Course Info CREATEDATE 10/22/08 11:41 PM RELIGION 170-0 Section 20 Northwestern University Fall Quarter 2008 MWF 1000-1050am Fisk Hall 217 Religion in Human Experience Dr. Stuart Ray Sarbacker Department of Religion 4-140 Crowe Hall Phone: 847-491-2615 Email: email@example.com Office Hours: Monday 200-400pm Teaching Assistants: Shuman Chen, Heawon Choi, Alyssa Henning COURSE OBJECTIVES: This course is an introduction to the study of religion and its many facets. Our study will focus on the various dimensions of religious phenomena, such as myth, ritual, scripture, and contemplative practice. Through this study we will discuss what “religion” means for the individual and for society as understood through the lenses of a variety of disciplines, including those of history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Religious concepts will be illustrated through the examination of their concrete manifestations in a range of different religious contexts. Readings for the class will be drawn from Smart’s Worldviews: Crosscultural Explorations of Human Beliefs, Deming’s Rethinking Religion: A Concise Introduction, and Paden’s Interpreting the Sacred: Ways of Viewing Religion, and supplemented by various readings on methodological and contextual issues in the study of religion. We will focus on the topical issue of religious literacy in America through reading Prothero’s Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t. We will further build upon these sources and issues with supplementary reading and writing assignments, video presentations, and through a required field research project. The instructor will provide guidance on additional readings upon request. REQUIRED TEXTS: 1. DEMING, Will. Rethinking Religion: A Concise Introduction. London: Oxford University Press, 2004. 2. PADEN, William. Interpreting the Sacred: Ways of Viewing Religion (revised and updated edition). Boston: Beacon Press, 2003. 3. PROTHERO, Stephen. Religious Literacy—What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007. 4. SMART, Ninian. Worldviews: Crosscultural Explorations of Human Beliefs. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2000. 5. READING PACKET (available at Quartet Copies, 825 Clark Street) CLASS REQUIREMENTS: Grades are computed on a 100-point scale, which will be used to determine the corresponding grade: 100-93 A, 92-90 A-, 89-87 B+, 86-83 B, 82-80 B-, 79-77 C+, 76-73C, 72-70 C-, 69-60 D, 59- F. The components are: 1. Class Participation (20 points) 2. Reading Summaries (20 points) 3. Fieldwork Project (10 points) 4. First Midterm Examination (25 points) 5. Second Midterm Examination (25 points) NOTE: No work will be accepted for credit after November 26th. 1. Class Participation: regular participation in class sessions and especially in discussion sections beyond simple attendance. This includes participation in class discussion and in discussion sections, attentiveness in lectures, and involvement in class activities. Exemplary participation may improve final grade. Please come to class on time. If you need to leave early, please contact the instructor before class. Turn off all cell phones and pagers before class. Please contact a fellow student for notes if you miss a class. Please schedule appointments, etc. around class time. Only documented illnesses and emergencies will be counted as excused absences. In cases of extended illness or of family emergency (illness, death in family, etc.), you are asked to contact your Dean’s office to make arrangements for your absence. If you do not attend section, the highest grade you can receive in this class is a B-. Athletes must make formal arrangements with and submit appropriate documentation to their section TAs with respect to any missed discussion sections, for which make-up work will be required. Attendance and participation are crucial components of this class, and their importance cannot be overemphasized. 2. Reading Summaries: regular completion of required reading and writing assignments. These consist of a typed one-page summary of the reading assignment, and a question about the reading. They will be given credit if satisfactorily completed but will not be corrected for accuracy. Summaries should always include your name, a title related to the reading, the date, and your course and section number at the top, one to three paragraphs of summary, and a question related to the reading. These should always be limited to one side of one page. A hardcopy of the summary is due in your section for the week. Some weeks may have more than one assignment, and you should always write one summary per assignment. Do not submit summaries by email unless directed to do so by your TA. Always keep a copy of the summaries for your records. 3. Fieldwork Project: you are required to perform one fieldwork project using the guidelines of Harvard University’s Pluralism Project. Guidelines for performing research are at http://www.pluralism.org/research/guidelines.php, a directory of religious centers at http://www.pluralism.org/directory/search.php, and a template for field notes at http://www.pluralism.org/research/template.php. You are asked to attend a religious service of a tradition other than your own (exceptional cases may be addressed with the instructor) at an off-campus location, and to write a 3-5 page analysis of your experience, in which you discuss your observations in terms of Smart’s dimensional analysis of religion and other appropriate theories of religion that we have covered in the class. You are asked to submit your notes (a completed pluralism project template) along with your 3-5-page analysis in your section meeting on November 21st. 4. First Midterm Examination: this is a written examination lasting the duration of the class period. It will be in three parts: definitions, a short essay, and a long essay. A review sheet will be provided prior to the examination. The first exam will be on Friday, October 24th. Since this is a large class, there will be no flexibility on the time and date of the exam, so make the exam a priority in planning out your quarter. 50 min. 1-2 min x 5 terms = 10 min 30% 1Short= 15 min 30% 1Long = 20 min 40% 1. Regarding the length of your answer, no lower or upper limits. The more detail you can provide, the better. 2. Leave some space after you have defined a term or answered a question so that you may come back to add more detail as you want. 3. Regarding defining a term, make sure you provide its meaning and how it is relevant to religion. (If you can provide an example, it would be better, I think.) Exam: digest, organize. 