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Sociology of Religion
Comparative World Religions
Terms in this set (26)
What is the starting place for studying world religions? Why?
The starting place for studying other religions is oneself
The modernist concept of an unbiased, dispassionate observer is not realistic
Each of us has a context that informs our worldview. In other words, we are at least to some degree products of context.
"The understanding of others requires self-understanding"
3-6 guidlines for studying religion.
1. Admit to bias; be self-aware and self-critical but own your presuppositions.
2. Avoid caricatures and over-generalizations (not all are the same)
3. Courageously acknowledge "the teaching of some religious groups may be evil"
4. Religious pluralism is not plausible
Pluralism- all religions are equally valid (cannot say a religion is not valid)
5. Practice the principle that "understating precedes criticism." That is, learn respectfully, but criticize honestly
6. Show some humility. Defer to the experts
Identify and discuss the eight characteristics of religions according to Winston King.
1. Traditionalism: importance of original act or words of founder
2. Myth and Symbol: stories of origin conveyed in symbol
3. Ideas about Salvation: 'saving' people from and to something
4. Sacred objects and places: things and places set apart from ordinary things and places
5. Sacred action: rituals actions that communicate with the divine
6. Sacred writings: authoritative words from the founder
7. Sacred community: sense of a belonging
8. Sacred experience: varieties of perception of transcendence of depth
What did Freud mean by describing religion as "wish fulfillment?
Freud means to say that it is an illusion that would disappear as people evolved into more rational beings, leaving behind the need and wish for religion itself.
Smarts Definition for religionHow did Marx conceive as religion a tool of those in power?
"a set of institutionalized rituals, identified with a tradition and expressing and/or evoking sacral sentiments directed at a divine or trans-divine focus seen in the context of the human phenomenological environment and at least partially described by myths or by myths and doctrines"
How did Marx conceive as religion a tool of those in power?
He claimed religion functioned as an ideology to maintain the status quo, keeping the oppressor in power. Religions prevented those under its influence to look directly at the injustice of circumstances
What is implicit religion?
beliefs expressed by individuals about their religion (official statement of the religion
What is explicit religion?
beliefs expressed by individuals' behavior (how it is actually lived out)
How does Dooyeweerd's understanding of religion provide the most satisfying definition of religion? In other words, how is Dooyeweerd able to bridge the gap between Smart's definition and one like Tillich's?
Religion is the innate impulse of human selfhood to direct itself toward the true or pretended absolute Origin which find focus in itself. Religion is the center of the universe that transcends all models of reality, faith included. Religion is absolute self-surrender and In that it fits with Smart's view it being a daily thing and Tillich's view of it being ultimate concern.
What is the five-fold method that Hexham recommends for studying religion?
1. Philosophy - What does the religion teach and why?
2. Logic - Do the religious teachings make logical sense? Are they coherent, consistent, and sound?
3. Social anthropology - how are people practicing the religion
4. Sociology - What are the communal and social elements of the organizations of the religion? How does the religion shape the society
5. History - How did the religion begin? Who have been the key players and key events through the duration
Explain the difference between the emic and etic descriptions of a religion
• Emic - insider perspective of the religion reveals people's "lived experience" with religion; more subjective
Etic - outsider perspective of the religion
What does Hexham mean by a "biased canon?" What evidence does he use to make his case?
Students of world religions demonstrate a neglect at best and an underlying prejudice (outright racism at worst) against Black Africans and African religion.
How did Enlightenment thinkers foster or encourage racism?
Certain Enlightenment thinkers, whose intellectual heritage modern thinkers inherited, - were racists.
What is animism?
Belief that spirits live in objects
What came to be regarded by some as the evolutionary progression of religion?
Primitive to polytheistic to monotheistic to the demise or decline of religion to be replaced by science
Identify and explain the characteristics of indigenous religions as proposed by Farhadian?
Concerns are pragmatic (hands on)
• Highly Contextual
• Guidance is sought through various methods (Organic, in response to circumstances. Mechanical, institutionalized practices
• Compared to world religions, they are more open, informal
• Traditions are transmitted orally
• Ritual performance accompanies the transfer of knowledge
In particular, what does it mean that indigenous religions are pragmatic?What is a restoration or primitivist movement? What are some examples from our class discussion and textbook readings?What is a restoration or primitivist movement? What are some examples from our class discussion and textbook readings?
Dealing with things in a practical manner rather than theoretical. Very hands-on.
Explain the difference between world-affirming and world-denying religious movements.
Illuminate truths and insights that will aid their adherents to live a better life
• Countercultural and disillusioned with traditional religions and institutions, this groups shuns the world and typically emphasized a spiritual experience over rationality
What is a restoration or primitivist movement? What are some examples from our class discussion and textbook readings?
Based on the idea that Christianity should be restored to a more primitive state, the early church of the apostolic age, a purer and more ancient form of Christianity. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists
On what basis did Joseph Smith found the Mormon religion? From where did the name came?
• From a revelation he claims came from Jesus
• From the ancient prophet/historian who recorded the words of prior prophets on gold plates
What are the key Mormon texts? Know the general contents of the Book of Mormon.
• King James Bible
• Book of Mormon: Another testament of Jesus Christ: about inhabitants of north America and Jesus' appearance to them
• Pearl of Great Price: history of Joseph Smith, a translation of Matthew and two lost books
• Doctrines and Covenants: revelation to later Mormon leaders
Distinguish between the three branches of Mormonism.
• Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints: Salt Lake City, Utah, largest branch
• Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints: small and rural, polygamy
• Reorganized Church of the Latter-day Saints: Community of Christ, By Joseph's smith son, rejects problematic beliefs
Who is the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses?
Charels Taze Russell
What is the preferred Bible translation of the JW?
The New World Translation
Who is the founder of Christian Science?
Mary Baker Eddie
What is the key emphasis of Christian Science?
To commemorate the word and works of the Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing
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