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Transcript of Religion is...
Source? Genre of the article?
Author? Standpoint? Credentials?
How did you know that this article is about religion? Religion(s) that this article is about?
What did you learn about the significance of religion in the contemporary world from reading this article?
- derived from the Latin
meaning "to tie back," "to tie again," "to bind" and later
meaning "obligation, bond, reverence"
location = historical + geographical + cultural + socioeconomic
how to study religion?
"moments in the lives of people around the world are threads of the tapestry we call religion"
"All of religion shares the goal of tying people back to something behind the surface of life - a greater reality, which lies beyond, or invisibly infuses, the world that we can perceive with our five senses" (Fisher, 2).
What are the benefits and limitations of
sacred - realm of the extraordinary, apparently purposeful, but generally imperceptible forces
profane - everyday world of seemingly random, ordinary, and unimportant occurrences
immanent - experience of sacred reality as present in the world
transcendent - belief that sacred reality exists outside of the material universe
dualistic vs. monistic
theistic vs. nontheistic
monotheism vs. polytheism
Ninian Smart's Dimensional Scheme:
spirituality - inner dimensions of religion
**Premodern period - mythic worldview; emphasis on
to explain reality
**Modernity - beginning with the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450; worldview that turns to science as a way to explain reality; emergence of science is linked to the rise of industry; modern imagination values progress, expansion, individualism, objectivity, and human enlightenment
**Postmodernity - post WWII; a worldview characterized by the 'hermeneutic of suspicion' and fragmentation; defines reality as discursive and intersubjective, rather than objectively measurable
absolutist, fundamentalist vs. liberal approaches
Protestant Christianity late 19th century
E. J. Pace, Christian Cartoons, 1922
- Religion tells us truths about the ultimate nature of reality
- All religious truths are human truths and only the material world exists
- What function(s) does religion serve? What do religions
Diana Eck on the relationship between religions
How would you describe your religious identity?
Does your perspective fit a materialist, functionalist or faith perspective? More than one? How so?
Would you say that you are an exclusivist, an inclusivist or a pluralist? Why?
First published in Christian Century in June 1963
Southern Christian Leadership Conference arrive in"Bombmingham", AL in March 1963
Jailed after Good Friday march April 12th
religious leaders (two Episcopal bishops, two Methodist bishops, the pastor of the leading white Baptist church in Birmingham, a leader of the Alabama Presbyterian churches, a Catholic bishop of the diocese that included Birmingham, and a prominent Reform rabbi) calling their nonviolent resistance activities "unwise and untimely"
September 15, 1963 - the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama
What did you learn from reading MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"? Be specific - What was new, surprising, and/or compelling?
How does Nyle Fort appropriate MLK's arguments?
the relationship between religion and politics? What
the relationship between religion and politics?
Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt.
Man makes religion, religion does not make man…The religious world is but the reflex of the real world…Religion is the opium of the people.
Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. Napoleon Bonaparte
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
how to study religion?
Phenomenologist - There is a dimension of reality –Sacred or Numinous—which religions point to and grows from; ‘insider’s’ rather than the ‘outsider’s’ point of view
Hermeneutics – Study of the theory and practice of interpretation
Emptying ‘public spaces’ of God (Charles Taylor) – various spheres operating under different guiding principles
Individual dimensions – the falling off of religious beliefs and practices (Taylor)
Social alternatives – “belief in God is no longer axiomatic” (Taylor) – in fact, faith is no longer a possibility for some
resurgence of religion
hardening of religious boundaries
science &/vs. religion
What counts as
Is it & or vs.? Why or why not?
Who won the debate? How so?
how (refers to methods used)
as fundamental discipline of the university in the Christian West
hermeneutics - exegesis, allegorical...
what (refers to sources engaged)
prior theological reflection
who (refers to those who have the authority to study and interpret)
anthropological + social scientific methods
historical critical method
Academic study of religion linked to the emergence of the
in the 19th century
Initial comparative studies grew out of the desire to prove Christianity was most evolved of all religions during
and was often related to missionary endeavors
However, the Romantics used comparisons to critique Christianity and Western
believers and non-believers
In the 1960s, religious studies emerges as an academic discipline.
sociology of religion
philosophy of religion
....all of the above
practitioner scholar (or not)
insider and/or outsider
what do i have in my cup?
= writing culture
"thick description" (Geertz)
seeking the micro for itself and/or seeking the macro/mezzo through the micro
fieldwork in the form of
+ systematic recording and analysis
(seeing/experiencing from the inside)
precludes detachment and passivity
(entering the "matrix of meanings" and becoming, "feeling subject to their code of moral regulation")
sensitivity + reflexivity
description = interpretation
involving transformation and selection
what (data, findings) intimately tied to how (observational process)
Write down associations and stereotypes of:
(1) Buddhism (2) Hinduism (3) Islam
(4) Catholicism (5) Protestantism (6) Judaism
(7) Atheism (8) Agnosticism (9) Fundamentalism
French sociologist Emile Durkheim proposed that humans need organized social structures, and religion is the glue that holds society together. This is best described as a materialist approach to religion. T/F
Intelligent design is a theory cited to support evolutionary biology as an explanation of the origins of human life. T/F
The terms fundamentalism and fundamentalist emerged first in the twentieth century to refer to Muslims who adhere strictly to historical cultural practices such as strong modesty regulations. T/F
Select all the apply: Which of the following are forms of secularism according to Charles Taylor?
a. Emptying 'public spaces' of God
b. Loss of individual religious beliefs and practices
c. Modern constitutional separation of church and state
d. Hardening of religious boundaries
__________ refers to the belief that if a divine being or beings exist, it is impossible for humans to know it.
______________ traditions emphasize an Unseen or Ultimate reality, rather than a personal creator God
_____________ traditions claim that beneath the multiplicity of apparent forms there is one underlying substance
_____________ acknowledges a plurality of gods but elevates one to special status
why study religion...?
MLK's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
context = racism
a pseudoscientific social construct developed in the colonial period and given more and more sophisticated discursive dimensions in the modern period
pseudoscience = a fiction masquerading as an objective scientifically defensible truth
using race as justification for the superiority of those with lighter skin tones, and thereby their cultures, over those with darker skin tones
"spiritual but not religious" or SBNR
Can you define and explain the differences between these identifiers?
what roles do these components play in religious systems?
Which approaches do each of these statements correspond to?
can you match the position on religious diversity to its corresponding image?
HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion
: “…beliefs and practices… relative to superhuman beings”
Bruce Lincoln's Four Domains of Religion:
whose concerns transcend the human, temporal, and contingent, and that claims for itself a similarly transcendent status
A set of
whose purpose is to produce a proper world and/or proper human subjects (as defined by a religious discourse)
whose members construct their identity with reference to a religious discourse and its attendant practices
that regulates the other three, reproducing them over time and modifying them when necessary, while asserting their eternal validity and transcendent value
[Religion is]...the feelings, 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.
William James, psychologist
[T]he religious aspect points to that which is ultimate, infinite, unconditional in man's spiritual life. Religion, in the largest and most basic sense of the word, is ultimate concern.
Paul Tillich, theologian
A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden - beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.
Emile Durkheim, sociologist