3 parts- definitions (choose 5/7)-15min, short and long (1/3)-15min, 20min. definitions- meaning, 5. Second Midterm Examination: this is a written examination lasting the duration of the class period. It will be in three parts: definitions, a short essay, and a long essay. A review sheet will be provided prior to the examination. The second exam will be the last formal day of class before reading week, Wednesday, November 26th. Again, since this is a large class, there will be no flexibility on the time and date of the exam, so plan your Thanksgiving travel accordingly. COLLEGE POLICIES: Academic dishonesty of any sort, including plagiarism, will result in an "F" for an assignment, and may result in an “F” for the course and your dismissal from the university. You are encouraged to visit http://www.northwestern.edu/uacc/plagiar.html and to consult the Northwestern University Student Handbook at http://www.northwestern.edu/handbook/ for further information. TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE: D=Deming P=Paden PX=Prothero S=Smart R=Reading Packet (numbered on cover sheet of reading) [reading summaries and other assignments are intended to be read for the day assigned and to be turned in at discussion sections] TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE: D=Deming P=Paden PX=Prothero S=Smart R=Reading Packet (numbered on cover sheet of reading) [reading summaries and other assignments are intended to be read for the day assigned and to be turned in at discussion sections] WEEK 1 (9/22-26) M No class W Introduction F Defining Religion WEEK 2 (9/29-10/3) WEEK 7 (11/3-7) M Defining Religion, cont. D chs. 1-2; P chs. 1-2; R 1 W Comparative Method and Dimensional Analysis D ch. 3; P ch. 5; S chs. intro-2; R 2 F Comparative Method, cont. WEEK 3 (10/6-10) M Religious Experience S ch. 3; P ch. 4 W Religious Experience, cont F Doctrine, Narrative, and Ritual S chs. 4, 5, 7; P ch. 6; R 3 WEEK 4 (10/13-17) M Doctrine, Narrative, and Ritual, cont. W Ethics and Society in Religion P chapter 3; R 4 F Ethics and Society, cont. WEEK 5 (10/20-24) M Material Dimension of Religion R 5 W Catch-up and Review F FIRST EXAMINATION WEEK 6 (10/27-31) M Primal Religions D ch. 9; R 6 W Hinduism and Buddhism D chs. 4-5; R 7 F Hinduism and Buddhism, cont. WEEK 7 (11/3-7) M Hinduism and Buddhism, cont. W Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, cont. D chs. 6-8; R 8 F Judaism , Christianity, and Islam, cont. WEEK 8 (11/10-14) M Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, cont. W Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, cont. F Globalization and Religious Pluralism P chs. 7-8 , S ch. 9 WEEK 9 (11/17-21) M Religious Pluralism in America PX (all) W Religious Pluralism in America, cont. F Religious Pluralism in America, cont. Fieldwork Project Due WEEK 10 (11/24-28) M Catch-up and Review W SECOND EXAMINATION F Thanksgiving—No Class Defining Religion September 26-29 A. Religion is the belief in an ever-living God, that is, in a Divine Mind and Will ruling the Universe and holding moral relations with mankind, -james Martineau God= a particular god, ruler (royalty, is a sovereign, emperor, rules universe) the belief in an ever-living god= religion is faith ever living= immortal drawing boundries- if more than one god, doesnt count. take traditions out of the framework holding moral relations= Christianity, talking about sins, covenant B. Religion is an institution consisting of culturally patterned interaction with culturally postulated superhuman beings. -Melford E. Spiro institution, culturally= connected with society, implies its manmade, product of human culture dynamic bw specific and general superhuman beings- plural does this undermine religion? Y: human construction reps human need, as opposed to creation by higher being. in A, shows human weakness, specific- what it means to be a religion in B, general, leaves door open to interpretation insider vs outsider dynamic: step outside and talk about it w/o privileging any view. where are the perimeters? can someone inside ever get perspective bc theyre seeing things from within? C. The essence of religion consists in the feeling of an absolute dependence. -Friedrich Schleiermacher feeling= something internal, an emotion, cant be explained, very particular, suggesting human need- vacant place that needs to be filled dependence= can it be an addictive thing? something you absolutely need to have?, our existence is rooted in god. not absolute. god is a father, parent/child. not negative thing: Christianity says humans have to submit bc part of bigger plan essence= origins, what its rooted in, not everything that can be said safer definition- doesnt give exact definition A vs C= independent/dependent, positive/negative connotation, belief/feeling= perspective or understanding/experience of something D. Religion is that hich grows out of, and gives expression to, experience of the holy in its various aspects. -Rudolf Otto holy= translation of term frorm judaism. seed around which religion is built, religion is not the object but the traditions around it E. Religion is what an individual does with its solitariness. -Alfred North Whitehead individual= within, interior, may have been transformed by modernity solitariness= lonliness, human experience conducive to this, what person does for own spirtuality, solitude, time when unplugged from everything, one-one connection, striving for connection through distancing self F. Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine commands. -Immanuel Kant connecting values with divine impulse, inner experience and operating outside duties= what we do in world is to be oriented with divine command, God is monarch figure- tying of commands into our worldly commands divine commands= there are divine commands, we should be able to recognize what happens in life is in line with them, what were supposed to do in certain situations, god places a framework to follow, act such that what you do might be made a univeral- rational calculation= if everybody did this, world would be better place, do onto others, rational mind- find way to do right thing, heart of what religion is about G. The religious is any activity pursued in behalf of an ideal end against obstacle and in spite of threats of personal loss because of its general and enduring value. - John Dewey about having a vision more perfect, worthy of a struggle- need to struggle to consider self dedicated willing to fight against grain, to die for-ism: are you willing to or not? if youre ready to die for, its a religion action springs from your ideal, humanistic H. Religion is the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern, a concern which qualifies all other concerns as preliminary and which itself contains the answer to the question of the meaning of our life. - Paul Tillich ultimate= zenith, height of human concern, #1 thing on your mind, may be big overarching questions ie meaning of life, what happends when we die/what is death?, can we have other concerns (want life to be enjoyable, attaining pleasant, work hard> means to enjoy self). power/wealth/sex- might have lasting impact on world. I. Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis. -Sigmund Freud Compared to mental illness, does this cross line bw interpretation and evaluation? We can help liberate people if we apply the right method. Edible complex: Postulation of father god, desire to rid self of patriarchal figure, this figure becomes transfigured to a deity. Childhood- committed to a particular view, should grow out of it Sees religion as a problem you have to overcome J. Religion is the sign of the oppressed creature…It is the opium of the people…Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself. -Karl Marx Opium: sedated, lethargic, lazy Distracting you, removes you, blissful, enjoyable- is this what happens in religious experience? We associate with all sorts of emotion. Distraction from what? Work- people working hard but not enjoying self. Real reward that afterlife is so enjoyable is an empty promise Should be taking up arms. Religion is a problem that can be solved through internal and worldly revolution process Creature= Downgrading religion, dehumanizing, Marxists are not full human beings bc see themselves profoundly at odds Historical and literary context, implying idea that through scientific method can be demonstrated that earth was center of universe and sun revolves was changed to opposite, galileo found that math worked out, we need capirnicun revolution. Religion doesn’t revolve around man, it’s the other way around. Handout: "Religion" Re-leig -> religion/ religiones, religare Meaning piety, sacred observance: rebind, reunite, hold together. Suggests religion is about community. Bind together through rituals, through commitment to particular mode of action. Makes sense in Roman and Christian (catholic) context Protestant > faith About internal faith Reformation Colonialism Should be careful bc religion used cross culturally: Christianity was the standard, to degree which differed makes them inferior Contemporary academic Framing/ Defining What are implications of choosing a particular definition? If too broad everything fits in religion Contemporary academic influenced by post modern- people in position to create knowledge. Be careful in choice about terminology, about how talk comparitively about other traditions. "the master has read the rules and the wisemen .." : danger when one sets up rules of game, youre determining the outcome. When context set up, no matter how you play, its always going to work out in someones favor. 10/8/08 -comparative religion-lower the playing field and no religion as baseline for comparison -problems with a category like the sacred -what is sacred in one tradition is not necessarily sacred in another -glosses over the differences -reductionistic-moving away from the specifics to some general term -is religion really out there, or is it a concept in our mind that we are using to understand the world? -is the sacred really out there? -Eliade’s use of the sacred -divine or heroic nature, association with sacred objects and places; through ritual one reconnects to moments in religious history when the beings of value were present -phenomenology-a branch of philosophy which is linked to epoche (bracketing) -attempt for person studying the subject to withhold their own particular judgments (religious background) and to bracket off the larger questions of whether one religion is true compared to another -Eliade’s method **understand how a religion operates-not whether it is true -Smart’s analysis is rooted in the idea that we are taking a step back to try to look from as neutral of a potion as possible -world view analysis -world view analysis- -dimensional analysis-categories Smart gives to look at what is and isn’t in common -doctrine, ritual, narrative, ethics, experience, society, material -the importance of these categories varies between religion 10/6/08 1) Category of the SACRED -hierophony kratophany -sacred numinous -tabo/taboo -axis mundi/imago mundi Otto-religion is transcendent and entirely other (of some other worldly order) -opposite of sacred=profane; mundane, trivial, ordinary -opens the door to looking at appeals to transcendent and what is considered worldly and other worldly -Eliade -development of the comparative methodology of religion in the U.S. -withhold judgment about the truth and falsity of religion and articulate the inner logic of these traditions -uses the sacred -can take the ideas of the sacred and understand from an insider perspective how this works -the way that sacred is substantiated -space/place -time -objects -persons/agents -ritual -Sacred space/place Ex. -Jerusalem-locus of the Jewish world -the dome of the rock in Jerusalem-important for Muslims -axis mundi=center of the world -Jerusalem is the center of the world for Jews -sets that place apart from all other places -there are places invested with profound meaning and value Ex. Mecca -center of the Islamic world -specific temple called Kaba -face Mecca when pray -important way of ordering and organizing the world -imago mundi=miniature representation of the world -create a smaller world to connect with larger world -pole at center of tipi represents the center of the cosmos in some Native American traditions -synagogue -churches with steeples allow you to organize yourself in space -how might time also be set apart? -sunrise and sunset -marking points in year that mark important religious dates -seasonal festivals -moments in time that are extraordinarily important for different religious traditions -Eliade uses term “sacred history” -special times and they are recorded in narrative -objects- the Torah -persons/agents -Moses, God, Israelites -Muhammad is human agent -angel Gabriel is agent of divine -religious narrative encapsulates the most important meaningful, powerful things happened -all of these things are connected as represented through ritual -Eliade-religion is about keeping these