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Lecture 12

ANTH 100 Lecture 12: Chapter 13 (Supernaturalism) (Autosaved)

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ANTH 100
Erin Mc Guire

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Chapter 13: Supernaturalism (MG) Studying Belief Systems Religion: A set of beliefs and behaviors that pertain to supernatural forces or beings, which transcend the observable world. Religious belief systems have four components: They share an interest in the supernatural, use rituals, are guided by myths, and are symbolic. Supernatural: Refers to those things outside of a scientific understanding that we cannot measure or test. Rituals: Symbolic practice that is ordered and regularly repeated. It provides people with a way to practice their beliefs in a consistent form, connecting them to other in the same community. Myths: Sacred stories that explain events. They serve to guide values and behaviors. This doesnt make them untrue but are outside of recorded history Finally, religion is symbolic because it is based on the construction of meaning between a person and their beliefs and among people within a community. It represents their understanding of the world Emic: Insiders perspective Etic: Outsiders perspective Reasons for Supernatural Belief Systems Beliefs do not fossilize. However, cultural practices may leave physical evidence that can be found by archaeologists, who seek to understand cultural practices through cultural remains. Early Evidence The earliest evidence of religion is linked to burial sites, since the idea of burial is an early maker of culture and community. Functions of Religion Supernatural belief systems have both intellectual and emotional functions. Humans big brains compel us to seek understanding and knowledge. Our ancestors wanted explanations for these kinds of natural phenomena. Supernatural beliefs provide the crucial ability to explain those aspects of life which we have no logical answer Active participation in ritual practices allows a person who is suffering to feel involved in achieving a positive outcome
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