Rels 131 Lecture 1
Syllabus is on Moodle
Tutorial details on Moodle
Religions of Asia today
o The textbook is just a guideline and is by no means a substitute for lectures.
o An autobiography of God
o Do not read right away, you won't understand it until you have been taught about it.
o True or False:
At their core all religions are the same thing?
False -- religions can be vastly different. Ex: Christianity is very different
Religion has become more important in the last 15 years?
Both True and false. We have become more tolerant to religion yet it
now has a greater importance to scholars due to many acts in the last
15 years committed in the name of religion.
o Religion is empowering
We can use religion as a tool to help understand society.
Week 1: Vedas and Upanishads
o Hindus had many sacred texts.
o We will look into the methodology behind these sacred texts: who wrote them down,
what is in them, what do they mean, how are they a source of cultural history, etc
Week 2: The epics
o Collection of folk religion and folklore -- tells plenty about their societies.
Week 3: Buddhism o Buddhism plays a major role in taking South Asian values out of India and bringing them
o Roots of Buddhism and Hinduism are very similar.
Week 4: Jainism
o Learn about biology and environment
Understanding of what goes on around us.
o Environmental issues will be taught through talking about Jainism
o Jainists are vegetarians who do not eat many vegetables and cover there faces often as
they do not wish to kill bacteria.
Week 5: Confucianism and Taoism
o Mystery Novels
o Also how Buddhism came to China and how it changed China/was changed itself.
Week 6: Zoroastrianism
o 90 % of practitioners live in India.
o The Religion never left Asia.
o They do not cremate or bury their dead.
They leave bodies on "towers of silence" for birds of prey.
They cannot due this anymore in major cities such as Baghdad as it is too
impractical -- ended within the last 15 years