narratives/traditions alive by understanding their meaning and by reenacting the narratives -through acting in such a way that we invoke the significance of those times -bridge gap between mundane, profane time and those that are most valuable in history -profane time is not reversible (never go back) but religious time is the opposite -when one performs rituals, etc. one can return to that moment in history -ex. Communion in Christianity -symbolically reenacting a drama within Christianity -reenacting Jesus dying and resurrecting -ex. Passover -symbolize experience of people at the time this happen -had to leave so quickly-didn’t have time to leven the bread -ex. Besa? -Buddhist tradition that celebrates the birth and enlightenment of Buddha each year -recommitment to Buddhist and his teacher -Eliade-religion is about keeping sacred history alive through ritual observance -through the recapitulation of the acts of those beings who are the most powerful and meaningful -The Rock -how might the painting of the rock demonstrate this paradox? -ritual painting of the rock keeps it alive -ritual process involved which is a tradition -formal set of things that you are supposed to do (guard 24 hours, paint at night, etc.) -rite of passage -how might the rock be considered a sacred object? -connects us to past members of our community (alumni, ancestors) -rock was once a fountain, pipes froze broke -tried to move it but the rock got dropped by a crane -students protested and viewed in horror as the rock plummeted to the ground and broke in half -they put it back together -point of orientation, has a history, one ritually connects with the community (those beings who came before you) -by painting the rock, you get to be apart of that story RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE (Smart’s first category) -argument: you don’t understand Buddhism unless you are Buddhist -what is the problem with experience from the outsider? -isn’t the insider biased? “noetic” quality of religious experience-experience gives you knowledge; William James -individuals have a profound influence over groups -numinous-talking about looking at religion as experience -religion grows out of human experiences -religion as an institution is built around those experiences -Smart provides a distinction to help understand the range of religious experiences within religious traditions and how they share some common elements -the numinous is referring to religious experiences that are directed toward an outer reality (other) as opposed to the mystical (directed more towards an inner reality and often an inner self) -this is a spectrum! -there are certain types of religious experiences that are ecstatic experiences NUMINOUS -ecstasy-“standing outside”; visions, auditions (hear something)-a communication; possession (+ or -) -possession is an experience of some other -negative possession=exorcism -positive possession=adorcism -ex. women’s possession ritual-until one is possessed by the goddess -possession allows gods to communicate and for healing to occur MYSTICAL -culmination is the emptying of oneself -inner -sometimes referred to as enstasy -one is aiming to go inside to experience something other -often associated with practices of contemplation and meditation -contemplate whether the boundary of religious experiences and what is not religion is solid or fluid? -Huxley argued that when he took mescaline (drug) he experienced what he had been reading about in theology -experienced inner reality and inner light -claimed substances could bring one to those experiences -argued what is happening under the experience of the substance in the same as religious experience -William James experiment with inhaling nitrous oxide-said anyone who has been very drunk understands what a religious experience -not religious experience but gives you an idea of what an altered state of consciousness is like and gives you a window into understanding 1) Narrative 1st 2) Doctrine 2nd orthodoxy metaphysics deity/divinity “Gods” gender number monotheism>personal, oneness polytheism>henotheism: worship as greatest god Greek: diff w/ diff purpose, pantheon: Athena-wisdom, nature, human capacity, worship/sacrifice Non-dualism: god is one or many (ie Hinduism) Indiv dietes all reflective of one theology Dualism: good+evil Monism Impurity purity Nondual dual Immaneria/transcendence: everything is part of some greater thing cosmology/cosmogony eliade: one of most impo types of narrative human “problem” problem of evil (theology), how can world be structured, struggle in life is test, world is imperfect theodyssey- God is great/mercy so how can he let this happen cosmology- every aspect about the world fetish: obj has supernatural power, neg tone ethics/soteiology Doctrine Animism= natural ent, humans possess spirit/soul Totemism= ~assoc group identity w/animal or plant, serve as totem for community, viewed as being of power Pantheism= divine force exists in all things, God can be seen everywhere Eschatogy= mesonic figure, study of end times- what is the ultimate Ritual Meaning/import? Reenactment, making concrete of religious narrative Deliberate- formulaic, specific time performed at, repetitiveness, Sets time apart Profane action- accessible, tangible, mindless (-), unless meaning brought into it/make connection Instills discipline Visible- doing what all else doing, collective identity, social Spirtual- power outside physical component Ie hindu puja, incense= stimul of smell, offer flowers/food, bell Horiz/vert extension of ritual Over time: life cycle/crisis, initiation Transcendental Across space- chrisitan can perform same exper anywhere in world Timelessness/ext into space- force binding commun Life crisis- unexp situation, rituals deal w/ uncert, initiation- wrt relig vocation, move 1 status to another Rites of passage Calendrical- particul times (festiv, holid), intermit ritual (yr/wk/day) Worship- propitation, sacrifice- communis, atonement/expitation 10/10/08 -continue to draw from Smart analysis of world views 1) Narrative (1st) -symbolism -“sacred” narrative -oral vs. written (scripture) -myth -archetypes -cosmogony -some traditions have very little doctrine 2) Doctrine (2nd) -orthodoxy -worldview/system -metaphysics -cosmology/comogony -ethics/soteriology -religion makes you feel like part of something -ex. Ritual-you feel a sense of identity -how might narrative be considered the crucial element of what constitutes religion? -oral or written tradition -narrative is a source out of which our ideas are drawn -if