Religion Studies 1 Final Exam Study Guide
Religion Studies 1 Final Exam Study Guide
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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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