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Lecture 1

RELIGST 2QQ3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Net., Social Cost


Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RELIGST 2QQ3
Professor
David Penner
Lecture
1

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• Religious life is foreign, especially for the Western religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam).
Religion Is ...
Religion is:
Strange to our ordinary life.
Different than cults.
A paradox.
o Many people think of religion as a refuge for the weak; something that weak people are drawn
to.
Positive:
Religion tells people that there is hope, that they are loved.
Offers sense of hope - heaven, paradise.
Negative:
"Religion is for people who cannot handle life; those who cannot think for
themselves."
Considered a crutch that the weak use to feel better about themselves.
Weak.
Difficult.
o God expects you to give all of yourself to the divine; get rid of your own ego; submit your will.
Help
Moments of crisis.
Surrender to Divine.
Support system.
Let our lives remain the same.
You don't have to make a lot of changes in your lives to accept this.
E.g. You don't have to change your shopping habits for God.
We want to be proud of ourselves; have personal ambitions/accomplishments.
When we get overwhelmed, we pray for help.
Fear
Of being an outsider.
We want to be accepted and understood.
If we go against the flow, we feel like we may be putting our lives and images at risk.
Financial security.
Ambition.
Ambition is considered more important/attractive (in a partner) than being compassionate or well
rounded in the arts/sciences.
Ambition connects our sense of our own image with our financial concerns for the future.
Want to come off as prepared and ambitious.
Image.
We enjoy feeling unique and like an individual, however as a culture, we don't like to stray too far from
the norm (in terms of being understood).
There is a social cost to being too different.
Control.
We are made happy by not having to worry about the future.
I.e. "Will I be able to keep my house?"
Dread has replaced enthusiasm in many aspects of our lives.
o Things feel out of control -> Need to exert more control, but that causes more stress/pressure.
o Always on the verge of being nervous of what is expected of us.
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