Religion Studies 1 - All class notes
Religion Studies 1 - All class notes
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Robert Bellah PSA According to ean acques Rousseau civil religion is quotthe moral and spiritual foundation essential for any modern society as a form of social cement that helps to unify the state by providing it with sacred authorityquot Bellah further elaborates that civil religion is quotan institutionalized collection of sacred beliefs about the American nationquot Bellah bases his theory of religion on Rousseau social contract theory Individuals in society give up certain freedoms in order to gain the security and support of the community In this light the society takes precedence over the individual In addition there are certain laws formed by society that are designed to protect the general welfare of the people According to Bellah the rules of the social contract permeate through society and multiples generations Over time they develop into a type of moral code These common elements form the public religious dimension expressed in a set of beliefs symbols and rituals that Bellah calls American civil religion Civil Religion in America 228 In other words Bellah is referring to the concept of a higher law Civil Religion in America 231 a natural law Laws of nature that supposedly would be intuitive and eternal an idea which Bellah ties back to the Declaration of Independence s first reference to God a reference to the Laws of Nature and of Nature39s God As such realistic or not Bellah believes that ideally one set of rules should exist that everyone would abide by the ineffable laws of civil religion A civil religion that would unite everyone under one moral code As such Bellah might actually agree with Durkheim when he states that a religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices which unite us into one single moral community Introducing Religion 106 Part 2 Civil religion relates to the political society on the one hand and to private religious organizations on the other 228 Bellah The President himself is a religious but this mention of God is in relation to the nation as a whole civil religion The overarching topic here is in response to the question How do you legitimize governmental authority A higher power such as religion creates a strong set of values and a similar vision that the population can pursue This civil religion is created by the sacred of memorials to key people places and ideas Certain buildings such as the supreme court and Capitol building become pseudo places of worship where certain duties are performed along the strict guidelines of certain rules like rites American Civil Religion is not the worship of the American nation but an understanding of the American experience in the light of ultimate and universal reality 245 Bellah He argues that pluralism from things like immigration threaten our civil religion because they dilute the population from the strong nationalistic population This makes sense because the new population doesn39t speak the same language or follow the same rites as the American population This disrupts the overall strength of the civil religion Times of crisis bring this civil religion back to its roots He cites three past events where Civil religion was integral to the country Our Independence Slavery and now our role in the world as a super power Most recently our country39s symbol of monetary strength was attacked by a terrorist group The twin towers were destroyed and thousands of people were killed As a response our country became stronger and unified against the common enemy We gather in vigils sent support money wore supportive I love NY t shirts and the overall emotions of the country were unified This is a great example of Civil Religion as Bellah puts it Without worshipping a common religion our citizens are still able to unite under one cause and turn to a certain set of beliefs which in our case are life liberty and prosperity Origins of Civil Religion Protestant Reformation Religious War Peace of Westphalia I648 0 Development of the nation state Rousseau39s The Social Contract I 762 ch8 book 4 quotWe dont have a aparticular church to tell us what39s right or wrong anymore so we need some sort of abstract moral code I sacred foundation for how we structure our society quot 0 how to legitimize governmental authority gt the existence of a benevolent deity an afterlife where the good are happy the wicked are punished the sacred nature of the laws and the contract the rejection of intolerance Durkheim39s Influence 0 He was looking to stabilize French society after military defeat vs Germany 0 He believed society could be the grounding for moral order 0 He sought to revitalize social solidarity gt Mechanical solidarity Religion and Law the idea that a certain region is under one religious principle so the religious laws govern that place gt Organic solidarity Justice people are different and have whole different roles so we need principles that hold everyone to the same standard so we need to understand and treat people with dignity and respect by upholding people to principles that are not based on religion 0 The individual properly understood Society ought not control the individual but it provides an external contract gt The individual must internalize social contract in order to bene t from social cohesion O The national civil religion ought to focus its ideals on human ideals thereby opening the way for an international civil religion or a quotreligion of humanityquot idea from Comte quotNow that we don39t believe in one religion governing us all then we can agree on a set of human rules I universal moral codequot gt We need to get away from the quotparticularsquot of religion 0 quotCivil Religion in Americaquot I967 gt American politics is concerned with religious values gt American civil religion ACR is speci c enough to deal with American myth but is general enough to include or attempt to the entire nation and eventually the international community ACR shares symbols with Protestantism but it is separate and distinct from it ACR reminds Americans of the divine foundation of their rights declaration of lndep Civil Religious Crises 0 First the revoutionaryWar gt The Myth ofAmerica as the quotNew sraequot was most prevalent Americans chosen people America promised land and wilderness Native Americans Canaanites need to be taken out of the land Britain Egyptpharaoh American RevWar Israelite escape from Egyptian oppression 0 Second The CiviWar A quotnew testament shiftquot in ACR occurs Sacri ce and Rebirth become important to explain the loss of so many American lives by fellow Americans 0 See speci cally quotThe Gettysburg Addressquot Abraham Lincoln dies on Good Friday Third Responsible Global Action 0 Bellah is writing with Vietnam in mind 0 How will America act in a global economic political and social spheres O A proper response to this crisis requires a sustainable world order and the incorporation of international symbols into the ACR American Civil Rel Civil Religion ampThe Sacred 0 Memorials to people places amp ideas 0 National holidays President39s day 0 Sacred symbols memorials monuments O Solidarity and Union gt The memorials themselves are sacred objects you don39t profane these objectsYou get arrestedWashington has a memorial for his RevWar maj nat gure Same for Abraham Lincoln for his direction during the Civ War Connects us back to Durkheimwith his symbolism for solidarity 0 South wall of the Supreme Court gt Lawgivers throughout history even religious gures Mozes Confucius etc 0 SCotUS is the quotTemple ofjusticequot Civil Religion Debate 0 Sociologists of religion gt Civil religion is generally seen as a useful concept gt Even today there is agreement that civil religious attitudes are recognizable in Americans but the lack of a clear de nition makes civil religion a disputed term gt Most early thinkers have abandoned the term to pursue similar concepts that do not have the contentious quality of quotcivil religionquot 0 Historians ofAmerican Religion launched 3 critiques gt Civil religion was important in earlier times but it no longer exists today or is no longer relevant gt The ideas described by civil religion are already sufficiently covered by other work on quotcivic pietyquot quotpublic religionquot or quotcivil theologyquot gt Civil religion is episodic not constantTherefore it explains only the times of crisis and is not a major force in national identity formation 0 Beah39s initial work avoids issues of race gt native american removal gt african american slavery O Beah39s work emphasizes quotpriestlyquot 0 AA and NA voices are quotpropheticquot American Myths 0 Richard Hughes Myths America Lives By 0 The Myth of the Chosen Nation Used to unite a diverse population under a single covenant with God and each other It became the story of God39s New Israel 0 The Myth of Nature39s Nation gt This claimed thatAmerica is the natural political manifestation of human freedom gt It produced a white European standard in order to be quotnaturalquot 0 The Myth of the Christian Nation gt This drove the reform movements of the nineteenth century especially abolition gt This became an attempt to make particular Christian morality into the law of the land 0 The Myth of the Millennial Nation gt America is quota new order for the agesquot and is meant to bring about a just society gt This becomes the drive to spread American ideals and culture throughout the world 0 The Myth of the Innocent Nation gt This myth has no positive bene t gt it claims that America can do no wrong in the world 0 Pluralism in America has caused problems for the unifying purpose of civil religion gt The immigration law of I965 has brought a greater diversity of popuh on gt Social fragmentation threatens social cohesion and lessens the force of civil religious elements Greater talk about civil religions rather than I civil religion Divide between traditions as well as interpretations When the id39s instincts are rerouted from one outlet to another it is called sublimation Freud39s Origin of Religion Freud believes the individual and society develop along the same trajectory Civilization has taboos against murder and incest Primitive patriarchal tribes O tribal father kept all the women to himself 0 sons in their frustration kill the father and take his wives The sons feel remorse since they lovedrespected their father 0 associate their father with the can39s totem 0 they set up rules against their actions 0 a festivalritual commemorates the event the father becomes associated with god 0 thus the totem is associated with god esp sacrifice manifestation totem thought of as some sort of ancestor and is the main sacri ce of choice for god thus is associated with god it is thought that there is some memory of incest and killing one39s own father that is kept and passed down and so laws against incest were passed 3 signi cant effects of totemism O the historical origin of religion 0 the historical origin of the oedipal complex 0 the historical origins of law and morality gt the first instance of social contract Religion as an illusion children recognize that they are helpless O one39s mother is the source of protection in early life 0 one39s father takes over that role as adults this sense of helplessness persists O forces of nature 0 bodily decay O hostile relationships protection from harm is still sought 0 from one39s father in childhood 0 from god in adulthood religion is an illusion O regression to infantile state 0 based on wish ful llment freud advocates for morality based in reality there39s no basis in reality for why religion can protect us people who pray get sick people who don39t pray get sick he assumes