Several beliefs fit together into a fairly complete and systematic interpretation of the universe and the human being's place in it. Belief system.
natural religion; belief in a creator God, belief in a moral code given to guide the conduct of human beings, belief in promise of an afterlife, goal is peace. Proposed by 18th century thinkers who wanted a single religion shared by the entire human race. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin
Materialistic Perspective Famous People
Ludwig Feuerbach; Sigmund Freud; Karl Max
Humans invented religion, hostile to religion, religion=superstition, only the materal world exists, religion will disappear as the world embraces scientific rationalism. Downsides: religions are reduced to the product of hidden neurosis, social need, or econmic conflict.
19 cen. German philosopher. No supernatural entities. Deities=projection of people's fears and desires. Gods=the most fearsome natural elements, humans ascribe things to God that are in fact human, human beings alienate themselves
19 cen. Austrian psychoanalyst, religion=collective fantasy & mental illness and replaying of the loving & fearful relationships children with parents. Religious belief gives us an external god, external God can protect, punish, or reward for obedience or non to social norms. Main Contributions: religion is more than a collection of beliefs, deep hiden motivations shape religion in ways that must be examined.
19th cen. German socialist philosopher religion=product of the mode of production, mode of production=econmic base of society, economy determines everything else about society, the ruling class controls the economy determines everything else about society, the ruling class controls the economy thus the cultural and religious systems, religion usually serves the interests of the ruling class, became a tool of opression Contribution: What do religious beliefs do for ppl socially?
Intellectualist Perspective Famous People
Edward Tylor, James Frazer
Religion=matter of belief, is a rational attempt to explain how nature works, religion will disappear as the world embraces scientific rationalism. Downsides: most aspects rejected by modern critics, this perspective was culturall biased
19th cen. English anthropologist, religion=belief in spirits or anima in Latin. Spiritual beings=personal powers behind all things, religious teaching arose from a rational effort to explain the world, animistic beliefs developed into ideas of gods then to one god. Problem: animistic beliefs cannot explain the universe. Religion is condemned to disappear.
19th cen. Scottish anthropologist. Magic=pseudoscientific attempt to confront and control natural forces, but magic does not always work. Religious conceptions replaced magic. Ultimately, rational scientific thinking replaces religion when ppl finally understand the laws of nature.
Indealist of Faith Perspective Famous People
19th and 20th cen. Rudolph Otto, Mircea Eliade.
Idealist of Faith Perspective
realm of the extraordinary and supernatural, the source of the universe and its values. There's an underlying reality that cannot readily be perceived but some ppl in all cultures have experienced. Human responses to this supreme reality have been expressed and institutionalized as the structures of religions.
German professor of theology, religion emergeswhen ppl experience "the mystery that causes trembling and fascination"
Rumanian cholar of comparative religion, profane vs. sacred, proface unimportant sacred is significant, divine models contained in the cosmogonic myths show how like ought to be lived, ideals can change ppl. Problem: tends to present religious beliefs, myths, and symbols as timeless, more contextual and historical perspective needed.
Functional Perspective Famous People
Emile Durkheim French sociologist
Religion is useful. Humans cannot live w/o organized social structures. Religion is a glue that holds a society together. Religions rituals are occasions for individuals to renew their commitment to the community. Durkheim thinking persists today. Problem: religions may be reduced to the product of social need
Semiotic Perspective Famous People
Clifford Geertz 20th cen
Religion is a system of symbols, seeks o understand the religion in its own context in a more subjective fashion. Religion= a system of symbols that needs to be deciphered. Representatives: have learned the necessary languages to conduct their research, lived among the ppl the study, no more single Islam,, Christianity, Buddhism. Advantages: true, religious experiences will differ from one place to another. Problem: Can an outsider be truly objective?
American anthropologist. Religion=cultural fact, NOT mere expression of social needs or economic tensions, Culture is understood as a pattern of meanings or ideas carried in symbols that need interpretation. "thick description"= describes rituals and their exact and varied meanings for practitioners. Particularist, opposed stricturalist religion and local religions
Bruce Lincoln's Definition of Relgion
a discourse a set of practices a community an institution Religion as a discourse: concerned transcend the human, temporal and contingent, claims authority and truth, grounds its views in scripture, revelation, or ancestral traditions.
not historically untrue, symbolic or foundational stories about the origins and destiny of humans and their world, express the religious beliefs of a group, are told and often reencacted. Does not mean that the stories are historically untrue.
beliefs enacted and made real thru cermonies or festivals
rules about human behavior
realm of the extraordinary and supernatural, the source of the universe and its values, objects= musical instruments, clothing, statues, paintings.
Something fairly concrete, ordinary, and universal that can present and help human beings intensely experience something of greater complexity, structure that underlies all religions
Relgions of South Asia
Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism.
Relgions of South Asia Myth
Myth of liberation. Life is seen as suffering- alwys ends in old age, sickness, death, humans caught in endless cycle of suffering, death, and rebirth, Goal of religion is to free oneself from the wheel of death and rebirth (samsara). Once freed humans will experience ultimate reality.
Religions of East Asia
Daoism, Confucianism, Shinto
Religions of East Asia Myth
Myth of Harmony. Dao=mysterious source and ordering principle of the universe. All creation works via yin/yang, dark/light, earth/heaven, male/female. Ideal of life is balance and harmony. Problem of existence is disharmony.
Religions of the Middle East
Judaism, Christianity, Islam
Religions of the Middle East Myth
Myth of History. GOd is creator of all things. GOd acts in time and leads his ppl thru time toward a final fulfillment. The story begins with an initial harmony, harmony is disrupted by sin. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam trace themselves back to the Patriarch Abraham. Want to restore harmony with the will of God so that death an be overcome.
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