you want to understand where ideas came from -authority -captures moments in sacred history and represents them symbolically -myth -ex. Adam and Eve -encoding a particular narrative -meaning is not necessarily direct -meaning is closed in form of agents (snake, apple, etc.) -there are issues regarding the truth value of some stories -should not jump to disregard the value of the story (whether or not we believe it is true or false) -there is some level of reality that is not altered by change in time -stories which have a meaning that is not unique to its circumstance -narrative construct and form our world -cosmogony -origin of the universe -religious narrative often tell us where the world came from -how people came to be -narratives we are all familiar with -Narrative of Santa Claus -Star Wars -James Bond -archetypes-“models” -figures and ideals within religious narratives represent some high ideal persona or reality -goal: to inspire 2) Doctrine -narrative tells us the story, doctrine tells us the rules 10/17/08 1) Ritual -allows one to embody the tradition -when one acts in a ritual fashion, one makes what one beliefs real to one self -involves the senses -bridging time and space -means by where one interacts important religious dramas and keeps them alive -continuity-if Im doing a ritual-it links me to my ancestors -communion-doing what Christians have done since when Jesus was alive -power in doing the same thing over and over again -world may have changed, but the ritual is the same -rites of passage vs. calendrical ritual -rites of passage -life cycle: birth, initiation into adulthood, marriage, death -life crisis: address illness, natural disaster -graduation -painting the rock-initiatory quality *linear -calendrical ritual-regular but intermittent -specific time of year -ex. seasons -pray and be observant at specific times of day *repetitive and cyclical nature -mark out time -important moments in year are aligned with important moments in history -analysis of rites of passage of Arnold Van Gennop and Victor Turner -Turner gives us a scheme for how rites of passage and ritual works -something to be learned about the way ritual operates in all dimensions in life -Turner argues that ritual typically has 3 phases 1) separation -leave the community, wear special attire or dress -ex. wear robes for graduation -physical or symbolically separating yourself during the period of the ritual from the other members of the community 2) transition -where the magic happens-where the ritual is on its way -marked by important elements -liminality-state of being in between; left the other world behind and entered into ritual and the rules that apply to the outside world are temporarily suspended -suspension of the ordinary laws of the world -ex. hazing in Greek life-ritual process of humiliation -communitas-when things are broken down, the potential for binding within a given community becomes very powerful -ex. the road trip-you get to know those people very well 3) reincorporation -principle that there is a phase in which there is a turn out of the ritual and into the regular world -ex. marriage-presentation of bride and groom to the community -been given something (ring, diploma, etc.) -can enter back into the world -ritual is marked by these different phases -worship and sacrifice that you find within different religious rituals -worship-an attitude of devotion/reverence toward a god/gods/sacred being -sacrifice-the idea that proper worship involves the giving up of something in return for something -propitiation-one is asking someone for something -prayer for worship or engendered through physical sacrifice (like killing an animal) -communion- -atonement/expiation-when one worships or performs sacrifice, is it in order to guilt? Is it to express one’s remorse for acting unethically? -often marked by sin -scapegoat-placing one’s sins upon a sacrificial victim that is eventually killed or kicked out of the community -Rene Gerard -argued that things like animals are often viewed as perfect ritual agents because they are both part of a community and out of it at the same time -mediating figure that can be the bridge between your life as a community and the life outside -sacrifice is a representation of the collective tension within a community -within any community, there are competing needs that lead to violence -people get angry because their needs are not met -people see other people as possessing other goods that they can’t have *there needs to be an outlet to diffuse that -Gerard believes that sacrifice takes the collective aggression, find a suitable victim, and you discharge that by focusing aggression outwards -think about the ways in which society or community is central to what religion is about -how might ritual be argued to be the most crucial or important dimension of religion? -ritual-we have a clear connection to make between what is going on with the individual and what is going on in the world *connect ritual and the social community -ritual helps to organize the community -acting in concert/harmony with other people-provides stability and meaning in life because it connects us to the community -ritual keeps you accountable for your actions -organizing element-gives us a framework for living together as a community Difference between religion and study of religion Study= methodology Why study it? gain insight into the lives and minds of those around us, develop a deeper understanding of other religions, and analyze how it affects our daily lives (politics, pop culture, national security issues, the Mid East crisis, globalization, etc). Less ignorant of others Large player in ethical debates Ex) distributing aid in India Ex) Indonesia- Islam, businessmen create Buddha cookies When we study, does it really help us understand? If you only have some ideas Comparative religions Problem: why try to make comparisons when they occur at different times, places, reasons, generalizations- tries to make them all seem like versions Should study geographically Framework- resisting need to apply your own framework To understand one religion, need to understand many religions Each religion is just a version Insider v Outsider If youre an insider, can you study it objectively? Yes- greater understanding, ability to learn about other religions Draw line bw religion and religious experience Religion- certain structures, can abstract to a level not dependent on any belief "To know one, is to know none.." Typhology Is this a good way to look at relgion? Ex) church of flying