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September 28, 2012 Lecture

Course Code
Joseph Bryant

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RLG210 Thursday September 28, 2011
belief- Mappings of reality, worldviews
ritual- Sanctity important social activities (birth, marriage, death, daily needs, war)
Routinized ways of acting or speaking to bring divine into their world to bless them and
favour them i.e. praying before eating, divination (trying to find the will of the gods),
having sex in the field for fertility
spiritual experience- awe, reverence, security, joy, ecstasy, possession, etc. How does rlg
practice manifest in ppls feelings? Studying the conequneces of these beliefs/practices
communities- group identitied, rlg as boundary maintenance. Religions come in groups-
generally ppl enter into rlgs existence through group membership. RLG also defines your
group- the primary mechanism for solidarity b/c it binds members but also pits them
against other members. Social groups use rlg to regulate who enters/leaves their group.
RLG as “worldview”/culture--- shape, influence, and reform
as institutions & roles--- beliefs, practices, identities, etc.
historically and culturally variable social psychologies, “persons”, communities
Religious institutionalization- the formation of communities & orgs (faith traditions, cults,
sects, etc); formation of sacred roles, priestly or clerical orders, ay followers, sacred texts;
sacred rituals, forms of worship etc.
RELIGION is “embedded” or interdependent w/ other institutions and cultural domains-:
w/ Kinship… Politics…Economics… Wat…Education…Art… Science etc.
RLG regulates all these things in many ways, theology was dominant field in Univ like
Harvard/Yale/ U of T… technological fields started becoming very important and
Secularization theses= as soci modernizes rlg becomes a more personal matter- relativizing
of religious tradition
Most theoretical perspectives on rlg offer variations on 2 fund insights:
RLG as projection/reflection that is representations/understanding of the Divine or
transcendent correspond to aspects of particular social-historical conditions- human beings
are reflecting upon themselves in imagining the divine realm
Religion as social control- that is rlgs are part of the power structures of soc, and function
to legitimize existing hierarchies, while also disciplining and controlling the members of
the group or society
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