2 Religion is important because: It helps us regulate behavior.Gives us an identityMost of the laws that we follow today have their basis in religious teachings.Religion teaches self sufficiency.Religion teaches that we should work together and help each other. It helps foster community and culture.
3 But more importantly… Gives us something to believe in. People need to believe that there is a reason for what they are doing and that there is a reason for life.
4 Ground RulesBecause we will be dealing with many different faith systems, it is important that we:Know that religion doesn't mean the same thing for two people. Therefore, do not judge a religion on a follower's nature.Understand that some differences between religions can never be changed.Exercise tolerance.
5 Questions that all World Religions Hope to Answer: What is the human condition?What is spiritual perfection?What is our destiny?What is the nature of the World?What is the ultimate reality and how is it revealed?
6 What is the Human Condition Are we just physical bodies?Do we have a soul?Are human beings good? Evil?Why do we suffer?
7 What is Spiritual Perfection? How do we fulfill our spiritual potential?What does God want us to do?What is ethical?How do we transcend the human condition?Perfection in this lifeHow do we attain salvation?Perfection after we die
8 What is our Destiny? Where are we going? Is there a master plan for us?Do we have free will?Are there a limited number of ultimate destinies?Is there an ultimate destiny?
9 What is the nature of the World? Cosmology – an understanding of the nature of the universe.Where did the world come from?Is the world real?Is it sacred?Is the world alive?Is the world nothing but matter?Does the world help us or get in our way?What is the relationship between Religion and Science?
10 What is the Ultimate Reality, and How is it Revealed? Is there a God?What is the nature of God?Monotheism (one god)?Monolatry (belief in many gods worship of one)?Polytheism (many gods)?Pantheism (god > everything)?Panentheism (god > everything, everything > god)How do we experience God?Divine Revelation?
11 How does a religion answer the big questions? Different elements of religion answer these questions in different ways.The 8 basic elements of religion are:ExperientialMythicDoctrinalEthicalRitualSocialMaterialThe 8 elements are not exclusive of each other.
12 Two Approaches to Studying World Religions Comparative MethodologyTo know one religion is to know none.Compare the different dimensions of religion.Look for the common questions all religions are answering.Approach with EmpathyEmpathy – ability to see things from someone else’s perspective.We must use our imagination.Don’t judge the belief try to understand it from the believer’s view.
13 Questions to Consider about Studying World Religions In a monotheistic religion, how can there be more than one true religion/god?Are all the religious saying essentially the same thing?Is there a basic agreement about truth?Is the choice of a religion just personal preference?
14 What’s in it for me?Knowledge about different responses to the fundamental religious questions.Wisdom from many different perspectivesBetter understanding of your own faith tradition.Better understanding of people of other faith traditions.
17 2 Basic Types of Religion PropheticChristianity, Islam, JudaismMysticalBuddhism, Confucianism
18 PropheticReligions based upon the worship of a higher power (God, Allah, Yahweh). These religions believe that a higher power revealed himself/herself to chosen people throughout the world who became PROPHETS (spokesperson for God). These religions place high importance on how one worships and participates in their faith
19 Mystical These do not place as much emphasis on a higher power. Instead they live their lives following a specific code of ethics and/or actions. These religions place high importance on how one acts in life. These religions often have "guides" who help people along on their faith journey.
20 WHERE MOST RELIGIONS ARE SIMILAR 1. BELIEF IN A HIGHER POWER 2. HOLY WRITINGS 3. HOLY PLACES 4. IMPORTANT PEOPLE 5. SYMBOLS 6. PLACES OF WORSHIP 7. LITURGY 8. GOLDEN RULE
21 WHERE MOST RELIGIONS ARE DIFFERENT 1. THEIR IDEA OF SIN AND EVIL 2. THEIR IDEA OF SALVATION 3. THEIR IDEA OF THE PRIESTHOOD 4. THEIR IDEA OF A PERSONAL GOD
22 5 Common Features1. CALL – a person or people are called upon by a higher power to spread a message of faith, peace, and brotherhood. This aids followers in their search to the answers for universal questions.
23 5 Common Features2. CREED – an established set of beliefs that encompass the main belief(s) of the religion.
24 5 Common Features3. CODE – the rules of the religion that must be followed
25 5 Common Features4. CULT – an established set of practices, rituals, festivals, etc that are performed and celebrated at certain times.
26 5 Common Features5. CHANGE – over time religions change as a result of conflict and/or the changing needs of society.