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WORLD RELIGIONS Course Introduction.

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1 WORLD RELIGIONS Course Introduction

2 Reason for Studying World Religions
More contact with people of other religions Global conflicts have religious labels Globalizaion – more interaction with others Religion is the main component of peoples worldviews Better understand the beliefs of the peoples

3 Religion What is religion? Universally recognized phenomena
Historically, humanity is overwhelmingly religious People generally look beyond themselves David Hume – “In the history of mankind there never has been a tribe of men without some form of religion.”

4 Religion The word religion From Latin – religia
Religia – means “to unite” or “bind fast” Unite humanity with divine sphere (generally western) Eastern religions look to the oneness of all being Indigenous religions seek to live in harmony with “god-imitating” structures of tribe or ethnic group

5 Religion The word religion
In Greek – qhraskeia, thraskos (Jam. 1:26-27; Col. 2:18 worship of angels) Etymologically may refer to conduct and practice Acts 17:22 and 25:19 – deisidaimonious and deisidaimonias Deidw – to fear Daimon – demon; deity; minor deity

6 Dimensions of Religion
Rodney Stark & Charles Glock six dimensions: Cognitive Ethical Ritual Institutional Aesthetic Emotional

7 Dimensions of Religion
Rodney Stark & Charles Glock six dimensions: Cognitive – teachings of a particular religion whether oral or written, systematic, stories, poetic or narrative, etc. May provide an entire worldview. Ethical – moral expectations or rules and directions for both personal and social behavior. Found in all religions. Shari’a law is an example of religion not separated from the law of the nation.

8 Dimensions of Religion
Rodney Stark & Charles Glock six dimensions: Ritual – action that has symbolic meaning in religious ceremonies as in worship, meditation, or showing devotion. Institutional – the organizational structure of a religion. Religious specialists – clergy, priests, healers, monks, etc. Laity – non-specialists

9 Dimensions of Religion
Rodney Stark & Charles Glock six dimensions: Aesthetic – is the appeal to the senses such as smells, sounds, landscape, architecture, beauty, and space, etc. Emotional – is aspects of religion that set moods such as love, hope, joy, awe, fear, peace, etc.

10 Study of Religion Theological Studies – Relates to study religion primarily by those committed to that religion. “Theology is that discipline which strives to give a coherent statement of the doctrines of the Christian faith, based primarily upon the Scriptures, placed in the context of culture in general, worded in contemporary idiom, and related to issues of life.” (Erickson, Christian Theology, 21) Religious Studies – “Academic study of religion that aims to understand all religious traditions objectively, in a religiously neutral way.” (RELG, 13)

11 Study of Religion Academic fields that study religion:
Cultural Anthropology Sociology Psychology History Women’s Studies Biology Pluralism – is the recognition of different religious beliefs to foster constructive dialogue.

12 Religion Function and Direction of Religion
Religion functions to guide humans toward a purpose in life in connection with a superior power Religion has some object of faith

13 Religion Deity: Relational and Non-relational Relational
Superhuman in character and power Super sensuous or invisible but able to represent himself in material and understandable ways Exercises rule over the natural world Exercises rule over humanity’s welfare Deity is responsive to humanity Deity arouses awe, worship, and submission

14 Religion Deity: Relational and Non-relational Non-Relational
Impersonal metaphysical being or power Philosophical Hinduism Taoism Abstract principle Unifying force of all things

15 Religion Which of these is a religion?
Seeking oneness with the universe Service to humanity Worship of spiritual being or beings Communism Fixated on Elvis Is there a difference between being religious and being spiritual? Religious – spirituality shown through ritual Spiritual – belief without ritual

16 Religion Definition of Religion
Not easily defined - Depends on location experience or commitment = transcendence, human nature, human society “Religion is a mental faculty or disposition, which independent of, nay in spite of, sense and reason, enables man to apprehend the Infinite under different names and under varying guises” (Max Muller 1882, 13 Introduction to the Science of Religion)

17 Religion Definition of Religion
“Religion is the recognition of all duties as divine command” (Immanuel Kant, Critic of Practical reason, trans. Abbott, p. 226) “The essence of religion is the feeling of absolute dependence” (Schleiermacher, Discourse on Religion, ch. 2) “Belief in spiritual beings” (Eerdman’s Handbook on The World’s Religions)

18 Religion Definition of Religion
William James – “consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto” (1902 The Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 53) or “Religion is the feeling, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine.”

