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Study Guide

RS 110- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 104 pages long!)


Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RS110
Professor
Peter Frick
Study Guide
Final

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UW
RS 110
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Module 0
A) Common Methodological Assumptions
- Division between religions is based upon East and West
Western Religions = Judaism, Christianity and Islam
o Western religions are referred to as the world religions
o Judaism is the oldest religion
o Islam is the youngest religion
Eastern Religions = Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintuism, etc.
- Objectives
Knowledge of history important, but not the only focus on this course
Conceptualization understand importance on a systematic / theoretical level
o Why people practice it?
Attempt is to have a balance between information and understanding
- Assumptions
Religious observation and/or belief
o A religion cannot only be believed and practiced, but also something else
(observed and studied)
o Methodological perspective: You do not need to be committed. Level of
commitment towards religion is not crucial or an indicator of your religious
understanding.
o Phenomenological Approach: Used by Scientists. Simply a descriptive approach
leading to an accurate and fair description of the religions.
Phenomenon = A manifestation, something that can be described.
o Personal Participation: No contradiction between a phenomenological approach
and personal participation.
Being open to both greater understanding of religion
Participating (from an academic perspective) is not a pre-requisite that
aids in understanding religions.
Those practicing might disagree
B) Common Religious Assumptions
Consistent across all three western religions
Monotheism: Worship one god
“One-God” religion
Mono / Monos = One
Theos = God
Transcendence
Belief that there is only 1 god God is the highest (no being above god)
Philosophical perspective: Aristotle referred to this as the ontological priority
(understanding / levels of being)
God is ontologically speaking the highest in a class by himself
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Theistic
Theistic vs Deism
Theism: Belief that god is the creator everything
Philologically speaking: God is the cause of everything and he
himself has no cause (proven by Arisotle)
God created and continuously cares for the well-being of what
he created
Deism: Belief that everything comes from god, but now the world is
left on its own.
The creator has withdrawn from creation.
Pantheism: God is everywhere, god is within every one of us.
Not completely, but to a certain degree
Pantheism goes back to Greeks, 2500 years old
Polytheism: Belief in many gods. God is not one, but there are many gods that
are responsible for different areas of life.
Henotheism: Combination between Pantheism and Polytheism.
Belief that there are many gods, but among ALL the gods there is
ONE highest god.
Operates based upon hierarchy
Monotheism is the starting point of all three western regions, but not the end point.
The existence of god is taken for granted and does not need to be proven.
This course will NOT debate whether god exists
Existence essence
One aspect equally overlooked in all three religions is the distinction between
gods existence and essence
If god is the highest god (absolutely transcendent god) and alone in a category
of being, then all creatures below god cannot ever do anything about the
essence of god. Why is that?
This is due to epistemologically (theory of knowledge), we have no
mind/organ.
We cannot know the essence of god (who he is, his gender)
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