2 Reason for Studying World Religions More contact with people of other religionsGlobal conflicts have religious labelsGlobalizaion – more interaction with othersReligion is the main component of peoples worldviewsBetter understand the beliefs of the peoples
3 Religion What is religion? Universally recognized phenomena Historically, humanity is overwhelmingly religiousPeople generally look beyond themselvesDavid 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 beingIndigenous 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 practiceActs 17:22 and 25:19 – deisidaimonious and deisidaimoniasDeidw – to fearDaimon – demon; deity; minor deity
6 Dimensions of Religion Rodney Stark & Charles Glock six dimensions:CognitiveEthicalRitualInstitutionalAestheticEmotional
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 ReligionTheological 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 AnthropologySociologyPsychologyHistoryWomen’s StudiesBiologyPluralism – 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 powerReligion has some object of faith
13 Religion Deity: Relational and Non-relational Relational Superhuman in character and powerSuper sensuous or invisible but able to represent himself in material and understandable waysExercises rule over the natural worldExercises rule over humanity’s welfareDeity is responsive to humanityDeity arouses awe, worship, and submission
14 Religion Deity: Relational and Non-relational Non-Relational Impersonal metaphysical being or powerPhilosophical HinduismTaoismAbstract principleUnifying force of all things
15 Religion Which of these is a religion? Seeking oneness with the universeService to humanityWorship of spiritual being or beingsCommunismFixated on ElvisIs there a difference between being religious and being spiritual?Religious – spirituality shown through ritualSpiritual – 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 religionPatriotismNationalismFamily
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 focusThere 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 experienceThrough a supernatural meansThrough metaphysical principlesThrough an idealThrough a place or an awarenessProvides a means for understanding the world
23 Approaches to Religion Subjective or PsychologicalEvolutionaryMonotheism as the Source of Religion
24 Psychological or Subjective Concepts of subjective theoryReligion is based on subjective, subconscious feelings that are given physical expressionDeveloped to fulfill the needs of menReligion as a part of humanity – source not importantSpecific beliefs and practices are expressions of subconscious symbols and attitudesDivine revelation is the product of peoples’ expressions of their psychesRituals allow for an outlet for subconscious religious drives
25 Psychological or Subjective Important Contributors to Subjective TheoryFriedrich Schleiermacher ( )Begins with a feeling of dependenceNot a set of beliefsDependence on an absolute , which is GodProceeds from the feeling of dependence to the idea there is an object of dependence, not the idea there is a GodLudwig Feuerbach ( )Concept of God is a being with idealized human traits taken to their ultimate characteristicsWorshipping God is worshipping the ideal self-imageSee Essence of Christianity ~ 1840s
26 Psychological or Subjective Important Contributors to Subjective TheorySigmund Freud ( )Psychological need for a father figureGod is an idealized father figure (people substitute idealized image for imperfect father figure)Religious nature is a symptom of psychological immaturityRudolf Otto ( )Published “The Idea of the Holy” in 1917A person is overwhelmed with a feeling of God’s greatness and majesty and one’s own limitations – a feeling of fear and awePsychological experience from subconscious non-rational faculties
27 Psychological or Subjective Important Contributors to Subjective TheoryC. G. Jung ( )Human dreams from subconscious are expressed in religionMercea Eliade ( ) University of ChicagoSubconscious symbol manifest themselves in manifestations of the Holy
28 Psychological or Subjective Critic of Psychological/Subjective ReligionGod is a manifestation of the human conditionEven if the subjective exists, it does not rule out the God as a reality apart from humanityBible speaks of people created in the image of God but God is self-existing separate from humanityGod may have given humanity a sense of dependence, feelings of the other, or an idea of the holyThis view starts from self experience not revelationThe question is did a sense of God begin with humans or with God?
29 Evolutionary Approach to Religion Concepts of the evolutionary approachAssumes an evolutionary view of life and cultureBefore Darwin (1700’s) there was an idea of the world moving from primitive to the more complexDarwin ( ) gave it a scientific settingThere is a philosophical commitment to the idea of progress of humanityPrimitive cultures indicate the earlier stagesCultural anthropologySearch to find which culture represents the earliest forms of religionAssumes Western culture is highest known form
30 Theories in Evolution to Religion Animistic TheoryEdward Burnett Tylor ( )Primitive Culture (2 vols. 1871)Maintained that primitive people developed a sense of other or soul from experience with death and dreamsPrimitive 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 SpenserDeveloped 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 worshipPolytheismGave rise to worshiped sky, earth, etc.