spaghetti: religion that makes fun of other religions Is a cult a religion? religion and society relationship? Whats the connection? Whos in charge- rel driving soc or other way? Marx, Durkheim, Weber= theories for how rel works in soc Marx: opium, distracts from conditions of lives, sign of oppressed creature, like a cancer. Secondary, manifestation, sympton of something going on in soc Durkheim: totemism, collective effervesence, ideals rep totality of how we envision ourselves as a community, sees balance: rel and soc intertwined Ie flag-nationalism, set of ideas of what it reps Weber: relation bw rel and econ: Protestent ethic: American capitalism rooted in prot/calvanist ideals on efficacy of indiv work- humans are predestined to enter heaven/hell based on how well they do in world) Relig karisma: one has absol author which is coextensive, founders (charismatic indiv) help find society bc of their innovative view of world, understanding of community When founders die, community struggles, new sects/traditions form, find way to keep memory thru ritual/text (ie. gospel) Tradition/sect/cult Small intensive relig commun Adaptation/conservation Tension: all have to face fact that world is changing, respond by adapt/accom/drawing firm boundaries Natural v universalizing conditions If born into commun= natural, if choosing=univ Hindu (caste identity) Religious Ethics Ethics- moral philosophy Principles and application Principles (thou shall not kill)- clear, how applies to s Duty= do this, virtue= be this 1. social and ethics dimensions gender sexuality: what are relig responses, is it discouraged? Social justice- equality among diff groups of people? Ecology- about way we relate to world? 2. material dimension concrete manifestation in form of material objects money, material culture assoc with relig 3. review definitions nature/content history sacred as a category + comparative/phenomenogical approach try to gather data of religions to understand connections Smart- dimensional analysis Family approach: composed of diff elements in various degrees/quantitites. Each dimension opens up new way of looking at it. Toolbox approach (ie ritual, ethical dimensions) 6/7 dimensions approaches/ theories substantive: what makes up religion instead of what it is (essential). Skirts idea of what it is, instead lets look at them, compare, draw parallels. Exam: digest, organize. 3 parts- definitions (choose 5/7)-15min, short and long (1/3)-15min, 20min. definitions- meaning, context, related concepts, examples. Sacred- any obj can be sacred (ie stone, book). Often defined as opposite of profane. Numinous- otto- on what is sacred. Terms: meaning, how relevant to religion, context, related concepts, examples. choose 5/7-15min Epoche- sensitive to reality of religious tendencies? Contrast to Marx critical theory. Religion Re-leig> religion/religare. Means piety, sacred observance, rebind, reunite (suggests about community) through rituals/commitments essential definition substantial definition functional definition essentialism framing too broad>everything fits, contemp academic infl by post modern- people in position to create knowledge. When context set up, outcome determined. George Lakoff John Hick, Ludwig Wiittgenstein Prototype family resemblance language game Karl Marx Religion is the sign of the oppressed creature…It is the opium of the people…Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself. -Karl Marx Opium: sedated, lethargic, lazy Distracting you, removes you, blissful, enjoyable- is this what happens in religious experience? We associate with all sorts of emotion. Distraction from what? Work- people working hard but not enjoying self. Real reward that afterlife is so enjoyable is an empty promise Should be taking up arms. Religion is a problem that can be solved through internal and worldly revolution process Creature= Downgrading religion, dehumanizing, Marxists are not full human beings bc see themselves profoundly at odds Historical and literary context, implying idea that through scientific method can be demonstrated that earth was center of universe and sun revolves was changed to opposite, galileo found that math worked out, we need capirnicun revolution. Religion doesn’t revolve around man, it’s the other way around. Paul Tillich Religion is state of being grasped by ultimate concern, a concern which qualifies all other concerns as preliminary and which itself contains the answer to the question of the meaning of our life. ultimate= zenith, height of human concern, #1 thing on your mind, may be big overarching questions ie meaning of life, what happends when we die/what is death?, can we have other concerns (want life to be enjoyable, attaining pleasant, work hard> means to enjoy self). power/wealth/sex- might have lasting impact on world. Sigmund Freud Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis. -Sigmund Freud Compared to mental illness, does this cross line bw interpretation and evaluation? We can help liberate people if we apply the right method. Edible complex: Postulation of father god, desire to rid self of patriarchal figure, this figure becomes transfigured to a deity. Childhood- committed to a particular view, should grow out of it Sees religion as a problem you have to overcome Mircea Eliade Rudolf Otto Religion is that hich grows out of, and gives expression to, experience of the holy in its various aspects. -Rudolf Otto holy= translation of term frorm judaism. seed around which religion is built, religion is not the object but the traditions around it Religious Studies Study=methodology. Why study it? Gain insight into others, deeper understanding, analyze effects on daily lives (politics/pop culture, natl sec, Mid East, globalization), ethical debates (aid distrib in India) Comparative religions Resist need to apply own framework, to understand one need to understand many, each religion is just a version Insider v outsider- can you study objectively? Theology ultimate concern sacred any obj can be sacred (ie stone, book). Often defined as opposite of profane. Numinous- otto- on what is sacred. profane hierophany kratophany theophany numinous sacred narrative, sacred history sacred time sacred space sacred objects sacred persons fetish obj has supernatural powers, neg tone amulet talisman totem assoc group identity with animal/plant, viewed as being of power for community icon sacred ritual “inner logic,” religious symbols model, paradigm, archetype, cosmogony, axis mundi, imago mundi, insider, outsider, phenomenology, epoché, Ninian