings of a religion are often found in a collection of sacred writings  Bible, Qur’an, Buddhist sutras, analects of Confucius ▯ Textual Criticism  Uses a number of methods and procedures to try to determine whether we are reading the original or most authentic version or a later copy that may have been altered  Ex: Christian Bible was originally composed in Hebrew and koine Documentary Criticism  Concerned with establishing whether a writing was composed by one or more authors, when and where the work was composed, to whom it was addressed, and for what purpose  Understanding of book of Isaiah in the Bible was enhanced by documentary critics. Written by 2 or 3 distinct authors ▯ ▯ Historiography  Task is to establish the facts in an effort to reconstruct “what really happened”  In historiography, the historian selects the accounts/evidence that he/she deems appropriate and relevant, based on some principles of choice ▯ ▯ Anthropology  Study of human beings and societies viewed primarily as both the creators and the creations of culture  Religion is a powerful factor in every culture because a society shapes and defines its world by reference to sacred stories, moral sanctions, and ritualized patterns of behavior  Emile Durkheim turned the interest of anthropologists to the study of social functions of religion  Most widely used method by anthropologists is functionalism- asks how the religious beliefs and institutions of a society elicit acceptance or sanction certain behavior and how these factors assist in the integration and cohesion of that society ▯ ▯ Sociology  Focuses its attention on social behavior and the way in which religion interacts with other dimensions of our social experience  Studying religion as it intersects with social behavior ▯ ▯ Psychology  Studying religion as it intersects with logic meaning and truth claims  Freud’s approach to religion  Gordon Allport- classis study of religion and prejudice o Churchgoers were more prejudiced than non-churchgoers regarding ethnicity and race o Extrinsic- those who find religion useful, providing things such as solace, sociability, and social status, these people tended to hold bigoted views o Intrinsic- internalize their religion so that it is their “master motive”, authentically live their religion, more tolerant of ethnicity and race  William James- explored religious phenomena such as conversion, mysticism, and saintliness. Wrote Varieties of Religious Experience ▯ ▯ Philosophy  Concerned with examining the principles and rules that govern logic, theories of knowledge, morals, aesthetics, and metaphysics (nature of being or reality)  Appeals to logic, meaning, and truth claims ▯ ▯ Phenomenology  seek to concentrate on types of religious experience as it directly presents itself to those engaged in religious activity  Epoche- suspension of judgment or belief one holds in order to understand a religious belief, suspending disbelief in favor of believing in something higher  Does not seek to explain experience sociologically or psychologically, but in rigorous description only  “How is God present to human consciousness? What forms or characteristics do the experience of God exhibit?”  Goal is to portray religion in its own terms as a distinctive expression  Is a study of morphology- the structures or forms of religion as manifested in and across different cultures and temporal periods  Is the attitude of informed Empathy- result of epoche, surrendering all of your own assumptions to bring out what religious acts mean to others ▯ ▯ Hermeneutics- act or science of interpretation  Interpret the complex and mysterious meanings behind symbolic gestures and sounds, ritual dramas, images, architecture, and sacred texts  Exegesis- critical or interpretative approach to a religious text  Eisegesis- introducing your own ideas/thoughts into a text usually resulting in misinterpretation ▯ ▯ Mysterious Tremendum, Fascinas  Otto regards the holy as an experience peculiar to religion  Holy is often associated with morality and eventually becomes conceptualized in the form of myths and doctrines but in Otto’s view, the holy is fundamentally a nonrational and ineffable datum of human experience  Numinous- refers to those powers or spirits that Latin farmers of ancient Italy associated with special places and functions o Otto used the term to isolate the holy from either ethical or theological conceptions and to describe this uniquely religious phenomenon  Mysterium- experience of a reality that when encountered is beyond our capacity to comprehend o in it we come upon something inherently wholly other  Tremendum- feeling of peculiar dread and awe o more feelings of the tremendum include the aspect of might or overpoweringness which are signified by majestas o tremendum sometimes reveals itself as an energy that often reveals itself as holy wrath  Fascinas- provokes expressions of joyful thanksgiving, praise and adoration o Expiation- making right by some ritual act or offering for the injury or sin done to some person or god, involves an act of sacrifice to remove a sin ▯ ▯ Numinous vs. Mystical  Numinous is a mystery which is fearful, awe-inspiring, and fascinating”… mostly majestic- powerful and turbulent