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Lecture 3

RE100 Lecture 3: CHARACTERISTICS AND SHEILA COTE-MEEK
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2 Pages
76 Views
Winter 2017

Department
Religion & Culture
Course Code
RE100
Professor
Erich Fox Tree
Lecture
3

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RE100 LECTURE SEPTEMBER 25 2017
Characteristics some scholars claim indigenous religions share:
- Primitiveness
- Antiquity
- Orality
- Unique Cosmogony (origin stories)
- Communication with Natural forces
- Belief in an afterlife
- Culture is undergoing change
- Nature-worship
- Totemism
- Dreams reveal something about life
- Aminism
- Spiritual beings
- Spirit Guides
o Every characteristic is problematic too narrow, too broad, generalizations etc.
o Not found in ALL indigenous groups
o Also found among non-Idigeous World Religios
o Misuse of academic theories
o Ethnocentric, racist and ignorant
o Some characteristics are false, and based on racist stereotypes, or failed
attempts to not avoid racism, but to avoid terms marked as looking racist, such
as the ord aiet
o The orientation of the list may reflect eurocentrism, but also religocentrism: an
effort to appease Westerers’ religious sesiilities…
- Indigenous peoples of the Americas and peoples of Africa have little more in common
than colonialism, especially given how little is shared among the diverse peoples of the
Americas or just between the diverse peoples of Africa
o Sweat baths, crops and owls as omens are common but do not unite indigenous
religions their interpretations are different in different religions
Conclusions
- There are lots of perspectives that we should question and resist.
- Indigenous people are not alike, Africa and the Americas, for example, are home to
hundreds of different religions with distinct origins, histories, and manifestations.
- Indigenous people are not primitive.
- Indigenous religions do not necessarily offer more insight into the history of religion
than Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, or any other so-alled Great Religios eept i the
sense that frequencies and distributions of characteristics among all people, indigenous
and non-indigenous is a systematic tool for assessing whether those characteristics
result from homology, analogy, diffusion.
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Description
RE100 LECTURE SEPTEMBER 25 2017 Characteristics some scholars claim indigenous religions share: Primitiveness Antiquity Orality Unique Cosmogony (origin stories) Communication with Natural forces Belief in an afterlife Culture is undergoing change Natureworship Totemism Dreams reveal something about life Aminism Spiritual beings Spirit Guides o Every characteristic is problematic too narrow, too broad, generalizations etc. o Not found in ALL indigenous groups o Also found among nonIndigenous World Religions o Misuse of academic theories o Ethnocentric, racist and ignorant o Some characteristics are false, and based on racist stereotypes, or failed attempts to not avoid racism, but to avoid terms marked as looking racist, such as the word ancient o The orientation of the list may reflect eurocentrism, but also religocentrism: an effort to appease Westerners religious sensibilities Indigenous peoples of the Americas and peoples of Africa have little more in common than colonialism, especially given how little is shared among the diverse peoples of the Americas or just between the diverse peoples of Africa o Sweat baths, crops and owls as omens are common but do not unite indigenous religions their interpretations are different in different religions Conclusions There are lots of perspectives that we should question and resist. Indigenous people are not alike, Africa and the Americas, for example, are home to hundreds of different religions with distinct origins, histories, and manifestations. Indigenous people are not primitive. Indigenous religions do not necessarily offer more insight into the history of religion than Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, or any other socalled Great Religions except in the sense that frequencies and distributions of characteristics among all people, indigenous and nonindigenous is a systematic tool for assessing whether those characteristics result from homology, analogy, diffusion.
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