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Methods for the Study Religion; Presuppositions of the Western Traditions

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University of Toronto St. George
Andre Maintenay

Methods for the Study Religion; Presuppositions of the Western Traditions Reading: Ch. 11 The Nature of Religion, pp. 541-566 September 20 , 2010. James Frazier: Located the source of religious sentiment in magic Religion was sustained by the mystery of the unexplained What human beings is, is that they try various techniques to control and affect phenomena that are beyond their understanding Religion originates in this kind of magic, and prayers and rituals are methods for making the universe benevolent, making the universe kindly disposed to ones self Prayers and rituals are really ways of trying to control the universe, which are uncontrollable When your prayers worked its because God listened to your prayers and when they didnt work its because you didnt have enough faith Emmanuel Durkheim: Worked on Australian aboriginal people Through his observations he coined the term totemism based on the idea of a totem (a plant or an animal species thats connected to a tribe, representative of the tribe, often symbolized as being sacred, an emblem of a clam identity) Totem represents the God of each clan All religions are totemist; all religions project their own Gods
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