o Experiences of Isaiah, Paul, and Muhammad o Religions involving personal models of God where worshipper bows to show humility and worship involves sacrifice and petition o Clothed in ideas of encountering a personal God  Mystical- more characteristic of Buddha, portrays joy, harmony, serenity, and peace o Occurs usually in response to contemplation, meditation, and discipline o Seems to be empty of images o Doesn’t give rise to worship- there is nothing “other” to worship ▯ ▯ Mircea Eliade  Religion is basically the experience of the sacred relating to the ideas of “being, meaning, and truth”  Fundamental contrast between the sacred and the profane  Sacred always manifests itself as something nonordinary and thus wholly distinct from what is profane, common, or simply utilitarian  Anything can be set apart as disclosing the sacred  His theory of myth- myth narrates a sacred history, is an account of origins, and is “true” because it is concerned with reality o Hierophany- act of manifesting the sacred appearance, place where there has been a sacred appearance o Axis mundi- these holy places are the center of the world, point around which the world rotates and connects to Heaven, earth, and underworld (Buddhist Stupa) o Imago mundi- image of the original world as it was first fashioned by divine action, the symbolism of an altar or a temple, the reproduction of the Cosmos or of Creation itself o Cosmogony- original act of creation (example: Ka’aba in Mecca) ▯ ▯ Sacred vs. Profane  Durkheim says profane are ordinary elements of everyday life (driving, going to work, checking e-mail)  Sacred- extraordinary, inspiring awe and reverence (reading the Bible, receiving the ▯ Buddhist Stupa  Example of an axis mundi  First appeared within Buddhism in India as places where the cremated remains of the Buddha were interred, functioned as reliquaries in homage to the Buddha  Originally, were simple mounds surrounded by four rails representing the cardinal directions  In time, became elaborate structures and temples symbolizing the Buddhist cosmos and the path to enlightenment  Center of the Stupa symbolizes the transcendent sacred Center  Stupa is the symbol of the navel of the world  Axial points represent the planes of existence: terrestrial, celestial, and infernal realms  Stupa is planned as a mandala- circle symbolizing the perfection of Buddhahood and inner squares expressing a model of the cosmic pattern of the universe o Marked out on the ground, it is a compressed image of the total cosmos ▯ ▯ Sacred Time  Conceived as a time set apart whether for worship, high holy days/holidays, and religious festivals  Intertwined with the idea of origins- time is regenerated, the cosmos is ritually re-crated or reborn annually on New Years Eve ▯ ▯ Symbolic Communication  Signals- immediate, specific, and practical form of communication in which humans are capable of abstracting from the immediate situation a judgment, image, or fantasy, natural reminders  Symbols- forms of expressing meaning, have power to transform and reshape the lives of individuals and whole societies, used to talk about things and not to direct eyes, ears, or noses o Representational symbols- tie things together that are distinct even when there may not be any natural or symptomatic connection between the symbol and the thing symbolized  Meaning of representational signals is determined by the cultural context and use  Image of an elephant to an American denotes a political party while for Indians it denotes a popular Hindu god  Power to communicate meaning is dependent on learned association o Presentational symbols- symbolization that often takes the form of an image, or icon. Participate in, or are similar to, the thing they symbolize  Actions through which the sacred is made present such as blood and water which are associated with cleansing  In Eastern Orthodox churches, icons and images not only represent, but also make present the divine  Mudras- certain gestures in Buddhism that disclose aspects of the Buddha spirit ▯ Religious Language  First- Order Religious Discourse o Richly metaphoric, analogic, and poetic in character o In literate societies, it doesn’t remain at that level o Symbols, myths, and stories require interpretation, elaboration, and commentary o Parable- another form of religious discourse, an extended metaphor drawn from or common life, have a homely way of communicating the truth  Use of ordinary items in unexpected and illuminating ways to disclose the extraordinary  Simplicity and authenticity of the everyday event translated into a moral or spiritual truth  Usually in story-form  Blind men feeling elephant  Moral is that there may be some truth to what someone says so rather than arguing, we should say “maybe you have your reasons”. In Jainism, is it explained that the truth can be stated in many different ways  Parable of the Sower  A mans reception of God’s word is determines by the condition of his heart  The good soil represents a person who hears, understands, and receives the word and then allows the word to accomplish its result in his life. He is the only one of the four who is truly saved, because salvation’s proof is fruit.  