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Religion and Popular Culture Definitions for FINAL

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Religious Studies
RS 170
Fred Desroches

RS 170 Definitions MODULE 1 Religion: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods. Religious Studies: the academic field of multi-disciplinary, secular study of religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions Myths: The term mythology can refer either to a collection of myths (a mythos, e.g., Inca mythology) or to the study of myths (e.g., comparative mythology) Archetypal- original pattern, or model, from which other things—such as institutions, beliefs, and behaviors—are patterned. Theology- from the Greek words Theos (god) and logos (reason); the field of study and analysis that addresses God, the nature and attributes of God, truth, and the moral life in relation to the church. Proselytize- the activity of persuading or converting a person from one religion or opinion to another; a proselyte is one who has been converted from one religion (or no religion) to another. Hermeneutics- (1) the art and science of interpreting and understanding a written text such as the Bible or Quran; (2) in philosophical terms, the process of interpretation, whether a text, a speech, a work of art, or action. Cultus- from the Latin word meaning "to cultivate" or "to care; a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices; the basis of the word "cult," and is related to the word cultures. In popular usage, "cult" has a positive connotation for groups of art, music, writing, fiction, and fashion devotees, but a negative connotation for new religious movements (NRMs), extremist political organizations, questionable therapeutic practices, and pyramid business groups. Anomie- from the Greek anomia, meaning "lawlessness"; popularized in the study of religion by Emile Durkheim, it has to do with a condition of the individual or society in which normal order is dissolving or absent, bringing a state of disorientation, anxiety, and chaos. MODULE 2 Culture Industry- was coined by the critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903–1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), and was presented as critical vocabulary in the chapter “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception”, of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), wherein they proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods — films, radio programmes, magazines, etc. — that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity. Commodity- following Marx's social analysis, any good or service produced by human labor and offered as a product for general sale on the market; in modern economics, anything for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market (e.g., milk, gasoline, coffee, rice, sugar, beans, wheat, gold, etc.). Popular Culture- is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid-20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of the society. Mass Culture- the culture that is widely disseminated via the mass media MODULE 3 Agnosticism- literally, "without knowledge"; refers to the philosophical view that truth claims based on transcendent, metaphysical foundations (e.g., God, ultimately reality, the afterlife) are impossible to prove or disprove. Atheism- the belief that there is no god Theism- the belief in god Civil Religion (American)- a sociological concept that explains how moral and spiritual foundations for modern society remain intact; American civil religion refers to the thesis put by Robert N. Bellah that Americans hold certain fundamental beliefs, values, holidays, and rituals, parallel to or independent of their chosen religion. Genesis- Greek term for "origins" or "birth"; the first book in the Bible. Panopticon- originally, a type of prison building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell whether they are being watched, thereby conveying what one architect has called the "sentiment of an invisible omniscience." Later developed by the French philosopher Michel Foucault, panopticon refers to the growing influence of surveillance structure in modern society, from the hospital to the military to education. In popular culture, closed-circuit television (CCTV) and Internet monitoring have been branded as panopticon for their ability to oversee human activity with a relative lack of human monitoring. Hermeneutic Circle- the process used by theologians and ethicists to make moral arguments using four foundational sources: text (e.g., Bible, Quran, Torah), tradition, reason, and experience. In this case, the term "hermeneutic" means "interpretative" or "interpreting". MODULE 4 Plato's Cave- an allegory used by Plato to convey his understanding of reality and knowledge. Epistemology-a branch of philosophy that concerns the nature and ways of knowing; a theory of knowledge. Ritual- a set of repeated actions that formally expresses a prescribed meaning; examples include communion rites, marriage ceremonies, hand-shakin
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