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Lecture

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Department
Anthropology
Course
ANTHR101
Professor
Francois Larose
Semester
Fall

Description
RELIGION UNIVERSAL CHARACTERISTICS OF RELIGION BELIEF IN THE SUPERNATURAL SUPER-above, NATURAL-of the world The word Supernatural in and of itself is kind of ethnocentric. two categories of the belief in the SUPERNATURAL: 1. ANIMISM: the belief in supernatural beings. ie GODS SPIRITS GHOSTS ETC. 2. ANIMATISM: the belief in supernatural forces ie KARMA MANA LUCK. Often includes TABOOS, rules forbidding contact with sacred things. - most societies have belief in both. very few don't have animism but they all have animatism MYTHOLOGIES EXPLAINS ELEMENTS OF HISTORY, CULTURE, AND ORIGINS CAN NOT BE PROVEN OR DISPROVEN ● central that the myth cannot be verified. "a long time ago" "far far away" ● finish usually with "and that's why it is this way / we do it this way" SACRED PLACES 2 kinds: 1. NATURAL SETTINGS - inaccessible places or things with supernatural qualities (waterfalls) 2. TEMPLES - once people began to migrate and their sacred places were far away, their beliefs would falter or diminish, so they built their own man made sacred places. RITUALS CRISIS RITUALS - PERFORMED WHENEVER NEEDED, someone is sick, etc CALENDRICAL RITUALS - performed at specific times of the day/year/month. some based on solar calendar, some based on lunar calendar *not all religions have calendrical but all have crisis Easter - first sunday after first full moon after spring equinox. FUNCTIONS OF RITUAL: TO UNITE A COMMUNITY EMOTIONALLY (COMMUNITAS) TO PORTRAY OR REENACT IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF MYTHS OR COSMOLOGY ● certain cultures reenact the creation of the world every year in belief that if they do not, the world will end. this is a good way to force the generations that follow you to learn their religion. TO INFLUENCE THE SPIRITUAL WORLD (SORCERY, CURING RITUALS, ETC.) ● praying for healing or forgiveness ● this is not universal. some believe the communication only goes one way. you can say thank you but you never ask for anything. TO INSPIRE FEELINGS OF AWE OR DREAD ● good to inspire fear cause fear is a good way to control people's behaviours. ● we are having all these problems and it is because we are not adhering closely enough to our religion MAGIC & RELIGION magic can generally be defined as THE USE OF RITUALS TO MANIPULATE THE SUPERNATURAL - you don't have to ask for things, you can force the supernatural to do what you want - different types of magic: ● DIVINATION: foreseeing the future. Tarot cards, tea leaves, horoscope. The belief in divination has much more importantce in other cultures than ours: they would use it before dangerous events: going to war, hunting etc. If oracles or whatever are consulted and say we are going
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