32 Theories in Evolution to Religion Nature-worship TheoryMax Muller ( ) Oxford ProfessorFrom mythology of IndiaBelieved 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 TheorySir James George Frazer ( ) CambridgeThe Golden BoughThough 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 cooperateScience – rational understanding of nature
34 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Proposed Stages Defined (See Overhead)First: Mana/Fetishism - ManaFrom Melanesian cultures but present elsewhereGeneral awareness of a spiritual forceNon-personal force that does not reveal itselfForce pervades the physical realm but unevenly distributed – some areas of have more force than other places or thingsPositive contact brings positive aspects to one’s lifeNegative contact causes problems in lifeOne seeks a positive relationship
35 Stages of the Evolutionary Theory of Religion ???MONOTHEISMHENOTHEISMPOLYTHEISMANIMISMMANA/FETISHISM
36 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Proposed Stages Defined (See Overhead)First: Mana/Fetishism - FetishismFetish – an object is seen as endowed with a great amount of mana (doll, bone, stick, etc.)Human must harness mana for positive effectsMagic – the manipulation of human beings of spiritual forces in order to bring about a desired result (Corduan 1998, 27)ManipulationCorrect technique for successSome approach religion this way, even in monotheism
37 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Proposed Stages DefinedSecond: Animism – (Latin anima = soul)
38 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Proposed Stages DefinedSecond: Animism – (Latin anima = soul)Definition – the belief and worship of spiritual beings that inhabit people, places, or objectsNature 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 DefinedSecond: 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 peopleAssistance 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 & clanControl – 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 DefinedThird: 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 veneratedPantheon – all gods and goddesses within a particular religionSome hierarchy but fluidBased on tasks and family connectionsWorship – 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 spiritsWorshipped instead of the use of magic
41 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Proposed Stages DefinedThird: Polytheism (poly – many; theism – gods)Three ways polytheism occurs from animismExalting 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 DefinedFourth: Henotheism – people believe in many gods but worship only one of them.Each clan or tribe choose a god that beneficial to themGods may have geographical significance and rule certain areas or be over certain elements.
43 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Proposed Stages DefinedFifth: Monotheism – people believe in only one GodUsually theorized to have begun with the Jews under MosesGod is described as the creator of the worldGod alone is GodGod alone is worthy to be worshippedGod is the source of moral directivesOther supernatural beings do exist but not as gods
44 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Proposed Stages DefinedSixth: What next?Some suggest Zen Buddhism – personal insights gained by one’s own willSecular humanism as the highest stage
45 Evolutionary Theory of Religion Critic of the Evolutionary Theory of ReligionNever been seen to progress this wayChanges occur both waysThe 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 religionNine-point basic beliefs of monotheismOne God (various levels or relationship)God is described with masculine qualities and grammarGod lives beyond the created worldGod is extremely powerful & knowledgeableGod created the worldGod sets the standards for good and evilHumans are God’s creation & subject to his standardsHumans are alienated from God by disobeying standardsGod provides the way for humanity to be reconciled
47 Monotheism – Source of Religion Wilhelm Schmidt ( )Studied linguistics12 volumes Der Ursprung der Gotfesidde (The Origin of the Idea of God)Documented reports of traditional religions and cultures that referred to monotheismDocumented many traditional cultures that have most of the basic monotheistic beliefsA 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 monotheismCall to reform to the original monotheism develops (remember the O.T. prophets)
49 Original Monotheism Model MonotheisticTraditionsOriginalMonotheismDecay into Magic and RitualVarious Forms of Religious ChangeManaAnimismPolytheismHenotheismFrom Neighboring Faiths by Winfried Corduan, p.35
50 Types of Religion Basic Religions Religions: Native American, African, Chinese popular traditionalReligious ideas not preserved in written formBeliefsAnimismTotemism - 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 worshipPolytheism
51 Religions Originating in India Types of ReligionReligions Originating in IndiaReligious Beliefs: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, SikhismMany gods (except Sikhism- Islam influence)Person may have many lives via reincarnationsUltimate concern is release from life, death, and rebirth – circular view of timeRelease 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 ReligionReligions Originating in China and JapanReligions: Taoism, Confucianism, ShintoBeliefsTaoism and Confucianism are not always considered religions but because they have developed religious aspects they are consider religions.Belief in many godsWorship of natureWorship or veneration of ancestorsShinto – reverence for the nation
53 Religions Originating in the Middle East Types of ReligionReligions Originating in the Middle EastReligions: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha’iBeliefsOne supreme Creator GodOnly one earthly lifeSee the material world positivelyLinear view of timeDivine judgment of the world
54 Ritual, Folk Religion, & Rite of Passage Magic Ritual – is repetitive actions performed in order to bring about a specific resultPriesthood – group of leaders who perform rituals on behalf of the peopleIt may become taboo for anyone but the priest to performProper 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 leadersDaily 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 passageBirthPubertyMarriageDeath
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 religionsTreat every person and their religion with respectLive in peace with all people so long as it depends on yourLearn from them their understanding of their religionThe theoretical understanding of a religion often does not agree with the daily practice and beliefs of its followersLook for points of contact between Christianity and their religion (Acts 17)Note obstacles in their beliefs for further explorationDo 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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