19 Religion Definition of Religion
Paul Tillich defined religion as that which is of “ultimate concern.” Problems: With this definition any thing that of the most concern to a person is classed a religion Patriotism Nationalism Family

20 Religion Definition of Religion
“A religion is a system of beliefs and practice that provides values to give life meaning and coherence by directing the person toward transcendence” (Winfried Gorduan, Neighboring Faiths 1998, p. 21)

21 Religion Six Factors in Identifying Religion
Usually focuses on peoples’ relationship to the unseen realm of god(s), spirits, ancestors, and demons. There is a system of myths, prophecies, and rituals illuminating the spiritual realm for communing with or propitiating the spiritual being. There are organized rituals, places of worship, holy people, and writings in their history. There is a view to something beyond the current physical existence on which to focus There is a code of conduct or moral order. There has been a large group of believer some time.

22 Religion Elements of Religion
Provides the core values by which life is given meaning and goals. Directs one toward a transcendent awareness or experience Through a supernatural means Through metaphysical principles Through an ideal Through a place or an awareness Provides a means for understanding the world

23 Approaches to Religion
Subjective or Psychological Evolutionary Monotheism as the Source of Religion

24 Psychological or Subjective
Concepts of subjective theory Religion is based on subjective, subconscious feelings that are given physical expression Developed to fulfill the needs of men Religion as a part of humanity – source not important Specific beliefs and practices are expressions of subconscious symbols and attitudes Divine revelation is the product of peoples’ expressions of their psyches Rituals allow for an outlet for subconscious religious drives

25 Psychological or Subjective
Important Contributors to Subjective Theory Friedrich Schleiermacher ( ) Begins with a feeling of dependence Not a set of beliefs Dependence on an absolute , which is God Proceeds from the feeling of dependence to the idea there is an object of dependence, not the idea there is a God Ludwig Feuerbach ( ) Concept of God is a being with idealized human traits taken to their ultimate characteristics Worshipping God is worshipping the ideal self-image See Essence of Christianity ~ 1840s

26 Psychological or Subjective
Important Contributors to Subjective Theory Sigmund Freud ( ) Psychological need for a father figure God is an idealized father figure (people substitute idealized image for imperfect father figure) Religious nature is a symptom of psychological immaturity Rudolf Otto ( ) Published “The Idea of the Holy” in 1917 A person is overwhelmed with a feeling of God’s greatness and majesty and one’s own limitations – a feeling of fear and awe Psychological experience from subconscious non-rational faculties

27 Psychological or Subjective
Important Contributors to Subjective Theory C. G. Jung ( ) Human dreams from subconscious are expressed in religion Mercea Eliade ( ) University of Chicago Subconscious symbol manifest themselves in manifestations of the Holy

28 Psychological or Subjective
Critic of Psychological/Subjective Religion God is a manifestation of the human condition Even if the subjective exists, it does not rule out the God as a reality apart from humanity Bible speaks of people created in the image of God but God is self-existing separate from humanity God may have given humanity a sense of dependence, feelings of the other, or an idea of the holy This view starts from self experience not revelation The question is did a sense of God begin with humans or with God?

29 Evolutionary Approach to Religion
Concepts of the evolutionary approach Assumes an evolutionary view of life and culture Before Darwin (1700’s) there was an idea of the world moving from primitive to the more complex Darwin ( ) gave it a scientific setting There is a philosophical commitment to the idea of progress of humanity Primitive cultures indicate the earlier stages Cultural anthropology Search to find which culture represents the earliest forms of religion Assumes Western culture is highest known form

30 Theories in Evolution to Religion
Animistic Theory Edward Burnett Tylor ( ) Primitive Culture (2 vols. 1871) Maintained that primitive people developed a sense of other or soul from experience with death and dreams Primitive people believed that these souls (Latin, anima) were to be found not only in people but in all nature (stones, trees, animals, rivers, springs, volcanoes, and mountains).