religion is going to fade away he believes that analogy between society and individual and society will keep developing and when religion is no longer needed the individual won39t resort to it basing our morality on our religion to Freud that means that when religion goes away our morality will crumble as well Morality is necessary for civilization 0 there must be rules that hold back instincts gt these rules are often connected to religion therefore he says since religion will fade morality must be grounded in rea tyinstead reli ion as neurosis religion is an expression of death rather than life Thanatosgteros O guilt is associated with the superego and Thanatos can life triumph over death he39s really looking for eros to triumph over our aggressive drive even though Thanatos will always be with us in a healthy person 0 the self identifies with the father who becomes the egoideal O hostility toward the father39s commands is internalized creating a functioning superego In the religious person 0 the father is projected onto God rather than the self gt the ego does not form properly or realistically gt the superego39s demands are connected to God religious observance is an obsessivecompulsive disorder 0 how basically the obsessive part of the order is that you obsess about the hostility towards your father never worked then that hostility is projected towards god and so you hate god as wethe compulsive part of the disorder is the idea of ritual and how children play over and over in a repetitive way the ritual the observance of in worship of hostility you hate him so you keep trying to make him happy you perform rituals like praying to make him happy but you can never work out this hostility Problems with freud39s theory it doesn39t account for buddhismTaoism etc it is basically a critique of monotheistic religions he has no historical backing for what he says although he thinks its just one god from the egyptian Moses HW assignment monday put TA39s name amp section time Tuesday I Week 2 Freudl Before psychoanalysis rst of 7 father39s third wife raised jewish in catholic vienna 9th initially medical doc 0 studied neurology ticks O hopes to become rich and famous by helping the world cocaine prococaine should be used widely analgesic effects work more clearly anxiety gone but then it was found that it was quite addictive and that hurt his reputation in Vienna gt helping the mentally disturbed through other methods than drugs Freud then rejects the wisdom of his day 0 he rejects perfectibility gt religious and scienti c but still concerned with 39progress39 0 against inherent goodness gt children are not tabula rasa he was vs Calvinismpuritism gt his theories proposed innate sexuality and aggression As such he proposes the idea ofThe Unconscious 0 Not accessible in waking life gt repressed emotions memories reside here 0 Not fully rational gt controlled by competing groups of desires eros creative where our artistic drives come from life affirming hunger thirst thanatos destructive death drive risktaking Accessing this area of the mind is essential to rooting out neurosis and becoming mentally healthy the Interpretation of Dreams I 899 0 wish ful llment 0 symbols as keys to unconscious the quottalkingquot cure 0 quotfree associationquot 0 initially used hypnosis O freud saw the psychoanalyst as an archaeologist of the mind understand the primitive forces gt release the forces gt redirect the forces sublimation THEORY OF PERSONALITY Desire and Tension 0 cycle of increase release reduction increase etc Id 0 instinctual eros and thanatos O irrational W no controlling mechanisms most childlike gt no distinction between fantasy and reality O unconscious Super ego O deliberate O controlling associated with thanatos O unconscious internalization of restraints parental can39t be perfect since there are both thanatos and eros and there is a constant struggle in opposite directions Ego 0 most conscious part 0 mediating O rational reality principle 0 unconscious negotiation with reality gt looks for a 39proper39 object of desire attempts to ful ll the demands of id and superego gt repression THE OEDIPAL COMPLEX O psychosexual stages oral birth to I8 mo gt anal 8mo to 3 yrs gt phallic 3 to 6 yrs gt latency 6 yrsto puberty O oral and anal stages gt mother is source of comfortlprotection father is distant and authoritarian Phallic stage O parental attachments begin the same 0 sexual desire develops for one39s mother 0 aggression develops towards one39s father Parents redirect desire and aggression O authoritarian father39s aggression 0 fear of castration O ambivalent identi cation with parents gt love protection security Civilization 0 protects humans against nature 0 adjusts human relationships 0 promotes the triumph of eros over Thanatos gt individual aggressive desire must be restrained but that same desire seeks expression even in society 0 discontent humans create civilization to control individual desire for ex when you39re sick there has to be people and resources available to nurse you back to health Civilization promotes eros over Thanatos need for protection 0 quota personal god is psychologically nothing other than an exalted fatherquot 0 human helplessness gt no control over our lives gt the Father has control Civilization as Authority Symbolic Father 0 3 tasks of religion to adjust or control the horrors of nature to reconcile us with the cruelty of Fate to compensate our sufferings O civilization and religion provide order but demand too much of us Religion as Neurosis O Ambivalence between instincts and civilization 0 the quotformation of religions seems to be based on the suppression the renunciation of certain instinctual impulsesquot 0 too strong identi cation with the Superego iCickerWhat do you think is Freud39s clearest reason for calling religion a neurosis 0 It keeps us in a psychologically infantile state According to Durkheim how are rituals and rite created Durkheim strongly believes that everything in religion is a product of the surrounding society itself This includes everything that defines the ritual including rituals and rites Within this umbrella we find the example totemism where he uses an Autralian aboriginal tribe as an example The totem is a symbol of the clan like a flag They are naturally considered superior in dignity and power to profane things Pals 103 The principle is worshipped it represents the clan and god which means the clan is god What this is saying is that the society uses this totem as an embodiment of their culture and society God ofcourse will not exist without followers and to maintain order and build strength this clan needs God In contrast with magic there is a meeting place as well as a set format of ritual and rites which followers bond over Lecture Are religious ritual or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder French Anthropologist Pascal Boyer compares religious ritual to those diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder These rituals are often performed with a certain sense of urgency and since religion like the disorder come from the brain this comparison isn39t too far fetched An example used is the washing of hands by OCD and religious people Both are following a very specific set of steps and if every part of the ritual isn t accomplished they cannot move on Pascal came up with the idea that Religious rituals are rooted in a specialized evolutionary system that detects threats in the environment and responds by initiating a specific type of regulated highly controlled behavior called the precaution system Dangers that would have been present when we lived in the wild were responded to by our flight or fight reflex which has now transformed to protect us from dangers that we don39t necessary understand or ones that are not tangible Social standing and integrating with the community become extremely important and force the individual into accepting rituals and rites of a greater society This of course ties into Durkheim39s ideas on religion and how they tie in directly to what is created by society Section Assignment 5 1 5 12 Discussion Question from lecture answer 0 Why does Eliade contrast the Constitution of America with the Declaration of Independence What importance do these documents have to him Eliade would ground civil religion in the sacred that lies outside of society For him there is no way to ground our society in our society unlike Durkheim The Constitution is not the founding document of our country 9 It is a legal contract Those who sign onto it ratify it and may amend it Professor Sokoll quotThe sacred is something we engage that appears to us and we recognize it It is not something created by us Even though you haven39t read the constitution it is still there and protects usquot In contrast the Declaration of Independence is grounded in the sacred quotnatural awsquot 9 It is NOT a legal document Those who sign onto it affirm its truth They do not ratify make it true it and they cannot change that truth Just like love a sacred emotion it appears to you as it is and you can39t affect it Eliade means to draw a parallel by nature between the declaration of independence and civil religion You can t amend the laws they appear to you asis and are sacred Discussion Question from reading answerampquote 0 Where do Durkheim and Bellah agree Eliade believes in a civil religion that would unite everyone under one moral code To Bellah civil religion is an institutionalized collection of sacred beliefs about the American nation the subordination of the nation to ethical principles that transcend it in terms of which it should be judged As such Bellah might actually agree with Durkheim when he states that a religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices which unite us into one single moral community Introducing Religion 106 0 Where do Durkheim and Eliade differ SAME Eliade opposes the Sacred and the Profane in his de nition of religion DIFFERENT However Eliade chooses to employ it differently de ning sacred as the quotsphere not of society but of the supernaturalquot Introducing Religion 272 By doing so Eliade expands the de nition of a religious experience or quothierophanyquot from only social phenomena to everything that quotis the opposite of the profanequot Introducing Religion 275 For Durkheim religion quotis something eminently socialquot whereas for Eliade it can be seen in everything and where it is seen a divine truth is revealed to the observer quotfull of changeless perfection order power and beautyquot Introducing Religion 272 Emile Durkheim PSA Emile Durkheim known as the father of sociology set the values of society on an individual s behavior in two fundamental categories of beliefs and rites The first being an evidence of opinion and representation and the latter consisting of modes of action both determined by the surrounding society For Durkheim Totemism plays a significant role as the impersona force within and behind the totem Lecture 426 The worshipping of the totem is in fact the clan worshipping its self which speaks to the importance of societies influence on the ritual and beliefs of others The totem symbol carved in wood or stone conveys the permanence of the social community Pals 101 The totem symbol represents what Durkheim refers to as the sacred and contrasts with the profane In essence the sacred is untouchable and follows a series of rules or rituals which set it apart from other profane objects They are naturally considered superior in dignity and power to profane things Pals 103 These sacred objects are determined by the group or society and therefore embody certain elements of this society Examples of this community influence are further represented in 2 main