GASB30 Lecture 1 - 14 September 2011.pdf

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Global Asia Studies
Henry Shiu

GASB30 – Lecture 1 14 September 2011 Introduction: Approaches to the Understanding of Religion and Society Critically examine culture via religion. What is religion? - Difficult to define what religion is What is culture? - Also difficult to define culture; problematic; just as the definition of religion would be. - shared or integrated patters of values, beliefs, behavior performances = culture. - This means that people within a given society/institution share common values; believe that something is correct/a value that is important -Ex. Muslims don't eat Pork: Why is it so? - May not be because of nutritional or scientific value - But rather, it's because of their own shared beliefs about Pork Many Indians never eat Beef; cow = sacred animal - thus never eat the animal Then there are certain groups that are vegetarian; taking meat is cruel to other animals --> Thus, just using food as an example, we have different values of what we should do If you're living in a community that has a shared sense of beliefs; you are living in a culture. - In other words, we are all influenced by the way were brought up. All influenced by the environment (intentionally, or unintentionally) affects you - factors that define your world views, your ascetics, your likes and dislikes, the way you behave, eat, dress, speak…it is culture that defines who we are and how we are. - Just because culture defines who we are does not mean that culture is absolute/ rather culture is relative. - People who were born in another culture have different values, beliefs… - Culture influences how people act or how we are. And we cannot conclude that one culture is superior than another. Culture is not static!!! - The tool that we use to examine the way people are/ their culture is R
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