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
- shared or integrated patters of values, beliefs, behavior performances =
- 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
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