cults of the society the taboos which stress the importance of sef sacrifice over sef indugence Pa 104 the negative and the positive of ceremony where health and life are celebrated To explain this importance of rites and ritual Durkheim uses the beliefs in magic to find similarities Religion is different from magic believers because there is no interconnectedness between clients of magic shows You come to watch a magic show and the you disperse with little interaction and rite or rituals these 2 elements are something belonging to this group and they make its unity Pals 105 With this he comes to the conclusion that A religion is a uni ed system of beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church all those who adhere to them Pals 106 Using the comparison with other supernatural acts such as magic as well as the importance of Totemism in religion Durkheim concludes that society rules of an individual s behavior beliefs and rites and shows how religion embodies these elements of the society Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist whose writings form most of what we today call functionaism a movement characterized by writings that aimed at putting religion into a wider social context Durkheim like Freud emphasized the importance of establishing the origin of religion in contrast he saw it as the worship of society itself through rituals or ceremonies Thus Durkheim focused on the collective features of religion found in rituals because they offer stability and integration to society which implies a sense of comfort that each individual within them needs For Durkheim religion is a link between members of a communitysociety Reigious beliefs are not merely received individually by all the members of this group they are something belonging to the group and they make its unity Introducing Religion 105 In other words the collective nature of religion here gives the individuals who comprise the society the sense of integration and unity they need which increases their potential for happiness Furthermore according to Durkheim religion provides a sense of security and stability as a provider of moral behavioral guidelines He claims a religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community Introducing Religion 106 He further elaborates that social identity is also derived from religion for example through the various special naming ceremonies like christening and baptizing This is one example where religious ceremonies heighten the individual s sense of social identity and membership And further Durkheim elaborates religion brings people together the religious ceremonies put the group into action So their first effect is to bring individuals together making them intimate with one another Introducing Religion 132 Evolutionary psychology of religion Evolutionary psychology of religion The evolutionary psychology of religion is the study of religious belief using evolutionary psychology principles It is one approach to the psychology of religion As with all other organs and organ functions the brain and cognition39s functional structure have been argued to have a genetic basis and are therefore subject to the effects of natural selection and evolution Like other organs and tissues this functional structure should be universally shared amongst humans and should solve important problems of survival and reproduction Evolutionary psychologists seek to understand cognitive processes religion in this case by understanding the survival and reproductive functions they might serve Mechanisms of evolution There is general agreement among scientists that a propensity to engage in religious behavior evolved early in human history However there is disagreement on the exact mechanisms that drove the evolution of the religious mind There are two schools of thought One is that religion itself evolved due to natural selection and is an adaptation in which case religion conferred some sort of evolutionary advantage Altematively religious beliefs and behaviors may have emerged as by products of other adaptive traits without initially being selected for because of their own benefits Religious behavior often involves significant costs including economic costs celibacy dangerous rituals or by spending time that could be otherwise used This would suggest that natural selection should act against religious behavior unless it or something else causing religious behavior have significant advantagesm Religion as an adaptation Richard Sosis and Candace Alcorta have reviewed several of the prominent theories for the adaptive value of 2 Many are quotsocial solidarity theoriesquot which view religion as having evolved to enhance cooperation and religion cohesion within groups Group membership in tum provides benefits which can enhance an individual39s chances for survival and reproduction These social solidarity theories may help to explain the painful or dangerous nature of many religious rituals Costly signaling theory suggests that such rituals might serve as public and hard to fake signals that an individual39s commitment to the group is sincere Since there would be a considerable benefit in trying to cheat the system taking advantage of group living benefits without taking on any possible costs the ritual would not be something simple that can be taken lightly2 Warfare is a good example of a cost of group living and Richard Sosis Howard C Kress and James S Boster carried out a cross cultural survey which demonstrated that men in societies which engage in war do submit to the costliest rituals3 Studies that show more direct positive associations between religious practice and health and longevity are more controversial Harold G Koenig and Harvey J Cohen summarized and assessed the results of 100 evidence based studies that systematically examined the relationship between religion and human well being finding that 79 showed a positive in uence 4 These studies are popular in the media as seen in a recent NPR program including University of Miami Professor Gail Ironson39s findings that belief in God and a strong sense of spirituality were good predictors of viral load and immune cell levels in HIV patients5 However Dr Richard P Sloan of Columbia University was quoted in the New York Times as saying that quotthere is no really good compelling evidence that there is a relationship between religious involvement and healthquot6 There is still debate over the validity of these findings and they do not necessarily prove a direct cause and effect relationship between religion and health Mark Stbich claims there is a clear correlation but the reason for it is unclear 7 A criticism of such placebo effects as well as the advantage of religion giving a sense of meaning is that it seems likely that less complex mechanisms than religious behavior could achieve such goals1 Evolutionary psychology of religion Religion as a byproduct Stephen Jay Gould cites religion as an example of an exaptation or spandrel but he does not himself select a definite trait which he thinks was actually acted on by natural selection He does however bring up Freud39s suggestion that our large brains which evolved for other reasons led to consciousness The beginning of consciousness forced humans to deal with the concept of personal mortality Religion may have been one solution to this problem 8 Other researchers have proposed specific psychological processes which may have been co opted for religion Such mechanisms may include the ability to infer the presence of organisms that might do harm agent detection the ability to come up with causal narratives for natural events etiology and the ability to recognize that other people have minds of their own with their own beliefs desires and intentions theory of mind These three adaptations among others allow human beings to imagine purposeful agents behind many observations that could not readily be explained otherwise e g thunder lightning movement of planets complexity of life etc9 Pascal Boyer suggests in his book Religion Explained that there is no simple explanation for religious consciousness He builds on the ideas of cognitive anthropologists Dan Sperber and Scott Atran who argued that religious cognition represents a byproduct of various evolutionary adaptations including folk psychology He argues that one such factor is that is has in most cases been advantageous for humans to remember quotminimally counter intuitivequot concepts which are somewhat different from the daily routine and somewhat violate innate expectations about how the world is constructed A god that is in many aspects like humans but much more powerful is such a concept while the often much more abstract god discussed at length by theologians is often too counter intuitive Experiments support that religious people think about their god in anthropomorphic terms even if this contradicts the more complex theological doctrines of their religion1 Pierre Lienard and Pascal Boyer suggest that humans have evolved a quothazard precaution systemquot which allows us to detect potential threats in the environment and attempt to respond appropriately10 Several features of ritual behaviors often a major feature of religion are held to trigger this system These include the occasion for the ritual often the prevention or elimination of danger or evil the harm believed to result from nonperformance of the ritual and the detailed proscriptions for proper performance of the ritual Lienard and Boyer discuss the possibility that a sensitive hazard precaution system itself may have provided fitness benefits and that religion then quotassociates individual unmanageable anxieties with coordinated action with others and thereby makes them more tolerable or meaningfulquot Justin L Barrett in Why Would Anyone Believe in God suggests that belief in God is natural because it depends on mental tools possessed by all human beings He suggests that the way our minds are structured and develop make belief in the existence of a supreme god with properties such as being superknowing superpowerful and immortal highly attractive He also compares belief in God to belief in other minds and devotes a chapter to looking at the evolutionary psychology of atheism He suggests that one of the fundamental mental modules in the brain is the Hyperactive Agency Detection Device HADD another potential system for identifying danger This HADD may confer a survival benefit even if it is over sensitive it is better to avoid an imaginary predator than be killed by a real one This would tend to encourage belief in ghosts and spirits1 1 Memes Richard Dawkins suggests in The Sel sh Gene that cultural memes function like genes in that they are subject to natural selection In The God Delusion Dawkins further argues that because religious truths cannot be questioned their very nature encourages religions to spread like quotmind virusesquot This model holds that religion is the byproduct of the cognitive modules in the human brain that arose in our evolutionary past to deal with problems of survival and reproduction Initial concepts of supematural agents may arise in the tendency of humans to quotoverdetectquot the presence of other humans or predators momentarily mistaking a vine for a snake For instance a man might report that he felt something sneaking up on him but it vanished when he looked aroundm Evolutionary psychology of religion Stories of these experiences are especially likely to be retold passed on and embellished due to their descriptions of standard ontological categories human artifact animal plant natural object with counterintuitive properties humans that are invisible houses that remember what happened in them etc These stories become even more salient when