Introduction; Religion and Religious Studies

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31 Jan 2011
World Religions
Introduction: Religion and Religious Studies
Hair worn in different ways throughout the world: long, scull cap, religious vows to
wear veils, wigs, veils for various reasons (long to cover chests & body), only
cover hair when praying, cut off & offer at holy shrines, pull hair out with bare
hands, shave heads in particular styles, shave heads completely.
Body: sacred masks, fully clothed, utterly exposed to elements al year long, dagger
around waists, amulets, necklaces, paint bodies, cut foreskin of boys, marr y in red
or other colours, wear white to symbolize purity, wear white to symbolize death
Food: eat animals killed in particular ways using particular weapons & per forming
particular prayers , big gathering, vegetarian, (Fast: fast on particular days,
particular weeks, particular months)
Religions dictates how they wake up in the morning, what they eat, wear, drin k,
how they greet each other, love, die, mar r y
Religion represents the access by which we structure the world, our lives
Religion is the ultimate author ity that supersedes all rationalization,
We do not understand the world as a whole if we cannot understand the differences
& similarities between religions throughout the world.
Concept of religion: latin word religion: to join again or to reconnect or realign
Religion seeks to ground one to something more primary more anterior than what
we f ind at the surface of our lives
Alludes to a way of thinking
Represents a bridge to another way of thinking or conceptualizing our world
Religion was coined to chr istianity
A religious was a monk or nun
Religion was never used in the plural, it was singular = christianity
There was a real but misguided
There was a real but misunderstood rivals: islam (pre-renaissance period of europe)
From the 1300s the catholic church set up places for the study of religion
Sent out missionaries to discover parts of the world, learn about it & write about it
Around 15th century: europe's intellectual horizons were expanding due to voyages
to discover the world
Information gathered by merchants was rapidly collected and disseminated in other
parts of the world
People published travelogs and stories of the ir voyages
Europe became aware of the difference in other religions compared to christianity
Early travelogs, ot her people & traditions were viewed as exotic, practising exotic
religious practices
Europe travelogs were exaggerated & colourful, practising bizarre & sexual practise
that were far removed from europe, people with supernormal powers, etc
European world was repelled by revelations of travellers
Wanting to br ing christianity to other parts in the world
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