31 Theories in Evolution to Religion
Herbert Spenser Developed concept of “Manism” R.H. Codrington ( ) studied under Tylor and developed further the idea of Mana – “idea that supernatural power that belonged to the region of the unseen.” Gods of primitive people was based on dreams of the recent dead. Dead alive in another realm with chiefs and heroes which gave rise to ancestor worship Polytheism Gave rise to worshiped sky, earth, etc.

32 Theories in Evolution to Religion
Nature-worship Theory Max Muller ( ) Oxford Professor From mythology of India Believed religion developed from observance of forces of nature which they saw the regularity of seasons, the tides, and phases of moon. “Primitive people identified the forces in nature, personified them, created myths to describe their activities, and eventually developed pantheons and religions around them.”

33 Theories in Evolution to Religion
Magic Theory Sir James George Frazer ( ) Cambridge The Golden Bough Though went through three phases: Magic - attempted to control the world of nature through magic (if not coerced by magic) Religion – nature can be implored to cooperate Science – rational understanding of nature

34 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined (See Overhead) First: Mana/Fetishism - Mana From Melanesian cultures but present elsewhere General awareness of a spiritual force Non-personal force that does not reveal itself Force pervades the physical realm but unevenly distributed – some areas of have more force than other places or things Positive contact brings positive aspects to one’s life Negative contact causes problems in life One seeks a positive relationship

35 Stages of the Evolutionary Theory of Religion

36 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined (See Overhead) First: Mana/Fetishism - Fetishism Fetish – an object is seen as endowed with a great amount of mana (doll, bone, stick, etc.) Human must harness mana for positive effects Magic – the manipulation of human beings of spiritual forces in order to bring about a desired result (Corduan 1998, 27) Manipulation Correct technique for success Some approach religion this way, even in monotheism

37 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Second: Animism – (Latin anima = soul)

38 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Second: Animism – (Latin anima = soul) Definition – the belief and worship of spiritual beings that inhabit people, places, or objects Nature spirits – generally have human form and personality but not directly related to the humanity. They inhabit places, objects and animals. They may speak and may have a social order. Ancestor spirits – departed family members that may interact with living relatives generally for protection of the family and clan unless offended. Venerated ancestors usually influential as long as remembered by living person.

39 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Second: Animism – (Latin anima = soul) Finite – limited power, need to be informed (not surprised), may have specific domains, existence resembles physical but in spiritual realm, can do more than people Assistance to humans – spirits can provide insights to life’s direction for success (may use fortunetellers and soothsayers or diviners) or provide protection. Respect for spirits – keep harmony with family and community to honor ancestors (spirit can cause problems if not respected or going against family & clan Control – medicine men, witchdoctor or shaman who have means to gain cooperation of spirits or to control with magic

40 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Third: Polytheism (poly – many; theism – gods) Spiritual realm deified with transition from venerating spirits to worship of gods (worship of angels Col. 2:18) Gods are vastly superior to spirits that are venerated Pantheon – all gods and goddesses within a particular religion Some hierarchy but fluid Based on tasks and family connections Worship – entreating their favor because they are more powerful than the spirits (worship is defined as recognizing divine beings as superior, submitting to them and entreating their favor) Not as easily manipulation as spirits Worshipped instead of the use of magic

41 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Third: Polytheism (poly – many; theism – gods) Three ways polytheism occurs from animism Exalting ancestors who were of high social status (chiefs or those who were deemed to have spiritual powers in life) Promoting nature and household spirits to divine status (location may be the home of a God – Meru on top mountains; fertility important for survival so gods and goddesses imputed) Personifying abstract principles (justice, love, does not have to be personified or have and image)

42 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Fourth: Henotheism – people believe in many gods but worship only one of them. Each clan or tribe choose a god that beneficial to them Gods may have geographical significance and rule certain areas or be over certain elements.