they are accompanied by activation of non violated expectations for the ontological category houses that quotrememberquot activates our intuitive psychology of mind ie we automatically attribute thought processes to them13 One of the attributes of our intuitive psychology of mind is that humans are interested in the affairs of other humans This may result in the tendency for concepts of supematural agents to inevitably cross connect with human intuitive moral feelings evolutionary behavioral guidelines In addition the presence of dead bodies creates an uncomfortable cognitive state in which dreams and other mental modules person identification and behavior prediction continue to run decoupled from reality producing incompatible intuitions that the dead are somehow still around When this is coupled with the human predisposition to see misfortune as a social event as someone39s responsibility rather than the outcome of mechanical processes it may activate the intuitive quotwillingness to make exchangesquot module of the human theory of minds resulting in the tendency of humans to try to interact and bargain with their supematural agents ritual14 In a large enough group some individuals will seem better skilled at these rituals than others and will become specialists As the societies grow and encounter others competition will ensue and a quotsurvival of the fittestquot effect may cause the practitioners to modify their concepts to provide a more abstract more widely acceptable version Eventually the specialist practitioners form a cohesive group or guild with its attendant political goals religion14 Biological mechanisms causing religiosity The God gene hypothesis proposes that a specific gene VMAT2 predisposes humans towards spiritual or mystic experiences Proponent Dean Hamer see this predisposition as increasing optimism which has positive effects on other factors such as health and reproductive success References 1 The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology Edited by Robin Dunbar and Louise Barret Oxford University Press 2007 Chapter 44 The Evolution of Religion by Joseph A Bulbulia 2 Sosis R Alcorta C 2003 quotSignaling solidarity and the sacred the evolution of religious behaviorquot Evolutionary Anthropology 12 6 264274 doi 10 1002evan 10120 3 Sosis R Kress H C Boster J S 2007 quotSears for war evaluating altemative signaling explanations for crosscultural variance in ritual costsquot Evolution and Human Behavior 28 4 234247 doi101016jevolhumbehav200702007 4 Koenig Harold G Cohen Harvey J 2001 The Link between Religion and Health Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor Oxford Oxford University Press ISBN 0195143604 5 Hagerty Barbara 2009 quotCan Positive Thoughts Help Heal Another Personquot httpwwwnprorgtemplatesstorystory phpstoryIdl0435l7l0 National Public Radio Retrieved 20091219 6 Duenwald Mary May 7 2002 quotReligion and Health New Research Revives an Old Debatequot httpquerynytimescomgstfullpage htn1lres9E04EODE1730F934A35756COA9649C8B63 New York Times Retrieved 20091219 7 httplongevityaboutcomodlongevityboostersareligionlifehtm 8 Gould S J 1991 quotExaptation a crucial tool for an evolutionary psychologyquot Journal of Social Issues 47 4365 9 Atran S Norenzayan A 2004 quotReligion39s Evolutionary Landscape Scott Atran httpwwwbbsonlineorgPreprintsAtran12172002 Referees Ara Norenzayanquot The Behavioral and brain sciences Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 6 71330 discussion 73070 PMID 16035401 10 Lienard P Boyer P 2006 quotWhence collective rituals A cultural selection model of ritualized behaviorquot American Anthropologist 108 824827 11 Barrett Justin L quot3quot Why Would Anyone Believe in God ISBN 0759106673 12 Guthrie Stewart Elliot 1995 Faces in the Clouds A New Theory of Religion Oxford University Press ISBN 0195069013 13 Boyer Pascal quotFunctional Origins of Religious conceptsquot httpwwwsscnetuclaeduanthrobecpapersboyerreligiousconcepts htm Retrieved 20091219 14 Boyer Pascal 2001 Religion Explained The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought Basic Books ISBN 0465006957 Evolutionary psychology of religion Further reading Robert Wright39s quotThe Evolution of Godquot httpwwwevolutionofgodnet Stewart Guthrie Faces in the clouds A New Theory of Religion httpwwwamazoncomgpreader 0195098919 ISBN 0 19 509891 9 Evolutionary psychology of religion httppinkerwjhharvardeduarticlesmedia20041029religion htm Steven Pinker Adaptations Exaptations and Spandrels httpwwwsscnetuclaeducommhaseltonwebdocsspandrels html Attachment Evolution and the Psychology of Religion httpbooksgooglecombooksid7 3UvJk5XY8Camp pgPA235ampdqreligioneXaptationampeiIbtoR5iaD4v8sQOgn62 Agamp sigzzFvCIcvIULWFyXX8ED5tE 10tcPPA238M1 ISBN 1593850883 Atran Scott In Gods We Trust The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion httpwwwamazoncomgpreader 0195178033 ISBN 0 19 517803 3 Religious thought and behaviour as by products of brain function httpwwwbiuacilSOCpsdocs diesendruck9pdf Pascal Boyer Minds and Gods The Cognitive Foundations of Religion By Todd Tremlin httpbooksgooglecom booksido4J2AjN2JXACamppgPA43ampdqtoddtremlinamp sigJLt0heOblsS4etSaWM scLFAw8PPA16M1 2006 ISBN 0 19 530534 5 External links International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion httpwwwiacsrcom Article Sources and Contributors Article Sources and Contributors Evolutionary psychology of religion Source httpenwikipediaorgwindexphpo1did494862065 Contributors Academica Orientalis BIOEE27 80 Barbara Shack Computertheology Cybercobra Dbachmarm Diversity23 Editor2020 Gavagai99 GregorB Halofan101 Johnson Bob Jonkerz JorisvS Lotje Mattisse Mdiamante Miradre Muntuwandi NBeale Neapoli Norenzayan Pe11eSmith Pigman Proxima Centauri Rankiri Rasheed2100 Rjwilmsi Rockfang Shambalala Slusk Speedy la cucaracha Sting au Tktktk Ttiotsw Victor Chmara Wapondaponda We used to sit Wikiberg Xme Zlatno Pile 22 anonymous edits License Creatiye Commons AttributionShare Alike 30 Unported on 9 ll uul PSA 2 William James who interestingly was trained as a medical doctor came to write some de ning literature on the subject of religion More speci cally in Religious Experience James in strived to define what a religion is To do so William James defined what he thought constituted a religious experience and that included four ideas ineffability noetic quality transiency and passivity For James a religious experience is one that is ineffable in other words that words cannot adequately articulate the experience itself you need to live it to understand it James further explains the experience cannot be imparted or transferred to others No one can make clear to another who has never had a certain feeling in what the quality or worth of it consists Introducing Religion 189 Furthermore the religious experience needs to possess noetic quality which means that the experience taught the individual something that the individual considered carried knowledge or truth that unknown to the individual prior to the experience James clarifies for us that religious experiences are illuminations revelations full of significance and importance all articulate though they remain and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for aftertime Introducing Religion 189 Thirdly according to James the religious experience needs to be temporally short but with long lasting effects something James defines as transiency of an experience As such the experience needs to be memorable Mystical states cannot be sustained for long Introducing Religion 189 So according to James it cannot be perfectly recalled but when they recur it is recognized and from one recurrence to another it is susceptible of continuous development in what is felt as inner richness and importance Introducing Religion 190 Finally the religious experience needs to make the individual lose selfcontrol something James explains feels mystical Introducing Religion 189 to the individual experience the religious experience as if he were grasped and held by a superior power Introducing Religion 190 Thus a religious experience is defined by four components to James ineffability noetic quality transiency and passivity Following in the footsteps of Otto Mircea Eliade found a sharp contrast in human beliefs between two principles the Sacred represented the extraordinary and supernatural bringing man freedom while the Profane was the ordinary and without substance He found the sacred to be orderly and regimented This world of gods was saturated with being and power as our beliefs are very strong in this area of thought and reflexion The sacred is manifested in hierophany and not theophany In the latter there is an appearance of a god while quothierophany signifies a manifestation of the Sacred and not just necessarily seeing god This hierophany leads to order rites and rituals giving the world purpose and values and creating a tangible future On the other hand the profane was chaotic and undifferentiated These items or things give no order or structure to man and can only be viewed as they are seen in physical form with no higher use For example a sacred building will require certain conformity and action from a group of people while a profane building gives little to no guidance on the interaction with that building quotThe polarity sacredprofane is often expressed as opposition between real or pseudorea Pals 276 He sees the profane as the pseudoreal which is outside the ordinary of our generic mindset whereas we normally see the sacred as pseudoreal Based on this thought process Eliade myths are the first evidence of the Sacred which means that myths established the world39s organization Since only the Sacred has true value and the Sacred manifest itself in the first time something is created then these myths are a representation of the true origins Let us touch upon the idea of freedom through the sacred and religion according to Eliade quotChristianity is the religion of the modern man and historical man of the man who simultaneously discovered personal freedom and continuous time in a place of cyclical time Pals 307 His overall argument in the sacred brings to light the idea that man lives in a world of unlimited constraint of civilization time and space The pursuit of the sacred is one that brings elements of the supernatural into man39s own realm and in essence gives transcending powers over these limitations Therefore the sacred creates order from disorder and gives man a sense of underlying purpose in this uncertain world full of rules William James William James who interestingly was trained as a medical doctor came to write some de ning literature on the subject of religion More speci cally in Religious Experience James in strived to de ne what a religion is To do so William James de ned what he thought constituted a religious experience and that included four ideas ineffability noetic quality transiency and passivity For James a religious experience is one that is ineffable in other words that words cannot adequately articulate the experience itself you need to live it to understand it James further explains the experience cannot be imparted or transferred to others No one can make clear to another who has never had a certain feeling in what the quality or worth of it consists Introducing Religion 189 Furthermore the religious experience needs to possess noetic quality which means that the experience taught the individual something that the individual considered carried knowledge or truth that unknown to the individual prior to the experience James clari es for us that religious experiences are illuminations revelations full of signi cance and importance all articulate though they remain and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for