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Dr. Fairen - Religious Studies Theories and Methods 23

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Religious Studies
Glen Fairen

RELIGIOUS STUDIES 200 CLIFFORD GEERTZ THICK DESCRIPTION people exist in webs of significance they themselves have spun. eye twitch and wink are clearly very significant in their difference. a wink has meaning. SUSPICIOUS OF GRAND THEORIES. we have to recognize webs of interconnections in order to account for the phenomena we call culture. many folks will use little examples as microcosms of larger realities, like durkheim did with the aborigines. he doesn't think this works. RELIGION is defined as (1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic . p.90 1. a system of symbols... almost anything that can convey meanings to people. whether or not these symbols have a private dimension, they need to be shared among some kind of community. 2. moods and motivations... motivations are for external ends that are sanctioned by the religion moods are internal, give the motivations their strenghth. not occasioned by trivial or minor things; require very religous higher order significance. 3. conception of a general order of existence... an underwriting conceptualization of everything, metaphysical, phenomenological, etc. for geertz, this 'religious' devotion to the maple leafs or something cannot be religion because it is not about ultimate reality, ultimate existence. when the chaos of the world intrudes in upon you that is not intellectually bearable, religion is a way of combatting that. evil is bad, but god will fix it in the long run. maple leafs winning the stanley cup does not do away with evil nor is it believed to. This is your WORLD-VIEW and ETHOS. 4. give this world-view an aura of factuality... & 5. make the moods and motivations seem uniquely real... religion marks out a sphere of life that is seen as SPECIAL, a system that puts us in touch with what is REALLYREAL. science tells us about reality (geertz doesnt think science is a religion) but not about the deeper WHY question of reality. LINCOLN AND GEERTZ'S INTERLOCKING SYSTEM OF SELF-REITERATION OF RELIGION "Religion, I submit, is that discourse whose defining char
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