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World Religions, Sixth Edition Warren Matthews

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1 World Religions, Sixth Edition Warren Matthews
Chapter One: Religions of the Americas This multimedia product and its contents are protected under copyright law. The following are prohibited by law: • any public performance or display, including transmission of any image over a network; • preparation of any derivative work, including the extraction, in whole or in part, of any images; • any rental, lease, or lending of the program.

2 Characteristics of World Religions as Analyzed in the Text
The absolute, the world, and humans The problem and solution for humans Community and ethics An Interpretation of history Rituals and symbols Life after death Relationship to other religions Objections to older scholarship

3 Religions of North America
Naskapi of Canada’s Labrador Peninsula near Arctic Circle – hunters with a spiritual view in a world of few resources Powhatan of Virginia / Chesapeake Bay area – hunters, gatherers, and farmers who learned to use what the land offered them Cherokee of Appalachian Mountains (North Carolina and Tennessee) forced to move to Oklahoma area – hunters and warriors who dealt with white settler encroachment and government interference Hopi of the Southwest – Pueblo people who focused on religious rituals and ceremonies with costumes and masks

4 Naskapi (Northeast Canada)‏
Fishing/hunting society of the harsh Northeast Canadian climate Understood the world as limited in resources Saw all living things united by the world of souls – Mantu Soul world provided the key to survival in harsh conditions Gave the incentive to humans to live moral lives Gave animals the will to provide for human needs Led to dependence upon and gratitude toward nature

5 Naskapi (Northeast Canada)‏
People depend upon their Mista´peo (Great Man) Active living soul of the person Contact with animal souls, which provided for humans Religious stories teach Naskapi understanding of the universe Souls do not die, but are born and reborn Unborn souls may be seen in natural phenomena

6 Area of Naskapi Inhabitation

7 Powhatan (Virginia coastal area)
Highly organized society Hierarchical dictatorship Mamanatowick (“great king”) sovereign over Powhatan tribes Subordinate weroances / weroansquas Temple priesthood Hunting and agricultural society

8 Powhatan (Virginia coastal area)
Organized priesthood Provided medicine – wisakon Presided over formal worship Included sacrifices to images Recognized beneficent deity Ahone, malevolent deity Okeus Life after death is pleasant and well defined Without work, they go to fields to dance and play They eventually die there, and are later reborn

9 Area of Powhatan Inhabitation

10 Cherokee (Southeast U.S.)
Larger group Informal or clan organization Open to many “Anglo” customs Hunting and agricultural society Matriarchal family descent Proper activities based on gender, with provisions for working across gender

11 Cherokee (Southeast U.S.)‏
Religion organized by clan Presided over by priests Centered on rituals of remembrances and new beginnings Sacred stories told at special times and circumstances

12 Area of Cherokee Habitation

13 Hopi (Southwest U.S.) Pueblo peoples of the Southwest U.S.
Lived in desert country Were traditionally surrounded by enemies

14 Hopi (Southwest U.S.) Religion supports the community
Sacred underground religious sites – kivas Special priests – kachinas Costumed and masked figures Animated by dancing Represented ancestors, animals, or spirits Assisted in training children in the rules of Pueblo society

15 Common Features of Native North American Religions
Society is henotheistic (one top deity among multiple deities)‏ Earth is a complex changing environment Acted to separate sky above and waters below Allowed life, humans, and animals to emerge on the earth from below Was filled with spirit powers Humanity and animals are kin Suffering is attributed to human error or as the result of a human- sounding trickster deity

16 Common Features of Native North American Religions
Significant practices as seen throughout North America Healing as a religious practice Rites of passage as salient features of community life Individual behavior evaluated in terms of tribal norms, including norms regarding appropriate sexual behaviors Time understood as cyclical Conception of reincarnation Expectation of religious diversity

17 Religions of MesoAmerica and South America
Aztecs of Mexico – builders of stone-covered mounds, pyramids, and temples who believed in human sacrifices to the gods Incas of Peru – wanderers who were directed to a sacred place to build and settle, who believed they were god’s people, chosen to rule the world

18 Aspects of MesoAmerican and South American Religions
The absolute, the world, and humans The problem and solution for humans Relationship to other religions

19 Aztecs (Mexico)‏ Highly organized society Agricultural base
Militarized Major cities of thousands with monumental stone architecture Tenochtitlán is major city

20 Aztecs (Mexico) Religious principles
Huitzilopochtli recognized as the preeminent deity Human sacrifice practiced, seen as necessary to maintain the sun’s daily cycle Agricultural concerns very important

21 Incas (Peru)‏ Highly organized Militaristic
Built cities with monumental stone architecture Cuzco is capital city Religious The Inca is a religious figure Sun and earth regarded as objects of veneration Inti (and later Viracocha) recognized as the preeminent deity

22 The Empire of the Incas

23 Common Features of Native Mesoamerican Religions
Human beings, the earth, and cosmic forces/gods seen as interacting on an epic scale By maintaining lawful life, humanity did its part to retain cosmic order and prosperity Cities had their own patron deities A diversity of gods was recognized

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