aftertime Introducing Religion 189 Thirdly according to James the religious experience needs to be temporally short but with long lasting effects something James de nes as transiency of an experience As such the experience needs to be memorable Mystical states cannot be sustained for long Introducing Religion 189 So according to James it cannot be perfectly recalled but when they recur it is recognized and from one recurrence to another it is susceptible of continuous development in what is felt as inner richness and importance Introducing Religion 190 Finally the religious experience needs to make the individual lose selfcontrol something James explains feels mystical Introducing Religion 189 to the individual experience the religious experience as if he were grasped and held by a superior power Introducing Religion 190 Thus a religious experience is de ned by four components to James ineffability noetic quality transiency and passivity missed rst I5 Protestant Ethic In Webers lifetime the Protestants of germany held more business interests than catholics O are they wealthy because they are protestant or for some other reasongt O protestantism especially calvinism has this worldly tendencies while catholicism is other worldly So there seems to be an 39elective af nity39 between Prot and the spirit of capitalism O weber rejects simple causal relationship between ideas and material conditions 0 rather there is an interactive effect The Spirit of Capitalism Greed is turned into an ethical imperative rationalism and calculation are guiding principles Marx does not explain why capitalists start accumulating capital pre capitalist people would find the modern system of work and thrift strange 0 work long hours to survive 0 stop working when you get what you need But the capitalist continues to work after acquiring what she needs Rational calculation is essential to the existence of capitalism O rigorous rational bookkeeping order and discipline 0 marx is wrong to assume that ideas originate as a reflection of economic circumstances gt quotthe spirit of capitaismwas present before the capitalistic orderquot Martin Luther Catholic monk who broke from the church I5 I 7 began the protestant reformation sola de sola gratia sola scriptura all by faith alone by scripture alone excess of power for the church had to brought back by the scripture the concepts of faith grace and scripture can get an assurance of salvation for oneself German word Beruf is translated 39caing39 0 prior to luther and the protestant reformation a calling was a religious calling 0 with luther each individuals occupation become hisher 39caing39 one39s duty before God is to perform one39s calling in this world gt Each calling is equally worthwhile Luther39s calling is too traditionalist 0 another element is necessary Calvinism and Election Cavinism39s defining doctrine is the predestination of the Elect O God determines before the world is made who will be saved and who will be damned no one but god has control over destiny of the souls of humans gt FATE Calvinism obviously contrasts significantly with Catholic sacramental theology 0 no help from priest sacrament church or god 0 the calvinist stands alone before an inscrutable God According to Weber the magic of the world is removed 0 the 39momentary39 concept of redemptive time is replaced with a life under judgment 0 the 39magical39 processes of atonement are replaced with nothing Calvinists experience deep existential uncertainty to counter this the calvinist must 0 be con dent in hisher election 0 gain confidence thru worldly achievement gt breaks from luther as well as catholicism the asceticism of catholicism is otherworldly O the asceticism calvinism is thisworldly lutheranism emphasizes humility O calvinism emphasizes con dence Calvinism and Asceticism Calvinism puts the methodical life of the monastery in the everyday world acquiring wealth became the main proof of election 0 thru a this worldly calling not monastic O acquisition must be to glorify God not for itself Protestantism and Capitalism WhatWeber shows is an elective affinity bw the development of Protestantism and capitalism O contrary to Marx not a simple materialists explanation O contrary to Hegel not a simple idealist explanation O demonstration of the simultaneous correlative development of social principles Essay Marx Weber and Durkheim on Religion Marx Weber and Durkheim together comprise the historical core of the sociological tradition While they each come from very different perspectives and offer profound contributions to the eld they each have tried to address problems associated with the advent of modernity One issue that has developed within the context of modernity is how religion factors into a society that increasingly is built on the foundations of rationalism Many intellectuals started asking questions about the origin of religion since as Laplace stated to Napoleon they no longer had need for the God hypothesis If as they believed at the time culture was moving to a place of mass nonbelief what did that mean for contemporary society which had many structures based around religion Marx the earliest of the three thinkers actually wrote very little about religion So while a sociology of religion would be dif cult to pull from his writings we aren t left with a complete absence of Marx s opinions on the subject Much of Marx s direct statements on religion come in the first several paragraphs of his Contribution to the Critique of Hegel s Philosophy of Right Introduction Here we nd Marx s classic statement on religion that it is the opium of the people However taking this as Marx s whole or even representative perspective on religion would be to rip this statement from its context Marx begins the Contribution to the Critique with the bold opening line the criticism of religion has been largely completed and the criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism One can interpret this to imply that Marx viewed the critique of religion to be the most foundational criticism in which philosophers can engage if such criticism is the premise of all criticism He restates the strength of this position shortly after with this statement The criticism of religion disillusions man so that he will think act and fashion his reality as a man sic who has lost his illusions and regained his reason so that he will revolve about himself as his own true sun He clari es his intent with the following This state this society produce religion which is an inverted world consciousness because they are an inverted world What I see Marx as saying in these series of statements is that the critique of religion is foundational because religion produces the inverted illusion that the world of religion the heavens the gods is the real and that the physical world we inhabit as humans is a shadow of the real much as was described in Kant and Hegel So in his criticism of religion he attacks any belief system that inverts the material world from being the primary reality The importance of the critique of religion is that it reframes the intellectual discussion so that we can talk about the problems of the material world in which we nd ourselves embedded and not a spiritualnoumenal world that in Marx s mind seems to be irrelevant to social structures and problems Marx clari es his position stating that Man who has found in the fantastic reality of heaven where he sought a supernatural being only his own re ection will no longer be tempted to nd only the semblance of himself a nonhuman being where he seeks and must seek his true reality Religion is indeed man s selfconsciousness and selfawareness Here he reveals his ontological hand which looks very similar to what we will later see in Durkheim and Weber that religion is a re ection of humanity and not of a god Marx makes the claim that the gods we sought in our religions were actually ourselves as we have apparently discovered through the course of recent historical events presumably modernism Not only is religion a representation of humanity but further it is a representation of our own selfconsciousness He goes a little deeper when he says Religion is the general theory of this world its encyclopedic compendium its logic in popular form implying that to study the construction of beliefs about religion is to discover deeper streams in how humanity sees itself as a whole The study of religion would not simply be a study of the gods but of society and of humanity itself As a reprieve from his apparent harassment of religion Marx softens his critiques by telling us one of the primary purposes for religious beliefs Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature the sentiment of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions It is the opium of the people Thus the escapism that religion allows the masses points to the necessity to escape from something That something is the soulless conditions of a society that does not care for its people for a system that dehumanizes workers and structures that enslave the people in cycles of oppression The fact that religion persists is a sign that conditions persist that require a sublimated expression of inhumanity The alienation that religion describes between humans and god represents the alienation that individuals feel from their material existence Further the god that they worship the perfect loving creative free being that is idealized in religion is actually the idealized selves that humans could be if we were not constrained by the extemal forces of society In longing for reunion with god salvation we are actually longing for a reunion with ourselves Marx explains The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of men is a demand for their real happiness The call to abandon their illusions about their condition is a call to abandon a condition which requires illusions The criticism of religion is therefore the embryonic criticism of this vale of tears of which religion is the halo As with Marx Durkheim also sees religion as a prime factor in the life of individuals and groups However while Marx spends most of his writings on how economic factors drove the engines of history and spends very little time on the topic of religion Durkheim invests a great deal of time exploring religion and how it has in uenced the direction of society Like Marx Durkheim wanted a scientific understanding of society an objective study Also like Marx he sees religion as a re ection of society and not a depiction of an extemal supematural reality However Durkheim uses sociological method to prove that hypothesis To do so he explores the tribal religions of the Australian outback as described by early anthropologists Durkheim defines religion as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that is to say things set apart and forbidden beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church all those who adhere to them Elementary F orms for Religious Life p 44 Nearer to the end of the book Durkheim revises and secularizes his de nition as first and foremost a system of ideas by which men sic imagine the society of which they are members and the obscure yet intimate relations they have with it p 227 Similarly to this tum of definitions Durkheim starts his examination somewhat benignly as an exploration of the beliefs and rituals of the tribal religions in Australia We get a sense however that he is going to take us to further places when in his Introduction he describes how religious representations are collective representations that express collective realities rites are ways of acting that are bom only in the midst of assembled groups and whose purpose is to evoke maintain or recreate certain mental states