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Introduction Why Religions?. “It appears that throughout the world man has always been seeking something beyond his own death, beyond his own problems,

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction Why Religions?. “It appears that throughout the world man has always been seeking something beyond his own death, beyond his own problems,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction Why Religions?

2 “It appears that throughout the world man has always been seeking something beyond his own death, beyond his own problems, something that well be enduring, true and timeless.” J. Krishnamurti

3 Why study world religions? “Read each other people’s myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts—but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message.” Joseph Campbell, author & philosopher

4 Early Goddess history Creator, giver of life myth Her body represents the universe Agriculture in the first great river valleys Invasion of hunter-killers By 2000 B.C. male-dominated myths take over as the creator and giver of life

5 Male Myths Dominate

6 Goddess Myths that Survived Isis Modonna Maya-Shakti-Devi

7 Why are there religions? Materialist perspective Functional perspective Faith perspective

8 Materialist Perspective Freud described religion as a collective fantasy, a “universal obsessional neurosis”.

9 Karl Marx “Man makes religion; religion does not make man… It is the opium of the people.” Marx thought religions not only are used to pacify people, but to oppress them.

10 Functional Perspective Emile Durkheim saw religion as the glue that held society together. Religions phenomena were symbols and reinforcers of the social order. Emile Durkheim French sociologist

11 Eric Fromm Fromm saw the necessity of religion as a stable frame of reference for a society.

12 “The world is a royal chariot, glittering with paint. No better.Fools are deceived, but the wise know better.” What does this mean? But the seeker of truth beyond religion hears the Buddha say something deeper…

13 “He is forever free who has broken out of the ego-cage of I and mine to be united with the Lord of Love. This is the supreme state. Attain thou this and pass from death to immortality.” Truths behind religion? Krishna tells Arjuna…

14 Sages of India on …God “This eternal being that can never be proved…spotless, beyond the ether, the unborn Self, great and eternal…the creator, the maker of everything.”

15 Even a few Westerners begin to understand…. “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar” William Wordsworth

16 Religion and critical thinking sometimes clash… Some religions demand obedience to dogma and discourage critical thinking. Other religions demand critical thinking and discourage dogma.

17 The Mystical Experience Enlightenment God-realization Illumination Samadhi Gnosis All religion is merely preparation for the mystical experience that is beyond religion. When this happens it is recognized by many names…

18 Mysticism –vs- Religion “Fundamentally it is the outsider who names a religious system… The participant is concerned with God; the observer has been concerned with religion.” Wilfred Smith, scholar

19 Swami Kriyananda “There is a saying in India that it is often blessed to be born into a religion…but unfortunate to die in one.”

20 To become a mystic… “The ancient Upanishads of India advise people to sit in deep meditation and, with their minds fully absorbed in love, direct their consciousness toward the eternal One.”

21 Your Comments… Catholic monk, Father Bede Griffiths “In each tradition the one divine Reality, the one eternal Truth, is present, but it is hidden under symbols…”

22 Science & Religion Plato thought the soul was superior to the body, and this idea permeated Western thought for the next 2,500 years.

23 17 th to 19 th Centuries Knowledge of nature became more secularized because scientist developed rational models of the universe.

24 Scientific Method

25 Origin of the Species Darwin demonstrated that over great lengths of time, organisms can genetically mutate to increase their chances of survival. This theory of natural selection directly contradicted the literal understanding of the Bible.

26 Geological Time & Human Development

27 Birth of stars…. Eagle nebula

28 electron + photon - photon gamma photon Everything, including subatomic particles have consciousness!

29 Einstein “The most beautiful and profound emotion that we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science.”

30 Common religions terms Immanent – present in the world Transcendent – outside the world Theistic – god is a personal being Monotheistic – worshipped as single being Nontheistic – no sense of personal creator god Atheism – belief there is no god Agnosticism – don’t know if a god exists

31 Absolutists & Fundamentalists Orthodox – refers to those who stand by an historical form of their religion Fundamentalists – refers to those who frightened by change and insist on certain traditions and justify violence towards people of other religions.

32 Summary Religions grows out of need to know and understand deeper questions Mystical experience is common to all religions Science is proving consciousness is the common thread in all things


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