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Rels 131 Lecture 1 2013-14.docx

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Religious Studies
RELS 131
Aditi Sen- Chowdhury

Rels 131 Lecture 1 September 9  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.  Krishna o An autobiography of God o Do not read right away, you won't understand it until you have been taught about it.  Religion o True or False:  At their core all religions are the same thing?  False -- religions can be vastly different. Ex: Christianity is very different from taoism  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 to China 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.  Extreme environmentalism  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
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