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What is religion? REL 2300-02 Sp12

A journey through definitions and components of religion and religious systems

Todd Brenneman

on 12 January 2012

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Transcript of What is religion? REL 2300-02 Sp12

What is religion? Definitions of religion Religion is . . . [the] experience of the holy in its
various aspects--Rudolf Otto Religion is the recognition of all our duties as divine commands--Immanuel Kant Religion is an institution consisting of culturally patterned interaction with culturally postulated superhuman beings--Melford E. Spiro Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis--Sigmund Freud Religion is . . . the opium of the people--Karl Marx What should we study? Religion is a system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in [people] by formulating conceptions of a general order of existences and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factulaity that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic--Clifford Geertz How should we study it? Why Religion? value system rituals morals/ethics explanation connection to higher power traditions institution beliefs community texts theism/God truth order faith dogma mythology perception spirituality lifestyle hope culture sense of purpose encouragement relationships social and political power discipline source of conflict fear love hate structure societal control reason manipulation persecution motivation individual growth knowledge enlightenment fantasy escape from reality prophecy transformation sacrifice contradiction obtuse mercy hypocrisy power corruption grace loyalty peace war origin rituals cultures texts impact on society leaders geography purpose afterlife beliefs history influence places/archaeology changes psychology traditions lifestyle wars values actions/reactions worship methods symbols architecture groups/divisions era/time period deities/higher power stories popularity/demographics healing practices philosophy behind it perspective goals similarities/differences faults people see controversies law languages art political power places of worship economics music sacred objects textual criticism geography participant observation/ethnography physics psychology sociology archaeology history anthropology phenomenology neuroscience biology art history/architecture philosophy humanities
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