of those groups p 9 He also talks about how all of the first systems of representation were religious in origin p 8 pointing us to a new way to discuss epistemology In elucidating a sociology of knowledge Durkheim uses the history of religions to show how religions mirrored the way society was structured For example classificatory schemas for social groups were based on tribal differences Tribes were divided into two phratries which were further subdivided into various clans p 105107 These divisions were based around the various totems that were represented by the phratries and clans Durkheim proposes that these divisions formed the basis of how humans leamed to classify their environment into different categories p 238 He notices that there is nothing objective in the observable world that forces us to group things with each other Everything in our experience is disparate and discontinuous Nowhere in reality do we observe beings that merge their natures and change into one another It is only the religious practice of grouping various totem clans together that allowed us to start grouping other things in our environment Thus as Durkheim explains the realities to which religious speculation was applied then are the same ones that would later serve as objects of scientists re ection Those realities are nature man and society 5 Both attempt to connect things to one another establish intemal relations between those things classify them and systematize them p 43 1 In this way Durkheim attempts to show that religion forms the epistemological basis for human experience But Durkheim goes further He is not content to make religion the epistemological basis for contemporary society He seeks to radically invert this conception of the relation of religion and society making not religion the origin of society as he has just proposed but in fact making society the origin of religion In this way he follows Marx in making religion a re ection of society However while Marx sees god as an idealization of human nature Durkheim sees god as society itself in several respects He constructs functional characteristics of god and bridges these to society For example he says that god is first of all a being that man conceives of as superior to himself in some respects and one on whom he believes he depends V Society also fosters in us the sense of perpetual dependence i Society requires us to make ourselves its servants forgetful of our own interests p 208209 In making this connection Durkheim hopes to show how religion functions to stabilize society and bring together a sense of unity and identity between the members of the community He had a similar in mind in The Division of Labor in Society when he created the categories of mechanical and organic solidarity to elucidate the forces that helped stabilize the radically changing society in the modem world In Elementary F orms Durkheim reaches into another source religion to show how societies are stabilized and cohered This occurs in the reenacting of rituals which creates intense emotions and bonding between the participants Assisting this process is what Durkheim calls effervescence if collective life awakens religious through when it rises to a certain intensity that is so because it brings about a state of effervescence that alters the conditions of the psychic activity The vital energies become hyperexcited the passions more intense the sensations more powerful there are indeed some that are produced at this moment Man does not recognize himself he feels somehow transformed and in consequence transforms his surroundings p 424 What occurs during effervescenceproducing rituals and how they affect the individual participants to bring them into a collective consciousness and solidarity represent a temporally constrained unit both as a singular event as well as having limited longterm in uence on the participants Durkheim notes that the temporality of these events can be extended by the use of symbols As the rituals are imbued with symbolic meaning that the participants can take with them the effects of the rituals can pass into the daily lives of the members of the society The symbols can be passed on to members who have not participated directly in the rituals but who can therefore participate in the rituals vicariously through the stories of those who have participated and can then carry the symbols with them as well In this way moral systems can be efficiently passed through societies Weber the last of the three writers like Durkheim invested significant time in the study of religion Also similar to Durkheim Weber sees a great deal of contemporary society rooted in the processes of religion However like Marx Weber sees the driving force of history as material interests and not ideas as found in religious beliefs So in tying religion to the spread of capitalism as he does in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism he attempts to show that the ideas Weber s classic switchman metaphor behind the religious beliefs of Calvinists steer the direction of the forces that were already in motion The combination of technologies that facilitated capitalism and the ascetic habits of the Calvinists allowed capitalism to ourish in Europe and spread to the Americas In the Sociology of Religion Weber lays out his thesis that people pursue their interests and that religious leaders and structures help people achieve those goals In this way religion provides the tools for both stability and social change Various trends are seen in how this process develops First he describes the importance of magical beliefs for early society being the explanations of how acts became efficacious Magicians are endowed with charisma that is the power to accomplish necessary tasks like healing facilitating crop growth and protecting the village Once a magician proves that he can do the things he claims the village endows him and his acts with symbolic representation As Swidler describes Continuing encounters between magicians and their clients lead to a process of abstraction in which magicians give symbolic form to their claims to extraordinary powers finally creating a new realm of experience p xi As these acts became symbols in the community systems of gods were created which the magicians manipulated to help the community or hinder in the case of curses Magicians however were utilized for single events and were on an oncall basis Their jobs were secure as long as they remained effective and as long as the village continued to develop needs requiring his services Further the symbol systems and gods became embedded into the community structure and as political systems developed the gods came to represent those political communities p 17 As time went on and speci c gods were found to be more effective at producing military victory and economic prosperity those gods grew in prominence and monotheism became more dominant However the creation and maintenance of these symbols as well as the gods developed into the need to systematize and regulate them This need produced a priesthood whose function in society was to maintain these symbol systems and create rational systems of thought to cohere the symbols and gods Weber gives several different functions of the priests contrasting them with magicians for example the priest s professional equipment of special knowledge xed doctrine and vocational qualifications which brings him into contrast with sorcerers prophets and other types of religious functionaries who exert their in uence by virtue of their personal gifts charisma made manifest in miracle and revelation p 29 Stemming from the systematization of symbols and gods by the priests is a culturewide acceptance of concepts such as rules sin and taboo Some of the symbols that the priests systematized were rules that the community must follow in order for the gods to obey the magicians or to act favorably towards the people These systemizations became the foundation for laws and ethical standards The next players to develop in this system are the prophets Similar to magicians they are empowered by the community because of their gift of charisma However the difference is that the purpose of the prophet is to disseminate a new doctrine or ethical standard not to perform magic So when cultural changes produced various injustices a prophet would arise to reveal a new doctrine to supplant the old system thus correcting these injustices It is at this point that the structure is laid for the larger pattem of society First members of a community have material interests be they food shelter or protection from enemies Magicians at one time helped them with these needs but as society stabilized into better developed political systems and as population density grew the random practices of magicians were systematized by priests through a process of rationalization which developed into structures to support standardized community practice for efficient control placation and supplication of the gods These systems developed into bureaucracies a concept that is foundational to Weber s view of social stabilization the maintenance of cultural symbols and the distribution of goods and services to the modem state He carries over the concept of the prophet pointing to individuals who because of charismatic ideas produce changes in the direction of society For example Luther and Calvin evolved religious ideas that developed into an asceticism that allowed capitalism to establish itself and become the dominant social and economic structure in the West The ideas of a prophet once they become established and rationalized then become bureaucratized and wait for the next prophet to come along and start the cycle again Marx Durkheim and Weber represent the foundational sociological traditions examining the quotinstitutionquot of religion They are standing on the outside looking in As any scientist looks at any subject objectivity necessitates a dispassionate examination of the evidence Such studies are very different from the joumey of faith quotfrom withinquot While the quotinstitutionsquot of quotreligionquot may be able to be explained within the framework of history sociology psychology etc these explanations neither negate nor diminish the joumey of the believer They simply represent the attempt to explain the larger structures and pattems that are observable in every culture through out history Marx Durkheim and Weber represent the objectivist or modemist tradition within sociology A different perspective might be taken from a postmodem sociologist or an anthropologist who might look at religion through the lens of the believerto explore quotwhat it is to believequot Theologians taking the same scienti c approach found in the sociologists yet study religion from the perspective of the believer quotfrom the insidequot with the goal of applying the complexities of faith to the complexities of the world making sense of ritual explaning belief and putting belief into the larger context of the lived experience of the church and the individual believers None of these various perspectives is inherently superior than another and none seeks to dethrone the other from scientific credibility So to study the institutions of religion as did Marx Durkheim and Weber while at first glance might seem at first glance heretical to the believer actually helps produce building blocks of knowledge that the theologian believer evangelist and any other person may use to understand the workings of the religions in the larger institution of society 39wv 1u My v fan HM Religion Studies 1 Spring 2012 Final Exam Study Guide Your final exam will consist of an essay question that I will choose It will require you to interact with the course