Rels 2001, Intro to World Religions
Rels 2001, Intro to World Religions Rels 2001
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Raymond Apperson on Tuesday August 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Rels 2001 at Georgia State University taught by Kennedy in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views.
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Date Created: 08/16/16
Introduction to World Religions Rels 2001 How Exactly can Religion be Defined? There are three important definitions given by three prominent persons 1. Paul Tillich He said that religion is what we value above everything else in our lives. 2. William James The belief in things unseen. These unseen things are things that we find peace with in our lives. 3. Karl Marx “Religion… It is the sigh of the oppressed creature… It is the opium of the people.” Marx is making a comparison between opium and religion to show that religion can be used to help us escape from the realities of life. Religion can either be monotheistic or polytheistic One essence (spirit or god, for example)= monotheistic Many essences (spirits or gods, for example)= polytheistic People take on different perspectives as well. Etic means you’re an outsider. For example, you might be a Muslim writing about Christianity. This makes you an outsider. Emic means you’re an insider. An insider, for example, would be a Hindu writing about Hinduism. Ninian Smart’s Four Values or “Virtues” 1. Bracketing Not evaluating truth. This means that although you might believe something is truth, don’t assume something else is a lie inside of the class atmosphere. 2. Informed Empathy Being able to comprehend why someone might believe what they believe. This does not mean you have to believe what someone else believes. For example, you might believe in one god while another person might believe in many gods. In this situation, use informed empathy to try to comprehend why they might believe in many gods. 3. Historical Imperative Knowing where a text came from and what the text actually meant. Don’t assume that a religion’s beliefs fits your opinion about it before learning ideas and beliefs given by that religion’s text or people that are of that religion. For example, let’s say someone is a Jew learning about Buddhism. Before making a assumption about Buddhism, they should learn about what Buddhists believe by reading Buddhist texts or talking to a Buddhist about their beliefs. 4. Symbolic Sensitivity. Most people assume that the swastika is simply a symbol of hate that was used by the Nazis. However, the Swastika is actually a symbol sacred to Hindus. When you see a symbol, be careful to understand that it might not mean what you think it means. Another Definition for Religion Geertz’s Definition Summary Geertz basically says that religion has symbols that create powerful feelings in us. These feelings allow us to create reasoning for the existence of life. After this, we make this reasoning into facts, so that our feelings and emotions appear to be quite real. Asad gives two critiques for Geertz’s definition 1. It’s about what is inside “interiority” is of great importance. 2. One cannot simply define religion, and religion and culture are two different things. Lincoln defines Religion with Four Parts According to Lincoln, without even one of these four parts, something that one might believe is a religion would simply be a form of inner spirituality. For example, if one has their own book, practices and community, but there is no institution that controls the “religion” then that person’s individual beliefs, according to Lincoln, is not a religion but a form of spirituality. 1. Discourse communication, or writings. For example, the Bible or the Quran. Also, discourse could be ideas and beliefs that were passed down from generation to generation through word of mouth. 2. Practices Normal behaviors for a specific religion that create an organized world. For example, going to church or a mosque. 3. Community When groups of people gather together to talk about their beliefs and practice them. For example, when Christians get together to have a Bible study and time for prayer. 4. Institution the regulating groups that are the heads of a religion. These groups make sure that the communities under them are following the practices of their religion and staying true to their religious writings or ideas. There are two types of People that consider themselves to be Religious 1. Maximalistbelieves religion should control everything in their human lives. Some countries around the world are maximalist because their laws are based off a specific religion and the people living in these countries are required to follow these laws. 2. Minimalist religion does not deal with everything and should not control everything in our daily lives. Minimalists believe in separation of church of state. Many Americans are Minimalists. They might go to church on Sunday, for example, but on the week they go to work and spend time with their families.
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