Smart, dimensional analysis, seven dimensions, doctrine ritual reenactment, making concrete of religious narrative, allows to embody, deliberate- formulaic, specific time, repetitive, sets time apart, profane (accessible, tangible, mindless (-) unless make connection, instills discipline, visible, collective identity, spirtual (outside physical component- hindu puja). Horiz/vert: over time- life cycle/crisis/initiation, transcendental, anywhere, deal w/ uncertainty, rites of passage narrative/myth, experience ethics moral philosophy, principles and application. Duty- do this, virtue- be this society relationship- whos driving who? Marx: opium, distracts from life, oppressed creature, like cancer, 2ndary Durkheim: totemism, intertwined, sets ideals (ie flag) Weber: econ- protestant ethic, relig karisma material 1. What are the etymological origins of the term “religion?” How has its usage varied over time, and what does that usage tell us about the relationship between the concept and its contexts? Which historical usage, in your opinion, is the most influential, and why? Re-leig> religion/religions, religare Meaning: piety, sacred observance, rebind/reunite Varied: past>enlightenment (rational)>contemporary academic/globalism. Rome, catholic, protestant, reformation, colonialism, cross culturally. Shows that closely tied to its contexts. Most influential: roman catholic- oldest, still present today? 2. What are some of the ways that religion has been defined by scholars, and what elements of the “religious” are respectively emphasized in these definitions? What are some of the challenges that arise in defining religion? Which definitions privilege “insiders” and which “outsiders”? What definition or definitions of religion do you find most satisfactory, and why? -Scholars: divine mind and will ruling the universe—one god, Christianity, institution of culturally patterned interaction w/ superhuman beings—manmade, undermines- human need/weakness, feeling of absol dependence—addictive, recog of all our duties—god given framework, the ultimate concern—meaning of life, childhood neurosis—illness, prob need to overcome, oppressed creature—distracts, removes. -challenges: too broad- all fits, contemp acad influ by post modern- ppl try create knowledge, set up context then determine outcome. -insiders- experience, more understanding, abil to learn, cant abstract to level, to know one is to know none. Outsiders- less experience, bias. Big idea: are you a member of particular relig community, are you understanding it from inside, member of other community or us--detach from bringing judgement claims, bracket off own commitments in order to just understand, objective in our study, ie us. Outsider approach can be problematic- not immersed/part of it, how can you really understand it?, -most satisfactory—from handout, simple: religion is unified sys of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things (Durkheim). Reflects my positive view, don’t agree with dependence/solitariness/manmade. Doesn’t inflate definition. 3. According to the comparative perspective as articulated by Eliade, what is the relationship between the sacred and the profane? What things have been or can be considered sacred in the religious context? How are sacred persons/beings, objects, space, time, myth/narrative, and ritual connected together, and how does this demonstrate the “inner logic” of religion, according to Eliade? What would be a concrete example of this logic in operation? What might be some benefits and limitations of using the concept of the “sacred” as a basis for comparing religions? Are there fewer or more “sacred” things today than in the past? Explain. 4. How does Smart’s dimensional analysis provide a means of approaching religion thorough embracing “family resemblance” and the idea of “religions” as opposed to “religion”? How might it be understood as a “substantivist” or “toolbox” approach to religion, as opposed to essentialist or functionalist? What are the seven dimensions, and how do they relate to academic approaches to the study of religion? What dimension or combination of dimensions is/are most definitive of religion, as you understand it? Explain. Terms: Ecstasy Visions Auditions Possession Devotion Numinous Mysticism Contemplation Noetic first order second order myth, narrative, oral tradition, scripture, canon cosmogony archetype, doctrine, orthodoxy, metaphysics, deity gods god, goddess, immanence/transcendence everything part of some greater thing presence, absence, effibility, ineffability Effibility- is it beyond language? Most sacred spoken of in negative terms. Ineffable- cant communicate. In mysticism/templative traditions- when experience ultimate nature/God, its beyond language. Effibility- can talk about god, spirits. Ie. conversion/awakening- you have understanding but cant be communicated. Ie. Mysticism- when have experience, sense of certainty, experience completely empty but still full. Getting to limits of language- opposites come together. animism natural ent, humans possess spirit/soul totemism assoc group identity w/animal or plant, viewed as being of power monotheism personal, oneness polytheism dualism emphasizes separation/differences of 2 subj (soul/mind, spirit/body, good/evil) pantheism divine force exists in all things, God can be seen everywhere monism oneness/sameness of 2 subjects. Opp to dualism/pluralism (hindu Brahman and atman are same bc Brahman is the one one, ultimate reality of truth) nondualism (western) anthropomorphism cosmology every aspect about the world theodicy to justify god, evil in the world does not conflict with the goodness of God ethics moral philosophy, principles and application. Duty- do, virtue-be soteriology, eschatology mesonic figure, study of end times, what is ultimate ritual enenactment, making concrete relig narrative, deliberate, profane, horiz/vert life cycle ritual horiz/vert ext, over time, timelessness life crisis ritual deal w/ uncert initiation move between status rites of passage, Victor Turner, liminality, communitas Communitas- Turner’s rite of passage. Need to know stages. Seen as product of liminality (group united by common process so bound together). Whether communal ritual (confirmation) and group goes through together, experience feeling of intimacy. Turner: sameness lends towards intimacy. Ie. Hindu pilgrims, muslims- hajj all wear white. Disctinctions broken down. Liminality- threshold, point of transition. Some sort of intermediary status. Arnold Van Gennep Vanheneth- coined term rites of passage. Turner championed idea, developed it. separation, transition, antistructure, reincorporation, pilgrimage, calendrical ritual particul times (festiv, holid), intermit ritual (yr/wk/day) worship propitation sacrifice communion atonement expiation. 