materials presented and to synthesize your knowledge of the material into an integrated argument in response to the last source presented Jonathan Haidt s TED talk quotReligion Evolution and the Ecstasy of Selftranscendence In this talk Haidt presents a model for understanding religion from an evolutionary social and psychological perspective He incorporates ideas from two theorists that we covered in class Durkheim and James and one we did not Charles Darwin Your task is to understand Haidt s argument and to respond to it using the ideas of three theorists that we covered in class Smith Freud Boyer Durkheim Bellah Eliade Marx and Weber You must choose at least two from the main theorists covered Freud Durkheim Eliade and Weber and you may choose one from the other theorists Smith Boyer James Bellah and Marx The exam will be open book and open note As such you will be required to provide citations in your answers You are allowed only one large blue book for the exam Like your PSAs economy of language is necessary for the exam The following questions are here to guide you in synthesizing the information 1 According to Haidt religion is best understood as a powerful means of selftranscendence and that this self transcendence is beneficial to human beings Is this focus on self transcendence an adequate understanding of religion How would the other theorists respond to this argument For instance do other theorists view religion as positive or negative Do they view religion as a means of selftranscendence in any way What would the other theorists claim to be other important aspects of religion that Haidt leaves out 2 During lecture and in the reading we discussed the issue of reductionism Is Haidt s argument a reductionist account of religion If so how If not why not Compare his argument to other theorists to help make your case Remember that Freud Durkheim and Marx are considered reductionists Does Haidt share their reductionist tendencies In other words does he reduce religion to some other element like the psychological the social or the economic 3 Haidt brings up the problem of modern society and reigion s place within it What is his argument regarding modern society and how does it fit or not fit with the other theorists arguments about modern society and its relation to religion I am thinking mainly of the issues of values and ways of being or acting in the world What is Haidt s take on those issues Is his take similar to or different from the other theorists Explain the similarities or differences Topics Discussed religion as an illusion religion as a calling importance of a community religious experience collective effervescence civil religion disatisfaction ppl see on their lives William James Human mind is a machine Humans are more flexibly intelligentmore instincts than other animals Each additional instinct or program expands the ability of the mind to problem solve We all have evolved brains of cavemen Hyperactive agency detective device Detects movement from agents for safety Theory of mind Human mind has evolved with certain adaptive predispositions and restrictions and religious forms invariably reflect those characteristics How might HADD and ToM account for religious beliefs of all the objects in the environment agents matter most gods are agents Human understand the world and particularly agents in light of minds Gods have minds Minimally counterintuitive and supernatural Most religious concepts around the world are minimally counterintuitive The Minimally counterintuitive concepts are more memorable than other concepts Break into 2 concepts easy to remember due to counterintuitive nature easy to use largely agree with what ppl expect Theological representations offline explicit analytical abstract slow reflective conscious Basic representation online implicit intuitive inferential rich fast reflexive unconsciousautomatic There is a blurring between these two online and offline areas All rituals can be deciphered or understood in the same basic assumption Religion and Temperament deaTypes tenderminded Avoids contradictions of life diversity 0 Rationalistic Monistic Religious 0 Does not connect with quotfactsquot in the world 0 Avoids contradictions diversity Toughminded o empiricist Pluralist Skeptical 0 Associated with irreligion inhumanism In an ideal type they are too cold for the real world and you cant be that way too rigidly structured for regular human life Sick Soul more religious 0 connected to monism and tender minded 0 Needs assurance and security 0 Sees good and evil as part of the same principle Healthyminded 0 Connected to pluralism and toughminded 0 leads the quotstrenuous life3939 of moral improvement 0 Avoids evil focusing on the good Strenusous life was the ideal for James But with his depression he understood sick soul religion THERE is always a combo of sick and healthy 0 Depression and helplessness 0 Need a comforting and saving God 0 In Varieties james focuses on experience rather than religious thought or religious behavior Pragmatism o The truth of an idea is not a stagnangt property inherent in it Truth happens to an idea It become true is made true by events 0 An idea is quottruequot inisofar as it helps us deal satisfactorily with our experience O free will 0 Pragmatism does not decide what the goals are 0 another source is necessary Beyond reason in deep conviction Monism 0 Good and Evil make up the same meaningful whole As a pragmatist James believed in the problem of evil was a problem of overcoming You need a conversion to change yourself and only God or some other outside source could make you do it God is the one principle that is real in the world Evil has a greater purpose than we can fully understand Evil is not overcome since it is necessary 0 Problem with evil was overcoming it Pluralism o the world as we experience it 0 contradictory and diverse Full of potential but for good and evil 0 View of Freedom 0 Individual changes the world Finite and exists outside of God Requires moral energies 0 View of God 0 Only good Not unifying principle requires our moral energies Radical Empiricism 0 explains reality by its parts assumes a priori conceptual categories Radical Empiriciism 0 Does not use concept of self or soul Continuity of experience is itself an experiences phenomenon religious experience connects to a quotwider selfquot if not God The Concept of God In 1877 quotThe Will to Believequot James postulates the finite God 0 Challenges humans to act morally o Promotes the strenuous life of the healthyminded o the meaning of the concept not the truth The God of Varieties helps the sick soul 0 Comfort and assurance 0 Saving grace and conversion Religious Experience Not interested in thought behavior and especially not institutions 0 secondhand religion Experience is backbon and firsthand o Founder mohammed jesus have certain experiences 0 Followers then have their own personal experiences 0 Deeper than reason Rooted in emotion intuition reason does not persuade the religious or irreligious Healthy minded see Nature and human nature as good 0 Religious growth is the unfolding of one39s nature and natural goodness 0 Involuntary HM The healthy minded as referred to as the once born 0 Optimistic sees good in everything 0 Systematic healthy mind 0 Good is fundamental evil is ignored Institutions are the problem not people Sick soul see evil in each person 0 Maladjustment o Inherent Evil 0 Need for conversion and saving grace Evil essential to existence 0 Holds back human happiness 0 gives purpose to evil The self is divided 0 Two hostile selves exist actual and ideal 0 Conversion is the uniting James 3 claims Involuntary HM Optimistic sees the good in everything Systematic HM Institutions are the problem not the people Sick soul sees evil in each person Need for conversion and saving grace Evil is Essential to existence Holds back human happiness But The self is divided Two hostile selves exist actual and ideal Experience of selftranscendence quotwider self Going beyond the limits of everyday consciousness James s three claims Natural antagonism between the two types Healthy minded are less tolerant and less compassionate mostly towards sick soul people because of antagonism religion is more complete and profound Explains a wider range of experience Gives meaning to sorrow pain and evil Connects one to the quotwider self and quotthe more SICK soul feel more compassionate towards HM bc they recognize the evil In people they are more compassionate and don39t judge someone for that because they see evil in themselves too can be more compassionate because it comes from an external force they need external force bc they see reality as one force with one basic principle behind it all WHY do they need external intervention 0 Natural antagonism between the two types 0 healthy minded say sick soul aren39t working all wrong Healthy minded are less tolerant and compassionate Sick soul religion is more complete and profound Explains a wider range of experience Gives meaning to sorrow pain and evil Connects one to the quotwider selfquot and quotThe morequot Mystical experience is not necessarily pathogical 0 James applies pragmatic principles to it 0 Optimistic smallness to vastness Monistic Unity with the divine o 4 traits ineffabe can39t teach it Noetic Quaity knowledge that comes with the expreience Transient Passive o Mystical experiences Mystical experience is not necessarily pathological as Freud would say about it in general James applies pragmatic principles to it Mystical experiences Absolute authority for the one who experiences it This suggests that truth cannot be limited to rational sources because if we can gain truth from another source that we cant explain then we cant be rational about it and cant prove it you just feel it His view is that its good but you don39t have authority to tell others how to live No authority for outside true experience Distinction bn him and Freud take mystical experience as good and knowledge cant be passed on so it only has authority to you O How does James differ from Freud and from evolutionary psychology James positive view of Religion free will his view could be applied to polytheistic religions Freud never gives a way for religion to be good always neurosis Focuses mostly on monotheistic religions Individual experience is the most important aspect of James He discussed that no one but yourself can tell you what religion to follow Mysticism its authoritative for each person ITS what individuals in their solitude find in the devine Durkheim Committed his career to solving a problem Marxstruggle for scarce economic resources Weberstruggle for power The Problem Durk committed his career to solving the problem The problem of modern society Why is modern society a problem Individualism erodes collective life But the individual cannot exist without society Theories that begin with the individual misunderstand the individual Karl Marxx and Max Weber are conflict theorists Marx struggle for scarce economic resources Weber struggle for political power quotSocial division of labor in society 1893quot Book Traditional society was mechanistic made to reproduce itself over time each person had a defined role the work of that role was much like everyone else production was based on local use subsistence huntergatherer farmer Social solidarity Solidaritywhat keeps things together Traditional society uses mechanical solidarity Collective Consciousness group identity shared by all the members of society Similar thoughts dreams hopes fears norms values Bot the sum total of individual consciousness Sacred center to group ancestor hero spirittotems Shared production produces shared ethos reinforced by ritual and restriction CeaR