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RELIG ST 2WW3- jan 22.docx

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Religious Studies
Hisako Omori

RELIG ST 2WW3- January 22 nd Agents of Illness - Many societies and cultures affirm the world is alive - Things happen because something or someone wills them to happen - Deities, spirits and ghosts can be pleased or displeased by human actions, thoughts etc. - Many types of beings that are important culturally - Deities o In many cultures, deities assume to exist and take an interst in human affairs o A god institured human culture and created rules o Violation of rules may be punished by illness or death o If a hunting taboo is broken, an animal deity may punish o In Christian tradition, illness results of sin, or in some it is seen as a blessing - Ancestors and ghosts o Dead concerned about life of living o Ancestors take interest in fortunes of descendants, in respect and reverence shown to them by descendants o Japanese house Buddhist altar  For ancestors  In peoples homes  Typical offering is tea, rice, water, fruit, pictures of deceased family members  When you receive something, you first offer to ancestors  Act as if ancestor is alive o Harmful demons, seen to cause illness in some cultures o One can attract attention of demon because of fault or action - Other human beings o In many cultures, illness caused by strained human relationships o The evil eye- example of this understanding o If people brag about beauty and success of children in presence of childless person, attract envy of person o If someone attracts hatred of other person, it can affect their health o Witch or sorcerer, can harm or kill enemies or enemies of clients Illness causation - Soul loss o Body depends on soul, when it departs person becomes weak and eventually dies o Sickness understood to be reflection of state of soul o Healing is finding the lost soul, restoring it to body, revitalizing it o English speaking world- person lost their will to live - Object intrusion o Invasion of person by a foreign object o Shot by enemy, witch or hostile spirit, into the body of the victim o Object makes the person sick o In Africa someone becomes ill, thinks its because of a sorcerer o Can take the object out - Spirit intrusion o Invasion of a spirit o Mental illness- spirit possession o Can be ancestral ghosts to trouble the sick person o “she’s not herself any more”- English speaking world - Disease sorcery o Illness as result of sorcerers power, anger, will o Agent and cause of illness is same - Breach of taboo o Violation of ritual rule or moral law o Act itself precipitates the illness Theories of religious healing - All medical systems employ symbols o Biomedicine  White lab coat  Use of technology o Religious healing as symbolic healing - Sickness involves both illness and disease - Shared sense of symbols o Anything that may function as vehicle for a conception- symbol - Symbols mediate sociocultural world and psychophysiological states o Man who was paralyzed because he could not “stand on his own two feet” to his father o Example of catharsis o Embodied comflict between him and father in his physical body - Sick person’s sacred symbols of present condition-> restructured/transformed -> sacred symbols of new condition 1. Rhetoric of transformation (Thomas csordas) - Rhetoric is form of language used to move people - Creation of meaning for supplicant - 3 steps: o Predisposition  Supplicant must be persuaded that healing is possible  Convince patient that healing is possible, so patient is predisposed to being healed  Similar to conversion o Empowerment  Patient must be persuaded that the healing is effective  Experience the healing, spiritual healing o Transformation  Patient must be persuaded to change  Changes conception of self and problems  Must accept cognitive affective behaviour transformations - Success depends in conditions: o Disposition  Expectancy, faith in being healed o Experience of the sacred  Individual variation  some people have more experience than others  some people may be willing to admit changes, other will refuse to admit changes o alternatives  possibilities seen as realistic  some people refuse to acknowledge changes  have to be open o actualization  what counts as change  degree of change, if it is significant  specific to each person’s experience 2. Performance - Healing is elicited thrugh acts, performance that open the senses 3. Suggestion - Healer must be trusted 4. Catharsis - Release of emotions - Yelling, crying, talking out one’s feelings - Silent and contemplative - Healer is key - Person must mean something to patient 5. Social restructuring - Maybe society is causing the problem
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