43 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Fifth: Monotheism – people believe in only one God Usually theorized to have begun with the Jews under Moses God is described as the creator of the world God alone is God God alone is worthy to be worshipped God is the source of moral directives Other supernatural beings do exist but not as gods

44 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Proposed Stages Defined Sixth: What next? Some suggest Zen Buddhism – personal insights gained by one’s own will Secular humanism as the highest stage

45 Evolutionary Theory of Religion
Critic of the Evolutionary Theory of Religion Never been seen to progress this way Changes occur both ways The first two stages often have gods associated with them and even a supreme being (Meru) Many traditional cultures show ties to monotheism

46 Monotheism – Source of Religion
Begins with a God who reveals himself in history and humanity responds to his self-disclosure and produces religion Nine-point basic beliefs of monotheism One God (various levels or relationship) God is described with masculine qualities and grammar God lives beyond the created world God is extremely powerful & knowledgeable God created the world God sets the standards for good and evil Humans are God’s creation & subject to his standards Humans are alienated from God by disobeying standards God provides the way for humanity to be reconciled

47 Monotheism – Source of Religion
Wilhelm Schmidt ( ) Studied linguistics 12 volumes Der Ursprung der Gotfesidde (The Origin of the Idea of God) Documented reports of traditional religions and cultures that referred to monotheism Documented many traditional cultures that have most of the basic monotheistic beliefs A number of traditional cultures practice little or no magic but believe in one creator God.

48 Monotheism – Source of Religion
Three basic inferences from “Original Monotheism Model” “Virtually every religion carries a vestige of monotheism that can be identified as a variation of the nine-point description” of monotheism (Corduan 1998, 33). There is one clear change, moving away from monotheism, particularly in wealthier societies. Ritual and magic become prevalent as people move away from monotheism Call to reform to the original monotheism develops (remember the O.T. prophets)

49 Original Monotheism Model
Monotheistic Traditions Original Monotheism Decay into Magic and Ritual Various Forms of Religious Change Mana Animism Polytheism Henotheism From Neighboring Faiths by Winfried Corduan, p.35

50 Types of Religion Basic Religions
Religions: Native American, African, Chinese popular traditional Religious ideas not preserved in written form Beliefs Animism Totemism - belief in the kinship of a group of people with a common totem (animal or plant serves as the symbol of a family or clan) Ancestor worship Polytheism

51 Religions Originating in India
Types of Religion Religions Originating in India Religious Beliefs: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism Many gods (except Sikhism- Islam influence) Person may have many lives via reincarnations Ultimate concern is release from life, death, and rebirth – circular view of time Release by aid of gods, but often by their good actions or lack of bad actions to work out their release

52 Religions Originating in China and Japan
Types of Religion Religions Originating in China and Japan Religions: Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto Beliefs Taoism and Confucianism are not always considered religions but because they have developed religious aspects they are consider religions. Belief in many gods Worship of nature Worship or veneration of ancestors Shinto – reverence for the nation

53 Religions Originating in the Middle East
Types of Religion Religions Originating in the Middle East Religions: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’i Beliefs One supreme Creator God Only one earthly life See the material world positively Linear view of time Divine judgment of the world

54 Ritual, Folk Religion, & Rite of Passage
Magic Ritual – is repetitive actions performed in order to bring about a specific result Priesthood – group of leaders who perform rituals on behalf of the people It may become taboo for anyone but the priest to perform Proper ritual – “The focus must be on God’s intention to impact human affairs rather than on the power of the ritual to attract God’s attention” (EDWM, 836).

55 Ritual, Folk Religion, & Rite of Passage
Folk Religion – the everyday religious practice of the common people with little influence from intensive training in practice and sacred writings. Theoretical understanding of a religion – described by scholarly or religious leaders Daily practice and beliefs lived out in people’s lives

56 Ritual, Folk Religion, & Rite of Passage
Rite of Passage – a ceremony indicating a transition from one stage of life to another (a type of ritual). A rite of passage may be more than optional an be required or the person cannot move on to the next stage (e.g. circumcision) Four main times for rites of passage Birth Puberty Marriage Death

57 Christians’ Approach to Other Religions
Acts 17 – Paul gave people credit for being religious and moved from there to the one God and then to Christ

58 Christians’ Approach to Other Religions
Important criteria for sharing the gospel to those of other religions Treat every person and their religion with respect Live in peace with all people so long as it depends on your Learn from them their understanding of their religion The theoretical understanding of a religion often does not agree with the daily practice and beliefs of its followers Look for points of contact between Christianity and their religion (Acts 17) Note obstacles in their beliefs for further exploration Do not let your own cultural bias obscure or supplant the gospel message (Acts 15) Make the gospel intelligible to the host people (All thing to all people)

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