enforceable rules that all members follow Individuality is not useful Deviance is sinful conformity is expected Law is a good example of collective consciousness undoubtedly if an act is punished it is because it is contrary to a mandatory rue Ritual is necessary to mechanical solidarity participation in sacred center of the group Ritual punishment of deviance authorize societies define themselves and their values through the punishment of deviance Reproduces the mythic character of the group Social Development Modern societes are organic defined by constant change vs those that reproduce themselves individuality is necessary Production is for the use of others Separation from the group collective conscience breaks down Individual conscience grow in importance What about religion quotThe idea of society is the soul of religionquot Religion reflects society Religion is the way a society turns community ideals and norms into sacred objects Ex Civil religious mythsideals Religion is not concerned at its foundation with the quotsupernaturalquot as it is with the quotsacredquot Sacred and Profance Sacred things are quotsetapartquot Profane things are things that are mundane Time Space Objects Language Not a dichotomy between good and bad the sacred and the profane are separate What is sacred is decided upon and observed by the community The Dreyfus Affair 1894 Alfred Dreyfus Jewish artillery captain for the French military falsely accused of being a German SPY antiSemitic sentimism Sacred and Profane Primitive premodern societies no supernatural vs natural same principle affects every area of life Modern societies distinction between supernatural and natural Religion vs Science They both distinguish between sacred and profane Time Space Objects Language Sacred things are things that are quotset apartquot deserve respect awe reverence Profane things are things that are mundane everyday objects and ideas Not dichotomy between good and bad The sacred is public communal activity The profane is private selfinterested activity Sacred and profane are separate The profane does not touch the sacred The sacred does touch the profane In modern Western society they are separate spheres the two spheres contend for influence The relationship with public and private change Christian Communion Sacred vs Profane Totemism Durkheim differs from other thinkers in his scientific method He develops rigorous methods Not casual not exotic Examines one culture and generalized there Uses data on Australian aboriginal tribes Freud used this simple social structure closer to the beginning of human social life Aboriginal religion and social life in general is totemistic totem animal or plant totem 3939flag3939 or symbol of the clan Totem principle becoming quotgodquot in the evolution of society the principle is worshipped Totem is both clan and god Therefore the clan is god The clans need the gods Totemic princple is in everything The gods need the clans Gods without followers do not exist And since teh god is society the related point is true the society does not exist without individuals just as mch as individuals do not exist without society The individual is absolutely necessary Religious sentiment is found in individuals But it must go beyond individuals Ritual Ceremonies Connects the private to the social Transcend self interest Collective effervescence Other Theorists explain ritual in terms of belief Durkheim reverses this We are ritual beings Belief occurs after the fact Ritual and Cult Negative cult Separation of sacred and profane holidays holy days Positive cult Reaffirmation of loyalty Intichiuma Piracular rites Rites of atonement Vigils for 911 Durkheim Transcendence and Science Science is possible because of religion Islam Protestand Reformation Science and religion are not at odds Religion is an quotimpetus to actionquot science is not Science is a social endeavor Therefore it is connected to religion Robert Beah Presidentia Speech is the initial case for civil religion in America origins of Civil Religion Protestant Reformation Religious War Peace of Westphalia 1648 Development of nationalstate Rousseau39s The Social Contract 1762 Ch8 book 4 How to legitimize governmental authority 0 The existence of a benevolent deity 0 An afterlife where O the good are happy The wicked are punished o The sacred nature of the laws and the contract 0 The refection of intolerence Robert Bellah quotCivil Religion in Americaquot 1967 American politics is concerned with religious values American civil religion ACR is specific enough to deal with American myth but it is general enough to include the entire nation and eventually the international community ACR shares symbols with Protestantism but it is separate and distinct from it ACR reminds Americans of the diving foundation of their rights Civil religious crises FirstThe Revolutionary War The myth of America as the quotNew sraequot Was most prevalent Americans Chosend people Americapromised land and wilderness Native Americans canaanites Britain Egyptpharoh Gettysbutg Address Long term dedicated to gods or somethings else ThirdaResponsible Global action Bellah is writing with Vietnam in mind How will America act in global ecnoomic political and social spheres Civil Religion and the Sacred Memorials to people places ideas National holidays Sacred symbols Solidarity and Union South wall of the Supreme Court Lawgivers Throughout history even religious figures SCOTUS is the quotTemple ofJusticequot The Civil Religion Debate historians of American Religion launched 3 critiques 1 Civil religion was important in earlier times but it no longer exists today or is no longer relvant 2the ideas descriibed by civil religion are already sufficiently covered 3 Civil religion is not contant Beah39s initial work avoids issues of race 0 Native American removal 0 African American Slavery Beah39s work emphasizes quotpriestlyquot AA and NA voices are quotpropheticquot American Myths Richard Hughes Myths America Lives By The Myth of the Chosen Nation Used to unite a diverse population under a single covenant with God and each other It became the story of quotGod39s New Israel3939 The Myth of Nature39s Nation This claimed that America is the natural political manifestatino of human freedom It produced a white European standard in order to be natural The Myth of Christian Nation This drove the reform movements of the nineteenth century especially abolition This became an attempt to make particular Christian morality into the law of the land The Myth of the Millenial Nation America is quota new order for the agesquot and is meant to bring about a just society This becomes the drive to spread American ideal and culture throughout the world pluralism and civil religion Pluralism in America has caused problems for the unifying purpose of civil religion Imigration Law of 1965 has brought a greater diversity of population Social fragmentation threatens social cohesion and lessens the force of civil religious elements Mircea Eliade Heirophanies No Single Culture Contains every possible Hierophanies There is a quotsingingoutquot or a choice that is made about what is sacred for instance in some religions certain rocks are sacred while others aren39t But the sacred object is sacred because of this manifestation Sacred stone is not worshiped as a stone Can be good or evil just as sacred can be good or evil 2 forms theophanies deity kratophanies power Hierophanies explain symbols once an object manifests the sacred it takes on the symbolic meaning such an object and objects created in that symbolic structure become sites of hierophanies The sacred manifests at all The paradoxical structure of manifestatino and limitation is common to all hierophanies This puts all heirophanies on the same level This in turn places all human religious experience on the same level There we are able to study religion in a general sense using a phenomenological method Morphology and the Sacred morphology the study of the structure from and shape of a concept or object the sacred and sacred objects The sacred is not studies in its quotpurequot absolute form We study it in its particular manifestations its particular structures forms and shapes Each manifestation tells us something different about the sacred According to Elliade the sacred is more real and creates organization while the profane does not is this correct Elliade argues that hierophanies manifests the sacred and creates certain rituals and rites that form organization as well as a specific way of thinking These hierophanies are broken down to Theophanies and Kratophanies which represent the deity and the power of the sacred I do agree that these create a certain organization structure amongst a society and gove man a view greater than the limitation of his world However I would argue that profane objects also have meaning and can govern structure and order as well Take for instance the architecture of a building The buildings form governs its functions and dictate what man can do in and around it This is not a sacred object but its form alone governs the activities that go on at this location such as a library or classroom Therefore I think Elliade is wrong to say the Sacred alone governs organization and has a higher meaning According to Elliade religion is an innate part of our lives that we unconsciously repeat on a regular basis He uses examples of primitive tribes in fishing as well as agriculture and uses these as an example to show how once we get a good understanding of how our actions affect it we immediately use rituals to try to influence these actions In agriculture we would sacrifice or make offerings to make sure we had a good harvest Furthermore culture is passed on in repetition and language which means that religion and the sacred are constantly adapting to the current times It seems like we will never be able to escape this grasp of the religious or sacred I39d like to challenge Eiade39s ideas by separating our the religious and the sacred from each other I think that we will always have the sacred and that traditions will always be formed and will unite people However religion is a different aspect which involves a greater set of known beliefs and rituals that individuals perform that don39t necessary include just the sacred Therefore it is possible for religion to go away but the sacred will always prevail Max Webber Does Social solidarity apply across the board in civil religion as well as normal religion Solidarity is defined by a collective Consciousness group identity shared by all the members of society This group shares similar thoughts dreams hopes fears norms values In a religious mindset there are a set of rituals and rites that drive a group of people towards one collective vision or goal These rites and rituals not only bring these individuals closer to their vision but they also reinforce the collective spirit of the act creating a certain collective effervescence I think in the broadest scheme of things this wish to be part of something greater with a single belief pushes the group towards solidarity In civil religion the greater power is the person in power as well as all of the traditions that make up the country On one hand the country is made up of a diverse mix of people with different desires and needs to accommodate their own situations and cultures But if you zoom out of their unique situation you find yourself with a group of people that want one thing above all Fairness equality opportunity and freedom With this handful of values you find a large group of people who all in all are not so different from each other a sense of social solidarity is created which we call patriotism
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