1. How might one argue, as does Otto, that experience is the root of religion? What does religious experience “add” to the life of the practitioner? What are the two poles of religious experience offered by Smart, and how do they delineate a spectrum of types of religious experience? In your opinion, which “pole” of experience is closest to your overarching conception of religion? Is that type of experience uniquely religious, or could it be found outside “organized” religion? Is it universal or context specific? Explain. 2. What is the definition of “myth” given in the study of religion, most notably by Eliade, and how does it differ from everyday usage? Why do scholars of religious myth or narrative often point out the “cosmogonic” quality of such narratives, and connect them to the idea of “models” or “archetypes”? What are some of the dominant “myths” in our culture—either secular or religious—and why do they continue to be compelling in our modern context? 3. Discuss differing conceptions of deity and divinity by discussing the this-worldly, immanent conceptions of divinity versus otherworldly, transcendent conceptions of divinity, and by noting the gender and “number” of the deity as one or many, male or female, and the variations of these themes. To what extent would you say, citing examples if possible, that these conceptions of divinity are fluid, and often found together within one tradition? What religious traditions would you say are the most and least strict with respect to conceptions of divinity? Is there a dominant perspective on divinity within American religion and society? Explain. 4. What are some of the defining features of ritual, and what makes ritual such a compelling part of religion? What are the key differences between calendrical rituals and rites of passage rituals? What are the elements of rites of passage, according to Turner? Give an example of a “rite of passage” that you have participated in, and demonstrate how this experience either supports or undermines Van Gennep and Turner’s conceptions of the ritual process and terms such as liminality, communitas, and anti-structure. -reenactment, deliberate, formulaic, discipline, visible, collective identity, spirtual, horiz/vert ext -compelling: profane-accessible, allows connection, instills discipline, spirtual- outside physical component, horiz/vert ext- anywhere, anytime, esp during crisis diff: calendrical done during particular times (festiv, holid, intermit). Rites of passage done to move between statuses. Turner:?? -rite: hs graduation---?? 5. How do religions fundamentally differ with respect to the issue of the role of materiality and the mediation of the sacred within them? How do conceptions of the sacred themselves relate (or not) to the tangible and material world, and how does that qualify such conceptions? How do different material realities encapsulate or direct one towards the sacred? In your opinion, is materiality on some level at odds with religious practice, is it essential to it, or some combination thereof? Explain. - Mediation- religious obj serve as intermediaries bw profane and sacred. What is held to be sacred is something else. Otto’s numinous- what is sacred is something other. Mediate obj, allows you to connect through repeating actions. Icon of god, serves as basis where presence manifests itself. Puja. Narrative symbolically mediates higher lvel with current situation. Terms: Karl Marx, religion vs. society How rel works in soc: opium, distracts from conditions of lives, signs of opporessed creature, cancer, 2ndary, maifestation, sympton of something going on in soc Emile Durkheim Totemism, collective effervesence, reps totality of how we envision ourselves as a community, sees balance, intertwines, (ie flag-natlism, set of ideas of what it reps) Max Weber, charismatic leadership. Rel and econ: protest ethic- Amer capitalism rootes in prot/calvanist ideals on efficacy of indiv work—humans predestined to enter heaven/hell based on how well they do. Relig karisma- one has absol authority which is coexistensive, founders(charismatic indiv) help find soc bc of their innov view of world, understanding of commun. When founders die, commun struggles, keep memory thru ritual/text epiphenomenon, collectivism, totemism assoc group identity w/ animal, plant, viewed as being of power reciprocity, equivalence, religious specialist, charisma, founded religion, routinization, tradition, sect, cult small intensive relig commun institution vs. innovation natural religious community, voluntary (universalizing) religious community, born into= natural, choose=univ. (hindu-caste) endogamy, exogamy, evangelization, proselytization, ethics, morality, moral philosophy, dilemma, religious ethics, virtue ethics, duty ethics moral philosophy, principles and application. Princ=thou shall not kill, how apply this? Duty- do this, virtue- be this divine command, natural law 1. How are “natural” and “voluntary” religious communities distinguished from one another, and what are some respective examples of each? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this distinction? How does it demonstrate the overarching tensions inherent in religious organizations? Does religion or society have the upper hand in this relationship? Explain. Natural- born into (Hindu- caste identity), voluntary- by choice. Strengths/weaknesses- gray area, not clear. Simple distinction. Tensions: who belongs, desire to define group, separate self, racism, non unity Upper hand- relig- older establish roots, not infl by culture. (-)= don’t change with times, create tension 2. What is the relationship between ethics and morality? What is the distinction between an ethics of virtue and ethics of obligation? What is the distinction between philosophical and religious ethics? How do ethical “dilemmas” demonstrate the relationship between moral principles and ethics, especially in the religious context? In your analysis, does an ethic of virtue or obligation seem more compelling in general, or in situations like “dilemmas”? Explain. Ethics=moral philosophy. Duty- do this, virtue- be this. ? dilemmas- principles tell us what to do but in certain situations rely on ethics virtue- more applicable in daily life, rather than living by std duties, have freedom to use best judgement.