Second- Order Religious Discourse o More abstract form of discourse that seeks greater clarity and coherence by translating the symbolic and mythic language into concepts and doctrines  Eschatology- “last things”, has to do with the end or goal of personal life o Associated with beliefs concerning life after death, judgment, Heaven and Hell o Example: Messianic Banquet in Kingdom of God Religious Myth  Definitions/Characteristics o Previously seen as what is not true o Now an important multileveled form of symbolic communication o Like parable, myth tells a story. Unlike parable, it explains or legitimizes the natural order of a community’s institutions and behavior o A complex of stories -some fact, some fancy- which human beings regard as demonstrations of the inner meaning of the universe and of human life  Function of Myths o provide stories and exemplary models by which we can envision the world as having a meaning/purpose or as being threatened by chaos/evil o shapes our sense of self, of who we are. The lives of prophets and saints serve as root metaphors o portray why events erupt and threaten our world and our own personal being- and what we must do to be saved, liberated, or renewed  Functionalist Theory of Myth o Malinowski’s Theory of Myth- considers myth as an indispensable feature of all cultures  Myth or sacred tale is unique and must be distinguished from legend and fairy tale  Myth is regarded “not merely as true, but as venerable and sacred”  Meaning is to be understood in terms of its social function within a particular culture  Serve a social function  Carl Jung’s Theory of Hero Archetype o Archetypes- those firmly established symbolic and mythic images that reappear in a a variety of cultures and historical periods o Human psyche consists of three layers- the conscious, the personal unconscious, and collective unconscious o Importance of an archetype, such as the hero, lies in its physic efficacy or therapy o Collective unconscious- unconscious includes materials that are physically real prior to their personal appropriation, are inherent potentials in the physic structure of all individuals o Individuation- power of individual psychic healing, “self- realization”, the better and more complete fulfillment of the collective qualities of the human being, the development of a self that involves the integration of the personal ego with archetypes of the unconscious  Types of Myths o Religious  Hierophanic- reveal something holy or sacred  Numinous- reinforce a sense of awe and respect to the divine  Ritualistic- narrative to explain ritual action  Cosmological- picture of the universe o Social  Integration of individuals to a group and reinforce social order o Psychological  Establish self and ego identity ▯ ▯ Doctrine  Product of second-order interpretive process  Give clarification and generalization  Example: the Holy Trinity  Come to existence to explain plurality and oneness of God  Used to interpret new patterns of experience in human life and restructure one’s perception of the world Inside Mecca  Hajj- the spiritual pilgrimage to Mecca during the last month of the Muslim lunar calendar  Ka’bah- the house of Allah in the Holy Mosque in Mecca towards which all Muslims face in every prayer, sacred shrine to Allah in Mecca  Abraham-  Haggar-  Ishmael- first son of Abraham and Haggar  Rituals- go around the tawaf 7 times as did Mohammed, walk between two hilltops 7 times as did Haggar in search of water, throw stones to fight Satan and get rid of obsessions and temptation Rituals  Outward form a believer can express the worship of God and is a form of significant action with ceremonial patterns and verbalized expressions inside a sacred context  A thing done to achieve a specific end ▯ Functions of Rituals  Point out that society is like a an organism. According to functionalists, religious rituals are a critical for a religious to function  Serve many important psychological and social functions such as baptism or bar mitzvah  Serve and important identity function  Routinize behavior and help reduce the anxiety and uneasiness associated with the experiences of uncertainty, disorder, and dislocation  Help to reduce social tensions, due to the scarcity or the arbitrary distribution of life’s material goods, ro the injustice in the apportioning of social positions  Dramatize and strengthen a community’s important patterns of belief and behavior ▯ Rites of passage-  connected with critical events in the life of individuals ▯ ▯ Types of Rituals  Life cycle rites- help individuals through the difficulties of passages in life from one state to another, assist society in accepting significant changes in the status or loss of their members o Act of separation- removes individual from their old status, simulation of death itself o Act of transition- form of social isolation and a condition of statuslessness, sometimes a person is removed from the community or is being prepared for the next stage o Act of reincorporation- signals the passage to a new status, often symbolized by new garments or markings (ring, new attire)  Social puberty (ritual of circumcision), vocational initiation rites (Buddhists shave their heads when they become monks), marriage and funeral rites (throwing of rice to the bride to ensure fertility)  Symbolic meaning of Baptism- receive the gift of God’s holy spirit  Victor Turner o The transitional or liminal stage can be compared to a wilderness, darkness, or death, a stage where the believed is stripped of dress and rank o Communitas- spontaneous bond of communion between members of society, a feeling  Example- Pope washing and kissing an Italian prisoner’s feet  Life- Crisis Rites- Rites conducted to meet a specific crisis in the community such as drought, illness, and miscarriage o In some communities these rites are left to religious professionals such as medicine men, exorcists, shamans o Shamans- able to undergo altered states of consciousness and leave his body and travel to the world of the spirits to serve as an intercessor or healer, protects the community by warding off demons and disease o Tonsure- rite of clipping the hair or shaving the head to denote admission to a religious order  Calendar or Seasonal Rituals- commemorate seasonal changes or historic/monumental events (times of fertility, Passover, New Years) o Closely associated with rhythmic changes of nature, cycles of the sun and moon, seed time and harvest ▯ ▯ Ritual Sacrifice  Sacrifices are often done to pay homage or request something from the god(s), as offerings to appease the god(s), or for atonement purposes  In a sense sacrifices create a path of communication between humans and the god(s)  Many of the calendric rites includes acts of sacrifice  Expiation- the making of amends or atonements Ted Talk East vs. West  Indian belief system  Indians believe you live an infinite number of lives, how you spend this life is significant in the long run  Business models are not linear and institutional, but flexible and fluid  They are comfortable with things like contextual thinking, fuzzy logic  Truth is subjective  Nothing lasts forever  Looks at Western and Indian myth and how the two fundamentally different sets of beliefs help us consistently misunderstand one another ▯ ▯ Hebrew Bible  A collection of sacred books containing diverse materials concerning the origins, experiences, beliefs and practices of the Israelites ▯ ▯ Tanakh  A canonical collection of Jewish texts ▯ ▯ Old Testament  Used with Christianity  Begins with the creation of the Cosmos  Based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of religious writings by ancient Israelites. ▯ ▯ Canonization  Coming from the word canon- meaning list.  Example: the Hadith in Islam  The official doctrine of a specific religion. It does not change, get added to or detracted from and is reduced to the simplest and most significant form possible  In the catholic tradition the canonical law and the social teaching of the church are considered important doctrinal tools, however are not considered sacred ▯ Apocrypha  14 books of the Old Testament included in the Vulgate (Latin translation of the Greek translation) but omitted in Jewish and Protestant versions of the Bible ▯ Septuagint  The Greek translation of tnd Hebrewrdible (Torah, Old Testament) that occurred in the 2 and 3 century BCE in Alexandria, Egypt ▯ Functions of sacred scriptures  Their oral usage in worship and ritual  Instructional and educational purposes for the community  Support meditation and devotion  Used as a guide to promote a devotional and daily life  Define a community  May become the object of devotion of a particular person ▯ Oldest known religious texts  Pyramid Text of Ancient Egypt o 2400-2300 BCE  The Epic of Gilgamesh- Sumeria o 2150-2000 BCE ▯ ▯ Particular features of sacred texts  Have a divine or heavenly origin  Are eternal  Possess sacred, transformative power. Can be an object of reverence and veneration  Can have a normative authority over matters of belief and practice ▯ Gnostic-Christian writings/Nag Hammadi  The largest group of Gnostic writing were found in Nad Hammadi, Egypt in 1945 and include writings such as: o Apocalypse of Peter (included a controversial passage about sinners and heaven) o The Acts of John o Gospel of Thomas (includes many sayings of Jesus found in the four canonized Gospels) o Gospel of Mary Magdalene o The most recent was the Gospel of Judas (where it contained the message that it was the ordained role of Judas to turn Jesus in because he was privy to the great divine plan) ▯ Sola scriptura  Scripture alone says the Bible is the supreme authority and the literal and most plain reading  The Bible is complete, authoritative, and true ▯ St. Augustine/allegorical interpretation  St. Augustine proposed and engaged in allegorical interpretations  According to St. Augustine, allegory is a mode of speech in which one thing is understood by another ▯ ▯ Biblical inerrancy  Doctrine that the Bible "is without error or fault in all its teaching"  Results in the most extreme cases with things like Creation Science ▯ Basics on the Qur’an  Small, its in Arabic  114 surah  Arranged according to length, not chronologically  Hadid- stories of the life of prophet Mohammed  After he passed away it took 20-30 years to be compiled  Qu’ran is where people get guidance  Written down my Muhammad and inspired by Allah ▯


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