September 11, 2013 Religion
Introduction Religion and Religious studies:
Religion is everywhere around us, whether we know it or not. Take peoples hair
for example, some people wear their hair in braids, matts on tops of their heads,
some have long hair, some have cloths around their hair, some cover their hair,
some people tear off their hair with their hands, some people cover their hair
during prayer, etc. Some thing as seemingly ordinary… as hair… is vested with
deep religious meaning for a lot of people around the world.
Our bodies and clothing: Some people wear sacred ashes on their forehead, henna,
etc. This speaks your religious affiliation. Some people have tattoos, drape their
clothing on their bodies, some people do not wear any clothing at all, some people
wear necklaces and rings, some people choose to do different things with their
bodies and look.
Food: Some people eat animals, but only of certain kinds, other people eat
different kinds of animals but want them killed in a different way using different
kinds of instruments, other people reject the eating of meat all together
(vegetarian), others only eat food that is natural and not processed and in order to
Things that may seem ordinary… actually speak great religion distinction.
Everything is structured by religious concerns in ways we don’t even think of….
In many ways, religion dictates what happens when were born, how we live, how
we go through infancy, adolescence and maturity, religion guides the way that we
marry… who we marry… who we love and how we live, religion dictates how we
age and how we die, what happens… how we dispose of our dead and the rituals
we follow to remember our death and how we go beyond that in the after life.
The structure of our lives, frequently, is dictated by our concerns.
Gender: a huge deal in religion Gender practices.
How we organize towns, cities, political systems, (10 commandments), the point I
want to make here is that if we do not understand the big idea of religion and the
great priority of religion around the world, we do not really have a hope to
understand the world we live in we must understand!
We are surrounded by people with other beliefs.
The necessity for studying religion GREAT.
What is the purpose of religion? What does it mean to call ourselves religious? What
questions does religion seek to answer? What is religion? What is the diversity of religion
around the world?
History of the term religion itself: The word has been analyzed, by different people,
Christian tradition (Augustine)
Derived by the Latin root: Religion connecting two things together carried a little bit
further, looking beyond the immediate, reconnecting the individual with something
greater than themselves… introducing a bridge to another reality.
The term religion: Used with reference to Christianity. Historically, it’s been difficult to
study the term without being informed of Christian ways of viewing the world. Religion was used as a singular term not plural.
This is not to say that Christians were unaware of other religions but rather they did not
understand others were doing the same sort of things as they were doing.
In the middle ages, the Catholic Church set up sensors for the study of religion in
different parts of Europe. What happens in the next few centuries… this is the period of
discovery! You get people who land up on the coast of India… Christopher Columbus
leaves from Spain. These great voyages of the discovery were about trade and about
access to raw materials that were limited in Europe, and they found greater things they
also harbored among them great adventurers, who loved seeing many different things of
the world, and had a love of encountering new things, through these voyages of
discovery… came missionaries of the Christian church sending people to go to well to
other parts of the world. The European content starts to hear different things about people
who believe different things, pr